Retreat

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Tagaytay City is a well-known place for its cold weather, a perfect place to unwind, find yourself and to conduct class retreats, and ours was one of it. On the fifteenth and sixteenth of November last year was the day all of us have been waiting and preparing for. It was our class retreat and everyone had to wake early and be at school before 5 o’clock in the morning and luckily I wasn’t late. We had to check if no one’s left behind and into my surprise our adviser, Mrs. Bernardo is still not there yet. How ironic that she came late though she’s been reminding us not to. Now that she’s here we’re now off to Tagaytay City. We started our journey with a prayer and right after that some started sleeping, some chatted with their friends, others ate snacks, listened to music and some are texting we basically resumed doing our own businesses. It was a long journey from Quezon City and finally we arrived in the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary retreat house. It was newly renovated and we were the first fourth year batch that will be using it. I feel so special. The place was very beautiful even just from the outside. The interior was very modern and looks a bit more like a hotel rather than a retreat house. A scenic view of Taal Lake can be clearly seen from the terrace. A warm welcome from Sr. Adelaida made us more comfortable and she oriented us with the few house rules. Soon enough we were given the keys to our room. It is complete with two beds, side tables, closet, fan and bathroom. We’ve arrive an hour earlier than the other class so we had to wait for them before we could have our breakfast. We’ve maximize our time by resting instead. Besides, it’ll be a long day for all of us. I woke up in my room hearing noises from the corridor and that I know that 4D has already arrived. We had our breakfast and right after that proceeded to session room. The facilitators gave us first an energizer and it was so much fun seeing the boys did it. It didn’t look like a retreat for us but rather a vacation with friends. First session’s over but before having our lunch I was tasked to read something in front. A letter sealed in an envelope which was probably from my teacher. Although I can guess who’s it from I do not have the slightest idea what is it about. As I go through the words and sentences of it I learned that it was a palanca letter. Our hearts were deeply touched by its message. She called herself our mommy for the first time and the only thing that came out from our mouth is uhhh. We started calling her that way since then. The breakfast was good and so was the lunch I can’t wait for the next meal. It’s now time for our next session. We shared stories, drew symbols that more likely to represent us, gave our letters to the people dear to us and played Modern Trip to Jerusalem that made us all laugh to death. I’ll never forget those smiling faces. After we ate our dinner we took a bath and wore our sleeping attires for the last session of the day. I remember Geane, me, Kelly and Gaetha were the sweater girls because we all wore sweaters and leggings. If a while ago the room was filled with an incomparable joy, now it’s the total opposite. Our session is now all about our parents. Misunderstandings often occur between parents and children but what’s important is that we learn from our mistakes and no matter what we still have to give respect to them. Without them, we are not where we are today. Our session ended by writing a letter to your parents. We are suppose to give it to them but I remember I haven’t given mine until now. The day is over I still don’t feel sleepy. I asked my adviser’s permission if we could stay in the terrace awake all night. We were so delighted when she granted our request. We spend a few hours playing the guitar, singing, talking, stargazing and basically just having fun and enjoying the night with the presence of the most wonderful group of people I’ve ever met. My night was filled with moments I’ll forever treasure for the rest of my life. How I wish that time would stop and that it’ll stay like that. However, 4D’s adviser, Ms. Alcantara already asked us to go to bed. Even with our adviser’s permission, she still won’t allow us. The following day we woke early and visited a cemetery exclusive only for sisters of Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM). It didn’t look like a cemetery at all perhaps like a bit more like a park. We took a lot of pictures that will serve as our remembrance and went back again to the retreat house to take our breakfast. It was the first time that I’ve eaten so fast because we still need to go outside of the retreat house to look for a computer shop and have the liturgy printed. Mr. Binalla, one of our teachers and facilitators accompanied me and Geane to look for a computer shop. Until to the last row of stores in the street I found nothing. They told me to go back but I kept on looking until I found one. All my worries are gone now! I can already breathe. Do you know how much printing costs there? It’s so cheap and costs only one peso per page. I asked if they have a change for five-hundred bill and they said yes. I told them that they should’ve said no so my teacher will be the one to pay for it. Then we all laugh. On our way back, it’s very windy and I got some sands in my eyes and mouth and all they did was to laugh. Well, I’m overjoyed so I can’t help but to smile. We got back and to my surprise they told me that the priest wasn’t coming. I don’t really know what to feel, It’s like everything have been wasted. We just had a short paraliturgy. On our way back to Manila, everyone fell asleep and while some felt the need to go to the bathroom after a long period of jamming inside the bus. Although I’m tired and i fell asleep into my bed as soon as I got home, I’m still glad to have experienced it. It was so much fun and hopefully we can do it again next time.

Flores, Maristela

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