Concert Experience: Hillsong United Live in Dubai

Concert Experience: Hillsong United Live in Dubai

Dubai, UAE: Hillsong United Live in Dubai!

Ticking off a bucketlist when the chance is at hand? Why not!?!

Right after hearing that Hillsong United is visiting the UAE this 2017, Kokobear and I decided to level-up praising God with this concert! It is actually one of our bucketlist! It’s a 2-day concert and 28th April just went soldout. So here we are on the 2nd day, 29th April – Saturday! Our transportation was arranged with fellow CFFL member, we rented a carlift and hit the road at 5:00 pm to reach Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium inside the Irish Village.

We arrived at quarter to 7, right in time when the gates opened. Sis Rose, Sis Dianne, Sis Mariel & Sis Vielinda of SFL were with us! But we have to part ways because we’re in the platinum area!

Here are a few of the songs they’ve performed in this 2 and a half hour concert:

  • Touch the Sky
  • Oceans
  • Prince of Peace
  • I surrender
  • Let There Be Light
  • New Songs: Beautiful Name, Even When it Hurts, One Day.

If I have counted it correctly, there were around 22 songs and every single one speaks directly to the heart. I have to mention too, that the in between prayers were as powerful as the songs! And one of the many is this:

. . . “Don’t just go to the church, BE THE CHURCH” – JD

Song after song, I found myself swept away. Memories of life comes flooding through my thoughts. I found myself having difficulty in containing the emotions especially when From the Inside Out was playing. I raise my hand, sang, shouted, cried, lifted my heart and of my pains, worshipped and praised God. Never did I expect an emotion so strong that made me feel every single word of the lyrics to be so full, soulful and meaningful at its peak! Such a spirit filled ambiance, I hear some people praying in tongues. Emotions? ECSTATIC! In Awe of how Great JESUS is!

Let me share some lyrics that have captured my heart and indeed pierced it:

“Every word u have spoken, I will not be shaken”
.
“A Passion worth living”
.
“Oh be Still My Heart, I know u are God, I know u hear my prayer”
.
“Spirit leads me my Trust”


Check out these few snaps we’ve taken during the event.

Who wont remember this?!? – “LET THERE BE LIGHT” – Photo by Bro. Gab Rios of SFL Abu Dhabi

You can see more of our photos in this concert at #ByahengKokobears – Hillsong.

A #MustExperience and I highly recommend this concert to everyone!

God Bless!!!

All other photos are by yours truly and of my husband (Kokobear – Darrelle) of Ellerrad.

Abu Dhabi 10 | v2.0 – Free Site-seeing Places

After that most visited Abu Dhabi 10 post, here comes version 2.0 where I will be sharing 10 of the Tourist spots / activity that you can visit or do in Abu Dhabi. I am aware that there are a lot of sites to visit in this place I call my second home, but I’m sharing you ten; 10 of the spots that are free! Who doesn’t like freebies? For items 1 – 7, I have pre-written it and shared it on a site called Biggie Tips – the link of the full article is on the bottom of this post.
Here is a glimpse of numbers 1 to 7.

So let’s jump right away to place number 8!

#8. Family Parks

To name a few free family parks are Baynunah park (opposite of Corniche beach area), Khalidiya Park, Capital Garden and Lake Park (Corniche east side), although some of the parks around now have a minimal entrance fee of 1 AED just like the park near my house here at Elektra park. It’s a good place to spend time with family to unwind and enjoy some barbeques! Most of corporate or group (Christmas) parties are also done in these places.

 

#9. Fishing Under the Bridge/Breakwaters

Thinking of clearning out stressful thoughts and do some mind cluttering moment? Why not go fishing!?! Along cornince area is a breakwater where you could actually do fishing. Other places includes under the bridge in Maqta bridge, Salam Street Fishing spot and even in some coastal areas in Mussafah & in Mussafah bridge too! Some fishing areas require license though, but for as long as you make it for leisure you can enjoy that free fishing sessions!

This one is a 15 seconds video in one of our fishing sessions.

#10. Series of Events @ Abu Dhabi Corniche Activity Area

Corniche Beach has a part where they arrange events such as the National Day activities, Yas Salam concerts, cultural shows like the Mother of the Nation Festival and other nation’s activities showing off music, food, and variety of activities of which sometimes takes  3 days to a week. And if the events are off, this place is a good place to chill out as some cafes & restaurants are around too!

Here’s a snapshot of Biggie Tip’s front page when my article was published. Read the full story on 7 Sightseeing Places in Abu Dhabi for Free.
Did I miss anything? Hope you enjoyed that, and share in the comment below your experiences!

God Bless!!!

Maldives 2015

I’m creating this #throwback blog post as a simple guide of the 4-day #Maldives Trip. A special travel for me and Kokobear way back 2015.

In fact, this is our first international trip – not counting the 18-hour stop-over in Singapore. Where I fell in love w/ SG! Before we tied the knot, it has been on our plan that we are making a yearly trip as a couple. Travel as a family someday with kids at least once a year in God’s will. So, in 2015, we ticked it off! This happened during the Eid holiday September 2015. We purchased a holiday package that covers our two-way flight tickets, 3* hotel room w/ breakfast and transporation pick-up. The tour guide is available, but individual island hopping trip got a cost. So, let me show you our route.


Day 1- Bandos Island – this was the first island we visited right after we arrived. We left our hotel at around 10 am after our breakfast. I’d say that this island is more of a honeymooners nook! Exclusive villas and mini-hut rooms are around the corner of the island. It has also different amenities that covers all you need such as swimming pool, gym, souvenier shops and more.


Day 2 – Chaya Island, I would say is more of a family/friends avenue trip, although I also enjoyed it. We had a chance to skin dive, got a chance to see Nemo and Dory down there, paddled a bit to a center island within the beach and took sometime appreciating the beauty of the place. Water sports and all other beach activities are available, love diving? they have it too! This is one of the many islands that has water villas (villas set-up in the water) where in during our visit we saw a bride & groom doing their wedding shots onsite!


Day 3 – Adventure Trip + Himmafushi Island – This is technically like the last day of our island trip, so we stoppped over to this small island called Himmafushi and go shopping spree. The prices in this island are way cheaper than any other places and almost all variety of gift stuffs are available. We’ve stayed in the boat and did some games/swimming activities. We also had a glimpse of dolphins and a beautiful sunset to close the day. The day wasn’t sunny though, we’ve experienced rain in between.


Day 4 – MaleWe had almost 7 hours free time before leaving Maldives, so we took that opportunity to visit the capital of Maldives called Male. What caught my attention is the sea of motorcycle around the city. If Cebu/Manila has all the jeepneys, Male, Maldives has the motorcyles as one of their main means of transportation, thus, you would see it everywhere at any time. Our lunch was on a Thai restaturant in the capital, it was sumptous and I enjoyed the ambiance near the beach. Learning more about their history was fun too!


Read more of our Maldives adventure with these other posts!

Souvenirs  | DIY Travel Diary

God Bless!


 

CEBU : Sinulog 2017

For many years, Cebu has been known for being the Queen City of the South. The white sand beaches, the food, the people and more has contributed to the popularity of Cebu. Not only that, every new year marks another year of festivity!
In this blog post, allow me to share some basic information about this popular event back in my hometown to which where and when the Sinulog Festival comes in! The above video is one of this year’s presenter – from the Municipality of Dumanjog!

 

What & How Sinulog started?

Sinulog started as a celebratory ritual for the locals of Zubu (Cebu’s old name). Upon the arrival of Spaniards in 1519 who brought Christianity in the country, the image of Sto. Niño was a gift to King Humabon and Reyna Juana and became the image of worship for the people of Cebu. The word SINULOG came from the word “sulog” which means like a water current movement – that’s why one of the major steps of the dance is the two-steps forward and a one step backward.

Baladhay was the King’s right hand who became sick. So the king ordered his servants to bring Baladhay to the chapel where the image of Sto. Nino was.  In a few moment they saw Baladhay alive and well again. They asked him how it happened and Baladhay shared that he saw the image of the child Sto. Niño and thus he started dancing. Up to date, this dance has become an offering as a sacrifies to the child Jesus Christ. Year after year, Sinulog Festival has become known worldwide and has draw thousands of visitors foreign tourists and Filipinos alike.

Sinulog is a month-long festivity for everyone especially for all devotees, among the events that get people involved into are:

  • Sinulog Street Fair,
  • Sinulog Fun Run
  • Walk with Jesus
  • Sinulog sa Kabataan
  • Novena Mass
  • Ms. Cebu or Sinlog Festival Queen
  • Sinulog Idol
  • Walk with Mary
  • Fluvial Procession of the Miraculous Image of the Sto. Niño
  • Re-enactment of the Baptism of Queen Juana and Rajah Humabon
  • Solemn Procession of the Miraculous Image of Sto. Niño
  • Sinulog Fireworks Competition
  • Sinulog Grand Parade (The Big Event)
  • Awarding Ceremonies @ Cebu City Sports Center
  • “HUBO”

Attending this year’s main event was special because a co-Piper has offered us a “Sponsor’s seat”! It is of course for free! I am watching Sinulog live at Cebu Sports Complex for the first time! Shout out to Joanne!!! Thank you! Got to mention thought that we got it from her cousin who has connections in one of the sponsors – Generica Pharmacy! For your info; Sinulog Festival can be both enjoyed for free (on the streets, for the Street Dance Competition or by buying a ticket for the Main Presentation at Cebu City Complex (aka Abellana SC) for around 500 Pesos and above.

Jollibee and friends joined the crowd at Cebu City Sports Complex for Sinulog 2017!

Tips while attending the festival!

  1. Keep a bottle of water at all times. Walking around the city is a must when you want to see the festivities, major roads are closed because of the street dance. Of course there are food & souvenier stalls around the corner, so as soon as you consume it you can just buy.
  1. Stay Close with your circle. This year the City Mayor ordered a “network shutdown” while the festivities are ongoing. This is for security purposes. So staying beside your buddies will save you time in searching your friend in a crowd of thousands of people, which if your in no luck may end up you going home alone.
  1. Be careful with Pick pockets. Like many other cities, although Cebu City government spreads out the policemen around the city, it is still wise to be mindful of your bag and belongings. Due to the massive number of people both locals and visitors, it will be difficult to identify who is who. So better be ready and
  1. Enjoy!  The view, the street dance and the mardigra itself is a fun experience, people walking around the street and the all smiling people around the street gets you into the mood.
  1. Take Photos all the way! Mobile cameras will do. But if you would like to take a better quality photos then something high-end is recommended, especially if you have an intention to join the Photo walk contest. Did I miss anything?

See more photos on my photo journal blog here.

Go ahead, feel free to drop me a comment.

God Bless!


 

What I Learned in our 2016 Sri Lanka Trip

A question, not many would probably ask… most of the time, people ask about “How’s the _____ (country/place) – asking how’s the view, the experience, the food, sightseeing spots, the people and more. On this blog, I would like to answer this in a different perspective. I would like to answer this with what I truly learned and realized when we were in Sri Lanka – September of 2016.

Culture, Food, Places, People and more!
These are the common “what I learned” many would probably share. Indeed I learned about those different aspects of this place that used to be called CEYLON. So I’m skipping this part as I believe, if you have been reading my past blog posts you’ll learn what, where, when how etc… 

This Sri Lanka itinerary would help! So! What I learn about this 2016 Sri Lanka trip with Kokobear and Ate Amie is an eye-opening encounter with God!

Yes, you read it right, it was an encounter with Him!

We stopped by in a church near our hotel, took a few minutes riding a tuktuk to reach St. Mary’s Church. After getting inside, our tuktuk driver guided us to a chapel beside the church. We went down on the underground to their adoration chapel and on that room I have felt God.

I started saying my prayers. Distracted a bit actually because I could still feel the dust around the place as it’s totally new. In a blink of a situation I have started feeling my tears slowly drenched into my face. I found myself crying. My mind is empty, I say prayers no more. Nothing is playing on my head, but the thought of BEING BLESSED. Being blessed for being able to travel. That I have reached another part of the world and able to enjoy His magnificient creations. Able and having fun with my husband and friend. That not many can actually do this. Some may be capable but just don’t get the chance because of the different circumstances they are in. A few has enough money to splurge but don’t have the guts or probably don’t have someone to share it with. I say, I’m truly blessed.

Thoughts about comparing myself to others, thoughts of why we were denied in our last visa application and the questions on why here and why not in other chic places… were erased.

How do I thank God for this opportunity?

I know right? I could actually realize that while I’m in Abu Dhabi or in the other places I’ve visited – but I felt it in Sri Lanka. When I thought this is just a 3rd option to us, but actually this is the chosen place God has bestowed for me to realize how blessed I am.

Signing off all Sri Lankan stories with this blog post. Thank you Lord for such a lesson!

Read all my Sri Lanka series blog (and other places) on my Travel Log page!

God Bless!

JM Kayne | www.iamjmkayne.com

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Travel Guide : Simala Church Cebu

Travel Guide : Simala Church Cebu

Cebu is one of the first seat of Christianity in the Philippines, it is full of churches that represents the countries long  history of Catholicism – accompanied with various festivals in honor of Jesus, Mary and all the different saints. A municipality in southern Cebu named Sibonga has become a tourist/devotee destination because of the #EuropeFeels / #ItalyFeels  – SIMALA Church has. It is a façade in honor of Mama Mary.  

This January, I went on a vacation and took a trip down south to visit the church and paid homage to the Blessed Virgin for all of her blessings she and her son have showered to me and to my family! Here I’m sharing you a travel guide.How to get there:
1 – Go to Cebu South Bus Terminal.
Various of bus going South is available, known to pass by Sibonga is Ceres. Take it and ask the driver or his assistant (known as konduktor) to drop you in Simala. Travel takes about 2 hours. Fare varies as per bus company but it should be between 80 to 100 Php. Your best land mark will be that 7-11 shop on the right side built as the ground floor of an old house.

For bus schedule visit this link of Cebu Gov’t Bus Schedule.
2 – Upon Arrival in Brgy. Simala– Look for motorcycles (habal-habal) going up to the sanctuary. 
Habal-habal (or motorcycle) is the most common transportation going up to the church. Fare is around 20-30 Php per person, each motorcycle can accommodate at least 2 passengers.

3 – Going Home. 
Motorcycle drivers are just around the corner, you can choose and they will drop you right in the highway! In the highway, all you have to do is wait for the bus going back to the city  and you’ll be home. Fare will be almost the same as to going  back and forth.

What can you do:

  • Pray! – Among the many reasons why we visit Simala is to simply pray. Thanking God/Mama Mary for their blessings and this should be the primary reason.
  • Visit the Miraculous Statue of Mary – At the back of the church altar , there is a way where you could offer your flowers and prayers.
  • Write An Intention – Along the way to the statue are writing stations where you could write a letter to Mary. And if your generous enough – feel free to share your blessings!
  • Light a candle – Color-coded candles are available for a specific intention, pick what fits your prayers.
  • Buy – Memorabilias, small statue, prayer guides, rosaries and more are visible on the right side of the church. 
  • Finally, Take a Picture!  – Of course every Filipino won’t miss that chance to take a photo of this beautiful, stunning and amazing structure.
And at all times, be mindful of your noise, stay calm and avoid disrupting the other people who are praying. Please be respectful as well on the way you dress up. Avoid shorts and sleeveless blouse. 
* * * 

I prefer not to get into more details of how was our visit. I’d like you to experience it yourself. All I can say is that it’s my 4th visit and every time I set forth my feet into this amazing place, I’d say it is an encounter with Mama Mary and of our Creator.  

Take a look at some of the photos I took. 

 

“This crown structure is memorial of the victorious and powerful intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mother thru the Penitential Rosary Walk in 1998, against the killer epidemic hat struck the place, where several lives of poor children and infants had died. Built to honor Mary on the 8th year anniversary of the Monks arrival in Lindogon. Blessed on the 27th day of February, 2004.”

On Facebook I posted: In awe of His creations! Mama Mary, thank you for giving us your son. Amen. 
Lord, I am confident of your love, mercy & grace! Excited na ko sa imong gift nako!
#ThankYouLord #Sibonga #Cebu #cebu2017 #Simala 
DOME. This is the dome of the church. I took this photo on our way going to the back of the altar where you will have a closer encounter of the miraculous statue of Mary. 
See more photos of this amazing & stunning place on
* * * 
 
Also known as  as the Monastery of the Holy Eucharist (for locals, it is known as “Birhen sa Simala”) is located at the Marian Hills of Lindogon Simala, Sibonga Cebu.  It started with a miracle that Mother Mary cried  with a blood and was witnessed by some of the devotees and believers.  Furthermore, the Monks of Mary (Mga Monghe ni Maria) lives and started the cause of building this palace-like church. Devotees, faithful and just merely the curious people started to flock in this location, thus the support and donation of the faithful has made this #EuropeFeels – instagram worthy photos facade is built (and still on the process of making it better).

Believed to have fulfilled many prayers, a row of “aparador” / cabinet of testimonials of various stories on passing of the board exams, miraculously cured cancer, baby prayers and more will inspire you. An array colorful of candles can also be seen in some areas; color-coded depending on the prayers & intentions you would like to lift up. Red, blue, green, pink, violet etc. –  stands for a specific purpose – wanna know what are they? Go ahead and visit this place! 🙂

Most importantly, attend a mass! 

Here is a guide to the regular mass schedule of the church. 


I would also suggest to avoid Fridays, Saturday & Sundays if you wouldn’t want a crowded place. Pick a weekday and enjoy the peaceful ambiance that Simala Church has! May your prayers be granted!

God bless!


| www.iamjmkayne.com 

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Blog post by : JM Kayne

Hello Cebu! Surprise!

Surprise!!!

 

As of writing, it is 5:15 am, Manila time – 6 Jan 2017. I am currently in the boarding area for my connecting flight to Cebu.

This is an unplanned vacation which will surely bring a surprise to my family. I have kept this secret for a month now, and only a few of my friends know about this. I hope no one spilled the beans 🙂 . Yes, it’s connected to the blog I recently published about losing a job, read the story here.
 
Our original vacation schedule is supposed to be April 2017, in time for my in-law’s wedding. But as I have shared on that post, “Trust in the Timing” – I believe, this is an answer to my prayer. To cut the story short, here I am waiting for my 9:00 am flight to the Queen city of the South and in 5 hours more I’ll be seeing Mamo, Dado and Dandan shortly! #ExcitedMe ^^
 
While waiting, let me share my thoughts about Philippine Airlines. Actually, over the past 8 years –  it is my first time to fly with this carrier. Kokobear was able to purchase for me a two-way ticket for around 1800/- AED (490/- USD or 23,400 Php) . For me, this is a cheap price already compared to 4K during the holiday season and just for one way! Allow me to share that:
  • I have heard many who seemed to be disappointed with this airline, but my 7 and half experience (almost 8 hours) was quite okay. Although we depart late from Abu Dhabi, but we arrive almost on time in Manila. 
  • Food was okay, there were chicken and fish fillet choices for dinner – I took the fish
  • In between snacks of chocolates, biscuits, juices, cola, chocolate cake etc and a turkey ham/cheese sandwich too!
  •  There were pillow and blanket
  • No TV though
  • Playing cards, Globe sim card, toothbrush/paste were distributed separately, something I am not so cool but bearable. I just thought they could put it in one pack and prepare it in each seat – save them the time and rounds. Also, getting a free sim makes me think – this is the reason it’s easy to fake identity… that’s personal view because in UAE we register our sims with IDs/ passports.
  • The crew was friendly, nice and pleasant.
  • Upon arrival at NAIA Terminal 2,  I was a bit confused whether to take my check in luggage or keep it… Gotta ask the Customs desk to know what has to be done. So what happened is that there are 3-4 personnel in one side of the baggage claim area that puts on a yellow sticker that says “domestic transfer”, got mine and had it stuck on. Then I went out and enter once again to the dometic area.
So, far, that’s it.
.
.
.

Time Check : 6:05 am – I’ll be sharing what will happen after that encounter shortly.
 
 
So what happened during my arrival . . . 
 
Hahaha! I wish I could actually capture their faces! 😀

So, the universe connive with me, when I get off the taxi no one is on the street. So I got off as quick as I could, put on my hats, drag my luggage and put it in front of our sari-sari store. 

Right on time Papa was about to go back inside the house, so I said “Ayo!!! Pwede magpa-load“,  (hello, can I have a load?) widely smile and look at him. His face and eyes blank . . . took few more seconds before saying “Hala! – – – Ikaw na day?” (oh! Is that you?)

Mama on the other hand, was about to go upstairs and stopped, saw me, but on her mind “Is it JM, she is, but it’s impossible” 
 
And I blurt it loud, Surprise!!!! 

They all smiled, laughed and said Hoy! Nganu naa man ka! Wa lagi ka nagsulti! (Hey! Why are you here, why didn’t you inform us . . .)
 
Then more laughter, hug and kisses follow. 

What a great feeling to actually be at home and meet my family again. My brother was on duty, so when he arrived I also surprised him, but although he wasn’t aware, he took the other door and got me surprised too! 

Sharing you my daily musing, instant reunion, eat outs, meeting friends and more adventures! So just keep on track 🙂

God Bless!