My Two words for this year: Courage and Influence

My two words for the year, after much prayers, are COURAGE and INFLUENCE.

COURAGE. I feel in my heart that this year is the year to do things that I want to do.  To not be limited by fears, worries and concerns but to live, ever joyfully and enjoy the blessings God has given me.  Courage to smile freely, explore the world and live my OWN adventure and not someone else’s. Have the guts to follow my dream and follow through on my first step,  To keep moving despite self-doubt and harmful words – words that tear down dreams and fragile ideas and choose deliberately to heed Words that build, connect and strengthen

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INFLUENCE.  We are all created to shine and not be embarrassed by our talents, our vulnerability, our open hearts.   I believe that we are born not to live in the shadows, but to be a bright light reflecting the beauty of God, who made us wonderfully and fearfully with HIs loving hands.  I cannot count how many times I have been bashful and shy – shy of my talents, my thoughts, shy to raise my hand for a second longer. We are here to live our lives and touch others in ways that are subtle and loud.  We have to share beauty and love with our  minds, our hearts and thoughts through words, pictures, actions, writing… freely,  for keeping them would be a disservice to the world we live in.  Shy no more, but brave and living a life with spotlights for all people to see, and hopefully for others to praise God by seeing how we live and touch others as they, in turn, affect people around them, beautifully.

What about you?  What are your words for this year?

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SM Center Angono in My Heart and Home

Of all the SM malls and centers in the country today, my favorite is the one nearest to my heart and my home – SM Center Angono.

The 50th SM mall proudly opened its doors last Friday, November 14 at 10:00 am to welcome us all.  It fully complements Angono, Rizal, the Arts Capital of the Philippines and home to the ‘Higantes Festival’, with its brightly colored exterior and artsy entrance markers.  It has two strategic entrances (one of which is a stone’s throw away from my village), is 42,000 square meters wide and has three levels.

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Excited for the opening!

I am just SO thrilled (literally) to witness its opening. It was a long awaited day for me, the whole town and folks – young and old from nearby places.  For years we have been waiting and dreaming for an SM store near our place.  As early as 9am, people are lining up, eager to have a first glimpse of the place.  It was sensational! Traffic was building up! I remember having goosebumps when they began the countdown! What a joy this brings to all of us, especially this Christmas season.

We were greeted immediately by the happy and sunny ambiance of the mall. What I saw immediately was the big digital screen of the events center area capturing the stream of people coming in. Wow! there’s just so many people everywhere.  There were also a lot music and dance presentations to add to the festive mood.

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Music and presentations added to the festive mood!

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SM Prime Holdings President, Mr. Hans Sy with Mayor Gerry Calderon and local government officials.

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Me and my friend Dianne are so happy to snag a pic with Mayor Gerry Calderon and Mr. Hans Sy.

In the afternoon, a show by Procter & Gamble was hosted by pretty Ms. World Philippines 2012 (Water) Sam Purvor and bubbly DJ Justin Quirino of 99.5 PlayFM.  The beautiful Ruffa Gutierrez graced the event.  Oh My! She’s really stunning, especially up close.

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Hosts Sam Purvor and Justin Quirino with Ruffa G.

Ruffa said hello to everyone and stated that in the movie “Working Girls” she stated a line saying “May Starbucks ba sa Angono?” Everyone in the audience laughed.  I think it is so nice that she was there to welcome everyone.

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Pretty Ruffa!

 So what’s in it for us?

Here are some of my favorites:

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Some of the stores I’ll definitely buy from!

I  noticed a lot of food stores and kiosks too! There’s Razon’s, Cocoro Japanese Resto, and Savory.  Jollibee, Pizza Hut, Max’s, Red Ribbon, Goldilocks and Dairy Queen are to open soon.  There are a lot of blended drinks and snack kiosks and stalls.  Also worth waiting for is Gandang Ricky Reyes Salon, Mint and Bench.

Angono people now have a lot of choices and tambayans:  Farron Cafe, Bibingkinitan and hopefully, Starbucks!  (Oh please!)  Unofficial reports say that there is a provision for Cinemas! Wow! Another reason for us to be excited!

In addition to the Events Center and Bazaar area, SM Center Angono has designated areas that pay tribute to well known Angono artists – Charlie Anorico, Botong Francisco and Lucio San Pedro.

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By Charlie Anorico

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By Botong Francisco

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Ugoy ng Duyan by Lucio San Pedro

There are also dedicated areas for current local artists to proudly showcase their work.  What a blessing to home grown talents and artists.  Finally, they now have a venue where people can appreciate their art!

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Wood carved Miniature Higantes

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Colorful Representations of Higantes on Display

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Amazing Art from local artists near the entrance

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More Art

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And More Art as tribute to artists

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Bazaar Area

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More items and stuff

A Home Run in our Hearts

I have visited and frequented a lot of malls with varying sizes.  But there’s something about enjoying a place that is within your hometown because it hits you straight to the heart BIG time!  I know for sure that SM Center Angono hits a HOME run in mine and for all of us here in Angono because it is not only near our HOMES,  it is near our HEARTS! (Awww!)

God bless Angono and God bless SM!