“Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. ” Psalm 37:4
Uncle Sam’s territory, which is also known as the United States of America, is one of the most coveted countries in the world that people would definitely love to explore or to live in. Ambitious professionals, aspiring immigrants, striving families, and many others are undoubtedly dreaming of setting foot on this land of milk and honey; the home of the brave, and the land of the free.
Sad to say, it is not that very easy to come to the US. There are certain indispensable type of Visas to apply for with corresponding requirements and qualifications: Spouse of a U.S. Citizen awaiting approval of an I-130 immigrant petition, Nonimmigrant Visa for Spouse and Children of a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR); Tourist; vacation, pleasure visitor, Student; academic, vocational Media, journalist, and many more. Many aspirants have countless attempts to get to this place, but for them it is just like a pie in the sky.
As married to an American I should fall on the category of Spouse of a U.S Citizen type of Visa, but the challenge was I would not stay in the US permanently. We were not in any way, planning to stay in the US due to the nature of my husband’s work. We preferred Tourism or B1/B2 category because my husband would want me to visit and meet his family and friends from time to time. Having a visitor visa would merit me to come and visit anytime I want.
I must confess that it was not an easy journey for me. Getting a Tourist Visa from a Third World country like the Philippines is next to impossible attempt. I was struggling pretty hard how to pull off every inch of success on that wishful undertaking. I was afraid that I would get denied; the writing was on the wall. Then lo and behold, it happened right just what I expected. I was denied of a Tourist Visa and was advised to follow the route of Spousal Visa category. It broke my frail heart big time, so my husband’s. Right there and then, I left the Embassy with a heavy heart trying to hold the impending shed of tears.
My husband though was deeply saddened, encouraged me to try again the following year. To be honest, I just reluctantly obliged, because I knew for certain that I would be denied again for the second time around. Obviously, I felt hopeless, faithless, and desperate. Anyway, I applied again, flew to Manila and faced another test-of-faith-journey. I prayed hard and surrendered everything to the Lord. It was agonizing to go through the same process again. It seemed that the trauma of rejection from the past was haunting me obstinately. I was intensely trying to compose myself while anticipating the worse fear that I would not make it again. My heart was pounding uncontrollably; my feet and hands were cold as ice, and my mind and heart were warring vastly.
Then my most awaited time came; the Consular Officer asked me some basic and important questions, exactly the same questions I was asked before. After five minutes of casual-like talk, she got my passport and told me that I was granted a Visa. Wow! That was like heaven fell down on me. Though I was still in awe, I managed to thank her cheerfully. I was over the moon with excitement as I hurriedly left the Embassy. That time was different; I was again controlling the impending shed of tears-TEARS OF JOY. I went straight to my hotel room, prayed and thanked the Lord for the abundant favor and blessing that day. My adoring husband could not contain his obvious happiness that he already planned out my US trip itinerary. It seemed things came out just so surreal; I could not fully believe how God unfolded every aspect of my bitter-sweet journey toward getting my visa. I flew back home slowly letting the greatest favor I received to sink in. I eagerly informed my family and friends; they were extremely happy as I was that time. After anxiously waiting for eight days, I got my precious passport with the immense blessing ever, it was stamped with 10-year multiple entry Visa. I could not contain my happiness again. It was just so amazing how my experience of rejection was totally paid off with something best. My visa journey taught me copious of many lessons in life; the ability to wait for the right time and unbending faith to God who knows what is best for me always.
Sometimes in this lifetime, we experience rejections, failures, disappointments, and setbacks. They are absolutely unavoidable, but as Vince Lombardi said; “It is not whether you get knocked down, it is whether you get up.” Life challenges are designed for us to be strong and courageous in life. We live to be victorious and not a victim of our circumstances.
Source: I LOVE SURIGAO
“We must not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time.” T.S. Eliot
Famous Tinuy-an Falls, renowned Enchanted River, attractive and stunning beaches, veiled and mystical caves, delectable sea foods, opulent forests, sumptuous and nutritious fruits and vegetables, and most of all the beautiful people inside out. These were just a few of the exciting and interesting things I have been hearing about Surigao. Surigao del Sur is located in Mindanao, Philippines. I have been dreaming of going there with my family, but conflicting and halting schedules, not to mention the distance always pulled me out of this almost long-lost dream. I was very ecstatic and over the moon in anticipation of embracing this very amazing and fabulous hidden paradise.
So, when I was asked to back up as a local trainer in one of Compassion’s church partner there, I didn’t hesitate to come, as I was already looking forward to what this beautiful place would bring about. I was very ecstatic and over the moon in anticipation of embracing this very amazing and fabulous hidden paradise. Through enough, dreams do come to reality at no specified, yet surprising time.
Then last August 10-14, 2015, my dream of finally meeting Surigao came to reality. We travelled last August 10, 2015, via air-conditioned, Wi-Fi, and sophisticated Bachelor Express. We paid P562.10 for a supposed Davao-Tandag 10-hour trip, but it turned out to be just an 8-hour sweet trip. Despite the countless mandatory and scheduled terminal stops and breakfast stop, we managed to reach the destination safe and sound. We rolled at 11:30 pm then reached Tandag Terminal at 7:30 am.
After the 4-day intensive, amazing, and fun-filled training, we decided to unwind and took the two in a half –hour bus going to San Agustin, where a group of Britania Islands were serenely located. We reached San Agustin at 7:30 pm where a motorcycle brought us to a 25-minute trip to La Entrada Beach Resort, the gateway to Britania Islands. The entrance/environmental fee was 25.00 pesos each.
The awesome overnight room accommodation was spacious for the three of us. We enthusiastically crawled to bed early because we were undoubtedly excited and elated for our next memorable adventure the following day.
The Britania group of Islands was just impressively captivating and invigorating. I cannot begin to exemplify how this hidden and gorgeous paradise carved an eternal impression in my cheerful heart. The uniformly and uniquely formed islets, the perfectly combined hues of green and blue sea, the awesome and fascinating rocks formation, the perfect collision of calm, serene, and harmonious intercourse of environs, and the astounding morning sunrise were just the million reasons why I definitely fell in love with this splendid place, and looking forward to be back here with my family anytime soon.
Indeed, the marvelous creations of God are always a manifestation of His faithfulness, grace, and mercy. This magnificence reminds us that there is always a beautiful side of heaven on this kind of challenging and turbulent world.
Photography captures the inner soul of a person, so as writing. Writing is a form of art. Like photography, it also deliberately painting or writing with light. My writing process is likened to photography. Let me detail the vital truths about my writing process to photography.
Firstly, like photography you must have a powerful subject and location for the photo. Likewise in writing, to be able to write a good topic, I must research first of a good and relevant topic. It must be highly interesting and inevitably eye-catching to the observant and luscious eyes of readers.
Secondly, in photography, gadgets must be complete, in order, and on hand. In writing, dictionaries, laptop, fact sheets, and other relevant materials should be available all the time. It saves time and energy if they are already nearby when you needed them around.
Thirdly, photography like writing expresses one’s deepest emotion. Photography deeply conveys people’s profound and clandestine emotion. In writing, I put every deepest emotion I can. I need to convey a good message to my readers. That happens when I honestly put genuine feelings to my choice of words.
Fourthly, photography involves great editing and enhancing to beautify and develop photos. In writing, I need a lot of proof readings, revising, and enhancement to have a beautiful, meaningful, and convincing writing produce.
Finally, writing and photography emancipate my life’s greatest stresses and burdens. It seems that they all just fly all the way up, every time my hands are at work with lenses and pens. Clicking the camera and writing are such an enjoyable and liberating moment.
Photography and writing, indeed, are two different forms arts which involve intricate, but fun-filled processes that can be learned just like a piece of cake. All we need to do is practice well so that we will master its system and mechanism. I am extremely interested in mastering these two awesome arts, even though they are just pretty new to me; however, I deeply believe that there will be completeness and fulfillment of life on this side of heaven through writing and photography.
While others claim that photography captures the inner soul of a person, or deliberately defines it as painting or writing with light, but in my case, it is just simply a newfound love hobby. I undeniably adore and look up to expert photographers I encounter down the road may it face-to-face or the other way around. In my heart, I silently desire that someday, with hard work, determination, and perseverance, I will become professional and famous as they are. Since my husband bought a Digital Single-Lens Reflex (DSLR) as an anniversary gift, my penchant for photography commenced and ignited. Let me detail the essential truths behind my passion over photography.
Villa Azalea, the name of my new village, is pretty breathtaking, indeed. It is secured, guarded, and fenced community. The neighbors are friendly and helpful in many ways. Because of its high–end taste, the monthly amortization is very expensive, yet it is worth the price at the end of the day. Despite being pricey, my husband and I love the grandeur, security, and beauty of this place. Outside the village, a decent grocery store, primary, private school, and a big mall are strategically located. Checking every car that enters the village, the hard -working security guards make me feel safe always.
The village maintenance guy, who comes every day, faithfully cleans the swimming pool, playground, and roads. Also, he collects the garbage in every house. To live peacefully and securely, you must stay in a guarded and fenced community if it works to one’s budget. I have never been so peaceful and happy since I transferred here two years ago. I can jog around the village, or I can walk around the block every morning without worries since it is secure and guarded. To avail the swimming pool, the monthly amortization, which is $18, must be paid every first week of the month. Overly excited about our house, my husband is looking forward to visiting here next year. Enjoying the amenities and facilities in the village, my family loves to visit here often. My nieces’ favorite hangout is the pool and playground while others just love the serenity and the magnificent beauty of this heavenly community.
The family of four took a day’s off to bond to the mall one Sunday. They must have been to church as they were all dressed up. The father carried the baby boy into his arms securely while the mother held the hand of the baby sister carefully as they walked into the restaurant. They found a neat four-seater table at the corner despite the fact that it was a busy and crowded place every Sunday.
The friendly waiter approached them nicely and greeted them while handing the menu. He stood still and patiently waited as they were browsing through the food choices on the list.
Finally, they chose the food they would eat and then ordered them to the waiter. He took their order with quick and effortless agility, and then proceeded straight over to the kitchen where he delivered an almost indecipherable order slip to the exhausted chef. They seated patiently while waiting for their food, albeit the children obviously couldn’t hold long enough as they were antsy to have their food.
The parents managed to still and calm them by playing with them gleefully. Then, the long wait was over; their order of chicken, rice, vegetable, chocolate, and ice cream came with a bang. The children were very happy and excited upon seeing the food served on their table. The father led them into a prayer of thanksgiving, and they savored their best Sunday lunch ever.