All posts by erajaneru

#LangGA2018 Venue Hunting

So here is my first post about my wedding preps. We’ve had a hard time looking for a garden venue with an enclosed space that is budget-friendly here in Quezon City. Also, my fiancé (George) is in Mindanao (he’ll come back to MLA April 14) so I’m the only one looking for a venue. Thank God for the internet, George can be with me virtually. Thanks to my parents, family, and friends who graciously gave their time and advice regarding wedding venues. We were planning to have the wedding on September 29, yet we only started looking for a venue last January. We had 4 options, but our final venue is not a part of our options.

Cornerstone Community Baptist Church

This was our first option because this is my home church. It is a church with a small garden. I’d love to be married in a place that is so dear to me. The Worship Hall is easy to decorate. Also, we can use the church for free. For outsiders, the church offers the worship hall at a very affordable price.

Setup during my Kuya’s wedding
Front setup
The building

Our only consideration was the stairs. George’s Papang have a hard time walking. We wanted a venue that does not have stairs (or not too much stairs). Mommy (my paternal grandmother) is also on a wheelchair and I’d love to have her witness my wedding. George and I prayed about getting a different venue, including the possible budget that it entails. We finally decided to look for another venue.

Gazebo Royale

I went venue hunting on the internet and saw Gazebo Royale. The pictures of wedding setups that I saw on Google are gorgeous! The budget was overboard, but I still wanted to take a look at it. I asked Mama to go with me to the venue. Gazebo Royale is located along Visayas Ave. Extension. They have 2 halls, the Phoenix Avenue (max. 200 pax) and Champagne Hall (max. 250 pax). Here are some of the pictures that I took when we went there.

Phoenix Avenue entrance
Inside Phoenix Avenue
Powder Room
Koi Pond
Walkway leading to the comfort rooms…also a great place to have a photo op!
Champagne Hall (too big for my liking)
Designated parking for the bridal car
Guests’ parking area
Gate (sorry for the dark photo)

The prices made my jaw drop (think 300k for packages). I realized how commercialized weddings can be nowadays. Of course, if you opt to splurge on your wedding, go ahead. But for our pockets, it’s just too much. 😂

The place is beautiful, but it is not within our budget. So we had to let that go.

Blue Gardens

Blue Gardens is located a few miles away from JOCFER Building (Feria) along Commonwealth Ave. I also saw this venue on the internet. Incidentally, a childhood friend of mine just informed me that she will have her wedding there. So, Mama and I decided to go there after we visit Gazebo Royale. They have a Chateau Hall, an Upper Garden, and a Larger Garden (I forgot what it’s called). The place is magical even in daylight.

Chateau Hall with wedding reception setup by Hizons
Powder Room-Bedroom
Powder Room-leading to the bedroom
Larger Garden-fountain
Powder Room-receiving area
Larger Garden
Upper Garden-leading to the restrooms
Upper Garden with no setup
Chateau Hall
Chateau Hall-fairytale-like stairs
Large Garden with no setup

The packages were a tad cheaper than Gazebo Royale (around 250k, 300k with add-ons), but still way beyond our budget. So we let go of this one as well.

UP Church of the Risen Lord

This iconic Episcopal church in the heart of UP is within our budget. A churchmate of mine got married in this church 2 years ago, and they told me that they only paid 10k for the venue. I believe there is a discount for UP Staff and alumni. The church is already beautiful even without the decorations. There are also no stairs leading to the venue which is a great plus for us.

Inside UP CRL:

However, I wanted an enclosed space for the reception. They have a reception space at the side of the church, but it is not covered. The stones also tend to be slippery especially when it’s raining. September is rainy season already. I don’t want to risk the health and safety of our guests.

UP Bonsai Garden

This venue was suggested by my Kuya. It’s a shame that an Iska like me know that there is a Bonsai Garden somewhere in UP but I don’t know where exactly it is located. 😂 It is somewhere in Area 1 where I usually eat during my undergraduate days. How come I didn’t notice it?

Anyway, their prices are within budget. The custodian was very easy to talk to. The bonsai are gorgeous! The largest tree located at the end of the bonsai aisle will look really good on pictures. There is a small enclosed space that you can rent separately for the buffet table. I was also impressed at their newly-renovated comfort rooms!

Bonsai Aisle leading to the gigantic tree
From the gate leading to the Garden
Cogon Hall
The gate-facing outside
Gigantic Tree
The gate

One concern of mine was that the bonsai plants are too large. I’m worried that the guests will not see the ceremony unless we are elevated in some way. Another concern was that there are no parking spaces for guests. The front part of the garden is also full of trash. I’m sure though that they will clean it for the event. Also, I thought that I’ll not get too picky with the venue since we’re on a budget. We decided that we’ll go with this venue.

Interestingly, after more than a month of fixing our eyes on Bonsai Garden, I still wasn’t able to book the venue!

Maybe the Lord knows our heart’s desires. We are willing to settle for this garden but this is not what we want. I admit, I kind of took matters in my own hands that I didn’t pray too hard about it. So we started to pray more for a venue that we will really love and still within budget.

Come March 28, I attended my childhood friend’s (Rubie Perez, now Mrs. Delos Reyes) wedding. Since I was a secondary sponsor, I was asked by the bride to come earlier to the hotel for the prenup photoshoot. When I arrived at the hotel, people are still having their makeup done, so I had time to relax. When the bride was finished with her makeup, I had the opportunity to chat with her. We talked about their wedding preps. She also gave me advices on how to prepare for the big day. I told her that I still don’t have a venue. She then said, “Try mo yung Don Jose Heights Clubhouse! Doon dapat ang venue namin kaso dumami na ang guests namin so we have to look for another venue.” My heart skipped a beat even though I have no idea what the place looks like.

Don Jose Heights Clubhouse

I found the FB page of the clubhouse. It made me so excited to see the venue personally. After our choir practice on Maundy Thursday, my parents and I along with family friends (Sofhia and Tita Mascle) went to the venue. As we parked, my heart pounded harder. My mind and heart told me that this is the place I will get married. I talked to the guard and asked for the rates. It is within our budget (25-30k)!

Front view of the hall
Wider front view of the hall
An insta-worthy short walkway
The back of the hall (which leads to the soccer field and the garden wedding venue…which I don’t have a picture of)
Soccer field
Double doors-main hall
Covered walkway at the side of the main hall

A week after, I called their office and asked if Sept. 29 is still available. Sadly, all the weekends for the year (even the first months of 2019) are already booked. I was broken-hearted. I talked to my fiancé, parents, and matron of honor (Ate Chai, my sister-in-law). They told me that they are still willing to push through with the wedding in that venue even with a different date. We then booked the nearest available date, which is on a weekday (I will not disclose the date yet in this post).

I was too anxious about finding the right venue for our wedding. I sought for it in my own terms. Yet, God has other plans for us, way higher and perfect than George and I can imagine. I am excited for what God has in store for us in the next months.

If you want prices and quotations, you can comment down below so I can take a picture and send it to you 😊

Peace and Love,

Ara Foronda


Day 07: Favorite Childhood Toy

My fave childhood toy would most definitely be POLLY POCKETS. These toys were called as such because everything is pocket-sized, from the dolls to the accessories. Afterwards, they branched out to not-so-pocket-sized sets. I loved playing with my polly pockets because I was able to make my own stories with it. I had these toys until I finished elementary. I gave it to my cousins and it is still on display in their house.

The first polly pocket I had is the mansion.

This is how the exterior looked like. The garage door can be opened and you can park your pocket-sized car inside! Those little circles are the slots for your polly pockets.

Now here’s how it looks like inside:

Those lights inside the lobby lights up so that your polly pockets can have a ballroom night. Your pollies can have a bubble bath. Your pollies can tend to your own garden. Make your pollies fit and fab in the workout room. There’s just so much going on in this play set.

The pink roof on the right side opens up to the attic.

The other Polly Pocket play set I owned was the Vintage Pool Party. Here’s how it looks like:

The pollies in this play set are magnetic. If you see the handle-like thing in front of the flower garden,  that is the control for the pollies. They can now move without you holding them. The pool can also be filled with water. You press the shower by the pool and it will spray water out.

These toys helped the introvert me, because I love imagining stuff 💚 other than that, I play rough games with my brother and his friends. 😂😂😂

Day 06: Zodiac sign personality

I do not believe in zodiac signs. I have read some predictions for the day according to zodiac sign in newspapers and tweets. I usually just find it entertaining to read, but I don’t take it too seriously. For the fun of it, I looked up my daily horoscope. I’m an Aries, btw.

Well, this happens to everyone… It’s just too general. 😣

Anyway, let’s now look at what the personality of an Aries should be. 

Strengths and Weaknesses: I can compare these personalities to Peter the Apostle. He is very compassionate yet impuslive. He said he would never deny Jesus, yet he did so three times during Jesus’ trial. I tend to be moody and impatient especially during that *time of the month*…and I am trying my best not to make that an excuse. The struggle is real!!! I also tend to be somehow impulsive when it comes to travelling, eating, and buying stationery stuff. On the other hand, I am more passive-aggressive rather than just aggressive. I tend to fight back with silence, which is also not a good way to address issues.

I do believe I am determined, enthusiastic, passionate, and honest most of the time. I honestly have confidence issues (there’s my honesty haha). I tend to see myself lower than others. I do try to believe in what the Bible says, that my identity is in Christ… I can say that I’ve gone a really long way from my low-confidence self. I’m thankful to all those who stuck through that phase of mine. I’m still a work in progress.

Likes: I love comfy clothes. I don’t really care if my clothes are not trendy, as long as it’s comfy. However, I do love to dress fashionably in a tiis-ganda way occasionally. As for leadership roles, I do not see myseld in a leadership role initially (again, confidence issues), but I learned that God can actually use introverts like me to lead. I am initially content with working away from the limelight, but being in the limelight strikes a balance of confidence and humility for me. As for physical activities, I am currently not involved in any sport…and I honestly want to start a physical activity this month. So help me, God.

Dislikes: amen to not liking work that does not use one’s talent. I asked the Lord to give me work that will be able to utilize and improve my talents and skills. It was also what my parents told me. They supported me when I decided to take up Music Education as long as I will see myself doing it in the future without any regrets. I am beyond grateful to be a full-fledged music teacher. I can be somehow patient with delays. As for inactivity, I do tend to find something that I can do when I don’t have anything to do. I usually read a book or write random stuff. 

That’s it. I still don’t believe in zodiac signs because I can change over time. Also, God is continually at work in my life. I won’t be perfect in this lifetime, but I hope I live a life that will please God and inspire others. ☄

Day 05: Favorite comfort food

Image screenshot from Merriam-Webster

I love food and I’m very adventurous with it. I always enjoy food trips with friends and family, from turo-turo to estero eateries in Binondo to high-end restaurants. I would define comfort food and, may I also include, drinks as something I eat or drink when I feel down, tired, stressed, or discouraged. It would also remind me of the good memories I had — the people, the place, the event. Honestly, I really thank God for delicious, sumptuous FOOD! 🙂

Here’s my top 5 comfort food and drinks. I am in no way paid for mentioning them in this list. (But if they pay me, edi go. Hahaha. Just kidding!)

5. Ersao (click to be redirected to their official FB page)

Image result for ersao
Ersao logo

I love this Taiwanese restaurant! I am so glad that they opened a branch in SM Fairview. I always order their radish cake and kuchai steamed dumplings. They also have big servings for their noodles. We usually order a large bowl of noodles and ask them to divide it into two bowls. Also, they have a large selection of drinks — milk tea, fruit tea, fruit shake, shake float, etc.!

4. Pasta

Image result for pesto pasta
Shrimp Pesto Pasta

Not the sweet Filipino-style, but the Italian-style. Pasta is one of the dishes I usually cook when I have the time and the budget. I like it with red sauce or pesto sauce. My favorite places to go to for my pasta fix is Napoli Pizzeria Ristorante (so sad that their SM Fairview branch is gone :((( ), A Venetto Pizzeria Ristorante (Trinoma, SM Megamall), and Friuli Trattoria. Secondary to these is Sbarro. The food is average but I enjoy the company of people who ate there with me.

3. Japanese food

Image result for japanese food
Japanese food

いただきます (Itadakimasu!)

I believe this love towards Japanes food stemmed out from being an anime fan. This love became stronger when Papa went to Japan and brought home some Japanese snacks, anime figurines, manga, and Canon digicams (smart phones are not a thing yet). Three years ago, if my memory serves me right, we had a Japanese-themed noche buena. We had tempura (ebi, nasu, okra, ninjin), salmon sashimi (family favorite!), and sinigang  na salmon with miso (alright, it’s a Filipino dish, but there’s miso…). While eating, we would all break out into our broken Japanese phrases and anime conversations. When we eat in a buffet, I will fill my plate with sushi, salmon sashimi, tempura, and katsu. (Fun fact: my parents binge-watch anime with us, i.e. Attack on Titan, Ano Hana, Angel Beats. HOW COOL IS THAT? :))))))

Bonus: Matcha! I like the taste of matcha in desserts and drinks…aside from its color. 🙂

2. Coffee and Tea

Image result for coffee and tea
Coffee and Tea

I am a coffee and tea drinker. Don’t even ask which I prefer more than the other because I prefer both. 😀

The types of coffee I prefer are locally-brewed coffee. Whenever I go out-of-town, I make sure that I buy a bag of ground coffee with me to take home. I enjoy buying coffee in Kape Umali located inside Baguio’s public market. I generally love coffee from Northern Philippines. Whenever I drink brewed coffee, I reminisce about my medical mission experiences. When I first went to Kalinga, I remembered that I asked for water and they handed me coffee. Hehe. Coffee is their version of water, I guess. Also, 7-11 Coffee is a good and cheap alternative for someone like me who cannot go out-of-town all the time.

As for tea, I like peppermint tea, berries-infused tea, flower-infused tea, and tea lattes. My go-to place for my tea fix is Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. My favorite is Matcha, African Sunrise, and Moroccan Mint. My college beshie (Hi Jath Borja!) also gave me some tea bags plucked and produced from their own farm, Canaan Farms de Borja, Inc. I personally liked their peppermint tea.

1. Home-made Sinigang

Image result for sinigang
Sinigang na Baboy

This is my ultimate comfort food! This viand is a blockbuster in our house, and I can have more than one serving of rice with it. Our family loves sinigang cooked by Mama (pwede rin si Jared), Papa (he seldom cooks, though), Mommy (maternal grandmother), and Tita Weng. I like it to be sour than average with a hint of spiciness. Yummmm. Now I’m craving for one, even though it’s 35°C here in QC.

That’s it! I hope you can try some of these, or maybe share your own comfort food. I’d like to give some of your suggestions a try. 🙂

Day 04: Views on Religion

Late post! I’ve had my hands full during the weekends. 🙂

Religion. One of the most disputed topics since the beginning of time.

For all of you to know, I am a Protestant. I am involved in our church’s music ministry. I’ve accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior when I was 4 years old. I am thankful to God that He continues to be gracious and merciful in my life, despite my imperfections and disobedience. I believe that Jesus Christ is the only way, the truth, and the life (Jn. 14:6). Having said that, I do believe that the biggest dispute between religions is that of salvationthe person of Jesus Christ (or His non-existence), and resurrection.

I believe that we are all sinners, however hard we try to be good (Rom. 3:23). The payment for this sin is death, young or old, good or bad (something to the lines of “Why do good people have to die?”). However, God made a way for us to be spiritually alive again. God’s gift is eternal life through His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ (Rom. 6:23). Jesus became Man so He can carry the sins of the world by being crucified. He was the one who bore the wrath of God the Father. I know some of you might view God as evil for letting His Son die. You see, that’s how holy He is. He cannot bear to see even one spot of sin. So if we told a white lie, got a few coins from your Mom’s purse, or got irritated with your friend, that’s already sin. Imagine mankind’s little sins all piled up…and placed on Jesus. When I think about this, I can’t help but feel grateful. He did not only die, but He also rose again from the dead. This is one of the most controversial topics that many scholars and scientists argue about. Until now, they cannot fully figure out the mystery behind such an occurrence. However, there are witnesses to this resurrection (1 Cor. 15:3-5). 500 witnesses plus the apostles? You cannot simply say that it’s mass hallucination. Jesus’ resurrection is the hope of those who believe in Him, because we truly serve a risen Savior who is actively sovereign in our lives. I also believe that Christ will come again to take up His sons and daughters, those who believe in Him.

I tried my best to summarize my belief and view of religion in two paragraphs. This song, entitled “This I Believe (The Creed)” (click the title to listen to the song) used the Apostles’ Creed as its lyrics. This is what I believe, and it is only by God’s enablement that I will be able to show and share the One who saved me.

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
and born of the virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to hell.
The third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended to heaven
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.
From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic* church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

*that is, the true Christian church of all times and all places


Day 03: Top 5 Pet Peeves

Shot during CA faculty and staff outing. They are not my pet peeve at all. Hehe

My pet peeves seem absurd when I think about it, but when the moment presents itself, I really get annoyed. 😣😝😩😠

5. Toothpaste tubes pressed EVERYWHERE. I want my toothpaste tube to be pressed from the bottom (where the content ends)… not in the middle…definitely not near the opening of the tube. 😬

4. Spoon and fork not properly set aside after eating. It irks me to see those utensils as if they were dropped from a high place and came crashing on to the plate. Huhu. 🍽

3. Littering. I really hate it when I see people just throwing their trash on the sidewalk or anywhere but the trash can. I especially get irritated when a parent tells his/her child to just throw their trash on the sidewalk. I’ve witnessed this a lot of times, even though there is a trash can in view. 🗑

2. When people don’t know how to fall in line or wait for their turn. My ears turn red with this one.  The end of the line is very clear, then someone will just casually walk in front of you and overtake you on the line. I always say, “Excuse me, the end of the line is back there.” I encountered a lady in her mid-thirties (just a guess) who replied, “Anong pake ko?” I replied that she should act her age and that she should be a good example to young people like me.  She turned red and went away.  Ha. 😩😧

1. When the bus stops IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD AND THE DRIVER TELLS YOU TO GO DOWN FAST.  This gets me ALL THE TIME. Buses here in Metro Manila just stop anywhere they want. In the middle of Commonwealth Ave? EDSA? No problem! They don’t care if their passengers will get smashed by a vehicle. As long as the person is out of the bus, it’s not their responsibility anymore. I almost got hit by vehicles numerous times. When I’m not tired, I woulda really demand to be taken down at the bus stop on the side of the road. I honestly hope that our government can start doing public transpo reforms. Hayyyyyyy. 😣😥😑

So much for pet peeves. I hate thinking about these things. Nakaka-stress. Also, did you notice how my paragraph gets long as I progress to number 1? Haha. Tama na, guys. 😂

 Day 02: In 10 years… 

The lower left pic did not even change. I guess I really look like a guy. Hahaha! 😂

When I was in college, I was the type of person who lives in the here-and-now. I didn’t have long-term goals or plans for myself back then. I unknowingly began thinking about my future when I was already working. I was in danger of going #YOLO with my youthful energy and my pride. Ironically, I was taught to teach other people to listen well, and there I was struggling to teach myself how to listen. Good thing, I was able to feel the genuine love and care of people who gave me their wise counsel. ^_^

Anyway, this is how I see myself in 10 years. There are some details to it, but I’d rather be flexible with whatever comes my way. In 10 years… 

  1. I’ll still be teaching. In 10 years, I will be in my mid-30s. I would be thankful to God if I am still teaching during (and beyond) those years. I’ve proven to myself that teaching is really my passion. I enjoy witnessing other people learn and improve. I am excited at how my students will pass what they’ve learned to their peers, family, friends, etc. I honestly have no specific school/s in mind, I really wanted keep my options open with this one. Speaking of which… 
  2. I have my own school. This is one of my dreams when I took Music Ed in UP. I’m not sure yet if I wanted a studio- or a classroom-type of school. Whatever it may be, my goal is to reach out to others through music. I would like to serve the underprivileged, those who have the passion and the time to learn but don’t have the resources. I was actually toying with the idea of having a music outreach program in the nearer future. That will help me jumpstart this dream of mine.
  3. I have my own family. I still want to have enough energy and time for my future husband and kid/s. I know that I am not called by God to be single because I have a desire to have a lifetime partner. Haha. I do pray for my future husband and kids, that we will all grow together in the saving grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. Of course, I do yearn for a holistically healthy family. If there will be any challenge that I need to face, I do hope that I can get through it with the help of God and my loved ones. 😊❤
  4. I’ll still be active in the Lord’s work. I will still be active in worship and youth ministries. If ever God allowed me to have more ministries, I will gladly accept it. However, I believe that my gifts are geared towards the worship and the youth. As for the church, I would like it to be CCBC, but we will never know. I will be flexible (and hopefully adjust well) wherever the Lord will lead me to serve.
  5. I will have my own library. This is a dream of mine since I was a wee li’l kid. I kid you not. Mama would usually tell me that I have too many books, and some of them are still unopened (thanks to BookSale for existing). I still prefer books over e-books because the LCD screen hurts my eye if I read for an hour. Even though technology is developing with an impressive speed, books will be here to stay. 📚
  6. My passport will have a stamp in it. I honestly enjoy and treasure my trips here in the Philippines. I can go back to local destinations anytime, as long as I have the resources. On the other hand, I would like to go out of the country as well (Konnichiwa! 안녕하세요). 

    That’s it, I guess. I don’t want to delve too much in the details. I like to be constantly surprised at what God has in store for me. I have to entrust to Him my future plans and let his will be done. I will end this blog post with a passage from God’s Word:

    Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

    Proverbs 19:21 ESV