Saturday, June 30, 2007


This is neither about the TV show a lot of my friends are addicted to, nor is this about my current state of mind. It's about my books. I'm not exactly thorough in cataloging them, in fact, I don't even put my name on most of them, despite what my father taught me. When people borrow my books, I don't take note so I forget which is with whom. Such carelessness and downright laziness have caused me to lose some of my precious.

I'm listing them down and posting the list because I have no idea where they are. I'm hoping that some of you might remember having borrowed them and would like to arrange to return them, over a cup of good coffee:

1. The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck, M.D.
2. Your Past Does Not Define Your Future by Bo Sanchez
3. What's So Amazing About Grace by Philip Yancey (thankfully I have 2 copies)
4. Finding God in The Lord of the Rings
5. Prayer Groups: Live! by Dr. Jake Yap
6. Becoming Beautiful for God (not sure now of the exact title, basta sounds like)

I will update this list whenever I remember another of my lost ones. If I have a book with you and it's not on the list, please do me a favor and remind me! The coffee date is for us to discuss the book and not just for me to get it from you. This is me in my thirties - forgetful and sentimental.

Oh, and while we're making lists, here's a short one of my lost CD's:

1. Purpose Driven Life CD feat. Jamie Rivera
2. Michael Buble, I forget which title, the one with the VCD
3. Runaway Bride OST
4. The best of Gary Valenciano, vol. 1

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Life on Hold

I'm not sure exactly when it started, but my life has been on hold for a very long time now. Yes, despite all the travels, parties, picnics, and activities I blogged about, I went through them with bated breath, waiting for the day when I would wake up and feel at home in my own skin.

For the few people who have been following my career decisions, here is an update on the position I wrote about on the second day of this year (you may read about it here). The head of the agency I was invited to apply for told my friend who worked there that he definitely wanted to hire me. That was the assurance I got for many months, and yet their HR department never got around to calling me to schedule me for an interview with The Chief.

My two visits to their office to submit documentary requirements were not very pleasant experiences, as I saw first-hand that I could no longer go back to an office like that, where work stopped at 4 p.m. and employees chatted about everything other than their work in front of a visitor (me). This prompted me to ask my friend to tell his boss that I already had other commitments and I was no longer available for the position. While I thought he would persuade me to reconsider, my friend surprised me by saying that he was glad I had other projects because lawyers in their office shared a library as their working area and there were insufficient computers. My kind of workplace, indeed!

This experience taught me to wait fully on the Lord and not to inject my own interpretation of His Word. There must be someplace where I could feel at home.

A few months ago, I sent my resume to a magazine editor, however, I withdrew my application when I learned I had a good chance of becoming its Managing Editor. I just applied upon the encouragement of another good friend of mine, but when I assessed my existing responsibilities and those that would come with the job, I knew it was not meant for me.

Last week, a headhunter was after my head. I kept ignoring her calls because I was in the middle of a project. My father, who answered the phone, suggested that she call my sister-in-law, Mommy P, on the theory that the latter could convey the message to me better. Ms. Headhunter called up Mommy P at home. Miko answered the phone and refused to give it to his mom, saying, "She cannot come to the phone. She's eating pa eh." Ms. HH must have been really persuasive because despite Miko's repeated refusal to hand over the receiver to Mommy P, he finally relented.

I received several missed calls from Mommy P after this incident. I could not answer my phone due to several commitments. When I finally got home, my mother excitedly told me that a Ms. HH left a message for me with Mommy P. I was scheduled for interview with a corporation, and the position was AVP.

Audio-Visual Presentation?, I thought distractedly. I rang up Mommy P and got the message properly. Ms. HH meant Assistant Vice President. That company had already considered me before as Production Manager because of my Business Economics and Law background but that did not work out due to the firing of the HR Manager who interviewed me.

Since I was not a very normal person, I did not grab the opportunity that Ms. HH gave me. I made a short background check on the company and decided I could not be part of that, as I valued work-life balance. I had friends who used to work for that company and they said I was better off with my projects with CD Asia. I could not agree more. The projects might not be my promised land yet but at least they seemed to be a step in the right direction.

Part of me wondered if opportunities like that would come again, but the mass readings on Abraham these past few days assured me that I was meant to wait a little bit more. "You will know when the job is from me," I felt the Lord telling me. So for as long as the offers and opportunities do not come with a stamp, "Approved by My God", I would continue to confidently let them go, trusting that I would never run out of options and one day, I would find my place under the sun again.

So, yes, life is still on hold. And we have not even talked about my state of life yet. There are no updates on that topic.

Still QT's at 7

These photos  were taken by photography student Abby during last Saturday's celebration of Lingkod QC's 7th Anniversary entitled "Strengthened @7".  We had Holy Mass, dinner, a short program, and a time of worship at Dencio's Bar and Grill.  I tell you, with our name tags, hands raised, and noise, people who were out on a Saturday night kept staring at us.  

Guests from other branches said they enjoyed it.  Unlike previous anniversaries, we merely showed a tribute to the best of QC dances and sang one song from the annual Valentine mini-concert.  We also had a video showing 7 reasons why we are celebrating.  It was entirely shot by a QT, award-winning documentarist Ditsi Carolino, and entirely produced, edited, and scripted by QTs.  Then we had jamming with the Music Ministry featuring talented brothers  and sisters from the different branches.  

The guests paid for their dinner, there was a short program, they provided the performers, and they had fun!  Now that's what I call a low-profile, high-impact anniversary celebration.

It was great fun to be with the brothers and sisters and unwind like that.  As if it wasn't fellowship enough, the QT's sans guests went to Starbucks Katips 1 and stayed there until closing.  It's part of tradition.

I'm having trouble with my browser as it's my first time to use Opera.  I cannot edit properly the photos and text.  By the way, I grabbed these photos from Abby's Multiply Site.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

More Confusion

The more you know, the more you know there's more to know.

In case you're wondering why I haven't been writing much the past couple of weeks, it's because I'm assisting in a training project where the subjects are Legal Research and Legal Writing. Instead of inspiring me to write, the eight hours devoted to grammar only reminded me of all the rules that I love to violate, especially in this blog where I seldom edit my work. The lecturer is correct in saying that the seminar, instead of speeding up our process of writing, would initially slow us down as we struggle with the nuances of the language that we used to take for granted.

The guest speaker who opened this week's seminar introduced me as Sister Ella. When I'm in the parish, people call me Attorney. No matter how I try to tell people I'm just Ella, they tend to see me as someone other than what I appear to be. I'm not comfortable with titles, especially this year when I'm primarily re-defining who I am at the core.

Well, this is my problem and should not concern the people around me.

For the confusions around are mere reflections of what's within.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Sunday Best

The Banal na Puso Choir with Fr. Steve taken last Sunday, June 17, 2007.

This pictorial was held for the Souvenir Program of the First Anniversary of the Parish of Saint Benedict, to be held on his feast day, July 11, 2007.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Youth Alive! Logo

One of the sacristans, Alfredo, designed this logo. Youth Alive has moved to a new address on the web. The kids are back to school and I'm back to work, but they remain young and I remain... alive!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A Time to Adjust

I am writing this using borrowed time. As you can probably gather from my previous posts, I've resumed trying to earn my keep and minimized service and Church activities. I've been battling the worsening morning traffic along Commonwealth and struggling to be up before sunrise, something I had not done in a very long time. I should be early to bed but some habits die hard.

Today was a big day as one of the projects I was assisting in was launched. I unearthed my power suit and polished my shoes for the event. After one whole day of studying Legal Research methods while running around the venue to coordinate the different aspects of the event, I was exhausted beyond measure by the time I got to mass. I prayed for strength and patience to re-adjust to this new phase in my life. The homily about loving my enemy just whizzed by me. It was substantial compliance of the Sacrament. I was there with the Lord but my mind was elsewhere.

I stayed on for the weekly bible study on the Letter to the Romans. Fr. Steve tackled chapter 5 tonight. It was all I could do to keep track of the verses and their meanings. At the back of my mind, I was running through all the million things that I still needed to do.

Looking back at my day, I realized that I failed to apply any of the time management tools that I learned from the past. I was tired because I was back to my usual mistakes - trying to do everything on my own, charting up unrealistic expectations of myself, and forgetting to be grateful for my blessings.

I decided to write this so I could remind myself that I served God in everything I did not by power and not by might but by His Spirit; that I simply had to offer to Him what I had and He would do the rest; and that I was extremely blessed so I had no right to wear such a long, tired, and potentially-wrinkled face.

Let me take my beauty rest now, but not before offering my worries to the Lord, writing in my grateful journal, and diligently putting on night cream. :)

Friday, June 15, 2007

MCLE in Las Vegas Sept 20-23

Sorry for cross-posting. I already published this in my other blog. It's just that we need to spread the word so that more participants could join this MCLE seminar. Kindly read on.

I'm coordinating a project for CD Technologies Asia, Inc. in partnership with Ateneo de Manila Law School. We'll provide a Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) seminar for US- and Canada-based Filipino lawyers on Sept 20-23, 2007 at Palace Station, Las Vegas.

I will have a list of the speakers and topics next week. I hope you could help me spread the word and refer interested parties to:

Atty. Ella del Rosario

I will release more details regarding registration as soon as our website for this purpose is up. This seminar is open to all US- and Canada-based members of the Philippine bar.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

From Strength to Strength

Ang Lingkod ng Panginoon - Quezon City, a group of single young professionals and working people striving to Christify the workplace and to grow in their Christian faith together, is celebrating their seventh anniversary. They acknowledge the source of their strength - God's unfailing love for His people.

Happy 7th Anniversary, my dear QT's!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Bakit hindi?

Bakit hindi holiday ang June 12? Araw ng Kalayaan ngayon. Bakit first day of school sa U.P.? Bakit may pasok?

Ang traffic tuloy. Marami kasing flag-raising ceremony (sa village namin nga meron), fireworks display, etc. Alangan naman kasing porke June 11 ang walang pasok, June 11 alalahanin ng mga Pilipino ang Independence Day?

Ang labo.

At siya nga pala, nailibing na ang amendments sa U.P. Charter na pinagdiwang ko kamakailan. Back to square one. Hindi pumasa sa Congress. Holiday yata ang mga kongresista kaya walang quorum kuno. Hindi lang nila priority kamo. Buti pa ang Senado, nagtrabaho, ang Kongreso hay naku. Basahin niyo ito, speech ni Kiko.

Kawawa naman ang mga propesor sa U.P. Kung sabagay, sa langit din ang kanilang reward niyan, sa laki ng sakripisyo nila.

Atsaka anong meron sa araw na ito? Sa loob ng 24 oras, nakatanggap ako ng mga ganitong balita mula sa mga kaibigan ko - may namatayan, iniwan ng boyfriend, kinasuhan ng asawa, may problema sa magulang, muntik nang makunan, nagmana ng kaso ng kapatid, kailangan ng blood donor, at kung anu-ano pa. Hindi na nga ako makapaniwala nung gabi eh. Nakakapraning nang magbasa ng text na nagsisimula sa "Please pray for..." Kasi, ang tindi ng mga disaster ngayong araw na ito.

E kung holiday ba ngayong June 12, e di hindi siguro nagpatung-patong ang mga ganitong balitang parang pang-telenovela sa komplikasyon.

Malamang tumitig lahat ng Pilipino sa TV at nagkaisang muli sa pagtatanong, bakit nga ulit tayo nagdiriwang ng Araw ng Kalayaan?

Diyan tayo magaling, kapag may common enemy. Pag humupa na ang galit, kanya-kanya na ulit.

Kasama ako diyan sa mga ganyang mamamayan. Ang labo ko rin minsan.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Eternal Perspective

I have no delusions about my holiness. Sometimes I wish I could go to confession everyday, to be made clean after every encounter with temptation and sin. Thus whenever I read the Beatitudes, I ask Jesus just how far I have followed what He has prescribed. I saw that it's the Gospel reading for today. Given these standards I knew how I fared - I heard my attempts to become blessed and heard a loud, alarming thud. I had fallen flat on my face in my personal life again. I'm supposed to be used to it by now, but it doesn't get any easier.

If, however, effort counts, then I should rejoice. In the eternal perspective, I believe I have earned some points. By earthly standards I may be a glowing disappointment, but I have a Heavenly Father who knows me inside out and who see everything. Having set my eyes on storing my rewards in heaven, it's but natural to see none of that here on earth.

I will hold on to His promise: heaven, only that; to be united with my God forever. I will not lose Hope.

Matt.5:1-12, RSV

Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him.

And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

"Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

"Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you."

Friday, June 08, 2007

Hanging Out at THE National University

I visited my
alma mater this morning, U.P. It will soon be known as THE national university, if all goes well and the bicameral conference committee report on the UP Charter is approved by the House and PGMA signs it into law. Earlier this week, the Senate approved the said charter, which gives greater autonomy to the Board of Regents, exempts the UP faculty from the Salary Standardization Law, and categorically states the tax-exempt status of all revenues and assets, donations and importation related to its educational function, including all academic awards. Read more about it in this Manila Times article.

More than giving teeth to the school pride deeply ingrained in all UP students and alumni, the UP charter would allow brilliant professors to stay and not seek greener pastures.

I had a breakfast meeting in the area. Since I live 10 minutes away from UP, I often pass by the campus but seldom take time to savor my favorite spots. So this morning, I decided to have some quiet time in my favorite place in all of Quezon City (notwithstanding the rise of TriNoma mall).

It turned out to be a good idea. The sun was up but was not all out to toast my skin. The grass was freshly-cut and the scent reminded me of many Junes where the opening of classes gave me new hope for a better schoolyear. I packed my Bible, iPod, journal, pen, three-fold umbrella, and wide sunglasses. My first stop was the Shopping Center as I had to photocopy some piano pieces for Mama. Then I drove to the chapel. The gates were closed! I had to move closer to read the sign "CLOSED from 8:30-10:30 a.m." The Adoration Chapel was open through another gate, but I wanted to be inside the chapel, where for years I talked to Jesus, Crucified on one side and Resurrected on the other.

I passed by the Sunken Garden, but it was too busy with jeepneys and cars that I felt I would just be distracted if I had stayed there. I tried to park beside the Admin building but I was not allowed to. I only wanted to go to the lagoon! I settled on the A.S. parking lot and enjoyed the brief stroll to the lagoon. Many students were already there, occupying the stone tables and benches, lost in their little worlds with their mp3 players. My plan was not so original. I found a small bench under a tree and I sat, inspecting my surroundings and planning my next move. Ants started to crawl on my skin and clothes, so I had to give up on that romantic idea.

Finally a student gave up the stone table and I had it all to myself. I had a view of the Carillon, the College of Music, and the lagoon. When I was a freshman, we staged a play for my Humanities class right there on the lagoon. I wondered where my classmates were. I was bad at keeping in touch with them. I stared at the College of Music and remembered my days as a student in the Piano Extension Program. I had one recital at Abelardo Hall. I was asked to take an exam to qualify to take up Piano as my Minor. But with Business Economics as my major, and law school as my goal, I passed up that chance. My teacher was disappointed.

I did not want to spend the beautiful morning on regrets, and let my thoughts go elsewhere. I remembered my Humanities professor. She showed me how fond I was of run-on sentences. She made me appreciate poetry and prose more. Best of all, she gave me a flat grade of 1.0. I once saw her walking around the Oval behind the
Bahay ng Alumni. She had her Walkman on so I didn't get to say Hi. It would probably have thrilled her. Wow, that was another regret.

I opened my journal and wrote down a prayer. I asked God if I was doing what He wanted me to do with my life. I presented to Him my hopes as a student then and as a graduate now. Then I asked Him to direct my steps, to show me the way, to allow me to listen to the people He would use as messengers, and to give me courage to resist people who would insist on their own opinions about my life. My Resurrection had not yet come. Turning 33 next month, I could well be just entering Crucifixion. I hoped not. I begged the Lord to let the time of uncertainty end. I had learned some lessons. I had grown in surrender. I had taken a step back and not been as much of a control freak as I was.

Then I realized I was doing all the talking. I put down my pen, closed my eyes, and listened.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Praying More Lawyers go to Heaven

When my friend Bobby Q. called me up a few months ago to ask if I could give a talk in a retreat for lawyers in Davao, all-expense paid, I immediately said yes. I liked serving with Bobby and Jeng, and besides, when he said "lawyers", I imagined they would be in my age group. That turned out to be a false assumption!

Bobby said his dad had a burden of bringing lawyers together to be a strong force for change in the legal and justice system in Davao. Tito Jimmy (better known as Judge Quitain, well, one of them, as there are 3 judges and 9.5 lawyers in that family) prayed hard about it, and not sure where God was taking Him, just did what he did best, organizing an event and inviting people to attend. And attend they did! When we had our pre-mission trip meeting last week, I learned that there were forty-four (44) lawyers and judges (!!!) who had already paid for the weekend retreat.

Run that by me again, please, did you just say... judges? I had no problem giving the talks assigned to me to people of my age group and just recently, to teenagers, but when I realized that I would be talking to judges, I had anxiety attacks.

I tried to imagine myself saying, "With all due respect, your Honors, let me speak to you know about Jesus and his mission." That talk was the first one I ever gave and supposedly one of my favorites. My self-confidence evaporated. I mean, those people were more mature and experienced than I. I should treat them as I would my own father or my law school professors. They could be my bosses. And yes, one day I could enter my appearance in their courtrooms if I return to active practice.

I tried to over-prepare. I consulted Fr. Steve for the infallible documents of the Church (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium) on the gifts and the power of the Holy Spirit (which was the second talk assigned to me). On the day of the retreat, I felt like I was cramming for an exam and I reached mental block. I solicited prayers from friends. I had chest pains and I badly wanted to back out, but I realized that would be a shame after the Love and Life of Jesus Community sponsored my plane ticket to Davao and the Quitain clan invited me to family lunch to celebrate their grandfather's death anniversary.

I had to walk my talk and practice what I preached. Of course I could not do it on my own - I needed the power of the Holy Spirit! I could talk boldly about Jesus and His mission because I would be citing facts and the truth! I had nothing to worry about. Really.

The atmosphere on Friday night at the start of the retreat was typical of lawyers' gatherings. They were there with their spouses. The men convened to talk about politics and the state of law practice in Davao City. The women were in a separate huddle discussing people and events.

What got me through was serving with the Quitains. Bobby led the retreat, something he was born to do. Bogart led the music, superbly. Their uncle played the drums - he's a professional musician. Their Mom, Tita Baby, who works for the BIR, took charge of registration. Tito Jimmy ushered in his friends and colleagues and made them feel at home. Jeng, while thinking of her children's milk and diapers, was a picture of surrender to God. I drew strength from her positive disposition. Brothers and sisters from Holy Trinity Community and Ang Lingkod ng Panginoon-Davao also came to serve. I was with great company.

I hardly slept that first night, for I had two talks, which were combination talks from the CLP manual. In terms of CLP, I was assigned to give a total of four talks in two 30-minute sessions. I was under time pressure! Bobby and Jeng had two talks each, as well.

When I was called to give my presentation, Bogart said he heard my voice quivering. He interceded for me. I buckled a lot during the first few minutes, but I kept on. I presented the Gospel message and then the Chart of Alternatives. This is a case ripe for adjudication, I said. Jesus claims to be God and these are the authorities cited directly from Scripture. We cannot afford to be indifferent about this, we either have to accept it and follow Him, or reject it and turn away from Him and the promise of Heaven forever.

I don't know if they heard my sigh of relief afterwards. I wanted to run and drink one pitcher of water. During the break, one judge approached me. He said the talk I gave was his signature in his community, but he learned something new from me. He pointed out what I missed, in a gentle way, saying that lawyers needed evidence even of Jesus' divinity, and I thanked him profusely. With the time pressure and the intimidation I felt, I knew I missed out on a lot!

But the retreat went on smoothly. Jeng gave a very practical and direct-to-the-point talk on What it Means to be a Christian. Bobby followed up with man's fitting response - Repentance and Faith. The Discussion Group leaders told us that slowly, the participants were responding. The Spirit was moving among them and they were opening up.

Before I knew it, I was back to talk about the Power of the Holy Spirit. I relied on Him entirely, forgetting my audience, forgetting my fears. I could give that talk backwards and forwards, if I wasn't palpitating so much. Thankfully, I got through it again.

The team prayed hard. We hoped the participants would respond. It was all up to them. They could give their lives to Jesus and be Christian lawyers, a force to reckon with. Or they could go back to a life without the Spirit. They had to make a choice.

That night, they made individual choices to follow Christ. They went to confession and then received Jesus as the Lord of their lives. For some, it was merely a re-commitment as they had been renewed Christians years ago. It was a beautiful sight to behold and a heavenly atmosphere, when all praised and worship God after the pray-over session, and the lawyers and judges exercised the gifts of the Holy Spirit. They praised in tongues, raised their hands, sang in the Spirit, closed their eyes, and embraced their Maker.

The team could not stop thanking God afterwards. We needed to sleep, however, as we were sapped of all energy and we had one more day.

On Sunday, we had mass and lo and behold, the priest was also related to Bobby, he's a second-cousin of their mom. He's a Redemptorist Missionary assigned in Borneo who took on the message of the retreat and challenged the participants to form a strong support group where they would share their faith experiences with one another. He said the group they would form should not only talk about Scripture based on head knowledge, but share about their feelings and struggles as Christian lawyers, without violating the privileged communication with their respective clients. His homily drove home the point. The founder of their congregation was a lawyer who got burned out with practice and said, "World, I know you now!" He became a priest instead and later on founded the Redemptorist Missionaries. I told Jeng, at least we know there are two lawyers in heaven - St. Thomas More and St. Alphonsus Liguori!

We saw the Holy Spirit at work. It was the Feast of the Holy Trinity, to top it all. I still was intimidated by the participants after the retreat, even if they did approach me to say they heard the Lord through the retreat. That even if it was run by a family, we were chosen by God in each of our roles. Of course my only link is that I am friends with the Quitain children and godmother to one of the godchildren.

The retreatants decided to form a regular support group and to pray where the Lord is taking them. The organizers and the team could not help but jump up with joy. We could say, "It is finished!" We had done our best and God showed His generosity by moving the hearts of the lawyers.

They were given a time to share their experiences and it was amazing. One judge said that he had reconciled with his Maker. Another lawyer said that he could feel he was able to control his temper, as in fact his daughter called him up and asked for more allowance, and he uncharacteristically did not flare up. A prosecutor said she had nine cases the following day but she attended the retreat anyway, and would now more boldly proclaim that she is a Christian. A lawyer tearfully thanked God for allowing her husband to commit to Christ the night before, as she had always prayed for her entire family to be part of community. One by one they shared - stories of miracles, of renewed hopes, of renewed commitments. Tito Ben, a practicing lawyer even in his advanced years, said it had been his dream to organize lawyers to help the poor.

It was humbling to listen to them all. They wanted to bring in more of their friends and colleagues into a deeper relationship with Christ. They would sponsor future Choices seminars. They did not want this to be just another retreat they went to and forgot about. They received a fresh outpouring of the power of the Holy Spirit and they wanted to live it out.

I could not believe that I was part of that. I was not worthy to speak to that group, but the Lord used me and the rest of the team, making us strong by grace.

Afterwards, I enjoyed some time to rest with Jeng, Robelle, Mara, and the Quitains. We went food tripping. They were starting to plan next seminars and retreats. As I still had not processed the most previous one, I just smiled at them and thanked God that whenever He calls, He enables.

Let us pray for the conversion of more lawyers.

I'm So Back! *

... From Davao, where we gave the Choices Retreat for lawyers, judges, and their spouses. More on this later.

In photo with me is Mara Quitain, my latest goddaughter. She was born on December 25, 2006 and baptized on January 2, 2007. She has a smile that never fails to take my worries away.

I had a lot of time to rest. It was a blast to be hosted by the Quitains, for they showed me all their favorite haunts - Merco's for the spaghetti, Cecille's for the Pancit Luglug, Taps for tapsilog, and Harana for the seafood. I also tasted Davao lechon and chicharon. Konti lang!

For dessert, we stopped by a fruit stand and had durian! It was the first time that I ate the fruit like that, freshly opened and scooped out using my hands. Yum! Tastes like ice cream. They asked if I wanted to bring home some, but my family is not so adventurous. Judge Quitain gave me a crate of Davao pomelos for them.

I'll share about the retreat tomorrow, promise.

* I'd like to thank Dawn Zulueta's striking billboard along EDSA for my blog's title.