double ten…double happiness…

thank God we arrived Taipei, Taiwan safely last Thursday morning, eastern time, and despite having traveled for 13 hours, we started the day already touring the city and checking out what we’ve missed for the last ten or so years that we have not visited..

yesterday, October 10, or double ten, was a special date for three good reasons, for me, i.e.

here in Taipei, Taiwan, it is a big holiday, double ten is the National Day of Republic of China. it was when the Republic was established after the fall of Qing Dynasty in China.. ahem,, it’s from wiki pedia.. read here.. now for a little chinese calligraphy: the number ten is written like a plus sign 十 so, the date October 10, is written as: 十月十日 and two tens would look like this:

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October 10 is my father’s birthday as well though i never met him while growing up as he was gone before i turned a year old via vehicular accident. Happy birthday, Papa!

and lastly,the day also happens to be our 22nd wedding anniversary!! it’s double two on double ten.. :)… and double happiness of course…

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so, it’s partly why we have decided to do a five day R & R here before finally heading home, to celebrate our anniversary.

what do i know of Taiwan? Taiwan, though a tiny leaf shaped island, as i see it is a bustling little nation, not so much making noise in the outside world but if you come visit, you’ll see that she is progressing quite steadily. it is known to be greatly involved in manufacturing industry, i remember when i was younger, most of our household items were “made in Taiwan”.. but now she is into technological innovations as the rest of the world are so doing…

TAIWAN MAP

every night, the department stores are so so busy and they really spend to shop! i am so impressed… subway system is also efficient like Hongkong. i believe transportation efficiency is one major key to being progressive. people need to go places in less time to accomplish more. the little problem here i noticed is the language barrier, which is not unusual in many other Asian countries (except the Philippines due to huge American influence, and of course Singapore). though i can understand and speak very little mandarin, i am lucky to have my Dersky with me,, he speaks it fluently…

all in all, yesterday was a good day, double happiness for me :).. went to visit Tamshui (淡水) where the fisherman’s wharf is, which is accessible by MRT. here are some photos from places we’ve been to: (click photos for larger viewing)

 

we still have two full days here, will be checking night markets for good finds to bring home…

Thank You Dear Lord for my eyes, that i can see the beauty of your creation…
Thank You Dear Lord for my ears, that i can hear the noise that is life…
Thank You Dear Lord for my nose, that i can smell stinky tofu and know how good it is!
Thank You Dear Lord for my feet, that i spent the whole day walking.. bringing me to places new to me…
Thank You Dear Lord,, just Thank You… 🙂

“Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” ~Psalm 106:1

M.

thank God for June…

it’s June!!!!

it’s been 3 weeks since coming back from my long vacation in my home country, the Philippines.

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every time i come back from a long stay in Manila, i always get the homesick bug biting me deeply.. it took me that long to recover from vacation hangover and now that it’s the first day of June, i decided i have to totally fight it off and continue with my life as it used to be…

so today, i got up with a brighter outlook that things will be fine from today on wards.

first off, what’s happening this month? well, i will miss running a half marathon event this year here in B.C. since i have already run a half in Manila last April. even though i planned on joining the event on June 28th via the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon Run, i decided otherwise. maybe i will just be running the same distance on the same day, here in my neighbourhood, whatever… however, i signed up for the Color Run Vancouver on the 13th of June with my friend who invited me to join their group. run event is only for 5 kilometers but we’ll be running/walking/dancing to the finish line. i am so excited as it will be my first time to experience this.

then comes my 51st birthday on the 20th.. it’s a Saturday so i am looking forward to celebrating it with my Dersky since it’s his day off from work. hmmm,,, craving for some Mediterranean fare.. or maybe climb the Grouse Grind again with my girlfriends…. that would be great!!

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enough of sulking and missing home for me… i choose J-O-Y!! thank God for June, it’s my favorite month, it’s the month when God gave me the gift of life, He never had second thoughts in bringing me out into this world so how else will i repay Him but to enjoy His precious gift!!

Ciao! 

“Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! “~ Psalm 126:5

M.

i asked God for one, He gave me ten!!

i am so blessed!!

okay, i am not boasting. i hope anyone who reads my story will understand why i need to share the joy i have in my heart right now :)..

we all ask or request for many things for God to provide us with, or for Him to make things happen for us. never a day passes that we don’t…. from simple requests like praying for a parking slot at the mall, to big prayers such as healing from cancer. big or small, we pray for it and hope that God grants our requests… sometimes He does make things happen, sometimes He doesn’t, but what if we ask for something and instead of simply granting our request, God gives us MORE than what we asked for?!?!?! that will be so amazing, wouldn’t it?

ca3a3afebd24aa734a8b8aa82a77cdd85ad6238ce437c500e2ab686b670526a7when i ran my first half marathon, i told myself and my husband, it will be my first and only long distance run that i will be doing.. but what happened? i ran my 4th half marathon last month!! God gave me 3 more!

when i asked God to send someone that i should marry when i turn 29, He sent Dersky, exactly when i was 29 years old! after a brief courtship, we got engaged and got married and despite being childless, we have been together for 22 years!!! God gave me someone to be with for the rest of my life!

the most recent is, coming home to Philippines means definitely having to see/visit my eldest sister (with 10 years age gap between us). she is a busy body that we rarely get together whenever i come home for vacation. i was hoping maybe we can have just one dinner together so i prayed for it, asking God if there’s a chance that i can bond with her again and maybe bridge our on and off gap that normally happens between sisters…

guess what? oh my goodness! since arriving, i sent her text messages but never got a reply.. then out of the blues on a Sunday, she sent me a message asking if i wanted to go on a road trip with her, of course i said “yes” instantly… off we went just her and me.. next thing you know.. a few weekends later, we again traveled through Asia for 3 days, and bonded well.. it was a short vacation but we rekindled and maybe as we both matured, we have learned to mellow down and just be ourselves…. amazing God we have don’t you think so??? i asked for one but He gave me 10!!!

with my dear sister, DR. MILAGROS ONG-HOW

with my dear sister, DR. MILAGROS ONG-HOW, in Bangkok

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at Antonio’s in Tagaytay City

 so there… today i am flying back to B.C. back to my Dersky’s arms, with heartwarming thoughts of my time with my Atsi Mila.. thank You God for everything.. i am so so so blessed..

what has God given you that you never expected? God is so good He never fails… 

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M.

what running has taught me…

finally i ran my fourth half marathon Sunday morning via the National Geographic’s Earth Day Run 2015. the event was successful, at least for me, i finished without injuries and though didn’t beat my PR, i am happy i made it and for the first time in my birth country, the Philippines, for that matter.

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it was so humid that even in the first 20 minutes from start line i was profusely perspiring already… total opposite of my runs in cool cool Vancouver.. and to think that gunstart was at 3 a.m. my goodness! but it was good though, lots of victims of heatstroke in this country at this time of year and with thousands of participants, organizers perhaps made sure runners will be comfortable, except for maybe lack of sleep for some..

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my niece, with my sister midst the crowd

this was the struggle that went on in my mind while running:
-at 10kms, i thought i should have signed up for 10 instead of 21kms, so I conceded that I was
tired, began to slow down, walked a little, jogged a little,,,

+but,,, no, i’m in it so i have to finish with my best effort…

-but,,, i started imagining my shin pain, my ankle pain, my whatever pain,,

+but,,, i remembered all the hours i put in for training,, i mustn’t slowdown..

-but,,, i lack sleep, i have a good reason for a mediocre performance..

+-+-+- but.. but… i was battling my demons,, in the end, sheer determination and mind over matter prevailed… God has sustained me, i finished not beating my PR but beating my demons..

did you know that the devil attacks you at your most vulnerable state? had i been the same person i was before i met the Lord, i would be buried by now, probably killed myself or buried under my cloud of negativity and hopelessness.. but thank God He revealed Himself to me, yes, i was given choices before, but now, i can choose better because i have Him as my guide…

my dear friend and run mentor, Allyn also joined the run, though I wished we ran together, we weren’t able to find each other amidst the 20,000 participants, to look for her is like needle in haystack…. but I am truly grateful that she participated and we had our souvenir “finish” line photo again after 5 or so years…

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Me and Allyn – seems like old times.. 🙂

 

so what has running taught me? I realized that I am (we all are) the easy targets of the devil, the bible says “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” ~1 Peter 5:8 especially during our darkest and trying times, in our tiredness, he is just waiting to victimize us.

But take heart!! God is our victor! He lifts us up and helps us finish our race, through heat and blisters, from hopelessness to encouragement, all we need to be is faithful and trust in His Sovereignty… then we’ll cross the finish line defeating our demons.. God triumphs!

M.

a run dedicated to save the earth…

each time i tell my friends that i have signed up for this or that run, the next question they usually ask is, “what cause is this run for?”…

on April 26, this Sunday, yes that’s 6 days away from today,, i will be running my half marathon event (my first time in the Philippines) called Earth Day Run 2015 hosted by National Geographic Channel. it has been organized in partnership with the World Wild Fund (WWF) to save the endangered Philippine Buffalo or we call it Tamaraws (Bubarus Mindorensis), which mostly are found in Mindoro, an island south of Luzon.

THE TAMARAW

THE TAMARAW – wikipedia

mangyans

The Mangyans – wikipedia

their main objective is to help increase population of this species, as it is currently dwindling in number, at the same time help the natives (called “Mangyans”) who take care of the buffalos… or something like that.. the event also aims to raise funds to provide for electricity to the indigenious Mangyans. for registration fee of P950.00 (roughly US$21.50), i am happy to participate in it… truly we ought to be more wary of how we treat mother nature, also called our dear EARTH… the bible says in Psalm 24:1 “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it..”

if this is so, it is, therefore, just proper that we take care of mother earth. don’t you think we should take care of things that are only loaned to us or those that were put under our care? i pray that this project will be successful, it will be good for the next generation, lest they miss out on the wonderful world God meticulously created for us.. one project at a time, we will all get there.. monterey M.

21 @ 51

update on my running…. so far, my running life is in full bloom, i have been in Manila since February, and no cold and wet winters to keep me from running outdoors, no rains of “raincouver” to think about that i can run almost daily with my run team mates.. i was able to enjoy the cool crisp late afternoons/early evenings Manila experiences every February, and now as the summer heat sets in, running becomes more challenging for me, albeit humid nights, i am having the time of my life.

for this, i opted to sign up for the half marathon event for NatGeo Earth Day run on April 26th, and forego my plans of joining a run event in Vancouver this coming June.. i thought, since i’m here why not take a stab at it..

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yes i am turning 51 as well in June,, hence 21 @ 51, or 21 kms at age 51. i do not aim for any PRs, i will be so very happy if i can finish the race without injuries or you know, as we “seniors” start experiencing ha ha.. it’s really funny cuz now, next generation runners call me “Tita” (as in Aunt) or “Ate” (pronounced as AH-teh) as in Elder sister, a respectful way to call someone older.. when i was used to being called only by my first name.. i am really a senior citizen.. of course i embrace it and not resenting it.. with age comes wisdom, right??

long road

so,, afternoons/early evenings i run following a train plan for my fourth half marathon event. still feeling excited and a bit nervous each time i think about the race, especially now that i am running in the tropics, with high percentage of humidity, unlike in Vancouver, where summer climate is still cool in the mornings, and sometimes it even rains in summer. but one thing different here is that the gun goes off at 12 midnight or 2 a.m. because it gets really hot during late mornings!!! oh my goodness.. back in BC, we start at 7 a.m. for half marathon and 8 a.m. for full marathon, based on my past experiences, and still enjoy cool summer weather.. i wonder how it will be here.. will let you know.

lugs

that’s all for now… the old lady shall now sleep..  🙂

M.

can’t complain….

i am currently recovering from a very bad flu… er.. when is flu ever good eh?

for the past 3 or 4 days,, i was bedridden, never have i been this sick since moving here to Canada. i guess the pollution and not so clean environment in Manila somehow protected me from the virus he he, and here i am confined to living a sorta kinda dirt-free life that my immune system stopped functioning.. that’s how i imagined it..

my sister being a pharmacist, was the one monitoring my condition,, take this, drink that, get rest,, check your temperature,, but we don’t have thermometer at home, never thought of needing one,, and i got a bit of scolding he he.. i love my sister..

during those days i was in bed, i could hardly believe how mere flu can put me down. i was having crying bouts for reasons i couldn’t explain.. i wanted to be better ASAP, a lot of things going on in my mind….  it was as if all my fears appeared right in my front… i felt paralyzed…

on the other hand, it has also made me think less about my condition when i remembered Jonathan, my friend’s 16 year old son, handsome young man full of promise,  who had brain surgery and has been in and out of ICU for seizures,,,, when my only problem was my congested nose and not being able to taste what i eat,, thinking too of Jeedy, my friend who has lung cancer.. we used to exchange messages via facebook or emails, but she has not been in touch lately explaining that she did not have the energy to go online… why, i can still play online Ruzzle til the wee hours of the morning while recuperating…

can’t complain,, won’t complain… i also spent time praying,, and thanking God not because i am in a better condition than others, but because He gave me this flu to keep me grounded with life’s real aches and pain.. there are so much more pain happening in this world, and mine is just due to carelessness..

so…. i feel better now,,  i continue to pray for those who are ill,,, gravely ill… i pray that God takes them by His hand and ease their pain as He did with mine… eventually, we all get healed for as long as we entrust everything to our Healing God… emotional pain, physical pain.. He heals them all..

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits–who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” ~ Psalm 103:2-5

M.