Tag Archives: Adventist University of the Philippines

Bouncing Back!


It’s been 5 months since the last time I’ve posted about my new website/blog Wanderful Wordsmith. It’s not my intention to abandon my beloved Curly Bookworm. I was too occupied to maintain two blogs! I really missed Curly Bookworm and my fellow bloggers in my community here.

So what happened in my absence here? Well, I’ve been contributing to two e-magazines in Thailand which is based in Bangkok. I actually juggled teaching ESL to Mongolian doctors, writing for e-magazines, and travel blogging! Check out my posts (click the titles):

August Awesomeness Overload It’s about awesome blessings from above.

  • Pinoy Thaiyo is the first and only Filipino e-magazine in Thailand. As one of the pioneering team, I was assigned as a columnist for Amazing Pinoy. I feature Filipinos (even half Filipinos) who excel with expertise in their respective fields and give glory to our motherland. They’re exceptional and gifted people from all walks of life who inspire and imbue patriotism, perseverance, patience and persistence.
BC no number

Don’t hesitate to connect with me, but I covered my number.Just send me a mail for any query.

Articles

Thailand-Professionals

Exceptional experience indeed!

  • Thailand Professionals is an e-magazine counterpart of a magazine for professionals established three years ago and was re-launched on August 12, 2015, during the birthday of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit of Thailand. I feature professionals and VIPs like the Queen herself.

Articles

COM

A monument of answered fervent prayers.

AUP College of Medicine: A Fulfilled Vision Aside from the affiliations from Thailand-based e-magazines, my blog about the inauguration of the most-awaited College of Medicine of the Adventist University of the Philippines (AUP) was featured in The LinkSummer-Fall 2015 Edition (The Official Publication of PUC/AUP – Alumni of Western North America) and  PUC/AUP Cyberlink (The Official E-Newsletter of PUC/AUP Alumni) August 16-22, 2015 Special Edition.

PIC

Mongolian doctors, though Buddhists easily adapted to our culture and our Christian community.

August’s Astonishing Surprise This is about the extra blessings beyond measure. I was requested and hired to teach Mongolian doctors for a short ESL program at AUP

There are a lot to share, but I will be back to tell more about my adventures as a travel writer/blogger for Flybook Travel and Tours, and the official travel blogger of the prominent ATTA Calabarzon (Association of Travel and Tours Agencies). It’s accredited by the Department of Tourism and is a leading association within Region IV-A or Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal & Quezon).

LAF

Taal Volcano adventure: Gazing at the grandeur of Vulcan Point, the largest island within a crater lake in a volcano island within a lake on an island in the world.

For sure, I miss a lot about you guys out there. To keep receiving fresh updates, I highly recommend for my subscribers here to also subscribe to my new website. I would gladly appreciate that.

Feel free to explore my new website. Read and share my post to share the sunshiny experience! Wanderful Wordsmith

© 2015 LAF

 

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Filed under Attitude of Gratitude, Exciting Event, Life story, Teaching Adventures, Travel & Adventure, Vicissitudes

Suzuki Violin Summer Camp Concert 2015


I’m a sucker of classical and instrumental music. Quite emotional in nature, I’m easily driven by the melody, harmony, and rhythm. So when I’m invited to watch recitals and concerts, I would always say YES! Especially if it’s a treat or if it’s free!

I said yes to an invitation of a friend, after we watched an oboe and flute recital early this May. I forgot if Rufina the saxophonist, mentioned it’s a Suzuki Violin Concert in particular. I just remembered it’s a concert on Mother’s Day, May 10, 2015, at Xavier’s School in Nuvali.

And I vividly remembered I said yes, I would come and see, and support them. But due to crazy schedule, something came up. I changed my mind. I wouldn’t go, unless I make a way out of my schedule’s maze. Then Michael the violinist, followed up an invitation (I remembered he mentioned it during his birthday on April), persuaded me to come. Wylee the cellist fetched me. How could I say NO to the strong force of musical friends? I could hardly imagine. Haha

Suzuki Surprise

It was my first time to visit the school. I was tempted to go to its direction to run one time I was a lone runner at Nuvali. I was fascinated by its architecture. The infrastructures were cool! I was surprised to see it in the midst of the verdant and serene lands. I was even more surprised to have found out that it’s a Suzuki Violin Summer Camp Concert. Haha! Much more to my surprise, to see my relatives. I didn’t know that Tita Melinda, Tita Nena and Tita Dan would be there too! Instant mini reunion! My cousin Mark, a violinist was part of it. First time to see him perform!

“Music can be made a great power for good…” ~ Ellen G. White, Messages to the Young People

Mark, savoring the moment with Maestro Homer :)

Mark, savoring the moment with Maestro Homer 🙂

Instant mini reunion at the concert. :)

Instant mini reunion at the concert. 🙂

But surprises of all surprises, I was greatly entertained by the wee lass and lad who played gracefully with their tiny, gifted hands. Ranging from four to eight ears old, the kids reminded me of my childhood dream of taking piano and violin lessons. We just couldn’t afford it. I would love to have my future kids undergo such musical training, a good way to spend summer and childhood days productively. The discipline the music lessons give are apt contribution to their growth as well. Aside from the benefits of molding their minds and empowering their memories, it also give remarkable memoirs – friendships and lots of fun!

Tiny, cutie, gifted kids making mirthful music.

Tiny, cutie, gifted kids making mirthful music.

I know it’s not all fun when you have hours and hours of practice, memorization and moments of focus. That’s why I applauded at their superb performances! I have high regard and respect with musicians, whether beginners or masters of their instruments. I’m simply astonished with the talent and dedication of Maestro Homer Ilao, the master violinist and instructor of the Suzuki Violin Summer Camp. Through his exceptional tutelage, many gifted children were molded into exquisite instructors: Fredrick Murillo (orchestra conductor and violinist), Amber Loraine Murillo (performing pianist and violinist), Armand Leo Apalat (orchestra conductor and violinist), Aera Jean Apalat (concert master, violinist), Michael John Frias (performing violinist and pianist), Salome Velasco (performing violinist), Myjeily Sarno (performing violinist), to name a few.

Melodious Mother’s Love

Behind the success of this concert were parents who are great supporters and motivators. They deserve the best rendition ever! Especially the mothers who dedicated their time to look after their children, to encourage to be more determined in practices and of course, to spend wisely to provide the reasonable amount for music lessons. I could say it’s expensive, but it’s a very reasonable investment for the children’s growth! 🙂

This intuitive baby could be the next orchestra conductor :)

This intuitive baby could be the next orchestra conductor 🙂

This Suzuki Violin Summer Concert is special because of the heart-warming performance of the parents, singing “You Raise Me Up” with the accompaniment of the orchestra and a solo ballet performance of a girl (I wish I could have asked her name and personally appreciated her). It’s a yearly event. Since it’s my first, I just wish I could attend the next summer camp. I encourage the parents out there to support your kids to join the next Suzuki Violin Summer Camp. If your kids aren’t having music lessons yet, don’t dilly-dally to give them. You’ll surely reap a bountiful and mirthful harvest in the future! For queries and more info, kindly contact Mr. Homer Ilao (click his name to contact thru FB) or comment below. There would be another thrilling musical event this May! Don’t miss the National Suzuki Music Camp.

Mirthful and Melodious event to make your May more memorable

Mirthful and Melodious event to make your May more memorable

Unofficial Photographer

The “Chairman of the Bored of Cellist” (self-made title) entrusted his DSLR, and I knew what it meant when he said “kindly bring my camera”. I knew it! Haha! I didn’t even wonder why he fetched me – so there would be a media in their concert. After all, “Politician x Media” he commented. Haha! That political prowess! Persuasive at its best.

Bored of wackyness, the Chairman tries to be serious sometimes, especially when wearing barong. haha

Bored of wackyness, Wylee tries to be serious sometimes, especially when he’s wearing a barong. haha

So with my fondness for photography, I patiently captured the memories worth to be immortalized through the lenses. I’m not an expert. I just hoped I could give justice to their great performances.

As a simple token of our friendship, I’m dedicating this blog post to my gifted musician friends. Congratulations once again guys! You astonished me again and again! 🙂

Here are some of the videos taken. (more photos to be uploaded soon)

Michael John Frias aka “Master Mike” performed Hating Gabi by Antonio Molina with the orchestra. Then All of Me by John Legend was performed by the orchestra.

Here are related videos, the PIC Orchestra with Armand Leo Apalat, conducting; with violinists, cellist and saxophonist friends mentioned above. 🙂

They say musicians are best Mathematicians! Armand Leo Apalat is a CPA. I couldn't agree more! :)

They say musicians are best Mathematicians! Armand Leo Apalat is a CPA. I couldn’t agree more! 🙂

“Praise to the Lord” and “You are My All in All” by PIC Orchestra were rendered during its 3rd year anniversary concert for a cause, for Yolanda Victims at Philippine International Church in the campus of the Adventist University of the Philippines.

© 2015 LAF

Note: Photos credit to Curly Bookworm and Armand Apalat (own photo). Videos credit to Wylee and PIC Orchestra. This blog has a copyright. The photos and articles should not be used, reproduced and manipulated by any means without a written request and consent from the author.

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Triumphant at Three!


Thrilled to post again after three months of blog sulking, I was surprised to receive a notification few minutes ago! It’s my blog’s 3rd Anniversary! Actually, my first blog post was on August 9. So, I badly missed it!

Happy Anniversary! August 15, 2014 gleeful greetings from WP

Happy Anniversary!
August 15, 2014
gleeful greetings from WP

I’ve got my favorite devotional from my bookshelf earlier, only to realize that it’s what I’ve featured more than three years ago. *click the title, Terse Soliloquy to read my first blog post ever!

To read last year’s anniversary feature, read Transformed at Two!

 

More Than a Conqueror

The Vespers worship at Philippine International Church was graced with the Communion, or the Last Supper. The Week of Prayer is dubbed “More than Conquerors”. A student speaker delivered an inspiring the message. Sis. Jenny, a Dentistry student (Malaysian), emphasized about moral integrity, and how we could keep the purity thru God’s grace.

“Will there be a Mary among us who could bear Jesus?” was her query to the ladies.

“If you have been courting, or you have a girlfriend, what is your intention? Is her integrity and purity your priority?” she asked the gentlemen, as he emphasized Joseph’s characteristics.

2 Tim. 2:22 has been more personal to me, as I listen to Paul’s admonition to Timothy to:

  • Flee from youthful passions
  • Pursue righteousness, faith, love & peace
  • Have a pure heart

While contemplating on these as we’re about to begin foot washing, I wondered who would be my partner, I came late, and sat on the left wing (quite so behind), most of my friends used to sit at the right wing, front pews (where I used to sit too). People rushed out to get small basins of water and small towel, and to my surprise, Jenny Amurao approached me.

I was so delighted to see my former AUP Academy student, beaming with her lovely smile. She didn’t have a partner, and I’m grateful she came, she’s an answered prayer. “Ma’am Fronda, may partner ka na po?” she asked. I was quite hesitant at first, I was not ready for communion, but I wanted to have it. But it’s been a humbling experience to have her as a partner for the foot washing. It’s simply unforgettable! Jenny has grown a lot; graceful & lovely lady, a gifted singer.

When the emblems were distributed, I saw Klyde Carpizo, another former student (Jenny’s batch mate). He’s a deacon since last year, but I didn’t know that until his mom told me after worship. I even asked his dad, another deacon to confirm, “Is that your son Klyde, Sir?”, when he was giving the grape juice and the unleavened bread.

Life is indeed full of surprises! Last night was a blast of blessings! I also met & greeted Keanu Lee, Chill Orbe, saw Yesha Ilagan (Jenny’s batch mates). Two JENNYs made an impact in my life. I was tremendously inspired as I contemplate on God’s unfathomable love and unlimited grace. I’ll be more than a conqueror, coz Jesus has conquered the Arch Enemy even before I was conceived.

III-Gemini

As you can see my students' artwork, the first picture at the pink corner was Jenny's. She's the homeroom leader. :) They gave me this memento with their appreciation.

As you can see my students’ artwork, the first picture at the pink corner was Jenny’s. She’s the homeroom leader. 🙂
They gave me this memento with their appreciation.

They surprised me! They're dearly beloved and loved!

They surprised me! They’re dearly beloved and loved!

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35-39, NIV (my favorite verses) 🙂

In Remembrance of Me

Full-packed PIC during communion service.

Full-packed PIC during communion service.

These are the quotations from Ellen G. White (The Desire of Ages pages 656-659) which the Senior Pastor read during the Communion. It challenged me more:

“None should exclude themselves from the Communion because some who are unworthy may be present. Every disciple is called upon to participate publicly, and thus bear witness that he accepts Christ as a personal Saviour. It is at these, His own appointments, that Christ meets His people, and energizes them by His presence. Hearts and hands that are unworthy may even administer the ordinance, yet Christ is there to minister to His children. All who come with their faith fixed upon Him will be greatly blessed. All who neglect these seasons of divine privilege will suffer loss. Of them it may appropriately be said, “Ye are not all clean.”

Our Lord says, Under conviction of sin, remember that I died for you. When oppressed and persecuted and afflicted for My sake and the gospel’s, remember My love, so great that for you I gave My life. When your duties appear stern and severe, and your burdens too heavy to bear, remember that for your sake I endured the cross, despising the shame. When your heart shrinks from the trying ordeal, remember that your Redeemer liveth to make intercession for you.

The Communion service points to Christ’s second coming. It was designed to keep this hope vivid in the minds of the disciples. Whenever they met together to commemorate His death, they recounted how “He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” In their tribulation they found comfort in the hope of their Lord’s return. Unspeakably precious to them was the thought, “As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till He come.” 1 Cor. 11:26.”

Streams of teaching memories flooded, as I left the portals of AUP last night. I’m beyond grateful! My cup overflows! It really matters a lot to sit at the feet of Jesus, the Master Teacher!

“He who co-operates with the divine purpose in imparting to the youth a knowledge of God, and molding the character into harmony with His, does a high and noble work.” EGW, Education

I missed my former students big time, and as well as teaching! But definitely, I missed blogging so much!

I’m definitely triumphant at three! 🙂

© 2014 LAF

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An Unsung Hero


“If you happened to walk down the street and saw a man with long, unruly hair, beard unshaven, reeking with alcohol, a cigarette in hand, messy, and a penetrating dark countenance, how would have been your initial reaction?…”

more than a stranger

known stranger

My jaw dropped.

“Seriously?” I gasped, and I was grateful, he didn’t see my reaction on the other side of the cyberspace. He’s a strange stranger! I was astounded!

I thought I knew him. We’ve never been acquainted personally, but he’s an FB friend for years. I could see his posts and some photos in the news feed. The first chat with him that I could remember was on June 22, 2011. It was just a question-answer type of chat. The sole chat, actually.

I threw one question of how is he related with Kuya JoveMack, he replied “Pastor Jovemack and I are high school buddies in AUP (PUC).” I thanked him, informing that I’m his relative. Period.

My query was sufficed. But he never replied, so I never thought I would ever chat with him again. The only significant factor why I considered befriending him in FB: he’s the best friend of Kuya JoveMack (Joeveney Fronda Macabeo).

Best friends since high school

Best friends for life

But unexpectedly, I need to ask details about the search and rescue operations done on Sunday until Tuesday. Since I found his updates and photos in FB very informative, I sought his consent on August 28, 2013, if I could use them in my blog post. The rest was history.

Going back to his introduction, I regained my composure from enormous surprise. It really boggled my mind. “That was last year?” I dunno if I saw him. I’m not sure if I met him along the street. I just found out yesterday that we’re neighbors in Puting Kahoy. The house we rent is just few steps away from the compound of his family’s property.

I read from the news feed that he has been transformed, and the Desire of Ages is one of the most significant Spirit of Prophecy books which awakened him, revived him anew. But receiving his introduction was so humbling! While I consider him an unsung hero during the search and rescue operations for the tragic loss of the three AUP students, he LIFTED UP CHRIST and UPHELD HIM as HIS HERO, the UNSUNG HERO of MANKIND. And this testimonial is so powerful:

“…Believe it or not, I was that kind of man last year. But I thank God for being the kind of God that He is–for being ever so merciful to His sin-stained child who finally sought Him, and for sending the Holy Spirit to turn my eyes again to our Lord Jesus who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

Sundown worship, Sunrise of friendship

SUNDOWN worship, SUNRISE of genuine friendship
*Taken at the lawn between new COT Bldg. & Finster Hall of Nations (8/31/13)

Strangers No More

As what I understood, he’s lived a life like that of the prodigal son. And I’ve never been so eager like before, to know his “Damascus experience”. What could have compelled him to have a 180-degree turning back to our Heavenly Father?

He continued: “I surely am grateful for Jesus’ statement in John 6:37:
“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.” And because He did not cast me out, here I am standing before you today declaring that God is good.”

He’s standing as the leader of the modern Gideon’s 300, the director of FINISH THE WORK MINISTRIES INTERNATIONAL

Pressing on towards the mark of HIGH CALLING

Pressing on towards the mark of HIGH CALLING

https://www.facebook.com/FinishTheWorkMinistries

Tarry not, the time is SHORT!

Tarry not, the time is SHORT!

Quality, not Quantity

Quality, not Quantity

“I am the WORST of sinners, but SAVED by GRACE through FAITH in Christ Jesus.

My life is a product of broken marriage that resulted to multiple suicide attempts. I am a deprived father of two of my beloved sons who are now with their mother living in Bangkok, Thailand. But GOD HAS ANOTHER PLAN for me.”

“Lord, keep us being together when we are falling apart.” ~JMQ

reunited after 11 months of separation

reunited after 11 months of separation

So happy together! Dad & Sons' bonding

So happy together! Dad & Sons’ bonding

“In constant tears, mostly every 3:00 A.M. He wakes me up in tearful prayers as I constantly struggle with Jesus to help me carry on this temporary life, that I may serve Him faithfully, empowered not by might, nor by power but by His Spirit; to FINISH THE WORK is my humble prayer.

God granted my request:  SPIRITUAL ANESTHESIA. I can’t feel the pain anymore. I’ve devoted my time to MINISTRIES. I love to help when duty calls.”

SAVED to SERVE

SAVED to SERVE

Building God's temple figuratively and literally

Building God’s temple figuratively and literally

Following the Blue Print

“My parents are my inspiration, their prayers follow me.”

wingless angels, full of unconditional love

wingless angels, full of unconditional love

I’ve known his dad, Engr. Quiza as the engineer of AUP, and they left a legacy in this campus. But I was amazed of God’s providential workings in their family.

“Our family were Roman Catholic back then, both my parents were devoted believers of the Catholic church. However, God’s providence through Literature Evangelists in the city of Lanao del Norte province penetrated the hearts of my parents and the Holy Spirit worked tremendously in the hearts.

Our family moved by faith to Luzon without any friends or relatives. Old PUC in Baesa in the year 1978 was transitioning to new PUC (now AUP) in Silang, Cavite. We stayed in Brgy. Sto. Domingo/Muzon and a year after we lived near AUP river below the motorpool (very near where the recent river flooding tragedy happened). My father was hired by PUC as a plumber while my mother was a plain housekeeper. God worked in many miraculous ways in our family, promoting my father from regular plumber to draftsman, then to campus engineer.”

humble beginnings

humble beginnings

“Our 1st family vehicle was a small bicycle. Five of us all fit in our 1st family bicycle.”

He, together with his siblings grew up and studied in the old Philippine Union College and now, Adventist University of the Philippines from elementary, til graduate studies, except the physician:

  •  1982-1988  Elementary
  • 1988-1992  Academy
  • 1992-1997 BS Nursing
  • 1997-1999 graduated MBA

He worked for 13 years outside the Philippines (Thailand, Singapore, and USA).  He’s back for another graduate program in MPH @ AUP.  He serves as the Vice-President for the Graduate School Association of AUP Graduate School.

Aside from his numerous endeavors, He’s directly connected with the National Bureau of Investigation since 2002, and  he’s got special affiliations with the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

“I am not a member of the free masonry, but I am a member of an ELITE organization of high-level politicians, businessmen, and military officials called the FRATERNAL ORDER OF EAGLES.”

humility sustained

humility sustained

“We moved from Mindanao to Luzon BY FAITH that God will see us through, and He was FAITHFUL and TRUE to His promises.

By God’s providence and sustenance, our family was able to build a school (College) in Western Mindanao called Adventist Technological Insntitute (ATI), established in 2004.

The objective of the school is streamlined with the philosophy of our Adventist Education, and to help children of less fortunate farmers and peasants to study.”

His Workings are Enablings

He also introduced his siblings:

  • eldest brother – Alvin Lou Quiza (Licensed Physician, 40 y/o, single)
  • youngest sister – Suzanne Glez “Inday” Quiza – Manez (RMT, MPH and MBA)
Complete Health Improvement Program

Complete Health Improvement Program

“Suzanne is the director of Health & Wellness at Adventist Medical Center-Manila, married to Dr. Johann Manez (Lifestyle Medicine), the country director for CHIP-Philippines.”

Dr. CHIP & his wife

Dr. CHIP & His SweetHEART

She’s been his inspiration and mentor, especially in his transformation and his endeavor to FINISH THE WORK.

Siblings' tandem, love and support

Siblings’ tandem, love and support

“Health is by CHOICE, not by CHANCE”

We are returning everything to God what He has abundantly blessed us. Our very life belongs to Him. We own basically nothing!”

AD QUIZA Group Prize-winner of SDA Church nationwide design in 2004. Approved by Southern-Asia Pacific Division (SSD) of the General Conference Acknowledged by SDA Conferences in the Philippines

AD QUIZA Group
Prize-winner of SDA Church nationwide design in 2004.
Approved by Southern-Asia Pacific Division (SSD) of the General Conference (GC)
Acknowledged by SDA Conferences in the Philippines

Temple Project

Temple Project

Church Project #6 Tiaong SDA Church Tiaong, Quezon Province Faith-budget needed to complete: 500k Php (US$ 12k) (posted on August 19, 2013)

Church Project #6
Tiaong SDA Church
Tiaong, Quezon Province
Faith-budget needed to complete: 500k Php (US$ 12k) (posted on August 19, 2013)

“I may have lost everything, but I gained Christ Jesus again after I took Him for granted when I was out there in the world.”

“The triumph of Christian faith is to SUFFER, and be STRONG;
to SUBMIT, and thus CONQUER;
to be KILLED all day long, and yet to LIVE;
to BEAR the CROSS, and thus WIN the CROWN of IMMORTAL GLORY.”
~ EGW, Sketches from the life of Paul p.300

I’m simply blessed spending quality time with Bro. Jad Quiza yesterday afternoon at the sundown worship until we had the sharing last night. I could never have imagined how God drastically transformed him. As I stood in amazement, wondering at His grace this morning, I sent him a text message, that favorite quotation about the life of one of my Champions of Faith.

“How He transformed Saul to Paul is a clear manifestation of the power of His unconditional love. That is the same power that works in our lives today. That same power I see working in your life kuya Jad! :)”

it wasn't just a horrible nightmare

As much as he’s willing to be spent to seek the lifeless bodies of the three AUP students, he’s ever willing to be spent to seek the spiritually dead people whom Christ has died. For Jesus is more than LIFE to him.

We shall all be changed Caught up to heaven In a cloud of glory We shall all be changed Transformed in victory Death where is thy sting God conquered death and hell...

We shall all be changed
Caught up to heaven
In a cloud of glory
We shall all be changed
Transformed in victory
Death where is thy sting
God conquered death and hell…

As much as I am thrilled for that grand reunion in heaven, my special prayers ascend for Kuya Jad and his two sons, that one day, they’ll be reunited again; so with his entire family 🙂 Would you like to join me in prayers?

TWO TIMES YOU’RE MINE

*click the titles to read the other stories related

Flushed by a Flash Flood

Scars Wounded Afresh (Flushed by a Flash Flood Part2)

Part 3 will posted later, covering the funeral/internment of Kat Taroquin, and some details of the search and rescue operation.

© 2013 LAF

Note: Photos and video credit to Bro.Jad Quiza. This blog has a copyright . The photos and article should not be used, reproduced and manipulated by any means without a written request and consent from the author.

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Scars Wounded Afresh


The dusk of Sunday, August 25, 2013, rapidly turned into midnight. The horrible nightmare of the loss of the three working students succumbed AUP into an obvious terror. Grievances engulfed AUP like a raging tsunami that went beyond the borders; the surging waves rippled to the farthest places on Earth, as the horrible news spread like a wildfire, particularly in FaceBook & other social networks.

The darkness lingered until Tuesday morning. Figuratively, the sun ceased to shine on Monday. But the glimmer of hope, flickering in the hearts, burst into the light of noon as the missing bodies were found dead in the respective areas in Laguna on August 27, 2013.  Finally they were found! The aftermath of the search and rescue operations was a blizzard — awakened AUP from the nightmare. The dawn of the Blessed HOPE rose into a brand new day!

This is the Part 2 of “Flushed by a Flash Flood”

https://curlybookworm.wordpress.com/2013/08/28/flushed-by-a-flash-flood/.

If you missed the Part 1, kindly STOP, and please finish reading it first so you would fully understand and appreciate this.

No More Mourning in the Morning

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5

Every dawn beckons a brand new day! LIFE GOES  ON... thrilled for that glorious Resurrection Morn!

Every dawn beckons a brand new day!
LIFE GOES ON… thrilled for that glorious Resurrection Morn! (12.19.12 @ Richlands Hill Village (opposite of AUP Campus)

Since Monday afternoon, I haven’t gotten back in the portals of AUP. I failed to attend the memorial service, I was hoping to see. But I’ve got personal reason why I wasn’t able to. On that Monday afternoon, I learned that Kat was among the missing AUP students. I broke down to tears, I was at the internet cafe’ but I didn’t care if the people there saw me weeping. I really wanted to join in the special worship at PIC that night, but lingered there, astounded.

Finally on Tuesday, I regained my composure. But I was more saddened to know that the dead bodies confirmed to be the missing students were found. Everything sank in. My heart dropped.

I felt so sick, broken, and I realized that it’s more than the tragic incident that struck my heart so hard. I corresponded again of whatever update I gather from significant people. I posted series of FB status on Thursday night, I failed to attend the memorial service:

“The remains of the victims were cremated. A memorial service was done at PIC.”

“No one understands like Jesus when the days are dark and grim,
No one is so near, so dear as Jesus, cast your every care on Him.”

While patiently waiting for updates, I was struggling if I would still go to PIC as I planned, but vim abandoned me. I thought everyone was cremated, but only Kim’s and Jay’s were cremated. Kat’s remains remained in the funeral homes.

So I finally divulged my personal reason why I can’t. Bottled up for quite a time, I realized, the scars of my own loss were wounded afresh. I exploded, burst into lamentation. Then updated my FB status:

“The scars of losing my siblings, ate Leah (12/12/12) & Ben Jathniel (3/31/11) seemed wounded afresh as I grieve for Kat T., Kim G., and Jay M. I can somehow relate with the pain of losing loved ones, although I would never fully grasp what their families & relatives are going through right now.

Fervently praying for the comfort of the Holy Spirit. May the Wounded Healer touch everyone’s heart.

Come Lord Jesus! “

Here’s the link of “When SOON Lingers”, story of my ate Leah’s survival and finally resting in peace; testimony of God’s greatness, our healing amid hurting: https://curlybookworm.wordpress.com/2012/12/29/when-soon-lingers/. She died on my brother’s birthday, and it’ll be a forever reminder of her loss. I thought I have moved on somehow after 8 months (ate Leah) and 2 yrs. and 4 months (BJ), but it would take a lifetime, I guess.

I’ve learned that three among the 18 students who went near Japanese Cave celebrated their birthday, it was actually a celebration which turned into lamentation and devastation. They’ll be reminded of that tragic incident every year on their birthdays.

But time will finally come when there would be NO MORE NIGHT, NO MORE PAIN, NO MORE TEARS, no more sickness, no more disasters, especially flash floods, and no more parting. That’s when JESUS would come in the clouds of glory, when He would awake His loving children from deep slumber. I long for that glorious morning!

Encounter with the Wounded Healer

“Why God?”, “How Come?” Few among the queries I’ve asked the Lord again, being boggled with the enormity of the crisis AUP has been facing since Sunday afternoon.

“Where is God When It Hurts?” by Philip Yancey inspired me again as I reminisce how the ministry of pain helped me, how it turned bitter experiences into better components of a new person in me. And more likely many people, although Christians and founded in Biblical principles might have asked the same way.

When answers aren’t enough there is Jesus! He is more than just an answer to your prayer. 

And your heart will find a safe and peaceful refuge. When answers aren’t enough, HE IS THERE.

Another question answers it best: “Where is the Church when it hurts? Philippine International Church, AUP family and the AUP alumni and SDAs worldwide offered their help and support in diverse ways, especially through prayers. Even non-SDAs, local government and other concerned people extended their help. If the Lord touches your hearts, it’s not yet late to help.

"AUP students once again lined up tonight, this time to offer their donations to the bereaved families of the victims, following a memorial service in a jampacked PIC. A total of P35,063.50 was collected. Those who still wish to give gifts may drop by the dormitories or the Student Affairs Office tomorrow. Let us do what we can to ease the loss felt by the ones left by the three working students." Photo & Caption credit: Weanne Myrrh Estrada

“AUP students once again lined up tonight, this time to offer their donations to the bereaved families of the victims, following a memorial service in a jampacked PIC. A total of P35,063.50 was collected. Those who still wish to give gifts may drop by the dormitories or the Student Affairs Office tomorrow. Let us do what we can to ease the loss felt by the ones left by the three working students.” Photo & Caption: Weanne Myrrh Estrada (mobile photo taken from FB, used with permission, posted on Aug.27)

Where is God when tragic incident like this happens? Doubt might have overwhelmed some, thinking that God punished, and more likely abandoned them. But lo, when things like these happen, we can be assured that NO ONE UNDERSTANDS LIKE JESUS! You can desert Him, but He will never, ever leave You! You just need to return to Him, for He’s ever near than you could ever imagine. He comforts through the ministry of family, friends and even strangers! I can boldly say because I went through with crucibles as well.

LUMAPIT SA KANYA – Kindly click to view the video of the The Meisters Singers (AUP Ambassadors), with solo part of  Lady Daffodil Diesta. They rendered this during the memorial service done at PIC on Thursday night. The urns of Kim G. and Jay M. were brought to PIC after the service. An all-time favorite tagalog song, I usually render this in funeral services and evangelistic crusades then. (Video credit: Mimo Estrada, used with permission)

While the rest of the sympathizers almost overflow PIC during the memorial service, I kept updating in FB whatever new updates I’ve gathered from friends who were there. Then I was impressed to write this short poem:

I AM CONSOLED

(8/27/13 * 10:30-10:35 PM)

I cried a river, but it didn’t drown the pain.
I gazed the cross with the eyes of faith, saw Jesus’ sweat of blood, tears of agony, horrible pain.

I am consoled.

He had to go through that horror of death that I may live.
Oh what glorious thought when face to face I may gaze him,
His pierced hands would clasp mine,
His melodious voice would be heard: 
I was broken and wounded, that you may be HEALED.

*dedicated to the bereaved families of Kat Taroquin, Kim Guardias & Jay M.

Kat T. (Photo credit: Ma'am Amelina Fabroa)

Kat T.’s remains remained in a closed casket in Arcway Funeral Homes (Photo credit: Ma’am Amelina Fabroa)

Kim G. (Photo credit: Ma'am Amelina Fabroa)

Kim G. (Photo credit: Ma’am Amelina Fabroa)

Jay M. (Photo credit: Ma'am Amelina Fabroa)

Jay M. (Photo credit: Ma’am Amelina Fabroa)

memorial service at PIC

memorial service at PIC (Photo credit: Mimo Estrada)

special prayer

Special prayer offered by the Senior Pastor of PIC, Ptr. Ephraim Parulan (Photo credit: Mimo Estrada)

last glance

students crowd near the urns for the last glance (Photo: Mimo Estrada)

deep sympathy

sympathizers (Photo credit: Mimo Estrada)

"AUP students lined up last night to hug and comfort the 15 survivors of Sunday's flood. The AUP family is here for you guys, as well as for the families of the three students who didn't make it. You are in our prayers." #Godheals

“AUP students lined up last night to hug and comfort the 15 survivors of Sunday’s flood. The AUP family is here for you guys, as well as for the families of the three students who didn’t make it. You are in our prayers.” Photo & Caption: Weanne Myrhh Estrada (mobile photo, used with permission)

hug of comfort (Photo credit: Reü Dawner Flores

hug of comfort (Photo credit: Reü Dawner Flores)

a friend's agony (Photo credit: Reu Flores)

a friend’s agony

lamentation (Photo credit:  Reü Dawner Flores)

lamentation (Photos credit: Reü Dawner Flores)

Jay's grieving mother (Photo credit: Reü Dawner Flores) *I was quite afraid of the horror seeing the families' pain painted in their faces in person)

Jay’s grieving mother (Photo credit: Reü Dawner Flores) *I was quite afraid of the horror seeing the families’ pain painted in their faces in person.

Jay's Urn with his mother as the back draft (Photo credit: Reü Dawner Flores)

Jay’s urn with his mother as the back draft (Photo credit: Reü Dawner Flores)

“…Naked came I out of my mother’ womb, and naked shall I return thither:
the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.”
Job 1:21,22

“What if my greatest disappointments and the aching of this life, is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy.
What if TRIALS of this life, the rain, the storms, the hardest nights, are your mercies in disguise.”
~Blessings, Laura Story

Awake out of Sleep

“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” Romans 13:11

As Bible-believing Christians, we know that the quick successions of the three merciless typhoons mixed with Habagat were just signs of the times. Even the numbness of other people who would rather criticize and misrepresent the present condition of AUP. Love of many really grew cold. But still we look on the brighter side of life. We ought to focus on the roses, not with its thorns.

My epiphany on the time I learned the whole story: “Do AUPians need to learn the lesson of obedience the hardest way?”
It blew me hard! My deepest sympathy goes to the 15 survivors. If I were super affected, how much more them? They would carry this tragic baggage in their lifetime. Once in a while, flack backs of what they’ve experienced and witnessed would vex them. This time of grieving ought not a time for blaming game; not a time for pointing fingers to who’s responsible, who’s accountable. We’re all responsible, we’re all accountable in every decision and action we make. And God always gives that freedom to choose. And yet, every action done has a consequence.

With the deep, deep slumber of the three precious students, I roused with a paradigm shift.

Despite of the disheartening outcome, what magnified the most in this event are lessons learned, so practical and precious: unconditional love, faith, patience, perseverance, persistence and unity amid adversity. My sincerest prayers ascend for AUP leadership and the rest of AUP family, I appreciate the all-out support they’ve done. I may not fully grasp the pain and burden in their hearts, but I can imagine them.

I know, healing amid hurting is possible. We may be healed and the scars may be wounded afresh, but surely, there would be progressive healing.

It takes time. But it wouldn’t take forever.

© 2013 LAF

Note: Photos credit to Reü Dawner Flores, Mimo & Weanne Myrrh Estrada, and Mrs. Amelina Fabroa. Video credit: TheAUPian. This blog has a copyright . The photos and article should not be used, reproduced and manipulated by any means without a written request and consent from the author.

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Filed under Heath & Healing, Life story, Love, Ministry, Object Lessons, Vicissitudes

Flushed by a Flash Flood


The spice of typhoon Labuyo, the wrath of typhoon Maring merged with the tempest of Habagat, and the exasperation of typhoon Nando deluged the significant areas all over the country, especially Manila and the respective places all over Laguna and Cavite. Many lives were spent. Some of the casualties were spared. These three successive typhoons left a devastating spell.

Among the numerous cities declared under the state of calamity was Sta. Rosa, Laguna. On the verge of this city, the Adventist University of the Philippines (AUP) Campus is situated. Since it’s part of Silang, Cavite, it’s not covered with that state; but who would have thought of the lurking catastrophe within its vicinity?

AUP Campus was spared from the deluge, but it was flooded figuratively with the tears of grief and lamentations for the loss of the three AUP working students, flushed by a flash flood, near the renown, hazardous Japanese Cave. AUP wasn’t spared from the loss of precious lives — literally lost and retrieved.

Since Sunday night, my FaceBook (FB) news feed was flooded with the updates and prayer requests for the retrieval of the three missing students. So, I offered prayers. Oblivious of the tragic incident, it was Monday afternoon when I finally learned about the specific persons who were drowned and were lost in the crazy current. And to my great surprise, one of my precious friends, Kat, was among them. I was TORN!

Seeing their smiles break my heart. Kat has been a sunshiny lady with her smile and warmth. The last time I remember we talked, it was short, but she hugged me. Never thought it would be the last. T.T

Seeing their smiles breaks my heart. Kat had been a sunshiny lady with her smile and warmth. The last time I remember we talked, it was short, and she hugged me afterwards. Never thought it would be the last. T.T

the last photo taken by the victims' companions, oblivious of the flash flood

The last photo taken by the victims’ companions, struggling students, oblivious of the coming flash flood. Just imagine the horror among them who witnessed their friends being washed away by the crazy current. They were actually standing on the big rock: 11 feet high!  (around 5:00 PM)

“Every habagat season in Tagaytay is extremely DANGEROUS because heavy rain is DEADLY to tributaries to Laguna lake, Taal lake, lowland Cavite, and lowland west Batangas.” ~ Jad Quiza

Unity in Adversity

On Monday morning, I was too occupied with the training at Pioneer Bldg., for the new batch of Community Disaster Risk Reduction Education Seminar trainees, given by the Philippine Public Safety and Order Support Group (PPSOSG). I’ve invited my recruit whom I just met on Saturday, and was motivated to join after I shared my experience in the training. Alarmed by the incident, I was reminded of Dr. Israel Virgines’ (Chief Director) lecture on meteorological hazards, especially regarding flash flood and flush flood. You shouldn’t tarry when signaled to retreat the flooded area, more during rescue operations. With flush flood, raging waters have logs, rocks and debris coming from the mountains are horribly disastrous.

In the afternoon, around 2:45 PM, I accompanied Ma’am Julie Diaz, our PPSOSG-NDO secretary towards Philippine International Church (PIC). Approaching the Head Quarters, I noticed the crowd: mixed student guards, faculty, staff, and the search and rescue team composed of Philippine National Police (PNP) – Special Action Force (SAF), Ambassador Mountaineering Club (AMC) volunteers, Philippine Life Saving (PLS) – AUP volunteers. I told Ms. Diaz I’ll take a picture after I asked some faculty friends about the update — still negative. They’ve just arrived from the second search and rescue operation which started after the incident on Sunday, around 5:00 PM at the river between Brgy. Casili and AUP. So I posted this picture in my FB account, which jump-start my correspondence. People has been asking for updates since, and I decided to blog it, but failed. So for the demand, I updated through FB; I just got more time to finally blog it today.

My heart is grieving for the three missing AUP students, flushed during a flash flood near the Japanese Cave. Despite of the search and rescue operations done since last night, at this moment, they aren't found yet...still negative.  Kindly join us in fervent prayers. May their families & relatives be comforted. Miracles still happen. Hoping they'll be found soon, whatever their condition is.

FB Caption: My heart is grieving for the three missing AUP students, flushed during a flash flood near the Japanese Cave. Despite of the search and rescue operations done since last night, at this moment, they aren’t found yet…still negative.
Kindly join us in fervent prayers. May their families & relatives be comforted. Miracles still happen. Hoping they’ll be found soon, whatever their condition is.

I noticed the weary and worn-out countenance of the search and rescue team. The man in white short-sleeves heralded: “We’ll wait for the body to float after 24-hour period…”, hence they ‘ll resume the search and rescue operations. I was dumbfounded!

I am grateful somehow that in the midst of this disheartening experience, the whole AUP family, together with goodhearted volunteers and prayer warriors all over the world, sympathized and helped the families and relatives of the victims. Unity amid diversity and adversity is a gift from heaven. I believed God is working closely with everyone.

High Hopes over False Hope

In the midst of the hustle & bustle of day, this lovely butterfly's stillness marauded my attention. I held its wings yesterday, before I took this picture. It remained still; worn-out & weary, methinks. I didn't have another chance to check if it remained there, after hours. Never had. But its object lesson remained, I'm dumbfounded. The Creator of this creature impressed: "Be STILL and KNOW that I am God..."

FB Caption: In the midst of the hustle & bustle of day, this lovely butterfly’s stillness marauded my attention. I held its wings yesterday, before I took this picture. It remained still; worn-out & weary, methinks.
I didn’t have another chance to check if it remained there, after hours. Never had.
But its object lesson remained, I’m dumbfounded.
The Creator of this creature impressed: “Be STILL and KNOW that I am God…”

For superstitious people, butterfly has been an omen of death, same with a moth. I respect their belief, but I don’t believe that way. That afternoon, after my encounter with the crowd at the AUP Head Quarters at AUP, I saw this butterfly. As a butterfly lover, I never thought of a negative connotation. I actually held its wings. But lo and behold, it remained immovable. I took a picture of it, then that night, I posted it in FB. Weird as it seemed, but butterflies are elusive!

I was praying fervently for peace and for the search and rescue team’s guidance and endurance, knowing that the operations aren’t a joke. It’s a LIFE RISK in itself.

I was hoping, false hope as it may appear now, that somehow their bodies were just brought by the current somewhere and other goodhearted people rescued them. I was anticipating that the victims would be able to survive. I had high hopes. But those were indeed false hope as reality slapped me hard.  Even the best experienced swimmer wouldn’t be able to conquer the turbulence of flash flood with sharp objects.

“Swim? EASIER said than done!!! Strong water current will EASILY carry you were it want to carry you. We, members of the search & rescue team almost lost our lives too in the process of recovering the dead bodies.” ~ Jad Quiza (volunteer)

Mr. Jad Quiza, and the rest of the search and rescue team were indeed the UNSUNG HEROES who took the great risk to retrieve the bodies of the missing students. They had high hopes, great faith that God would spare them to accomplish their mission. He continued:

“…Painstaking efforts almost took our lives too! We lost our cellphones under the water, we drank river water, and once in a while we were carried by strong river current… thanks to our long huge ropes!”

UNSUNG HEROES

UNSUNG HEROES

heavy hearts carry the heavy retrieved victim

heavy hearts carry the heavy retrieved victim

corpse

corpse

transfer

transfer

mission accomplished

mission accomplished

Having drunk the river's filthy water, the famished search and rescue team enjoy AUP Cafeteria food.

The famished search and rescue team enjoys AUP Cafeteria food.

Persevering, Enduring

Persevering, Enduring

it wasn't just a horrible nightmare

It wasn’t just a horrible nightmare, it was a torture!
“Multiple body lacerations all over including their head due to sharp objects like stones, sticks, plus the strong water current that smashed them regularly. They tried their best to survive despite the excruciating pain but of no avail.” ~Quiza

The members of AMC show their sympathy by volunteering during the search and rescue operations, as well as by changing their DP in Facebook.  AMC volunteers include: Aser Neph Torres (PLS), Josel Opena, Greg Lagarille, Jet Tanamal

The members of AMC show their sympathy by volunteering during the search and rescue operations, as well as by changing their DP in Facebook.
AMC volunteers include: Aser Neph Torres (PLS), Isaac Catampatan (PLS) Josel Opena, Greg Lagarille, Jet Tanamal

When Terror Lingers

For several hours starting Monday night, I’ve waited patiently for updates. Begging for peace, I remained online on FB and posted several encouragements. But the lingering terror of the outcome of the search and rescue operations punched me hard, I had nothing to struggle for, gave up my fears to God and slept with heavy heart.

FB UPDATE:

Late last night, before I had my slumber, I’ve read the whole story behind the 3 AUP Students flushed in the flash flood. I surrender my lingering fears and anticipations before God’s throne of grace. I haven’t heard any recent update yet. But I felt peace as the stillness of the wee hours succumbs me to numbness. 
Why I feel this way Lord? 
I’ll blog whatever outcome of the further search & rescue operations tomorrow. Keep posted.
Be STILL and KNOW that God is GOD! 

Here’s the WHOLE STORY behind the missing students, kindly read:

https://www.facebook.com/notes/aup-news-network/three-aup-students-missing-in-a-flash-flood/300042336802040

Then in the morning, I heard the news of the retrieval… Here’s a first-hand FB update from one of the volunteers:

Three AUP Students in a Flash Flood near AUP found DEAD!!!

18 AUP working students left AUP campus Sunday, 25 August ’13 with individual passes (having different reasons for their gate passes) assembled outside AUP and went to the Japanese cave in Canlubang Sunday mid-morning. They crossed the river between Brgy. Casili and AUP on their way back few minutes passed 5 pm disregarding the moderate river water current, with them was only a small & short piece of rope as the other members of their group attempted to rescue those that were caught at the middle of the river when it rained heavily and the river water suddenly rose despite them taking refuge on top of the huge stone, the mighty waters swept and carried them all the way to the river in Calamba, Laguna. 

Search & rescue operations began right away early Sunday evening, members of the search & rescue team in full gear with large ropes persisted through the strong river current did their best to locate the 3 missing AUP students. Search and rescue operations lasted until Tuesday when the two confirmed female bodies of Kat Taroquin and Kim Guardians were found in the river of Brgy. Looc, Calamba @ 9:49 a.m. and confirmed male body (jay Mellapis) was also found @ 10:28 a.m. in Brgy, San Cristobal, Laguna. ~Jad Quiza (verbatim)

Mr. Jad Quiza also notified the media: “I was the one who notified ABS-CBN channel 2, GMA channel 7, and UNTV channel 37”

UNTV

Here are some online news which surprised me, seeing a lot of errors; so FYI: it’s not a camping, it was a hiking trip, unknown to many. Please read the whole story:

GMA News Online: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/323899/news/regions/3-students-drown-in-cavite-bodies-found-in-laguna

ABS-CBN News Online: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/regions/08/28/13/3-students-found-dead-laguna

Radyo 5 Online: http://www.interaksyon.com/article/69469/3-bodies-found-in-laguna-river-believed-to-be-missing-students

Inquirer.net: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/475683/3-suspected-drowning-victims-found-in-laguna

Remate.ph : http://www.remate.ph/2013/08/three-missing-students-in-cavite-fished-in-lake-calamba/

WHOLE STORY written by Pastor Max Cadalig & edited by Dr. Gracel Ann Salangsang-Saban: An OPEN LETTER From the AUP President

https://www.facebook.com/notes/aup-news-network/three-aup-students-missing-in-a-flash-flood/300042336802040

That’s it! Finally they were found!

Everything sank in! My heart dropped.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Part 2: “Scars Wounded Afresh”

https://curlybookworm.wordpress.com/2013/08/29/scars-wounded-afresh/

© 2013 LAF

Note: Photos of the search and rescue credit to Jad Quiza ” An Unsung Hero “, and the direct quotes were taken from his FB account with permission. Photos of the victims were taken from FB.

Second part of this story is focused more on the memorial service and epiphanies while grieving. Don’t miss it!

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Filed under Friendship, Life story, Love, Nature, Vicissitudes

THE POWER OF ONE: NPUC-WIDE Youth (AMiCUS) Convention


THE POWER OF ONE: NPUC-WIDE YOUTH (AMiCUS) CONVENTION

This is a special event for Adventist students studying in Non-Adventist colleges and universities,  or have graduated  already. AMiCUS (Adventist Ministry to College and University Students) seeks to meet the spiritual, intellectual, and social needs of Seventh-day Adventist students on secular campuses worldwide.

I remember my younger brother, Ivan Franz Oliver, who was once a leader of the AMiCUS at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (Sta. Mesa, Manila) during his college years. I am glad that God has given him the great opportunity to serve through this ministry and be a channel of blessings to others. I experienced the challenge of studying in a secular university (Philippine Women’s University) and it was hard if there’s no support group with same beliefs and interests. When I studied at the Adventist University of the Philippines, I enjoyed a lot the abundant training and ministries’ activities in-campus and off-campus.

“Our twofold focus as Adventist youth leaders must always be: Salvation and Service. We work to introduce our young people to Jesus Christ so that they will choose a saving relationship with Him for themselves. The second part of this work, equally important, is to then train them to bring His message of love and hope to others.” ~General Conference Youth Conference

Pastor Ron Genebago, the NPUC Youth Director, shares empowering lesson from the Messages to the Young People (my favorite book).

“With such an army of workers as our youth, rightly trained, might furnish, how soon the message of a crucified, risen, and soon-coming Savior might be carried to the whole world!” Ellen G. White, Messages to the Young People

“There should be an earnest desire in the heart of every youth who has purposed to be a disciple of Jesus Christ to reach the highest Christian standard, to be a worker with Christ.” EGW, God’s Amazing Grace, p. 284

These are the topics/sessions and the corresponding speakers/facilitators:

Kindly include the organizers, the guest speakers/ facilitators and the delegates of this event to your fervent prayers. I might miss this and yet I’ll keep praying for the blessings and success of this youth convention. May God equip more army of youth for His glory!

For more information: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=160957633970003

You might like to have one: 

Note: Photos are courtesy of Anthony Stanyer and Pastor Ron Genebago. This blog has a copyright . These pictures should not be used, reproduced and manipulated by any means without a written request and consent from the author or the DREAM International Creative Ministries.

©LAF 2011

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Filed under Bespectacled Books, Exciting Event

A Peek at the Peak of Taal Volcano


Isn’t it romantic to spend the Heart’s Day at the peak of the world-renown, Taal Volcano?

It was more than what I expected! A rendezvous with my ULTIMATE LOVER, who audibly herald His love through His open billet-doux was truly unforgettable! Nature really testify of God’s unchanging love!

The picturesque Taal Volcano from a distance.

But My excitement was spoiled on our way. Because we sailed to a different destination, I could only gaze the famous Taal Volcano from the boat. Puzzled, I sought answers for my queries. Later, I learned, it was the FAKE ONE! My heart was quite broken!

This is the fake crater ^_^

How come I existed more than a quarter century without knowing I was beguiled! I was not only beguiled, I was also betrayed and bewildered. Seriously, it’s crazy because I was not alone! My friends were also facing the same predicament when we were at the crater of Taal Volcano…the genuine crater, to note. I should have researched about that, LOL! I never thought there’s another crater aside from what I usually see in posters and pictures. However, the awful feelings drifted away as we hiked the seemingly wilderness trek.

“My Lord knows the way to the wilderness. All I have to do is follow…” a song suited to our hike going to the summit ^_^

“Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful!” an inspiring introspection as we trek the narrow path, leading to the peak.

Merlya, a jolly friend, makes the real Taal Crater a picturesue back draft for a souvenir shot.

Scene of Tranquil. The islet signifies of steadfastness 🙂

captured fascination

breathtaking view

Spreading my imaginary wings, grateful for the FREEDOM in CHRIST! ^_^ “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as EAGLES they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” Isaiah 40:31

Some of my beloved AUP Student Missionaries. My family away from home in the Adventist University of the Philippines (AUP). My treasured gems.

A peek at the peak of the opposite of the fake Taal Volcano was somehow funny and very unforgettable. Though we didn’t celebrate the pagan tradition such as the Valentine’s Day, we had a great time on February 14, 2010. I am reminded again and again to remain STEADFAST amid the storms and earthquakes of life. Though there are unexpected experiences that seem to betray my trust in God, I would still be able to be grateful, focusing on the beautiful side of life. ^_^

Showing the Taal Volcano Manifesto on one of the most unforgettable Sabbaths I had in my entire life. February 13, 2010 ^_^ I am sandwhiched by Chrissy and Merlya. 

The Woofers’ Manifesto (family group during the retreat). Written by yours truly. Signed by my fellow AUP Student Missionaries during a part of the AUP SM Retreat on Feb. 12-14, 2010.

I am blessed being reminded of God’s great faithfulness to His promises. He keeps me being steadfast! ^_^ His love is genuine and beyond my mind can fathom! It is written in one of His creations, Taal Volcano.

Note: The photos are courtesy of Sheldon Imperio, he took those that are without the Curly Bookworm label. The rest with the label are courtesy of Rhume Jay Becbec. This blog has a copyright . These pictures should not be used, reproduced and manipulated by any means without a written request and consent from the author.

LAF © 2011

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Filed under Friendship, Nature, Travel & Adventure

For the Love of Survival: Pamper’s Mischief, Daisy’s Misfortune


How would you react if your loving plant  was savaged by a cuddly and yet cunning pet of your loving neighbor-friend?

Blooming Daisy, sandwiched by Mimi and me, weeks before the incident.

Dignified Daisy, an awesome gift.

depressing condition of Daisy, new leaf is budding after few weeks of the incident

blade of hope

Awe-stricken, I tried to abandon my sleuth attitude when I saw the pot with no leaves at all. There are only few short stalks peeping from the soil. Hurt to see Daisy, I was reminded of the day we moved from Luisiana on July 29, 2011. We left the poor plant at the wellness home in Luisiana when we moved my sick sister Leah to our apartment near the Adventist University of the Philippines (AUP). Among the most-valued possessions, Daisy is cherished; for it is a gift of my sister’s best friend, Beryl, who’s my dear friend too! The fact that we brought the beautiful daisy in that far place on June, carried it well so it won’t be damaged when we’re on travel, made me annoyed when I learned that it was recklessly devoured by Pamper. Daisy suffered a lot from the bad weather in Luisiana. Her leaves were torn due to heavy rain and strong winds during a fierce storm. A week after the transfer, I went back to the wellness home to visit and see to it that I get Daisy to be back with us. How I wish Daisy remained there when I knew that her fate would be sad such as that.

looks can be deceiving...look at Pamper's eye!

scenic view from the fourth floor where Pamper used to visit for a drink

“Where’s Pamper?” I appeased myself and reminded not to scold the cuddly bunny. He reminds us of our poor Peachu, our own bunny that was savaged by a careless cat. Since we all miss our dear Peachu, we treated Pamper as our own pet. There, in the corner of my friend’s unit on the third floor, I saw his white furs moving a bit. I didn’t care to come near. I don’t want to hurt the rabbit though I still grieve for Daisy. I have loved Pamper so much! I used to give him vegetables like “kangkong” (swamp cabbage), cabbage, “kamote” tops (sweet potato), carrots, to name a few. He’s been a regular visitor of our apartment on the fourth floor. I appreciate his effort to climb the two adjacent ladders from the third floor, get in our house and entertain us a bit. He also used to visit to drink water from the drippings of the water tank located opposite to our unit and to search for food at our trashes. Being vegetarians, Pamper might have appreciated that most of our trashes are peelings of fruits, left over vegetables and other edibles. I wonder why he seems to be always hungry while my friend who owns him, provides his food in bounty. Maybe he has pervert appetite and he’s gluttonous, I thought when I caught him eating some avocado peelings from the trashes. He proved me right later when I saw Daisy in her horrible condition! Maybe, I was wrong, he might be too hungry and dying, and he just wanted to survive!

looking so innocent

caught in the act...looking so sleepy

munchin' cabbage at a distance

munchin' and munchin' again

“How can I teach him a lesson?” I asked myself as I stare at Pamper. He looked pitiful and you would doubt that he committed a crime, if you’ve seen him! Till this time, I haven’t given him any due disciplinary action. Instead, I gleaned lessons from the sad incident and Pamper’s shenanigan:

SELFLESSNESS vs. SELFISHNESS – We humans are naturally born selfish. You can see it from babies. Whenever they are hungry, they would cry hard and they wouldn’t mind if their moms have milk or food to feed them, or if they missed a sweet slumber during the night. They also seek much attention, even if they are cuddled, still they cry even if they’re not sick. That’s only a personal perspective; I’d been a baby too! Now that I’m grown up, I would confess, I use to be selfish in many ways still. I am not proud of that, and I’m struggling to overcome it.

looking so pitiful...

Pamper seemed very selfish that he even ate a floral plant. Maybe he thought it’s a vegetable. Whatever his reason was, Daisy deserves justice. As I observed Daisy, I was reminded of God’s selfless and unconditional love when He gave up His all through Jesus Christ. Jesus chose to be selfless too! How come the Majesty of heavens suffered much from His birth in the manger till His crucifixion at Calvary?  It’s for the love of survival, and it’s not just temporal survival, it’s eternal. God wants us to survive the sinful and selfish life by the grand example of His beloved Son’s selfless life. It’s really possible through the power that He alone can give when we surrender our will!

budding leaves that give me inspiration

HOPE vs. DESPAIR – It’s depressing to see Daisy in that pitiful condition, and yet I am glad that she is surviving now. From the short stalks, a leaf is growing with a great promise of a beautiful plant! My faith is renewed as I relate Daisy’s misfortune with our family crucible. When my brother Ben Jathniel died and ate Leah’s health got severe, (https://curlybookworm.wordpress.com/2011/08/12/life-is-a-mystery-filled-miracle/) we’ve been in despair. But giving up was never our option. Praises to God’s grace of helping us survive in all aspect! I can’t just imagine how we would become if He wasn’t our refuge during the storms of trials.

He plants me like a seed and watches as I grow. He waters me with love, and shield me from the cold. My tender leaves may bend beneath the storm and wind. But comes the morning sun, I'm growing strong again."

green gives me life! Go GREEN for LIFE!

verdant Daisy with a budding blossom

Now that Daisy’s leaves are growing, I see more hope. I would simply be planted in the garden of God’s heart for the love of survival!

*Photos credit to Mimi Nero, pictures of Pamper and Daisy were taken by the author

~LAF 2011

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Filed under Animals, Flowers, Friendship, Health & Healing, Life story, Nature, Object Lessons, Vicissitudes

God Must Have Gone Crazy!


People can do the craziest thing, can think of the craziest idea and can give the craziest conclusion.

Sweetly thrilling. Softly and yet painfully killing.

If people could go crazy, would it be possible with the omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent God?

GOD MUST HAVE GONE CRAZY!? Where on earth have I got the guts to write about this? You may think I’ve gone crazy instead.  If you feel this article would change your perception about God and His love, keep reading and please set aside your impression about the title with a prayerful heart.

“You’re in a commitment, a man-woman relationship; you’re so in-love, head over heels! But suddenly you found out that your lover is “boating in two rivers”. In layman’s term, he or she is a “two-timer”. What would be your honest reaction and what would you do?  This was the situation and question I threw to my loving friends, Adventist University of the Philippines (AUP) Student Missionaries when we had a discussion during sundown worship last Saturday. Our topic is about the gospel, as it was on previous sundown worships. When I was invited to speak, I opted to share it in a different way. I preferred facilitating, rather than preaching.

I grouped them into four and made it sure that in each group, there’s a balance; there are those who’ve never been to a relationship, who’ve been in a relationship and who are in a relationship and who are contemplating to be in a relationship. There were four groups formed. Ten minutes allotted wasn’t enough for sharing, so it was doubled. There had been serious and funny reactions, everyone shared their perspectives and experiences. Then each group was given 3-5 minutes each to share what’s the most interesting reaction/experience. Among 16 young people (ages 18-28), three experienced as a jilted lover, cheated by their former lovers. Two were ladies and one, a man. For them, it was very painful. One had a hard time moving on for years. But all of them turned to be better persons instead of remaining bitter. They wouldn’t know Jesus more and build deeper relationship if not for that experience; they learned to be grateful even they had a hard time. Isn’t it great? But when I asked everyone to place themselves in the shoes of the one who cheated, the two timer; their facial reactions changed.

After the sharing, I shared to them that I posted that similar situation and question in my Facebook wall on July 27, 2011, and I got various comments, most of the reactions were RAGE, BITTERNESS, REVENGE; you can name all the normal reaction from a jilted lover. But there’s a comment that I liked most: “Pull your lover back to your river and make your river better.” – Pastor Glenn M. Lagabon. I stated the motive why I posted it on the latter part. I just want to know peoples different reactions and I respected each of the comments. I learned from everyone and though I haven’t been in that situation, I felt comforted. However, I placed myself in the situation of the unfaithful lover, and God, the jilted lover. I could only stand in awe for great is His faithfulness! For how many times I cheated and betrayed him, it may be almost the number of sands, and yet when I come to him for reconciliation, He accepts and forgives me; as if I didn’t sin. He even gave up everything to win the sinful mankind with His only Precious, Sinless Son. Oh, God must have gone crazy! Crazy in love with me…and so with you! Even the angels were astonished when the Sovereign of the Universe gave up all for the fallen world!

With my finite mind and sinful nature, I might have concluded that God must have gone crazy. It was my initial reaction when I first encountered the book of Hosea. When I delved deeper about His unfathomable and mysterious love in the light of the Gospel, I can still react that way. The term “crazy” may seem to impose negative thoughts on God, but please don’t get me wrong! It’s to express my astonishment to His inexpressible love. But He’s never insane, and never will He be. He’s not like us, people who could love blindly. He only loves unconditionally!

If you’re a church pastor or a minister and God appear to you in dreams mandating you to marry a prostitute or a known nymphomaniac, what would be your reaction? You may say, “God, are you sure? How about my reputation, I am your servant and yet I will be a stumbling block, that’s a crazy idea! God, you must have gone crazy!”  That’s actually what I imagined when God told Hosea to marry a prostitute. But He never questioned God and His motive, he faithfully followed though he had greater risks and he suffered many times being cheated, betrayed and rejected by Gomer. The reason why God told him to do so is found in Hosea 1:2, to rebuke His people for their apostasy, “the vilest adultery in departing from the Lord.”  I strongly concur with Ty Gibson when he stated, “Hosea’s prophecy clearly calls for a revolutionary paradigm shift in our perception of God and our manner of relating to Him.” An Endless Falling in Love p. 126.

According to testimonies of friends and family, and even according to my experience, the more you love, the more hurt you are when you are rejected, cheated and betrayed. You can name some famous jilted lovers like Princess Diana and Former First Lady Hillary Clinton who suffered a lot from the consequences of unfaithfulness of their beloved husbands. It dramatically changed their lives. What if you place your self on their shoes? Would you be bitter or would you be better?

The pangs of love triangle.

“None of us can escape being wounded. But it’s what we do with the wounds that really matters. Jesus was wounded again and again, but He didn’t succumb to His wounds. Instead, He learned from His suffering. He showed us that what counts is not how we are wounded but by how we handle our wounds. We can learn to find peace in the midst of our wounding.” Facing Frenemy Fire, p.81

Love triangle is rampant both in movies and in true-to- life stories. But there’s only one love triangle that heaven approves. Oh, God must have gone crazy to approve! Yet that’s a love relationship with God as the third party. There’s no perfect relationship, but there are successful ones; ones centered in GOD!

Are you in a relationship? Have been in a relationship? Contemplating to be in a relationship? You can choose not to be the unfaithful lover, no matter how you’ve been a jilted lover. Just think how God has been ‘crazy’ in love with you!

*Photos credit to Google Images

~LAF 2011

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Filed under Friendship, Health & Healing, Life story, Love, Ministry, Object Lessons, Vicissitudes