My Center for Community Transformation (CCT) Experience

We stayed for two days at CCT Tagaytay for a couples retreat. We had a great time and I can say that the venue contributed a lot.

Our room was spacious, very neat and cozy.  It was good for 4 (2 single beds with pull-outs) that has a pretty big restroom that comes with free soap, hot and cold shower and tissue.  The bath towels come with a fee of 80 pesos.

The food that was served was yummy too.  Although there was nothing really different or special with the cuisines they served, I can say that it was not bad after all.  Just be extra patient with the cafe personnel because they get a little rattled when there are too many people to accommodate. Sometimes, the buffet table does not get refilled right away.  However, since you have (strictly) an hour (breakfast 7-8, lunch 12-1, dinner 6-7) to enjoy and finish your food, I am sure you will still have a great time.  Sorry that I don't have the actual pictures of the food I ate, however, let me share the menu we had.  

Lunch 1:
Corn soup
Fried chicken
Sauteed veggies 
Papaya and Pineapples
overflowing brewed coffee

Dinner 1:
Pocherong Tagalog (clear soup)
Sweet Style Pork Stew
Sauteed veggies with fresh mushrooms
Papaya and Pineapples
overflowing brewed coffee

Breakfast 1:
Fried Daing na Bangus
Tortang Talong
overflowing brewed coffee

Lunch 2:
Mushroom soup
Korean Beef Stew
Herbed Pan fried Chicken with gravy
Sauteed veggies with Basil
Papaya and Pineapples
overflowing brewed coffee

Since we were here February, we experienced a Baguio weather.  There were no buildings nor any infrastructure around so the wind and fog just came around.  It was sooo cold that I had to wear three thin layers of clothes!  As we strolled I also realized that CCT is a kid-friendly place. They have playrooms, wide green space, playground, basketball courts and games that can be rented with a minimal fee (I heard over the counter that Ping-Pong only costs 40 pesos per hour).

CCT is approx 800 meters across Picnic Grove. If you want a quick get away for your family or your team, it is a good place to try.  Just one of the things I do not really like is when you have to leave your shoes on the ground floor of your building (there is a shoe cabinet provided) and use indoor slippers to go up.  However, aside from this, I think CCT is a good place to have retreats, conferences and team buildings.  If you are interested to check on the rates, just scroll down coz I also attached it for you!

**room only (2-3 pax only) 
         2000 pesos - non-aircon 
         3000 pesos - aircon

**day use of room
          1500 pesos - non-aircon  
          2000 pesos - aircon

**day tour entrance
           200 pesos per pax

** bringing in of food not allowed


“Forever Yours: Going the Distance” is the second couple’s retreat that Mico and I had attended. Coincidentally, the bulk of the conference focused on “Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires and The Respect He Desperately Needs, ” topic which we have learned for three times already – first, when our pre-marriage counsellors required us to read the book with the same title by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs; second, when our church Dgroup discussed it in one of our sessions and third, in this couple’s retreat. Despite being exposed to the same topic for several times, the Lord has always prepared something new for us.

This year’s retreat allowed me to see how rewarding it is to do God’s command of “loving” my wife even if at times she appears to be unlovable. Loving her is not merely a responsibility that I need to do but a privilege for me to worship God since the main purpose of marriage is to adore Him. As a result, a rewarding marriage is experienced.

Our first speaker lectured on the “Blueprint on Marriage” as written by God, the author of every connubial. One thing that struck me is when he discussed the need for “unswerving loyalty" which entails knowing your wife on all aspects – physically, intellectually, spiritually and emotionally. I asked myself, “Do I know Mico that much? Is my loyalty to her unswerving to the extent that I know her on all facets of life?” However, these questions were clearly answered when our last speaker stood and expounded on the grace of God which enables each one to do what He has commanded us to do.

Indeed, it is only by His grace that we can copiously know our spouses, consequently, being one in serving God.With us in the retreat is a couple who are on their twilight years and has been together for almost 60 years. Both of them use canes. The wife even uses wheel chair if there is a need for a fairly long walk. Hearing their testimony made me appreciate God’s  sustaining love and grace. Their long journey together were full of successes and failures, but, despite all these, they recognize that the Lord sustained them and gave them His unwavering love that binds their love for each other through the ages. 

Having learned all these, the Lord reminded me that my marriage with Mico is work in progress according to His design. Looking back to what the Lord has done to us in the past two years of our marriage, I am excited to see what He has in store for us in the years to come as we continue our journey with Him.

Forever Yours, Forever His: My Reflections on Our Recent Retreat

The retreat we recently attended reminded me that I should value my relationship to God so my relationship with Bryan will grow all the more.  All this time, I thought marriage is all about Bryan, I have never realized that marriage is about God.  I was tasked by God to respect Bryan because this is how He wanted it to be from the very beginning. Disobeying and raising my issues to my husband in an unloving and disrespectful ways do not only displeases Bryan but more so the Lord

This was a timely reminder because I wake up every morning with the hopes of doing all I can for our little family.  Although this may be good, this is not enough because I have to please God first in every aspect of our relationship.  And when I do, that is when I can truly be the "best" wife to Bryan. Though psychology, society, and media may all have the suggestions and ways on how a marrriage can work, I realized that these institutions did not create marriage.  It was God who instituted marriage, therefore, He alone has the master blueprint on how marriages can be made beautiful.  Thank you Lord for this assurance!

Let me also include a few lines that pierced my heart during our stay in Tagaytay.  May this encourage you as well.

God has a wonderful plan for our families -- and it starts with the husband and wife
- Pastor Roy Fabella

Marriage is designed by God to be enjoyed by the couple.
- Bro. Paul Aragones

(to husband) kelan ko sinabi sayo na "I love you"? Parang hindi ba diba? O ngayon, sasabihin ko na "I love you..."
- a wife who's been married for 40 years

Married couples are to create their own household.
- Bro. Paul Aragones

The things that matters to God, matters...
- I forgot who ;)


I have always been a lover of retreats.  It is an instant get-away, a time to learn/re-learn and a season to not watch the clock.  Last February 19-20, Bryan and I had a chance to be with our CCF Muntinlupa family for a couples retreat.  And, as expected, we had a wonderful wonderful time.

To begin, I am thankful that we had a chance to be "away" for 2 days. Though it was a bit difficult to leave Risen (I am sure most parents would agree), we still decided to go because our son would surely benefit from this retreat.  As what we have always believed, happier parents make happier kids.

Second, this gave us the chance to bond with other couples of CCF Muntinlupa.  Ever since Bryan had finished the bar exams we have longed for a church that we can serve and call home.  We yearned for friendship we can develop, families we can know and Risen can grow with - and finally, we can say that CCF Muntinlupa is the answer to our prayers.  PRAISE GOD! WE HAVE A CHURCH!!

Third, this gave us the opportunity to hear from God on what He wants from us and from our marriage.  We have learned much from the topics that were shared and from the stories talked about by other couples. I will be more specific on my learnings on my next blog.  I have also asked Bryan to share his reflections, so watch our for that as well!

All in all, I can say that I fell in love with retreats, Bryan and God all the more! I hope you can join us next year!

The Love He Has for You

Last Sunday the Youth and Singles ministries of CCF Muntinlupa spearheaded an event entitled "Would You be My Valentine?: True Love Waits".  More or less 150 young people attended the occasion.  The topic was about  how the author of love (God) makes His love perfect for His creation.  

One of the highlights of the event  was the song that tita Lyn sang at the end of the programme. It pierced my heart!  If I had known this song before our wedding, this will surely be on our song list.  Let me share to you the lyrics and the Youtube video from Point of Grace.  

The Love He Has for You 

When you're living for the love of a lifetime
You wonder if the waiting will ever end
And the right from the wrong that you've guarded so long
Is closer that it's ever been

But sometimes a moment of weakness
Can sacrifice the treasure of time
And cause you to miss the miracle
God longs for you to find

There's a love He has for you
There's a heart that He's been saving
There's a joy beyond all measure
That only comes from waiting

There's a love He has for you
It's more than the hope you're holding to
And you will find the only love that's true
Is the love He has for you

When you're torn between today and tomorrow
And holding out for something you cannot see
There's a strength you can find knowing in God's own time
You'll discover what He meant to be

'Cause love like the Father intended
Is more than just a state of the heart
So don't give up hope in the holding on
'Cause no matter who you are

There's a love He has for you
There's a heart that He's been saving
There's a joy beyond all measure
That only comes from waiting

There's a love He has for you
It's more than the hope you're holding to
And you will find the only love that's true
Is the love He has for you

There's a heart that He's been saving
There's a joy beyond all measure
That only comes from waiting
There's a love He has for you

It's more than the hope you're holding to
And you will find the only love that's true
Yes you'll find the only love that's true
Is the love He has for you

Oh the love He has for you

-Point of Grace


Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking in front of the parents of Saint Bernadette School of Alabang during their Parent Teacher Conference.  I was given the liberty to choose a topic which I thought will be “easier” on my side. However, as I was thinking, reading, and researching on the possible subjects that seasoned moms would like to hear from a new mother like me, I panicked a little.

Good thing, our tiny library at home was reliable enough for tasks like this.  I took the book “Raising Achievers” by Nita Weis and began to examine.  The text gave brilliant tips on how parents can help their kids be go-getters.  It also focused on research and answers to common problems faced by mothers and fathers.  On the other hand, since I also believe in the idea of learning process, I tweaked the ideas I got.  This little change gave me the chance to also make it more applicable to Filipino parents, the Philippine curriculum for education and the familiar lifestyle of our students.

image from

Allow me share to you a part of my outline.

The first picture is our common view of success.  However, let me ruin your thoughts because the second picture is a more realistic image of what success is really  all about. Just like in business, we sometimes do good, at times we fail. Therefore, we should aim for competence, confidence and attitude.

How can parents help their children to be long-term achievers?

1.  Set a habit of learning to your child
      - Introduce learning as a fun activity.  No shouting.  No spanking. No crying. No pressure.
      - Ask your child to write down his daily routine. Check together what he is over doing or missing
      - Softly point out that his main responsibility is his studies.

2.  Have learning activities during vacation
      - Do not break the routine of learning and reading.  It takes 30 days to create and lose a habit.
      - Make holidays productive.  

3.  Instead of punishments, give rewards

4.  If they have tutors, set time when to let them go

5.  Be wise in analyzing the actions/problems of your child.  It could be..
     - Attitude problem: Does he disobey all your instructions or just the studying part? If he does              not obey you in other circumstances, the issue is NOT studies but obedience to parents 
     - School problem: Bullying, too tired from school work, can't follow his teachers' discussion, peer         pressure, etc
     - Biologocal problem:  Blurry eyes, ear problem, etc
     - Special needs:  Dyslexia, ADHD, slow learner, etc

6.  Give your child responsibilities and do not take them out of it when they feel tired, lazy or because      they just want to quit.

7.  Communicate with your child.  Value their reasons.  Make time.

Should you be interested in learning more about this topic, email me at or leave a comment below.

To All the Early 20s who will be "Dateless" and "Lonely" Tomorrow

I too had my my own share of alone moments during Valentines day.  I remember being sad and questionable on why my life is such a misery (yes, ganun ka OA with matching tears pa yun). 

Mas na feel ko pa yung pagiging sad when I was given flowers by my students with the underlying statement, "Ms. Mico, wala kang date?  kami na lang date mo".   Then, there was a time when my sister Kai who was grade 2 that year  blatantly asked me (I was 24 years old ata ) if I was already a matandang dalaga. HAY!! 

Nakakainis pa yung feeling that most of your friends have dates or at least someone has a crush on them, tapos ikaw wala!! Aaaayyyy ang sakit naman talaga sa heart! Then everyone is asking you pa kung "saan ang date mo?", then if you tell them na "wala", and reply nila ay "bakit?"...Ang sarap mang batok, diba? 

So, if you are single and you feel alone, WELCOME TO THE CLUB!! YOU ARE NORMAL!!. It happens, my dear.  On the other hand, it will pass.  Feb 14 is just a day.  Yung iba, may ka date nga, but they are not truly happy (bitter na kung bitter, totoo naman kaya!).  So, maybe you can buy yourself a bag of chips or a pint of ice cream (pwede din both) and do a movie marathon.  Or pwede din, matulog ka na lang.  Or go out with people who are happily date-less too.  Or, feel the sadness.  It is okay to be lonely.  It is okay mag mukmok.  It is okay to cry.

But again, it will pass.  And just like me, you will wake up one day not remembering what it feels to be lonely.  Dadating yan, promise.  You do not even have to wait for it. Hugs to YOU!!!

Love and Respect - I am giving away this book for FREE!!

 FREE book this love month!!

image from

Just leave a comment on my blog why you think you deserve this good read.  I will pick one winner by Monday (yep, that would be Feb 16) and notify that person through email!!

So, hurry!  Give me your reasons and I will ship the book right away.  Do not forget to leave your email ad so we could speak right away!!

How to Peacefully Do your Grocery with a Toddler

Today, I did grocery shopping with Risen.  I thought it would be impossible to go to a supermarket and tick off a long list of things to buy.  I was surprised to find out it could actually be a great time!  If you are having doubts or any problems doing errands with your 18 month old baby, check these tips I made for you.

Before leaving…

1.     Plan ahead.  Doing duties outside the house with your child must not be spontaneous
2.     Choose a time where your son or daughter does not have to sleep or have a meal.  Normally, when a child is hungry or sleepy, he becomes cranky. 
3.     Pick a short route and traffic free hour.
4.     Wear comfy and “safe” clothes.  This goes for you and your baby.  Be dressed in a kind of attire wherein leaning forward, carrying your son, picking up something on the floor or bending sideways won’t be a problem.
5.     Have a complete bag of essentials for your little one. 
     o   Milk and bottles
     o   Water
     o   Snack
     o   Wipes
     o   Towel
     o   Diaper
     o   Extra clothes
     o   Alcohol
6.     Instead of bringing your heavyweight mommy bag, carry a small sling bag. This will make sure you have the energy and space to carry your toddler if you have to.
7.     Prepare a grocery list and stick to it.
8.     Buckle-up (assuming your child has a car seat) and drive safe
9.     Park where there would be a good room to maneuver your cart (assuming you will end up with 3-4 bags in a cart).  Pick a "safe" area as well.

In the grocery…

1.     Choose a manageable cart.  Some carts are difficult to steer.
2.     When strolling along “safe aisles”, meaning nothing stacked will be broken, allow your child to walk around.  This would permit him to explore safely.  Note that putting your child inside the cart will create boredom.  
3.     Avoid allowing your toddler to open and munch on what you are buying.  Do not start a habit that you would want to break in the long run.  Make sure all snack items will not be unwrapped while you are doing the grocery.  Again, you do not want to equate grocery time = “I can open anything and eat what I want”
4.     When buying bottled items, keep your kiddo inside the cart.
5.     If your child is bored, the best temporary play area is the noodles or pasta section.
6.  Use this time as a learning activity.  Count, sing, read, teach colors and shape.  I have seen parents who allow their kids to use tabs.  This is sad.  Your kiddos (especially the pre-schoolers) can learn fraction, costing, food pyramid, and a lot of other things in the grocery!!
7.     When paying, check if you could use the lane for senior citizens and pregnant customers.  Malay mo, makalusot? ;)
8.  Do not rush.  Maybe a little Hide and Seek wouldn't hurt.   
9.  Carry your child while the cashier is scanning and placing your goods in bags.  I had an experience where I was not able to collect everything I paid for because I was so busy looking after Risen.  (I think the lady did not place some of the items I bought inside the grocery bag)

When going home…

1.     It would be wise not to go home right away.  Instead play a little.  Why? Since your child has been inside the cart most of the time, it would not be a good idea to buckle him right away in his car seat.
2.     Secure the grocery in your trunk first (it would be better if you can ask someone to assist you).  If you do not have help,  allow your child to stay in the cart as you do this.  Look around just to check if there are any malicious looking people.    That is why it is best to park near a guard, well lighted and busy area.  After checking, buckle-up your son.
3.     Watch out for the doors and keys.  You do not want to leave the keys inside a locked car with your little one inside.
4.     Hopefully, it would be milk time on your way home.  A bottle of milk is safe for a toddler to handle alone than biscuits or juice.
5.     Drive safe.

Promise, it would be fun.  Try it! :)

Watch out, Mommies!

No stay-at-home mother can claim that she is the best mom just because she is with her child 24/7.  Though I have been only a mother for almost 19 months now, I have seen the “dangers” of being a mom who is always at home.  I think a stay-at-home mother is more prone to be a negligent mom.

Why?  Here are my reasons:

     Because she has nothing else to do. No matter how old the child is, rearing a son or daughter can be draining most  of the time especially if this is your “only responsibility”.  It can be exhausting, boring, demanding and difficult in a lot of areas.  A full time mom may have the tendency to be fed up and extremely impatient with his kids.

      Because she feels unfulfilled.  Some mothers who suddenly gave up their awesome careers to be a stay-home-mom may sense dullness with her new “job”.  Being in the four corners of the house is not a glamorous job.  If you are a new mom, you’d probably smell like sour milk, walk around without any brassier (because you are breastfeeding), bathe fast and totally lose control of your routine.  There is a big leaning to miss your career life and hope that things could easily go back to “normal”.  With this, she may miss the joy of being a mother because she misses a lot of other things.

      Because she thinks she is “always” with her kids. We have a helper at home who also assists me with my son.  I think this is a good idea but I always try to see to it that I am still hands on to Risen.  When you have extra help, it is very easy to delegate and do something else.  This is still a usual struggle for me.  So what I do is set specific times wherein I am in-charge.  Like the feeding, bathing, reading, putting to sleep and others. When I work online, I also see to it I can see him with our house help.

    Being a full time mother is probably the one of the wisest decision I have made but that does not make me a hero.  I may be 24-7 physically present but I can still be emotionally away from my child.  Impatience, boredom, stress, and tiredness might eat me up.  So the key here is balance.  Do something on the side.  Do little things that make you alive.  Go out once in a while.  Exchange stories with other mothers.  Breathe.    Lastly, make sure you are giddy and joyful with your kids.  At the end of the day they do not want a mom-zilla.  So, mommies just like me, watch out!!