It was May 2009, I met up with a group of friends in our church lobby and set off to a weekend filled with blessings, love, and bonding with our brothers and sisters in Christ - and something else that we did not expect.
This was a time when I just started going out with the beloved Lomography cameras I bought and borrowed from friends. (You can find out more about why I’m a borrower here: The Borrower Of Cameras http://www.lomography.com/homes/pattyequalsawesome/blog/1562-pattyequalsawesome-the-borrower-of-cameras-no-more-maybe) Also, it was a time of spiritual restoration for my heart, mind, soul and spirit. So it was more than perfect when the youth ministry invited us to a friend’s newly-renovated house in their farm in the province of Bataan, Philippines.
We met up in the lobby early one morning and just like with any road trip, there would be stopovers. I find that great photo opportunities during these times are always fun with friends.
When we arrived at the farm, (which was specifically in Polo Malaking Bato, Abucay, Bataan) we were instantly amazed at the vast land and the three-story “bahay kubo” (straw house). We wanted to go to the horses and chickens so we started walking around the crops to make sure we don’t ruin anything! It was great to have helping hands all around and not just in walking through the farm, but in life as well. I can say that through the bonding we shared in this trip and the ones that followed, these friends were and will be there for me, whatever may come.
We had feasts for meals (literally) and once again, I forgot to take photos of the food! We enjoyed it too much. I can still remember the “adobong palaka” (frog), fresh fruits, meat and veggies!
After siesta, we were taken to a hiking trail by one of the locals and it led to a secluded place with a free-flowing river at the bottom of the mountain. No one else was there. We seemingly owned this enchanted place.
In this glorious place, we spent the rest of the afternoon swimming, teaching each other how to swim, exploring, and taking photos. What I cherished the most though, is the bond we made through sharing our testimonies, life stories, struggles, and triumphs with one another. I’ve found true friends in them and I’m forever grateful. The day ended with another feast, sports, more ‘getting-to-know’ activities and when the girls went to our quarters, we shared verses and moisturizers.
Day 2 of our trip was the main surprise, and I will write another article about that very soon—so watch out! (It will be called “Subic Surprise” and it will be fun!) Mark’s parents, the ones hosting our trip, told us that we would be going to the beach! But it wasn’t just any kind of beach, it was one of those members-only, prestigious resorts in the country. We were stoked! Here’s a photo from day 2, more to come in the future article!
Day 3 was our time to head back to Manila, but before doing so, we tried out candle making! And we also visited the landmarks Bataan was known for. We went to Mount Samat and marveled at the Bataan Cross and the Shrines surrounding it. It was a beautiful place. Historically, I know there were a lot of battles, martyrs and soldiers that represented this work of art. Personally, it reminded me that Jesus died on the cross for me, so I could live and see how much He loves me. And what a thought it was, to have been in the sight of that cross with people who remembered Jesus too, who believed in the same truth and shared the same faith. Without a doubt, it was the perfect ending to the trip and a perfect beginning to our friendship and love.