Cheers to the best of 2011!

An unreflected life is a life empty of meaning.

So momentarily I look back and count down my Best 11 of year 2011.

11. PCBC Young Pro Camp in CWC, Naga – My first wakeboarding experience. Met a lot of great friends – my roomie Juvy was the best (learned a lot from this tough yet sweet mom), and reconnected with my roots in Naga. It was definitely an enriching experience.

Young Pros in CWC

10. Yao-Lianko Wedding – Second stint in wedding hosting. Glad I didn’t fall flat on my face. Learned that preparation is everything! Took several meetings with the couple, a waste can full of drafts, and a lot of debating on what to throw and what to keep on the script.  At the end of the day, we know it by heart. Execution is just as crucial, but really preparation is the key.

Final script for the Wedding hosting

9. Kapati-Run 365: One Life a Day – 1st time to be part of the organizing team for a race. It was tough but if you don’t have the luxury of time, it pays to work smart instead of working hard.

Kapati-Run Team

8. Coron Adventure – Conquered my fear of the sea. I can’t swim you see. But here in Coron, I had no choice but to kick on.  It was swimming after swimming after swimming. I learned to just JUMP. The fear was actually worse than just swimming. And if you don’t JUMP, you’ll never know what you’re missing. So if before I dread the waters, now I can’t wait for my next sea adventure.

Out at sea in Coron

7. GLC in CCF – How do you make sense of your faith if you can’t articulate it or express it? Attended level 1 of GLC to refresh what I know about God. It also clarified some confusions and helped me to be able to articulate and communicate my faith and my love for Him. I would still want to study theology in the future, but here, everything is simplified from who God is, who am I to Him, and how I should direct my life for His glory.

GLC in CCF (pic c/o Jason)

6. Toastmasters Membership (Greenhills Prime) – You won’t believe it but I’m incredibly shy. I can hardly stand in front without peeing my pants. But last 2011 was the year to conquer some fears. So there I dared to face up to the challenge. My first time was really nerve wracking but it’s actually the excitement of treading on unfamiliar ground that keeps you going. As the year begins, I’m about to make my 4th basic speech (minus the notes!) and soon I promise myself, I won’t recognize myself after this course. Pro or not, I will be better than I was.

1st Basic Speech: Beautiful Monster as suggested by mentor Chaw

5. My first 3 KM (Kapati-Run) 5 KM (Jubilee Fun Run) 5 KM (All Terrain Race) and 10KM (Urbanathlon) race – Who knew I would be running…. and this far?? My first 1km race 2 or 3 years ago was the worst! I lost my breath within a few meters away from the starting line and I decided to walk the rest of the race. It may seem like an easy sport but running like any other requires a lot of discipline, mental “psyching” and believe it or not emotional readiness and persistence. Once your mind cannot endure any more, it’s your drive to push further that will do the running for you. I’m glad to say that I finished the race – dirt, obstacles, and all… [and I’m not the last.] Yey!

Men’s Health Urbanathlon Finisher

4. Simbang Gabi Outreach – The best part about Christmas is not really about receiving but in giving. Because Christ Himself exemplified and embodied the greatest gift that was given to us. This year Simbang Gabi, a project of ABS-CBN Marketing, set the tone for me on having the attitude of giving. What’s fulfilling in giving is knowing that you’ve actually gained more from opening and extending your arms.

Simbang Gabi outreach mission accomplished

3. World Youth Day Madrid 2011 – Seeing the Pope was an experience that I treasure. But the actual journey exceeded those 4 treasured moments. Being part of this momentous and worldwide event led me to a closer encounter with Jesus Christ by seeing Him in the many faces of young believers. It was a pilgrimage more than a vacation, it was dependence on God more than finding your own way, it was more of prayer than giving in to the noise of the world. More than those, it was also a reminder for us to remain rooted to our faith.

World Youth Day Madrid 2011

2. Vicariate Youth Day / Parish Youth Day – The culmination of World Youth Day is not an encounter with the Pope but sharing this journey and experience to the youths back home. I trust that even if I wasn’t to deliver it as effectively as I wanted to, they have embraced the experience of encountering Christ as we did.

VYD in Good Shepherd Parish

1. Gaining an Archivel family – Getting to know my family in Archivel my Papi Cefe, Mami Juani and my 3 brothers : Alvaro, Andres and Daniel was the best gift God has given me this year. He brought me back to the origin of where our first loves should come from – our family. Despite the language barrier, the difference in culture, we were able to connect in the most special way. We were able to defy boundaries and embrace each other like the family we have back home and more. God has allowed me to experience the love I thought I would never know of.

Truly God gives the best gifts and  blessings to His children even more than we deserve.

I started praying about the World Youth Day 2011 at the start of the year. From the application to the visa and everything in between. Visa finally got approved to my persistent prayer and when I got my itinerary, found out that we were leaving exactly on my birthday, August 8. I knew that this was God’s gift to me. Not only did I receive the gift of friendship, the love of a new family but above all I got to know Christ deeply.

Mulero – Amador family in Archivel

 So here’s to the wonderful experiences, the great memories, and the overflow of blessings of 2011!

Cheers to new beginnings this 2012! =)