Completing the nine days of Misa de Gallo: church hopping adventure

What is ‘Misa de Gallo’ aka ‘Simbang Gabi’?

Misa de Gallo is a famous Filipino tradition every Christmas season. This is ushered in by the nine-day novenas followed by dawn masses that starts on December 16. Some call it ‘Simbang Gabi’.

Waking up early at 3am to attend the Misa de Gallo also known as “Simbang Gabi” nine days in a row indeed involved a very high level of struggle especially for a mom, an employee and entrepreneur like me.

Before, when I was a child, I strongly believed in the myth that once you completed the nine masses, your wishes will all come true. But for this year, attending the Misa de Gallo was more than just praising and gratifying the Lord for all the blessings he poured to me and my family. It was also for the strong faith as a Catholic in preparation for the the birth of the saviour, Jesus Christ.

Though it was a challenge, I decided and commit to complete all the masses. And when I pledge, I always make sure I do whatever it takes! I was ready. No excuses!

Strategies that helped me fulfill my 9-day Misa de Gallo commitment:

  • Church hopping. This was the highlight! It added thrill and excitement, something to look forward to every step of the way. I searched for nearby parishes and planned out my list. I wanted to choose the churches that I haven’t been into mass yet (if possible). This made me wake up everyday alert and ready. For a new driver like me, travelling to reach some new destinations contributed adventure every time.
  • Always punctual mindset. I setup my daily motivation to say “I need to grab seats”, nearest to the altar by any chance. And surely, being seated comfortably helped me concentrate more. Being able to attend the ceremony from start to finish made the encounter with the Lord more intimate and meaningful. I never missed one mass without being seated comfortably.
  • Thorough planning and research. In preparation for the next day’s mass, I got all the information needed. I stalked the churches’ websites and social media accounts to be aware of their schedules considering they’re not all the same. Some starts at 4am, others starts at 4:30. I shouldn’t be late. Sometimes, I looked for their contact numbers in directories and called their convents and offices to confirm. I also located their addresses in google map and planned out a route in my head to make sure I wont get lost.
  • Doing it ALONE. When I’m serious about something, I tend to do it alone to measure my guts and problem solving ability. Every time I do this, it opens some opportunities to improve myself for the better.

Misa de Gallo church hopping experience

Disclaimer: The photos below are owned by me. Those were taken before the ceremonies start, during novena breaks, seated for announcement gaps and after masses. Never during the sacred celebration.

Day 1 of 9: Our Lady of the Assumption Shrine Parish – Dauis, Bohol

THE MOST FESTIVE. Well, this was homecourt advantage. It was just fun and easy. I was able to catch up with a lot of acquaintances, friends and relatives. That added some ‘cheerfulness’ to the experience.



Day 2 of 9: Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus – Mansasa District, Tagbilaran City

THE MOST EFFICIENT. The mass started on time. The homily was straight forward. Finished early.



Day 3 of 9: Immaculate Conception Parish – Baclayon, Bohol

THE MOST CHALLENGING JOURNEY. This church is located 12 km away from Tagbilaran City. It was a 40-minute trip in my case since I drive two times as slow -lol- (should be 20min though). The streets were quiet, dark and wet coming from a rain. The breeze was freezing cold. It took extra effort for me to wake up at 2:30am just to be there ahead of schedule.



Day 4 of 9: Birhen sa Barangay Shrine – Cogon District, Tagbilaran City

THE MOST COMFORTABLE JOURNEY. This church is just located within the city. I couldn’t afford to go out of my comfort zone on the 4th day because of the rainy weather. I described this as ‘comfortable’ because aside from the short travel, the ambiance was cozy, the celebration was light, the choir was okay and I was seated 3rd row from the front. All good.



Day 5 of 9: The Most Holy Trinity Parish – Manga District, Tagbilaran City

THE MOST AMAZING LOCAL COMMUNITY. I should rate this journey as the second most challenging to my Baclayon experience considering the distance. But what really struck me the most was the community. Their parish’ caroling project was announced that it garnered P100,000 just in one area (purok). Just wow! But wait, there’s more. They sorted out assigned sponsors that offered reasonable and free ‘painit’ (breakfast snacks) for all church goers. That’s rare and impressive. What a community!



Day 6 of 9: Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish – Booy District, Tagbilaran City

THE BEST HOMILY. The mass started at 3:50am. 10 minutes ahead of schedule. Good thing I arrived 20 minutes early. On the 6th day, the empty seats were already noticeable which means some people did not survive anymore and too tired to wake up and go to mass. I was already slightly drained too having short sleeps days in a row. But, the priest made the homily fun and inspiring that helped the churchgoers stay awake and alert. (I forgot the name of the priest but I will search further and update the info once available).



Day 7 of 9: St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish – Dampas District, Tagbilaran City

THE BEST CHOIR. Travelling was challenging. I got lost and had to ask several people for directions. But nevertheless, I arrived safely still ahead of schedule. And oh, rated this for the best choir. See review below about KORO SERAPHIM.


Koro Seraphim Review:


Day 8 of 9: St. Vincent Ferrer Parish – Bool District, Tagbilaran City

THE MOST INFORMATIVE HOMILY. I learned a lot from a good friend of mine, newly ordained priest Rev. Fr. Jovanni Cortes. It was my first time to attend a mass with him celebrating too. On the other hand, the journey was just funny that I arrived there one hour and twenty minutes before the scheduled mass because I was too afraid to get lost again but it turned out it’s extremely easy to locate. I missed to confirm the schedule on that day too. I thought that the mass starts at 4:00am but it started past 4:30am. Poor planning there 🙂



Day 9 of 9: St. Joseph the Worker Cathedral – Tagbilaran City

THE MOST NUMBER OF CHURCHGOERS. Well, nothing astonishing though since this is the central church of the province and considering that it is the most spacious one too. Apart from that, the last day of the Misa de Gallo often records the most number of attendees probably in all Catholic churches. What d’you expect? Always, save the best for last. Christmas spirit is felt so much because of the Cantata offered by the Dela Paz Choir.


And I succeeded on a perfect note! I hit my goal with flying colors. I was never late, never hesitant, consistently excited and thankful from the day one to day nine. Nine churches. Nine different journeys. A lifetime of memories.

What I learned from this experience is that we really have the power to achieve what we want if we’re genuinely committed to it. What we need is just to go out of our shell, establish a solid self discipline and an extraordinary faith in God.

I never regretted this brave move I made. My Misa de Gallo 2016 Church Hopping experience was indeed a memorable one. Im planning to do it again next year. Or maybe I will level it up: from parish hopping, to town hopping, or province hopping maybe. One day, I could do country hopping in God’s will. I love travelling as always either far or just nearby. And it will be more meaningful if we travel and praise the Lord at the same time for Him to bless our every journey.

If there’s one mistake I did this year, that’s limiting my own self in achieving my goals and unlocking my potentials because I was too lazy and too afraid to step out of my comfort zone.


Enchanted Kingdom Getaway on a Budget

We’re scheduled to attend a convention event in Manila but before that, we opted to have a side trip and have fun. Guess where, to the famous Enchanted Kingdom also known as ‘The Disneyland of the Philippines’.

Before every trip, I always do a thorough research and proper planning. And trust me, it helps a lot to avoid hassles and save money.

Going to Enchanted Kingdom should better be done on a weekday because there’s not much people in there and it will save you a lot of time lining up to the rides. Also, going with a team can help you save a lot because majority of the expenses were divided within the group.

So, on a beautiful Thursday morning, we packed our bags and took the first flight at 7am from Bohol with love. 🙂 ❤

We arrived at NAIA Terminal 3 around 9 o’clock in the morning. There are a lot of ways to reach Enchanted Kingdom. You can commute your way to EK. Click here for more details.

However, since there were six of us, we decided to book a private van for the group and divided the cost within ourselves. The amount we paid was more or less the same if we commuted. And.. it saved us the hassle of transferring from one transpo to another i.e. a taxi to the terminal to a bus to Sta Rosa then to a tricycle to Enchanted Kingdom considering we had brought some luggage with us.

The private van dropped us right to the doorstep of the accommodation we booked via AirBnb. We checked in on a clean and cozy private condo that was good enough for the six amazing people :). It was air-conditioned, with a kitchen (allowed us to do some cooking) and access to the condo’s playground and swimming pool. The stay only costed us Php2,180 for one night, divided by 6, so we only paid Php363 each. Cheap, right? 🙂 And it was only walking distance to EK or you can request for unlimited tricycles to pick you up if you prefer to. We took our lunch and around 1pm, we depart to EK.

Take note, Enchanted Kingdom is not open every day. There are days that they’re closed for maintenance. So make sure you’ve had a look on their website‘s park schedule or calendar to check before taking the plunge. Otherwise, you’ll gonna end up ‘sorry’ rather than ‘happy’. 🙂

Ticket rates are also cheaper on a weekday compared to a weekend. The best option I think is the P600 ride-all-you-can package. However, there are few rides excluded in the package that you’ll need to pay separately (if you want to). You can book online but I suggest that you just buy on-site because there are some promos to avail depending on the occasion. In our case, that was Teacher’s Day. There were two teachers on the group, they just showed their PRC IDs and we got a group discount plus a cute souvenir  (that purple calling card holder in the photo below). Instead of paying P600 each, we only paid P480 each. 🙂

At the entrance, you will be given a park map for you to plan your day. Or you can check online first, read blogs and list down the best ones. Also, I got this very helpful tip from someone: “In every amusement park adventure, take the Ferris Wheel first for you to see the entire park from above and from there, you can decide what rides you’ll gonna try going forwards.

And the adventure began! Shown below are the highlights of our day to guide you what rides you shouldn’t miss. 🙂


Enchanted Kingdom Wheel of Faith

This Ferris Wheel is real high. Really! Although it moved just slow, it was still breathtaking.

Enchanted Kingdom Air Race

This ride looked simple but I considered it one of the extreme ones. Lol. I don’t own the video below. I just grabbed it from YouTube just to show how our experience went. (Credits to the owner).


The 4D Rialto Theater

If you’re not too fond with extreme adventures, then this is best for you. Just sitting up and watch a short movie with a twist. 🙂 More details here.

Enchanted Kingdom Flying Fiesta

Enchanted Kingdom Roller Skater

Enchanted Kingdom Rio Grande Rapids

This is a must try! We even took our chance twice. It was fun and we were WET. lol. The video is grabbed from a random YouTube user as bringing cameras was prohibited during the ride.

Enchanted Kingdom Jungle Log Jam

The Wet Mamba continued with this ride. Disclaimer: I don’t own the photos below. We were not able to document our experience as I was too worried if I drop my camera in the water. 🙂

Enchanted Kingdom Space Shuttle

For me, your Enchanted Kingdom experience would never be complete without trying the Space Shuttle. So far, it was the highlight. I thought I already lost my soul as it seemed to separate from my body. Haha! But, you should face your fear anyway and try it at least. It should be added to your bucket lists!

There were still a lot of rides and sights in EK but we ran out of time to try them all. But we shall return for sure. 🙂 Really soon!

It was definitely one of the best days of our lives. We got to know each other far more better. For me, it strengthen our bonding as a team. We left Enchanted Kingdom full of memories. We were ready for our big event, The IMG Convention of Champions 2016.

Be part of our squad. Become a ‘hope builder’ today. And let’s have more adventures and successes together in the future. Woosh!

Discovering ‘Binaliw Falls’: A Hidden Gem of Clarin, Bohol

One sunny Sunday, the Parish Youth Ministry Alumni group of Dauis decided to visit an old friend in Clarin, Bohol and he recommended us that we should take a side trip while we’re already there. And that was to take a dip to this not-so-well-known-yet, Binaliw Falls.

We were told that we needed to do a little bit of trekking in order to get there. Okay, we were more than game to it! We were excited!

But…. The adventure was just about to begin! Unexpectedly, that was a not ‘a little bit’ of trek as described. It was extreme! We were not prepared. 🙂 Some wore slippers, some went on their rubber shoes. Few of us were on our swimming getup while others just plunged with their usual city attires.

Either ways, there was no excuse. You wouldn’t be able to reach and see the falls’ beauty without experiencing the challenges on its way. These struggles were no joke. Really! Those involved a long walk, slight slopes, crossing into bushes of weeds, up-to-the-knee water walk to neck level water dip. Mind you, there were invisible holes in the water that we needed to raise our bags and cellphones up high to protect them from getting wet. The current of the water was pretty scary too. Some got scratches and bruises caused by the shrubs and the water stones. These pictures below showed some of the extreme trekking highlights:

Then… from afar, we heard the splash of the of the dropping water. We arrived to our destination after about 45 minutes to an hour of overcoming the obstacles. It was worth it. It was so beautiful.

And the fun swimming followed! Since everyone was wet, all joined the fun. We played like kids. Lol


You can even climb to the top where the source of the water came from and see Binaliw Falls’ beauty in a different perspective.

Eating time!

Going back became easier though after experience taught us well. Lol


We were so exhausted but we had a blast!

It was one of the best adventure getaways I’ve been through and I highly recommend Binaliw Falls to all ‘extremers’ out there! Definitely, a must try!



Memories of Bali.. Balicasag Island: Hope builders’ underwater bonding

Apart from the Hope Builders’ mission and advocacy that we’re pushing, we also do have a lot of fun moments together. We have established some amazing friendship beyond IMG. We are there for each other during failures and celebrations. And this specific ‘celebration’ was brought to the next level. This time, UNDERWATER! Hold your breath. 🙂

This was our team building event / Christmas party held last 26th of December 2015 at the famous Balicasag Island of Panglao, Bohol.


We left very early. In fact, our scheduled departure time was 4am. The main reason was: we wanted to see the dolphins which only show up during sunrise. But unfortunately, there was a delay on the boat that we hired so we missed the dolphins completely. That was sad but we can always try our luck some other time though.



Pictorials and swimming followed.



We had lunch and then we played games. The games were so intense that someone got injured and we were forced to stop. 😀


We had so much fun and so the lovers in Balicasag too. ❤ ❤ ❤


We went snorkeling and fed the fishes in the fish sanctuary.


We had a blast!


Be with us on our next adventure. You’re welcome to join us. Be a hope builder today or contact us for more details.




Hope Builders’ day out in Davao City

Hope Builders are everywhere. I am a Bohol based builder.

One day, I decided to visit my co-hope builder based in Davao City. Since Mayor Duterte won the presidency, I really wanted to discover what this place has to offer. And yes, we had a blast! 🙂 Let’s start.

Davao City People’s Park

We started our day at the famous People’s Park. My eyes were overwhelmed with those amazing statues and landscapes. And the best thing, it’s FREE. 😉 See for yourself. Include this on your bucketlist. I couldn’t really post all pictures here because its countless. Lol.


Eden Nature Park & Resort

This Davao City tourist spot has been very famous for the ‘adventure’ and ‘thrill’ it brings. So, we have checked and experienced it by ourselves.

Wondering how we got there? Can’t really explain it one by one here but you can click here for further instructions. 🙂

In our case, we just rode in a jeepney bound for Toril. I love commuting because its a way of experiencing the local lifestyle of a certain place which is for me, the essence of travelling. Anyway, let’s continue. We dropped off at Mercury Drug Store. Then we took this amazing tricycles that is so ‘open air’ with no ounce of glass and wall in it. That was one of the highlights for me. 🙂 (Picture below). That costs around P100 each (one way). But we’ve been scammed because one of the people said it’s only P60 though.


After around 20 minute uphill ride, we reached Eden safe and sound. Oh, just a tip: don’t forget to bring jackets and scarfs because it’s freezing cold there. We paid P220 for entrance fee with free snacks. And then the adventure began!


Skyrider and Skycycle (Combo) for P300


Main Highlight: SKYSWING (Tandem P400)


It was one of the best days of my life. I ❤ Davao. And I’m sure you will love it too. I shall return…

Be with us on our next adventure. Join Hope Builders or contact us for inquiries. Let’s inspire the world.