Twenty-sixteen has been a great year.
Many things happened.
Nawindang. Nangarag. Nag-relax. Nangarag, nawindang ulit.
Gumala. Nakipagkwentuhan. Umiyak. Tumawa.
Fell. Rose. Fell again. Rose again.
Noise is everywhere. Pakiramdam ko I was always in a hurry, thinking about work, people, family, bills, savings, and health concerns.
It looks like everything has been a never ending cycle. Ang toxic. Nakakapagod.
But still, I am THANKFUL for everything that has happened this year. God is so good that I am still standing despite all what happened. So, praise God!
This led me to consider going on a personal retreat on my birthday (December 28th) — to be still, to reflect on His faithfulness, to meditate on his Word, to be silent in prayer and contemplation.
This trip had been a memorable and meaningful one. I’ll tell you how and why.
Mirador Jesuit Village
Before the holiday break, I looked for a retreat house in Baguio.
I called a few retreat houses and they did not accept me for a bunch of reasons (which I truly understand).
And so, sabi ko, “Tagaytay na lang, Lord.”
But half of me was saying to still push for Baguio. And so I reverted back to my original plan — to look for the perfect retreat house in Baguio.
I do not know why, but Baguio is such a special place to me.
Throwing it back last year during my first visit there, I instantly fell in love with the city. Feeling ko at home ako. Feeling ko welcomed ako. Feeling ko, eto na naman ako sa mga feelings. Read my 2015 Baguio experience here 🙂
“Ask and you shall receive”, says the Lord.
After doing researches and phone inquiries, I found Mirador Jesuit Village, a retreat house located on top of Mirador / Dominican Hill.
I believe that God led me there.
After 6-7 hours of travel from Manila, I arrived in Baguio at 9:00 pm.
I was clueless about going to Mirador, so I decided to ride a cab. The driver seems like he also does not know how to get to my destination. Good thing that Mang Edgar, one of the staff of the retreat house, is just a call away.
At first, I find the place a bit creepy, but then God knows how to assure me of his loving presence. My room key holder has a verse on it which says:
Do not be afraid.
I was also surprised to know that the table has been waiting for me.
Moreover, I am pleased with the dining experience! In every meal, Mirador served organic vegetables! So refreshing!
That’s the room where I stayed for three days. It’s simple.
Everything is old – the cabinet, walls, bed, the study table and the chair.
On my first night, I did not turn off the lights (you probably know the reason why. HAHA!)
I can hear the sound of the howling wind outside / Lights are on / The blanket gives me warmth / I can also hear the leaves rustling in the wind
** Notes such as above are my actual scribbles on my phone **
I have not done this for quite sometime which may have caused me to feel a little distant. The term is spiritual dryness / aridity.
He called me to go up a hill so I can be alone and be quiet to hear His voice.
I’ll go a bit more spiritual in this post, okay, since ito naman talaga ang pakay ko kung bakit ako umakyat ng bundok sa Baguio — ang maging closer ulit kay God (lakas maka-Seklusyon ng goal, HAHA!).
Pero seriously, yun talaga ang goal ko — to establish connection with my God again… ang maging close ulit sa Kanya.
In one of my quiet moments with Him, I received a message from Him through the Word. He told me:
Remember this, you are my servant. I will not forget you. Your offenses have been washed away; your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, I have redeemed you. I will rebuilt you. – Isaiah 44
Ang timely lang ng message ni Lord, no? Ang awesome!
Ate breakfast while enjoying the view of the mountains / Soothing music is being played / Clear skies / Cold wind
He also spoke to me while I was reading the Book of Proverbs: (Read Proverbs 4:20 onwards). He said:
My son, pay attention. Listen to me. Guard your heart. Free your lips from perversity. Look straight. Give careful thought to your steps. Be steadfast in the Lord.
My God really knows what kind of message he wants me to hear.
I was feeling lost during my detour in the desert, and like an oasis, He watered me with his loving instructions.
On my second day in Mirador, I tried to walk the labyrinth. This is how it looks like:
A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path. It represents a journey to our own center and back again out into the world.
Out of my desire to feel the earth underneath my feet, I walked the labyrinth barefoot. It was painful, but it was a different kind of pain. I felt so close to my inner self… to the core of the earth… and of course, to the one who made it.
I felt the warmth of the ground while the cold wind brushes against my skin.
I saw some white butterflies flying around me. I find it magical and weird. Haha!
The grass and the flowers seem like they’re watching my every step.
I have no worries. I got rid of any distractions.
I did not mind the path, I just followed it.
Walking the labyrinth is a good meditative experience. I felt so at peace when I reached the center of it.
Thoughts / Forgiveness / Gratefulness / Consciousness / Spirit / Intimacy with the Lord / Draw near to Him / Amazing grace / Unreserved and unrestrained is His love for me
During my stay in Mirador, there was a lot of quality time with myself and with God. This is really the best place for my birthday goal! I believe that this is His birthday present for me and I could not be so thankful enough.
Away away from the noise
alone with You
away away to hear your voice
and meet with You
nothing else matters my one desire is
To worship you I live
to worship you I live I live to worship you
To worship you I live
to worship you I live I live to worship you – Israel Houghton
Aside from the fact that that song made me cry during one of my solitude moments, this song made me think about of the reason of my existence — that is to fulfill the dreams that he planted in my heart… to realize His purpose in me… to serve Him and His people through the talents, skills, wisdom and everything that He has blessed me with. Lahat ng ito is act of worship, sabi ni Rick Warren, author ng The Purpose Driven Life.
Also, the weather was perfect despite the storm in other parts of Luzon. Praise God!
Ang dami kong natutunan sa personal retreat na ito! Bonus na lang talaga ang magandang place!
I can’t believe that God has allowed me to experience this! It is true that when you listen to His voice, He will speak to you more!
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. – Revelation 3:20
I learned the value of silence… the importance of being still in His presence and just enjoying His company. I wish that I’d get to do this more often.
And oh, I also I learned to commute around Baguio City. I even went to BenCab Museum by riding a jeepney (It will be up on my next blog!).
If you want to know more about Mirador Jesuit Villa, you may visit their website: http://miradorjesuitvilla.com
You may also contact the following numbers:
(074) 300 4789
0906 570 1634
Look for Ms. Fatima / Ms. Diane (They are very nice!)
Their e-mail addresses are:
Address: Mirador Hill, 2600 Baguio City.
How to get there:
From the city (market), you may ride a jeepney heading to Dominican Hill (Lourdes Grotto).