Category Archives: PRAISES

Your love is better than life. (Psalm 63:3)

The view from home / 10.23.10 / 2:58 pm


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Should you go on a faith journey?

What does a “faith journey” look like? One can say that our entire lives can be called faith journeys, but for this blog post, I’m talking about real journeys, real trips–the ones that involve some geographical distance and usually a mode of transportation. But faith journeys are not your ordinary trips. Here’s how I define it:

A faith journey:

  • starts when you step out of your comfort zone
  • involves going down a path you’ve never gone before
  • has no promised results
  • has no definite road map
  • requires you to trust, rely, and get direction from God

My faith journey took place between April and July. I will tell you this:

  • I went to the US without knowing where exactly I would be going and when I needed to go
  • My plans changed as the days went by
  • It did not turn out the way I expected
  • There were a lot of surprising (not necessarily pleasant) adventures along the way
  • My faith was stretched
  • My character was tested and shaped
  • I learned a lot
  • I experienced God’s grace and love like never before

Maybe God’s telling you to go somewhere and you’ve been too scared. Maybe He’s not calling you right now, but He will one day. If that time has come or when that time finally comes, I just want to encourage you to take that step of faith. If you need provision, if you need confirmation, if you need a miracle, here’s what you need to do: ASK. He knows what’s up ahead even if you don’t. And if He called you, He’s already paved the way for you.

God is so wise, faithful, and so full of love. Throw away your preconceived notions and open your mind and heart to what God wants to do (and it’s not always about you…I learned that on the way, too!). The great news is that–in the greater scheme of things–His plan is not just better…it’s the BEST.

It took me forever to write this post, because I knew that my words would not do justice to the whole experience. What I experienced was beyond words. Thank you Lord for this wonderful journey–You are the best travel partner ever. Thank you to my family for sending me off with a blessing. And more than the places and the experiences, the best part of the trip was being able to spend time with all of these people (press play to see the rest!):

You made the journey so worth it.

Now to go back to the topic of this post: do I think you should go on a faith journey?

Absolutely.

Cherishing TODAY.

After a little over a month here in the US, this is what I’ve come to learn. It’s one of those timeless lessons, the kind that I can learn over and over again throughout my life and yet still manage to forget. I came here with questions, and hoping for answers, but I got revelations instead.

Here I was, hoping to arrive at a destination point in my life, only to be reminded that God does not bless the destination, but He’s already blessing the journey, because he’s already blessing us. I was powerfully reminded that it doesn’t matter so much where I go but what matters more is who I become. I was so focused on DOING–figuring out what I needed to do (that day, that week, that month, for the rest of my life), forgetting that God cared more about my BEING than my DOING.

And so the last month has been a wonderful process of being totally immersed in God’s work of loving and transforming me and my sometimes stubborn heart. It hasn’t always been easy (you would not believe some of the stuff that happened to me even if I could tell you), but every day has been filled with His sovereignty and grace.

Oftentimes, it’s still difficult because I always feel like I’m floating around, and my worried self always agonizes over it. But time and time again, through different situations and different people, I was reminded of all that I just highlighted up above: that God is already in the journey, and that the destination is overrated. My need to have a destination was like having an idol in my life that. It was like chasing the wind. I will never be happier than when I am with God, and He is already with me today. And so I was reminded to cherish each and every single day, and stop focusing and yearning for what I don’t have, lest I miss what God is already doing. And what a fool I would be to miss it, because God has been so amazing every single day! His love and faithfulness never cease to blow me away.

How about you, what has God been telling you lately? Do share, I’d love to hear about it!

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Bits and pieces from Boston.

People always tell me, “Wow, you’re on vacation, you’re so lucky!” Truth be told, it hasn’t been the easiest journey. It’s been filled with twists and turns; some have been good, but some have been pretty challenging. In the midst of all the challenges, I am reminded of one my favorite quotes from A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, a book by Donald Miller: “Somehow we realize that great stories are told in conflict but we are unwilling to embrace the potential greatness of the story we are actually in. We think God is unjust rather than a master storyteller.”

When we look at it that way, I’m truly grateful for the adventure. :)

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Last night, one of my dreams came true. I had the chance to watch famed film scorer and composer, John Williams, together with the Boston Pops. Since I’m a huge fan of film scores, this was definitely one of the happiest moments of my life. The show, entitled “Hooray for Hollywood”, was a feast of some of Williams’ beloved scores from Star Wars, Superman, Harry Potter, E.T., Indiana Jones, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and more. I think the Boston Pops are awesome. I’ve always admired how they blend together orchestral music with contemporary tunes. If you ever come to Boston, try to check out one of their performances! For more info on the Pops, check http://www.bostonpops.org.

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Watch this and be inspired: beautiful spoken word by Amena Brown:

She performed this at the opening of the Chick-Fil-A Leadercast. And speaking of the Leadercast, here are some free resources that you can download. Go for it!

With a little help from my friends! (Part 1)

In just a few days, I’m leaving for a two-and-a-half month trip around the US. It’ll be the longest amount of time away from the Philippines for me since 2002. While I believe it’s going to fly by fast, the extended time away gives me a good excuse to meet up and catch up with friends before I go. And by God’s grace, these last few weeks, everyone’s schedules and plans just fell into place. It’s a blessing to be able to spend time with the people I love.

So from now until the day I leave, I’d like to tell you more about some of my friends who bring so much joy, wisdom, laughter, love, and spice in my life!

1) My childhood friends – When I was a still a child, there were no Playstations or Xboxes, cellphones or iPads, so if you wanted to entertain yourself after school or during the summer, you had to go out and spend time in the village park. In our village, there were around 20 to 40 young people (ranging from 6 years old to 26 years old) who would hang out in the park day in and day out, under the watch of the coolest village administrator around, Mang Nelson. He would treat us like his very own children, introducing every neighborhood newbie to the other kids, and coming up with activities that would get us to come out and play. He was like a father and coach to all of us. So everyday during the summer, the boys would play basketball, the girls would play volleyball, and we would have bike rides, water fights, and games of truth or dare in between. Those were GREAT times. We all grew up and most of us have moved out, but the great part is that we’re all friends for life. At least, those who haven’t fallen off the face of the earth and are still connected on Facebook are, haha. A couple of weeks ago, one of the girls (Ethel) was in town (visiting from the US), so some of us girls met up and had a reunion. It was as if we just picked up where we left off.

L-R: Anna, Steph, Ethel, me, Shirley, Mel

2) The a-Dazers Back in college, I was active in a group called Days with the Lord. “Days”, as it is nicknamed, can be found in most campuses here in the Philippines, so to identify which community was ours, we were called the “A-Days” community. Don’t ask me why, because the explanation will take forever. :) Though I am no longer active in the Days community, I am glad to still see my closest friends from A-Days regularly–at least we’ve got most of the holidays and special occasions covered, haha! We spent Maundy Thursday as a post-birthday celebration for our friend, Jem. We spent the rest of the day just enjoying each other’s company in Starbucks. Good times. :)

L-R: Ivan, Bones, Jem, me, Archie, Alnair, Parx, Leslie

Coming up on the next blog posts…my high school friends, my former colleagues at MTV, the wonderful women that surround me, and more!

Who are YOU grateful for today? :)

It is a great privilege…

…to be around these people. I only wish there was more time.

Maraming salamat II-KTM! :-) The opportunity to share LIFE with you has been one of the best blessings.

God-encounters and the other things I loved about my Singapore trip

My trip to Singapore last week was filled with blessings. :)

Here are the top 5 things I loved about Singapore, in no particular order:

1) THE FOOD!

Hainanese Chicken Rice, some scallop-and-noodle dish, and cereal prawns at Boon Tong Kee on River Valley Road, kaya toast and coffee and a Milo Dinosaur at Toast Box, laksa (anywhere), Food Republic at Wisma Atria, prime rib at Lawry’s, everything at Marché and PS.Cafe…I can go on and on! You can’t possibly run out of food choices in Singapore.

2) THE TREES and PARKS

I love that Singapore has trees all over the city! And when it came to parks, I actually had a difficult time choosing which ones to go to because they had so many to choose from. My friend, Eric, recommended Fort Canning Park, which is right across Clarke Quay. I liked that it’s accessible because it’s right in the middle of the city, but it’s also really peaceful. It was a great place to run! I also checked out the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. When you get there, there are already monkeys roaming around and waiting to welcome you. I liked seeing the Hindhede Quarry, but I was kind of underwhelmed with the Bukit Timah Summit Peak. But more on that story next time (rest assured, it ended well!).

3) THE TAXI DRIVERS

If there was an award for the country with the friendliest cab drivers in the world, Singapore wins it! One night, a cab driver gave us a discount on the fare because he was in a good mood. He said, “You’re my first customers for the night, and I also just won a karaoke championship!” —and he instantly pulled out his sparkling new trophy! We broke out into applause and took his picture. Love it! :)

4) SPENDING TIME WITH OLD FRIENDS AND MEETING NEW ONES

I’ve heard some people say that Singapore can be a lonely place, but I think that applies to any place in the world where you don’t have friends. I’m fortunate that I got to travel with a group of friends that I love very much: my high school friends! We all vowed to take our first out-of-the-country trip together before one of us gets married…and that’s how we ended up in Singapore. :) It’s cool how one of our friends who’s based in Australia was able to fly in to meet us, and one of our friends who was on vacation in the Philippines from Boston came with us as well. When my high school friends left on Sunday morning, I got to meet up with Pauline (my second cousin), Bianca (former small group member), Pau (one of my best friends from way back) and other friends at the Sunday service at Every Nation. It’s also awesome to be part of a spiritual family…I just instantly felt at home!

5) GOD-ENCOUNTERS

Every time I go on a trip, I always pray to encounter God in new and fresh ways. I felt Him when I was walking and killing time at the Esplanade, and I happened to walk in on a sound check for a jazz performance. The singer (Juliet Pang) and pianist (James Yeo) were performing jazz standards…and I love standards! The music felt like a big warm hug. I felt Him when I was walking in Fort Canning Park, and someone was practicing some beautiful melodies on the piano in one of the studios inside Fort Canning Centre. I felt Him when I saw the leaves floating and falling around me. Most of all, there was this moment…

I remember I went out for a run on one of the mornings, and I made a wrong turn. I found myself heading down a street of construction sites. Instead of turning back, I decided to just turn on the next corner. One of the construction sites was fenced in, as expected, and the name of the property developer was displayed on the outside. I can’t remember what the name of the company was, but what struck me and spoke to me that morning was what was printed underneath:

THE CREATOR THAT HAS NO LIMITS.

I wish I had a camera with me; I would’ve taken a photo. I forget sometimes, but I know this is true: my Creator has no limits.

However, as it is written:
“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived—
these things God has prepared for those who love him.”

-1 Corinthians 2:9

I don’t know about you, but I feel that 2010 is going to be an epic year. What do you think? :)

I love God-authored love stories :)

Congratulations to my friends Joe Bonifacio and Carla (Rica) Peralejo for finally tying the knot AND finally having their FIRST KISS! I’m so happy for these two; they really make such a great couple.

Watch Jason Magbanua‘s Same Day Edit Video here: (If the video doesn’t appear below, just click on the link!)

Carla (Rica) Peralejo and Joe Bonifacio’s Same Day Edit from Jason Magbanua on Vimeo.

How to Love Your Life: Take a good look at it…

…and allow yourself to laugh. Smile. Be joyful about the blessings and be grateful about the grace you’ve received. Look at your past and see how far you’ve come. :)

I was given a chance to do that this week as I was preparing for a couple of career talks I had to do in the Immaculate Conception Academy in Greenhills. Since they asked me to talk about working in the media, I had to look back, specifically in the years 2002 to 2008, when I was working at Summit Media and MTV. I couldn’t help but smile. Those were good times. :) I recalled the fun/surreal/fulfilling experiences, the challenges that I had to go through, the amazing people that I had the privilege of working with, the places I went to, and the people I met, among many other good memories. And then there were also the dark days: sleepless nights, days of depression (quarterlife crisis, perhaps?), angst, bad decisions, fatigue, etc. Oh, those days!

When I get to look back and realize how far I’ve journeyed, I see that there’s just so much to be grateful for. I am blessed with great experiences, but I’m most blessed by God and His grace which has carried me to where I am today: constantly ‘refined by fire,’ but happier than I’ve ever been. :)