When this year started, i held on to the promise of the NEW - to experience God move in new ways and to receive the new things He has in store. I was very expectant; it gave me a different perspective in accepting things that come. It has been a journey of faith all over again, but it was all worth holding on to God's faithfulness to see them unfold in my life this year.
This year opened by letting us try a new kind of dance: Flamenco! We had a master class with Ms. Maradee de Guzman where we learned the basic style and movements of flamenco.
Another highlight of this year was the Thou Art in Heaven Creative Prophetic Workshop. It allowed me to experience God speak in new ways - through art, music, and dance. What amazed me that night was how God moves in the prophetic. It opened my heart in seeing God's creative ways so that His people gets encouragements and assurances of His word and promises. That experience moved me personally, and i guess it kept me on track for the rest of the year.
God also opened a door for us to visit a new country this year - Laos! Acts Manila received an invitation to perform for the Philippine Embassy in Lao PDR's Independence Day Celebration. We also performed for the students of Laos School of Music and Dance. It was a whole new experience of exploring a new country and learning of a new culture. That trip allowed me to appreciate the things that we tend to take for granted - Laos being a communist country and a more "third world" than ours.
One of the 2014's surprises was receiving new floors + added mirrors for the JRSS ballet! I did not expect the school to grant this request and on the first day back in July - viola we have new floors! Honestly, i was losing hope in seeing progress, but God had better plans. And aside from new floors, we had 7 new additional students for the ballet too. God is faithful!
This year brought old friends back to dancing with us (me), and it brought new memories with them as well. With Lauren finally graduating and staying in Manila (for now), she was able to start taking classes with Acts Manila again. Our twice a year meetings are now done - and she can be with us as often as she could! Also, Sarah went to visit the Philippines after 6 or 7 years of stay in New York. She joined our company show - Move! - as guest artist. I felt so proud seeing her perform live once again, and it made me feel honored to share the stage with her. We had a mini reunion while she was back in Manila, and it was a great time to catch up with friends! Time and distance really didn't matter, as long as we're all bonded by heart.
Philippine Dance Cup also happened this year, and it was my first time to join in the Solo category of the competition. It gave me much nerves to be part of this haha. Even though I'm not the competition type, i took on the challenge of going through this experience for my students. Having experienced it myself in 2013 (Asian Grand Prix in Hong Kong), i know what this could bring to them. As a surprise, my solo entry, Mharjorie Palmeda of Acts Manila@JRSS, placed 10th for the Junior Solo category! I was too overwhelmed and in shock when it was announced. Praise God! I am thankful that God has brought in dedicated students in my fold to develop and bring out the best God has in store for them.
Another one that I am most thankful for this year is finally getting in to a VGroup! I've been asking God for this for a while now, and i finally took on the courage to meet new people and share lives with them. September this year when i finally started meeting up with my VGroup leader - Ate Cring and the rest. Bonus part: Lauren and i are under the same VGroup! Grateful that God has opened new ways of learning for me. I've got instant friends and accountability partners too! Also, I've started doing One2One with our latest VGroup addition - Aices, who got back to dancing with us at Acts Manila just recently.
This year, i also got my first directing "job" that is not ballet related haha. I was given the opportunity to direct CCF Alabang's Everlasting Light Christmas Cantata last December 21. I was too hesitant to take on the job at first, but remembering the "new" experiences God has in store for me, by faith i took part. Even though the preparations and rehearsals were tedious, the actual performance was more than what we expected. Indeed God has orchestrated it to be the best performance we can ever have. I am very thankful to be part of this experience and get to know more talented people - from the choir members to the tech prod crew.
Visiting the beautiful province of Ilocos wasn't new to me, but traveling with my family made it a whole new experience. 12 hours road trip going there and back home was very much worth it (and even though i got sick right when we arrived home!). From the northern part of Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte to Vigan in Ilocos Sur, all of the places we went to were a reflection of God's awesome creation. It was a trip of reflecting in the beauty of His craft. It was a great time spent with family as well, and i am always grateful for those times that i am with them.
And here are some others in bullets:
New dance experiences
~ International Dance Day Celebration at the Bonifacio High Street where we performed at the open space. Ms. Myra Beltran restaged the famous Rosas danst Rosas.
~ performing for the Independence Day Celebration hosted by the Philippine Embassy at the Lao PDR
~ dancing in sync with LED projection, oh the power of new technology! Performed for the DOT's MICE Conference in Clark, Pampanga. (out of town dance trip, oh yeah!)
~ Miss World Tourism pageant performance at THE SM Mall of Asia Arena
~ Christmas Eve performance at the CCP Main Theatre for the Misa de Aguinaldo with the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra and Philippine Madrigal Singers
As i published the great photo dump of 2014, i realized that we have tried much new food places this year! And most of them became my favorites. Looking forward to more "good eats" with family and friends. (yes, i enjoy food - VERY MUCH)
~ Sensei Sushi
~ Milky Moustache
~ Ramen Yushoken
~ Bag of Beans
~ Magnum Manila
~ Family Mart's green tea ice cream (i cannot forget about this haha)
~ Mang Raul's (yay for isaw and all other ihaws!)
Looking back at the moments of 2014, indeed it has brought me to new and greater heights. It has been another year of God's faithfulness. It was full of His goodness and grace that i don't deserve yet He gave it all for it was the best for me. I am thankful that most of my faith goals were achieved this year, praise God. I am also thankful that God has sustained me through this year's ups and downs, and pulled me through to stay on track. I could not have achieved any of these Lord, without You. Soli deo Gloria!
More breakthroughs in 2015! I am ready for you!