Ending 2009

Indeed, it was a year.

2009 gave the whole world a history of good and not so good events; wide lists of calamities, tragedies, war, crisis, death...

We had felt the storm from the very beginning of the year at the war in Gaza.
People took advantage of the financial crisis and unemployment as they illegally recruit people to work abroad, just like those Filipino drivers here in Dubai.
Great people passed away...
There was the A H1N1 epidemic, worldwide...
Water covered Central Luzon by typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng... Tsunami washed the Islands of Samoa...
Indonesia Earthquake that took thousand lives...
Mindanao Massacre...
Flood is all over in KSA...
Huge fires burned dreams of many families on different parts of Manila, just before Christmas...
Recently, the 2 ferry disasters...


What more could we get?
There are one day left before 2009 closes... and we will never know what will happen tomorrow.

On all the above tragedies... are there any reasons to celebrate?

Definitely, if you are now reading this blog... you should say YES.
Because you are still able to read... and you have a computer... you have an internet... you have an electricity... you have time... you have life.

We had been pushed to our limits. Our faith has been tested through this most difficult times.
Each of us had our own share of sufferings...
And the only difference is on how we handle these hardships.
How we manage the pain.
How we cling to His words, and hold onto His promises.
On how we live by faith, and asked patiently for mercy and grace.

On one of the darkest year that was, we manage to stand.
We may not realize... but yes, we survived.

"...but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."
Isaiah 40:31

HE is faithful

My heart is overwhelmed with gratitude.
I am thankful that I was able to meet Him.
I am blessed for being His child.

Maybe last month or even month before that, I've discussed with my very close friend about God's generosity. I can remember how I wonder about God's grace... for He has blessed me with so much, yet I know that I am not worthy...

I don't count my blessings on material things that I have... more than that, I am thankful for a lot of reasons.
  For having a happy and loving family, for their good health, for keeping them safe.
  For finding a new church and family in Sharjah that embraced us warmly.
  For my bestfriend, who stays with me all these years.
  For giving me friends and for knowing who are true and not.
  For my job, a fair boss and good colleagues. I am thankful that our company is surviving despite all the crisis.
  For this life that He bestowed upon me... my simple happy life that I really enjoy.

  For the wisdom that He gives, that I may understand right from wrong...
  For the love that He shared, so I can share it to others as well...
  For the strength that He provide, so I can stand the hardest storms...
  For the faith that He builds up on me, so I will never ever give up...

  And most of all, for the birth of our Lord God, Jesus Christ, who saved me from all my sins and cleanse me and made me worthy of all His blessings...

For all the mentioned above, and many more unaccounted,  I have told my friend that somehow, I am ashamed on myself... my hands are always open wide in receiving abundant blessings from Him... but, have I give anything back? Am I worthy of all these?

And my friend told me that I should not question God's generousity. Because He is a giving God.
He promised to provide us all that we need...

"For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations..."
 Psalm 100:5

On my prayers, I don't ask for anything more than what I need. I keep on telling Him that He knows my heart's desire...

Yet He still blessed me with so much...and answers my prayers on His perfect time!

I hope not to sound too proud about my faith...
All I want is to be a living testimony of God's words... to share with you how generous He is in blessing those people that put their trusts in Him.

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well."
Matthew 6:33

Simply Happy

Sorry for not posting for quite some time...
December, as always is the busiest month of the year.
And it rolled double for me... adjusting to my new boss and living in our new home :)
Actually, we had some holidays, but of course, I won't spend it sitting all day in front of computer to write... sorry, but I also have a life :)

but then again, I am here to share some with you...

Eid Al Adha passed... we had 4 straight days off :)
and it was all well spent.
Not the same as how we celebrate before. No out of DXB trips... No shopping... No Malling!!!
Instead, we had simple hang out with our new found family... we attended to our newChristian church in Sharjah and enjoyed exploring the new place where we live.

(Qanat Al Qasba - Sharjah)

It was more of having quality time... to rest, relax and pause for a while.

(Buhaira Corniche - Sharjah)

This new world is totally the opposite of what we had in Dubai.
Yes, this is the "worst - traffic" destination in the UAE, but it is nothing compared to the peaceful life that we are enjoying.
2nd December - the UAE 38th National Day. It's celebrated all over the Emirates.
Sharjah, of course is one of them, and for the first time, we were able to witness the fun.

Last year, I shared with you how I admire the Emirati for their patriotism during the 37th UAE National Day. And this year, I was there on the street, watching these people celebrating their country's Independence... looking at these proud and happy people waving their flag as high as they could.

The above events are not new to me, the only difference is that this year, it gave me a new meaning.
I may be stuck in traffic once in a while... far from huge malls and world's largest... but the life that I am living is greater than before.

We are now far from the race track, where time runs fast, and leave unnoticed.

I have found happiness through these moments, and I finally have a new home...


Two occasions on the opposite side of the world.

Thanksgiving in the US... Eid Al Adha in the Middle East.
Both celebrations are spiritual... basically dwells on gratitude.

In US, it is the time of giving thanks to God for the many blessings...
In ME, it is the commemoration of obeying God, willingness to follow by the traditional offering of sacrifices...

Our world today may be considered fatal... crisis is now covering the earth.
Yet, despite all the trials, the war, the disasters, plagues around the world...
Praise God for tradition of Thanksgiving and Eid... because during these days... even for once, both the Muslim and Christians were together, being grateful to our Lord God. 

And in these difficult times, gratitude reminds that God is good!

When we dont know what to do, when all our best efforts seems to be no effort... gratitude reminds us of our purpose... that we cannot do things alone, unless we seek for God's help, unless we are willing to obey, only then that our efforts will have effects...

When we are down and discouraged, when we think that everything is useless... gratitude empowers us with joy and give us reasons for hope.... it tells us that, Yes! Indeed we are blessed! It reminds us that we can all be well... we just have to have faith...

True thanksgiving means that we need to thank God for what He has done for us, and not to tell Him what we have done for Him.

I know I am quite late... but still, I am thankful... :)

Puerto Princesa: @ "The Last Frontier"

Puerto Princesa, is the cleanest city in the Philippines, the capital of the so called "The Last Frontier" which is Palawan.

Home of the Lofty Mountains, Rainforests and The World's Longest Underground River - PALAWAN UNDERGROUND RIVER , it is the second largest province in the country. With its 1,768 islands, the province has vast tracts of tropical rainforests and marine wilderness. Palawan was proclaimed as Fish and Wildlife Sanctuary.

From Manila, it only takes less than an hour to reach Puerto Princesa, by air... and when travelling within the city and short trips, tricycles, multi-cab and jeepneys are available. Rent - a - car services are also available within the airport.

For first time travellers, the City Tourist Information and Assistance Center are available within the airport compound.

Hotels, resorts and transient apartments are everywhere. Of course, you secure your accommodation before going, though for those who dont, you wont regret since there are a lot of places to choose from, depending on your budget :)

Staying in resorts within the city is recommended since there are a lot of tourist destinations around, it will be easier to roam and transport won't be a hindrance.

Because aside from hopping along the HUNDA BAY which is only 30 minutes from the city proper, there are a lot of exciting places to visit...


This mansion - in - the - sky is owned by the family of former Senator Ramon Mitra.
Over looking the city of Puerto Princesa, Mitra's Ranch has been one of the best destination in the city.
and not too far from this is another exciting place to dine and relax.


Yes, basically, its a bake shop... and a lot more!
The owners were generous enough to share their beautiful vacation house to visitors.
And from mountain top, you can also go inside and experience Palawan's rainforest,
and visit Crocodilesssssssss at...

This is another must try adventure. Aside from a close up encounter with Crockies of all sizes, you can also explore - at - your - own - risk the Nature Park.
Tired from all these???

KA LUI has prepared something for you to pamper not just your hungry stomachs but to give you a total relaxation as you come to visit their place:
And of course, we won't leave the place without souvenirs...
IWAHIG is the place where tourists come not just to buy,
but to visit...
IWAHIG PRISON & PENAL FARM is a prison without bars.
A wall-less community of minumun security prisoners serving out the last years of their terms.
These lovely souvenirs were created by them.
After a long day of fun and escapades within the island,
it is best to end the day with a bottle of San Mig Light

One day wont be enough for the Puerto Princesa city tour... that took us 2 days.
We alternate beach and land tours during our 5 days stay.
And its not enough... there are a lot of other places to visit within the island, not just in Puerto Princesa but in Palawan.

Hunda Bay, Palawan

Aside from the Palawan Underground River and Taraw Beach, Hunda Bay (aka HONDA Bay) is another prime destination in Puerto Princesa.
A perfect place for beach lovers, divers and snorkeling addicts like us...

There are several islets that comprises Hunda Bay;
Cowrie and  Bat, Señorita , Snake, Canon, Pandan, Starfish, Lu-Li (Lulubog-Lilitaw), Señorita, Meara Marina (the breeding sites of Lapu-lapu fish) and Arreceffi (where Dos Palmas is located).

We were lucky to visit four islands during our whole day tour...
and let me share it with you :)

(Lulubog-Lilitaw or Floating and Sinking Island)
It is only visible on low tide...
and since its low tide, our boat cannot come closer.
within the area, we had our first Honda Bay snorkeling at "The Little Tubbataha"
and here's the explanation for the island's name :)
after a delicious lunch and a never ending pictorial with starfish...
we had another snorkeling adventure at...

ooops... not the same as Starfish Island with a lot of Starfish on it,
the island's name was derived from its curvaceous tongue shape, like a snake :)
and our final stop...

and unfortunately, I cannot confirm whether there are lot of Pandan trees there
or its shape is like Pandan as well... :)
but what I know is that, its perfect to be on the last part of the tour...

"The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of His hands."
Psalm 19:1

Taraw Beach, Palawan

Palawan Underground River adventure doesn't end under ground...
After the tour in Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park,
you can continue your sun, sand and water escapades at...


Along  the beachside of Taraw lies different nipa hut resorts and restaurants...

Another best from the row of bestssss from Palawan, Taraw Beach gives genuine relaxation from very simple and natural way...

What is better than a nap under the shade of a tree after a delicious lunch?

And for the first time, I saw a Carabao along the beach...
only here in Taraw!

Palawan Underground River

This is an overdue post...

I went to Palawan last July, as part of my month long vacation in Manila.
There are a lot of blogs written about this beautiful island, and what I will share is just a glimpse of what we experienced. The Underground River is in Puerto Princesa...

 Its about an hour boat ride from Sabang Island, where the boats are waiting.
And if you think its long enough, you are sooo wrong!

Because the boat ride is a peek of this beautiful adventure!
The breathtaking view only proves that Palawan is one of the best island not just in the Philippines but in the whole world. And I am really grateful that I have seen these wonder in my own eyes...
God is really good! His creations are perfect!!!

And if you think that it ends there...
then, you have to think again!
because the above photos are just bonus from this trip to one of the longest navigable underground rivers in the world.
Upon reaching the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park which is about 5,000 hectares of well preserved forest, you will have a foretaste of what being so close to nature feels...
The smell of the forest... enjoying the shade of huge trees while walking with monkeys (I mean real monkeys) and  hearing the sound of waves from the sea.
As if nature embraced you tightly :)
At the end of this forest path is the cave's entrance....
and again, there is so much more...

Entering the cave is an undescribable feeling.
I had fears because we don't know what might happen inside... accident or something and there is no light... only flashlight provided by boatman.
I was afraid because its underground....
but more than that...
I entertained the feeling of excitement.
What is under this underground river?
The formations from stalactites and stalagmaites here are known to resemble different images...
I have captured some...
As we enter the cave, we were welcomed by
opening - the - curtains like formation ...
giving way to our boat...
Not so far from the entrance are the Bat Caves...
where there are "Bat Rooms"...
with "Bat Shits!" :)
These figures were said to be crocs...
Hungry crocs!!!
This angel - like formation is in the "Cathedral" area, where the highest ceiling of the cave are, and formed a dome. Here, religious images are seen.
The image of
"The Holy Family"
it is located at one of the tallest pillars in the "cathedral".
and below,  it's a Unicorn...
Next comes the "veggies section"
the "Highway 54"
The "horror" area ...
as if this is cemetery where cross are marked on the walls.
and a creepy "head of a monster"...
some formation seems so real...
and the explanation is up to the viewers interpratation.
Upon reaching the end of the tour (but not the end of the cave),
we took a U-turn and had another glance...
There are a lot more to see...
amazing images that are better seen inside than in pictures.
The underworld is marvelous...
Another proof of God's mighty hand that is beyond our imagination!
As always, the light at end of the tunnel is something to look forward to...
there awaits, Paradise!
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