You are loved.

To my beautiful and brilliant baby sister who turns 21 today, I just want to say, your dreams are up for grabs and are yours for the taking. But in the pursuit of them, do not be consumed by them. For you have been called for a purpose that goes above and beyond this world, beyond this life and its temporary highs. In your youth, you will be offered many roads, choose the one that leads to true life. You are otherworldly.  Walk  with courage, in the knowing that  you are part of something bigger than yourself. Something that picked you out of a crowd of weary souls and set you apart. In your  walking you will grow tired, especially if you walk in those platform pumps you wear everyday. Fearlessly, ditch the heels, go barefoot and ask love to carry you as you travel along. Prepare to be amazed as you watch yourself run. Walk in knowing that you are immensely loved, in your rawness and imperfection.  Let everything you do come forth from that mind blowing truth. Happy birthday you little monkey, you.

Above: Photographs from our childhood. Me and my sisters as beady eyed little freaks with our babies Becky and Trixie. / With some of the most beautiful women we know: Our mommy, Our greatgrandmother Matilde, Our grandmothers Lola Buen and Lola Doring (not in photo, but is equally as gorgeous)

From the dust.

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  One weekend, while most of Manila was fist pumping away at a big music festival,  some of my favourite people and I decided to go revisit a historical volcano not too far away.  I’m so happy to have gone on this trip with  Elyne, Shake, Zyra and Ryan (who are also pretty much like minded travellers)  I don’t think anyone else would’ve appreciated our girly shrieking at the sight of the gorgeous crater (except for Ryan, who for a guy, was pretty tolerant of our girliness) our “The Secret life of Walter Mitty” references , our oooh-ing and ahhhh-ing at the way the light hit the majestic mountains and not to mention our constant stopping for pictures. LOL To say we took a lot of photographs is an understatement! Haha!  For the visually inspired traveller, the bumpy 4x4 ride and the 10 km hike up Mount Pinatubo will definitely stun.
Pinatubo’s eruption in 1991 was said to be one of the largest volcanic eruptions in the 20th century.   Thousands of Filipino families had to evacuate their homes. Their lives changed forever by the volcano’s fury, the excess of ash, rain and lahar. Fast forward to two decades later, there I was, somewhere in between Zambales and Pampanga, at the crater of the volcano I only used to hear about  in 5th grade Civics class.

I couldn’t help but stand there amazed  at how something so beautiful can come out of the ruin.  How so  much prettiness can come out from the dust.   How something that once brought death and devastation could one day make someone stand in awe at its majesty and make a weary spirit come alive.   I’m amazed at how something bigger than ourselves took all of that brokenness- and without human hands, in the fullness of time, while the world continued to spin madly on, while we continued to live and die- right under our noses, something we can’t quite comprehend,  created otherworldly beauty worth marvelling at. As I continue to journey across the  country I call home , I cannot help but fall to my knees over and over again-unable to fully grasp and process how much beauty we are blessed with.  Both  in places unspoiled by man and in places once broken. There’s no way all of this is an accident. 

P.S.  See the film version of our little adventure on my friend Shake’s blog! It is love! 

Oceans.

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You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown, where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep, my faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours, and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed, and You won’t start now

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

Postcards from: Phuket.

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Trips to Thailand (even short work related ones) are always such a treat. While Bangkok is one big art and culture fest and Samui is a sleepy, relaxing beach town- Phuket, I feel, is an interesting fusion of both cities. When you think Phuket, you  automatically think of the cult hit The beach and the gorgeous island of Ko Phi Phi. I however will forever associate Phuket with charming local shops, artsy cafe’s and breathtaking seaside scenery. We spent 3 out of our 4 days there shooting  around Trisara (our couple’s lush resort). While it was also  fun and sort of relaxing in itself,  I felt like I needed to burn all of the excessive Pad thai in my system with some good old adventure. We were blessed with one work-free day and a new local friend Aht, who shot the wedding with us,who generously offered to show us around the city, since we didn’t really have time to hop on a boat to Phiphi island. Seeing the city through a local’s eyes was totally refreshing- a day in the life of Aht, as I fondly call the experience in my head,  felt like such an authentic travel experience. It was nice learning  a bit about the Thai government, getting to ask about thai culture, thai food and hearing about the other places in Thailand we ought to visit next! (Chiang mai! Who’s game?) We just felt really blessed by Aht’s hospitality and good heart!  Also, listening to all his family stories made me  realize how similar Thai and FIlipino culture are.

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We started off with the prerequisite “touristy” places. We walked around Kata beach (which I felt was a mix of the Legian district in Bali and  Venice beach in LA) and  then decided to move to a more relaxed  and more quiet place near the ocean to grab some lunch. After some delish Pad thai, we then drove up to Prom thep cape, which was according to Aht, probably the most photographed part of Phuket. I was half expecting the place to be crawling with camera toting tourists (like myself! Haha!) but to my surprise and delight, we were the only people there plus a couple who drove up to see the romantic sight on their scooter (Ahhh to honeymoon like that someday!) We got to see Phuket from such great heights (cue the Postal service song!) and I couldn’t resist snapping away on my camera. There was also a local craftsman who was selling bags and charms at the cape. Carmela snagged a few treasures and  I had to be content with just taking pictures since I was practically living on my credit card and  didn’t have cash on me.  Note to self: BRING COLD HARD CASH TO PHUKET as it is crawling with so much thrift shop treasures and gorgeous textile. I shall come back to hoard!

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We then moved to Old  Phuket town to get some coffee. Aht took us to his friend’s pretty cafe to get our caffeine fix. After which, we  walked around, visited out a few nearby temples and then walked further along to  check  out the weekend market. The whole place was just…love! Streets were lined with food vendors (thai street food in my opinion,  is  the best ever! I look forward to it everytime I’m in thailand! I stocked up on coconut ice cream and food I couldn’t pronounce) and local crafters. Old victorian buildings that were restored into artsy cafes and vintage shops lined the streets, people from all parts of the globe were just  relaxing and sipping on their lattes and watching the world go by-everything was just buzzing with culture, art and local goodness. I went crazy exploring all the shops and stalls, breathing in all that inspiration! This was easily my favorite part of the day.

Instagrams from a lovely afternoon around our hotel and Old Phuket town.image

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When the sun started to set and the fairy lights at the market came on, we had another round of Padthai, hearty laughter and then decided to head back to the hotel and pack for our flight the next day. We said our goodbyes to Aht and thanked him for being such a gracious host.  I stop and look a back at this beautiful day with overwhelming gratitude to our Lord for gentle souls, art and majestic cliffs. All of this by Him and for Him. Praying this isn’t the last time I get to visit you Phuket!

Beautiful things.

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You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

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All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You

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You make me new, You are making me new

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You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

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As promised, photographs from an afternoon with John, Kate and baby Tyler.  I had a grand time hanging out and shooting with the newlyweds in their new home. The heavens blessed us with such gorgeous afternoon light too! Infinitely happy for my friend Kate and her beautiful new family. I hope you  guys enjoyed browsing through these pictures just as much as I enjoyed taking them. Love and light! xx

The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And He is not served by human hands as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breathe and everything else. Acts 17:24-25
* Looking out at the gorgeous scenery in the outskirts of my hometown. Thanks to my friend Bon for taking this photograph of me, a little behind the scenes picture from the short engagement video I shot for my friend Kate (you can check it out here). Can’t wait to share some of the photographs I took of her, while she was pregnant with Tyler (who just came into the world a few weeks ago!). Gosh, time’s just going by all too fast, with a lot of my friends getting married and having babies! I continue to be in awe at the circle of life.

The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And He is not served by human hands as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breathe and everything else. Acts 17:24-25

* Looking out at the gorgeous scenery in the outskirts of my hometown. Thanks to my friend Bon for taking this photograph of me, a little behind the scenes picture from the short engagement video I shot for my friend Kate (you can check it out here). Can’t wait to share some of the photographs I took of her, while she was pregnant with Tyler (who just came into the world a few weeks ago!). Gosh, time’s just going by all too fast, with a lot of my friends getting married and having babies! I continue to be in awe at the circle of life.

Love that conquers the world.

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The love for equals is a human thing- a friend for a friend, brother for brother. It is to love what is loving and lovely. The world smiles. The love for the less fortunate is a beautiful thing- the love for those who suffer, for those who are poor, the sick, the failures, the unlovely. This is compassion, and it touches the heart of the world. The love for the more fortunate is a rare thing- to love those who succeed where we fail, to rejoice without envy with those who rejoice, the love of the poor for the rich, the black man for the white man. The world is always bewildered by its saints. And then there is the love for the enemy- the love for the one who does not love you but mocks, threatens and inflicts pain. The tortured’s love for the torturer. This is God’s love- it conquers the world.

-Frederich Buechener, The magnificent defeat

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In honor of Valentines day, here are a few lovey dovey photos from my cousin’s wedding last weekend. It was an intimate and really beautiful family affair. At most weddings, I am behind the scenes, shooting away all throughout the magical day. So  when I actually get to be a guest, it’s  pretty darn special for little old me ( Although at my Kuya Koi’s wedding, I  still couldn’t put the camera down! It was just too pretty, with the lovely rustic details and all!)  I don’t think I’m ever going to get sick of weddings, even if I practically live, eat and breathe them! I go to these things almost every week (twice or thrice a week during wedding season!) and I still get teary eyed almost every time. Kuya Koi’s wedding wasn’t an exception. It was really beautiful to see him and Ate Shayne glorifying God with their decision to get married.  More than the dress, the gorgeous details and the look on the groom’s face, weddings are a symbol of Jesus’ second coming. He is the bride groom and we, his church (the body of believers) are his bride. He will one day return, and be reunited with us. It will be the most beautiful wedding ever!  Until then, we are called to love one another just as He loves us.  I came across a timely piece of literature (the Frederich Buechener quote above)that fits this “call to love” perfectly.  We are called to conquer the world with His love. (With my crazy mood swings and selfish nature, I know it will be much easier said than done! But by His grace, it is possible!) We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19

 Happy Valentines day everyone! 

I choose something bigger, something I can’t describe, something that found me in darkness and brought me into light. I choose something I can’t prove, but something I can’t deny. A quiet whisper, a peaceful mystery, an open eye. something thats holds it all, but chooses not to control, something that breaks me down, something that makes me whole. My heart is split between many and yet some how complete. What makes one love ? What makes your heart beat? -nathanael t. presley

My little labor of love.

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A journal slash datebook for the dreamers who want to change the world and keep track of their everyday adventures while they’re at it.

Hello everyone! I’m blogging right smack in the middle of wedding season and looking back on the year that was 2013 with nothing but love.  Last year was a pretty tough act to follow! I still can’t believe I got to share my passion for customising planners with a lot of people, here and abroad. The Daykeeper was born out of my love for pretty photographs, writing and doodling. I’ve always been one  to keep datebooks, but I could never really find one that suited me- something that could hold my musings and daydreams and at the same time keep track of my somewhat erratic schedule. So I thought, why not make a product that I really believed in, a product that I’d  personally like to use?  I’ve been really blessed to find a lot of  like-minded people in my clients, people who share my scrapbook keeping/journal-writing/power-planning sentiments. Some of them have become online friends, whose encouraging words  have really inspired me to just do even more creative work.  I’m also pretty privileged to have had the support of such amazing people- bloggers  like Patty Laurel, the Googlygooeys, Cat Juan and the wonderful people up at Heima, to name a few! I really couldn’t thank everyone enough.  I’m so encouraged by the overwhelmingly awesome response to this little labor of love and I can only pray that God uses the Daykeeper in a way that glorifies Him. There were moments that I felt  pretty iffy about putting my heart and soul out there and often times asked myself if people would actually like my art. In those moments of self doubt, it was God’s comforting words and promises that made me step out in faith and believe in the whole thing. This really has been a dream come true, by God’s grace and I am infinitely grateful for this blessing and for everyone who supported this project. It’s all from you Lord, for you! Excited for what is to come! 

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A datebook for dreamers who chronicle their daydreams, for visionaries whose plans are too big to be boxed in by lines, for sentimentalists who want to make their favourite moments last forever.

Get inspired to travel, create and grow in the faith with tons photographs, doodles and blank pages!

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Here are a few instagrams and screen caps  from awesome clients and bloggers, some of whom I am very blessed to call friends. Thank you so much guys! You are awesome!

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Below: Packaging. Packaging. Packaging.

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Above: a collection of some of the planners I got to customise over the years. The Daykeeper has got to be my fave cause I got to share my planner passion with a lot more people. (Don’t worry, I saved everyone from awkward photographs of my younger self. Exhibit A: my older college planners above.)

Below: Emails like this make the whole project worthwhile :)

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Below: At the Heima Bazaar love triangle. Manning a booth was a lot of fun but I discovered how hard it was to be sales person- not online, but in the flesh! I I’m one of the most awkward people in the world, so I was squirming every time I was right smack in the middle of small talk. (I hope nobody noticed! Lol) Thank God for my friends Ayen and Zyra, who helped me out it that department! Haha! I’m super thankful to everyone who came out and braved the friday night traffic to get their Daykeepers, you guys are really the coolest.

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Late last year, I stumbled upon this nugget of wisdom from Rick warren that really spoke to me. I hope it inspires everyone just as much.

Don’t ignore your interests. Consider how they might be used for God’s glory. There is a reason that you love to do these things. Serve God in a way that expresses your heart. Figure out what you love to do, what God gave you a heart to do-and do it for His glory.”

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I found myself on the beach one afternoon, the December sun setting right in front of me, at the exact same spot I was sitting at the start of the year-where I looked out at the same golden sunset with high hopes for the year that was about to unfold. Everything about that scene was pretty much the same- the powder like white sand, friends flinging frisbees in the air, that same old brown beach chair (hey that rhymes!). Things pretty much remained unchanged on the island, but I was different- aged by experience and  forever changed by the year that was quickly coming to a close.

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I think there couldn’t have been a better juxtaposition between the start of 2013 and the end of 2013. I started and ended the year with wedding shoots on the pretty island of Boracay. I  sat there amazed as I read through the entry I wrote on my journal in January-  my faith in the good that was to come was not in vain.
An excerpt from my journal:
January  11 2013: 
Today I am 23 and will not continue being so for too long. At this very moment I am plopped down on this comfortable beach chair, watching all these people walk by- all those lives, all those stories, intersecting in this lovely  little piece of paradise. I now start to wonder about my own story. I look at all these blank pages  before me with excitement at the experiences and epiphanies they shall soon contain. I look at the vast ocean before me, the waters that seem to have no end and wonder what it’s like on the other side.  In the same way, I wonder how things will play out for me this year. The horizon looks pretty foggy, but I step out into the sea with faith in God’s never failing love and provision.

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In the same way, I wait expectantly on the Lord’s blessings and provisions for 2014, and that His will be done in the exciting year that is to come. Cheerio!

Kat

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Themed by Hunson. Originally by Josh
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