Forever 26, Forever Thankful

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Turning twenty-six is like any other normal day in your life. You wake up at 6 AM, check your phone, take a bath, have breakfast, and finally, you’re off to work. And it’s the same thing everyday. Personally, I don’t feel any difference in the way I carry myself, the way I dress or talk, much less eat. I still go to my constant Mcdonald’s restaurant. I still ditch movie houses for movie marathons at home. I still crack silly jokes with my boyfriend. I still am the same me. But, being twenty-six has taught me a lot of new lessons as well.
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Pray for Marawi

As we speak, the city of Marawi is bleeding right now. Please pray for my land, Mindanao. President Rodrigo Duterte already declared Martial law in the entire island due to the ongoing terrorist attacks by the Maute Group in Marawi city. Hospitals have been seiged, jails burned, police stations ambushed. My God I cannot even begin to tell about the casualties. There’re news that the next targets will be my city of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan city.

We badly need your prayers.

Cusina Higala: A Touch of Filipino Modern Cuisine

If you’re looking for a restaurant that is every bit as instagram worthy as it is gastronomic, Cusina Higala is the place to be. Located in Capistrano- Mabini Sts. Cagayan de Oro, it is previously known to many as Thai Me Up. The management decided to reconceptualize its whole look and focus  from Thai to Filipino food, making it more appealing to city locals like myself. 

Here are some of the shots I took from my first visit:

As you can see, the place is very spacious and dainty. With carefully selected decorations, the ambience matches a typical 1970s to 1980s restaurant.

Cusina Higala has an upper wing to which we were fortunate enough to have for ourselves. I love the choice of pink, white, and earth colors for the furniture. All are complementary to one another to stimulate any person’s appetite.

The owners are quite artsy with their vintage pieces. 

(Isn’t the wash area near the restroom beautiful? It was so lovely to behold)

The food was scrumptious. Everything Filipino was present in all their dishes. The price of entrees starts at a minimum of P150.00 – which is reasonable considering that the restaurant offers comfort, leisure, and bragging rights (lol no kidding).

Cusina Higala should be a part of your must-see food destinations. You will definitely frequent the place once you have tasted their Filipino-Modern cuisines. It is regularly open Mondays to Sundays starting at 1 pm onwards.

Enjoy!
Xoxo,

Iva

The Quarter Life


(Image from dailymail.co.uk)

Twenty-five. It’s a quarter of a hundred. A quarter of a lifetime of endless possibilities, or, if it’s the other side of the coin, a quarter of a lifetime of regret. Twenty -something year olds sort of become anxious when they reach this so called “quarter life crisis” stage. What makes it a magnanimous crisis in the first place? Don’t we all face such a normal thing every waking day of our lives? Crises are part of us. They make our ordinary journey in this planet a little less boring.

A crisis can mean anything to anyone. It can be financial, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, or physical in nature. The common denominator of every crisis, though, is its ability to put us at our wits’ ends almost all the time. For a girl like me who is about to reach my “quarter life” in a few days, I am still figuring out what I wanna be and what I want my life to be like. Isn’t that just terrifying, knowing that you don’t know the future and that one mistake can lead to an endless pit of self-pity? Yeah. Right now, I’m quite a stuck-up.

But you know what? The beauty of it all, of not knowing what’s in store for you,or me, or any one of us for that matter, is the fact that we are allowed to hope for the best and make the best out of what we’ve got. Most people don’t get to live up to twenty-five. There are things like crimes or natural disasters and even self-inflicted punishments that cut life so short. Be thankful enough that you’ve reached this far. If you are twenty-five, don’t go around mopping about what you should do with your life. Live it! Go to work, attend Church service, listen to Beethoven or Mozart, paint a mountain or an ocean, fly to new destinations! Just live, you know. Be conscious of every breath you take knowing that every second is a second closer to discovering who you are and what your purpose is.

Don’t let the fear of the unknown stall you. Recognize it, accept it, and let it fuel you to live your life to the fullest. True Success, after all, is knowing that you have lived a life of openness, confidence, love, appreciation, and meaning. 
Don’t get upset if you are twenty-five. It’s the best time of your life yet.

Project Grace Day 91: Patience Freely Offered

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering…” Galatians 5:22

Stuck in traffic and you’re late for work. Getting hungry and yet waiting in a long queue. Tired of answering your child over and over again because of his “why” questions. Ever experienced these things? Tell me, have you practiced being patient in any of these situations in life? I sure know I didn’t most of the time. 

Patience is indeed not only a virtue, but it is a fruit- a fruit from the Holy Spirit’s tree. God is the reservoir of this attitude. He is the role model we need to follow when it comes to living out the value of Long Suffering. As He has been patient with us for so long, that is how we should also be towards other people. God not only demands us to be patient, He freely gives Patience to anyone who needs it, if only one knows how to ask.

Whenever you are tempted to get angry at someone or something, remember how God showed you Patience. As Him again and again. He won’t grow tired of your petition, and soon you can also display the patience you have received from the Lord to others.

God bless!
(Disclaimer: image not mine)

  

Until the Sunrise

  
(Image from Wikimedia )

Today, I had first watch of the sunrise in a very long time. I woke up at o five hundred thirty hours to meet it. The sky was still in a transition from blue to violet to orange. Out of impulse, I decided to capture the scene that was taking place before me on time lapse. When I started recording, time shifted gears from fast to slow. I waited and waited, as I looked at my tablet and what was happening in front of me. 

I marveled at the sun.

It’s majesty when it started showing  its beams was intoxicatingly beautiful.  I observed how its rays slowly cut through the curtain of clouds- like somehow the clouds were like stained glasses. Isn’t it ironic how such a natural process can be so often missed by people like us because of our busyness? We want to take a break. We dream of that sought after vacation in a lovely beach, and yet we can’t seem to make time for any of it because we are tied to our work. We are bound under ball and chains by our schedules and obligations.

Being able to witness the world waking up to the sunrise is a privilege. The stillness of everything in that moment just before the sun comes up is breathtaking. It makes you realize how much of the world you have skipped seeing because you are blinded by so many things. I am just thankful that I live to see and feel this moment in time. It’s beauty is something a camera won’t be able to compensate nor replace. Sometimes the best moments aren’t supposed to be recorded or captured. Sometimes they just need to be seen and felt.

Project Grace Day 66: He’s Been There

Wherefore in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren…” Hebrews 2:17a

  

(Image from freedomfrommedom)

I’ve met a lot of people who hailed from brokenness. Even my boyfriend is one of them. Parents who divorced, a grand dad who got locked up in prison, an uneducated sister who not as much can utter a single word in English because she wasn’t able to go to school- all of these family backgrounds are things we are not proud to tell other people. I also have my fair share of horrible happenings in my family, and sometimes I just sigh at the though of them. We’ve all been there. We’ve been through that phase when it’s best to just keep quiet so that no one will discover who we really are.

 The good thing is, our God Jesus Christ, also experienced the same human frailties. His forefather, king David, was a man tainted with the blood of the innocent on his hands when he purposefully killed his captain while he lusted after his wife. Jacob was a liar and a cheater. Solomon was a womanizer. His family tree is exactly the same as ours- full of people who made a lot of mistakes.

 But that didn’t stop Him from doing the will of God. He wants us to know that He has been there too, and all the things that are happening in our lives are nothing new to Him. As the writer of Hebrews explains, “ He had to enter into every detail of human life”. This shows that we have an Intercessor, a High Priest, who knows and understands our human struggles. And inspite of our imperfections, He continues to faithfully intercede for us to the Father. What a wonderful Savior we have! 
Jesus wants you to know, “I’ve been there.” – Max Lucado 

Don’t hesitate to tell Him your fears and worries. Do not have a shadow of doubt in your heart that He will not help you, because He surely will. Remain strong and faithful. Pray without ceasing. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will definitely make your paths straight.