It has been a week since I had my first dinner buffet at Spiral Manila. If you know me, you’ll agree when I say I love buffets. Every time our family stays at a hotel, my younger brother and I always come up with strategies to help us maximize the buffet. So, when I recently won two free tickets to Spiral Manila’s buffet, my heart (and stomach) leaped for joy!
The Challenge: Cathay Pacific posted on their Facebook page, “Share your favorite food shots from your #LifeWellTravelled adventures and include a short description of the dish to get a chance to win lunch or dinner for 2 at Sofitel Plaza Manila’s Spiral!”
The Judges: Eight members of Cathay Pacific Airways screened the entries and chose two winners for this food photography contest.
The Winning Entry: I submitted a photo of Coconut Milk Ice Cream in a coconut shell while I was cruising along the Floating Market in Bangkok, Thailand.
By God’s grace, a few weeks after I submitted the entry, Cathay Pacific’s marketing team sent me a message on Facebook saying that I won! Woohoo!!!
THREE THINGS I LEARNED FROM THIS:
1. DON’T BE AFRAID TO TRY
In my 20+ years of existence, I have never won a prize from joining contests online. I figured that it would be difficult for me to win since it would mean competing with hundreds or thousands of people. But, for some reason, the moment I read about the mechanics, I immediately joined the contest and submitted my best options.
If I belittled or doubted at that time, I would have missed out on the privilege of winning tickets to a buffet for the first time! Because of this experience, I am learning to step out of my comfort zone once in a while and take more risks in trying new things.
2. PRAY AND WAIT EXPECTANTLY
After submitting my entries, I knew that it would take a few more weeks before they would announce the winner. So, I literally couldn’t do anything more about the contest except to pray and wait. I remember telling God that I didn’t have any experience in winning from online contests. But, I also told Him that if ever He does allow me to win this time, I want to honor Him with it.
Lifting dreams and desires up to God helps me remove any worries or discouragements. It also allows me to have opportunities to trust and hope that He is able to provide, if He thinks that it would be for the best.
3. SHARE BLESSINGS WITH OTHERS
While I was thanking the Lord for the surprise blessing, I remembered my friend, Hiro, who was leaving the country in a few weeks. Instantly, I knew that he was the one God wanted me to share this prize with. So, to celebrate this simple victory and to serve as my friend’s despedida, we ate at Spiral Manila’s dinner buffet.
The place was beautiful. Of course, the spiral staircase will capture your attention. But, the details of each cuisine in the buffet area were impressive. Not to mention, the servers would always make sure that our glasses were filled with cold water and that our napkins were neatly folded on the table while we were getting refills of food. We couldn’t believe that we were enjoying the dinner at Spiral Manila without paying a single centavo that night — not even the parking fee. All by God’s grace!
I loved the variety of food in the place. I couldn’t help but compare it with the other hotel buffets that I’ve tried in Manila, so far. No doubt, this has the most number of cuisines available. Also, they made the experience pleasurable by using unique plates, platters, and bowls for their food. They even have a room dedicated to all kinds of cheese and cold cuts. Oh my. Hahaha! Unfortunately, our stomachs couldn’t take in everything we saw that evening. But, it was definitely a wonderful and relaxing experience.
We went there at 6 pm and stayed until 10:45 pm, just before the buffet area closed. Towards the latter part of the evening, we were also serenaded by beautiful and classy music from a live band.
Hooray! Thank You, Lord! Thank you, also, Cathay Pacific Airways for making this possible. :)
Before the night ended, I even got a bonus from my friend. He wanted to congratulate me by giving me a gift and encouraging me to develop my skills in photography. It was funny because he first gave me a clue (“relaxation”) and asked me to guess what it was. Immediately, I said “The Spa GC!”. He laughed at how specific my answer was and then he continued to joke about it and asked me to guess again. I explained to him that going to The Spa for a full body massage was my guilty pleasure. I wasn’t really proud of it because I knew that it was expensive. But, every time I think of relaxing, I really imagine going to The Spa. Hahaha. After a few minutes, he got his wallet, pulled out a gray card, and gave it to me.
IT WAS A 2000-PESO GIFT CARD FROM THE SPA!
AGAIN, I COULDN’T BELIEVE WHAT WAS HAPPENING. Hahahaha! Of all the gifts!!! I told him that God really knows my heart’s desires. Haha! Down to the last few moments of our evening, we exchanged more gifts (song, photos, and a book) and stories with each other; thanking God for the buffet prize, our friendship, and for His goodness and faithfulness in both of our lives.
Well… Sometimes, you win. Sometimes, you lose. But, in any case, I realize that it still boils down to how our hearts respond when it happens. Because He graciously allowed me to win this time, I sincerely want to publicly acknowledge His goodness and grace.
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is Godʼs will for you in Christ Jesus.” -1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Until the next contest! :)