a typical day at torre dela horadada

3:50 PM

So what exactly did we do down south?

Sister Belen, our gracious moderator, together with the fabulous people who worked with her sorted out a schedule for us.

here's our timetable plastered along the hallway.

So how was a typical day like?
Here’s our every day schedule:

The Spanish love their bread. And I mean, LOVE. May it be in Loyola or south of the country in Torre dela Horadada, we were served the same breakfast –bread, marmalade, and a choice of cocoa or apple juice. That should’ve worked for me because I, too, love bread. (But apparently, not as much as the Spanish do!) After a couple more mornings of the same thing, I came down to the dining room with the hope of a good hearty breakfast. (I’ve been dreaming of longsilog for days!) At the very least, I was wishing for some kind of meat to go with the bread. As I slathered on strawberry jam on a slice with a heavy heart, Billie said to me and I paraphrase, “Why did you even expect it to be anything else?” The girl did have a point.

our daily bread. 
grabbed from cathy diaz's fb page
Morning Praise
After breaking fast, we all head to the chapel for the Morning Prayer. Someone would read from our pilgrim’s handbook the theme for the day, a biblical text, a reflection, and the focus of the day. After which, we’d break into groups (Filipinos, Polish, and Spanish) to share our personal reflection. Sister Belen thought that we’d be able to share more comfortably and honestly if we’d speak in our native languages.

morning starts with prayer in this sunny room.
grabbed from cathy diaz's fb page

we'd usually have the chapel for our sharing sessions.

after opening our hearts, we bare our teeth as well - for the camera.

Beach time
Then we’re off to the beach! And I mean everyone! No one was left behind. (Unless of course she wanted to be. I think I forgone going to the beach when it felt like a hotter day than usual.) Who goes to some sort of a religious camp and get to go to the beach? Every day? Then again, we were in a resort town along the Mediterranean coast. It would’ve been a sin not to go, right?

torre dela horadada's stretch along the mediterranean coast is called costa blanca.
grabbed from cathy diaz's fb page

 ready to hit the beach!
grabbed from cathy diaz's fb page

just too happy to be at the beach!
After washing off the sand and salt water, we got to finally have our second meal of the day – at 14:30. They fed us bread for breakfast and served us lunch at 14:30? What were these Spanish people thinking?! For someone who regularly eats rice in the morning and lunch at 12:00, it was just too much to take. There was this one particular day when we were at the beach, famished, and foolishly wishing for adobo and rice for lunch. Even as we were heading back to the house, it was all we could talk about! So imagine our surprise and delight when the cook served us arroz ala cubana! All of us shrieked with glee. Rice, blessed rice, for lunch! Hallelujah! I promise you, rice never tasted that good - ever! So hoping that the law of attraction could work for dinner as well, we wished for a paella supper. But Spanish girl Bea set us straight on that one and I paraphrase her, “We don’t eat rice at night. It’s too heavy and it’s close to sleeping time.” Oh, well. At least, we had rice that day. Woooot!

Siesta y Chores
We got to enjoy that famous Spanish custom of napping in the afternoon – but not before we were done with our chores first! Each person was assigned a task each day – may it be bussing tables, cleaning bathrooms, or preparing the activity room. Some of us skipped the napping completely and just hung out until the afternoon session begins.

with nacho, my cleaning buddy

 here's maria scrubbing away!
grabbed from cathy diaz's fb page

 cathy and mikel talking about music.
hanging out at the courtyard. (i think.)
grabbed from cathy diaz's fb page

 katsy flanked by two dashing spaniards.
just standing outside the dining hall.

Our experience was listed in the pilgrim’s handbook as Conscience in Art. That meant a week of art and creativity-based activities geared to express communion with others, nature, and God. We had sessions that involved mime, graffiti, humor, dance, and film. I will expound on this one on my next post!

we're all doodling away. hi, ikay!

the guys trying to dance.
javier, bea, and agata working on their huge piece of art.

Eucharistic celebration
The afternoon mass was always celebrated in Spanish. But many thanks to Sister Belen who translated some texts for us in English; we got to understand at least the homily. Later on that week, each group was asked to “host” a mass. So we got the chance to learn and sing mass songs in Polish, too.

alicja, from poland, trying to teach us songs.
grabbed from cathy diaz's fb page

when it was our turn to "host", we had to prepare!

 billie and cathy teach the spanish and the polish people some filipino songs.
Do I really need to expound on this one? Okay. so maybe you'd like to know that we often ate supper at 21:00.

Back to the Beach!
Of course, we needed to see the beach at night! But seriously, I think the elders wanted us to head to the beach at night so we could reflect on what happened that day.

C14's very own honeymooners pose along the boardwalk.

Mag+s Circle
Oh. This is absolutely the one thing I looked forward to. Inspired by the habit of St. Ignatius, we got to share the experiences of the day and our reflections. We asked ourselves the following questions:

1. What was the best aspect of the day? Why?
2. What was the worst of the day? Why?
3. What do I think God was trying to say to me in these moments?

They are simple questions. But if you think about it, they are actually very good questions to ask yourself at the end of each day.

mag+s circle on the balcony under the stars.
grabbed from cathy diaz's fb page

Sleep (Zzzzz)
We head back to our beds around 00:00. Yet still, the Filipinas found it hard to sleep right away. There were still so many things to talk about! But we had to let others sleep, so we reluctantly closed our doors, opened our windows to let the warm sea breeze in, turned off our lights, and crawled into bed.

I can’t remember exactly what it was asked but Sister Belen explained what this schedule was trying to teach us. She said this time table that we worked with for the entire week was an example of how we can go about our daily creative lives and still center our day in God. And this was a practical thing that we could do even after we leave Torre dela Horadada and eventually, Spain.

This weeklong experience didn’t feel anything like a cynical person would think of a religious activity. Of course, we prayed- a lot! But communication with God need not be boring. And for that entire week we were at Torre dela Horadada, it felt like we were on a summer holiday. Honestly. This just proves that you can actually have fun with God!

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