Join Me In Summer Paradise…

Summer is that place in our hearts where we are absolutely happy, free and so at peace with ourselves and everyone around us. It is that magical time when for a moment, we feel like a little child all over again. IMG_7251 So, today, let me take you to that special place in my heart and join me in Summer paradise where you can be a kid all over again. I promise it’ll be a Summer you will never forget. IMG_7257 First, let me take to your very own sanctuary that will sure bring a huge smile to your day. Go ahead, unpack, unwind, relax, leave all your worries and baggage behind. You are in Summer paradise, remember? It’s a problem free, drama free zone. Do you like the ocean view from your balcony? IMG_7265 Ready for a swim? How does Boracay Island crystal clear warm blue waters sound? Fun? Invigorating? Yes, it’s everything you’ve ever dream in a Summer paradise and more. Dive right in, indulge, laugh, let go… IMG_7260 Amazing doesn’t begin to describe the sugar-like powdery white sands that feels so nice and soothing to one’s tired feet.  Every step one ache gone. Every step one worry forgotten. Imagine what miles and miles of sand will take away. IMG_7258 Island hopping, snorkeling, play time by the beach or simply just spend hours by the infinity pool surrounded by palm trees as you gaze upon the ocean below. Here in Summer paradise anything is possible. Who wants young coconut juice delivered to their boat? Perfect Summer hydration drink! Are you in for a bit of a thrill? How about jet ski on open deep waters?

I silently screamed as I reached the farthest part of the safe limits. The waves high and rough, bouncing us forcefully, my son’s excited screams of “This is so much fun,” drowning my fears. Then just when I thought we’re halfway through and can finally take a deep breath of relief, the engine stopped. IMG_7277Here in Summer paradise, you are awaken by a blissful sunrise, healing you, hearing you. Every heartbeat heard. Every prayer answered. Heaven feels so close, calming every life’s turbulent storms.

Every morning, I wake up excitedly to watch the sunrise by the beach front of Asya Boracay, one of the very few resorts that kept the spirit of being in a secluded island. As the Sun slowly ascends, I could feel God’s presence…then his voice. Never been so at home, at peace. Many years ago when life was simpler, humbler I used to walk in this same beach for a year. Miss those walks…so are the times I felt so close with my Creator. Looking back now, he blessed me with enough memories of Summer paradise to prepare me to the harsh realities of the outside world. Every journey has its reasons and purpose. So, thankful he brought me there, even if it was only brief and temporary.

I will say to the prisoners, “Come out in freedom,” and to those in darkness, “Come into the light.” They will be my sheep, grazing in green pastures and on hills that were previously bare. – Isaiah 49:9 IMG_7256 Whether for love, romance, serenity, solitude, soul-searching  for purpose and meaning, Summer paradise has all kinds of Sunsets for everyone. Here, there’s one just for you.

If you enjoyed the beach, you’re gonna love the natural wonders of Tibiao. Old giant trees, exotic wild flowers and animals, cascading waterfalls, rolling rivers. Here, excitement takes your breath away as much as nature’s beauty and pureness. Mountain to mountain zip line, a walk along the hanging bridge, herbal warm spa inside a giant “Kawa,” river kayaking, just some of the many adventures that awaits for you. Just don’t fall asleep when inside the “Kawa,” as water can turn from warm to boiling. “Dinner’s ready!” LOL.

Summer paradise is never paradise without tropical fruits. How about Durian, Mangoes and Lanzones straight from the trees. All you can eat fiesta. My son ate 4 pounds of sweet, ripe Durian. I ate 8 pounds. Never thought I could eat that much but it was so good that I didn’t realize I finish 4 whole Durian fruits. Here, try a piece. I bet you can easily finish a pound or two.IMG_7149 After the fruits comes the main meal…charcoal grilled Bacolod Chicken Inasal. Every bite is a taste bud delight. Add garlic rice…”Ooh La La!”IMG_7276 How about a visit to my mom’s place in Capiz for her famous Chicken Tinola. My son got us wild berries for dessert. They’re so sweet, he finished half of them. No worries, there are more at the tree, ready for the picking.

Been to so many beaches but there is one beach that has a door to my childhood where Summer paradise still holds its pureness and innocence. Today, I will take you there too. We’ll swim under the rain and dream to our heart’s content as we marvel its glorious sunset. Then seafood dinner with my family where you will always feel warmly welcomed.

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Now, let me take you to my wife’s beautiful hometown in Iloilo for Lapaz Batchoy, Taho dessert and some strong freshly brewed Kape Barako. How strong? If Red Bull gives you wings, this one makes you run like The Flash! Great for jet lag and constant travelling.

IMG_7278Summer paradise is a place where you can be yourself. It’s a place where you feel at home, are home. It’s where people welcome you with open arms, unconditionally, without judgement as part of the family, embrace you so tight that it’s so heart breaking to say goodbye and celebrate you for being you. It’s where you feel tremendous love and joy in your heart that you get to bring with you anywhere you go.

I wish to thank my family and good friends in the Philippines for a Summer paradise that reminds me always of who I was and who I hoped to be. A Summer paradise where I know I can always go back and begin…

IMG_7280Every Summer has a story. Don’t let this time pass without creating a new one for yourself and the people you enjoy sharing those Summers the most.

All images and memoirs were from my Philippine Summer of 2014. Yes, a year has passed but the memories remains vividly alive and real.

Thank you all for joining me to my little escape…our little escape. Hope you took your very own Summer paradise with you. Till our next Summer adventure. God bless.

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By The Beach It’s Father’s Day Any Day

One day in a year, the world over celebrates Father’s Day. One day in a year, we make all dads feel special, appreciated, remembered. But in all reality, dads everywhere, naturally simple as they are, feels like it’s Father’s Day any day they get to do something they love with their families. They get to feel that it’s Father’s Day when they get to laugh, play, bond and create happy memories with their children. That it feels like Father’s Day when their families take a moment to express their gratitude and affection. That it’s instant Father’s Day when dads get a big hug and hear their children say, “I love you dad.”

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On our way to Gaido’s for early dinner in Galveston Island, my wife said, “Can we pass by the seawall?” I wondered why but as we head close to a familiar hotel, she pointed towards the parking lot and said, “Can you park there. I need to check something. She went inside the hotel and after a few minutes came back and told us, “Guys, I have a surprise for you. I booked us overnight at Holiday Inn. Hurry, we can still swim by the pool before dinner.” Feels like Father’s Day? Yes it did!

At the restaurant, we had the most delicious oysters, grilled Mahi-Mahi, lobster soup and Pecan Pie. Feels like Father’s Day? Yes it did!

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The next day, I took a walk to watch the sunrise. It felt nice. The solitude was refreshing, calming, renewing. I had a peaceful, “Me and my Father God” prayer time as I watched the waves gently rolling towards the shore. It was blissful. When my son woke up, I took him to the East part of the beach. We stacked up rocks and pebbles to create our father and son Art piece, ran and jumped along the seawall pretending we were superheroes. Feels like Father’s Day? Yes it did!

After a delicious breakfast buffet, we drove towards our favorite island spot, the Galveston Island State Park. We were so lucky. It was Beach and Bay Day. This only happens once a year. This is also the first time I’ve seen the water so calm and clear that I could see schools of fishes swimming around us as my son rode the waves on his body board. Feels like Father’s Day? Yes it did!

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We did crabbing and caught lots of small fishes, shrimp, hermit crabs and jelly fish. My son joined the park’s Search and Find game determined to finish it all and win the prize.

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We did turtle racing and sand castle building.

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We did fishing and kayaking.

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At the bay side, we did bird watching and caught more sea creatures. We also saw a lost baby duck which a lady found wandering along the road. The lady gave the baby duck to the Park Ranger. Hopefully, they found its nest and brought it home.

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My son happily showed us his winning prize…a Tote Bag. Perfect for our next beach trip.

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While waiting for the Sunset, we raced, jumped, hopped, rolled, attempted somersault, made silly faces, laughed, dreamed of our next beach family adventure. Just when I thought we were blessed with so much, the spectacular skyline began to unfold as the Sun slowly descends. Colors of breathtaking reds, oranges, yellows, purples and more created a nature’s masterpiece that made that day hard to forget. Feels like Father’s Day. Yes it did!

To my amazing dad, father-in-law, to all the dads out there and more importantly to our loving Father God in heaven,  Happy Father’s Day. Thank you for everything.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!                                                                                   – 1 John 3:1

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Mom, I Do Remember

Mom, I remember the times you held my hand and gave me comfort when I feel hurt or sad. I remember the times you shared with me your funny jokes, tickled my toes and armpit to make me laugh. I remember the times you take me to magical places every time you read me my favorite night-time story books. I remember the times you prayed with me before I sleep and assured me that everything will be alright. I remember every fireworks, every comfort blanket I called “lampin,” every travel, every journey, every milestone, every little joy you bring into my life.

IMG_5014Mom, I remember our many fun Summers and beach adventures. Did you remember the time we did river tubing at Moody Garden’s Palm Beach? How about the time we rode the roller coaster? We both were screaming and laughing so hard. What about the time we went fishing for the first time at  61st St. Fishing Pier ? We were super lucky to catch lots of fishes that day.

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Mom, I do remember the many simple holiday events and birthday celebrations we did together. Remember my 8th birthday at Galveston State Park? You and dad sang “Happy Birthday,” as I blew my birthday candle. I remember making a wish for each balloon I let go. I know they all will come true because I saw them fly up, up into the sky. Mom, I remember clearly how I dove my face into the cake so I can eat the icing. Dad forgot the spoon and forks at home so I ate my cake without using my hands. Smart and creative, right mom?
IMG_5012Mom, I do remember all our family vacations and weekend getaways. I remember swimming all day, body boarding, making sand castles and eating ice cream. I remember waking up early each morning all excited for the hotel’s free breakfast. Mmm, those freshly made waffles were delicious. I remember our pirate  ship adventure and treasure hunting at Clearwater Beach. I remember the pod of dolphins jumping at the side of our tug boat. I remember because they all made me so happy.

IMG_5066Mom, I remember the times you played and ran with me, explored and discovered the world with me. I remember the times you hopped,  jumped and caught stars with me. Remember the time you helped me do somersault? With you mom, I can turn into a superhero with superpowers and all. With you, I can do just about anything. 

IMG_5276Mom, I remember our walks to school. I remember you preparing my breakfast and school snacks everyday. I remember you helping me patiently with my homework and keeping your cool when I become stubborn or distracted.

I will never forget you for motivating and inspiring me to follow my own dreams and do the things that makes me happy.

Mom, I do remember how good it feels to be home with you. Home is when I am with you. I do remember and will always remember what love is because of you. I remember the times you helped me face my fears and problems with faith and courage. I remember the many times you inspired me to hope and never give up. I remember each priceless life lessons. I remember us taking time to enjoy and appreciate nature enveloped with its many sunsets and beautiful memories.

IMG_5279Mom, everyday I remember and feel God’s love through you…with you.

Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant, it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints, it isn’t happy with injustice, but it is happy with the truth. Love puts up with all things, trusts in all things, hopes for all things, endures all things.

13 Now faith, hope, and love remain—these three things—and the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7, 13:1

IMG_5437The best mom in the world makes you smile the happiest, dream the highest, shine the brightest, live the fullest and remember the fondest of memories. 

Love you Mom. Thank you for everything. You are the best mom ever!

To my wife, my mom, my mother-in-law and to all the mothers out there, this post is a tribute to all of you and the many amazing things you do for your family and everyone around you. You all are awesome! The world is a better, kinder, happier place because of you. We are at our best, seek our best because of you.

Today and always, we honor, celebrate and thank you for all the love, light, hope and joy you give generously everyday. God bless all our mothers. God bless you.

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When I Turn 44

“40’s is a period not to go into a mid-life crisis, it’s that period to create the best moments in life. It’s a time to be the person we missed becoming.”

Looking forward to life’s many new beginnings, adventures and possibilities at age 44.

IMG_3440 “Whatever the past had brought us, whatever life will bring us, so many reasons to hope and stay afloat…”

One day I simply woke up and realize how time passed me by and I barely scratched the full and exciting life I was meant to live and experience. I’d been zombified with work, responsibilities, worries, problems, fears, insecurities and the never-ending demands and expectations of this world.

One day I  just woke up and realize I no longer belong to the world but I belong to the one who created this world and his words alone will satisfy the restless wanderings of the Island Traveler.

Time is a great teacher. Time is a great healer. I’m just glad it wasn’t too late to turn around, change and pursue what truly matters.

IMG_1543 Best Birthday Ever!

I came home from work with all the lights still off. The hallway and living room was unusually dark. I was expecting my son awake and getting ready for school but perhaps he and his mom overslept. Just when I was heading for the bedroom to wake them up, they both jumped behind the kitchen counter yelling, “Surprise!” I was thrilled surprised  and my heart-felt like it just bounced inside my chest.

My wife said, “I got you the happy smile balloons cause I just want you to be happy all the time.” She knew me too well. Truly grateful for having a family who brings me happiness everyday. To me, that’s the best birthday present of all.

That morning my son played the piano while singing shyly, “Happy Birthday Daddy, Happy Birthday Daddy. Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday…Happy Birthday Daddy.” His mom whispered, “He stayed late last night practicing and rehearsing that for you.” My heart swelled up. I am the luckiest man on Earth.

IMG_3251 The day after my Birthday I told my wife, “Hey, let’s go to this place where I was told they have Bluebonnets. We can do it after our son’s tutorial in Math.” My wife smiled saying, “Yes, we could.”

We arrived at the place close to sunset, unfortunately no Bluebonnets in sight but instead we found something better…

IMG_3249We found each other having a great time just laughing, sharing stories, running, playing, taking pictures, relaxing by the river, eating custard ice cream, care free with all the time to ourselves, huddled together, watching the beautiful sunset slowly descending till there was no more. It was the perfect birthday celebration. It was the perfect gift of a moment.

IMG_3214“We just need several perfect moments to realize things will be okay…more than okay!” 

We go through life’s many stressful challenges, tragedies, trials, hardships, sufferings and persecutions. Some seem worse than others. Ours may feel worse than others. In all these, what made us make it through? Faith? Hope? Love from family and truest of friends? All of the above and more…

“I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the Earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes- I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” -Job 25-27

When trouble strikes, we can claim with confidence, “Our Redeemer lives!” He does, in each one of us…and that is a priceless gift we all are blessed to have.

IMG_3242 What More Can I Ask?

I have a beautiful wife that loves me and my son dearly. She patiently dreams with me even if so many times those dreams don’t turn exactly the way we hoped them to be. She’s been with me at my worst and celebrated with me at my best. She has my heart surrounded with all things that brings me inner happiness, peace and love that knows no conditions. She shares my many passions. We share each other’s passions.

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I am blessed with a son with so much joy and pureness in his heart. A son who reminds me always that age is but a number and that how I feel and live my life determines how old I wanna be. He keeps me young at heart. He reminds me to never be afraid to jump into life’s many adventures. He opens my heart to goodness, forgiveness and trust no matter how many scars I endured through the years. I am a better person because of him. I try my best to be a better person because of him.

With him around, I know I will always feel

With him around, I know I will always feel “Forever Young.”
For a Lego fan, Legoland is the happiest place on Earth. Every day, I would see my son play with his Star Wars Legos, creating his own customized Star Wars Clone Troopers, ships and space stations. The day we went to Legoland California, we saw Star Wars Lego City, it’s one of the coolest section of the park. It was incredible! That day, I noticed that my son was into the thrill rides too. He would burst laughing after each scary ride while me and his mom looked stunned with a look on our face saying, “What just happened?” He is growing up fast…just feel very blessed that I get to see and experience that growth with him.

My Yolified Life

It started with just a simple dream for me and my wife to gain back our health. To ease the many physical ailments we’d been experiencing more and more as we got older. To perhaps be free of our dependence to prescription  and over the counter medications. To lose some excess weight and be fit enough to catch up with our growing 9-year old.

Little did we know that we will have a 365 degrees turn around in our lifestyle, in the way we think, feel and live.

Little did we know, that our lives will be transformed to something better, happier.

Little did we know, that we will meet so many amazing, very supportive people whose lives too were transformed  and being transformed beyond their wildest dreams. People who above everything else acknowledge their blessings and dependence on God. People who come together from all over the country as one community, sharing with one another gifts of health, positivity, hope, belongingness, love and sense of purpose.

Spring Break 2015, God was truly generous. He found a way for us to go back to California, this time in San Diego. It was our first and it was amazing. We stayed at our relative's place and we felt so at home the moment they open their door to welcome us. Every moment was a beautiful blessing to cherish. So many happy memories with friends and family. So many dreams coming true and unfolding by the day. So many future possibilities happening.  While enjoying the sun, sand and surf  at a beach in Carlsbad, I asked my son,

Spring Break 2015, God was truly generous. He found a way for us to go back to California, this time in San Diego. It was our first and it was amazing. We stayed at our relative’s place and we felt so at home the moment they open their door to welcome us. Every moment was a beautiful blessing to cherish. So many happy memories with friends and family. So many dreams coming true and unfolding by the day. So many future possibilities happening.
While enjoying the sun, sand and surf at a beach in Carlsbad, I asked my son, “What do you wish for?” He stopped digging the sand for a second and said, “I want to move to California.” I then asked my wife, “What do you wish for?” Smiling she whispered, “Same as yours…”
It feels good to dream again. Joining Yoli and meeting new friends with so much positivity and light in them, inspired us to dream again as well as to never give up on the ones we already made. And so with faith in our hearts, we believe those dreams will happen soon.

It’s hard to sum up in words what a “Yolified Life” feels like but I think the video Yoli Mission: We Transform Lives gives the best description of the incredible journey my wife and I had since we both vowed to commit to change. And that same positive change we now happily see happening in the lives of our friends and family whom we share a similar passion in living a fuller, more enriching, quality life.I will not share their pictures here as I respect their privacy but will share the many inspiring health testimonies of my other family, the Yoli family in the link Real People-Real Results.

The video beautifully narrates: What is Yoli? To the ancient  Aztecs it meant “To Live.” To live a life of health. A life of happiness and love. A life of giving. A life of significance and meaning. To live a life of legacy…by sharing…by caring…until every life we touch is transformed by the way we live. Yoli, we transform lives physically, emotionally, financially. This is our mission and it means everything.

In 1 minute and 20 seconds, the video shows what most of us want for ourselves and the people we care about. For more information about Yoli and how it transform lives, please do click the link Yoli Better Body System Videos. We all deserve “to live a life that’s full…meaningfully full.”

Santa Monica Beach...it only took a few hours to build a lifetime of great memories.

Santa Monica Beach…it only took a few hours to build a lifetime of great memories.

When I turn 44 I will…

Be more, live more, love more, laugh more, pray more, give more, forgive more, seek peace and inner joy more, let go and move on more, catch as many stars and dreams more, celebrate moments and build lasting memories more, all of which I will share and take with me wherever I go.

Gliding above the San Diego zoo inside the Skyfari cable ride, we all were super excited. We all wished that the exhilarating moment didn't have to end. I took many pictures hoping to capture and relive the happiness and solitude over and over again. As I'm writing this, I am taken back on the day that we rode the zoo's double deck bus, the male Polar bear dancing by the lagoon trying to impress his girlfriend, the adorable Giant Pandas chewing the bamboo leaves, the flamingos irresistibly funny as they chat among themselves, the lion taking his afternoon nap, he must be so tired that he slept next to his poop...

Gliding above the San Diego zoo inside the Skyfari cable ride, we all were super excited. We all wished that the exhilarating moment didn’t have to end. I took many pictures hoping to capture and relive the happiness and solitude over and over again. As I’m writing this, I am taken back on the day that we rode the zoo’s double deck bus, the male Polar bear dancing by the lagoon trying to impress his girlfriend, the adorable Giant Pandas chewing the bamboo leaves, the flamingos irresistibly funny as they chat at their cocktail party, my son asking me to take his video with the Mountain Lion so he can say, “It’s real!” I find myself smiling, elated, kind of what it felt like when I was having my great adventure at the San Diego Zoo with my family.

A friend sent me a message on my Birthday. She wrote, “I’m sure this is your best birthday ever because you found inner peace and happiness. Since late last year, our family decided to celebrate each other, friends and family who matter. We have joy and inner peace knowing that we are leaving behind the negativity and ugliness of the past years. This is leading us to a renewed life with Christ, making us grow in Christ. Life is indeed beautiful in Christ.” She was so right.

God bless you all. I’m truly thankful for the generous thoughts, prayers and well wishes. Today, I’m sharing with you one delicious slice of Birthday cake with one Birthday candle full of happy wishes! IMG_3453 From my family to yours, bringing you lasting symbols of peace, love and a happy home…

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