Food Spending and Relationships

Last Saturday, I went to Shang to meet up with some friends. I met up with my FY core team for an emergency meeting and I spent 520 pesos to feed the five of them with a pretty hefty lunch at the Food Forum. I also met up with my college friend and I spent 520 pesos for my share of our meal at Banana Leaf.

At first look, I felt bad at how wasteful I am with my spending. Why shell out a certain amount for 1 person that could already feed 5 people, right? But then I remembered what I told myself in 2017 that there are sacrifices needed to show that we care about people–and the biggest chunk of it is “showing up”. I’ve come to terms that I need to exert effort, allocate time, and ‘invest’ money if I want to cultivate my relationships. And in my circles, that money aspect tends to require a bit more since it’s a world of good restaurants, local and international travel, relatively expensive coffee, wine bottles, and high-end malls.

I try not to be sucked into the temptation of wanting to ‘keep up’ but there is a need to adapt and blend in. I learned today from our office small group that an important aspect of building relationships is “approaching the other person’s world”. And since fellowship over food has been part and parcel even of Jesus’ and the apostles’ ministry, I guess it just makes sense to meet people at the level of their tastebuds.

(I hope this is not me trying to justify my food vice haha.)


Laman Ng Isip Kapag Alas Diyes ng Gabi

Madali kong nalilimutan
ang pagkadami-daming pinag-iisipan
pagdating sa’yo.

Siguro dahil
Ikaw ang buntong-hininga
sa gitna ng pagiging abala.
Ikaw ang lagok ng tubig
sa panahong inuunahan ng kaba.
Ikaw ang pagkabalot ng kumot
sa mga pagkakataong nilalagnat o giniginaw.
Ikaw ang pag-uwi sa bahay at pamilya
sa dulo ng puno ng pagod na mga araw.

Sa totoo lang,

Hindi ko naman akalain na
sa pagkadami-daming masisilayan
ay mauuwi ako sa’yo.

Siguro dahil
Ikaw ang nakinig
sa mga kwentong higit sa panahon at balita.
Ikaw ang nagpaalala
sa mga pagkatataong nalilimutan kong maniwala.
Ikaw ang sumama
sa mga walang katapusang paglalayag.
Ikaw ang nagtulak
sa mga nahihirapan minsan na ihayag.

Ang totoo niyan,

Aking tanging panalangin na
sa pagkadami-daming pagpipilian
ay ipaunawa sa’yo

Na marahil
at ako
ang tatapos sa siklo ng pag-ibig
na hindi nasusuklian.

Hello 2018, Goodbye 2017



Photo c/o Project Love on Kickstarter

WHAT A YEAR! 2017 felt sooooooo long with everything that happened. I’d often have moments where I’d ask when a certain event/moment happened and it would just baffle me that it apparently occurred just this year. That said, 2017 is probably one of my most  favorite years of this decade! All 12 months were a testimony to God’s love, grace, mercy, and faithfulness.

Here are some highlights of my year:


This year was so so so much better than the previous years in terms of my spiritual walk. While I still have shortcomings and the usual highs and lows in my fellowship with God, I am confident that I was more attuned with God’s will this 2017. I attribute this to more consistent time in the Word and in prayer, lessening my media consumption, and trimming down my activities to the essentials. Indeed, God has been there all along–even through the rough past 3-4 years–and it was just me who has become calloused and insensitive to His presence. When I say that 2017 was a “good year”, it’s mainly because I when I look back, I marvel at how God spoke to me regularly and guided me through every aspect of my life.

One of my favorite things for 2017 is how God helped me to unearth my deep-seethed insecurities and issues and brought them to light. I even blogged about it, which really helped a lot! I have attacks every now and then ’cause Satan is so sucky, but I already claim victory in Jesus’ name!

I am also grateful to God for other people He used to speak to me:

  1. I’m glad to have had the opportunity to do a 1:1 phone call with Sam Chand, one of my pegs in life. This opportunity I won when I tweeted that I was watching his seminar livestream at 2 am from the Philippines! ;)
  2. Another thing that changed my life this 2017 is Elevation Church’s online sermons!! I watched a few this year that helped reshape my life perspective–the most memorable being “Hidden Issues” and “When You Decide”.
  3. I joined Saved Commune’s Table for One where Ate Jeanette (a Christian counselor) shared practical tips about being single, womanhood, and relationships.
  4. I briefly attended a Discipleship Conference held at Capitol where Ptr. Jerry Dirmann (the OSL author himself!) spoke about speaking based on the truths in God’s Word and actually believing in it.
  5. And the most memorable of them all, I was able to join the Hillsong Worship and Creative Conference in person in Sydney!!!!!!!! Heard from a lot of Hillsong leaders and I was just mainly refilled and re-calibrated. When I look back at this decade, this Hillsong trip would definitely be a standout! Added bonus: I met a new friend through that trip (Rose from Cebu) and some new acquaintances from Every Nation!


My improved relationship with the Lord I believe has trickled over to my Care Circle. Our meetings have become more consistent, and we even gained new members in Archie, Lulu, Det and Lecks :) I love how we’ve really grown into genuine friends who look out for each other–and not just dinner buddies who meet up every Sunday. Everyone is supportive of each other, and we do our best to pray for each one’s burdens. While some members are still MIA (guide them, oh Lord), those active in the group are growing in the Lord and I’m just so thankful to God ’cause I know that He is the one who works in them.

Side note: No meet-up was without food as we’ve had trips to my house (to eat pasalubong from my trips), Kanto Freestyle, UP Town Center, Goemon, Eatcetera, Bondoy, Hideout, Pan De Cielo, Eastwood, Long Weekend, and ended up at BFF Diner every week pretty much when it opened :)

Another set of wonderful friends I enjoyed having this year is our FSY (Foursquare Senior Youth) department. We had some fellowships this year, including the team-building at QC Wildlife with FY. It was tiring, fun, and hilarious! Add to that, we also had our DepFest win despite having the least delegation, and our memorable Christmas on the Streets!

Our office Bible Study group (C&G) lost traction towards the end of the year pretty much because I got busy with work, church stuff and travel. Despite that, we still got to go through our “Not By Sight” series, and meet-up every so often though usually for farewells.


Ministry life was crazy awesome this year. I got hooked with Quest’s Lord of All early this year, and true enough, that has been the anthem of my ministry life. 2017 was all about giving my best and using everything that I had for God’s glory.

I still headed the Programs and Creatives team in our local church and I am so grateful to the Lord for the growth in our ministry this year. We have more Program Coordinators now, and I finally have a PC head in Dora! Yahoo delegation! We worked on a lot of activities this year–e.g. love day, mother and father’s day, Easter, pastor appreciation, DepFest, anniversary, etc. We even started to do registration (thanks to our brand new reg team) because *drum roll please* we finally have a church management system c/o UCARE!!!!! Hallelujah! Answered prayer. Hospitality team has also been moved under my oversight, which honestly is/was very challenging, yet we count it all joy hahaha :) My favorite P&C-related thing of the year definitely has to be the Team Night that we did before the church anniversary! Loved that we were able to sing songs that spoke to me in November, and that I was able to ramble about my Hillsong learnings. I’m looking forward to even more growth for our ministry next year as I continue to lead the team–and as we welcome our new computer + tablet + videocam! Yehey!

A new thing that got assigned in is national leadership of our youth in the denomination. I’m talking about ~2,000 churches and tens of thousands of young people all over the country. Seems crazy when I think about it, but I trust that the Lord placed me here for a purpose. I was initially scared about this new assignment but I got confirmation that it was something I had to do during Ptr. Delfin Corona’s installation as new Foursquare national president (see, it wasn’t just me who was “new” this year). I formed two new teams to help me out–one for the National Foursquare Youth Convention next year, and another to serve as my core team for all NFY matters. This allowed me to meet a lot of new people this year who have been blessings to me in the NFY space. I even got to go to Visayas in November to meet with the region FY leaders! Awesome! On the other hand, May was pretty crazy due to the tragedy that happened in Mindanao during one of our youth camps. That made me question my calling at that time, and made me break down in tears due to the pressure (thanks Jason for being there). Praise God for peace and restoration.

Other than these 2 major things, I can’t believe that I got to serve God in even more opportunities this year:

  1. I helped out a bit early this year during MMND’s licensing event at Kapitan Moy.
  2. I got the chance to be the tech operator during the Foursquare National Convention in Cebu! I loved actually sitting down and doing the dirty work again as I don’t get the chance to do that when I run programs :)
  3. I spoke during our church’s student summit, and it made me realize that I’d really rather write than speak hahahaha!!
  4. Together with the Frolic folks, we staged A Missing Rib 2 for the MMND FSY! It was a memorable event as we realized that we finally knew what we were doing. Not much stress and no hot-headed moments. It was just a lovely and grace-filled event all throughout!
  5. Not church-related, but I also got to share about my Ateneo experience during the CS Open House! Thanks to Ate Jess for the invite!
  6. Served the Lord through my finances (HAHAHAHA) by eating regularly at our newly-opened BFF DINER!!! Yehey! Praise God for all his provisions to make it happen! Excited for this diner to be a beacon of light and love in our community (and to help us save up for our building!) :)
  7. Also not church-related, but my being talkative and opinionated was put to good use as I appeared in a Golden Duck Salted Egg Chips online ad! HAHAHAHA! #artista


I am just in awe of how God provided for me financially this year when I look back at how much I traveled. These are the places I visited this year:

  1. Singapore in March – Went to Singapore with Clang, Diane and JC mainly to watch the Coldplay concert as it was cheaper there than here in Manila. Stayed at Clang’s cousin’s place (yey blessing) and met up with friends there (e.g. Jez, Lian, Gia, DL, Oyie, Donna, etc). Added bonus: Saw Carlo Aquino and Chris Martin himself in the airport!!!
  2. Busan in April – Visited my favorite sister Empot as she moved to Busan for senior high. Had very limited funds as my mother and I had bloopers regarding currency conversion hahaha! It was a good trip and I learned to appreciate Korea :) I’m missing Busan as I type this rarrrr.
  3. Cebu in April – As mentioned, I helped out during #4sqpositioned which was held in some event hall in Cebu.
  4. Iloilo in July – Traveled to Yanyan’s hometown with the blockmates! :) Touched with how generous their family is! this trip was additionally memorable as I suffered from allergies and a sprain during our stay in Gigantes Island.
  5. Seoul in October – Because I love Empot, I went to Korea again during their Chuseok holidays so that I could take her to Seoul. It was the longest non-JTA trip of my life and it cemented the inclusion of Korea among my favorite countries. Also had the most distressing moment of my life during this trip because of some Empot drama hahahuhu.
  6. Cebu in November – Had a random trip to Cebu to take advantage of the regional summit they were having. Met up with FY leaders during the summit.
  7. Sydney in November – PLEASE TAKE ME TO AUSTRALIA NOW!!! God showed me His kindness and generosity by making one of my dreams come true this year. My trip to Sydney was crazy awesome. It was my first legit solo trip, and I even spent evenings in a HOSTEL DORM!! HAHAHA! Bring in the 2008 feels! :P I’m thankful to God though for people I met up with who helped to not make me feel alone.


There were quite a lot of milestones in the family + clan this year, and some of them are the following:

  1. We had a cousins’ gathering (awww!) in January for Empot and Philip because…
  2. Empot left for Korea and Philip left for Dubai.
  3. There were quite a handful of dinner outs (Aristocrat, etc) with the clan this year–a huge improvement from 2016!
  4. Spent Mama’s birthday by going on a hotel/buffet spree! Ate at 3 hotels over two days–Holiday Inn, Dusit Thani, and Manila Pen. Crazy but awesome!
  5. Nikki and Carlo got married, which brought everyone to Pampanga! So cute, we even had family devotion.
  6. Spent a LOT of time with Muning in gigs and mainly to eat–thanks to Booky!
  7. Nikki and Carlo moved to the US for good to be with Carlo’s family. Added bonus: Carlo won ASOP just right before they were leaving!
  8. Watched Star Wars with Coy — thanks to the free tickets from Globe!
  9. Had our Oyco Summer in December Christmas celebration.


I looked back at my social media posts and realized that I had quite a lot of meet-ups with friends this year! What changed from previous years though is all of my meet-ups now involve quality time and conversation. #TitaMode I learned this year that I need to be wise with the decisions I make even when it comes to hanging out and doing lakwatcha.


  • Had block lunch in January at UP Town because Rai came home!
  • Blockmates visited Marikina to go food park tripping
  • Attended Loopback with block where we realized that we are ANCIENT
  • Watched Logan with my boys at Resorts World after Loopback
  • Had brunch with Clang at Rustic Mornings before heading to the Citisec Online office for a stock market training (how adult!)
  • Headed to Pampanga in July to celebrate Raisa’s mom’s birthday :P (PS: Had a hilarious online exchange with KC and Jojo hahahahaha #north #south)
  • Brunched again with Clang at Rustic as she bought leather from OTTO
  • Got to meet up with Essa, Camcam and Pat at Long Weekend to catch up on life! Essa already got married and Camcam’s already engaged!


  • Eeia lost a baby tooth when she was with me in January haha! This happened again in December during Mateo’s dedication!
  • Went to Ace Water Spa with Aouie and Eeia + Dem before work :) We were supposed to go to Dusit but I changed my mind haha
  • Celebrated Eeiapot’s birthday at Eastwood with Muning and Aouie
  • Took the Mayo kids to Eastwood again (just a week after?) just because I love them
  • Had Philos, Aouie, and Eeia spend the night at home just like the old times :)
  • Missed the babies’ Buwan ng Wika performance so just treated their family to Big Guys pizza and Udderly milkshakes
  • Brought Aouie and Eeia to UP Town for another Booky trip
  • Random dessert trip with Aouie and Eeia before 3rd service
  • Dated the pastors’ kids (Mayos and Agarpaos) at UP Town as my Christmas gift


  • Met up with Inspire friends @ BGC early in 2017 for our post-Christmas gathering
  • Also was able to join them once for game night!
  • Had dinner with Twish and Lem at Nihonkai, and with Twish at Ramen Kuroda
  • Had buffet at Shang High Street with Seph to start the year and lunch at Denny’s to end the year
  • Usi dinners @ Mckinley because Carding came back!
  • Wee left the company — had her despedida
  • Kim and Daph got married and I got to host!! Love those two so much!
  • Ate out with Rap and Alvin when we visited Vic’s sister’s wake, ate at Comfort Tuesdays with Alvin, had late night eat-outs with them at Barcino, Nihon, Tomatito, and our unintended favorite, Tokyo Bubble Tea.
  • Calics left the company…and came back haha! We survived a night of having dinner and watching a movie with just the two of us! Naks, mature! #movingon
  • Ate at Lucky’s with Kara randomly, and experience my first hidden bar in Manila with her + Gelo after #DXCNight2017!
  • Finally got to try Ajilex’s Bangers and Buckets @ Kapitolyo with Gelo!
  • C&G date at Nihon Tomas Morato (finally got to try it) for our Christmas catch-up


  • Had brunch with Kuya Chino, Ate Ida and the kids @ Rustic Mornings!
  • Had Cheska and Gela visit our church, and had dinner with them after at Crave Park
  • Visited Gela at Brewery to help write an article


  • Random impromptu swimming with some of the youth during the April holidays
  • Followed by a roadtrip to UP Town with a bunch of other random youth haha hilarious
  • Another impromptu swim trip @ Ciudad Christhia after Turn 180
  • Had coffee at Starbucks with the beshies–after trying to fit everyone inside James’ car!
  • Went to EK with the beshies + honorary member Coy! What a memorable and TIRING trip! And I felt so much like a tita :P
  • Spent almost every waking hour of our lives at BFF with the beshies hahahaha! Also discovered the awesomeness of AirConsole!
  • Brought home lechon for the beshies :)
  • Had a bro-date with Chichi at Long Weekend where we got to talk about life. Missed him! He’s one of the few people I can spend hours talking to.
  • Toti came back — always a milestone ;)
  • Treated the pastors’ families out to Ace Water Spa + Silantro :)


  • Clingy times with AMR peeps at Laruan
  • Even visited Capitol to attend their SPYCE fellowship, and had hilarious banter with the gang at Amo Yamie after
  • Had an AMR reunion at JCLAM with food, games and lots of laughter!
  • Had an AMR1 reunion at Laruan with special guests from AMR2–where I just pretty much bonded with Aouie and Eeia hahaha!
  • Had a bro-date with James (my first ever adult-age Foursquare friend and OSL groupmate) at Starbucks Araneta before work
  • Got visited by Natz and JM (another new friend) at BFF for a sermon session hahaha
  • Crave Park food trip until the wee hours with the AMR2 gang + walked home


Had quite a lot of key moments related to work, though I backed out from some responsibilities this year as I knew I had to focus on ministry.

  • Headed the first ever programming competition (a la ACM) for colleges organized by HP/HPE which we called HPE Code Wars! It was a bit stressful to organize but I am thankful for my amazing team who made it happen!
  • Was able to “go live” for one of my projects–finally! It felt like giving birth. Seriously.
  • Celebrated my 5 years with HP/HPE through the HPE ICONS event! I didn’t understand the fuss about it before, but I totally get it know. I guess we were blessed to have had a pretty grand event for our batch.
  • Had delayed celebration dinner @ Yakimix Prime with the SPARKLE core team
  • Organized our team-building with Tim and Cheska @ Linden. Calics and Happy even dropped by to visit. Oh, the memories from this overnight gathering.
  • Had team dinners at random points of the year at Kuse, the tipid steak place, and at Nihonkai for Christmas
  • Uhm so my laptop took a bath…
  • Headed the DXC UniTE team (branding by me hahaha) for our university partnership kick-off! Awesome event again c/o an awesome project team!
  • Got assigned to be Program Manager for a new program, and Project Manager for one of its internal projects. Space is quite high-vis in the account; so help me, God.
  • Got interviewed for a different role though and…I PASSED! I hope to move next year :)
  • Headed the Programs team with Seph for the site-wide yearend party! ANOTHER DREAM COME TRUE!!!!!! We even had Silent Sanctuary play! Hehehe! I loved hearing good feedback from the people about the program–especially about how it made up for the hassle they experience with everything else. Yey, kilig!
  • Because of it, I got to join the thanksgiving dinner with our site leads. Naks! That was a first time for me.
  • Also briefly hosted the Apps Services Year-Ender, which was so much fun by the way as we had DJ Jokko!

Another feat, which is KIND OF job-related, I got PMP-CERTIFIED!!!!!!! FINALLY!!!!!!! My testimony’s over on Facebook, but tl;dr version: I did not expect to pass as I was not able to prepare well during the weeks/days before the exam. ALL BY GOD’S GRACE.


I HAD A WISDOM TOOTH EXTRACTION. I am seriously counting that as a milestone in life. I thank God for the wisdom in picking my dentist (I stuck with my usual dentist though it was cheaper to have the surgery with others) because she did such a great job. No pains after!

I bought a stepper and actively used it for a week (while watching episodes of Gossip Girl), and then had to return it ’cause it immediately got broken. #LazadaFails

Finally, I went on Keto this month!!!!! Updates on that to follow kapag payat na ako.


Didn’t get to go to as many gigs this year as last year, but it was a conscious choice. Hehe. Had to focus on the more essential. That said, my gig-addiction season ended with a bang when we staged START IT RIGHT with Faye and Shawn. Almost all of our favorite bands were there–OCS, Banna, Brisom, LAA, December Ave, MilesExperience, SUD, Jensen and the Flips, and Autotelic! It was the best night of my music-loving, gig-going side! College and work friends joined, Muning took pics, and Sarkie was there too lols! I will never forget that night, and how 350+ folks surprised us by showing up for a year-starter! Indeed, we will always have January 6.

Other than that night, I was also able to attend a few other gigs:

  • Figgas + Brass Pas @ 70’s Bistro with Muning, Omi and Gica where we had a looooong kwentuhan with Jensen after (and where I found out from Choi that I was the one who gave them the idea about a Tandems x Jenses collab)
  • Visited Marikina Heights’ fiesta thing to watch Silent with Muning and Jayg
  • Attended a 70’s Bistro gig with Silent, Sud and Soapdish WHILE WEARING HEELS. Thanks again to Carrie for saving me with her slippers, and to Jason for offering to have Carrie keep my bag!
  • Got to have Jensen play All I Want during his solo set for Luna!!!!!
  • Went to Historia for the first time with Muning to catch Hale…also for the first time with the new line-up featuring Kuya Chino!


Here are the special food I got addicted to this year (not counting my Keto staples ’cause I have no choice):

  1. BLK513 Charcoal Yogurt – I’d even visit Eastwood with a sole intent of buying this food! Rarrr! So so good!
  2. Tokyo Tokyo Makiritto and Gyoza – These became my dinner staples.
  3. Eton Taho – And this, my midnight staple.

Here are the celebs who took the place of Alden in my heart:

  1. JOSHUA GARCIA – WHAT A REVELATION DURING VINCE, KATH AND JAMES. Much more so in Love You to the Stars and Back!!!
  2. Hasan Minhaj – Watch Homecoming King on Netflix. You’re welcome.
  3. Paulo Avelino – Fell in utmost like with him even more on IDILY!

Movies and TV shows that were pretty memorable:

  1. I’m Drunk I Love You – No words for this movie. I’ve cried out all my feelings already.
  2. Love You to the Stars and Back – Brilliant, dark, awesome film.
  3. Finally Found Someone – Got fooled by Lloydie x Sarah rarrr
  4. SHERLOCK – OMG. SEASON 4 WAS SO CRAZY. I COULD NOT BELIEVE THAT THEY ENDED IT THAT WAY. I was totally expecting an episode 4!!! Nonetheless, it gave me the creepiest ep (huhu cereal killer) and the most mind-boggling one (that final problem…….) of the entire series. Still so thankful that KJ made me watch this. My mission in life is to make everyone else watch too!!! Hahaha!
  5. Survivor!!!! – Almost all of my crushies were in one season of Survivor! Though Malcolm got voted out in the suckiest of ways, so meh.
  6. Got hooked with Shark Tank — our entire family loves it!
  7. Designated Survivor
  8. Riverdale
  9. Drop Dead Diva (again)
  11. Jane the Virgin still!
  12. The Good Place (weird show, tbh)

Music that made a mark:

  1. Sugarfree songs ’cause we watched Sa Wakas!
  2. ‘Di Makatulog — which is my most played song of 2017
  3. Dashboard and AAR covering each other
  4. Old school band stuff coming out on Spotify!!!! Hale, Silent, Parokya, Stonefree, etc.
  5. Dashboard’s Hey Girl — late reaction much.
  6. Silent’s Malayo Na Tayo, which Sarkie made me hear a month before release. Aww. This is my 2nd most-played song of 2017.
  7. Steffany Gretzinger’s Undone album. I LOVE HER. She puts my feelings and thoughts into perfect words.
  8. Had a season of addiction to overplaying Pangarap Lang Kita, Paborito and Fallin’
  9. Appreciated TSwift na ulit because of Gorgeous, Call It What You Want, and New Year’s Day!
  10. MMND’s YOU ARE MY GOD album, which by the way was launched this year! God is so good!


I didn’t even go back and read this entire thing after typing it ’cause it turned out to be long! Haha! I believe the year can be summed up perfectly though by my favorite song from the MMND album:

When I look at the skies that You have made,
at the moon and the stars that You’ve set on their place
Oh, I just can’t imagine the depth of Your grace

Yup, this year has been about basking in God’s grace and enjoying it. God, I am forever grateful!!!