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People of My 2013

Life wouldn’t be merry without the people and relationships that make it worth living. I was inspired to write a post about the people who made my year awesome because of Bianca Gonzalez‘s yearly post. I started making my own yearly list last 2012. Here’s for 2013:

10. Maan, Charles, and their teammateslunch buddies, good friends
They’ve been my constant lunch buddies in 2013. It started when Maan and Charles got deployed to their team. They welcomed me and adopted me to their team. Even when I got deployed to my own project, I still spent most of my lunches with them. Lunch time was always fun – sharing each other’s food, swapping stories, and just enjoying each other’s company. I miss these bunch of simple, fun-loving geeks.
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9. Lighthouse Enhancements team – great teammates!
Unlike Maan’s team, my teammates prefer to eat out in the different restos around Eastwood. That’s why it took a while for me to get to know them better. I thought they were maarte and sosyal at first, but when I got to know them better, they were really nice and down-to-earth people. They’re a bunch of hardworking, multi-talented, and brilliant kids. I miss our fun-filled, physically-challenging, team building activities.
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8. Lloyd and JP – idols and mentors
My 2 very gifted and admirable bosses. When it comes to Java and systems development, these 2 guys are one of the best! I respect and look up to them. How I wish I would someday be as good as them. Lloyd, my senior manager, always reminds us to live up to the company’s “greater than” slogan. He is a great leader and mentor (just a little too workaholic… hehe. :p) ,very dedicated to giving his best. He gives his ALL in everything he does. No wonder why he has attained his career level at a relatively young age. JP, my direct supervisor (associate manager), knows Java/J2EE in depth and knows his craft very well. He is cool and calm, delivers high performance without jeopardizing his personal life. I’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons from these two bosses and I hope our paths cross again someday.

7. Aries  fab girlfriends + Ate Doli = sweet girlfriends
Laiza, Ems, and Ate Doli are the absolute girlfriends. They are my go-to people for love-related, girly, emo problems. Thank God for single girl friends! 🙂 Though we are miles apart (now 14-hr difference!), we still manage to keep in touch. I’m happy to see them at least once  a year during our exciting and uber-awesome trips. Too bad I’ll miss this yearly tradition this 2014. girlfriends

6. The Feast Ortigas family – my spiritual home
Knowing and serving God just became better when I got to know these loving and caring people. I miss greeting and ushering people in to church with my friendly and smiling Warmth ministry. And I definitely miss teaching the makulit but super adorable kids of Awesome Kids Ministry.
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5. Sofia, Sabby, and their awesome parents Bro.  Ped and Sis Dems – model family
I got to know the 2 pretty girls at the awesome kids ministry. They’re very smart, pretty and sweet. Because of them, I got to know of the Call Center Feast ministry and served there as one of the layout artists of the bulletin. Their lawyer parents are equally admirable; not only for their wit and brilliance, but also for their remarkable love for God, devoting their time, talent, and treasure for God’s glory. Such an awesome young family. 🙂
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4. Jem and new GCP friends –  new friends!
You’re never too old to make new friends. I met Jem when he was about to leave the company and we saw each other again at our friends’ wedding. He’s been a good friend and mentor since then. I got deployed to his previous project and he gave me lots of tips and pointers so that I could perform well in my role as a team lead in the company. Another Java guy whom I look up to. My new GCP friends also made it to this list! Living and working away from home is a little less lonely because of them. I’m really grateful to have them in my life now.

3. James and my housemates – friends
I got to know James a lot better when I started going home at midnight because of work. We’d chat and exchange stories/updates about how our days at the office went. We celebrated small victories by satisfying our cravings through Angel’s burger or McDo’s fudge. He is also a dreamer and go-getter just like me. An ambitious, talented, young man in a corporate world, a little brother, and a good friend. Good thing that he came into my life when my other housemates Jo and Matel got busy with their love lives and we hardly saw each other in the condo. 🙂
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2. Family
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1. Nycah – my love
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The current love of my life, the apple of my eye, the person whom I think about when I shop.. is none other than my niece, Nycah! I am the ultimate tita and spoiler of this little brat. Haha. She’s growing up so fast… and looks very cute in her school uniform! It always breaks my heart to leave and be separated from this baby love. She’ll be a big girl when I go home… my wish is to see her growing up…

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Long distance + friendship + technology = amazing!

Whew! I love Information Technology! When used properly, it can really make a (good) difference in people’s lives and relationships.

I’m so happy to have used Google Hangout. It makes me feel closer to my girlfriends Laiza and Ems.. feels like the old times. Just can’t share food with them though. Hehe. But it’s still fun! 😉

solo_pics with_niecesThere they are with their nieces.. I miss my niece Nycah.. if she’s here with me, the tita-and-niece hangout would have been complete.. hehe.. This is the new way of hanging out! Supah Cool! Now we’re officially cyber friends! 😀

To a true friend on her birthday

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We’ve been friends since the year 2000. That means it’s been almost 13 years of friendship. We came to know each other when we took up BS in Information Technology at MSU-IIT. Our friendship deepened when I became President of our department org – JITS and she became our Treasurer. We also became group mates in several school projects, experienced the same struggles, challenges and fun that college life had to offer.

We have fond memories of celebrating Valentines day in one of the streets of Iligan – sharing our “love” problems – as if! Hehe. Those “problems” seem so childish now but they felt like life-and-death situations back then. Oh, puppy love. :p

After graduating from college, I worked in MSU, at Gensan – her hometown. She resigned from her first job at STI to work with me at MSU. And there we felt like being in college once again – but on a whole different level. I worked as an IT instructor and she was a programmer at the Computer Center. We witnessed how each other matured, fell in love, got hurt, and survived life’s trials.

She has always been my confidante, my shoulder to cry on and my “encourager”. As they say, big things come in small packages. She may be small, but she definitely has one of the biggest hearts in this universe. Other people may see her as maarte, mataray, or suplada. But for us who really know her, she’s probably the sweetest, kindest and most supportive friend one can ever have.
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 Han, although we are now miles apart, we have managed to still keep in touch of each other regularly. I feel that you are really just around the corner. And I am really,  really grateful to you for that. You know what, you are the only constant thing that has remained in my ever-changing world – for 13 years (except for my family)! People have come and go, I’ve been to different places, worked at different offices, but you have been with me all through this time. You don’t know how much I treasure that. I’m really lucky to have you. As a friend, I really couldn’t ask more from you. You are just amazing!

Always remember that I am your friend and will probably be for the rest of our lives. I wish for your true happiness. May you always be a great mom to my godson Yoel, a loving wife to your husband, and a caring daughter and sister. I pray that you’ll always have good health and you’ll never be hospitalized for any sickness again. Continue to be the strong and beautiful woman that you are. May we continue to grow in our faith in God and offer our weaknesses to Him – our main source of strength and inspiration. I love you, my friend.

P.S. I’ve been wanting to make this post for you but for 2 years, this time of the year has always been very busy for me. And now, here it is… I hope (and I know) that you will have a great day today. We’ll continue to be awesome at 30! Enjoy your day!!! Happy, happy, birthday! Sending hugs and kisses!

Jewels Challenge by Rissa: Grace to be born visit

One of the assignments given by Ms Rissa on our session 1 of JEWELS is to visit Grace to be born (aside from reading 3 chapters of the Bible everyday and tithing).

That’s why last Sunday, I and my sisters decided to have our CG at Grace to be Born. The babies were sooo cute and adorable.. 🙂

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We really had a great time with the babies. I was especially attached to Nayumi. I even put her to sleep (bottom right at above pic).. It was hard for us to leave them crying and longing for our touch and affection. 😦 Bawal ma attach – warned our CG head, Camille.grace_to_be+bornWe became instant moms to the babies. I really love babies and kids so obviously, I had a super great time with them. I hope and pray that they find homes soon… If you are a couple, maybe you can adopt one of the kids and give them a bright future. God bless! 🙂

Birthday trip day 5: Camiguin Island

Whoa, it’s my nth birthday! (Note: This post was written on April 10) 😀

I woke up with a smile on my face. My family is with me (although we’re missing my brother Jong and his family) and I’m on Camiguin Island! Yey!!! 🙂

We had a terrific day yesterday. The expense for the tour around some of Camiguin’s tourist spots was really worth it. I woke them up at around 5:30 so that we can go to White Island and enjoy the sandbar before it gets too hot. We rented a pumpboat for 400 pesos and 2 pairs of goggles and life vests so we could enjoy swimming and catching a glimpse of some fish.
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We had a very simple breakfast of camote, banana (saba), pansit bihon (for long life), pork barbecue, and milo/coffee. Hmm.. I am sooo grateful to the Lord for this very wonderful day! 🙂

We ate toyom (sea urchin meat), which was sold on the island for 20 pesos. It was Mama’s favorite and she really couldn’t resist eating it. It looked yummy so I gave it a try.. It’s not that  yummy for my taste, but it’s not bad either. 😀

with_loved_onessolo_camiguinL-R: At White Island, Highway overlooking sea, Old Church ruins, Walkway, Ardent Hot Spring

I didn’t want to leave Camiguin and be away from my family again but Mama had to get her PRC licence from Butuan. So at 10am, we left the beautiful island. It only took us about an hour and a half to reach Balingoan port. My siblings and the other passengers caught a glimpse of a dolphin! Oh, lucky them. I only saw the dolphin when it was already submerged in water and it quickly disappeared.

After having our lunch at one of the carinderias in the port, we bid each other goodbye at Balingoan bus terminal. Amazingly, the van from Balingoan to CDO cost only 100 pesos and it only took 2 hours for me to reach CDO! At 2pm, I was back in CDO… and since Dianne was still busy at work, I had to stay at D Morvie inn for 200 pesos (12-hr stay). The room was really tiny but since it was airconditioned, had a cable TV, and Wifi connection, it really wasn’t bad at all.

I had dinner with my friend Dianne and her friend at Loreto’s. They serve good food and there was a live band – we even asked them to sing Happy birthday for me. Hehe.. Yey! 🙂 After our dinner, we went to a Class A seaside restaurant just to feel its ambience. It was beautiful and romantic. Perfect for a date. Haha. Dianne and I reminisced about our high school experiences and crushes. We even sang our first year high school Science class song..

The time to be happy is now, and the place to be happy is here. And the way to be happy, is to make others happy and to have a little heaven down here! room29

Haha. We were like two giggling high schoolers once again. Note: The first 3 pics were taken on April 8, on Ferl’s birthday at their home in CDO. The last pic with Dianne was taken at Loreto’s during my birthday. 🙂

When I was back at the inn, I felt a little sad to be alone in the tiny room. Luckily, there was Wifi and I was so happy when I found a lot of birthday messages from my friends and family in my Facebook inbox! Laiza and Ems even had a video greeting for me. Awww… so sweet! A perfect way to end my birthday! 🙂

Birthday trip day 4: Camiguin tour

I woke up after about only 4 hours of sleep. I’m so excited to meet my family in Balingoan. I had breakfast with my pretty hostess, Dianne. She’s my roommate, classmate, groupmate, and friend from high school. Of course, a sleepover isn’t enough to catch up with each other’s lives.

She instructed me to take a tricycle and then a jeepney to Agorra terminal, where I can find a van that will take me to Balingoan port. Luckily, when I arrived at Agorra, I immediately spotted the van. It wasn’t full yet but after about 5 minutes, we were off to Balingoan.
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However there was a loooong and slow caravan that was campaigning for some politicians that blocked our way. 😦 So the supposedly 1 hour trip from Cagayan de Oro to Balingoan became 3 hours! My family arrived at Balingoan port sooner than me. 😦 But it’s okay, we were reunited at Balingoan port at last!

Fare (van) CDO to Balingoan port: 120
Ferry to Camiguin: 170 (plus environment fee: 5 + terminal fee: 25)

We had a quick lunch before we got on the ferry. It was a bit cloudy and the waves were a little scary but overall, it was a fine day. Yey!!! We were finally on our way to Camiguin Island! The ferry trip took us 2 hours.

Upon arriving at Camiguin port, we rode another van to Mambajao, which was about 15 minutes. And then a tricycle took us to Pabua’s Cottage.

Van to Mambajao: 30 pesos
Tricycle: 20 pesos

Finally, we checked in at Pabua’s cottage, which costs 1,200 for an overnight stay. It was pretty comfortable, air-conditioned with 3 twin sized beds, a bathroom, cable TV, and Wifi connection. Hmm.. Value for my money! 🙂

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I allowed my family to take some rest because they came from a gruelling 10 hour trip from Mangagoy. At around 4pm, we rented a multicab for 1,000. It took us to the Walkway, Sunken Cemetery, Old Church Ruins, and Ardent Hot Spring.

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Oh, by the way, Ardent Hot Spring had an entrance fee of 30 pesos each and table rental of 70 pesos. Pretty affordable and tourist-friendly. 😉
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After which we had a sumptuous (advanced birthday) dinner at a restaurant. The bulalo and lechon manok were really, really yummy! It’s one of the tastiest lechon manoks I’ve ever tasted. Yum!

We went back to Pabua’s Cottage after dinner and got reconnected with the rest of the world through Wifi connection. If you wanna visit Camiguin and you are on a tight budget, I highly recommend Pabua’s Cottage. 🙂 Happy trip!
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Birthday trip day 3: Jessa’s Wedding

I left Salawagan, Quezon with a heavy heart because my niece, Nycah wanted to tag along with me. Of course, that’s not possible. She cried her heart out and held on to my hand as she begged us to let her ride the bus with me. 😦
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I didn’t want to leave but I had to attend Jessa’s wedding at Cagayan de oro city. It’s actually the primary reason why I bought my Cebu Pacific tickets.

The ceremony was held at Xavier Estates, which is probably the best location for a garden wedding in the city. The couple was blessed with a beautiful weather. And they were surrounded by friends and family who truly wish them all the best.

I love the black-and-red inspired garden wedding. The bride was really extra beautiful in her long red dress and the groom was equally handsome in his black suit. Their little boy Zeke looked like a real little gentleman too. So cute!!!

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Weddings always make me emotional, esp if I personally know their story. I am always super touched with the part wherein the groom will kiss the parents of the bride, take her hand, and together they march towards the altar. I’m so happy for the couple!

wedding_jessaI have been a flower girl in almost all of my aunts’ weddings so this role in the entourage is my personal favorite. Below is the collage of the very cute flower girls of Jessa:
flowergirlsAwww…weddings! I wish I could also have my own happily ever after..someday! 😉

After the wedding I had a fun reunion with my 2nd yr high school roommates at Pisay Davao. I really had a super great time. It was also Ferl’s birthday. 🙂
room29Thank you Lord for the beautiful day!

Top 10 People of My Year

1.       Bro Vic
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I see him as a father figure. Well, in some point, he is – he’s our Ortigas Feast builder. I love listening to his talks. I learn a lot from his experiences in life, love, career, business, family, and more importantly, in serving the Lord.

2.       Maan (and the rest of the portal team)

Fun at the office

Fun at the office

She’s one of a kind. She is my everyday (‘good morning’ greeter).  She became my project-mate in 2 projects in the company. Aside from her Java skills, I admire her for being (brutally) honest. She’s just genuinely herself – what you see is what you get. She has a no-nonsense attitude towards life. She’s not afraid to say what she thinks and what she wants. She doesn’t eat pizza and anything with cheese on it.

My Portal Team – just the best! 🙂

3.       Jo, Matel, James and Zea (Kaarlo and Aldrin)
IMG_8559Well, these people were strangers before we lived in the same condo unit. Now we see each other everyday (except for the mid shifters James and Zea). Kaarlo and Aldrin are no longer our housemates now, but these 2 Pampaguenos have definitely made my stay in our little condo unit happier.

4.       Sis Yang (and Feast Ortigas Ushers)
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She is the head of the Warmth Ministry in Ortigas feast morning session. She’s not just lovely, but she’s also lively – very full of life. She has a ready smile for everyone. We always have tons of laughter when she’s around coz she’s so makulit.

5.       Nycah
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My beloved niece Nycah. I’m crazy about her. I love her so much.  Just hearing her voice and her sometimes hard to understand kwento (stories) makes me sooo happy.

6.       Nica
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My other Nica. Haha. We’ve got to Nica/Nycah s in the family. This Nica is the daughter of my cousin, Athan. She’s just 3 months older than our Nycah. She’s equally adorable. Very malambing (sweet) and smart. And very makulit in a fun way.

7.       Family
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Well of course, my family would make it to this list. My parents were here with me in Manila on their 30th wedding anniversary. My brothers Jong and Gringo also made a milestone by getting good and rewarding jobs. My sister Hennah has just graduated in high school and will soon enter college.

8.       Gensan girlfriends (Ems, Laiza, Hannah, Te Doli, Mae, and Charisse)
IMG_7616I’ve been blessed with a bunch of pretty, smart, and really wonderful girlfriends. Maybe this is God’s way for compensating my non-existent lovelife. Haha!

9.       LV
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She’s my lovely friend from high school whom I have just re-bonded with just recently. I admire this woman’s dedication to her service to the Lord. She is also my Sunlife agent. If you want to get insurance from this beautiful lady, just let me know. 😉

10.   Jessa

Jessa Gonzales Gomez

Jessa Gonzales Gomez

I admire this girl for rising up from what others may call a temporary setback. She’s now working in one of the best hotels in Doha, has a very bubbly and good looking son, and soon to be married to the love of her life. She has shown everyone that having a family at an early age is not a hindrance for a woman to succeed in life and career.