Meditation and Reflection

It’s the time of the year where Catholics or Christians get the chance to reflect and meditate about God’s suffering and love for us. This is the time where we give up something for the benefit of others. As one of the priests in the Parish said, let every act be an encounter with the Lord.

I honestly don’t know what to give up this year. In the end, I decided to give up meat for the whole season and thinking ill of others. I feel that I need to add more sacrifices but I’ll think about it along the way.

Maybe I don’t need to sacrifice something but reflect more instead. I’m always challenged to meditate. With all the chaos in this world, I find it hard to pause and sit back. It’s always an effort for me to do this. As much as there’s an opportunity to do this in groups, I join instantly. I remember going to a meditation retreat some time back. I don’t know what I’m thinking but I just wanted to try. It’s in Brahma Kumaris located in Tagaytay, Philippines.

Meditation for me means silence plus aromatic scented candles on the side. I’m not sure if some of you thinks the same way or it’s just me. I think the smell also helps in keeping your mind calm and at peace. Sometimes, a nice air freshener can do the trick. However, I simple recommend the natural smell of the nature. I love to go to Caleruega for self meditation and to practice silence. The beauty of the nature makes you feel relaxed and will help you recharge your energies both in mind and body.

Any way of reflection and meditation is a sure way to get to know yourself and your God better. It just takes courage and discipline to make time to feed your soul.

I hope this Lenten Season, may we all get to know ourselves better with the help and guidance of our Lord. May we all feel his loving presence as we discover ourselves better.

Have a meaningful and reflective Lenten Season.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.

2014 January Travel: Melbourne, Victoria

January 25-28, 2014

Airfare: Return Ticket – $198
Airlines: Qantas – Jetstar
Accommodation: Arrow on Swanston

Itinerary:
- Day 1 : Walking tours 1 & 4
- Day 2 : Australia day & Docklands
- Day 3 : Rod Laver Arena, Botanic Gardens and Shrine of Remembrance
- Day 4 : Walking tour 5

Warning: Picture overload *

This is my first travel out of NSW state. Hahaha! We managed to book a promo flight to Melbourne during the long weekend of Australia day celebration. In short, we were in Melbourne celebrating Australia day. This was also my first Australia Day celebration! Hahaha.

Flying to Melbourne via Qantas

 

We initially thought of joining a tour but we changed our mind. We decided to just chill and explore Melbourne city at its finest. Well, we did experienced the extreme weather on our stay there. I can’t remember all the details of our little adventure but will share what I can remember.

 

Day 1: Walking tours

The weather on our first day was a bit strange. I was expecting a cool breeze but never imagined it will be that cold. Haha! Imagine people wearing jumpers and bubble jackets while I was wearing a short and a t-shirt. Good thing I brought my cardigan so that somehow sustained me for the meantime. Luckily by midday, the warmth of the sun can be felt. We just have to stay under the sun because you can still feel the cool breeze if you’re under the shade.

Flinders Street Station

We first went to the famous Flinders Street Station then cross the street to Federation Square. We went inside the information area and took advantage of the free maps and guides for the tourists.

Federation Square

We decided to do the walking tours 1 & 4! Let’s start with Walking Tour 1: A Walk in the Park. You can check the link to see the detailed map guide for this tour. I’m not so sure with the history and everything but it’s interesting to know small details and hidden gems within the city.

Free Melbourne Walks Guide

Artwork at Hosier Lane

Hop On Hop Off bus of Melbourne City

Fitzroy Gardens

Inside the Conservatory

Inside Captain Cook’s Cottage

Model Tudor Village

Fairies’ Tree

Fountain with dolphins and underwater creatures near Elms tree

St Patrick’s Cathedral

That’s the first half of the day’s itinerary. After doing that walk in the park, we were so hungry and can’t decide where to eat. We traversed the street where there were lots of restaurants. We were able to spot a restaurant where a lot of customers were being served. We have this idea that when a restaurant is full, that means it’s good and affordable. So we hurried inside this vietnamese restaurant named Mekong. Apparently, this was the best Vietnamese restaurant in the city. How did I know? Well, hearsay! hahaha.

Mekong Vietnamese Restaurant

After lunch time, we continued doing the walking tours and we did the 4th one that says Walking Tour 4: Arcades and Lanes.

Niagara Lane

Block Arcade

Gog and Magog

Day 2: Australia Day & Docklands

It’s Australia Day and it’s my first time to celebrate it. So I told them that we go to the city and check out the parade. We waited there and watched but I had mixed feelings while seeing the participants. I was expecting a more “Aussie” related stuff. Haha! But I felt like I was watching a United Nation parade. No offence meant but I was just expecting a bit more.

Australia Day in Melbourne

Australia Day in Melbourne

Australia Day in Melbourne

After the parade, we went straight to lunch at one of the alleys in the city. We tried MAX restaurant and felt like we were in Europe for some reason. The food was great and the ambiance as well. It’s just perfect.

Lunch at Max Restaurant

After lunch, we went to Queen Victoria Market to check out the sunday markets. There were lots of people and majority of what they’re selling are cheap. There were cheese, fruits and veggies that cost way cheaper compared to Sydney. We were thinking of buying fruits before going home but we were already tired on our last day so we trashed the idea. Haha! There were food stalls as well and saw a Filo Bbq stand named “Hoy Pinoy“. Since we’re already full, we didn’t tried one. Maybe next time though.

Queen Victoria Market

Filipino BBQ in Queen Victoria Market

We then catch a tram going to the Docklands. It’s time to shop! We rode an art themed Tram then saw the bike hire going to the shops. I really wanted to try one but I don’t want to do it alone. There’s always a next time!

Artwork Tram in Melbourne

Docklands

Bike ride in Melbourne Docklands

Day 3: Rod Laver Arena, Botanic Gardens and Shrine of Remembrance

Rod Laver Arena with Mitchy and Cha

Royal Botanic Gardens with Mitchy

Herbarium inside the Botanic Garden

We’re off to another walking tour again. We first went to the Rod Laver Arena then inside the Botanic Gardens. After the long walk, we headed to the Shrine of Remembrance where we thought we’re in Athens! Such a nice architecture. This is where the parade finished during the Australia Day. It’s a long walk form the City to the Shrine. I’m sure the participants were tired after the long parade.

Shrine of Remembrance

Shrine of Remembrance

In front of the Shrine of Remembrance

It was 35 degrees that time so we agreed to have lunch in Dessert Story a Taiwanese restaurant where they serve ice cold desserts. We ordered cold taho and mango ice something. I forgot what the name but it’s a huge tower of ice with cream, sago and mango. So yummy! Our ice cold cravings were satisfied.

Dessert Story

Melbourne

By the afternoon, we just strolled in the nearby malls because we can’t contain the heat outside. We went home to rest for a while and ate dinner at Medallion, on of the restaurants you can find in the Greek Precinct. After dinner, I told them that we should try drinking coffee at Degraves since it’s famous for that. So we headed to that alley and had coffee at Il Tempo cafe.

Coffee at Degraves

We all went home satisfied.

Day 4: Walking Tour 5

Since it’s our last day in Melbourne with a 44 degrees in temperature, we just did the Walking Tour 5: The Cosmopolitan. The walk consists of malls and shops within the city. We walk inside every mall we saw. Literally! hahaha! We can’t think of anything else to do so we settled to this one.

I didn’t even have any photo of this day except for our lunch in Hoptoun Tea Room in the Block Arcade. The photo is not that good though coz the it has poor lighting inside the room. It’s a bit crowded but the food is really nice especially the dessert. You’ll feel that you’re with English men having afternoon tea parties.

In summary, we enjoyed our stay in Melbourne CBD. We should’ve tried some tours but it can be done next time. I can say that Melbourne is truly famous for their fashion style and artistic sense. It has a lot of food precinct where your cravings can be satisfied at an instant. The negative thing was the weather is really bad. Sorry to say but it’s just extremes!

Melbourne mates: (L) Jocy and Judith, (Upper Right) Sir Mike, (Lower Right) Mitchy

Well, I’d still want to visit Melbourne to see friends. Speaking of, I did see them and had a quick catch up while I was there. On the first night, I met up with PinoyAu friends, Judith and Jocelyn. On the second night, I met up why my former UST Professor, Sir Mike and his family. On the third day, I met up with a former colleague, Mitchy who joined us on that day’s walking tour. Thanks guys for making time to meet me! I appreciate it. ‘Til next time!

 

Product Talk: Pepsi Next

Product Talk by Nuffnang

I’m off to see another movie with friends in North Sydney’s Sunset Cinema. I already saw ‘Frozen’ on the first Friday of the month with family and friends. This coming Friday, I’m off with former colleagues and friends to watch ‘Saving Mr. Banks’. I’m so excited to experience that with people who I enjoy to be with.

North Sydney Sunset Cinema

Since it’s a picnic cinema, it’s BYO food and drinks excluding alcohols. So pizza and a nice cold beverage is perfect! Recently, I got a package of Pepsi Next that was already out in the market for quite some time now. This new addition to the Pepsi family is a great tasting and relatively better for you cola. Why? Because it contains naturally less sugar than others. It’s marked in the cans that it’s 30% less sugar! Not only that, it is sweetened naturally using Stevia. However, I have something to say with that. Although it is all healthy and way less sweeter than Pepsi Max, it has this slight after taste that might annoy some people. It’s not that obvious though but I asked my cousin who drinks cola more than he drinks water to try one too!

Pepsi Next

Have you tried one? Pepsi are inviting people of Australia to take part in a blind taste test of naturally less sugar Pepsi Next vs full sugar Coca Cola to see which taste they prefer. You can see all details on their Facebook page: Pepsi Facebook Page

Wondering where to get one?

Pepsi Next is available in major supermarkets, petrol stations and convenience stores. The price of each depends on the place of purchase. It is available from 600ml single service bottle to 24 pack of cans.

So rush to your nearest supermarket and try one!

Share me how you like it!  

Thoughts on Laundry

Who loves to do the laundry? Hhhmmm, hardly anyone I suppose? Well, most of us will have to do it eventually. Back in the Philippines, we practice a different style of laundry cleaning. I am very sure that laundry cleaning in other countries is way better than what I grew up with. Hahaha!

My mom is a neat freak, so she make sure that everything is clean and that includes our clothes. Here’s our cycle:

  1. separate whites, colored and blacks
  2. run the washing machine and then put the dirty clothes by batch
  3. fill up 3 tubs with water
  4. fill the 4th tub with water and fabric conditioner
  5. after the machine does the work, every clothing must be rinsed by going thru the 3 tubs and finally the 4th tub with fabric conditioner.
  6. then this is when you have to put all the clothes in the spin dryer
  7. then hang clothes.
It takes 7 steps to do one batch of laundry!

My mom is also particular with stained clothes. A red wine stain, chocolate stain and more often make up and lipstick stain! Hahaha! Those Those stained ones are left in a tub for a while before joining the rest of the clothes inside the machine.

I observed that doing the laundry here in Australia is way more convenient. The detergent, stain remover and the fabric conditioner are all in one place. So you just have to put them all in their respective places then start the machine and that’s it. After the first run, you are ready to hang your clothes already.

On the other hand, since most of the houses here have carpets and the likes, that’s where you may face some challenge. You wouldn’t want to see stubborn carpet stains, right? I’m not sure if some carpets are to be washed in a washing machine or dry cleaned. But I think they usually just put on some foam or detergent to remove it.

Well, however you do your laundry. Make sure not to mix all clothes together. It was one of my biggest mistake and I end up spoiling half of the clothes I washed.

Do you have any tips in doing the laundry?
You might want to share it!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.

Random Wednesday: Pandora Series – Second Set of Charms Collection

Late last year, I shared with you my first Pandora charms collection. By this time, I was able to collect another 3 charms.

Here are the charms I got:

The Birthday Blooms September Charm was given to me by my sweet boyfriend. It was just so happen that our friend Richard is going back to Sydney for business trip so I was able to get it. So happy to get one from someone I love.

The Purple Rounded Silver Pave Charm with Cubic Zirconia was again a gift from a friend. Our almost “relative” here in Australia noticed that I’m collecting Pandora charms. Lucky enough, they bought something I like that I think I would never buy for myself. Haha! So thankful to have generous friends.

The Cross Dangle Charm is a second hand charm that I bought from eBay. I almost got a $15 off from buying a pre-loved charm. I don’t mind buying from trustworthy sellers since these are silver. This cross represents God. Even though this is not blessed like the rosaries. It still reminds me to thank the Lord for all the blessings He has given me every single day.

I still need to get the Cherry Blossom and Sydney Opera House charm that will represent my travel in Japan and migration to Sydney. I’d probably get those this year. Hopefully! (I’ve got too many wants in my list as of the moment… hehehe!)

So here’s how my Pandora bracelet looks like:

Pandora bracelet as of January 2014

Looks great, isn’t it?

 

* Photo Credits: Pandora Charms grabbed from Pandora Australia’s website

2014 January Travel: Jervis Bay Area, South Coast, NSW

My family were off to Jervis Bay for a week last week. It is a 2.5-3 hour drive from Sydney CBD. We intended to do it a week after the normal Christmas break so as not to be with the traffic. It will be very busy during that season so we decided to move our “vacation” a week after.

We rented a house in Hyams Real Estate website and looked for a suitable one for us. We thought that we would be a group of 2-3 families but with some reasons that didn’t happen. Well, at least we were able to secure a place where we all sleep in a bed. Well, their sofa set is somehow a day bed so the house can actually accumulate up to 12 pax. We stayed at Silver Strand circle. You can check it out here: 6 Silver Strand Circle Chill Out.

To cut the story, I will just show you some of the pictures we took during this vacation. A little description might help too, I guess.

Hyams Beach

This is the closest beach in our location, just steps away. This is where we spent the most of our time. It is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as having the whitest sand in the world. And I can attest, it is really white and very fine.

Our tent at Hyams Beach

You see how dark we were at Hyams Beach?

Sand art at Hyams Beach

Photo taken from my iPhone

 

Jervis Bay

We went to see some places around the area on our second day. Went to some rock formations and the old lighthouse. We stayed in the beach for a couple of hours as well.

Jervis Bay Lighthouse

Rocks at Jervis Bay

Emo shot at Jervis Bay Rocks

Jervis Bay

View taken from my iPhone

Jervis Bay beach taken from my iPhone

 

Batemans Bay

We didn’t really stayed here. My uncle just took a photo on our way to Tilba.

Batemans Park

Batemans Beach Park

 

Tilba & Mogo

On our third day, we went out and had a break from swimming. We went all the way to Tilba, about 2 hours away from Hyams Beach. It’s a long drive going there as if we’re going back to Sydney.

Family at Tilba

Tilba’s toy shop

Candy store at Tilba taken from my iPhone

Anyway, we left around 10am and arrived by midday. We had lunch at one of the bakeshops in Tilba and ate some pies. We went from shop to shop and left to go to Mogo.

Mogo shop taken from my iPhone

Mogo shops taken from my iPhone

Mogo shops taken from my iPhone

Mogo is a small town an hour away from Hyams. So we decided to go there on our way back from Tilba to Hyams. Again, we just checked the shops and went home.

 

We spent the rest of the week at Hyams and just chilled. I got burnt when we stayed for 2 hours in the afternoon sun. I forgot to put on two layers of sunscreen. Speaking of, make sure that you pack enough stuff that offers protection from the sun or else you’re doomed. Hahaha! Make sure you bring after sun spray too and take a shower after sun bathing and being soaked in the sun. This is the time when you need some extra tender loving care for your skin especially your face. A facial wash the gives you some deep cleansing is helpful. You also have to hydrate and moisturise your face and possibly your body after washing. We are all red and tanned by the end of the week and we all need to take care of our skin.

 

It was a relaxing week for everyone and will be looking forward to our next adventure.

Have you been somewhere lately?
Would you mind sharing it?

* Photo Credits: Reggie Vega

Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Light Show

On the second Saturday of the year, we went to Hunter Valley Gardens to see the Christmas Light show. It is a 2-hour drive North of Sydney. It is known for the vineyard and wineries similar to Nappa Valley in the USA.

Hunter Valley

Since we only got the night entrance for the light display, we wandered around Hunter Valley first before going to the venue. We went to several vineyards one of which is the same place we’ve been to almost 4 years ago.

Hunter Valley

We bought some cheese and had some afternoon tea before we lined up for the light show. The gates opened at 7:30pm for the lights show. It was a huge garden where they setup colourful Christmas lights that delighted all the visitors.

 

Here are some of the photos taken that time:

Hunter Valley Gardens

Hunter Valley Gardens

Hunter Valley Gardens

Hunter Valley Gardens

Hunter Valley Gardens

Hunter Valley Gardens

Hunter Valley Gardens

 

It was worth visiting if you don’t mind long driving. It is still the season of Christmas so it was nice to check out these kinds of places.

 

Do you have a post Christmas getaway?
Where were you off?

Prayer Life 2014

Every year, I always buy a Catholic Bible Diary as food for my soul. This year, I’ve decided to do something different. I’m not sure if this is against the Catholic teachings or whatsoever but I’m doing it anyway. So, I want to share to you how I nourish my spirit and soul in case you’re curious about it.

First, I’m almost finished with the book that my aunt gave me for my birthday last year. The book is entitled “Why Bother Praying?” by Fr. Richard Leonard, SJ. I know the author because he celebrates mass in our Parish. In fact, he was the one who presided the Family Christmas Mass 2013.

2013 birthday gift: Why Bother Praying

 

The book gives you idea on why and how people pray. We all have our own way of “prayer” and this book just explains most of it. Try reading it; it’ll give you a different perspective on what is prayer all about.

 

He suggested one website where you can reflect and pray as the day goes by. It is very good for those people on the go as sometimes they don’t have time and make excuses that they’re always “busy”. You can visit the website: http://www.pray-as-you-go.com and click a specific day. It is a 10-15min reflection and Bible reading. I do this every morning as I go to work. Since I’m just taking the train to my workplace, I already bookmarked the website and listen to it as I travel. I also have a playlist of Christian Songs, either Hillsong, Inggo, Bukas Palad, etc. and listen to it until I arrive the office. It is such a good way to start the day.

Pray-As-You-Go website

By the end of the day, I read a book entitled “Love out Loud”. It is 365 Devotions for Loving God, Loving Yourself and Loving Others by Joyce Meyer. I saw this book in Instagram that Sophie posted. I searched one on eBay and I got one for myself. I had this late last year but I just started reading it by the start of the Year.

All year round devotions

It helps me reflect on what happened during the day and how I was. Of course, a journal is always kept handy to note down important feelings or anything notable for the day.

So that’s how I plan to continue doing my prayer routine for the rest of the year. I hope I would be able to join and attend other life/spiritual enhancing activities but at least I have one that is constant.

 

How about you?
Do you have a prayer routine?

My 2013 Summary

Honestly, I was supposed to do this earlier but due to the Korean fever at the moment writing this post was delayed.

Korean fever – Boys over Flowers

Anyway, when I read my 2012 summary, I was proud to read my achievements especially in the blogging industry. Unfortunately this year, I didn’t have the events I had when I was in the Philippines. Half of my 2013 were spent in various places and by mid 2013, I flew to Australia as an immigrant.

Looking back, here are some of the highlights of my year. I summarized it by category and this year I provided some pictures to make up with my late posts.

 

Category: Beauty / Sponsors

As mentioned, it’s not as much as before but somehow I managed to have a few. I started my year with a hair makeover at Toni & Guy salon at SM Megamall and mid last year at Bhajun Salon in Westfield Parramatta. I also got to attend my last blog event for Eskinol early 2013 and found out that a post of Gyuma is displayed in SM North. Hahaha!

Category: Travel

The year 2013 was an awesome time for me to visit new places and travel with them. I have shared with you my experience on how to get a US Visa so going to the USA is one big milestone for me.

But first, I’ll share my random trips in the Philippines first.

Last February 2013, we went to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar to celebrate my grandfather’s birthday. We stayed in a beautiful old house there and just enjoyed Philippine history as we tour the area. By April 2013, my mom’s friend from the USA visited the Philippines and we went to Virgin Beach Resort in Batangas to enjoy the tropical beach. By May 2013, we went to Davao as a gift to my grandmother’s 80th birthday.  It was a time for me to see my dad as well before leaving for Australia. It’s nice that I was able to squeeze in these adventures back then.

Now let’s go international. Yay! My first international trip in 2013 was in the USA. I was able to secure a good deal of return ticket to San Francisco. I went there late February and stayed there for a month. I stayed in Sta. Cruz where my aunt lives so the nearest theme park was the Sta. Cruz Boardwalk. After some time, I went to San Leandro to visit my friend, former colleague at FTSP, Maan. I stayed there for a week and we toured San Francisco non-stop! We visited Monterey as well and met up with Bosconian friend, Anthony and Thomasian friend, Jay. It was a nice experience seeing them overseas. I definitely loved staying at Maan’s place and witness how cool her family is. We even went to Silicon Valley to see the famous Google office. After a week, I went to Los Angeles via bus by myself and stayed in my aunt’s friend’s place. I am so grateful for them as I was able to see the city of Los Angeles. Of course, I wouldn’t miss the theme parks there. That’s actually the main reason I went to the States. Hahaha! Call me childish but I simply love theme parks. So I had one day in Universal Studios, one day at California Adventure and one day at Disneyland. How cool was that!?! Even if I’m by myself, I can’t help but be happy and proud of myself experiencing it at that very moment. Another good thing, I was able to go to all the rides I wanted. I was so fortunate that there were no long queues for each ride and the max I waited was 10mins to be served. Just thinking about it makes me really smile! My mom’s friend, Tita Babes, same friend that we went with at Virgin Beach Resort, toured us in San Jose. We went to different places such as Winchester Mystery House, Jelly Belly and the Tech museum. It was one amazing US trip and wished I stayed longer and visited other states. I still want to visit friends in New York and New Jersey. Well, I’ll be back someday.

After the solo adventure in the US, I went back to the Philippines and prepare to have another trip overseas. Well, this was the time I maxed out my savings and just enjoyed everyday before migrating to Australia. I have a week to rest and organise my stuff for our “family” trip to Japan! Yeeesss! Since Andrew’s 3 aunts resides in Japan, it’s the first country that his parents want to visit. Since it’s their first family overseas, they wanted to see their relatives in Japan. So we packed our bags and off we go to Osaka! We went to his aunt’s place in Kyoto and experienced an authentic Onsen there. Oh how I love and missed Japan! Hehehe. After Osaka, it’s time to visit the relatives in Tokyo. We rode the overnight bus from Kyoto to Tokyo and explored the city with his relatives. Since it was the time of Cherry blossoms, it was definitely a trip to remember! I’ve always loved “sakura” and it was really special that I was with Andrew this time around. We visited parks and places where we can find cherry blossoms and took pictures of everything. We also went to Disney Sea but didn’t enjoy it as much I enjoyed Disneyland in the US. Apparently, it was school holidays and all the kids and other tourists were at the theme park. We waited for 3hours in one ride that only last for less than 5mins. Oh well, it was still an enjoyable ride. We also went strawberry picking in one of the towns in Japan and I ate all I can pick. Hahaha! I also went to my cousins in Hamamatsu, a 3-4hr-bus ride from Tokyo. I stayed overnight there and went to see Mt. Fuji and the theme park Fuji-Q Highland Amusement Park. The rides in that theme park are the bomb! Guinness Book of Records awarded three of the rides as world’s best. Unfortunately, due to the weather, I got to ride only one. The ride was the world’s steepest roller coaster, Takabisha! It prides itself with world’s steepest drop at 121 degrees tilt drop free fall! My cousin admits that he was shaking after and can’t find his breath. Hahaha! It was awesome! I’ve got to be back that park with Andrew and hopefully all the rides are operational by that time. It was really an unbelievable family adventure. Looking forward to more!

 

Category: Events

After the adrenalin rush filled adventures, it’s time to pack up and prepare myself to a new life in Australia. Weeks before my departure, I planned some meet ups with friends as farewell dinner since I won’t be back for more than a year. So friends from elementary to college as well as colleagues and family had a chance to dine with me before leaving. It was not as dramatic as you think but more on bon voyage messages.

Late May 2013, I’m off to Sydney. Due to the foggy weather in Australia that time, my flight was delayed so I still had time to communicate with friends and family before departure. The time is up and I need to board the plane. I’m not sad but excited. I know I’ll be missing a lot of events and opportunities in the Philippines but it’s always a dream of mine to venture overseas and see if I can manage to stay alive. Hahaha!

photo includes my grandma’s 80th birthday celebration

As I arrived in Sydney I said to myself that I’ll make an effort to be in. I should acclimate myself in this new environment and learn the do’s and don’ts. If I can, as much as possible, I want to involve myself in the community and whatever opportunity life brings to me. As a result, here are the highlights of my Sydney life.

I joined the Parish’s Youth group and played the bass with guitar during the mass. I also joined them in the Church’s activities such as the Theology on Tap where we made it to the Catholic Weekly newspaper. I also joined the World Youth Day Rio event held in Sydney and experienced what the pilgrims are doing at that very moment. It was fun to get to know new acquaintances that share the same interests.

I also found myself being involved in Sydney marathons. Although I’m not a runner in the Phils, I managed to train myself and run for at least 5k in an event. In 2013, I did 3 runs in total namely: City2Surf, Blackmores Bridge Run and Rebel’s Run Sydney marathon.

Also, it was my first time to attend a concert tour ever! Since my cousin is a die-hard fan of Beyonce and is also the “Beyonce” of their school, we got the tickets months before the said event. I was hesitant at first but I must say it was worth it.

About 2 months after I arrived, I am thankful that I was able to find a job. I am a developer analyst in one of the small business firms in Bondi Junction. In this job I was able to enhance my skills in programming and develop my training skills as well. I was able to go to Newcastle and Wagga Wagga for training because of NEXA Group.

I felt that I’m settling in nicely so I want to learn a few things that I’ve always wanted to acquire. I signed up for a Beginners Hip-Hop class, Yoga, Training to become a Eucharistic Minister, Driving lessons and deepening my faith thru the First Spiritual Exercises. It was a good start up lessons for me and I’m excited to enrol to other lessons in 2014.

I am also grateful that we were able to see new places in NSW such as the famous “The Dish” at Parkes, Cowra Japanese Garden and Bowral’s shopping centre. I also went to Watsons Bay, La Perouse and Shark Bay. I also went to Canberra with Reg to see the tulips at Floriade 2013.

There are random things also quite nice mentioning like going to Chatswood Concourse to see Australia’s The Voice winner Harrison Craig, first birthday celebration in Sydney at Sake Restaurant, Christmas and New Year as a permanent resident.

Finally, with all the events, lessons and travels I had, the best things to cherish are the times where I met new friends and see old friends. In 2013, friends from the Philippines visited Australia and I’m thankful that they kept in touch knowing that I am here in Sydney. I’ve met Richard, a former colleague that I haven’t seen for quite sometime and thru him I got to know new friends as well.  Kuya JC together with Bo Sanchez’ family and friends went to Sydney to witness the Hillsong event. It was amazing that he was able to coordinate a meet-up with me. It was because of him that I was able to see our long lost friend Marge who is also residing in Sydney. I was able to meet Filipino community thru PinoyAu forum meet ups. I’ve attended 2 gatherings since I’ve been here. By late 2013, I was able to see a dear friend who I haven’t seen in more than a decade. I’m thankful that Diana didn’t hesitate to contact me and share her time with me when she was here.  My good friend Reg came to Sydney a year before me and introduced me to her friends as well. I was able to see our former University classmate Xave thru her as well. I’ve gain new friends from the Parish community and so thankful that they’ve welcomed me warmly.

 

I can’t explain in words how thankful I am for all the blessings and opportunities I’ve received in 2013. It’s been a bit of a struggle but definitely a gift of grace. I am looking forward to a better me for 2014. I don’t have a list of resolutions but I’ll make sure that I’ll take steps to become a better person this year.

Farewell 2013, Hello 2014!

It’s been a great 2013 for me and hopefully for the rest of us. We can bid farewell to 2013 and welcome a new start this 2014. I am fortunate enough to see an amazing fireworks display in Lavender Bay, Sydney despite the massive crowd and long walk. Here are some photos I took from my camera.

shot from Lavender Bay

shot from Lavender Bay

No negative vibes for the start of the year. Only good vibes are allowed today and the rest of the year. Here’s a shot of the fireworks from Sydney’s Official NYE Website!

official photo from #nyesyd

official photo from #nyesyd

 

official photo from #nyesyd

 

Wishing you all a very prosperous 2014!!! Happy New Year!!!