Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I believe certain things should be given freely, we shouldn't have to ask for them. When someone cares enough they can see and feel the needs in others; the needs of friends, even the needs of strangers..the need for a hug, a warm touch, a compassionate word. Saying I am here for you, I love you are just words.. words are only letters put together unless we follow them up and give them meaning with our actions. We all can touch the lives of others; sometimes all that is required for someone to continue on their path is a word of encouragement, a smile, a call, an I am here, I care. Knowing that someone cares for you, in an often seeming uncaring world, can move a heart out of loneliness and darkness into the light. Don't get so wrapped up in your own world of needs, pains and wants that you neglect to recognize the same in others. Don't underestimate your power to influence people in a positive way and never forget your power to treat yourself with the same love and compassion. Be a blessing to yourself and to others, be that blessing today and tomorrow, be that blessing every day.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

God is Enough!

There are times in our lives when we feel so alone... its as if everybody has turned their backs all of a sudden. Its like the world has gone crazy and you are by your lonesome, cold, weary, hungry, tired and alone. You look somewhere for something but its not there anymore. You sometimes see things only for a fleeting moment, cloudy and very temporary, more like a mirage... life will knock you down on all fours... life will make you crawl literally but the good thing is that life will likewise help you up. nothing is ever permanent in this world. all these comes with the realization that we are never alone, in fact, during the times that we felt so alone, There is actually somebody who is there with us, keeping us company all throughout our ordeal, He sits there silently with us, keeping watch. He cries when we cry, He hurts when we hurt, He helps us up when we are down... and He forever reassures us that His love is everlasting. Seeing is hard, but all He asks of us is to trust blindly, like that of a child... to trust with all our hearts for His mercy and His compassion. And He wants us to feel His presence by "seeing" with our hearts... to see and feel that His goodness is beyond measure, that He is always constant in our lives. It is through this constancy that we will never be alone... He alone cares when all others stop caring, He alone protects when we are at our most vulnerable, He alone feeds us when we are "hungry", He alone gives us rest when we are tired, He alone warms us when we are cold and weary... God alone is enough... 

Have a "trusting" weekend y'all! PEACE! 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Wisdom on the street

On a lazy saturday morning, while waiting for companions for an out of town voters education engagement. I saw an old man on the other side of the street. He was thin, cruffy, dirty, and carrying a dirty old bag of what must probably be his meager belongings. He sat on an obscure corner of the park... just sat there looking curiously at passersby. Seems oblivious to the world around him. People were avoiding him as if he was infected with the plague or something... He wasn't even asking for anything, just sat there, staring blankly at people. Maybe he was hungry or was waiting for somebody to give him something. Found myself crossing the street and while enjoying my morning puff of "vitamin c", I decided to strike a conversation with the  man. I can see his apprehension at first, maybe he was wondering why another old man would come up to him asking all sorts of stupid questions. He just stared blankly at me. I asked him from where he was to which there was no answer. Asked him again and this time started blabbing incoherent words.I just stood there trying to make sense of what he was saying and while looking at him intently, I noticed the lines on his face and callouses on his hands. Telltale signs that this man must have been a worker during his younger days, he had strong looking shoulders that has seen better days and he must have been mid sixtyish or something. Asked if he still has family nearby and all he said was they live from afar... asked him why he chose not to be with his family and his answer startled me. He said that this world has no room for people like him and that he was better off wandering in the streets... kinda ordinary, but the next really was a surprise. He says that he sees love on the streets everyday and he feels it all around him despite being spat on, heckled and looked down upon by people. He says there is still good in people despite their humanity and that he would be happy if people were a lot less complicated... I cant believe for the life of me hearing that from the old man... night came, and on my way home, what he said lingered on in my mind till i was about to go to bed. surely, that was somebody else speaking to me that morning and was so profuse with thanks for that day's dose of wisdom 101. Now, who says nothing good can come out of the streets, there was and lucky me, I just found one... 

Happy weekend y'all!!! PEACE!


Monday, February 25, 2013

extraordinary treats from "Chef Lolita"

my foodie mom
Had the opportunity once again to spend Christmas and the New Year with family and was so glad to see my mom in good health. Well, not exactly in the best of health as she is still recuperating from herpes zoster opthalmicus which infected her left eye and required a two week stay at the hospital; but was nonetheless in good spirits and was her usual self at her “office”(the kitchen). She still could create masterpieces and was so inspired seeing her in her best element, cooking that is. Told her to just let me do the cooking or at least help her out but she would just brush me aside with an instant order to go out of her “office” pronto. Yup… it was from my old lady that I learned the ropes of cooking. And being the eldest among 3 boys and an only girl, I was the very first student of my mom. My kitchen education started early where I would accompany her to the market, which I totally despise back then. Carrying her market bag for her, she would painstakingly point out to me the freshest produce that she would use for certain recipes and would point out unique characteristics of every item she would purchase. And mind you, she has different markets on where best to buy stuff. Beef, goat meat and fish for instance would be best at Farmer’s Market in Cubao. For bagoong isda, tapang usa (deer meat), quinta market in quiapo is best, don’t know if they still sell deer meat there; vegetables would be at Munoz Market or at Balintawak Market. The latter being the landing zone of produce from the provinces and is probably the cheapest, vegetable wise that is, from all over the metro. The only relief to me then was the late morning snack she would buy me at every market sortie. The panciteria in Quiapo and the original bakery of Eng Bee Tin (hopia) as my favorites.

In cooking, she doesn’t go for shortcuts and would rather labor the whole day working on something than make us all eat a substandard dish later on.  Special occasions would always be a gastronomic treat because of all the delectable and mouth watering dishes she would serve. And as we ilokano’s love to say it, “nagimas unnay” (so delicious) is her cooking. But the years have taken its toll on my mom… Looking at her, I can’t help but notice her frail frame, gone are the springy step in her gait but was nonetheless still sprightly at her age. She slowed down a lot but that is to be expected and who wouldn’t at 76! Am just so thankful that given all these, she could still transform the “ordinary (dish) into something extraordinary”; maybe because for every creation comes with a whole lot of love.

Mama, I am so grateful for all the cooking that you have done for us all (me, rizza, dennis and nino). And now, you’re still doing it to all your grandchildren. Am totally amazed at how your cooking has evolved over the years. You always have something new to offer. My prayers for you are for the good Lord to continue to bless you with good health, so you can still cook for all of us, hahahaha! happiness even if on most days, you are by your lonesome, peace in you heart and in your surroundings, may you always feel in your heart the love and affection of your children and grandchildren, and for the good Lord to bless your gift and passion for cooking…   I love you mama…    

Sunday, November 25, 2012

the Gospel at work



It has been many Sundays ago when a message came to me via SMS with an invite to join up and play music for a household meeting for servant leaders at the Balangaw sa Kalinaw (relocation site for sendong victims), CFC FFL’s Work with the Poor Ministry here in our place. Am so glad to have acceded to the invite because of the many wonderful things I came to experience with brethren and how I fell in love with the place but that’s getting ahead of the story.






I have been away for a few months from the community after being “detached” as SvFL and SFL coordinator. Thought the Lord was calling me for other things and concentrated instead on work and decided to take the extra time to take stock and pray for some things as regards to my service when the call came. At first, I was hesitant to go as I know of no one among the victims except for the local WWP coordinator here. But the Lord always has His way in my life and I found myself trekking the not so good foot trail leading to the relocation site which was hidden among trees and medium thick foliage. What I came to see coming out of the rough and nestled among hills, were beautiful rows of houses and having a majestic view of the uptown part of our city and its mighty river. I call it such as the river can really look deceiving and it was the reason why this place came to be in the first place. Looking around, I was teary eyed and marveled at how the mighty hand of God worked to make all these happen. A clear manifestation of God’s great love for His people. So serene was the place, I felt God’s awesome presence right there and then.

The village is still under construction with about 30 houses completely built up and about 4 more soon to be built.  I think 70 houses will be constructed eventually. Roads are still in its raw form, dusty and stony but the promise and possibilities of the place were all there. I can only imagine as to how beautiful this place will be in probably a year or two. Brethren were very accommodating and warm. I went on to play for them during the worship and felt God’s great love envelope my whole being. It’s as if I was being wrapped in a shroud of warm light which made me sweat profusely on a windy Sunday afternoon. Truly, our God can really work miracles. Nothing is ever impossible as long as it is the will of the Father.

I have been coming back since that fateful Sunday. Been teaching brethren some new songs and playing for them during their regular once a week upper household meeting. I have committed likewise to play for them in their regular lower household meetings. The Lord has laid out the work before us. Much has to be done and by the Lord’s grace, I pray that I can share my own 5 cents worth of the work that He has laid out for us here at Balangaw sa Kalinaw.

I still am in awe every time I come here. I feel the Lord working His miracles in this place and in the lives of brethren. I can see hope in their eyes, dignity in their every step, the love and warmth of their smiles and the thirst for the Gospel in their day to day lives. I remember in Ecclesiastes 3: 1-3 it says: “There is a given time for everything and a time for every happening under heaven; a time for giving birth, a time for dying: a time for planting, a time for uprooting. A time for killing, a time for healing; a time for knocking down, a time for building.”

May God bless us all…

Sunday, August 19, 2012

In memory of a dear friend…

I have been meaning to write this since I got wind of the news that a dear friend passed away most recently, succumbed to the big C last Monday. She has been a very dear friend from way back and our friendship together with the entire gang of 5 was by far the most memorable I had in my life. It has been more than 20 years I guess that we haven’t seen each other but the news struck me like a freight train. Suddenly, fond memories of her came rushing back like it was yesterday all over again. I guess there is truth to the saying that “people will forget what you have done or what you have said, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.


I can’t really recall how I came to meet her or when our friendship started. All I remember was that the gang frequented their house to hang out and together with her older sister and two brothers was most accommodating to our noisy and at times very boisterous group. She was the personification of “class” and the very first lady I came to know which defined “breeding” (quotes mine) as a way of life. Classy because she doesn’t go for ordinary brands and wears her own style of fashion, not outlandish, nothing fancy but classy. She was likewise smart and intelligent… our conversations would almost always come to a debate not to see who was smarter but rather to pick on each others brain. And it was a great many instances where we would all end up laughing our hearts out. And this lady sure has her way of getting what she wants by an instant big slap on your back or a punch on the arm or worst that dreaded pinch which we boys are all so afraid of, kasi talagang masakit! Another trait that she has was her big heart, she was very generous not just of her resources but of her time, her talents and most especially, her love. I recall our “Galactica” days. ‘Twas one of the foremost discos of our time which we use to frequent back in the days and we all had great fun dancing and drinking our hearts out. She was not a dancer really but she loves the sounds and the music and mind y’all… the 80’s music was by far the best era of it all. We also loved hanging out at Tia Maria’s and San Mig Pub and at one time pigged out at Le Poulet, a fine dining French restaurant in the old Ali Mall. It was all during those days that a great bundle of joy named Maegan came into this world and added a whole new chapter in her life… all of a sudden her life changed as her daughter became the center of everything. We all doted on her, a bubbly and smart kid like her mother was.  It was also in those days that I have seen her resiliency to the point of stubbornness. But she was that, a fighter and later on a great mom to her only daughter. Then the time came when they all had to migrate to America. Saw each other on her first balikbayan trip home. She even gave me a San Francisco baseball cap as pasalubong which I still have to this day. Was starting to lose the top then and she would affectionately call me as ‘bo, short for kalbo (bald). And then she went back and never got the chance to connect again after that… heard on a couple of instances that she visited the Phils. but that was that… then Facebook came... Her daughter was one of the very first friends that I had on FB. Thought we could somehow connect thru the social media but unfortunately, she didn’t have an FB account. It was only later that her daughter created an account for her. Don’t know if she ever posted something herself or was it just her daughter who did all the posts. Nevertheless, was happy to see her again through the pics that were posted on her daughter’s page and was so glad to see that she did a fantastic job raising her only child.

 I will forever cherish in my heart all the happy memories I had of her especially her advises and the love of an older sister which I never had in my life being the eldest of my own family. Likewise, I do have fond memories of their former home in Dominga because that was where I and the greatest love of my life would meet up at most days…  

Ate Beng, you will always be in my heart... thank you for being a dear friend to me and to all of us. I will not say that this is goodbye but rather, we’ll see each other again someday… in the meantime, please keep an eye out for me and my kids.  

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Home

A chair is still a chair, even when there is no one sitting there… but a chair is not a house and a house is not a home when there’s no one there… a room is still a room even when there’s nothing there, but a room is not a house and a house is not a home…  

so says the lines from the song Home. The lines suddenly struck me one morning while lazily abusing  the laptop and listening to it made me realize a lot of things. Well, for one, I am literally home alone because my kids are on “the other side of the fence”. Missed the sound they make each day… missed their smiles, missed the laughter’s, the stories, everything about them actually… Maybe missing them was understatement to say the least. They have been my companions in this sorry life that I have… they are the reasons why I am still alive to this day and how I thank God for this gift of my children. They have helped me keep my sanity and kept my hopes up that things will somehow turn out for the better, not just for me, but for all of us. Being alone the last couple of weekends made me realize that there is truth to the adage that “no man is an island”. All of us need people in our lives, one way or the other. In my case, my kids are “the” people in my life. One of the things I so look forward to at the end of each day are the hugs and kisses of my youngest child, that of my only daughter. Takes the tiredness and the weariness away. I don’t know about you, but I always look forward to it… that great big hug she gives me and that wide smile that goes with it. Wouldn’t exchange that for anything in this world. I mean, nothing like a great big hug to cap off a tiring and weary day. Just absolutely perfect for me. Not to be outdone are my two boys. The eldest one is so responsible now and has been most helpful in keeping the house in a state of orderly disarray, hahahaha! Also is the fiscalizer in the house. the second one is ever thoughtful. He gets to and always is the first one to ask about how my day went and how am i… is also my caretaker every time am down with something and is my very able assistant in my “office” (the kitchen).  Of the 3, I think the 2nd one got the better number of my cooking genes. Another thing that I sorely missed is our weekly DVD movie marathon with matching chips and that all time favorite, fish crackers dipped in a fiery vinaigrette which the 2nd one most often concocts.  

Am just so thankful that I get to experience all these because in a couple of years more, I don’t know if they would still be the same with their big hugs and kisses for this old man. You know kids, someday, they would all stop to doing some things because they feel that they have outgrown them or the awkwardness would start to sink in. someday soon it will happen but in the meantime, let me just cherish those moments I  have with my kids because they won’t stay as kids forever.

Being home alone likewise, gave me the peace, quiet and the time to take stock of some things in my life. In these moments of solitude, I came to see my God more clearly. Get to hear Him and His messages for me. One of which is the assurance of His goodness, His mercy and compassion… “ The Lord is good to all; He has compassion on all He has made (psalms 145:9)”… He opened up my eyes further to the beauty of this world… “O Lord, what a variety of things You have made! In wisdom you have made them all” (Psalms 104:24). And the innate goodness of man. Yes, man is still good despite of his humanity… we may not know it sometimes but we all are still human in our ways and in our lives. I guess, that is the reality of it all. But being human makes for our desire to earnestly follow God. By being human, we are reminded that nobody is ever perfect in this world. Nobody was and nobody ever will be. Only God is perfect.

So, with the temporary absence of my kids, I am learning to somehow find “home” in this solitary state. I have always dreaded the fact that someday soon, I will be reduced to a lonely state of life because my kids will have to go… to find out and make their own niche in this world. And in this state of prelude of things to come, I am very pleased to say that I have found my “home”. As they say… Home is where the heart is. And my heart is with my God and God is my home. Wishing y’all a blessed and peaceful Sunday. God bless!