My Mama is a fan of the TV series 24. I even refer to Jack Bauer as her boyfriend for she has spent so much time with him during the last 7 seasons (7 seasons times 24 hours, that’s a lot to establish a relationship! She’ll be ecstatic to see him once again this December for she will get the Season 8 DVD).

If Jack has an action-packed, save the world mission in 24hrs, I recently had my own, in 48hrs. It’s not action-packed though but a combination of a retreat and a ‘dolce far niente’.

I wanted to have some time of solitude. I planned to spend my birthday in a place called Emmaus. I wanted to be in that place by 4pm Sunday (which is 12mn in Manila) until 4pm Tuesday. Unfortunately, trains going to Emmaus were cancelled that day.  I thought I will have ample time to walk slowly, watch people, stop and stare at doughnuts and pastries in each of the coffee shop I’ll see. But because there were no trains, I had to take alternate route and much longer journey. Had to run, ask around and instead of being relaxed, I was super duper ultra alert to make sure I will not get lost! I also had to walk 1km to reach Emmaus. In the middle of that walk, I realized it was already 4:15pm. So, I stopped. I took a photo of my luggage and the silent road I was trudging.

I told myself, this is it. This is the start of my 48 hours.

I remembered the Gospel of Luke. In this vast, quiet land full of autumn leaves, God has met me on the Road to Emmaus. It also reminded me of Ira Gaines, telling Jack Bauer in Season 1 – ‘Jack, I am watching you…’, threatening Jack’s life. Mine on the other hand, I felt God welcoming me and saying, ‘I am watching you…’ in the most loving and sweetest way. It’s a weird parallelism, I know.

People have different ways of celebrating their birthdays. As much as possible, I want mine to be spent on introspection and retrospection for there is no better time to do it but during birthdays. I celebrated mine in 48hrs, let’s see how much of that 48hrs I will be able to share in my next blogs…


About 8 years ago, a friend took this photo of me during a management day out. I actually didn’t remember that a photo was taken until she gave me a copy of this together with a very beautiful letter few months after.  She said, ‘as you test the big, wide water out there, just bear in mind that you have been equipped by Him with everything that is necessary to succeed…”. She continued, ‘as you, therefore, swim to conquer and prevail over deeper oceans, do not forget the ‘significance’ for which you are searching…’.

This photo reminded me of the last scene in the movie Eat, Pray, Love where Liz (Julia Roberts) was also at the end of the dock, standing. The only difference between Liz and myself is that she’s waiting for Felipe (Javier Bardem) while I, at this point in my life, am simply waiting for two companions – Faith and Trust.

Liz waited for Felipe and as soon as he arrived, she told him, ‘Attraversiamo’ – meaning ‘Let’s cross over!’ Both of them wearing beautiful smiles on their faces as they journey to a new life together.

In life, there are as many stopovers as crossovers. The former usually followed by the latter. Whether it’s a cross over from one job to another, from one relationship to another (or nothing), from one dream to another, from one chapter to another, crossing over is a process of emotional, spiritual and mental metamorphosis.

As I move on from a seemingly lifetime and painful stopover, I now dive into those big, wide waters out there. With deeper trust and increased faith, with all our family and friends behind us, and with Him who is my life vest and who said, ‘Be not afraid. Be still and know that I am here.’, with a smile on my face, I say, ‘Attraversiamo!’.