Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Posts tagged ‘strength’

Breathing Adventure: Achieving High Walls at Climb Central

 

We always itch for adventure but the rains always quell our thirst for the heights. Adventure, however, is not limited to the outskirts of the city. Sometimes, they can be found lurking within the city walls.

Rock climbing is one activity I’ve been planning to do for a long time. There are plenty of rock climbing centers in Manila but it’s in Climb Central where I have had my first taste of this indoor adventure.

wp-1476675797535.jpg

Located at The Portal in Greenfield, the Climb Central is an easy access along EDSA and MRT’s Shaw Avenue station (and a good place to kill time while waiting for rush hour’s traffic and long, boring queues to subside). This adventure center is recommendable to beginners like my friends and me. But if you think rock climbing is easier than mountain hiking, think again.

wp-1476675821555.jpg

Once register, you have this tag. Always bring this when going there. 🙂

This venue gives everybody a chance to unleash their climbing power. Huge and quite spacious, everybody had the chance to get a climb to the top. There is a regular section, a children’s section, and a section for professional climbers (you need to get a certificate to try that one).

Adult registration is only Php600 (this includes a one-time registration fee and equipment). Don’t forget to bring any valid ID when you register, more preferably a government ID since it’s your lifetime registration. They would give you a short briefing on how to belay with a friend and how to climb alone. After that, you’re free to go.

 

wp-1476675852474.jpg

Almost reaching the top!

 

And there’s so turning back.

When we thought our hikes already had steep trails, these 8 to 12-meter walls are 90 to 110 degrees steeper. Each section has its own challenge, ranging from huge close rocks to small, separate stepping stones. Some of them are even tricky, causing me to deliberate how to take the next step higher (yes, this activity includes a lot of thinking).

Those who were already used to the activity would challenge themselves further. The stones are color-coded and

 

wp-1476675882156.jpg

Another achievement. 🙂

 

they would step or climb on one particular color only. That I could not achieve for now as I struggled halfway the wall with my then-numb fingers.

I realize this activity needs the strengthening of the arms, wrist, and the fingers for gripping rather than focusing power on the legs for support. After a few climbs, my arms felt weak and they were trembling. Even though we had rested for about 30 minutes or so, I felt my hands couldn’t grip well anymore.

 

I did not get a chance to finish most walls because my fingers were not too powerful to grip anything (and even combing was a struggle then). For the rest of the day, I’ve had cramps and spasms. But I realized I’ve conquered new heights and gained a new experience. Since I got a lifetime registration, this is not the end of the feat. Rather, I need to practice more. Besides, this is a new skill that I might use when going on hikes. More push ups, then? Yes, I need to begin that soon…hopefully.

wp-1476675926731.jpg

Experiencing adventure won’t be complete without friends like Lans, Tina, and Larry. 🙂

Advertisements

The Magic Of Dinner Over Movies (Fifth Bite): Faith and Courage For Food

It was a almost a month since I had my second meal with this wonderful woman who is an epitome of courage and strength. For me, this is one of the most unforgettable dinners I had. Her story is better than the burgers, fries, and sundae she blessed me. I guess I was more fed with encouragement with the testimony of this admirable woman of God.

I usually meet Dianne in Christian conferences like JRev (Jesus Revolution)

My good friend Dianne with tons of fries and burgers. Couldn't be any better than the dinners I've had.

My good friend Dianne with tons of fries and burgers. My past dinners couldn’t be any better than this! 🙂

Night. But I did not expect that on this last JRev night I’ve attended last February 17, she was there. I was comforted to see an old friend after thinking I would be going home alone. Like a feather in the breeze, her bright smile filled up my tired spirit. I find her like a lamplight energizing me in the night, even though the event was over.

If you think her positivity is overreacting, no. It’s something natural in her. Glad to see each other, we decided to have dinner together before going home.

I missed having large fries and burgers in the night. I know this would be a wreck in my diet, but I’d rather take this opportunity to bond with a friend. I took all the ketchup for my fries because she wanted her fries to be in her burger!

We called it a post-Valentine date which we really enjoyed. As a single lady, I’ve always enjoyed being with friends at dinner. But how much I’ve enjoyed this date as her testimony marked meaningfully in my life.

I am aware of the hardships she is facing in her life. She has been taking care of her mother, who has cancer. It’s not easy for her and her family. Not only financially, but physically and emotionally. I must admit I couldn’t bear the thought of seeing a loved-one in pain. But Dianne has to endure her mother’s screams of pain everyday. Add to that, she was juggling a lot of tasks like taking care of her little nephew.

As she shared to me her pain, she also shared to me the encouragements she has been receiving. Not only had she received kind words, but she and her family had been receiving financial and emotional support from different people. I was blessed when her church family had come together as a big group just to pray for her mother (and because of that, her pain lessened!).

But the battle she faces goes on. And she faces it everyday. She would be tired, I know, but she has this amazing strength that keeps her smiling. I was somehow ashamed, because I would be so tired at the pressure of my daily tasks. But Dianne has bigger and painful problems than mine. I could see how these refine her well: in spirit and in character.

In another rare moment, I was chewing my burger slowly. I almost gaped while listening to her story of faith and determination. I wondered how she kept on holding on to this thin wire hanging over the dark cliff. Deep in her heart, she knew that it’s not her mother’s time to go. Her faith kindled mine. I agreed with her — her mother will recover, indeed she will.

What amazed me more was how she keeps her eyes on the Lord. No blame-throwing at Him, she just clings to Him. Last hope you may say, but He’s more than that. He’s everything, a faithful Father and Friend from the first to the last. Dianne wouldn’t exchange Him for anything else. He’s the One strengthening her and sustaining her all along.

This post-Valentine date must be more remarkable than any romantic dates I never had. :)

This post-Valentine date must be more remarkable than any romantic dates I never had. 🙂

It’s an honor to have a friend a woman who stands strong in the midst of great testing. I believe that this season in her life is preparing her for something greater. At this point, I could say that she has blessed me more than I could have blessed her. Such people like her has received more than most of us have had, I guess. Despite of great pain, she receives great strength, courage, and faith. But the best of all is the great love of Jesus that had caused all the positive fruits in her life to bear. These fruits she shared to me as seeds waiting to sprout in the upcoming seasons in my life.

Truly, I was enlightened that night, sweeter than the sundae I’ve had as my finale in that dinner. Her testimony had nourished my tired body. Truly, it’s an amazing dinner with her, better than any romantic dates I’ve never had. 🙂

Still Standing

Two things fell from my hands today: my laptop and myself. If you would ask which is devastating, I guess both are, except in varied effects.

Isolating myself from the pool of reporters due to an allergy attack, I sat in the other room while listening to the press briefing’s live streaming. As I sat on the couch, I plugged my laptop opposite to me. People passing by were careful not to trip on the wire until one accidentally did. In effect, my laptop flew from my hands and crashed on the floor.

It horrified me and the people around me. My notes were gone. The screen turned black. My broadband stick was bent. But adjusting the battery and turning it on again, I was surprised.

It’s still working.

Later at a coverage, I was pressured. Going to the other side of the waiting area to plug my laptop, I left my other bag and other things. But when I returned to the place where I had been, I was deceived at the floor, which I thought was flat. Loosing my footing on the lower step, my feet gave way, hit my right knee, and my body fell to the floor as I gave a scream.

Again, it horrified me and the people around me. My poise was gone. All eyes were pitiful at me. I was shaking when the presidential guards were picking me up. My knee was badly hurt. I sat on another chair as the other people were helping me at my things. But later within the day, I am thankful.

I’m still standing.

These things are enough reasons for me to grumble. I can moan and blame anybody for my laptop’s injury. I can even blame myself for making an embarrassing scene at the coverage. But there’s no time for that. All I have to do is to overcome.

And that’s amazing.

We overcome when we don’t dwell in the tragedy. We overcome when we see dark things in the positive. We overcome when we are thankful in every circumstance.

I am surprised that I did not complain. Instead, I just smiled, said “It’s ok”, thanked the people who helped me (especially to the presidential guards who were quick to pick me up), and continued my work.

So, I realized this is just a small testing. I remember how I prayed that I will overcome when I come through trials and testing. God’s grace is amazing. He never fails to listen to your small request. And I saw how He answered it.

I’m anticipating a purple, bruised knee tomorrow. I wouldn’t mind. As long as I am still standing — especially on the Rock. 🙂

Where's the bruised knee? Still standing and walking around after a fall. :)

Where’s the bruised knee? Still standing and walking around after a fall. 🙂

Tindog Tacloban!

Me and my cameraman arriving at the Daniel Romualdez Airport at Tacloban City. Photo by Sherwin Castillo

Me and my cameraman arriving at the Daniel Romualdez Airport at Tacloban City. Photo by Sherwin Castillo

“Tindog Tacloban!”

This is the message that was written almost everywhere in the city where much attention and focus has been given after Typhoon Yolanda’s wrath. From the native tongue of Taclobanon, this phrase means, “Rise up, Tacloban!”

It is already past three weeks ago since I came to Tacloban, Leyte for a one day coverage of Yolanda’s aftermath. But the memory of a recovering city never fades away. A day is not enough for me take up every truth behind the lens.

For the first time, I’ve landed in Visayas. From the airport itself, I can’t help but be appalled, as the workers struggled back to normalcy. The city was being cleaned, and it’s good to see that no more bodies were scattered when we came. Still, there are much to recover and many are still homeless.

I was anticipating for this visit, but catching up with a day’s coverage left me dissatisfied much. I wanted to know much more, to talk to every people in Tacloban and if given the chance, the whole Leyte. I’d wish to capture everything — as in everything — the emotions and the reality behind the camera.

I felt like a wolf ravaging for a good story in a limited time. As a journalist, I wanted to feel the very heart and soul of

My interview with a Yolanda survivor, Kristine. She is a delightful soul, as she kept a light spirit despite of tears as she recalled the horrors of the storm surge rushing into the evacuation center where she and her children stayed. Photo by Sherwin Castillo

My interview with a Yolanda survivor, Kristine. She is a delightful soul, as she kept a light spirit despite of tears as she recalled the horrors of the storm surge rushing into the evacuation center where she and her children stayed. Photo by Sherwin Castillo

these people and digest every stories they wanted to share. I wanted to take time and leave them with great love, too. But the constraint at work limited my soul into a corner. In order to fulfill my mission, I had to complete it emotionlessly.

Despite of these limits, I caught a glimpse of the hope that glimmers after the storm. From the glint in the eyes of the survivors I interviewed, the smiles that welcomed us from the broken houses and ruins, and messages of hope sprawled in the broken walls, hope overcomes the trodden structures around us. I may not have seen the storm itself, and yet I am — until now — fascinated with the resilience that my fellowmen kept in their spirits all these times.

I tried to dismiss the heartbreak as I saw the ravaged cities in my one day stay. But what I would never like to forget is the strength these people kept, that caused them to stand admist the ruins. Before the day ended, I swore deep inside my heart that I will return. Perhaps, by then, it is not the devastated city struggling to rise, but it is a new city teeming with much life that sprouted from this glint of hope I’ve seen.

Now is the time. Tindog Tacloban!

Surviving the Dangerous Waters

“Do fishes have emotion?” I asked my mom while looking at the pool filled with variously colored koi.

“Of course they do,” she replied, “they also feel stress.”

I asked the question because I was wondering how they would feel when they’re removed from the comforts of their calm, cultured world. Put them in a running river or the open sea, these fishes might feel extreme stress. The outside world is too hostile compared to the serenity offered by their artificial pond. I wouldn’t wonder if they don’t survive at all in the open sea or the dangerously gushing river.

It’s the same with us human beings. We love to stay in our comfort zones. When we are placed in an environment or situation outside these comfort zones, we become stressed. What if like a fish, we have no chance of going back to that artificial pond? We have two choices: give up and destroy ourselves or overcome and emerge stronger.

It’s good to be in the comfort zone, but there is also great danger in it. There’s a false sense of peace going on around it, causing us to be unaware how our senses, thinking, discernment and ability are destroyed by a bacteria called complacency. We’re trading all talents and ability for sleep. Thus, when the shell of comfort are destroyed around us, we are caught unaware, too late to realize that all our capacity to survive is lost.

But when we are put into dangerous waters, this is the time we use every given ability, talent, and thinking into survival mode. Through this, we learn how to stand up and strengthen ourselves and forge ourselves to persevere until we develop the ability to survive.

I’ve been put into such moments many, many times. But at such instances, I wanted to give up and destroy myself, believing its the only way to get out of the problem. But, of course, we are not meant to stand in the flames alone. Do you know how God wanted to partner with us? In Him, we can have all the survival mode that we can need: the abilities, talents, thinking, and wisdom can only come from the Creator of time and space. By the moment I thought I got nothing, I just ask the Father the grace and wisdom to overcome. In Him, I got everything, and in Him I can persevere and survive.

When we are put into dangerous waters, don’t curse the moment. Instead, it’s an opportunity and privilege to become stronger and better people yet.

Revival of a Lost Warrior

Like a fallen tree I lay dying
On a barren soil battered by rage
No matter how I tried to stand up
I am pulled back into its perilous embrace

Bring me back to pastures green
Carry me beside the still waters
There let me be revived from within
And grow back to reach the sky

I once thought I can bear this earth
Its savior sung in a thousand songs
Yet I am one single warrior
In need of a thousand friends

Gather once more my scattered thoughts
Put me back into the arms of love
And sing to me unspoken grace
For in them I will find my rest

Balancing Night and Day

I fixed my eyes in the darkness, as I laid down in the stillness of this humid night. I’ve been sleeping for four hours only to wake up to the hour that I have to sleep again.

I’m a sleepyhead these days. No matter how I tried to maintain an active lifestyle, I only ended up in dreamland. These past few days, I demanded much: give me my work and life balance or I’ll walk out after eight hours on duty…or much more, give me my eight hour beauty sleep everyday.

But that was never done.

And yet, I long for this sleep. But with this sleep, it shortened my time to savor the weekends. In just two days, my holidays are all over. I also felt my body slowing down. Still, this sleep became my comforter. It kept me away from a destructive world. It made me forget the stressful facet of life. It gave me a surreal world of who I long to be.

But when I opened my eyes, I only starred at darkness. I missed reading a lot of books. I missed bonding with my mom or with friends. I missed the very moment to reflect at my life — the reality where I exist. I missed doing a lot of activity that would help me grow in spirit and truth.

That’s why, it’s important to keep a balanced time each day. Eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours of sleep. To focus much of your day to one side will cause an imbalance in your body, much like a boat being capsized by a huge storm. I’m trying though, to be honest. It just takes one to learn time-consciousness. When I balanced one day, it gave me fulfillment…and a good rest, enough to keep me going for the next day. 🙂

Here I am, starring at the darkness. I’m thinking of what to do next. Oh well, I guess I’d better be up to find something worthwhile to do in this remaining night.

Tag Cloud