The One With The Proposal

I thought I’d make my first blog of the year memorable, so I’m sharing with you the proposal that happened in Alabang Town Center last Tuesday, January 24 — my own proposal story. May the photos speak of the blessing and beauty that came with seeking His will and believing in His perfect timing. Hope you enjoy! 💛

I thought I’d make my first blog for the year memorable, so I’m sharing with you the proposal that happened in Alabang Town Center last Tuesday, January 24 — my own proposal story. May the photos speak of the blessing and beauty that came with seeking His will and believing in His perfect timing. Hope you enjoy! 💛

Note: Everything happened in Alabang Town Center, hehe. We’ll definitely have a great time sharing this to our future kids some day. 😄

The Surprise Team Meeting Place at CBTL (The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf) around 1PM


By 2PM, the titas were off to prepping that bridge at Corte De Las Palmas (the one connecting Vanilla Cupcakery and Family Lounge) — at this time, Josh and I were still in Pinto Art Museum in Antipolo.


On their assigned spots by 4PM The Will You Marry boys standing at the middle of Starbucks and Mary Grace; Sam and Jikay waiting in Seafood Island; Pepay, Sofia and L.A. standing near Pinkberry; Rob waiting beside Starbucks cos his part was to go up through the stairs and hand the sunflowers to Josh — everyone on standby, waiting for us to go out from Vanilla Cupcakery supposedly going to the Family Lounge cos as per Josh, his tummy was acting up😂


Here’s a picture of me, still no idea of what was going to happen. Then I saw a crowd below the bridge and a kuya with his phone up high, taking a video of something, so I said, ‘Uy bat ang daming tao sa baba. Ano kaya meron?’ 😅


And then I saw this…




Then I looked at Josh and asked: Totoo ba? Totoo ba? Totoo ba?’ He smiled, nodded and kissed me on the forehead. Jikay, Sam and Rob started coming in the scene and the rest was epic…


Just speechless when I saw the ring cos it was really what I pictured on my mind. Not too big, with stones around the band, unique. And it was exactly what I wanted, just the perfect fit.
‘Babe, this is me giving my everything to you. This is me wanting the rest of my life with you.  Svetlara Mae Visaya, will you marry me?’
‘Of course!’


And wow, everyone was there! Our friends made time and even filed for leaves… 😭

dsc05387dsc05420dsc05424dsc05430dsc05434dsc05409dsc05406dsc05496dsc05499dsc05634dsc05646dsc05639dsc05575Thank you to my tita friends — The Titas of Naic lol — who were part of the entire proposal, I’m super happy you girls were there! To Jikay Laborte  who captured the best amazing moments (and made sure everything was documented including the SAME DAY shots!) and Leizl Ocampo who had the best lovely long shots during the proposal. To Faye Navarro, who knew me and Josh from way back Kids Church when we were still around 7 years old, and Sofia Day, one of my closest disciple, who helped with the preparation and materials. To my bestfriend Samirah Al Hamsi who I think (next to Josh) had the most stressful time making sure everything was perf haha and took a video of the entire thing which is now 2.7 views on Facebook (grabe lang!). AND THE BOYS! Of course the boys, who supported and helped Josh with the entire thing! The Will You Marry Me boys (Tan, JV, Tim and Jun) who were game to stand there in the middle of Corte De Las Palmas even after the crowd started happening. Haha! And to Rob, who witnessed Josh & I’s lovestory since Day 1 in Tsunami Camp, who people thought was the guy who is going to propose since he was the one holding the flowers the entire time lol. To our Koya and Pastor, Pastor Brian Kairuz, HUHUHU I cannot thank this guy enough for investing so much in Josh’s life and I, praying for our relationship and guiding us especially during our challenging times.AND MY BROTHER LA, thank you for playing a huge part in Josh’s plan. For being his contact when he talked to mommy last December, for driving us to Antipolo, for keeping everything a secret and for being there to witness your ate getting engaged. I love you, Panget! To everyone behind it all, thank you for celebrating this milestone with us.  And thank you for being Josh and I’s support system all these years up to this day. We really love you all. ❤️

And to you, Josh Hernandez, you never fail to surprise me in the most unpredictable way. ❤️ More than winning my heart, thank you for winning the heart of my mom and family. I know for sure my dad is happy up there in heaven —in fact, if there’s Facebook heaven, I bet he’d be commenting and sharing the photos too, hehe. Here’s to a new season, future hubby. Love you! 💛


January 24, 2017 💛

And.. Here’s Josh with my mom and brother, last December 30, when he asked for the blessing of my mom. 😃


Thank you Jesus, You really make all things work out for the good of those who love You. ❤️

Video Link: #JashgotMaengaged Proposal Video

30 Things I’m Thankful For This 2016

Back in 2011, it was a totally different New Year’s Eve — losing daddy — and today, we have come a long way. Up to this day, I still cannot believe how the Lord healed us and uplifted us from that unfortunate experience. Ashes to beauty, ruins to life. I have learned that no matter where you are now, what you’re going through — whether you’re in a bad place or somewhere far beyond your dreams — life can get better. It will get better. Just have faith. 👆

Its 8:36PM and I still don’t feel like 2016 is coming to a close. I’ve been on hibernation the past few months but I want to take this time to just share how much the Lord has been good to me this year. This year has been the best so far, and I don’t want to say goodbye to the past 365 days just yet. You know that feeling when you graduate from high school? That feeling of anxiety ‘cos your high school experience was too fun, too memorable and comfortable that you don’t want to move on to college, ganun yung feeling. But well, in a few hours, even if I don’t want to, 2016 has to go to make way for even greater things in 2017. Though it feels scary and uncertain, I’m excited. I choose to be excited. 😊 For now, allow me to share what 2016 was for me.

(I tried my best to put it in a chronological order, I hope I didn’t miss out on anything. 😁)

  1. Spent January 1 visiting my dad’s sister and brother with the family + tagged Josh for the first time ❤
  2. Celebrated Josh and I’s fourth year anniversary 💑
  3. Went back to writing and blogging 4 years after I went on a strike (after my daddy died, I stopped journaling and writing so I won’t remember any important or memorable that happened to me)
  4. Got a video message from Jericho Rosales ♡
  5. Went back to the gym (and to eating oatmeal for lunch 🙊 )
  6. Joined my boyfriend’s family reunion 😁
  7. Survived Josh’s dengue 👊
  8. Headed Discipleship for the first time in a youth camp 🙌
  9. Started training new SMG leaders for youth camp 👆
  10. Tried driving for the first time (and hopefully, I’ll get a license this year) 👌
  11. Received an unexpected bouquet of flowers – and wow, I don’t like flowers much but I loved this one! 😍
  12. Celebrated my 26th birthday in a beach trip with my family 🌊
  13. Camp Ablaze 2016 happened and it was amazing! Praise you, Lord! (Plus I gained 4 Titas of Naic as friends 💛)
  14. Was able to facilitate two Ablaze Leaders Huddle
  15. Lunch out treat for my own team
  16. Got promoted to Assistant Manager (and had a lunch out with our very own Senior Vice-President) 💃
  17. Had the opportunity work with new sets of amazing people at work 👌
  18. Had more family lunch with Josh 💓
  19. Found my new love – Korean food 😋
  20. Got a new charming, adorable niece — Psalm 
  21. Opportunity to work with Business Development team at work for a project I’m a truly interested in & had more Rockwell site visits this year 🙋
  22. 5 years with Rockwell Land and it has been an amazing, learning and challenging experience so far! 5️⃣
  23. One-on-ones with our AVP and SVP (Yehess, to career growth!) 😁
  24. Attended two of my long-time elementary friend’s wedding 💒
  25. Had more wonderful dates with Josh ♡
  26. Became part of a new bible study group + discipleship group 😃
  27. First time Ayala Triangle Lights Show date with Josh 💛
  28. Level-up Leadership Conference 👆
  29. Was called out during GA for being one of the outstanding employees of the year, praise God! 🙏
  30. Currently spending the last day of the year with the complete family in a place I’m proud of, in Aruga by Rockwell 😉❤

I can go on and on here listing down things I am thankful for this year. Thank you Lord for new friendships and for developing old ones. Thank you Lord for my teammates in the office who made each working day not only bearable but fun. Thank you Lord for all the things that happened in my career, all the doors that have been opening and all the new people that I got to work or interact with. Thank you Lord for Youth Ablaze Ministry, for our faithful leaders, for all our successful events and for each and every experience we had in the ministry. Thank you Lord for my family who are all healthy today, for us having always the time to spend with each other. Thank you Lord.

Back in 2011, it was a totally different New Year’s Eve — losing daddy — and today, we have come a long way. Up to this day, I still cannot believe how the Lord healed us and uplifted us from that unfortunate experience. Ashes to beauty, ruins to life. I have learned that no matter where you are now, what you’re going through — whether you’re in a bad place or somewhere far beyond your dreams — life can get better. It will get better. Just have faith. 👆

Salamat Lord! You have filled my 2016 so much with blessings, goodness and joy, something I thought that I will never experience again. 

Dear 2017, I’m ready for you. (Well, I’ll be ready. 😁)

To My Favorite Scar

Everyday I carry in me something that I will never forget. A big chunk of my life, I really owe to you. And just like all bruises, it heals — and becomes a scar. You are my favorite scar, dad. It’s a deep, long and noticeable one but still my favorite. 💛

Today supposedly is your 63rd birthday on earth but reality wanted you to spend it in somewhere else — your 4th birthday in heaven, actually.

Five years after, it’s still the same yet so different. Back then, I would literally feel my heart twitch just at the thought of him never coming back. I would regret not permitting myself to celebrate a debut. Had I known he wouldn’t reach my wedding day, I could have pushed for it just so we could have our first (and unknowingly last) dance. I would ask the Lord several times to calm my mind and give me peace for not knowing what happened in his last few hours in that Russian hospital. I could not stop thinking if knowing it earlier would make a difference. What happened five years ago changed a lot of things in my life. It changed the way I dreamt for myself, the way where my plans were headed and the things I envisioned myself. And if there was anything constant in my life then, it was nothing but fear. It paralyzed me — crippled me — from the moment I woke up til the second I went to bed.

To be honest, one of the first things I had to learn about being on the receiving end of the loss is having no choice but to move on. I’m sure you’ve felt pain. Whether it was a heartbreak, failure, or like in my case, losing someone, the reality is after going through the numbing pain, you got no choice but to move past it. Yep, no choice. (Well, the other option is to stay sad and cry but one day, you will get tired of doing that too.) You have to wake up one day and decide not for anyone else, but for yourself. 

It took me three years. A hard three years. I did not feel regret over not saying how much I love my dad or spending more time with him given that he worked overseas, what I regret about is not being able to spoil him the way he spoiled me. He wasn’t able to experience my first treat from my first job, he wasn’t able to see my college diploma and he wasn’t able to see the fruits of his labor in my life. There were so many things that could have happened…but it did not. I got bruised real bad and there was no aid. Especially since the bruise came from a really deep trauma.

Five years after, it’s still the same yet so different. I still miss you everyday and I still remember you for a lot of reasons. I know I would no longer have that first and last dance. I would no longer be able to spoil you and slip you a little piece of chocolate. There are a lot of things that wouldn’t happen anymore but that’s okay, and I write that with a smile. I wouldn’t let this be another sad post of how much painful the loss was or a sad story about a daddy’s girl who lost the first love of her life. I know things will never be the same but I have chosen grace. Grace to restore my whole heart, grace to step onto new beginnings and grace that had let me create new dreams for myself and my family.

Everyday I carry in me something that I will never forget. Because of you I am able to enjoy a lot of things today. Because of you I became stronger than I thought I was. Because of you I learned true hard work and resilience. A big chunk of my life, I really owe to you.

And just like all bruises, it heals — and becomes a scar. You are my favorite scar, dad. It’s a deep, long and noticeable one but still my favorite. I love you forever and happy birthday. 💛

Love, your baby girl. ♡⚓

The Waiting Game

He does not give His children half-opened presents or used blessings — He gives exactly what we need when we need it. Put your hope in Him and cry out to Him. Do not let the devil steal your faith experience as you wait. Our hope should be greater than our doubts, so expect BIG and expect it from God. Remember that God is faithful in keeping His promise and His plans are perfect and His timing is never late.

So this has been sitting in my drafts for weeks now, and last night’s The Waiting Game episode of Grey’s Anatomy  reminded me to finish this once and for all. 😂


A month ago, I was invited to speak to a group of young adults and tbh, I had a hard time coming up with what to share. For those of you who doesn’t know, I’m a youth leader for around seven years now and I’m usually exposed to young people in the many one-on-one talks and discipleship sessions I’ve had with them (including late night texts at 2am, text marathon for hours and things in between). So I am pretty much aware of the common struggles this generation of youth is experiencing today. But young adultsWhat good can I share to a group of young adults? Especially when I am also experiencing some quarter-life crisis of my own. 😂 After days of praying and thinking, I ran into this verse:

The Lord is my portion and my inheritance,” says my soul; “Therefore I have hope in Him and wait expectantly for Him.” The Lord is good to those who wait [confidently] for Him, to those who seek Him [on the authority of God’s word]. (Lamentations 3: 24-25 AMP)

And yep, if there’s one thing we all in the mid-20s can relate to its definitely about waiting! And no, I’m not even just talking about waiting for the right one. That’s just too cliché. I’m sure in one way or another, you’ve found yourself waiting for something else. Sometimes, for something you are not even sure of.

I have waited for a lot of things. I have waited for graduation that took me two terms leave of absence and a whole lot of uncertainty on whether I’ll finish school or not. I have waited to be okay when my dad suddenly passed away (see post on Overcoming Fears Of The Past). I have waited for the right company to be in, choosing which interviews to go to and trying so hard not to settle just for the sake of having a job. I have waited to have a legal boyfriend, someone I can bring home to my family and actually approve of (and believe me, being the youngest girl in the family, it was not easy for Josh the first years but praise God he was able to overcome hehe 💓) I have waited to be allowed to go to an out of town trip with friends because hindi talaga ako pinapayagan. I even waited to have a niece, and on October I’ll have two! 😸 I have waited to be promotedambitious as it may be but on my first days in Rockwell, I really counted all the steps I have to go through before I can reach that certain position. I computed the years I have to stay in the company and prepared for the things I need to go through to achieve my goal. And the waiting game just never stops. 🙈 Sometimes, its even getting more frustrating and you’ve now become more impatient than ever. But you know what the say, “After the storm comes the calm.” So you better keep holding on especially when the times are hardest, cos what you’re waiting for might be just around the corner.

While some of us do not know how to play this waiting game well, here’s what the Lord taught me through Lamentations 3:24-25 and how it personally hit me:

1. Wait expectantly. I have learned over time that waiting is more than just sitting on the couch or watching the clock ticks. For the most parts of waiting, you have to convince yourself and believe that what you are waiting for is worth it. Do not feed your doubts and anxieties. Have high hopes! Be excited and expectant as you wait! God is the giver of all good and perfect things (James 1:17) and He knows the deepest desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4), He does not give His children half-opened presents or used blessings — He gives exactly what we need when we need it. Put your hope in Him and cry out to Him. Do not let the devil steal your faith experience as you wait. Our hope should be greater than our doubts, so expect BIG and expect it from God.

2. Wait confidently. Our way is not always God’s way, and our timetable is not always the same as His. God will not adjust according to our plans, but as a witness myself, I’ve experienced how perfect the plans of the Lord are in my life even at the times when nothing actually makes sense. Most of the things that I waited for did not come at the time I wanted it to happen, some did not actually happen (like my dad being able to see the fruits of his hard work and not being able to treat him on my first payday) but looking back now, I can’t help but smile at how everything just works out beautifully. Learning to be confident in the Lord made me trust His plans more than my own, and no other else can give me that security except Him — not my skills, my ministry or even my career. Only through Him that I am able to sleep every night and be at peace knowing that He is in control, and I will not dare steal that control from Him. At the times when you feel like your prayers don’t get answered, just take a deep breath, be brave and courageous and remain confident in the truth that you will be able to see and experience His goodness in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13-14).

3. Wait searchingly. Many times I have found myself bargaining with the Lord as I get impatient on the things that I’ve been praying for. I start to whine, complain and contemplate on lowering my standards just so I could make things work according to my own wants. Truth is, sometimes when we wait, we become impulsive — and we settle. In the dictionary, searchingly means to look into thoroughly, to find or come to know by inquiry, and when we wait, we forget that. Lamentations teaches us to carefully wait, to think about what comes from the Lord and what does not. Not because something is in front of you, it is already for you. Be wise in action and in words. Of course, it is easier said than done, but reminding yourself of your standards is a great practice in keeping it intact. I have been a fool (for most times) in my life and the effects have not been good, so I’m telling you now, don’t mess up the Lord’s plan in your life especially when you know its not for you. If you want things right, do it right.

I am still a work in progress, I still get impatient and sometimes, I throw tantrums to God when things don’t go my way. There are things in my life that I’m still waiting for, but I want to be hopeful, confident and wise as I wait. So, if like me, you’re also waiting for something — for a breakthrough, for a job offer, a promotion, a change — remember that God is faithful in keeping His promise, His plans are perfect and His timing is never late. 💛⚓


When The Music Fades

When the worship and preaching sessions, squad devotions and prayer times are no longer there, what should you do to take care of what you have received from camp? When the music fades and you now have to fight for your own salvation, what should you do?


So, Camp Ablaze is over. What’s next?

I am sure a lot of you misses camp. The squad, the Ablaze Encounter sessions, the worship times, the bonding moments with just about everyone who are there, the warm smiles, the encouraging prayers and the whole security it gives you as it takes you away from the realities of your life. Somehow it created comfort for all of us – yes, we, the YPC, is not exempted. We all miss it and we want to go back again! Because truth is, it is so much easier to worship, pray, love and desire to know the Lord more when we’re closer to each other. But you know, the good news is, it should not stop in camp.

Yes, once you step out of the bus, upon arriving in church and as you start to bid goodbye to your squad mates, you go home and go back to the normal life you have when you left 3 days ago. You still might have to face the same situations, problems or temptations because the camp’s intention is not to change your situation, it’s intention is to give you something new that can change you from the inside out.

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. (Isaiah 43:18-20 NIV)

After the camp, you have been given the option to choose what is right, you have the ability to pick who’s side are you on and you have now the strength to say no to the things that does not help you glorify the Lord. You are a changed person and the grace of the Lord is available to you as you stand for His truth.

So now the question is, when the worship and preaching sessions, squad devotions and prayer times are no longer there, what should you do to take care of what you have received from camp? When the music fades and you now have to fight for your own salvation, what should you do?

I do not know all, because I, too, fight every single day for the things that I believe in and for the freedom I have received through Jesus but allow me (by the grace of God) to share to you three practical steps that I have learned throughout my years of being a camper. This helped me grow in the Lord and are basically the reason why I am where I am today in my walk with Jesus.

1. You are now part of a family. Each and every person who attended the camp has already become a part of the family. Your squad/smallgroup and the whole Youth Ablaze, is your family. We will pray together, fight together, weep together, worship together and grow in Jesus together. You are part of the bond that was sealed in camp, do not waste your camp experience by being detached. Show up and engage in Hotrock, continue to talk to your squad leaders and approach any of the YPC. Feel free to open up and be accountable because we want to pray for you and we want to walk with you. Stay connected, stay with the family.

2. You have to decide to take care of your relationship with the Lord. Just like any other living thing, the life span and depth of your relationship with the Lord depends on how much you are willing to take care of it. No matter how many times your squad leader or pastor shares and preaches to you, if you don’t water the seed that was planted in you during camp, any time soon, you will wither and fall. So I am encouraging you to continue reading the Word, continue having your own worship and devotion time and most of all, surround yourself with people who runs the same race with you. Keep the fire blazing!

3. Do not just be a receiver, do something. Some of you might be saying, I am not yet equipped and I do not deserve to serve Jesus. You are wrong. It is not us who determines whose deserving or not, the Lord does not operate and define people the way humans do. As what our preacher, Pastor Mark Rosacay, said this morning, Christianity is not a spectator’s sport. You cannot just go to a Sunday service after camp and expect yourself to grow. You have to engage and walk hand-in-hand with people who has the same desire as you do. As young as you are, join a ministry and let yourself be used by the Lord. It will teach you more about the heart of God and through that, you will get to know Him more and overflow. [And based on my experience, I have learned a looooooot of things as a servant of Jesus than when I was who sitting at Hotrock, and just listening to the preaching.]

You see, you accepting the Lord as your personal Savior is just the beginning. Loving the Lord and living for Him is an everyday decision that you have to make. You have to stay connected, decide to have that desire to take care of your relationship with the Lord and commit to walk with people who understands and speaks the same language that you do. It won’t be easy, I tell you, but remember, you’re with family and families look after one another😉 👊

As what our Pastor Josh Hernandez reminded us last Hotrock, camp may be a yearly thing but the presence of God is available daily. 

Camp may have ended but the Lord has given you enough to overcome what life throws at you. Continue to fan the flame for God has not given you a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7 NLT)

[Love note: I am and will forever be grateful to my small group leader, Ate Andy Pampolina, and my ministry mentor, Ate Arlene Cruz, for all their patience, effort and commitment that they had poured out in my life. And of course, to my Pastor Brian Kairuz, who listened to me always and prayed for me when I needed serious shepherding in my life. I won’t be where I am today if it weren’t for them. And I thank them for not giving up on me.]


This blog is intended to reach those who attended the Ablaze Camp 2016 but can somehow also be applicable to those who just recently attended a youth camp in their church. 

Ablaze cover.jpg



Photos are the official posters of Lighthouse Youth Ablaze’s Ablaze Camp 2016 🔥

On My Playlist: Need Jesus?

I pray that this playlist will speak to you as much as its speaking to me, leaving me to want AND NEED more of Jesus.

Thirty -five days to go before camp and there are SO many things that I want to write and share but I cannot find time yet — I know no excuses but…. 😪. (Note to self: I will find time this week to sit down, meditate and finally come up with a decent blog. So help me God.)

But I still have a few minutes to spare so I’m sharing my playlist today.

The past days, I found myself needing the Lord all the more in my life. Not only because its camp season but because I just know for a fact that I have been not faithful in talking to the Lord the past days. Just like what Josh said last night in our YPC meeting, yes we all pray but that’s us talking to the Lord — how about the Lord talking to us? And the only way that the Lord will be able to speak to us is through reading and meditation of His Word. You might find yourself reading self-help or spiritual books, checking online devotions or listening to worship songs (just like what I’m doing, thanks Spotify!) BUT if we don’t stop, remove ALL the distractions, open our bible and really seek the Lord then stop fooling yourself, you’re not spending time with Him. (And I am not exempted, I also speak for myself.)

So I pray that this playlist will speak to you as much as its speaking to me, leaving me to want AND NEED more of Jesus:


  • All I Need Is You – Hillsong United
  • The Stand – Hillsong United
  • Search My Heart – Hillsong United
  • Broken Vessels – Hillsong Worship
  • Fill Me Up – Jesus Culture Ft. Kim Walker-Smith
  • In The River – Jesus Culture Ft. Kim Walker-Smith
  • How He Loves – Jesus Culture Ft. Kim Walker-Smith
  • 10, 000 Reasons – Jesus Culture Ft. Kim Walker-Smith
  • Touch The Sky – Hillsong United
  • Stay And Wait- Hillsong United
  • Sinking Deep – Hillsong Young & Free
  • Wake – Hillsong Young & Free
  • Love Is War – Hillsong United
  • Spirit Break Out – Kim Walker-Smith
  • I Want To Know You – Jesus Culture
  • Come To Jesus – Planetshakers
  • Cry In My Heart- Starfield

Hope that this week you will be able to find time to sit at the foot of the throne. Wifi off, phone on silent, closed eyes, no distractions. Just you and the Lord. ❤⚓

PS: Broken Vessels has gotta be my favorite. 💛