Palanan Isabela via Tuguegarao – The Wait Is Over (Page 1)


Last April 22, 2017, my friend and I took a 10-hour bus ride to Tuguegarao City up Northeast of the Philippines. From Tuguegarao Airport, we waited 5 hours for a 45-minute, 20-seater flight to Palanan Valley in Isabela Province. We were early and the plane was 4 hours late.

Palanan is not a popular travel destination, more so the village we went to. I was jobless with savings slowly draining away. What on earth was in Palanan that we were ready to get Php 8,000 (almost US$200) poorer and some backaches richer just to be there?

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Palanan, Isabel Trip – Brief Background (Page 3)

What did I do in Palanan Valley? More specifically, in Dubungko, a village tucked away on a hill beside Palanan River.

Palanan is difficult to reach. There are two ways you can find the village we went to. One is by taking a 10-minute boat ride after flying on a 20-seater plane for 40 minutes from Tuguegarao City to Palanan Airport. Tuguegarao City is 10-14 hours from Manila via bus.


The other way is by taking a 5- to 7-hour motor boat ride from somewhere in Quezon Province’s docks (I think), East of Luzon. Quezon is around 3-5 hours from Manila by bus.

(Read more of our travel and arrival at Palanan here.)

My friend Duane had been visiting Dibungko and its nearby villages one to two times a year for the past two decades. Duane lives in the US. He has patiently sown and gradually reaped for God in that place that now has a network of churches that pastors the villages.

He works with a Christian couple there that pastor Dibungko’s community of lowlanders and Agta families not only by sharing God’s word but by helping them improve their lives–teaching them how to farm, and make and sell handicrafts. They also helped them see the value of, and have access to, education.

The Agtas especially have gone a long way from not having access to education, to having two of their very own, graduate with degrees in education so that they are now the ones who teach their fellow Agtas in Dibungko.

Going back to the question… What did I do in Dibungko? Well, they didn’t really need me to teach them how to farm or weave. I think they have to be the ones to teach me that. I came there to teach at a youth camp. 🙂

As far as I recall, I had only been invited to speak to young people four times in my entire life. I am not exactly a preacher girl, or your resident Bible teacher. So I was surprised to have been given this opportunity to speak in a place this far.

Here’s our team of 5. Ate Ruth was the one holding the camera. The room behind us is the church hall where we had our youth camp teaching sessions. To my right is Masui, the main camp speaker. We split the number of sessions between us two. Masui is a missionary who leads a mission base in Canada. It was an honor to serve God and the young people alongside him. He would be your preacher-missionary type. I happen to be your ordinary gal from church. What an honor, really. More on the youth camp on the following blogs… 😉

Aaron, Duane, Me, Masui


Masui, teaching

I Wasn’t Expecting This – Palanan, Isabela Trip Page 2


I like physical activity so climbing the stairs, although it was tiring, was fun for me. So was the plane ride, and the boat ride. But I didn’t expect this kind of reward.

When we reached the top of the staircase, what met us was breathtaking. So, this is what’s on the other side?

The path on the left is the trail to the staircase. The edge of the grass lawn goes downward. The field and the mountains you see afar are on the other side of the river.

I felt like I was Poh of Kung Fu Panda after climbing that high wall (although my tiredness may be way less). After that last step, it’s like I just pulled the curtains to a different world.

“Hello lovely village. Thank you for the invitation to be here.”

The first thing that you’ll notice is the breathtaking view of the river, the fields and the mountains behind you. Then moving forward, there’s the basketball court (very Filipino!) and the village houses.





After a couple of steps from the basketball court, we get to our abode. Boy, it’s big. This is where they have their guests stay. I feel like royalty. Aren’t we supposed to be suffering when we’re on outreach?

Our abode for 1 week (for some of us 2)
View front of our “house”
Dining area
Dining area view at the back of the building
More view from our “backyard” (Some morning fog)
Sometimes we get visitors. The lone turkey in the village. No we’re not going to cook it! She’s part of the family! (Then again, maybe not!)
Our backyard view. Using DSLR cam.
One night, when the sunset was showffing off


We kind of panicked and grabbed our phones and tried to “capture” the sky while the scenery lasted.


Duane, our leader. Chillin’ one afternoon.


Laundry dries on one side of the house.
The boys set up hammocks up front 😉 Neat!
You can dine outside too…


So yeah, now that we’re all set up! We’ll go around the village next.



You can’t swim in shallow water
Your can’t fly above the ground
You have to fan the flame to fire
Don’t settle for the easy round

Who will go with you to deeper waters
Or are there those that wait beyond?
Who will brave with you to higher places
They must let go of safety’s sound

Don’t hang around with heavy travelers
Who hate the burning heat of sun
Who say but, “Hush don’t start a fire.”
“Mellow down, please mellow down!”

You don’t belong to shores
But down the ocean
Where waters roar and spirits soar
You have to fuel fire and be burning
Let it burn, don’t let the vision drown


​Cultural Immersion: Baguio Weddings – A Kiss, A Song, and A Dance

Hello friends! If you’d like to read more about the Philippines, my friend Rhema blogs about her trips around the Philippines. Do check out her blog! 😉

The sound of gongs is strongly infusing the festive atmosphere. The bride and the groom were greeting well-wishers who had attended their wedding ceremony earlier. Looking closer at the floor near …

Source: Cultural Immersion: Baguio Weddings – A Kiss, A Song, and A Dance

The Little Girl Who Fell In Love With The Game

If you are young, promise me you will not turn your passion into an obligation. If you are old and have lost your fire, promise me you will do everything to get it back. If you are on fire and doing what you were created for, promise me you will influence others to do the same.

I think there are two ways to die before you leave this world. One is to stop doing work that you’re passionate about (in the positive sense of the word, e.g. you’re not doing drugs or selling it), two is to turn it into an obligation and eventually lose the fire and joy in doing it. I don’t know which one is worse but I think I’ve experienced both.

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Three Kinds of Prophet: Which One Are You?


12.01.13Prophets.jpg - Photo (c) by pederk / Getty Images
Photo (c) by pederk / Getty Images

The Lord showed me three kinds of prophets we have today in terms of how one handles a word of the Lord. All three have a prophetic gift and receive words from God that are meant to be released as a rebuke, correction, encouragement, or what-you-have. But what makes them different is not God’s word but how they handle it. Some of us prophets sometimes jump from one to the other.

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