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Sunrise and inspirational retreat in Manila!


Good morning Manila! Well, to be exact, good morning, Quezon City (QC)!

It’s 5:30 in the morning, and I have been up since four o’clock. What are the odds of me being wide awake early in the morning?  Who would have thought that I’ll be on the rooftop enjoying the morning fresh air and some “me” time to reflect, sing-a-long with my iTouch playlists all decked in sneakers, bug bracelet and the drive and energy to stretch, run, kick box, walk and jog for an hour. (if you know me, you know that I always manage to squeeze-in a little dance here and there depending on what’s playing on my iTouch playlist)

My four crumbcatchers, especially my littlest one, always reminds me that every day is an adventure, and witnessing the sunrise was a great way to start my day!

I paused as I noticed as I see the sun rises slowly – a reminder that there’s beauty in life that God created. Magnifico! Bellisimo! Maganda!

Things sometimes don’t go my way; detours in life sometimes derail my path to the finish line, sometimes the GPS malfunctions, but just like the sunrise and the sunset, my life has its own ups and downs. The sunset does not seem so bad because there’s hope that sun rises at dawn.  (It’s just that sometimes dawn takes forever to come and I get impatient!)

I really should not be complaining. Sometimes we tend to focus on the little pitfalls of life but when looking at the entire picture, there are so many things to be thankful for. I salute my sister-in-law (bless her heart) and my dear brother. This year has been tremendously tough – with the devastating news of breast cancer and family torn apart, my sister-in-law still has the courage and the high spirits to laugh out loud and enjoy the challenges and joys life has to offer. It does not mean you don’t cry wondering why. You just have to move on and continue to see and hope that the sun rises every morning.

There are those who move on and there are those that hold on to the mistakes and challenges of the past, living life with a heavy heart. Time does heal all wounds, but sometimes some people take forever to heal. I learned that it is better to forgive as soon as possible. Every thing happens for a reason and to latch on the heart aches and pains will only result in lost time spent being happy - and more wrinkles!

Music and exercise are a big part of my life: they are magical. They make me feel young. Studies reveal that as little as fifteen minutes of “zen exercise” is beneficial to one’s well being – not only with the physical benefits but also the positive effects exercise has on one’s moods. And music always adds additional zest to anything!

As I exercised early on, my mother was been busy gardening. I call it her “zen” gardening. I guess my Mom and I both get our Vitamin D’s first thing in the morning –
She all the way down in her garden…

While I sweat it out on the roof top!

Maybe you can join me in my early morning run on the rooftop? Believe me, it’s exhilarating!

Thanks to CrumbCatchers One and CrumbCatchers Three for pumping my iTouch with tunes from Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, Lady Gaga, Madonna, Leona Lewis, Gwen Stefani,  Sheryl Crow, Train, The PussyCats, Lady AntBellum, Taylor Swift,  Prince’s Purple Rain, Beyonce, Ace of Base,  Paramore, Rihanna, Carrie Anderwood, Kesha, Britney Spears, Rod Stewart’s “Forever Young”, Styx, Journey and more fun music….

Once you’ve worked out a sweat, you’ll see how your mind is all pumped with ideas and you’ll get this “gung-ho” feeling that you can definitely conquer today’s challenges.

I cool down to Yiruma’s “River Flows in You” , We the Kings, Lee DeWyze’s version of “Hallelujah” and Beethoven’s Piano Sonata in C Minor.

So are you now inspired to walk, run or dance? What’s on your playlist?

Starting the day in the right mood always helps, doesn’t it?

The first week being with my family after not being able to kiss them “good-morning” or “good-night” for a year, has been great for my soul. The worries I had about my parents’ and brothers’ health and well-being have subsided. It is so much better being with them as opposed to getting the news through Yahoo Instant Messaging or phone calls. I can clearly comprehend how they cope with their day-to-day now that I’ve been here. That’s why I try to visit every year since they moved back here in the Philippines in 2005.

However, I wouldn’t be able to visit every summer (July-August) if not for my very loving and supportive in-laws. I don’t really call my “second” family in-laws because I’ve always felt like I have known them since I was born. But for the sake of telling my story, I’ll call them my “in-laws”. My in-laws have made being away from my husband and four kids bearable. Taking care of a family needs another set of family to keep every one on schedule and happy. THANK YOU so MUCH! I am truly blessed!

As I was sitting on the wooden bench in the waiting room of PHC, with my Eee notebook on my lap, reading glasses, a sweater over my grey tee-shirt, tan shorts, sock slippers to keep my feet warm, a doctor stopped to chat as he got a glimpse of the photographs of today’s sunrise in my laptop.  He sat next to me and asked to see more scenic photographs. So I showed him my favorite: the Four Seasons photographs I took in Nomahegan Park in NJ. He then told me (proudly) that all the framed photographs displayed in the hospital are all his. I acknowledged that he did a great job. (I probably didn’t “emote” as much as I should have since he came back with a magazine article about him and his photographs). He said that it’s a great feeling when one’s work is recognized while still living and young! In my mind, I hope one day I’ll be a famous author – while I’m still alive ( too late for the “young” part, hehehe)

Twenty-eight days, that’s how long (or short) I’ll be here in Manila. I am on a very limited internet time and didn’t plan any trips to a resort…BUT what I have plenty of is priceless. Aside from plenty of time to “hang-out” at home, GT (get togethers) with friends at the mall, sitting on a wooden bench in the waiting room of the Philippine Heart Center (PHC) for seven hours (ay-yayay)! I have plenty of time to read and write!

This month my horoscope suggests that I take time to re-create myself and have fun…

I never thought the zodiacs can be that right!

(I wonder if shoe-shopping is part of re-creating myself, hehehe)

So…no more excuses…

Hugs and Kisses…and Keep smiling J

(Come visit again next week as I take our SISBA scholars from poor communities to a day in Manila Ocean Park.)


  1. Honey, This post, like all of your writtings, is just beautiful. Dad and I are very happy that we can give you the gift of time - time to be with your family.
    Josh just got up for water and I shared the pictures with him. The 2Js and I will read your blog together in the morning.
    Everyone is just great at home.
    Take care. Love, Mom

  2. You write beautifully, Jenjen.

    WOW! Just look at that incredible body!!!

    Have a wonderful weekend, sista!

  3. Beautiful sunrise photos - and there really are so many things to be thankful for! I am a new follower from MBC and would love for you to stop by my blog sometime - :)

  4. @Mom, I miss you all!
    @Veronica - thank you ( you can't see my mommy-rolls, hehe)
    @Beth, thank you :)


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