The Trip of a Lifetime: The Holy Land

The Trip of a lifetime: The Holy Land

At the age of 25, I’ve always wanted to go to the Holy Land, but never did I expect it to happen so soon! It has truly been the TRIP of a LIFETIME, and that is an understatement. I am still left in awe and I am amazed as to what I have seen and experienced in such a short amount of time. Having been back a number weeks now, I wanted to take some time to reflect on my thoughts of this once in a lifetime trip.

I first learned about the trip during a church service announcement at the Basilica of St. Ann, which is now our main church. During the announcement, I immediately looked at my mom and said this is definitely a trip that we should all do (Jesci, my parents, and I). At the time of the announcement, Jesci was in the Philippines and my father was working. That however, did not stop me from signing us all up on the list. Regardless of the circumstances, we were all going to go on the trip!

At least that is what I thought…

Unfortunately, the plan didn’t pan out and Jesci and my father could not get the days off from work and were not able to go.

Even with my mother and I remaining, we were definitely going to go, no matter what. Believe it or not, we received a lot of mixed reactions for going. We actually had some people, even family members, tell us that we were crazy for wanting to go to the Holy Land. We even had people telling us that my mom and I were going to get shot and never come back alive. One person actually said to us that we were all going to get blown up. Any nasty thing that you can imagine possible was said to us…

Let me tell you….

Those people have NO IDEA what they are talking about!

Not one time in my travels of Israel, Palestine, and the entire Holy Land, did I ever feel worried or unsafe. The media makes people believe that you’re going to get killed. I feel as if not only the media, but so many people, don’t want anyone to experience the Holy Land. These people deceit everyone to make it appear as if Israel and The Holy Land are the worst possible place that anyone could go. They make people believe that bombs are going off left and right and people are getting killed. They make you believe that it is all terrorists, radicals and evil people, and etc.

Let me tell you….

In all of my 25 years of life, never have I felt so relaxed, tranquil, and at ease. To be able to walk in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ; that feeling of joy is indescribable.

Sermon on the Mount overlooking the Sea of Galilee

Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount here while overlooking the Sea of Galilee

One of the peaceful moments that I will never forget is the area where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5 – 7). What really stood out to me here was that one of the most powerful verses in the entire Bible was said here by Jesus.

Matthew 6:25 – 27

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

After experiencing this firsthand, I have learned not to worry about anything. Worry is useless. Can it add any hour to your life? Absolutely, not. Not one bit. It a complete and total waste of energy.

When I now see the birds flying or chirping, I am always assured not to worry. Just like the birds, God is reminding us not to worry. The next time you go to church, look for a dove painting or in a stain glass window. The dove is depicted to be the Holy Spirit and I now believe that the all of the birds provide a sign of the Holy Spirit and a reminder for us to not fear or be afraid.

Sea of Galilee Sermon on the Mount

Sermon on the Mount with the Sea of Galilee in the background

Being able to experience the Sea of Galilee was incredible. I learned that most of Jesus’ teachings, miracles, healings were done in this area. I learned that it’s all about faith; having complete faith and trust in Jesus.

Matthew 8: 23 -27

23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

Have faith and let go and let God.

The Sea of Galilee is also where Jesus walked on water and being in the exact place where that happened was incredible. Again, it’s all about faith. Regardless of the circumstances, we must always have faith. God will provide.

Forever Always I Trust Him  (Matthew 14:31)

Matthew 14: 22-34

22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29 “Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

34 When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him 36 and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.

Sea of Galilee Peacefulness

The Sea of Galilee

If my words don’t describe how peaceful I felt, look at this water. This is the definition of tranquility.

Beauty of the Sea of Galilee

The peaceful waters of Galilee

Sea of Galilee Sunset

Sunset on the mountains of the Sea of Galilee

Wisdom from Raouf

Taking in the knowledge from Raouf the Guide

Our trip was led by Raouf the guide. This man was truly heaven sent. I have never met a guide with so much knowledge of the Holy Land, God, religion, and history. I’m telling you, there is not one question that he didn’t answer and we all asked A LOT of questions!  I will never forget what he said, “Before you come to Israel, you see the Bible in black and white, but when you leave Israel, you will see the Bible in color.”

Raouf The Guide

Raouf preaching the truth and wisdom!

Jacob's Well Water

I was able to pull up and drink the water from Jacob’s Well and I will say that this is the best tasting water in the world! The purest and cleanest water that I have ever tasted! Jesus also stopped at this well! (John 4:4-26)

Greek Priest Jacob's Well

Greek Orthodox Priest sealing the water from Jacob’s Well

Greek Orthodox Church

Top of the Greek Church that is built over Jacob’s Well

Capernaum in Galilee

Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee; The Town of Jesus!

Capernaum Syngagoue in Galilee

Capernaum Synagogue

Capernaum Synagogue in Galilee

Amazed that parts of the Capernaum Synagogue where Jesus taught is still standing

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Overlooking the Sea of Galilee

Church of Annunciation in Nazareth Israel

Church of Annunciation

The Church of Annunciation is located in Nazareth, Israel and this church is built over the site where the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her she would give birth to Jesus, the Son of God. (Luke 1:26-38)

Nazareth also has the highest Christian population in all of Israel.

Inside the Church of Annunciation

Inside the Church of Annunciation

Cross of Jerusalem

The Cross of Jerusalem

I had no idea what this cross was or looked like until I came to Israel. This cross is also called the Crusader Cross and it is one of the most common crosses that is seen all over The Holy Land. I now wear my Jerusalem Cross every single day; it never will come off.

Top Altar of the Church of Annunciation in Nazareth

Top Altar of the Church of Annunciation

What really amazed me about the Church of Annunciation are the works of art! Just about every country has also donated a piece for the church!

Greek Blessed Mother and JesusItalian Blessed Mother and Jesus

Philippines Blessed Mother and Jesus

Had to find the Philippines artwork and give a shoutout to Jesci and my Filipino family!

Artwork inside Church of Annunciation in NazarethArtwork inside Church of Annunciation in Nazareth, IsraelArtwork inside Church of Annunciation in Nazareth, IsraelAsian Artwork inside Church of Annunciation in Nazareth, Israel

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Church of Nativity Bethlehem

The Birth Place of Jesus at the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem

I wish I was able to take more pictures of my experience at the Church of the Nativity, but unfortunately there was a lot of construction going on at the time inside the church.  I was however, able to get this picture. What’s amazing about this photo is that I did not even mean to take this picture as I rested my hand upon the birthplace; it was taken automatically! This was definitely one of the best feelings of my life, as I felt the Holy Spirit enter within me. An absolute MUST SEE in the Holy Land.

Old City of Jerusalem

My Mom and I with Jerusalem in the background

Jerusalem. The Holiest City on Earth. There is so much history here. Thousands and thousands of years of history and significance! It was such a blessing to have stayed in Jerusalem for 4 days of the trip. Every morning I would wake up at 5:30 AM to the Islamic call to prayer. I never heard it in person before and it was very beautiful and soothing.

Chapel of Ascension Jerusalem

The Chapel of Ascension

Inside the Chapel of Ascension Jerusalem

Inside the Chapel of Ascension with Raouf (left) and Father Fran (the group leader)

It is believed that this is the exact spot where Jesus was standing and his ascension took place. (Luke 24:50-53)

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In this garden, the Lord’s prayer is in every language.

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The Lord’s Prayer was taught by Jesus here (Matthew 6:5-14)

Church of All Nations located on the Mount of Olives

Church of All Nations located on the Mount of Olives

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Where Jesus prayed and his disciples slept before he was arrested

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This is also where Judas betrayed him

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Gethsemane Olive Tree

It is believed that this tree has been alive for over 2,000 years since the time of Jesus. Gethsemane Olive Tree

Jerusalem has some of the most beautiful churches in the world. The stain glass windows and artwork leave me in awe!

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This was one of the most beautiful chapels that I have been in! (It also happens to be at the site of the first station of the cross)

Western Wall Jerusalem

The Western Wall in Jerusalem

In Jewish tradition, you are to write a note with a prayer on it and place it in the cracks of the wall and God will answer your prayer if you have faith. All of the men are on the left side of the wall, and all of the women are on the right side of the wall. My mother and I already had our notes prewritten and we were blessed to have placed them at the wall. The Western Wall is also considered to be one of the holiest, if not, the holiest site for the Jewish faith. The Western Wall is also known as the Wailing Wall.

Old City streets of Jerusalem

I was able to try the freshest pomegranate juice here and that is definitely my new favorite fruit. DELICIOUS!

Old City streets of Jerusalem

Old City streets of Jerusalem

Vendors in the streets of Jerusalem

Vendors in the streets of Jerusalem

Area Rug vendor in old Jerusalem

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I loved the small streets with the street vendors and shops!

Inside the Church of The Holy Sepulchre Jerusalem

Inside the Church of The Holy Sepulchre

How can I describe The Church of The Holy Sepulchre? Astonishing. The Holy Spirit is everywhere here. When I walked inside, I immediately felt presence of the Holy Spirit. The church is built over where Jesus was crucified, dead, and buried and it almost feels like a small city inside. The line to get in took about 3-4 hours, but it honestly felt like 5 minutes because I was so enamored to be here.

Inside the Church of The Holy Sepulchre Jerusalem

The work of art is breathtaking

Inside the Church of The Holy Sepulchre

The inside is enormous

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The Tomb of Jesus Jerusalem Israel

The Tomb of Jesus

Top of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre Jerusalem

Top of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

The entrance of the Tomb of Jesus Jerusalem

The entrance of the Tomb of Jesus

This stone is one of the original stones from the Tomb of Jesus

This stone is one of the original stones from the Tomb of Jesus

Inside the Tomb of Jesus in Jerusalem

Inside the Tomb of Jesus

Upon entering the Tomb, I immediately felt my body get warm and I felt a sensation throughout my entire body. I can’t even describe the feeling. It was just a warmth that went all over. I felt purified and cleansed. I just felt like a new person after experiencing this. It is indescribable and I felt the presence of Jesus right there.

Golgotha (Place of the Skull) where Jesus was Crucified

Golgotha (Place of the Skull) where Jesus was Crucified

This is the exact spot where Jesus was crucified. Golgotha was definitely an emotional sight for me. To see where Jesus died on the cross for our sins is something that will never leave me.

Split rock from the earthquake upon the death of Jesus

Split rock from the earthquake upon the death of Jesus

Golgotha is called place of the skull because of Adam, where sin began. Adam’s bones are in the chapel of Adam, which is directly below Golgotha. According to tradition, it is believed that when Jesus died, the crack formed during the earthquake and his blood shed down on the skull of Adam and all mankind was forgiven.

When Jesus was taken down from the cross, this is the slab that he was laid on before he was taken and buried in the Tomb.

When Jesus was taken down from the cross, this is the slab that he was laid on before he was taken and buried in the Tomb.

From Jerusalem, to Galilee, I experienced so many kind people from all walks of life. It was amazing to see all of the Christians, Jews, and Muslims in the Holiest city on earth, Jerusalem. I have learned so much about history and so many different types of cultures and religions.

Looking up to the Masada fortress

Looking up to the Masada fortress

One of the most daunting fortresses in history, Masada was like no other. Built on the cliffs near the Dead Sea, it was virtually impossible to be conquered. The fortress was built for Herod the Great and it was the most advanced creation of its time. It was amazing for me to see the water system that Herod had built. Located in the desert, it rained only a handful times during the year. However, when it rained, it would bring an unlimited supply of water that drained down from the mountains. Being at the lowest point on earth, the water was so plentiful from it flooding down the mountains. What truly amazed me was that they actually steam rooms built. Seriously!? Steam rooms!? In the era before Christ? In this desolate desert? Truly amazing.

Atop Masada

My Mom and I with the Dead Sea behind us. The country of Jordan is to the far right.

Looking at the Dead Sea from atop Masada

Looking at the Dead Sea from atop Masada

The Steam Room of Masada

The Steam Room of Masada

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Raouf the Guide doing what he does best!

Another Steam Room of Masada

Another Steam Room of Masada

After visiting Masada, it is a must visit to experience the Dead Sea! The Dead Sea is an unforgettable experience, as it is the lowest point on Earth. The Dead Sea is approximately 1,412 feet below sea level and it lays between Israel and Jordan. It really is the Dead Sea, as there is nothing living at all. Fish cannot live due to the high amount of salt and minerals. However, there are so many healing properties (detox, cleansing, anti-aging, purification, acne, arthritis, wrinkles, dry skin, etc) from the salt and mud, that it is a must stop in the Holy Land!

The Dead Sea with Jordan in the background

The Dead Sea with Jordan in the background

Swimming in The Dead Sea

Experiencing the Dead Sea firsthand!

I could spend all day at The Dead Sea

I could spend all day at The Dead Sea

Swimming in the Dead Sea. A feeling that I have never experienced in my life. The best way to describe my experience is like a bobber on a fishing pole; it doesn’t sink and just continues to float. No matter how hard you try to go under, you will immediately get brought right back up to the surface. Per our guide Raouf, the best way to experience the Sea, is to soak/bath for 15-20 minutes, and then come out and lather your body with the Dead Sea mud. After lathering until the mud is completely dry, it is recommended to go back into the water and wash it all off. I can tell you that my skin felt so fresh and clean. I truly felt like silk and I felt my body removed every ounce of toxin inside me. What an unforgettable experience!

Soaking in the Dead Sea Mud with some of our travel group members! Great people.

Soaking in the Dead Sea Mud with some of our travel group members! Great people.

Waiting for that Dead Sea mud to dry. It took about 45 minutes because I put so much on!

Waiting for that mud to dry. It took about 45 minutes because I put so much on!

Upon experiencing what the Dead Sea has to offer firsthand, I can honestly highly recommend two companies to purchase your products from. They are 100% straight from Israel and definitely the best skincare products out there. I brought home a bunch of products for Jesci and she absolutely LOVES them. There isn’t a day that goes by that she doesn’t use them. I personally love the shaving cream from Ahava and the soaps from Revival, both the salt and mud. It’s funny, but all of my Christmas gifts were Israel themed, and everyone got something from Ahava or Revival by Qumran. My grandmother especially loves her hand creams! She was so HAPPY!

Ahava and Revival by Qumran.

https://www.ahava.com/

http://deadsea-revival.com/

Jordan River Baptismal Site

Jordan River Baptismal Site

After experiencing the Dead Sea, we were able to visit the Jordan River. The Jordan river is so powerful because it is reference numerous times in the Bible, but it is most famous for being where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. (Matthew 3:13-17)

Not only were we able to visit, but we were so blessed to have been able to be baptized in the Jordan.

Not only were we able to visit, but we were so blessed to have been able to be baptized in the Jordan.

The divider is where Israel and Jordan border. Literally, we were footsteps away from Jordan!

The divider is where Israel and Jordan border. Literally, we were footsteps away from Jordan!

Jordan River Baptism

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View of a church in the country of Jordan

Church of St. John the Baptist Israel

Church of St. John the Baptist

In addition to getting baptized in the Jordan River, we were able to go to experience the Church of St. John the Baptist. The church is run by the Franciscans and it is a wonderful place of peaceful prayer. We were blessed to have a private service here and this experience was really special because I was asked to do the reading.

Church of St. John the Baptist

Inside The Church of St. John the Baptist

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The Birthplace of John the Baptist Israel

The Birthplace of John the Baptist

Church of the Transfiguration Mount Tabor

Church of the Transfiguration

The Church of the Transfiguration is located atop of Mt. Tabor. To get to the top you can either walk, which definitely takes a couple of hours, or you can take a van. The Mountain is only about 2,000 feet above sea level, but it is a very winding road. Mount Tabor is the site where Jesus is transfigured and Moses and Elijah appear with him. (Matthew 17:1-13)

Inside The Church of Transfiguration of Jesus with Moses and Elijah

The Transfiguration of Jesus with Moses and Elijah

View of the Valley of Armageddon Israel

Valley of Armageddon

Wedding Church at Cana Israel

Wedding Church at Cana

On our last day, we were able to visit the Wedding Church at Cana. This church is built where Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding (John 2:1-12).

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Two married couples in our group were able to renew their vows here and it was so delightful to witness!

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Wedding Church at Cana Basement Chapel

Our service was done in a small private chapel under the church.

Wedding Church at Cana Wedding

Upon finishing our service and tour of the church, we were taken to taste the wine of Cana. Now I’m not a drinker and I do not like alcohol at all, but I will say that I did try the wine and it is SPECTACULAR. I tried the pomegranate wine and it is the best tasting wine. If you like wine, I highly recommend looking for an Israel wine, specifically Pomegranate. My mother and I were able to bring a bottle home and we are definitely saving it for a special occasion!

Now the wine is one thing, but the FOOD! The food was OUT OF THIS WORLD.

Can you say hummus?!

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Hummus was served at every meal and this hummus is not like the hummus we have at home in the States. The hummus in the Holy Land is so clean and pure and describing it as delicious is an understatement. The other food that I became in love with are the dates. I did not realize that dates come straight from the palm trees and Israel has the best tasting dates in the world. The taste and flavor are literally to die for!

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The vegetables were so abundant!

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So many choices!

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Lamb Meatballs, Chicken, and Potato Fries with a Tomato

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The Whole Fish with Chicken and Lamb overtop Rice

I wish I was able to take some more pictures of the food! Every single meal was like this and it was either chicken, fish, or lamb. There is absolutely no pork served whatsoever. The pig is considered to be the most ceremonially unclean animal for the Jewish and Muslim faith and it is forbidden to eat. What amazed me so much is that everyone ate so healthy and clean. All of the locals looked so healthy and I can see and understand why! I would love to eat this kind of food everyday. It’s funny because from all the food that I ate, I expected to gain a lot of weight. However, that was not the case when we came back home. A number of people actually told me, “Roman, you lost weight! I thought that you were going to look like a balloon from eating all the food! I lost at least 5-10 pounds during this trip and I did not even try. Not to mention, I think all of the walking helped too!

Unfortunately, out of my 1000+ pictures, I was not able to take a picture of our driver, Majde. I have to give a shoutout to this man. He made driving a huge tour bus in Israel like driving a smart car. God blessed him with the talent to drive and this man can drive. If you thought driving in New York City Was bad, try driving in Israel and Palestine; major skill is needed! Majde was Palestinian and he was one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met in my life. I’ll never forget what he said to me upon dropping us off as the airport. He told me, “make sure you take care of your mom!” I’ll never forget that!

Going to Israel and experiencing the Holy Land has changed my life. I am a different person now. I have grown in faith and I have learned so much about God, Jesus, Israel, History, Religions, and Life. The people that I met and traveled with are now considered lifelong friends to me and I am forever grateful and thankful for the opportunity to travel on this pilgrimage with them all.

Our Last Supper In Israel

Our Last Supper In Israel

Jordan River Baptism

Wonderful Memories with this group!

I want to thank our group leader and trip organizer, Fr. Francis Landry. He is such a good man and it was such a pleasure traveling with him. He was one of the biggest, if not the biggest reason, of why we went on the trip. He loves to travel and has organized numerous trips to The Holy Land. He made it possible for us to have service in a different church every single day. God has truly blessed him in so many ways. I’m so appreciative and blessed that we were able to travel with him and I look forward to our future travels together. The memories and experience that I have gained will be cherished for the rest of my life.

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Father Rick Fox (left) and Father Francis Landry (right)

I also want to thank Father Rick Fox, who Father Landry invited to go on the trip. He was such a pleasure to travel with and I enjoyed his company throughout the trip. He shed a lot of wisdom and humor on us all. Father Rick is definitely one of the funniest priests around!

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We did it!

For all the doubters and those that did not want my mom or I to go on the trip, thank you for pushing us to go. This trip was the best decision of my life and I can definitely speak for my Mom and say that it was also the best trip and decision of her life, as well. I want to thank her especially for ensuring that we both went on this trip, no matter what the circumstances were. She is the definition of what having faith and trusting God is. Thank you Mom!

The Sea of Galilee Jesus Walk On Water Israel

The presence of Jesus was felt all over the Sea of Galilee

Reading this blog and seeing my pictures do not do justice.

YOU have to experience Israel and the Holy Land yourself!

If the opportunity presents itself, BOOK IT!

Regardless of your faith and what you believe, make Israel and The Holy Land your next destination; your life will be changed forever.

Raouf, was right when he said that after experiencing The Holy Land, we will see the Bible in color.

Netanya Israel Sunset

I now see that color.

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Fall is in the air!

Hi everyone, hope all is well!

I cannot believe it’s already November 1st! Thanksgiving is in 3 weeks and Christmas is just right around the corner. Crazy how quickly time flies by. One of the many things I love about Pennsylvania is the foliage. It’s mesmerizing seeing the colorful, vibrant leaves on the trees sway back and forth from the light breeze. It’s just a beautiful time of the year! This year, this season has been warmer than usual and we aren’t complaining at all. Roman and I are definitely soaking in all the cozy, fall fun while we can!

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One of the colorful trees in our neighborhood!

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Look at all the leaves on the ground!

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Love taking strolls with Roman during this time of the year

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@ Glenmaura National Golfclub 

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Practicing my golfing skills lol

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Beautiful sunset

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Father & Son

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The background is absolutely breathtaking!

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Selfie with Roman on the golf course!

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Smile, my love!

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Roman took this nice shot of the sunset! 

And more fall festivities!

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On our way to dinner at The Settler’s Inn!

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This restaurant hand carves such BEAUTIFUL pumpkins!!!

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Look at the details! Wow

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So many pretty pumpkins! lol

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This porkchop was delish

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Roman got the filet and he loved it

Hope you guys enjoyed some of the photos we have from the foliage! If you have yet to experience it— you need to go visit the East Coast ASAP! lol

Have a great and blessed rest of the week!!!

Love, 

Jess

Bloomsburg Fair 2017

First and foremost, can I just acknowledge the fact that in just a few days, it will be exactly one year since I’ve moved across the country to be with Roman? How surreal! When Roman and I started this blog, I was still living in California while he was here in Pennsylvania and we were sharing with all of you our travels together as well as how we were managing long distance! Time flies!

But to get back to the main topic of this post: Bloomsburg Fair! Roman and I went this past weekend along with his parents Mark and Doni. I had 3 days off and we thought, what better way to spend it than go to the fair?! We went on Saturday late afternoon and we could not get over how perfect the weather was. We picked the best day to go! I heard it usually rains this time of year so we were thrilled with our high 90’s weather! 

Parking was full! Lots of people!


It was Roman and I’s first time attending the fair together, which made it special but even extra special to have spent the day with his parents as well! When we got to the parking lot, I was excited to see a helicopter! I’ve never been to a fair that offered helicopter rides so that was interesting.

Watching them prepare for takeoff!


And they’re up!


We were pretty hungry by the time we got inside considering we saved our appetite and we were not disappointed! There were HUNDREDS of food vendors right from the entrance and it was pretty overwhelming but in a good way of course! The very first thing we got was edible cookie dough and I couldn’t contain my excitement because earlier that day I was telling Roman how I was craving it and when he pointed it out to me, we made sure to get some right away!

We spot the edible cookie dough truck!


Roman trying the cake batter flavor and loved it


Happiness in a little cup


After getting our cookie dough craving out of the way, we continued on our food adventure! Lol 

Can’t go to a fair without some fries!


Deep fried everything!


And you definitely can’t go without having some deep fried Oreos!!! We tried the deep fried peanut butter too but the Oreos were better


Mark & Roman having the best apple cider! All natural!


BBQ is a MUST!


Turkey BBQ! So tasty.


Teriyaki noodles; full of flavor!


By the end of the night, we were stuffed lol but all the walking around we did made up for it. We had such a great time! Truly blessed to have experienced it this year and with the loved ones ❤️ 

Cute little bunny!!!

Reaching sunset 🌅


Thanks for reading! I hope you all have a great rest of the week!

Love,

Jess 

Our First Novena at St. Ann’s Basilica

Hi everyone! Hope you all are doing well! A lot has happened this past month but one thing that’s very special and dear to us is being able to do the Novena this year! It’s our first one together and we are truly blessed to be able to experience it together and at one of our favorite church, St. Ann’s Basilica!

For those who are not familiar with the Novena, it’s practiced in the Roman Catholic Churches which goes on for 9 days and it’s a form of worship consisting of special prayers. It starts off with regular mass and then followed by the novena and guest speakers from all over the world!

Despite our busy work schedule, we managed to go for all the days! There were days where I worked a 12 hour shift after attending the mass and novena which lasted for at least 3 hours but the sacrifice every single day was well worth it!

Our faith has gotten so much stronger since the first day we met and we give all credit to the Lord for never leaving our side and always giving us strength to overcome anything and the best part? He has blessed us with one another to go through the trials and tribulations together.

I am thankful for my partner in Christ. There’s not a day where he does not pray for me, our faith, and our relationship. Attending this novena together renewed us spiritually, mentally, and it healed us.

Here’s a few photos from the novena! St. Ann’s Basilica is a BEAUTIFUL church and the service was outside when the weather was nice and they had food sale every single day so we ate there literally all 10 days lol!

 

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Thank you for reading and I hope you all have a great week!!

Love,

Jess

Life Update! 

Hi everyone! Roman and I have gone MIA these past few months and as much as we wanted to blog, so much has happened that we hardly had any time to sit and write! But we’re back and have plenty to share with you all! ❤️

Updated selfie with my love! I dyed my hair to brown! Lol


I came back from the Philippines to Pennsylvania first week of April. I had an amazing time there with family (I actually still have a few posts to make from the trip which will be up soon!) but it was nice coming back home to my love! 

So during my last week of vacation in the Philippines, I received an email from the Pennsylvania State Board of Medicine stating that I was officially licensed and can practice as a Respiratory Care Practitioner! I was licensed in California but when I moved to the East Coast, the process of getting my license took MONTHS and at times I was getting discouraged but God is so good because it came and after the big trip to the Philippines! When I got back to PA, I sent out ONE application to this one hospital that’s literally only 15 minutes from the house and the next day, I got an interview and the following day after, I got offered the job! 

One of the biggest blessings of 2017, thus far! I prayed for an acute care hospital job as a Registered Respiratory Therapist since I graduated and I am more than thrilled to have received an offer at a Level 3 NICU center as a full time employee and with a highly generous sign on bonus! I’m still in shock honestly and I’m already 3 weeks going on 4 into the job. Lol I love what I do– from working with babies to kids to adults and everyday is something different! From being in the ER, NICU, ICU, or on a patient transport from one hospital to another and being part of the critical care team… it’s surreal to think back to how much I’ve learned and gained as an experience these last few weeks.

First day on the job!


I’m so thankful for the support I’ve been receiving on the daily basis from Roman, his parents, my family, Nan and everyone else!!! I would not be able to go through these 8-12 hour shifts without them and their love and continuous support. 

My schedule has been all over the place with orientation and now that I’m off orientation, my shifts are from 2-10pm and 2pm-2am! Roman and I are adjusting to this schedule because we have been used to being together everyday, but it’s a constant reminder for us to give it all to God and to let Him take care of our relationship and we know that He will never fail us! 

So asides my work, these other events have taken place!

Roman always loved nature but this Spring, he’s been into planting and gardening and it’s the cutest thing ever!! He’s made the front + backyard look so colorful with all the trees and flowers he’s planted!

My little gardener


And he has been such a handy man lately… he’s been setting up new furniture for the backyard and look how pretty this solar umbrella is!


He found his new hobby! Lol and me on the other hand… I started golf lessons with my friend Olivia and Roman’s mom, Doni! And it’s at one of the most beautiful golf clubs in North East PA!

Glenmaura Golf Club


Our classes are every Thursday night and each week they provide us unlimited drinks and a different theme! lol so far we’ve had Sangria and Margarita night! How awesome is that? Although I don’t drink, I’m sure everyone else is loved it! ☺️

And the last update for today:

Mark, Roman’s father, bought us these awesome new bikes!!!!! We were beyond excited and that was so thoughtful of him.

Mark,

Thank you so much! You are the real MVP!!!

We love our new bikes!


Thanks for reading and I hope you all have a wonderful and blessed weekend! Roman and I will be back to posting regularly and keeping updated with everyone’s post again! ❤️

Love,

Jess 

Day one in El Nido, Palawan

Hi everyone, I’m back from Paradise! 3 weeks of being in the Philippines was nothing but amazing, but at the same time I’m glad to be back in California and next week, I’ll be with Roman back in Pennsylvania! The jet lag is REAL. The last two nights I’ve been adjusting trying to get back to the same time zone but I’ve failed and continued to sleep at 6am and waking up at 5pm. Hopefully I’ll adjust soon!!

I can’t wait to share so much with you all. A lot has happened, new memories were created and met a lot of awesome people from all over the world!

The very first experience I’ll be sharing with you all is when my family and I went to El, Nido, Palawan. I can’t emphasize enough how much I loved it there and how much of a paradise it was. There were a total of 8 of us: my parents, my cousins, and my moms two sisters! We all had a BLAST. It was lovely just spending time with family but even better being in paradise!

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Love the crystal clear green water and the amazing rock formations

We went kayaking through the small lagoons of El Nido. We were mesmerized by the clear water and the beautiful rock formations!

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Just look at how amazing the water is!!


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All of us! Sorry it’s blurry, the guy who took the picture was not used to the GoPro lol


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My mom enjoying the view!


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My little cousins Euan and Jehan! 


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Hello, Dad!


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My dad and little cousin, Szanel

We kayaked for about 45 minutes before we went off to another island!

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Island hopping

Each island that we went to only took about 15 minutes via boat. The weather was sunny with a little breeze and we loved the company– everything was going so perfectly!

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They were cooking our food on the back of the boat!

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Love these cousins of mine!

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Do you see those little huts? They’re selling coconuts!! Refreshing and delicious!
When we got to our next island, we went snorkeling! So much underwater beauty.

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These photos do not do justice with sharing the underwater beauty of Palawan, but luckily I have more! Just not for this specific post 😉

Moving on, after our snorkeling, we had our lunch on the boat! Remember when the guys were cooking it behind our boat? Well ta-da! Here are all the food!! They are such chefs lol the way they cooked it all on the boat with just a grill and even the presentation.  Absolutely loved how everything was so fresh from the fruits to all the seafood! YUM!

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Grilled eggplant with soy sauce + tomatoes, squid, chickem, fish, mussels, bananas and watermelon, rice, and more!!

After lunch, we were all food coma lol we went to go visit more islands and did some more snorkeling and adventure!

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So bluuuue!!


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Mesmerizing, so beautiful 


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Photo op with the cousins!

I have way, way, way more pictures and events to write about but this was just on the first day in Palawan! I’ll make sure to share more photos and write about the adventures on my next post regarding day 2!

Thank you for reading!

Love,

Jess

Traveling halfway across the world!

It’s currently 9:37am and I’m here in LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) waiting with my parents to board in an hour for our 11am flight to Seoul, Korea! Although that’s not our final destination because…we’re going to the Philippines!!! Excitement is an understatement. The last time I visited was during summer of my Freshmen year in high school. It’s been long overdue and I can’t wait to see all my family and friends!

A little insight of my background, I was born in the Philippines and moved to America with my parents and my younger brother when I was 5 years old. I grew up in Southern California but I’ve kept in touch with my family and my childhood friends through social media! It’s always an amazing time going back home and spending quality time with everyone even if it’s just for a couple weeks. Roman was supposed to travel with us but the timing did not work out since he is busy with work, but in the future we’re definitely planning another trip to visit together!

I spent most of last night doing some last minute packing and even went to the mall during the day to buy some more gifts for my friends and family. I packed every single person a “gift bag” with personalized items!

Roman’s mom, Doni, gave me some Daily Bread to give to my family back home. It was so sweet of her and I already know everyone will love it and will be excited to read it and incorporate it to their daily routine! I added a book in each gift bag 🙂

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Daily Bread + Ghirardelli Chocolate + iPhone 6s for my younger cousin


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Make up bundle for my aunt! Colourpop + Mac + Caudelie + Lorac + Daily Bread


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Daily Bread + G-shock watch + Colourpop for another aunt


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And some more of the personalized gifts! Ranging from a pink polaroid Instax camera, to a MacBook, to a Nikon D5000 camera!

I packed light clothing wise and for my personal stuff but I had a whole luggage just filled with their gifts so I still ended up with two luggages. My goal really was to only bring one luggage though! Lol

My parents also bought gifts for everyone so despite the 3 of us packing light, we ended up with 9 luggages!

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All packed and ready to go!

In between packing and getting everything ready last night, my grandmother cooked up some grilled chicken and prepared us a DIY lettuce wrap dinner! It was so goooood!

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Lettuce + grilled chicken breast + tomatoes + avocado + mini jalapeños + cilantro + blue cheese dressing & blueberries and raspberries for dessert!


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It was so good! Definitely making some for the fam back home in PA when I get back!

Fast forward to 5am today, our ride picked us up (we did the Airport Van Service since all of our luggages weren’t going to fit in a regular van) and it took us two hours to get to the airport with all the LA rush hour traffic. Without traffic it usually only takes 45 minutes!

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SO. MUCH. TRAFFIC.

After two hours of being in dreadful traffic… we arrived!

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My dad getting our luggages on the cart


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Entering the Tom Bradley International

We checked in and since it’s not a full flight, Asiana Airlines offered us different seat arrangements where my parents and I would each get our own aisle so we can have extra space. It’s perfect because the flight will be more enjoyable and relaxing!

We had time to spare so I stopped by this cute little bakery and got some croissants!

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Almond & chocolate croissant


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My dad got me a strawberry & banana smoothie from Pinkberry! Yum

My dad wanted me to share this picture since he’s excited to read this book that Mark, Roman’s father, gave him to read during the flight!

Thank you again Mark for the other books as well! We’ll definitely be reading them!

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My mom & dad showing off “How to Make Money in Stocks” from Mark!

It’s almost time to board so I’ll be off in a bit!

The time difference is 13 hours ahead from Manila to the East Coast. I miss Roman already and will miss him even more especially the different time zones we’ll be in for the next 3 weeks. But thank goodness that my cellphone provider T-mobile provides unlimited text and data so I’ll still be able to text him and everyone else back in America and of course post some pictures as well as write in the blog!

Thanks for reading and hope you all have a great weekend!

To Roman,

I’ll see you soon!! I’ll send you lots and lots of pictures! Mahal kita sobra!! 

Love,

Jesci