My Four Happiest Happenings in 2016

It was six years ago when I began reflecting annually on my “happiest happenings” for a particular year (see 2015, 2014, 2012, 2011, 2010). My four happiest happenings in 2016 are (not in any order):

1. Driving and living in Nuvali

View of the sky from car's passenger seat, along Nuvali Blvd
View of the sky from my car, along Nuvali Blvd

I’ve always shunned buying a car, which depreciates the moment it is taken out of the casa, so I’ve always tried to live within walking distance from my place of work or study. But living in Nuvali necessitates owning one because no public utility vehicle drivers may ply their trade in here.

Enjoying the view of Taal after enjoying a breakfast buffet with the family
Enjoying the view of the Taal volcano and lake after enjoying breakfast buffet with the family

I never expected to enjoy driving, but I do, though only in Nuvali and its surroundings, what with the beautiful scenery. I also enjoy driving to Tagaytay, though only in the morning, when there is no traffic.

Of course I don’t only enjoy driving in Nuvali but also living in it. I love the tranquility, the fresh(er) air, and the Solenad malls that are on the way home from work. 🙂

2. Borobudur

On top of Borobudur soon after sunrise
On top of Borobudur soon after sunrise

When I was a kid, I had a stereoscopic toy that showed beautiful scenes of various Wonders of the World, and the 3D photograph of Borobudur was one of those that I enjoyed looking at. I was therefore quite happy to visit it after a finishing a task in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. I went there at sunrise (as FB’s Mark Zuckerberg once did).

Borobudur is the largest Buddhist temple in the world and Indonesia’s “single most visited tourist attraction in Indonesia” (Wikipedia). Built in the 8th century at the center of Central Java and designed as a step pyramid, Borobudur’s pilgrims would walk up and around nine terraces, whose walls are filled more than 2700 exquisite bas-relief panels, until one reaches the top, which represents Nirvana.

3. K3J

K3J's Anniversary Theme: God Is Able
K3J’s Anniversary Theme: God Is Able

On December 18, 2016, the youth group at church was rechristened K3J (Kabataang Kay Kristo Jesus) and celebrated its first year since its revival. Unlike when I first handled the youth at church in the early 2000s, when most of the members of the group were in college and were children of church members, most of the members of the youth group now, i.e., of K3J, are high school kids and have unbelieving parents. May the light of Jesus (John 1:4-5)  shine in the lives of these kids and their families!

4. Ministry at home

I love it that my house has been used to minister to or mentor various persons and groups this year. There’s my Saddleback Small Group, which began meeting weekly on April 14. Since then we have studied Rick Warren’s The Invisible War and Miracle of Mercy, among others. Then there’s my best friend’s son, Joel, who did a 3-day retreat at my house last September; and K3J’s leaders, who did a 3-day retreat here on January 1-3. There’s also my PhDCS and MSCS thesis advisees, Tessie, Ian, and Regan, who came at least twice to the house. Finally, there are also my family and friends who came in December.

Dad, Mom, and Pen with Tita Aida and Sachi
With Dad, Mom, Tita Aida and Sachi
With inaanak sa kasal, Tessie and Philip
With inaanak sa kasal, Tessie and Philip
Dad, Mom, and Pen with Kuya Mark, Weng, and kids
With Dad, Mom, Pen, Kuya Mark, Weng, and kids
With Carlo after installing paintings
With best friend Carlo after installing paintings
With Lizette and kids
With best friend Lizette and kids
With Justin and Em
With FORMDEV alumni, Justin and Em, who will soon wed
With TLS Youth (K3J) Leaders
With TLS Youth (K3J) Leaders — Jomel, Georgia, Buboy, Tian2 and Jessa — on a 3-day retreat here at the house

I thank God for all the blessings throughout 2016. May 2017 be a year of even more hearing and doing of God’s word (Matthew 11:28).

Blessed New Year, everyone!

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