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    My First Week in SFI

    First, what is SFI?
    It means svenska för invandare or Swedish for Immigrants. It is the grundskolan or elementary school level. It is also part of the adult education system. It is a grattis (free) school provided by the each kommun (municipality) basically means the city & country or township.

    Next level is SAS which is gymnasiet (high school) level. From there you can attend högskolan eller universititet (college or university) for högre utbildning (higher education).

    Taking SFI is not a law requirement but it's a must to learn the language so that you can get a better job than cleaning a toilet bowl or washing the dishes.

    My school paraphernalias...

    Now, my first week in SFI was FUN. I enjoyed every days of it. First, because I finally met new friends and secondly, after almost 5 months of boredness, I finally have something to do here in Sweden. Although I was kinda shocked and in panic during the first days coz I didn't expect that most of my classmates knows or speak lots of Swedish already. I was like wtf?! nosebleed! I don't understand what my teacher is talking about. I don't know what's going on at all. As in zero! My classmates obviously understands and responds to our teacher who speaks Swedish only for us to learn faster. Most of them is because they've been here in Sweden for like 2 years already or they've been here much longer than me. Some has a Swedish husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend or someone that helps them or lovingly teach them everyday. I felt like blaming my Norwegian husband coz he can't really teach me. Sometimes he tries his very best in helping me everytime I ask him but he doesn't really know much Swedish. I felt like I'm the one who knows less Swedish among our classmates, or maybe it's just my insecurity. hehe. I regret that I never prepared nor studied earlier for this. I should've at least tried advance reading Swedish books or watched Swedish tv shows or movies to help myself when I was still on my vacation. But bleh, it's too late for that now.

    The next days, I was able to adjust already. Things are getting better everyday. I'm learning more and more each day and I realized that I know more than enough or much than the others. I'm starting to be more confident. It's not that hard than I thought. I'm enjoying every words that I'm learning. It's actually pretty similar to English. Though it feels like I'm back in kindergarten again. Weeeh? It really is! I'm back learning the ABCD, AEIOU, counting 123, time telling, pronunciation, grammar, blah blah. Only difference is that I'm an adult now, I should have my own initiative to learn and it should be so much easier. But I hate the pronunciation and listening part. I really suck at it.There are some words and letters that is really new to me. Well, I know it's just normal in learning a new language so let's just see my progress until the end of this course. :)

    About my classmates, they are pretty cool. They're all from different parts of the world and all of them are very friendly. We are all funny. We all have this sense of humor which makes our class much more fun and inspiring place to learn. There's never a day that we don't laugh about something. For the past 5 days, we had a strong bonding already. Everyone is approachable. Most of us (girls) have the same reasons why we moved here: for our husband/boyfriend. :P We just laughed at each other everytime we talk about it. Another funny thing and somewhat flattering thing is that they're really impressed with my English. Yuhoo! They all think that I speak really good in English. Well, it's not really like unusual for me but I think it's just really interesting how the foreigners appreciate and praise my English while all I get from my fellow Filipinos back in Philippines was an insult and discrimination. Haha! :P That's just one of the reasons why I love being with foreigners. :)

    Going back on our SFI class, on the first day, I thought I'm the only Filipina there. Although I suspected one that looks Filipina too but at the end of the day I convinced myself that she's a Thai or whatever. During the introduction of ourselves I didn't really hear what she said, if she came from Philippines or not. I thought that she's not a Filipina coz when I heard her talking, her accent sounds different. On our second day, she sat next to me. I was in doubt to ask her coz I really dont like approaching Filipinas, much more being friends with Filipinas here. Ya know, I dont wanna be snobbed at. Why? You ask yourself to whoever Filipina reading this and you should know why. :P But oh well, my friendliness prevailed! I was like, should I ask her in Tagalog or not? But I ended up asking her ''Hej, what's your nationality? (if you dont mind me asking) with a matching smile of course! And she was like, ''Yeah, both my parents are Filipina but I grew up in the US.'' Oh well, duuuudee, she's really slang! At first I don't know how I'm gonna react to her. Should I feel embarassed or what? I was confused how I'm gonna talk to her. So I tried asking her like, 'so nakakaintindi ka pa ng Tagalog?' Then she answered, 'Yeah, I can understand a bit but I can't really speak Tagalog anymore.'' So that's how our conversation started. She explained to me that her family moved in the US since she was 9 years old blah blah blah. It was really nice talking to her. I find her really cool and I forgot that she's still a Filipina. Growing up in the US made her act and think like a westerner. I mean, her openmindedness, the way she carries herself etc. She's a silent type person. Nasa loob ang kulo but in a positive sense of it. So far, it seems that we both like each other. We started hanging out and do things together. We even went out for a movie and got drunk in the middle of the day..hehe. She's also a best shopping buddy. One thing that made us closer to each other is that we have similar story. Like how we ended up being in Sweden and the stories about our personal lives. I'm giving it more time for us to get to know each other and I'm hoping that our friendship would last forever. :)

    Here's a few pics with some of my 'United Nation' classmates in SFI.

    Palestinian, Filipina, Indonesian, Syrian & Moroccan.

    Busy effect.. hehe! :P

    Ofc, the Philippine Mabuhay is in the hot seat! :P


    Wedding Song

    I've been brainstorming and browsing for a cool theme song for our big day but geezzh, I just can't seem to find the perfect one for us. He likes something hippy but I prefer something senti. I got him to listen to several wedding/theme songs online but we never get to agree on the same song. Now I'm 'trying' to compose my own lyrics and get an expert to put up a music on it and sing it for us. Hopefully, I'll have enough time and a budget for that :P. It's going to be a surprise for him and to our guests so sshhhh.

    As a HappySlip (Christine Gambito) fan, I just wanna post and share her version of Rihanna's Take a Vow. I really love it and I think it's so cool. How I wish I'll be able to compose a song like this..hihi.

    Have fun watching :)

    This one with lyrics:


    Philippine Wedding Entourage

    My most hated part in wedding planning is making the guest list and our entourage list. It's exactly 9 months before our big day and I keep procrastinating from doing it. It gives me a major headache considering our budget and remembering all of the people we want to invite in our special day. (Note that we have a BIG clan :P). I've started browsing ideas for the invitations, motiffs, theme song, flowers, gowns and all of the other wedding details when the first thing I should prioritize is our guest list. Being a techie and an overseas bride is slowly turning me into a bridezilla! I keep finding something new again and again and my dream wedding keeps getting more and more confusing annndd expensive by the day.

    Anyhoo, lets get back to the main topic here. ^_^

    As for our wedding entourage will play a very important role in our wedding , we have to choose them carefully from both sides of our family or from our closest set of friends. So now here is the list of the usual composition of the wedding entourage of the typical Filipino wedding.

    Primary Sponsors

    A typical Filipino Wedding has a long list of "ninongs" and "ninangs", or Godparents. Usually they are composed of 3-5 pairs of the couple's parents friends, mentors, seniors business associates, employees, and other personalities who are considerably older than the couple, and plays or have played a significant part in the couple's life, separately or together. Ninongs and Ninangs stand as principal sponsors and witnesses in the ceremony. They are expected to provide guidance and counsel to the couple during their married life.

    Secondary sponsors

    They are friends of the couple who would like to be part of the entourage, but don't have much time to help out with the preparations. Most of the time, the secondary sponsors are also couples themselves. They are composed of 3 pairs:
    • Candle Sponsors - to light up the wedding candles during the ceremony;
    • Veil Sponsors - to drape and pin the veil on the groom's shoulder and over the bride's head;
    • Cord Sponsors - to tie the cord around the shoulder-area of the bride and groom.

    For some additional and traditional info:

    - The candle is symbolizing the presence of Jesus Christ in the couple’s lives and of the love that they must keep aflame in all the days of their lives. *Some believe that the candle that blows out first points to whoever will die first.* Yeah Riiiight! :P.

    - The veil is pinned on the bride’s head and on the groom’s shoulder. This forms the silhouette of a house, symbolizing that you now have the blessing to live under one roof.

    - The cord means that you will now have to walk at the same pace towards one direction. Walang iwanan.

    - You can also have a unity candle in your wedding. It is not required but definitely nice to have. It’s something that you as a couple can light on your anniversary as you offer prayers of thanks, praise and for special intentions, maybe.

    Best Man

    The bestman is the chief male assistant to the bride and groom during the wedding. This role is generally given to someone close to a groom, such as his brother or his closest male friend. The Best Man is responsible in organizing a Bachelor or Stag Party for the groom. He assists the groom on the wedding day, ensuring that the groom gets to the wedding on time. The Best Man acts as a legal witness to the marriage. He gives a speech at the wedding reception, and offers the first toast to the Bride and Groom.

    Maid of Honor or Matron of Honor

    The Maid of Honor is the primary attendant with the most honors and duties of the bridal party, and is considered the equivalent of the groom's best man. She is usually the bride's sister, cousin or closest girl friend. The Maid of Honor plans and hosts the bridal shower and bachelorette party. She assists the bride with her dress and make-up, and arranges her veil and train before, during and after the ceremony. The maid of honor holds the bride's bouquet during the exchanging of wedding rings and witnesses the signing of the marriage. The Maid of Honor is called the Matron of Honor if she is already married.

    Bridesmaids and Junior Bridesmaids

    They are usually the sisters, female cousins, and friends of the bride and groom. It is best to keep the number to about 5 bridesmaids and 3 junior bridesmaids. The junior bridesmaids are around 13 - 15 years old whereas bridesmaids are at least 16 years old. Junior bridesmaids may or may not have partners. Bridesmaids assists the Maid of Honor in hosting the bridal shower. If the bride has any task or errand, the bridesmaid makes sure it gets done. They also assist the bride during the ceremony and the reception. During the reception, they may help or man the recieving area. They also assist in distributing giveaways.


    A groomsmen attends to the needs of the groom during the preparation and the wedding ceremony. Usually, they are the brothers, male cousins and friends of the bride and the groom. They are also in charge of running errands for the groom. The groomsmen helps in ushering guests to their seats before the ceremony, and escorting the bridesmaids down the aisle during the ceremony and reception. Groomsmen tasks is similar to the bridesmaids.

    Flower Girl

    A young girl not usually more than 8 years old. Her primary role is to carry a small basket full of flowers and drop the flower petals as she walks down the aisle during the ceremony.

    Ring Bearer

    A young boy not usually more than 8 years old. The ring bearer walks down the aisle carrying a satin pillow that contains a pair of wedding ring.

    Coin Bearer

    A young boy who usually marches next to the ring bearer. The coin bearer carries the arrhae, or 13 coins, which represents groom's pledge of his edication to the welfare of his wife and future children.

    Bible Bearer

    Played by a young kid, either boy or a girl. He or she walks down the aisle after the ring or a coin bearer carrying a bible.


    Church Dilemma

    If I were to decide where I would want to get married in the Philippines, I would choose it to be in Caleruega, Tagaytay, or in Fernbrook Gardens, Manila. But as much as I dream about those places, they are not an option because I have a BIG family, and relatives that we have to consider. Aside from the distance, most of them can't afford to travel that far and if we insist to have our wedding there, we will be obliged to shoulder all of their expenses, from the fares to their hotel accomodations etc. etc. There will be too many hassles and too much work, plus it'll be too expensive so we are trying to avoid that. So now, I don't have a choice, but have to focus on planning our wedding in my hometown, Naga City, which is in Bicol. The place where I grew up and where most of my family, relatives, and friends live.

    Naga City is just a small town in Camarines Sur, so I have fewer options to choose from for our ceremony venue. We have lots of Catholic churches there, but I have two options. One is the biggest and, if I'm not mistaken, the oldest church in the entire Bicol region, the St. John The Evangelist Parish or commonly known as the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral. The other one is a modern looking one, the Basilica Minore. Now I'm struggling in choosing from these two. Two months ago, we already tried to call these churches to inquire, and check if we could possibly book it already. Unfortunately, they think it's way too early before our preferred wedding date so they told us that they couldn't do it yet and they asked us to call them again this August. But after I had two more months to research online and read about these churches, and from asking my family and friends for their comments and suggestions, it just made me so much more confused. Both has advantages and disadvantages for me. So to help myself decide, I have made a review about these two churches. Here it goes:

    Naga Cathedral ------------------------------ Basilica Minore


    I'm not
    an oldie fan, the main thing that I don't like about Cathedral. Also, it is centrally located surrounded by the schools and commercial areas. On the other hand, Basilica looks modern, classy and neat which suits my taste more. It is in the outskirts of the city surrounded by a well maintained and a nice large park, a perfect view for our possible guests and visitors.


    Cathedral is bigger compared to Basilica. Though size doesn't really matter for me as long there's enough space for my possible guests. Besides, I don't need the biggest church anyways, as I won't be inviting our entire barangay, hehe. It's not really a must but it would be great to walk in a long aisle to enjoy my (as if) dramatic entrance moment:P. The bigger means more expenses for flowers and designs for the church though and I don't really wanna spend that much for those accessories. Cathedrals interior looks dark and has a cozy lightings while Basilica seems so bright inside.


    If you notice it, the one displayed in the altar of Cathedral is the
    image of Jesus Christ laid on the cross while in Basilica is the image of Virgin Mary, sculpted in 1710. It is because Basilica is the house of the Patroness of the Bicol region whom we call Our Lady of Peñafrancia or Ina. Every September, we celebrate the feast of Penãfrancia, the biggest Catholic Festival in Bicol.

    These image differences isn't really much of a big deal for me but I am more impressed with Cathedrals altar. It looks so grand and elegant for me. It also has a great facilities like the sound systems and it has a digital projectors which makes it easier for the people to participate or respond during the mass.


    I prefer Basilica's design here. It looks neat and fresh. It is something that fits in my modern taste. Whilst Cathedrals has this vintage painted arts on its wall, it adds to the coziness and solemnity inside the church.


    Both of these two churches has this gazebo's, pavillions or whatever it's called. I think it's usually used when there's a big occasion like The Peñafrancia Festival.
    It both lies infront or in the main door of the church. Basilica's ground looks greener which would be great for picture takings after the ceremony.

    The last time I saw either of these churches was like 10 years ago so I can't really remember it anymore. Besides, it surely had lots of improvements already after all those years. It would be easier for me to decide what is best for me if only I can go there myself and see it personally. But too bad coz the next time that I'll be able to see these churches again will be like two weeks before or on our exact wedding day. My H2B (husband to be), who's letting me decide to this is just waiting for my decision so we can book it asap.

    To sum it all, I am in love with Basilica's exterior and Cathedral's interior! The entire reason why it makes it so complicated for me to decide from these two. How I wish they're just combined into one, but well, nothing is perfect in this world. I have to accept the fact that I can't have everything I want. :P

    Btw, thanks to Sinjin for this lovely pictures. His photos made the churches look so amazing, and actually increases my confusion more! Hehe.

    To all of you, my dear readers out there (if there's any :P), what do you think? Your comments and suggestions is highly appreciated.

    Thank You!

    For more info, you can contact them at:

    St. John The Evangelist Parish or Naga Cathedral
    Address: Elias Angeles St., Naga City 4400
    Phone: (054) 473-18-36

    Basilica Minore
    Address: Balatas Road, Naga City
    Phone: +63(54)4733644
    Other Contact: +63(54)4736914


    New Layout!

    I'm back with my new layout though I'm not really done editing it so please bear with me :))