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ICON 2013: Obey and Witness

My 3-day kit.
The expectant SFC Dumaguete Chapter.

Another year has passed, and the Singles for Christ brothers and sisters are back together once again to experience God's ultimate love and grace through the 20th ICON or the International Conference. Singles for Christ all over the world are invited to come and join this year's ICON with the theme Obey and Witness. (Do whatever He tells you. John 2:5) held at the World Trade Center, Pasay Manila, Philippines. This is a 2 and a half day event; that has talks, workshops, and a daily Holy Eucharistic celebration. Let me share to you what I have learned personally.

Day 1: Friday evening

We started the event with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist which tells us to open our hearts and be ready for the entire conference. The Eucharist was graced by Bishop Bernard Cortez. He shows his gratitude over all the delegates who have their own priorities and walks in life came and experience Christ. He also note that the youth is the hope of the fatherland.  He also urged everyone to fast as this is the time of Lent. He as well quoted "be like that rainwater, inspired, controlled, guided so that it could bring growth to the community, to your country, and to your self."

Talk 1: The Invitation

About 8200+ SCF brothers and sister graced the conference. This is by far the largest ICON ever!
The first talk was given by missionary JQ Quimpang. "Our ultimate destination is Heaven". He says that this weekend for the ICON is an invitation to God's ultimate and constant exchange of Love. Now, responding to this one of kind invitation is through our vocation. The decision with conviction to choose Him at all times. Being in union with Christ can also be best described like marriage. Christ is married to the Church, and that we are the church. Being in union with Christ is not easy, temptation would always be there. That is why, it is important to always have that choice to always choose Christ. We ended the night with a praise and worship.

Day 2: Saturday

Talk 2: Believe, Trust, and Obedience

The second talk was held at Ninoy Aquino Stadium.

The second talk was graced by Most Rev. Bishop Bacani. He talked about the importance of the Nicene Creed being the symbol of the church. It is not just a mere recitation but should be a concrete profession of faith and it starts with the word "I believe." He as well logically explains that we have the option to believe, and that we know the truth about God not because of an evidence or by reasoning but because God says so.


Trust is a result of the Faith and Confidence. We are challenged to put our trust in Him. And that with conviction we can say that if we put our trust in the Lord and that we put our lives in His hands, He will not let evil cover us. I also believe that through Christ, all things are possible- that is indeed Trust!


Obedience is the most challenging task a christian is faced with everyday. However, with the points being stated above with Faith and Trust in the Lord would bring about obedience. We are urged to not just have faith and trust only through our lips, but as an SFC we are said to do it in action, thus obedience. Obedience also shows what values you have learned and how you live your life with those acquired values.

Are you a joyless Christian?

Even tragedy is grace.
This is one of those talks that I really enjoyed listening and participating, well it's not that I don't like the other talk, Sir Edwin Lopez is funny and really fun. He shares about how we Christians are like the salt that looses it saltines. Thus, makes us a joyless Christian. It is pointed out that being a Christian is not just about joy and happiness, it also about sacrifices, temptation, and a cross. He pointed out that he who cannot sacrifice cannot love. What really struck me is how he asked everyone of us if we are still empty even if you are with the SFC community. If yes, then this community might not be the right community for you. Go find Christ and be the salt of the earth. It is also logical that the element of pain is Love, because when you come to think about it, you are feeling the pain because you care, right? Just a thought.


Emptiness is the space between God's heart and our own Heart.
The speaker Rob Escaño started the talk with the point that we all started as full when we were a little child, and that what breaks us and what makes us a broken and empty is sin. He also stated that the emptiness we feel is a consequence of choice and the choice from circumstances. Choices are based on our lifestyle, livelihood, leadership, and vocation choices. We then have this question if emptiness is a punishment. Is it? I strongly beg to disagree. The way I see it, emptiness is grace, because if we feel empty we are allowing God to pour out His grace towards our empty jars. We will have that longing for love. That ultimate love that only God has the capacity to give, because a life that is empty of God is an empty of love.

There are ways in breaking out of emptiness:

L- ong for God consciously and consistently.
O- bedience to what He's plans are for us.
V- irtue of humility.
E- nligthen your heart and mind.

He also added that we can't obey Christ if we still have the stain of guilt in our hearts. We need to know that we are forgiven. I totally agree!

Talk 3: Transformation

There is a mini play before the start of the talk. They have wonderful voices
The best example of transformation is the turning of water into wine.  Just when Mary says "Do whatever He tells you." John 2:5
Transformation of our lives takes a whole lot of humility, patience, and obedience. Faith driven by obedience precedes transformation and miracles. Like Christ as the model of obedience by accepting the cup of sorrow and died on the cross for us- He is the only wine that can fill our jar of emptiness. Therefore, has the only key for transformation. Now, I also believe that the Lord uses people as instruments of our transformation. There are 3 sharers on how Christ has fill their emptiness and transform them into a witness of Christ.

Sis Nathalie Antonio born rich but empty. Has achieved and acquired too much in life feeling the emptiness. Upon searching she found out Christ is the only one who filled her up.
Bryan Funcion being ruled by lust was transformed because Jesus called Him, and took him out of that world that he has been living.
We ended the day with an anticipated mass celebrated by no other than His Eminence Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle, D,D. I must tell you that this for me is one of those memorable masses I have came to celebrate. No matter how sleepy I am, I tried my best to listen and feel Christ in the Eucharist. He has this undeniable humor and charisma that would really get you hooked in his homily.

His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, D,D

Day 3: Talk 4: Witness

Do whatever He tells you (John 2:5)
The last session of the conference is titled as Witness by Shok Ariola- a missionary and an international coordinator. Witness is something that would change someone else life. This starts with the invitation. This would require you to open your eyes with faith and a heart with love for you to be able to respond, because somehow you need to respond to the call either with a yes, no, or even just don't say nothing and be just quite is a respond. Where, the effect brings joy. Being a witness of the Lord will bring about glory, and you will be blessed 100 folds. We need to be reminded that we are immensely loved by God. The challenge for us is how to recognize His voice. We need to be in union with Christ all the time to be able to hear His voice each time. Witnesses therefore are the agents of change. We are to transformed lives because we are the living witnesses. People are experiencing God through you. Say yes to the Lord!

There has been witnesses or sharers in this last talk but we only got one photo.

This is a missionary who has been robbed. The culprit put them on a sack thinking they are already dead. An old man came to the garbage fill to look for something valuable, saw 2 sacks being disposed. He came closer and see what's inside the sacks, and when he opened it, there are 2 young women in each of the sack half dead. She has a lot of fructures and her face is 80% titanium. She is a witness of God's love.
 I must confess that I am half-heartened joining the conference. I don't know, I was so lazy to pack my things, and I slept the whole day; doing nothing so to say. Something is pulling me down that day, and I prayed that Jesus would be graceful towards my mood and lift me up. Ultimately, Jesus was there. He was always there that I always ended up bursting in tears during praise and worship. I feel so blessed and loved by the Father.

I would like to thank you my fellow bloggers for hearing my life out. I feel like this is the only avenue for me to share my faith and what I am passionate about. This post is too long, and I always wish I can say more, but I need to contain it as I will have the series of post about my Manila trip. Once again, with a grateful heart I'd like to say thank you...xoxo!

P.S. So the question is where to next?...Cagayan de Oro!!! See you there next year!


Casaroro Falls

I came to know about Casaroro Falls because of a fellow Paulinian who died in this place a few years back. Everybody I know told me this place is dangerous perhaps because of the incidents, and the cause of such death are all a mystery. Just like what happened last November 1. You can check into Phioxee's post here. I was at first hesitant to see the place for myself until last Thursday.

Casaroro Falls is situated in Valencia, Negros Oriental. Valencia is 9.4 kilometer away from Dumaguete. You can take a jeepney or rent a motorcycle to reach this municipality. It would only take you 10 to 15 minute drive from Dumaguete without traffic and at a 40 kilometer per hour speed.

This is the mysterious falls behind the a gigantic rock formation.
Casaroro Falls is one of Valencia's pride for tourist destination. Let me show you how to exactly get to the falls.

We have the motorbikes ready.

We did walk. A lot.

Viola! We're here, but where is the falls exactly? Phioxee, Jannette, Tito Albert, and Me.
Entrance fee of P10.

You need to take 334 steps to reach the river.

Might as well take some photos while resting.
From the never ending stair steps, you can hear the gushing flow of the river. It really excite me as well as it brought some chills. I'm actually scared, and for some reasons I found the place a little bit creepy. The rain forest is dense and quite, but I just thought I need to face my fear over a waterfall.

There was previously a bridge created to not have you pass through the rocks to see the falls, but the typhoon Sendong destroyed it, and Pablo made it worse.

Phioxee and Jannette rock climbing.

This is placed at the end of the steel steps, so I got confused why there are death cases in this falls. It is clearly stated not to swim near the waterfall area. They might have missed the sign due to excitement. The person in-charged also told us to be careful and not to get near the falls to much.

The beauty of nature at its best. This nicely done pile of rocks is actually a testimony of someone who has been there. You can create your own pile of rock if you wish to.
This was the old entrance to the falls; an end to the never ending walk before the bridge was destroyed.
My feeling of fear was taken over by excitement and awe. The falls was so mysterious, powerful, and majestic I can say. Hiking, walking, and rock climbing was never my forte, but seeing a beautiful creation like this makes me forget all the suffering. It was worth it! Everything was green and clean.

The Mystic Casaroro Falls.


Casaroro Falls is one of the most photographed body of water in the province. There has also been numerous death cases on this falls, so we can't stay too close. It is being said that the depth of the water underneath the falls is the same as it's height. No expert has measured how deep the water is really.

We stayed there for a couple of minutes just staring at it and really trying to be detectives and asking how did those people died here? The river is shallow, and there is clear water from where we stand. Seeing and hearing the falls like that really makes me frightened. I guess they were braver. We took some shots and then we went home. You don't want to stay too long, it may rain. The weather was never that great. The water would be unpredictable by then.

We created this pile before leaving. I just though we might as well leave a trace.

Blowing off the Dandelions goodbye.

As much as I would love to stay a little longer, stare at the falls, and be drawn by it's own mystery, we really need to go because we are so ready for lunch. I just learned that we really need to be conscious with signs, or pay attention and read while you are on the road. It pays to really follow instructions. I don't want to blame those people who died because there is no point, I just wish they could have read and follow the signs. We need to be extra responsible when traveling- that's my point. It might take a little while for me to be back to this beauty because my muscles ache the day after, and muscle aches are not such my favorite travel hangover. Thank you for keeping up with me. Till our next trip....xoxo!

P.S. I am so excited for my next post for the ICON 2013. I'd keep you guys posted, and Happy Heart's Day!


Cadiz City- a sneaky sunday!

It started with a joke of me going to Cadiz to experience their fiesta. I invited myself so to speak. My friend Joeny who lives there says okay. I planned my vacation since early December. I actually plotted my leaves for the Sinulog and Dinagsa Festival. Some changes at worked cancelled all my plotted leaves. I was frustrated but what the heck, do I have a choice here? So I moved on without over thinking about the festival that has already been planned. How I pursued my Cadiz trip? Go figure.

Taken the night before the fiesta.
Cadiz City is a second class city of Negros Occidental, Philippines who's strategic location has one of the most fertile marine resources with competitive commercial port, and a vast fertile agricultural land being one of the major sugar-producing area in the Visayas region.

When we arrive around 9:00 PM, we are well rested in the bus so we wasted no time and roam around the city lights, push ourselves through the crowd, and never ending walk around the city.

We went to their perya and shoot some poor pigs.

Price for the road.
We walked and walked until we saw this 66th General Alumni Homecoming event at Cadiz Provincial High School and decided to enter the campus and see how their party went. My friend Joeny was a bit hesitant at first, because he was not an alumni of the school. Meaning, we are gate crashing, and we don't know anyone. They have a party band with up beat songs. You might wish to try it sometime. It was a whole lot of fun. I have that scratched off my bucket list.

What's really worse is when we join at someone else photo taking. I bet they would all be wondering who we are on their photos...haha
We ate balot and retire for the night. No one said a word because we are all tired. Morning comes and everyone is ready for the fiesta. Check out on some cool photos that I have taken. Random ones.

It's the blessing of their newly built space for lease too.

Since its fiesta, food overload it is.

I just found this interesting.
The day of the fiesta.
Just when the night is over for us, we all decided to go somewhere we can rinse ourselves and took the shower or swim. Laura's Beach Resort seems like a good place to be.

Lovely baby dai dai in the house.

Big brother teaching little sisterr some few kicks.

I took the shots when the morning comes.

Entrance Fee for non-guest. Adults- P20 and Kids- P10

Swimming Fee: Adult- P45 and kids P25 (Guest still needs to pay for the entrance fee, we were like seriously?)

Kiddie pool.

This is the place where the guest can put up their food. Right next to the pool and the bar. You are allowed to bring your own food and drinks too.

Their room rate is P800 for 24 hours. I must tell you that you need not to expect too much. I would not say much but I rate it 4 on all lodging houses that I have tried. I just wish someday they would do major changes on their facilities such as the door knob, the toilet, their power cord, and the switch. This place would be put to waste if not maintained well.

The sunrise. You'd be amazed by their wide shore line.

They all have their coconut trees used for coconut wine or you call it "tuba" in bisaya.

It's time to go home. The sneaky Sunday and Monday is over. I love our Dinagsa T-shirts. We designed this ourselves.

This is one of those trips where I was so anxious about work. I slept a little and I worry a little. I would also like to share something but I'd rather not too. I therefore conclude that unplanned trips are the ones that are memorable. I also forgot to mention that this is an all expense paid trip by Joeny. Oops, no the fare is 1 year to pay he says...haha You should find a very generous friend like him.To know more about him, click this link. I would love to go back someday, and hopefully this time I don't have to sneak out....xoxo!