What NORTHERN PHILIPPINES taught me about LIFE

As I go through my third and last day of mid-year prayer and fasting today, I couldn’t help but recollect the first 6 months of my 2015. I can say that one of the highlights of the 1st quarter of my year was when Travelife Magazine allowed me to experience an adventure in North Luzon.

My travel to the northern part of our country wasn’t just about an escapade and some fun and thrills here and there, it was actually a collection of realizations and lessons that I kept in my heart even when the trip was over.

Through the silence and noise, familiar and fresh encounters, triumphs and failed attempts, it was all – a time of contemplation.

Here are the things that Northern Philippines taught me about life:

(And since it’s my prayer and fasting week, allow me to inject some Bible verses that spoke to me in each experience that I had. Hey, Bible reading is cool! It makes you wise and gain more insight.)

TARLAC

Karting

After my first karting experience at Kart City Tarlac. (Thanks for this photo teammate Jeeves! :)

  • THE MOST DESIRABLE THINGS COME AT THE PERFECT TIME

I remember when I was in my early 20’s, I badly wanted to try karting with my brothers. But they never let me join their races. Boo hoo! I would just watch them and tell myself, “Someday, somehow, somewhere…I’m gonna ride that, baby!” And true enough, after years of waiting and almost forgetting about it, I was able to finally try it at Kart City in Tarlac. It was an awesome experience. It was worth the wait.

perfect timing

Our visit at JSJ Goat Farm was just perfect! We were able to witness the birth of a new kid! :) (I have a very graphic video shared in this post here.)

In life, we often experience a period of waiting. It might be for something as trivial as my dream to try karting or as great and significant as having a baby. Whatever we wish for in life, there is a perfect time of every thing. And when we learn to wait and be patient, the things that we long for becomes even more desirable when it happens in it’s own perfect time.

lamb

To all the lamb chops that I’ve eaten in the past… I’m so sorry… I didn’t know you were this cute and adorable.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1 ESV

ZAMBALES

INSIDE THIS

Inside Casa San Miguel in Zambales are treasures worth discovering – from music, to the arts and even dishes to try.

  • WE ALL HAVE TALENTS TO SHARE AND TREASURES TO GIVE

ORCHESTRA

The music scholars of Casa San Miguel at their 100-seater Concert Hall. The Pundaquit Virtousi as what they’re called are just some of the financially deprived children that are being trained at the Casa.

Coke Bolipata didn’t just share his talent in playing the violin, he also gave his own treasure when he opened Casa San Miguel to the children of Zambales who came from very humble backgrounds. Who would have thought that these kids can pursue, play (in excellence) and hone their love and talents for music and the arts?

I believe that all of us were built with something special inside of us, a treasure that shouldn’t be kept but to be shared. Imagine if there would be more Coke Bolipata in our country, there would be more people who will get a chance to discover, refine and share their own gifts as well.

PAELLA

Treasures of paella and pizzas at Backstage Cafe.

Another treasure that we found – the Aetas from Matam-ih Restaurant in Pampanga.

PAMPANGA

AETAS

We were surprised and entertained with songs and dances from our dear Aetas at Matam-ih Restaurant.

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace. ~ 1 Peter 4:10

TARLAC

KAYAK

A peaceful kayak ride with my roomie Mabel. Just one of the “thousand” activities that you can do at Tarlac Recreational Park. (Thanks for this photo MARTIN SAN DIEGO! :)

  • GET DIRTY AND WILD BUT CHOOSE YOUR ADVENTURES RIGHT

CLARK

WAKEBOARDING

My first wakeboarding experience at Deca Wake Park in Clark. (Photo by MARTIN SAN DIEGO)

Choosing your adventures is like choosing the right battles for you to fight. Sometimes life will offer you a feat that is really meant for you to go through in a given season. Sometimes, it’s just you who keeps holding on to something that’s not meant for you.

I learned that divine wisdom will really tell you when to go and when to stop, when to pause and when to resume, when to begin and when to surrender.

OK COLD AND FAIL

Cool! Oh yeah the water was cold! :p (Photo by MARTIN SAN DIEGO)

Fail! Well, not totally because I was glad that at least I tried it. I experienced my first wakeboard ride (and fall) not totally prepared. I wasn’t wearing the right “outfit” down there (he he) and the water last February was a bit cold for me. My lips turned to dark purple! So that was a signal for me to stop and take a shower. Yes, I surrender! It wasn’t for me during that time. But it doesn’t mean that I’m not willing to try it again given the perfect circumstance and outfit. 😉

TARLAC

DUNE BUGGY

The “Dirty Ride” at Tarlac Recreational Park with Mabel. (Photo by: JONATHAN BALONSO)

I hope my roomie didn’t regret in letting me drive our dune buggy! :p I actually enjoyed the rocky and dusty road that we traveled at Tarlac Recreational Park. I was fast and a little curious so I drove with more speed and enthusiasm. (I’m deeply sorry for the dune buggy in front of us!)

GROUP

Preparing to be dragged with our Bandwagon at the Lighthouse Marina Resort with Networx Jetsports! (Photo by JONATHAN BALONSO)

Sometimes, it’s not just about picking the perfect adventures for you but having them with the right people too. Glad to have screamed, squealed and held on tight with these fellas! That was one exhilarating ride!

HELLO

“I’m down on bended knees” on my paddle board. (Photo by JONATHAN BALONSO)

When I saw it, I considered it well;
I looked on it and received instruction. ~Proverbs 24:32 NKJV

PORAC

WAS PUSHED HERE

I was pushed from this tower while being suspended from the 12-meter high and 180 meters Roller Coaster Zipline (Asia’s first) called “The Avatar One” at Sandbox!

  • IT’S OKAY TO GET “EMO” BUT DON’T GET TOO ABSORBED THAT YOU MISS THE HIKE TO THE TOP

SWUNG

A little swing here and there is good but to be swung from a 10-meter high “Giant Swing”? Glad I did it afraid with Ida.

From time to time, life will throw lemons, apples and rambutan to our faces. Sometimes it will even unexpectedly and unkindly push and swing us in different directions. But what you do after getting emotional is what really matters.

We all have a great potential in us and God has prepared a vast skyline for us to navigate and soar over. May our roller coaster emotions, fears and reluctance never keep us from journeying to the top! There’s a majestic view on that mountain! Don’t miss it, start hiking.

ZAMBALES

LIGHTHOUS

The Capones Lighthouse and some people at the tower. :p (Thanks for this photo NPVB’s and MNTC/NLEX’s Jonathan Balonso.)

It wasn’t an easy trek going up to see the Capones Lighthouse. It was already late in the afternoon, which made the waves strong and crazier. From our boat, we were required to take a short walk or swim going to one of the parts of the Capones Island. It was the quicker way but it was rougher. There were lots of huge rocks and worn out slippers, which were signs of a challenging trek to the Lighthouse. (This made me decide to leave my camera in the boat to protect it, hu hu.)

WE ALL MADE IT

Some of our friends decided to stay on the boat and some were able to get “emo” on the top of the Island! :p Hooray! Special thanks to Edsel Ochoa, Patsy Carrillo,Rhycel Marcelo-Monserrate and the rest of the  awesome team!

Glad that we were able to make it to the top (together) or else I would’ve missed this fantastic view! :) I wasn’t able to bring my camera to capture this island so I’m hoping to visit Capones again in the future.

HELLO VIEW

Hello there! Don’t be afraid to be yourself and be “emo”. The right people will love and accept you for who you are. Ha ha! :) Photo by Jonathan Balonso

He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights. ~ Psalm 18:33

SUBIC

BE KIND

Be courageous and be kind. 😉 Feeding some rescued sea turtles at Ocean Adventure.

  • IN TROUBLES, DO NOT PANIC

ZAMBALES

SURF SCHOOL Quiksilver crystal beach resort zambales

Basic Surfing experience at Crystal Beach’s Quiksilver Surf School.

“DO NOT PANIC!”  That’s what my mother used to remind me all the time when I was a little girl. She was brought up with a father who served in the military so she was one of those “lista” daughters who always had the presence of mind.

In life, troubles are inevitable. Sometimes unexpected things and uncertainties will make us scared. It even makes us lose our peace and eventually there it is…the panic mode button! You press it and voila peace is suddenly gone! Since most of us are professionals in this area, it’s easier for us to panic than to calm down.

One of the things that made me laugh and shiver at the same time was when one of the coaches at Crystal Beach’s Surf School told us during our briefing (with his missing front teeth), “PANIC CAN KILL YOU!”

DONT PANIC

Don’t panic! Here’s my other story on how I survived my fear of drowning: DIVING

The way he said it was funny but it also frightened me! I was already thinking about the worst things that could happen once we’re in the water… I was thinking about the “what ifs”: What if I accidentally hit my head with the board? What if I get drowned? What if I get smashed down with my surfboard, another surfer’s surfboard or the waves? What if there’s suddenly a lost shark that will attack us?

My heart started to beat faster than a Mesarati ride. Then my what if switched…“What if…What if I won’t at least try this today?” I started to calm down as I breathe deeper and longer than I usually do.

Suddenly, the instructors told us to get into the water… “Water, what?!? We haven’t practiced yet…” So with quiet shivers, I followed my coach and reminded myself that it’s going to be fine and fun.

Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you. ~ Isaiah 41, The Message

SURFING

Learning to balance and surf at the beautiful Crystal Beach Resort!

My first try was a major failure as I used my knees. It also caused me to have some souvenir cuts on my knee, which I got from the pebbles that my pants caught earlier. But I DECIDED to do it again and to do it right. I fell a lot of times but in those times I rode the board again and again and again. Until my coach told me that I was up for my last ride. I didn’t want it to end just yet.

At the end of my first surfing experience, my coach told me that I have a good sense of balance. (Binobola niya ba ako? Ha ha). But of course, that made me happy that yes I finally did it!

Don’t let fear keep you from experiencing the wonderful things in life! Be confident and secure knowing that you can trust someone bigger than you, up there! And he’s for you and your enjoyment.

COURAGE

Go Forward! :) Don’t miss out!

These are the things that I realized through my travel to the northern part of the Philippines. I’m sure that going to the north will leave you contemplating (just like me) and will even ignite your passion to travel more in this side of our country. Go forward! :)

TIL THE NEXT ONE

Lastly, it’s nice to just BE STILL. Sunset watching at Capones Vista Beach Resort.

P.S.

Do you know?

THIS IS CUTE

A “goatee” in this folk is cute…

THIS...IS NOT THAT CUTE.

I’m just not sure about this one though…hmmm…

Thanks to the following for taking care of me: NPVB, MNTC, NLEX, Victory Liner, Blue Cross Insurance, Headware, The Department of Tourism Region 3, Toursim Office of Zambales…

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2 Comments

  • July 3, 2015

    Yasmin Perucchetti

    Lovely blog JM. Please keep posting so we can be blessed some more :)

    • July 3, 2015

      Joanne-Marie

      Thanks Yassy! Appreciate your visit and encouragement! :) Will do my best!