Farmers & Traders: What Really Goes On In The Rice Farming Industry

How the agribusiness industry fared throughout the years can be attributed much from the bargaining that goes on right from the farm gate to the traders. My family and I have been in the agribusiness, palay production in particular, for decades already. But it was only just recently that I ran a thorough analysis of the business processes involved in farming from the particulars in expenses and the actual tasks done.

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I asked Dad to give us a rundown of all the marketing processes involved but he told us we’ll learn along the way. I guess this is his way of saying that we conduct due diligence as far as agribusiness is concerned. 😉

From the data I gathered on Dad’s desk, what caught my attention is the market price of palay listed in one of the receipts (16.50php/kg). I asked Dad who dictates the market price and how did it arrive at that figure. He only smiled and said, “The traders dictate the market price.” My follow-up question was, “Based on what?” He answered, “Based on the market trends.”

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Just like stocks on a certain level. So if you’re a trader, you have the market power to set the price you desire. Depending on how you conduct your dealings as a businessman, this can either be a good thing or a bad thing as far as fair agricultural trade is concerned. Are traders really fair in dictating the market price for a particular agri product in the region? Does it follow regional market rates or the national market rates?

I haven’t taken any business education courses but I really would love to and if God wills it, I plan to take up a short course on Market Research. For the meantime, I’ve been doing my homework on farmers and middlemen and how the theory of bargaining works in the farming industry. These are the questions I came up with:

  • Are farmers actually getting the profit they should earn from the entire production?
  • Can a digital economy change the agricultural landscape in the coming years and provide better marketing opportunities both for the farmers and traders?
  • Will agricultural innovations and agritech industries promote a brighter future for the farming sector i.e. lower transportation costs, high-yield production, etc.?
  • How can a government-mandated price ceiling affect the overall trading setup between the middlemen and farmers?
  • Can contract farming and direct selling be viable marketing alternatives?

If you’re in the agribusiness industry and are interested to venture in palay/rice production or any crop production, these articles can give you some insights about the current market setup of farming and agriculture in the country:

https://business.mb.com.ph/2017/10/30/pinol-wants-to-liberate-farmers-from-middlemen/

https://ageconsearch.umn.edu/bitstream/174795/2/agec1999v020i002a001.pdf

https://businessmirror.com.ph/government-needs-to-increase-its-palay-support-price-but-by-how-much/

https://www.untvweb.com/news/dti-da-to-impose-price-ceiling-for-traders-middle-men/

https://psa.gov.ph/content/costs-and-returns-palay-production-0

I’ll be sharing more information as I go along with my market research/business analytics during my free time. Please bear with me if I’ll confuse you a bit with some of my questions since I am also on “tabula rasa” mode when it comes to business developments and the likes. 😀

But if you have any insights to share, please don’t hesitate to drop me a message. I’d love to hear your feedback/suggestion. Thanks in advance and for reading this article. ❤

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11

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Is The Church Ready For A Bigger Harvest?

This came to me as a vision last year when my siblings and I have decided to utilize a piece of property previously owned by our great-grandparents and grandparents. While I was writing down our targeted goals, it included the retreat house. Or that was what it seems to me at that time – unclear and yet the idea was there.

God’s Mission Remains The Same

Until the first Sunday of January when I attended the church service at our mother Protestant church. We have this church tradition to celebrate the first Sunday of the month as “everybody’s birthday.” This is a way for the congregation to consecrate to God the new year asking for guidance, wisdom, and provisions. This tradition is celebrated by going to the church pew kneelers in front of the pulpit and kneel or stand while the pastor says a prayer of benediction when your birth month is called.

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For this particular year, I had a hair-raising thought while our pastor was laying his hands to say his prayers and blessings upon us. I know this wasn’t just a passing thought because any thought during a pastor’s laying of hands accompanied by the raising of hair all over me literally isn’t just a regular calling by the Spirit.

This time the image was vivid – build a church like this one, a big one. Build it in the “land the Lord, Your God, is giving you.” If you have been reading some of my previous articles such as this and this, you may already have an idea which land I am referring to. This land was acquired by our great-grandpa during the pre-World War II and now being handed down from generations to generations.

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The passing thought was too vivid for me I couldn’t keep it to myself that I shared it with my sister who’s also with me on that Sunday. It was also a communion Sunday on that day so that afternoon, we went to my grandma’s place so she can still partake in the communion officiated by our pastor.

My grandma is already bedridden and her place is close to our farm – the farm where I got the vision to put up the church. So my sister, Dad, and I took the opportunity to check on the current developments at the farm – laying down of the boundary markers which we call as “mohon” to specify the delineations of the property. For the particular vision of the farm agribusiness-wise, I’ll share it in another article.

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After sharing my vision to my sister, she told me that we can donate a portion of the land to the church. I told her that I thought about building a bigger church since the farm is strategically located to cater most of the members of our church’s congregation who came from the barrios. Then the current location of the church now will serve as the building for the administrative functions of the church and also as a guest house for visiting pastors and seminarians.

A Promise from Generation to Generation

Our pastor now is also a descendant of one of the first ministers of the church – a great-grandson. I see him as having the gift to make more disciples being able to encourage the youth in our church to study at the seminary and raise future leaders of the church. One close family friend and also an elder of the church told my sister way back that the bloodline of our pastor now still continued in retaining the mission that God has for them – serving the church. She encouraged us that maybe we should also have one representative (a family member to become a pastor also) to represent the line of our great-grandpa who’s also one of the first ministers in the church a hundred years ago.

This year, our mother Protestant church will be celebrating its 110th founding anniversary. I told my sister and my brother that the mission of God for the descendants of our great-grandpa never changed though nobody in our generation pursued being a pastor. Well, if I am not a writer or a teacher, I’d love to be a Bible woman or a pastora. 😉 But here we are, still fulfilling God’s calling that has been started by our ancestors. That is, being gifted with an abundance of property which will be our contribution to the body of Christ and in expanding God’s Kingdom.

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I shared with my brother that this foresight/vision was already revealed by God to our forefathers, our great-grandpa and grandpa who were both active members of the church, through the acquisition of properties. And some may think of it as a means to become richer, but no, I actually see it as God’s way to prepare us in the fulfillment of a promise to His people in the coming days. Our great-grandpa and grandpa obeyed God, just like Moses, to fulfill their tasks with great faith even if they don’t know what were they intended for later on.

Now, in the generation of my siblings and I, the vision is clear. Although I still need to consult with my other two sisters since they are also my coheirs to the property (and God’s Kingdom), but I know they, too, will agree to my proposal since they are also devoted Christians. Ah yes, the benefits of having an entire family who is devoted to serving the Lord – truly a wonderful blessing.

As everything else dawned on me now, I told my brother, this is the reason why the enemy’s attacks are getting stronger in every coming season. Bishop Juray Mora shared the same thing during the last prayer meeting that I was able to attend for this year’s start-of-the-year prayer and fasting. This is in the other church where I attend services here in Manila. He said, “The bigger the vision, the bigger the enemy’s attacks. The bigger the task, the bigger the challenge.”

Why? Because God is preparing for a big harvest. Is the church ready?

And yet,

“You can make many plans, but the Lord ’s purpose will prevail.” – Proverbs 19:21

So let Your will be done, Lord. ❤

Remaining true to the calling,

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P.S.

It isn’t also a coincidence that I invited my Norwegian brother-in-law and sister to attend worship night with me during their stay here last December. We got to pray for each other and I wasn’t prepared to see them shed tears while it was my turn praying for them. And then another vision came through me, Every Nation – Norway. 😉

My brother-in-law and sister can be used by God to expand His kingdom there. They can welcome missionaries to their home when the time is ripe for planting an Every Nation church there. And yes, 2019 is all about preparations for expanding the Kingdom of God.

On the side note, the New People’s Army is becoming more active in our place engaging in gunfights with our local policemen. Our home is near the police station and everyone else is just scared for their lives. And we also noticed that calamities such as floods are getting higher every year in our town. I thought, just like in Israel, these circumstances happen as God’s attempts to win His people back. Because it is in times of peril that the people will look for a Savior, a higher, all-knowing, powerful God, a Rock whom they can cling to.

Thus, when this happens, people will be flocking the church as they start to look for the Source of Hope. But then again, is the church ready when that happens? I believe God has already prepared and is preparing us for it. 🙂

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I am targeting to earn a Guinness World Records title as having the longest postscript. lol Please bear with me. 😀

The 3 Not-So-Ordinary Kids I Met

Last night, I had the urge to eat out at one of the popular fast food chains in our place. When I arrived, all the seats downstairs were taken so I went up and was glad to see lots of available seats. I took a look around and chose the perfect spot for me to eat and stay for a while. It’s a seat which overlooks an intersection and where most of the traffic activity in the place converge. There’s also a glass window which gave me the opportunity to observe people behind me through the reflection.

I never really had an idea why I chose that spot but something in me told me about this word – story. Yes, the reason why I love observing people and activities is that I can get a lot of stories from them. As a writer, these scenes are an opportunity to come up with new and fresh ideas and concepts. They also propose a different take on a lot of things.

I believe God placed me in that seat to write this story.

Being seated at the end of the room, I can see from the reflection in the glass window if someone is approaching me. This night, there were 3 scenarios that came into play featuring 3-not-so-ordinary kids.

Scenario 1

The first kid who approached me was a street kid in rugged and dirty clothes carrying 5 pesos with him and drinking a soda from that fast-food chain which I believe was given by someone who also ate there or he could’ve bought it from the money he was able to gather from begging. The first thing he asked was if I can give him coins enough to buy him a meal for that night. I looked at him and though I normally don’t give out money to beggars, something in his appeal made me do so. I gave him a couple of coins but told him to buy it dinner. He then thanked me and went towards the next table.

Scenario 2

Another kid came by but this one’s different. He’s carrying a basket of packed marinated milkfish. The boy sounded like a young salesman with his bubbly sales pitch that almost sounded like an advertisement you hear on television. I thought it was entertaining and true enough, I wasn’t the only one who was entertained. He approached a couple eating at a table with his bubbly pitch and also joked around with the guy. He was able to hook his client – the guy took his offer to buy 3 pieces (1 set) for 120 pesos. Then the guy started asking him like who prepared the milkfish to which he answered that it’s his aunt. The guy actually tried to haggle saying he wants to buy 1 piece only. But the boy didn’t give in and smilingly told the guy that he only sells a 3-piece set and that he needs to be home soon because he will be going to school early the next day. He didn’t approach me although I was tempted to buy, too.

Scenario 3

Then, a few minutes later, another boy came in carrying a basket, too. But this time, the contents of his basket are polvoron. The boy approached me with a very sad introduction and offered his products almost to the point of begging. He already had around 60 pesos placed on top of the items. I looked at the boy and I declined his offer. He still wouldn’t budge until a high school student seated behind me called his attention saying he wanted to buy one.

God Calls For His Children

Most likely you will think of my actions as unfair. So why didn’t I buy from the last boy? I am unsure how the polvoron was prepared and I couldn’t cook it to make it safe to eat compared with the marinated milkfish. Although honestly, I feel sorry that I didn’t buy some because I really felt that I should. So I am praying to God I’d still have another opportunity to see this kid and I’ll buy what he has to offer.

Some will agree that it’s better to buy from kids than to give money to those who just beg. I also agree with this and that we need to empower them to strive instead of encouraging them to depend on other people for their needs by begging for money. I believe this will help solve the poverty mentality – that everyone has the opportunity to make a living as long as you have the discipline, perseverance, patience, and will power.

But this is not always the case. And this is why I gave coins to the first boy who begged me to give him some. Why? When I looked at the boy, the first thing I thought was, where are his parents? He looked as if no one’s taking care of him. So this means, he’s alone fending for himself trying to get by with whatever he has and what he can get from begging. But what I also thought is that he’s in need of a mentor, someone who can usher him towards the right opportunities to make a living like working in a car wash shop for example as a washer boy, etc.

Compared to the other two boys, they sure have parents or relatives who care for them because they have items to sell in the first place. They already have the means to make it out of poverty and there are people who are guiding them what to do and how to earn a living.

The Other Side of the Coin

Looking at all 3, it can give us the different facets of human life and the different kinds of people:

1.) Trying to live life with no support system – living by grace.

2.) Trying to earn a living with the help of relatives and enjoying it – a positive disposition.

3.) Trying to earn a living with the help of relatives but with a disgruntled heart – discontentment.

These are all hasty generalizations based on the different scenarios I have witnessed and I have no idea what really goes on in their lives or what they went through on that day. And yet each one of them carries a hope that all of us try to live out each day trying to make meaning out of what we do and why we do things.

I am praying for these kids and other kids like them. May God continue to guide them as they go about with life’s atrocities. All may come from different backgrounds and may be given different opportunities, and yet the gift of God is free for all and that is all that matters. I pray that is what they will experience and hold on to wherever fate would bring them as they get older. ❤

‘May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you His favor and give you His peace.’ – Numbers 6:24‭-‬26

Transitioning From 2018 To 2019

So the WordPress holiday hibernation for me is finally over and what kept me tied from sharing here is none other than this – family. 🙂

@CYMA: Pre-Christmas get-together with our eldest sister and her family because they can’t visit our hometown. 🙂

This year though has ended with not-so-good moments in some areas of our lives and yet what is important is being grateful for what we have and not counting what we have lost.

I am praying and mourning with my fellow “kababayans” who lost so much during the tropical depression Usman. Even my family and I weren’t exempted from its wrath. Just 2 days before New Year’s Eve celebration, we experienced nonstop heavy rains. The bad part here was that it coincided with one of the highest points of the high tide.

There were only 4 of us left at home – Dad, Mom, my 3rd sister, and me. I would’ve chosen to go back to Manila for New Year’s Day celebration but something compelled me to stay. And I thought this must be it – my parents needed the extra pair of strong hands when Usman hits home.

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Can you guess what our “lady hands” were able to carry? 6 sacks (not less than 50 kgs each) of rice from the first floor to the second floor through a spiral staircase! How’s that for instant Super Women? Yes, adrenaline rush made it possible. 😃

And of course, my life verse:

“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13

Our town was placed under a state of calamity and there were 2 reported casualties due to a landslide. It was a sad way to start a new year and yet in a time like this, Job’s story always gives me the strength and the hope to keep on praising God amidst all the trials.

Are we all like Job? Can we still praise God when we lose everything? Or we begin to be overpowered by grief, despair, and hopelessness?

I may have gone through several storms (literally and figuratively) for the last quarter of 2018. And yet I am not letting them become the reason why I should never move on and do the things that I have control over – the things that God has given me control over. For the things that I can’t change, I am leaving them all to God.

For the happy memories of 2018, I count the family as one of God’s most wonderful blessings. Though imperfect, it is the best support system anyone can have. I am beyond grateful for the times spent with them albeit short because they also reminded me about the brevity of life. So all the more we should cherish moments like these that are priceless and before we know it, will soon be gone.

Home, sweet home with the beloved parents.

Christmas cooking can be very challenging but Philippians 4:13 always. And when it is done with love, nothing can ever be too tiring. 😉

Christmas loot and sweets. Thanks, beloved siblings and relatives! 😉

HAPPY HOLIDAYS 2018

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December 25 @ our mother Protestant church where my great grandpa was among the first pastors. I am praying for more of God’s leading and provisions to be upon this church and be able to make more disciples.

All in all, I thank God for both the good and the bad moments of 2018. If God allows bad things to happen, that is not because He is cruel, but because that is how the world we live in, the enemy’s turf, works.

The incidents could’ve gotten worse but God may have already intervened and what we experienced are only the ripples of what was supposed to be a catastrophic event orchestrated by the enemy.

Whatever kind of moments we may experience this year, may we all hold on to these verses and keep in mind that still, God is good and He always will be:

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

“They encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.” – Acts 14:22

So I say, cheers to 2019 and whatever it may bring! ☺

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Saying “goodbye” to what was and saying “hello” to what will be,

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How An Introvert Celebrates Christmas | Is This You?

I am partly an introvert and partly an extrovert. But for the percentage, I am more of the former than the latter. I enjoy being alone but I don’t feel lonely. And yet, I also crave being around with people.

This article will be based on my own preferences according to my introverted self and I can’t speak for all the introverts in general.

I did mention in my previous article how to beat the holiday rush. So what is the perspective of an introvert when it comes to the holiday rush?

Introverts Be Like This Christmas

1. Introverts don’t like being in a hurry.

So even if it’s just the middle of the year, they are already planning ahead how the Christmas season will be like. While everyone is rushing, I choose to remain placid.

2. They have a “love-and-hate” relationship with crowds.

I love to shop around (if the budget will allow it) for Christmas presents and decors just to make the home presentable for the family get-together. But huge crowds can be too overwhelming. So I plan early, I shop early, too.

3. We crave for “alone time.”

I love parties but most definitely I’ll only attend one if it’s a series of parties. We just need more time to regain that lost energy entertaining and talking with lots of people.

4. The simpler, the better.

There is something about our brains that can’t stand too much chaos, too much noise, too much movement, and too many lights. I believe this is the reason why most introverts are writers. They write well in the comforts of their solitude. My motto is this: more simple, less clutter.

5. Just being cozy on a sofa beside a Christmas tree is perfect.

Reading a book or writing something is my ideal Christmas celebration. Writing about what, you might ask. Writing how introverts celebrate the Christmas, for one. 😀 Seriously though, I’d definitely be writing about faith when not having the regular chit chats with the fambam over the holidays.

So I was able to attend one Christmas party and if there will be more, I’d definitely say “no” unless it’s mandatory. But this was not the usual Christmas party and I’m glad I attended it. This was my new Bible study group’s Christmas party held at the house of one of our brothers in Christ (Thanks, John!). It was an awesome night of laughter, games, singing, guitar sessions, great food, and fellowship that began and ended with a prayer.

This was the first Christmas party I attended with my new Bible study group and I am looking forward to more milestones in my spiritual journey as I enter yet again a new season.

Thus, I pray:

“Dear Father,

Thank You for making me a part of this new spiritual family of single, engaged, and married brothers and sisters in Christ. May our fellowship bring us more wisdom from our varied experiences and display how our seasons can be a testimony in advancing Your Kingdom.

For the married couples, may we stay true to the commitment we made with You and our spouses and honor it until death does us part. For the engaged couples, may they learn from us and our experiences how it is to love like how You instructed us to love. And for the singles, may they always pursue and serve You while waiting for the season of married life.

In Jesus’ Name, AMEN.”

For now, I’d really love to go home to my province, be with my parents and siblings, and stay there for a while. Nothing is cozier than the familiar scent of old Christmas decors and Christmas songs played through old vinyl records. 😉

Happy Holidays, everyone! ❤

Never an introvert when it comes to God,

P.S. Thank you to our VG leaders, Ate Misha and Kuya PJ, for organizing this partey!

5 Tips How To Beat The Holiday Rush

This article was inspired by the 3-hour waiting time at the mall because we can’t book a Grab car. 😀

A woman beside me vented out her frustrations and while listening to her rants, I can’t help but just smile, nod, and agree to everything she said. Not that I complain a lot too but because she’s right. And yet I never commented anything. Why? Saying a lot of things will fuel her anger even more and when we look at things from a wider perspective, Christmas isn’t supposed to be like this.

Of people complaining about the heavy traffic, the long queues everywhere, lack of options for public transportation if commuting, being late in your Christmas parties, and a whole lot more of inconveniences. But I wonder, why complain? Man made the celebration of Christmas complicated enough so why complain about something that is of our own doing? 🙂

The First Christmas

Originally, the celebration of Christmas was never grand nor lavish. It was the birth of a baby in a not-so-good-looking manger without the nice hotels, Christmas trees, the colorful lights, the grand feasts, the beautiful costumes, and the surplus of gifts.

But today, Christmas is celebrated with too much grandeur and all the hassle to achieve that grandiosity. I guess we are missing out the true Spirit of Christmas when people are complaining, bickering, etc. because of the holiday rush and the holiday preparations. The truth is, the Christmas spirit isn’t seen on the lavish display of ornaments, of parties, nor playful, colored lights. It is meant to be felt deep down in the heart and soul.

Would you also complain and be irritated when someone took the cab that’s supposed to be yours after waiting for 3 hours? Will you not be affected when a sales clerk handed you a broken item which was supposed to be a Christmas gift to someone only to realize it when you already got home? How do you display the true essence and spirit of Christmas during the holiday rush?

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Be Set Apart During The Holiday Rush

1. Lower your expectations.

A lot of things go wrong when everything around you is in chaos. Expect that a lot of imperfect moments will come up.

2. Be calm.

Take time to breathe. Even when everyone around you is irritated, just breathe. And keep calm. Hum a song to release the negative vibe around you.

3. Plan ahead.

Nothing beats being prepared holistically and plans B, C, D, and so on and so forth come really handy during this season. Because let’s all admit it, a lot of plans fail and get drowned by all the holiday rush.

4. Prioritize.

Is this item you plan to buy for a Christmas gift worth all the hassle of being stuck in the traffic or stranded at the mall? Should I skip this Christmas party over the other?

5. Create a list.

These are the to-do lists and to-buy lists. Because being forgetful in this season is unforgivable. 😀 Aside from the lists of items and tasks, arrange them in a way that you won’t be going back and forth or going up and down because the items you plan to buy are located in different parts of the mall. Make one smooth sweep from down to up or vice versa when shopping.

My prayer for this season is that we won’t be carried away by the holiday rush and forget what exactly should we be displaying over the holidays. It can be patience, it can be gentleness, it can be forgiveness, it can be understanding or any of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. But more importantly, the celebration must be about love.

What is love? You will know when you have the Father in you. 🙂

“But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” – 1 John 4:8

Celebrating Christmas not in a rush,

Do You Hear Them Bells Ringing? | A Christmas Special

Since I am a Literature major graduate, I love poems, and I miss writing poems, here’s one for the holiday season. 🙂

Happy Holidays, everyone! ❤

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Do You Hear Them Bells Ringing?

by: Tin Ginete-Rome

 

Do you hear them bells ringing?

When children start singing

And lovers start greeting

With “Merry Christmas, darling!”?

 

Do you hear them bells ringing?

When lines are queuing

as everyone is shopping

for holiday gift-giving?

 

Do you hear them bells ringing?

When the snow starts falling

cold air comes rushing

and everyone is freezing?

 

Do you hear them bells ringing?

And just start pausing

to heed the calling

of someone reigning?

 

Do you hear them bells ringing?

The angels began singing

Of Someone coming

 And salvation’s happening.

December: Revival and Reconciliation

What’s with December? December is everything – the time to be busy and be mellow at the same time. 😉

Paulo Coehlo’s planner is always in tune with the seasons I am in. Always.

I finally had the time to make this article real quick after finishing today’s article due at work and a whole lot more of tasks in-between. Busy as always. But being busy for me means being able to include my 1-hour guitar playing, a couple of minutes of social media time, checking the plants, doing my daily devotion, and other “me time” moments along with the other regular tasks. 🙂

My bro-in-law and sister from Norway are also here and they got to spend their first Christmas in the Philippines as a couple in their new home. It is also our home (hubby and me) for the meantime since we look after it while they’re away.

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I thought my bougainvillea won’t bloom but it did – one set of white bracts. Finally. 😀 So yes, there is always hope. 😉

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Thank you, Ate Ayn and Kuya TK! ❤

Thank God for the gift of family, I very much appreciated talking to my Norwegian bro-in-law who’s 10 years my senior. He’s also a born-again Christian and he and I got to talk so much about faith. Through the entire course of our conversations, I can say that our religious beliefs are aligned with one another although we have different cultures – praying for Every Nation Norway. 😀 Indeed, I am extremely grateful for the fellowships in my biological family.

My brother also invited them to attend the Sunday church service led by a former pastor in Victory QC where I was baptized as a born-again Christian. So attending this church service was a revival of some sort for me. It brought back memories of how I was saved back in 2013 – nostalgia, yes.

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“God is sovereign over all things.”

If I’ll summarize the series for this month in the church, the words “reconciliation” and “revival” will pop up. And this is basically what December means – the season when God reconciled with the man by sending His Son Jesus here on Earth to revive us from our sins and to be with us always.

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Personally, these two words have so much meaning and greater impact on me because of the current season I’m in. And yes, I can only hope in the Lord that all things work together for our own good. But for now, all I can do is wait with a joyful and grateful heart.

I am looking forward though to better days ahead starting with the holiday season. This is, thus, a heads up to even busier days ahead. Am I seeing a social media hibernation? Perhaps yes or perhaps not. We’ll see. 😀 ❤

It is beginning to look like Christmas in the neighborhood. 😀

To end this article, I’d like to share a couple of verses with you and I hope you’ll be encouraged by them, too:

“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God.

We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.”

– 2 Corinthians 4:8‭-‬10

Revived again and again through the Cross,

How God Fills Up Your Love Tank

This article is a summary of the events that transpired a few weeks back. Thank God for the Grace to be able to write this down despite a hectic schedule but only for the last couple of weeks. Yes, everything is all about His Grace every day. 😉

Only God Can Refill Your Love Tank Again and Again

“Farm For Profit” Seminar

Last weekend, my brother and I attended Sir Dodong Cacanando’s “Farm For Profit” seminar held at Harbest’s building in Taytay, Rizal. It was a very insightful seminar which focused on traditional and conventional ways of farming to achieve greater sustainability in agriculture. What makes this seminar very different from other agribusiness seminars is how the business processes are guided by Biblical principles.

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Sir Dodong reinforced the traditional farming method, a concept that my grandpa also lived out. They both shared similar stories about butchering a pig during special occassions, for example, or harvesting of vegetables straight from the farm for daily consumption.

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Indeed, we can only agree that the natural way of farming will still remain as the best process towards sustainable agriculture – how to maintain balance in the ecosystem and at the same time benefit from the resources that are readily available.

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In my next article, I’d like to explore deeper on sustainable agriculture and local food movement – two advocacies that I’d like to promote through the proposed family project. I also had the privilege to attend a previous online finance seminar hosted by Bro. Bo Sanchez and they all share the same guiding principles when it comes to being good stewards of God-given provisions. Here are some of my takeaways from the said seminar:

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Daisy Reyes Salon

Last week, I also had my self-care routine and pampering time which happen once a year. 😀 Yep, that’s how seldom I visit the salon. Quite extraordinary for a woman, you might say. But yes, it’s so definitely true. That’s why I make sure, too, that it’s all worth it.

Since we recently transferred homes, I only got to explore much of what the neighborhood can offer just now. I found one salon near our place and it’s owned by actress Daisy Reyes. I was able to check out her salon but I was still undecided so I kept on looking for other salons.

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It was my husband who urged me to try it and I also agreed. The day before I went to the salon, I checked out the flyer they gave me previously. Voila! I saw a very familiar Bible verse stamped at the back which was what I needed for the current situation I’m in. A sign and reminder, perhaps? 😀

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Very, very timely. ❤

When I got inside the place the following day, the music being played in the background was a line-up of Christian songs and all the staff was singing along with it (including me). One very memorable experience too was when they offered to share their snacks with me during their break time. I kindly refused the offer, however, they insisted so I humbly accepted it accompanied by words of gratitude. ❤

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Food and water nourishment from the awesome staff: empty plate and water bottle after. 😉

New and Great Things Up Ahead

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Thank You, Lord, for answering my prayer! ❤

New Spiritual Family

This last one was sort of a miracle for me and not a coincidence. For the last couple of weeks, I was going through extreme times of testing that I was sure at one point I’ll lose it all to the enemy. But, God intervened.

I felt the urge to attend Worship Night in a nearby church close to where we live. I have been trying to connect with a Bible study group for almost 2 months now but to no avail.

Until that Worship Night where I ended up seating beside a pretty lady (Hi, Reign!) who asked me out of the blue if I’m interested in volunteering for the music ministry as an acoustic guitarist. She went on by sharing that she normally doesn’t talk to strangers but something compelled her to do so at that time.

I was just overwhelmed when I heard her say it. Because I think she has a gift of prophecy asking me if I want to volunteer for the music ministry when I never even mentioned that I do sing and play an acoustic guitar at home. Goosebumps, anyone? 😀

I also mentioned that I was looking for a VG or Bible study group. She excitedly shared that she has a mentor who’s also married. She is also a soon-to-be bride, by the way.

So last Sunday they texted me to join their Bible study group but I could not attend unfortunately. I was all smiles, though, when I told them I’ll be joining this coming Sunday. Ah yes, God and His ways never ever fail to amaze me. 🙂

New Masterpieces

I also would like to honor in this article my brother’s father-in-law for being one of the most talented artisans I know. I understood now why we’ve all been gifted with special skills and talents that we incorporate in our professions to serve God and others as a unified body of Christ.

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A refurbished 20-year old cabinet.

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A new cabinet was installed to match an old black dresser and achieve a one whole set design.

This is the new set of additional furniture for my sister’s place and each one is a by-product of Papa Boyet’s ideas which we normally can’t imagine, thus, makes every masterpiece as an extra special work of art. I was able to witness how he crafted some of these projects and I can attest that it was indeed all done with a labor of love. 🙂

Love Tank: Replenished and Overflowing

With all these testimonies, we can surmise that they’re all God’s work which refilled my love tank in the process. I believe we all can admit that we arrive at that point where we are sucked dry by life’s never-ending demands. But God always finds a way to reassure us that His love is overflowing – He is our only source of it. How?

1. He will bring you to the right people at just the right time.

2. Those prayers you have silently prayed in between your tears, sadness, sorrow, and despair, God hears them all.

3. God brings healing through things that He knows will nourish you spiritually first and foremost.

4. He will let you see that your world doesn’t revolve on your problems alone, there is more out there in the world to explore.

5. He will remind you of His purpose why He called you (altar call) and gave you a task to fulfill.

6. He will show you that no one and nothing can separate you from His love come what may.

7. The complete trust you have given Him through the tough circumstances you’re in, He will return it in full and even more.

Sometimes sticking with our end of the deal when we got saved can be very heart-wrenching. Our still worldly selves will rely on our human efforts and human knowledge about how to endure the sacrifices we need to make. But then, with God-sent mentors, they will help us to once again walk the path that God called us to walk no matter how difficult that road is.

So that afterward, we can proclaim with conviction the following verses (they came right on time during my devotion):

I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done. – Psalms 9:1 NLT

Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name. – Psalms 100:4 NLT

The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. – Psalms 32:8 NLT

Now fully recharged by the one and only Source of everything,

P.S.

I am not sure if this photo will have any bearing at all in this article. 😀 But I just want to share it to say that these filters sometimes (I seldom take selfies) do come pretty handy when you’re looking stressed and all and you want to come up with a decent photo without all the hassle of making up your face.

But with all honesty, this photo has the following false details: eyelashes, pupils, poreless skin, and eyeglasses. And no, I am not a teenager just in case this photo deceived you. I’m already nearing the mid-30s bracket. 😀

Ciao!

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Relationship Advice: Don’t Love The Looks!

This is a 1 AM thought which is a by-product of too much caffeine in my system. Hello, insomnia! 😀

Just to share with you in light of the topic, I have had a series of failed relationships in my past before I became a born-again Christian and before I met my husband. It was a very “rocky” portion of my life but it’s also one of the seasons where I had the greatest learning when it comes to relationships.

Now that I am married, I am still not exempted from these “rocky” moments but the lessons now are way different. Here are some tips I can share from my previous experiences on relationships and dating.

2014 snapshot for a fashion feature article with When in Manila.

Advice # 1

My advice to the single ladies out there, never ever attract a man by showing too much skin. It does appeal to their carnal senses but in reality we all know a relationship based purely on physical attraction won’t last. Why? You will only look “young” and “sexy” for a short while. If he likes you because of this, expect that when a “younger-looking” woman comes along, he’ll trade you for her.

Advice # 2

Don’t go either for temporary, fleeting mutual attractions that are only good for as long as happy moments last. Nor go after a complicated, no-strings-attached relationship. Believe me, women are always on the losing end and lose more than what they have bargained for in this kind of relational setup. You are only young once – use your youth wisely by investing in a relationship that will last for the long term. This is in fact your only goal why you enter a relationship – marriage until death parts you both.

Advice # 3

Attract a man who loves you for who you are – your good and bad side. And love a man not because he is a smooth talker, but because you are ready to love him even if he is in his worst which you will only see when you share one home for a long period of time – marriage.

Never fall for the “best foot forward” appeal especially if you’ve known him for a couple of months only. A man’s true colors are only revealed when you have known him for years as a friend. Only then can you say that your relationship has a chance to grow and mature on a romantic level. Or if you two can make it “until death does us part.”

What Matters

If you have a choice, choose a man who loves God more than he loves you – this is priceless. Go for the authentic Christian and a man of God in spirit and not by word and by action alone. That is if you want a “less rocky” relationship.

Lastly, go for someone who will fight for you and someone you’re also willing to fight for whatever the odds. This as you both work together in putting God at the center of your relationship and as you both work your way in becoming Christlike with every shared moment as a couple. ❤

From a woman who learned love the hard way but who is now after God’s heart,