December 27, 2013

2013: Travels, Trials, and God's Blessings

Looking back, I can vividly see that 2013 was a year of travels, trials, and God's blessings. These three are the most prominent things of the past year. 2013 gave me much happiness coupled with bits of sadness, much contentment paired with chunks of dissatisfaction, much hope mixed with pieces of helplessness.

Yet through it all, God is still there. His promise is ever before me, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11, NIV.


Backpacking around Southern Cebu in 2 Days
Yes, I traveled around the southern part of Cebu in two straight days! The places I covered were the city of Carcar, the municipalities of Argao, Dalaguete, Alcoy, Boljoon, Oslob, Santander, Samboan, Ginatilan, and Moalboal.

I spent my Valentine's Day at Tingko Beach in Alcoy.

Read my posts here:
2 Days of Backpacking Around Southern Cebu
Backpacking Around Southern Cebu Expenses
The Adventurer's Guide to Carcar, Cebu
The Adventurer's Guide to Argao, Cebu
The Adventurer's Guide to Dalaguete, Cebu
The Adventurer's Guide to Boljoon, Cebu
The Adventurer's Guide to Oslob, Cebu
The Adventurer's Guide to Santander, Cebu
The Adventurer's Guide to Barili, Cebu

Trip to Tacloban City
I was invited to attend the wedding of my high school classmates in Tacloban City. Reunited with high school classmates and friends plus our awesome adventures in the city made my trip      a-ma-zing!

The early morning run across San Juanico Bridge.

Read my posts here:
Travel Photo: The San Juanico Bridge
A Wall Climbing Reunion in Tacloban City, Leyte
8 Exciting Things to Do in Tacloban City, Leyte

River Trek to Bito Falls
This trek was really designed to be an ocular survey to the gorgeous Bito Falls in Javier, Leyte before the start of the 2nd EVAA Grand Alumni Homecoming.

With some EVAA Alumni at Bito Falls.

Read my post here:
Leyte Travel Series: Bito Falls in Javier

The 2nd EVAA Grand Alumni Homecoming
I organized and led the 2nd East Visayan Adventist Academy Grand Alumni Homecoming being its President. The culminating event of the said homecoming was the medical mission coordinated by the alumni association in partnership with the local government of Javier, Leyte.

Read my posts here:
Travel Photo: East Visayan Adventist Academy
Our Life's Purpose is to Serve

Southern Leyte Trip
I accompanied Jherson of Lonely Travelogue and Claire of I Am Traveling Light to the southern part of Leyte. We explored Canigao Island, Maasin City, and the Agas-Agas Bridge in Sogod.

With Claire and Jherson at Canigao Island in Matalom, Leyte.

Read my posts here:
Travel Photo: Approaching Canigao Island
Travel Photo: Philippines' Tallest Bridge

Week-end Camping at Palompon, Leyte
I joined the Ormoc delegation to the Adventist Youth Encounter in Taberna, Palompon, Leyte.

Ormoc's finest Adventist youth.

Ormoc City Tour 
We spent a memorable tour around the city of Ormoc with Mai of Budget Biyahera and friends.

Read my posts here:
The Happy Moments Before the Storm
8 Exciting Things to Do in Ormoc City, Leyte

I will never forget the time when I decided to postpone my trip overseas. It was a time of disappointment yet God was leading me in the right direction. November 8 came and super typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) ravaged our place and devastated many parts of Central Philippines.

Read my post here:
Beyond the Flash Flood and the Storm

God's Blessings
Yet despite the storm, God granted us safety and He saved my whole family. God also provided help and support for us through the generosity of my family members, relatives, and friends.

More blessings came when I was chosen as the Central Philippine Union Conference (Visayas) representative for the One Year in Mission Phase 2 program of the Youth Ministries Department of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

One Year in Mission Compassion Team in Pasay City.
Photo Credit: One Year in Mission SSD

Read my personal thoughts about our mission here:

"Our plans are not always God's plans. He may see that it is best for us and for His cause to refuse our very best intentions. . . . But of one thing we may be assured, He will bless and use in the advancement of His cause those who sincerely devote themselves and all they have to His glory. If He sees it best not to grant their desires He will counterbalance the refusal by giving them tokens of His love and entrusting to them another service."        - Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing, p. 473.

2013 is indeed an action-packed and memorable year for me! What about you? Share your experiences here by posting your comments below.

This is my entry to the Pinoy Travel Bloggers' Blog Carnival for December 2013
with the theme "Let the Curtains Close on 2013: A Year-End Post" 
hosted by Brenna Bustamante of The Philippine Travelogue.

For previous Pinoy Travel Bloggers' Blog Carnival topics, click here.


  1. Happy to see a few familiar faces on your travel photos, President Ephraim!

    Happy Holidays! May God bless us more this 2014 & beyond! :)

    1. Doc Gelo, I was nice meeting you during the Christmas meet-up.. God bless you too this 2014! Happy travels! :)

  2. Despite the hardships, the challenges, and the loss.. I know that there will be better things coming your way. Masaya ako na kahit memories na lang ang meron tayo.. alam natin na these memories will forever be immortalized in our hearts and minds.. the beauty of the places that we've visited, the friends that we've met along the way, the connections that we've made... those will always be instilled in our spirits.

    Here's to more journeys and more years of friendship, Ephraim! I'm really grateful to have finally met you. :) Happy New Year!

    1. Mai, words could not express how thankful I am to have a friend like you. You have really made us strong amidst the hardships that we've faced. Thank you for your help! God will surely reward you for that.

      Here's to 2014! God bless you always..

  3. A lot of blessings this year. And a trial (Haiyan) towards the end. I know with your strong faith, you can overcome anything!

    1. Yeah Gay! So far, so good, so strong. We are slowly rising up. Thank you for the care, support, and prayers! Happy 2014! Happy travels!

  4. Hi Ephraim, I always find it hard to comment dito sa blog mo after Nov, im losing my words :) but after reading all the things you had last 2013, I believe you'll gonna go way up this 2014. Happy New Year!

    1. Christeen, thanks for your encouraging words, surely we will recover and move on. God bless you always especially this new year! Cheers to more exciting adventures this 2014! :)

  5. Nakakalungkot talaga yong nangyari sayo :( Pero alam ko na trials lang yan...
    Cheers sa masaganang taong 2014 :)

    1. Gelai, salamat po talaga! Yeah, I was still happy because God blessed me so much and I ended my year in cheerful note. Cheers to 2014! Happy travels! :)