So I've been AWOL for the last few weeks because I've been staying in the Philippines with family for a big wedding…and what a trip!
Have you been to the Philippines? Flopping loved it! My better half is Philippino, as is his extended family both here in Australia and back in the Philippines, so our trip there was basically one big reunion! It was brilliant! We travelled around with family, we met family we’d never met before, we caught up with family we hadn’t seen in a long time and we stayed with family we’d only ever heard about 🙂 what an adventure and a fantastic way to get to know people!
So we left early February and arrived back yesterday morning in a whirlwind. Our first stop after landing in Manila and spending less than 12 hours there was Palawan. The flight was short and there were only 11 of us going – the bride and groom, the bride’s brother and girlfriend and the bride’s parents and their friends. We stayed in a lovely hotel, had a tour of the city and surrounding areas, visited the underground river, went zip lining (for you Aussies, that’s a flying fox), did some impromptu rock climbing in flip flops (only in the Philippines! Ha!), Island hopped and went snorkelling. Such a blur but such fun! A great mix of people to share the adventure with and such a beautiful place to visit! It was also a great opportunity to spend time with the bride and groom, hear how their planning and preparation was coming along and get to know the bride’s family a bit better too 🙂
After spending another less-than-12-hour stop over in Manila, hubby and I took another short flight to Cebu. Our church is connected to a few ministries on this island and we were really keen to finally check these out first-hand and meet some key ministry partners. We visited the House of Hope Christian drug rehabilitation ministry, a children’s ministry called Lily of the Valley and also an outreach ministry set up in the foothills outside of the city. Hubby’s mum, dad, younger brother and sister joined us for these adventures too which made them doubly special and fun 🙂 it was so encouraging to meet all the people who are involved in these various ministries and hear their stories. We saw glimpses of The Kingdom through their passionate accounts of how they are involved in the services and how their hearts are so invested in the work. I love that our church family can support these ministries and can’t wait see how we can be involved in the future too! (furthermore, our hotel was amahhhhhzing!!)
After Cebu we flew back to Manila where we would all be staying with hubby’s dad’s mother’s cousin and his family…say that 10 times quickly! 🙂 two nights with these rellies and a bit of touristy stuff with other cousins and aunts and uncles before the bus trip to Batangas for the long-awaited big day!! Couldn’t wait to see the wedding unfold! The beach resort it would be held at was stunning – right on the beach with a gorgeous pool and amazing view of the blue sea and white sands…just perfect for a beach wedding. So much work and planning went in to the event and it went OFF! What a beautiful celebration for the bride and groom (who incidentally were actually renewing their vows after 4.5 years of wedded bliss 🙂 hehe) so much fun with a photo booth, great food, great music, fireworks and even the release of lanterns into the night sky! Such an epic evening and I truly think the couple should be crazy-proud of what they put together for everyone! So memorable…
Back to Manila after the wedding for our last week in the Philippines and with no ‘set in stone’ plans. We caught up with other relatives who were kind enough to show us a few more places in Manila we wouldn’t have been able to see otherwise 🙂 we did a fair bit of shopping and the crazy-big malls and markets and I even had the opportunity to meet up with a special friend from my time onboard the Logos Hope ship 4 years ago!!! What a blessing that was!
We took in a couple of movies (so much cheaper to go to the cinema in the Philippines!), enjoyed multiple stops at Krispy Kreme and just generally hung out with family we hardly ever see.
The Philippines is such a chilled, friendly, content and beautiful destination and I felt so blessed and pleased that I was able to go and that we were invited to the wedding of the year! God really has a hand on that country – on the people He has called to serve their brothers and sisters and on the people He has called to serve the country from afar. I can’t wait to see how He might have us be involved in serving in the coming years and truly truly look forward to getting back there soon!!