I Helped Clean Manila Bay! Sort of.

“Intention does not determine destination. Direction determines destination.”

– Pastor Peter Tan-chi

Yesterday I ran my 3rd fun run that was hosted and organized by the Manila Broadcasting Company (MBC). In all my exceptionally amateur runs (totaling three :D), the Manila Bay Clean-Up Run was the most fulfilling because I beat my own record. As if my record’s worth beating. Hahaha! In the previous 5K runs, the Philippine Daily Inquirer Run and Run to Build (CCF), I ran for over forty minutes. Guess how long I ran yesterday? 36 minutes and 3 seconds! I also decreased walking time to 1 minute (compared to the previous runs where I walked for about one-fourth of the race. HAHA)

Kenyans spearhead the race  with their long, slender legs. They are present in almost every fun run.

her epic finishing shot

my more epic finishing shot

and another

Swimmer, T.V. host, and actress Christine Jacob-Sandejas

with singer Luke Mejares

 MBC sales team with their president Ruperto Nicdao Jr. (third from left)

one of the top 3 placers in the 5K women’s category. I’m jealous :p

Fstest 5K female runner: Y U No Smile?!

Running is simple. You don’t have to sign up for a class at a gym or a studio to learn how to run. The do’s and don’ts of running you may learn from the growing number of health magazines, but you don’t actually learn how to run step by step. You just do it. It’s an innate, human ability. Even if you’re not capable of running due to an injury or a disease, you still know how to run. Running is simple. Finishing a race, however, is another story.

Between the starting line and the finishing line is a stretch of a road constructed with pain, temptations, sweat, distractions, and other runners. Fifteen hundred men, women, and children all hoped and wished to run and end triumphantly (that is, without giving up along the way), but only several people actually do so. By God’s grace, I was one of those “severals.”

My goal for this race was to topple my 40-minute record. I knew this objective could be achieved by limiting my walks, water breaks, and simply running even if my entire being screams YOU ARE TIRED STOP RUNNING NOW! Indeed there was truth in my former P.E. coach’s words when she said that the greatest enemy in any race is yourself. My mind loved playing tricks on me even if I did not give it my permission, and I must fight every single one of them. One of those tricks was what I called the premeditated walk.

After fifteen or twenty minutes of incessant running, I believed I deserved a rest. Dear reader, pay extreme caution to your beliefs as they easily permeate optimism or pessimism into your being which could build you up or tear you down. Wrong beliefs lead to wrong choices. “Do you really deserve a rest, now?” a voice called God spoke to me. “Continue running. You can have all the rest you want after the race. You’re almost there.”

Had I opted for a premeditated walk, I would have finished the race five minutes late–a disheartening forty minutes. But I wasn’t going to give in–not anymore.

True enough, I achieved my goal even if I have only been jumping ropes and dancing instead of running for the past several weeks. God is good, and He is true to His Word. I’m still enjoying the rest I longed for so much.

Most of us intend to succeed, accomplish much, and excel in something worthwhile, but how many of us actually manage to do so? A handful, maybe. Why? Because most of us think we deserve to rest and opt for premeditated walks. We do not deserve anything in this life! God gives us rest when we need it, so until you hear God say, “Rest,” just keep on running. Don’t stop. Run.

By God’s grace, I helped clean Manila Bay in the most unusual way. I did not pick up pieces of candy wrappers or painted old walls.

I ran with patience the race that was set before me. 🙂 (Hebrews 12:1)

*Photos courtesy of my loving and ever-supportive Daddy, Ferdie Talam. 🙂

The Art of Being A Woman: What I Learned

I, along with thirteen hundred other women, braved the pouring rain and strong wind last Saturday to attend the single women’s conference titled, “The Art of Being  A Woman and Other Lost Virtues,” in CCF St. Francis. True to its title, the conference (or should I say, the God Who orchestrated the conference) helped me rediscover lost virtues that I once upheld and taught me how it is to be a single woman in today’s world. Surprisingly, the first lesson on womanhood I learned not during the 1st topic (which was delivered by none other than Pastor Peter’s other half, Mrs. Deonna Tan-chi), but at home. I awoke an hour earlier than I expected, and every time this occurs, I attribute it to God wanting to say something to me or to do a certain task that required a lot of my time. Instead of bright rays of sunshine illuminating my face, raindrops battering against our windows and opaqueness greeted me. Instinctively, I logged on Facebook to see if the event was cancelled. The administrator, being the optimistic child of God that she is, claimed in a status in the event’s page that the storm will be gone by tomorrow (that is, Saturday morning). To me, this goes to show that God can work mightily even through a heavy storm because He never loses control over nature. Ergo, the event pushed through.

Optimism was not my first lesson, however. That’s just the introduction. Womanhood 101 started when I checked my phone’s messages. A friend and a cousin of mine who registered for the event said that they were prohibited by their mothers to attend the retreat due to Falcon, the typhoon which soared high above Manila’s skyline. These two beautiful ladies happened to be the same girls I’ll be sitting with during the conference; thus I thought twice if I should prohibit myself from attending or not. During those moments that I contemplated whether to go or not go to planned event, I expected my Mom or Dad to peek in and tell me to keep calm and stay home and cancel whatever appointment I set for that day, but on that gloomy Saturday morning,  I was left to decide for myself. Well, not really because I have the Teacher with me. Calmly He introduced lesson #1:

Be careful how you are influenced. Never act upon something without My approval from My Word or my designated people.

The point He impressed upon me was not  in choosing right over wrong, but in choosing the best over what is good. By His  power vested in me through His Holy Spirit, I chose to do what is best for me.

An hour and half later, I was standing with thirteen hundred other women in CCF’s 5th floor auditorium. I’ve never seen the 5th floor so girly, even if it’s only for a day, in my 17-year part-time residence there. Just a few feet away from the elevator located at the “west wing” of the 5th floor, a large Shiseido mirror complete with its array of cosmetics greeted me. Walking further, I saw more advertisements of the different sponsors: San Marino corned tuna, Curves and Boudior Dolls. I knew I was in for a treat.

To say that The Art of Being a Woman Conference was inspirational is an understatement;  it was more than that. Convincing a woman (or at least, a woman in her own feminine eyes) to surrender her entire being to God, saying,

“Lord, whether or not marriage is part of Your game plan for me, I’m all in. Use me as you will,”

is no easy task, but because she was planned long ago by God, the conference spoke and inspired the participants  effectively. That day, I finally understood what the Bible calls “peace that transcends human understanding.” Statements of faith shoot out of the heart unnecessary worries and anxiety it carries.

Talks were divided into 6 parts, namely: The Art of Being a Woman in Today’s World, Pursue True Beauty, Pursue Purity, Pursue Modesty, Pursue Excellence, and Pursue Undivided Attention. Albeit all of the topics pulled my heartstrings and gave me deeper insight on true womanhood, I especially like the topics on purity and undivided attention. Impurity in my thought life has always been one of my toughest struggles. It still is, actually, but lately I am conquering it by God’s grace and power and through Him alone. 🙂 As for undivided attention, it is topic which compelled me to surrender my whole life to God–this time, for real–because I know and believe that He has my best interest at heart.

Here are some of the quotes and statements made by the beautiful women who shared their lives and testimonies, made us all laugh and think, and imparted to us, as well as verses from the Bible. If you are a single and you want to be all that God wants you to be as is, where is, then claim these statements, too! 🙂 God has a great, big, wonderful plan for your life too! 😀

“She [the virtuous woman] puts on strength and honor as if they were her clothes.
She can laugh at the days that are coming.

  • Proverbs 31:25

“If you catch a man with your looks, be prepared to keep him with your looks.”

“Purity has to be planned.”

  • Monique Ong on Pursuing Purity

“True beauty begins with the heart, with a gentle and quiet spirit.”

  • Joy Tan-chi–Mendoza on Pursuing True Beauty

“Being single is not being insignificant, incomplete, or in a holding position. The single life is a beautiful moment characterized by undivided attention to God.”

“GB [God’s Best] is not a guy; it’s a life.

“Spiritual maturity is measured by the span of time it takes one to respond to God.”

  • Cindy Soriano on Pursuing Undivided Attention

“There is no thing better than God’s best. He is your God’s best!”

“If you are not content in your current situation, you are NOT ready to get married.”

“Homosexuality is not a destiny; it’s a choice. You can change.”

  • Deonna Tan-chi on The Art of Being a Woman in Today’s World

“Save your beautiful body for one man!”

“Men want to see the good you do and say.”

  • Jenny Tan-chi on Pursuing Modesty

“When it comes to character, focus on your weaknesses, but when it comes to talents and skills, focus on your strengths.”

“The key to excellence is to have a full partnership with Jesus Christ.”

  • Cata De Jesus on Pursuing Excellence

🙂 Part 2 of Womanhood 101, the conference, and how I translated these priceless lessons into action shall come soon.

More stuff from my notes and Patrick Nuo’s “Beautiful”

The Art of Being A Woman

Calling all SINGLE LADIES! 🙂 

Dear Single Lady,

Something special is happening in June and you have to be there!

We request the pleasure of your company at

The Art of Being a Woman (and other lost virtues)

a conference on June 25, 2011, Saturday,
from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
at the Main Hall, 5th Floor, St. Francis Square Mall

We’ll have makeovers, a style show, and lots to talk about!
Talks on what it means to be a woman in today’s world,
how to complement a man’s masculinity,
and we’ll chat about what goes on in a guy’s mind.

Invite your other awesome single woman friends!
Let’s rediscover God’s design for women together!

A fee of P250 covers meals and materials
RSVP: Ana – 09178257884 or Eden – 09239534072

I just registered today in CCF. I am so excited! Anything that has to do with fashion, style and relationships interests me. Add God to the equation, and it automatically becomes the conference of the century (minus the distractions: boys)! 🙂 So please do attend! SLOTS ARE LIMITED so register asap.