My personal theme in my World Youth Day experience: suffering. In the two weeks that was spent in Spain, there have been three major events that I would frown upon, not mentioning the feet blistering treks and the intense heat of midsummer Spain. First, I was not able to see the Pope on the day of his welcoming. Despite waiting more than 5 hours in the 40 degree heat and going through a packed crowd, shouting at you in different languages, I still was not able to see the Pope whereas everyone (CFC FFL delegates) were able to. I felt frustrated and jealous of my friends as they shared how powerful and life changing their experiences was. Second, I got robbed. 200 Euros robbed. Converting that to pesos only deepens the wounds so I try not thinking of any numbers when mentioning that (but eventually someone converted it for me… thanks). And lastly, I had a fever, LBM and an urge to puke all throughout the trip going home to Manila, and that was on the three plane rides landing on three airports. Imagine, a hundred feet in the air and instead of being excited to see your friends, family and your bed, you are getting chills, you constantly have an appointment in the comfort room (every plane and every airport), and you have this paper bag in your pocket just in case the food goes out the other side. All these in two weeks!
Most people would curse at the heavens going through those experiences, but God was teaching something to me. He wanted me to suffer to be able to know His power. When I was weak, He made me strong: He made me experience being out of the country for the first time in my life, and in five countries (Spain, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Portugal, and Germany)! We spent a week in Valdes Fuentes. The people there were so friendly and they made us experience what being a Spanish local was. We danced on the streets under the night lights, we ate churros, paella and bucket loads of bocadillo, we got grand tour and met the alcalde, and we even got play an Amazaing Race game all around the area. I got to go around Fatima and felt the holy presence of Mama Mary. And, this place is huge! I saw the Pope in the most prophetic way. I saw him during the Viacrucis (Way of the Cross). Oh, did I mention that my whole name is Kevin Christian VIACRUCIS Remandaban? Bizarre! I also got to watch my first live professional football game in the Athletico Madrid Stadium for only 10 Euros!
Having experience all this made the trip so much significant. God and Mother Mary never left my side in all endeavors. I appreciated more of the things I wouldn’t normally like. All those sufferings made the good things great! Vale La Pena (all worth it)!