Dental Mental

I just got back from a dental appointment with my uncle. You know, for most people (well, those who can afford to go), trips to the dentist’s chair aren’t so eventful. But if you haven’t been to a dentist since 2006, like I have, it’s definitely newsworthy.

Particularly when you find out almost all your molars have cavities. Not huge ones, but small pinprick holes in the biting surface. Sigh. So I’ve been going to my uncle’s office the past three weeks (excluding Holy Thursday) and we still aren’t done. He says the damage isn’t extensive and I’ve taken pretty good care of my teeth, considering it’s been three years… But it’s still a bummer. The high-pitched whine of a drill doesn’t entice. At least I don’t need to get teeth pulled, and for that I’m thankful. Ü

So, the lesson here, kids, is visit your friendly neighborhood dentist regularly to avoid plaque and tartar build-up, and stop cavities from forming.

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Swimwear by FABE

Two weeks ago Vic Fabe invited me to model his swimwear.

floral bikini by FABE

I first encountered Vic’s sportswear line at Fitness First Platinum Trinoma; whenever we launched new Les Mills releases he would always sponsor our clothing and send someone to set up a booth for his wares. For the summer I thought it would be fun to do a swimwear shoot, so I gladly accepted Vic’s invitation. Thankfully I had a bikini-ready body because I’d been preparing for the Superbods semifinals (which sadly I had to back out of).

Vic does his own photography as a hobby, and I love the way he shoots and coaches his models. His goal is to do as little Photoshop work on his photos as possible. Ü Hair and makeup are by Raymund Acedo, who did an amazing job — I’d love to learn how he did my eye makeup. I want to look like this every day!

floral bikini by FABE

floral bikini by FABE
floral bikini by FABE

neon green two-piece by FABE
neon green two-piece by FABE

I even have an extra set wearing a grey cotton dress. Ü

grey dress by FABE

grey dress by FABE
grey dress by FABE

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Sun-Tanning and Soul-Searching in Boracay

Last month when my sister and I booked our stay in Boracay, I thought it would be just another of our outings there, with the same routine — tanning and swimming at the beach, watching the sunset from the Tides’ roofdeck, and dinner and dancing somewhere on the beachfront.

Marielle and me on the beach

But it’s the Lenten season, and it just wouldn’t be right without a little soul-searching. Apparently that’s what God meant for us to do because only a week before we left for Boracay both of us found ourselves in situations that needed prayers, thought, and time away from our usual pursuits in the city. In my case, I had to assess my job situation and career path, and I’d just broken off from a relationship that was going nowhere. Definitely soul-searching stuff.

a little light reading… not!

Monday was our first day. I was on the boat from Caticlan and I asked God to speak to me and romance me during the whole trip. After we’d spent a few hours on the beach trying to get tanned, we decided to head back to our hotel. It was then that we bumped into Joaqui Tupas and his fiancee Jana, who had just finished having coffee at Cafe del Sol. They invited us to sit down for a while, and we had a blessed, insightful, and encouraging conversation with them about relationships and careers — just what I needed. They prayed for me and my sister, and our serendipitous meeting left me feeling sure about the decisions I had made the week prior to our trip. Best of all, I began to understand that God was in control not just of my trip to Boracay, but also of my life.

I woke up for an early-morning beach run on Tuesday, drinking in the island’s beauty and just feeling very loved by God. I ended up running a distance approximately twice the length of White Beach and still had three hours of tan time on the beach to spare.

We spent the afternoon with some friends, hiking past the last resort on White Beach and going around the bend to some secluded spots on the island. It was such a peaceful afternoon, capped off by the best sunset I’d ever seen in Boracay. It was just us at the tip of the island, the sea, and the sun going down the edge of the world.

the view from Nami

Boracay West Cove

I was up early again on Wednesday morning and decided to have breakfast by myself at Real Coffee. I ended up breaking bread with Nadine, the owner, and just shooting the breeze with her about herself and Boracay. It was such a beautiful thing and is one of my favorite points of the whole trip. It helped me to realize that I should ask questions and engage people in conversation more often — not just in pursuit of a story, but also because people have great stories to tell.

I came home from Boracay yesterday with a golden tan, and a smile on my face and peace in my heart. It was a great way to kick off Holy Week, just relaxing and seeking God’s will in my life. I’m excited about what else He will reveal to me the rest of this week.

White Flag

“If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” Matthew 16:24

The life of a Christ follower is not an easy one. i’ve known this for as long as I’ve been a Christian, but God hasn’t asked me to deny myself so much — until now.

I have been living a life of my own, defining my own path, on my terms. I have been telling God, “Hey, You can use me — but just in this way!”

But God has been prodding me, “What if I want to use you? Won’t you let me decide how to use you?” He asked me to lay at His feet these major areas of my life: my lovelife, my future career, and my present work. He asked me to surrender them to Him. These are the areas in which my grip on what I want has been strongest.

As I drove home crying in my car last Wednesday, I told God, “You have broken me.” And he said, “Doesn’t the potter break down the marred clay pot to make it into something He can use?” Potters cannot use clay that is resistant or unwieldy. They knead it, gently if it’s pliable but more forcefully if need be, to make it something useful.

He asked me to let go of someone I was hanging on to; I thought I had, but He helped me realize it wasn’t completely, and that I hadn’t surrendered control to Him of who to love and when to love.

He asked me to be open to a career path that might not include working in the media and that might include office hours. Try putting a square peg in a round hole and that’s me and office hours. Also, I’ve been studying and training for media work all my life so to have that possibly not where I should be is really the death of a dream.

God asked Abraham to offer Isaac up for a sacrifice (Genesis 22:1-2). Isaac was the child promised to old Abraham and barren Sarah — and Abraham had to show submission to God that even if he ended up killing Isaac, he had faith that God could raise the dead (see Hebrews 11:17-19).

So I said, yes, Lord, even if it means the death of a dream at this time, I know you will raise it some day. It might not be the way I see it and want it to be, but it will be Your best for me.

But wait! There’s more. This morning, I failed to wake up for a class I was supposed to be covering, and the penalty for that could be a) banning from the club, or b) suspension. And I asked God, “Haven’t I surrendered everything I hold dear to You? How could You let this happen?”

He said, “What if I removed you from your current job so I could use you? How would that make you feel?”

The resistance I felt to that question helped me realize that I had been holding onto this job as a security blanket. I was afraid that if I lost it, I might not be able to go to the gym and I might gain weight (which is a dreadful horror to me). And God helped me to see, He can provide even if I didn’t have this job.

So I find myself waving a white flag in surrender. I know who God is, and I know He will not shortchange me. I will be fulfilled wherever He leads.

Mark 8:35 “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.”