Friday, September 24, 2010

Single is More

‘Single’ isn’t just a faint no-brainer word uttered by everybody… ‘Single’ is a powerful ‘feeling’ (of contentment). It ain’t just a label thrown at us by friends… ‘Single’ is a dignified ‘title’ (of blessedness) earned through genuine wisdom and patience, and sometimes through the Holy Spirit.

It just takes a good pair of grateful eyes; optimistic mind; cheerful heart; and a tireless pair of generous hands to optimize singleness to the fullest.


…we hear the word ‘single (oh, with her beauty and brains she’s still single?)
…we see the word ‘single’ (line for singles and line for married…shall I reveal that I’m still single given my age?)
…we utter the word ‘single’ (yes, I’m still single and ready to mingle!)

…we hear different reactions. Different people hold different opinions and feel of the word.

In our solitude moments, thinking that we are single incites various thoughts and feelings. Some may be happy, others may get frustrated. Many may feel fortunate, and still others may feel empty.

An English professor may even hold a different opinion—that ‘single’ always means one. Yes ONE! Singular. Alone. With no one. By oneself.

I’ve been to some situations of being single (Yes, different phases—committed single with boyfriend around and with boyfriend away; and uncommitted single). I also witnessed various types of being single, and I discovered that ‘single’ is, not one, and it’s does not just denote many, but ‘more’.

I had a long-time relationship. It was colorful. It felt good to have an all-time partner in doing things and also a long-distance inspiration when I had to study away from home.

However, when we broke up many things changed. I went through my own phasing of DABDA—denial, anger, bargaining, and depression. Fortunately, because of God, things happened so quickly and I was able to see what happened as a blessing in disguise. With a grateful heart, I was able to turn the situation around and use my situation—single again—as a good opportunity and foundation on which I will willingly build on more good things.

With gratitude and hope for a better everyday, wonderful things surprisingly lined themselves up to me.

There are times that we must think of separation or the act of leaving (whoever seems to leave the other) as a very good opportunity for growth. Tell youself, “I’m glad he left me because it means I can spread my wings more and soar new heights of self-improvement with and for God.”

Being single once again means knowing myself more and enjoying myself in ways greater than I can imagine. While I’m single again, I can have more time for myself, my family, my community, and my friends. All this means more opportunities to serve God.

Being single means more time doing the things I want to do and exploring more things I’ve long been wanting to explore but never had the chance to… Maximizing all this fun learning curve before I get married, or simply before another year pass me by.

Single is fun… Single is ‘more’!

My mom is also a single mother. My father died when I was 10 years old, my younger brother was 6, and my youngest brother was only 3.

Being the strong independent woman that she is, my mother is able to happily raise her three musketeers well, or so I claim.

My other brother wins in international motocross competitions and my youngest brother wins in dance competitions, among the top students in his batch, an athlete, and an officer in their school. No to mention, the two boys are more obedient to mama than their ate.

I haven’t asked my mother yet how it is to raise up three children alone. But deep inside me, a little voice tells me, “It’s hard to be a single mother. Your mother is playing two roles, a mother and a father, at the same time. She gives more—time, effort, and resources—to provide your needs. Thus, you must also give her the sweetest love and the priceless gift of ‘the-best-person-that-you-can-be’ as her reward.”

Because she’s been a really great mother to us, come all four seasons, that other people start to appreciate and look up to my mom. My father’s side of the family loves mama more and more. Other people’s appreciation becomes her strong morale booster and her children’s love and appreciation her Olympic gold medal.

Being a single parent is empowering, fulfilling, and rewarding… Being a single parent means ‘more’!

My grandmother (my father’s auntie) opted to remain single despite some suitors. Perhaps she was blessed to be single.

She happily helped in raising up her nieces and nephews…and eventually, their kids. She hopped from one house of her sibling to the next and one town to another to take good care of her getting more and more ‘children’ and bigger and bigger ‘family’.

When my father was sick, she even traveled a rough 24-hour sail just to be with my father.

My lola Miling, who died just last year, found joy all her life in serving her relatives and making us feel special and loved. In return, she received more love from relatives and even from the relatives of her in-laws.

When she died, she not only gained love and respect, but left and engraved in our hearts the important lessons of her priceless gifts of humility, kindness, and love.

‘Single’ is a fountain of abundant blessings that cannot be bought by money and power… ‘Single’ is more!

No matter what we think of whenever the word ‘single’ pops into our minds… ‘single’ always has superimposed images of ‘more’ (time, opportunities, fun, love, and the list goes on) in our imaginations.

No matter what we feel when we realize that we are single… ‘Single’ always has a power to engrave a different feel of gratitude, joy, pride, and blessedness in our hearts.

‘Single’ isn’t just a faint no-brainer word uttered by everybody… ‘Single’ is a powerful ‘feeling’ (of contentment). It ain’t just a label thrown at us by friends… ‘Single’ is a dignified ‘title’ (of blessedness) earned through genuine wisdom and patience, and sometimes through the Holy Spirit.

It just takes a good pair of grateful eyes; optimistic mind; cheerful heart; and a tireless pair of generous hands to optimize singleness to the fullest.

Single is not one, lonely idea… ‘Single’ is ‘more’ than good things, blissful feelings, and opportunities combined.

So next time you chance upon your English professor telling you that single is singular, you may answer in repartee that ‘single’ is more time, more love, and more giving and receiving. ‘More’ is never one and alone and is greater than ‘many’. Therefore, single is never alone and is greater than ‘many’.

Me. I am enjoying my life with my loved ones and friends as I prepare myself for the coming of my one true love who will one day be proud of me—that her woman has done a lot of good things for other and for God.

More so, that he can enjoy his life with his life partner and bestfriend—from plumbing and carpentry to cooking and doing the laundry; from playing chess and scrabble to playing tennis and diving; from helping ourfamilies to serving other people and God.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Greeting and a thank-you letter to the sweetest man…

Thank you pa for marrying a woman who is strong-willed, independent, and responsible. If you only saw how hard it was for her to raise us up alone, yet successfully braved her way through every financial, emotion, and physical trials, you would be proud of your taste and choice. Giving up nor becoming selfish was never her choice.

1948 ...

You were born shortly after World War 2. I was not surprised why you were named Dulcisimo, and much more, I was not surprised you didn't like it, but learned to love and live your name--very very sweet.

You were really such a sweet, caring, and thoughtful papa.

Thank you pa for letting me experience how it was to have a loving father and witness how a loving husband treated his wife—you followed the trail of mama's cluttered stuff and picked them one by one, engaged her in loving plants and pets, and called her attention when she was getting unbecoming to her parents and siblings.

Thank you papa for the memories we shared in that red-white BonBon folding bed, where we usually hung out—we squeezed ourselves together as I sucked my feeding bottle while pulling the hair of your armpit or pulling your earlobe and you, if not flipping the photo album (which by the way you loved doing because you were proud of the photo captions you made using the cumbersome typewriter), you tell me your teenage stories or stories about work.

I so love and miss those times... Through our frequent conversations I learned a lot and I gained some 'kumpares' and 'kumares' at the age of three.

I remember how you would correct me whenever I called the other treasures, auditors, politicians 'pare' and 'kumay'.

Of the many things you taught me, one thing that stood out most is when you uttered the words "value relationships, especially friendships because a harmonious and love-filled relationship starts from genuine friendship. Nothing, even money or jewels, can replace genuine friends in times of storms and be as genuine to them." I remember in my public speaking class in high school, I even used your words as my springboard for my speech. That’s how proud I am of you.

Thank you for being a doer of what you preached... Your actions made me believe your words, that they're so deeply engraved in my memory that even I was just 3, 4, 5...10 then, until now I vividly remember many of your applied examples. By that, I have become a believer of actions rather than of just plain words and I struggle to be like you. (or both a speaker and a doer, the environment you and mama exposed me to just made me talkative and verbose, or perhaps it was the pig's 'pie' which made me like this).

Thank you for making yourself a wise man... I mean for choosing the right woman to love. When you left your physical body, the 'mama-papa' you left us consistently performs her role responsibly...and even goes beyond it selflessly.

Thank you pa for falling in love with a woman who is funny, playful, and witty... Our home becomes alive when she cracks jokes or hit us with her 'pilosopo' remarks. It's not boring when she's in the mood.

Although I'm wondering pa how you dealt with this woman’s pride, volatility, and messiness. But I thank you for balancing her personality with yours. Since you went home to Him she gradually learned to be yielding, pleasant, cool-headed, and organized (in her own amusing way).

Thank you pa for marrying a woman who is strong-willed, independent, and responsible. If you only saw how hard it was for her to raise us up alone, yet successfully braved her way through every financial, emotion, and physical trial, you would be proud of your taste and choice. Moreover, giving up nor becoming selfish was never her option.

One thing I'm not sure if you would be glad, though—seeing her perform in front of a big crowd dancing. Or perhaps you'd laugh you lungs out as you cheer her then hug her after and treat her to a good dinner because you know how much effortful it is for her to coordinate her right foot with the left.

Thank God, you were a varsity player pa, Boyet wins in international motocross competitions; you were a dancer and singer and student leader, Ken-ken wins in performing arts contests and follows your heart for service even though he was just 3 when you left us...thank God your blood is strong pa. You’d be proud seeing them in the podium receiving awards. But you’d be prouder knowing how mama raised us while mama make her own achievements.

Nonetheless, so much thanks to God that the only woman you chose to live with until your very last breath provided us with all the things we needed—tough love, tough love, tough love, and sweet love.

For through her tough love during our formation stages, we were taught how to survive and stand on our own feet as she silently provided us what we needed, making us believe that we were the ones who made all things happen, but it was really her at our backs pushing us while playing another role beside us challenging us that we couldn't do things well, then go behind again pushing us. I can never forget her tough love to me...then balancing it with her funny side (and yes her classic funny antics), and garnishing it with her natural motherly soft-heart covered with caramelized sugar to project her hard sweetness. She knows pretty well her timing when to punish and to reward.

Now that she's convinced that we, your kids, are worthy of her trust and have already proven to her some little things, she's more our barkada than our police... For me, even though she's imperfect, her imperfections are just so right to qualify her as the most wonderful mama we can ever have! Nothing beats her pa, nothing!

Thank you very much pa!

Your presence pa, i don't know but i just think of it this way, has been compromised to make 4 persons become even better and set big goals for their lives... The difficulty associated with your absence made us know God more and become obedient to ma (even though she doesn't feel mine compared with my brothers). Pa, some of mama’s traits are finding their way out now… mama and I have almost the same attitude...don't worry, she knows what I will do next, she knows I will not fail her because I love her. There are just many ways in skinning a cat, sometimes (come closer pa, I'm sure it's also mama's excuse sometimes shhhh...)

We're so lucky you left us with a valuable, priceless treasure... A selfless loving mama who willingly performs her role as 'mama-papa' and whose only desire is for us to become the best persons that we can ever be, even though she's just one supporting your three musketeers.

One of the many things that make me take my hat off is how your beloved woman makes us feel there's nothing lacking in the family and that we're even in a better boat than other children with both parents present.

I was even shocked with my friend's response pa when I shared with her about our family... She complimented your queen and said "I'm amazed how your mom brought you up for not being envious with others who have both parents. You're lucky you have a great mother." Only then I consciously affirmed that, "Yes, honestly I am never envious of other kids for having a great family... I admire them, but I am never envious."

Probably because I had a very good papa and have a great mama!

Now that your babies have already grown up pa, including your queen, our memories of you remain alive and forever will be. For as long as I live, you will live in my heart, in my mind, and in my actions. I never disregard you in discussions about families, besides, I'm always proud of you.

I promise to be always your 'little soldier' who will protect our family, including all the things you left behind—lola, your sibs, your teachings, your dreams for us. Your personal dream of becoming a priest even becomes the double adhesive tape between me and God no matter how playful I have become.

It's so amazing pa how we were able to discuss some of the good stuff, that are timely and prceless, when I was a kid... I though they were just another story-telling, but a life-saving instead.

Our other stories, let's continue them in my dream pa...!

Happy birthday papa! I hope you were here, but I'm happy knowing you're with God already feasting and celebrating everyday.

Tiny, flickering light deep inside

Sometimes I feel so happy, other times anxious. One moment I feel on top, the next moment I feel at the rock bottom. One day I feel pumped up, the following I feel my lazy bones lock me up in my chair.

Being ordinary humans, we change moods and standpoints from time to time.

I say 'ordinary' because people with special gifts and those who have practiced meditation for decades are able to control their states of mind and emotions.

I'm wondering if these people, like the monks, still experience mood swings... And if they do, how do they manage it. I'm also marvel on the stuff usually occupy their minds. Hmmmh...

Whether one is a monk, a priest, a pastor, an imam, or a simple street vendor, he is still human who needs to improve everyday and experience every emotion there is for him to master even more himself—turning anger into a good opportunity to train patience; turning anxiety into a good time to nurture faith and trust; making happiness a strong platform to heal oneself and others; etc.

Aside from our surging emotions, we also have varying temperaments and intuitions. Like one moment you feel inspired, the next you feel discouraged or lazy.

Whatever the situation or concern or mood is, we can always transform and elevate our circumstances by letting the feeling seep in, but not too long, then assess it simultaneously as you already start moving and working on what you must do at hand—feel good and perky; or finish a task.

As you work out your situation, whether it’s now clear to you why such things happen or you already forget that you are assessing, you will just be surprised that you are already feeling better or half done with your task.

The important thing is you are dynamic, you are moving towards your goal—dragging yourself or sliding smoothly—because your progress, no matter how small it is, will fuel and inspire you to keep going, as God blesses even more those whose hearts are sincerely desiring to improve and create good things.

However, don't confuse movement from progress.

Thus, it is necessary to know ourselves better by tapping our every emotion so we precisely know if we are making any progress or it's just another movement. Through this, we will be able to know how we can better motivate ourselves especially in times when there's no one by our side to stir us up—except the person who is wearing the very same shoes you are wearing.

More so, our humility to come before God and ask for His grace to improve us does so much to rekindle our passion and discover our gifts. One day we will just be surprised how His power enables us to accomplish things we never thought we know and can do.

Our passion to improve and accomplish something starts with ourselves, with that tiny, flickering fire deep within our hearts.

This passion, no matter how flickering it gets, when we commit to do our best and ask for God's provision and guidance, grows into a brilliant light…that you can no longer keep it because it keeps on glaring and passing through every hole or ooportunity… No matter how many walls try to block it's glow, it will unflinchingly find it's way out the other shafts.

This light or passion must be kept burning no matter what the season is, for with God's warm love, even though the light flickers, it will keep blazing that you have no other choice but to pass it on, spread it, until it lights the whole community, another community, and eventually, hopefully, the world.

You'll be one day surprised by how great the breadth and brightness of the once tiny light (the lazy bone and mood swinger that you are) has become. Make sure you don't let anything or anyone put out the light that God has ignited in your heart.

No matter how big and bright you become, remain humble and grateful to Him who faithfully provides you what you sought and asked for. For anyone who humbles himself is being raised by God to the sky.

Just have faith in Him, come, and ask... He will sustain you so the world can see His glory through the simple, ordinary, and humble persons like us.

One day, when you already master yourself and you know how to go about your fluctuating fervor, no matter how strong the wind blows, the light in your heart will keep on burning—to provide your own light and perhaps to other people as well.

Desire for progress and focus on it! Remember that where your focus is, there your growth will be.

Just hours ago I felt lazy to write. I decided to hold the pen, even though it seemed 10 kilos for me. Now I'm done... No longer flickering, at the moment. More situations like this in time, I know, but I’m ready to kindle my own fire and ask for His boost.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Nagsimula sa isang tasa ng kape.

Paikot-ikot sa kama, hindi ako makatulog. Marami na akong naipasalamat sa Kanya, hiniling, at ihiningi ng tawad. Alas dos na ng madaling araw, hindi pa rin ako dinadalaw ng antok.

Nakatulala sa madilim na silid, bigla kang pumasok sa isip ko. Napangiti. Napaisip. Tumawa. Umiyak.

Ikaw ang nag-iisang lalake na sobra kong kasundo kahit madalas kaduwelo. Madalas ipinagmamalaki mo ako at bida sa paningin mo kahit numero uno mo akong tagapanggulo at kadebate.

Sa tuwing nadidismaya ka sa akin, walang patumpik-tumpik mong tinatawag ang pansin ko--mapatext, mapatawag, o mapaharap-harapan.

"Mahal kita kaya ayaw kong napapasama ka," lagi mong banat. Sasagot ako at agad mong sasabihin, "Yan ka nanaman eh, ijujustify mo pa. Makinig ka sa akin. Sa tingin mo ba maririnig mo sa iba ang maririnig mo sa akin? Hindi ka sasabihan ng iba na 'tatanga tanga ka minsan'." Sabay tatawa ka at yayakapin ako.

Ikaw lang, pwera sa nanay at tatay ko, ang gustong gusto ng buo kong pangalan at aliw na aliw na tawagin akong 'Christy' (dahil alam mo ayaw kong tinatawag ako non), pero ipapakilala sa mga kaibigan ng 'Faith' habang natatawa kang banggitin ito dahil lagi kang sanay na inaasar ako... hanggang 'Potpot' na lang ang pagpapakilala mo sabay sabi 'baby ko pare.'

Sobra kitang namimiss.

Namimiss ko ang tatawagan mo ako ng disoras ng gabi, lalo na sa disoras ng gabi sa sumunod na araw pagtapos ng kaarawan mo. Tatawag ka para singilin ako na di kita binati. "Taun-taon mo na lang kinakalimutan!" (Sa totoo lang hindi ko nakalimutan ang birthday mo dahil days before nito tanda ko na at nakaalarm pa sa phone ko. Ang batiin ka ang nakakalimutan kong gawin. Ngayon sigurado ako alam mo yan).

Namimiss ko na din ang ititiext kita kahit anong oras ng araw at magugulat ka na lang na nagtext ako matapos ang maraming buwan. "May tanong ako..." "May sasabihin ako sayo..." "Alam mo ba..." "Oist! Miss na kita..." "Ipagpray mo ako kasi..." "Kamusta na? Balita?"

Namimiss ko na din ang paghintayin ka ng ilang oras, minsan araw, lingo, buwan na ang lumipas di ako dumating... Sa muli nating pagkikita, papakainin mo pa ako ng marami, magkikwentuhan tayo at tawanan, tapos pagbusog na pagsasabihan mo ako. Wala na akong lusot kasi, loko ka, binusog mo na ako at kokonsensyahin.

Miss na kita, loko ka! Kanina pa ako tumitingin sa paligid pero di kita makita. Kailangan ko pang pumikit para makita ka sa dilim.

Hai... Ikaw ang taong kakampi ko sa lahat at hindi ako pinahiya sa harap ng mga tao. Laging papuri at biruan, pero hindi mo ako nilaglag o kinucha kahit ilang beses kitang nabigo.

Ikaw ang sumbungan ko at kakampi. Ikaw ang tagapagtanggol ko kahit dalawa lang tayo ang magkausap at nakakarinig at di mo kilala ang kinikwento ko. Naalala ko pa, ang sarap ng tawanan natin sa mga arte natin.

Sa tuwing mapapagalitan ako ni mama ikaw ang lawyer ko o kaya peace negotiator. Hindi mo ako dinidiin pag napapagsabihan. Pero pagtayong dalawa na lang, mahaba pa sa sermon ng tunay na pari ang litanya mo.

Ikaw ang kadabate ko. Ikaw ang tanungan ko. Ikaw ang kasagutan ko. Ikaw ang labasan ko ng sama ng loob. Anong klaseng usapan man, lagi tayong natatapos sa tawanan at biruan.

Naalala ko pa sa tuwing may hiling ako sayo hindi mo ako binibigo, minsan may sobra pang bigay. Lagi mo ako niyayaya lumabas at syempre kumain (kasi yun ang hilig natin), ako lang ang madalas na hindi nakakarating.

Pero ni minsan hindi mo ako sinumbatan. Ikaw pa ang nagsasabi "babawi na lang tayo sa susunod."

Wala ka pa atang nasuway na usapan natin, sa pagkakatanda ko. Pero pag ako ang may kakulangan (dahil late, di dumating, di tumupad), ikaw padin ang pumupuno--masahe, dinner treat, movie, pabango, libro, at iba pa--ang kapalit.

Ang dami kong gustong ikwento sayo! Ang dami kong gustong itanong! Ang dami kong gustong gawin kasama ka! Loko ka, namimiss na kita. Pinaiyak mo pa ako ngayon.

Alam mo ba na gusto paghindi mo ako kinakampihan pero hindi mo ako iniiwanan tapos yayayain mo akong kumain para magkwentuhan at doon mo ako sasabunin pag tayong dalawa lang ang magkaharap, na kahit nagdedebate na tayo at nagtataasan ng boses... Tapos madighay lang tayo at magtatawanan na?!

Ikaw lang ang lalakeng kabiruan ko (pero may laman) pag may nagawa tayong mali sa paningin ng isa’t isa at sasabihing "Hindi mali ang ginawa mo. Mali lang siguro ang instruction ko. Ikaw ang pinakalovable na tao kaya magbago ka na ha... May ibubuti ka pa."

Ikaw ang kapalitan ko ng sekreto. Alam mo ang kiliti ko at kung paano ako ichallenge at imotivate. Alam mo kung paano palambutin ang matigas kong ulo at sakyan ang kabaliwan ko. Ikaw ang nakakaexplain at nakakalinaw ng maraming bagay na kahit tayong dalawa ay natatawa na lang sa sinasabi natin.

Miss na kita! Ikaw ang nag-iisang lalakeng literal kong tinawid ang bundok at ilog makita ka lang.

Buti nahalikan kita, nayakap, at natapik sa huli nating pagkikita. Hanggang ngayon di ako makapaniwala na hindi na tayo magkikitang muli.

Sa isip ko nasa isla ka lang, sa bago mong tahanan at pamilya. Ang masakit, sobrang buhay ka pa sa alaala ko dahil ganito tayo dati, buwanan bago nagkikita, pero kahit kailan kita gustong kausapin andiyan ka.

Ikaw ang pinangarap kong kuya na sobrang mapagmahal at mapagalaga sa iba't ibang paraan, at sobrang mahal ang Diyos na pinagsilbihan mo siya bilang pari ng 1 taon at 5 buwan bago ka umuwi sa Kanya.

Bro, miss na kita! Gusto kitang tawagan at kausapin. Pero iba na ngayon. Kahit gaano ka kabuhay sa isip at pakiramdam ko, di na kita makakausap at mayayakap pang muli.

Maraming salamat pinaramdam mo sa akin ang magkaroon ng mabuting kuya kahit sa dumi ng kuku hindi tayo magkadugo.

Naririnig ko ang tawa mo sa tuwing magaasaran tayo... Maraming salamat sa purong pagmamahal at pagbibigay ng walang kapalit.

At least nagyon, tutulog ako na alaala ko ang ngiti mo at rinig ko sa isip ko ang tawa mo. Malungkot man, masaya na din ako kasi nakita kitang masaya muli kahit sa imahinasyon lang.

Salamat na din sa isang tasa ng kape. Isang gabi ng pagtulog ko kabutihan mo ang isip ko.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Paradigm Shift: Socialites and ruralites are one and the same

Many great things on earth must not be waited to arrive… for they are in everywhere we go already, we just have to open our eyes to see, set our hearts to feel grateful, and free our minds to believe.

For a couple of weeks ago, I had been too busy with work and other stuff, or sometimes I was just busy thinking “What if I text Korsie and catch up? or “What if I send Ate Leony a chat message?” So there, I dropped a message to a friend who’s online.

“Hi Dane!” (cling cling) "Hey Pot!" she chatted back. Hi-hello. Few catching up questions... Poof! Suddenly, we just found ourselves on our way up north.

Everything happened spontaneously. She wanted to feel a different environment and I was longing to do something that would break the toxic urban life. Simply put, we both wanted to have a total relaxation. So after a few throws of messages, we packed up, and let the wheels take us to the paradise we’ve had never been to.

North pole and south pole slowly attracted each other and are now seated side-by-side. She was driving, I was facebook-ing. The soundwaves inside the car were relaxed—long flat line of silence, sporadic short talks, and long flat line again.

It was already a little over noon time when we left the busy streets. I haven’t had anything in my mouth yet since I woke up. Good thing this woman brought a well-prepared lunch box filled with cereals and a bun with garlic sourcream. (The opposite poles are attracting each other now).

The scenery along the express way validated that what was happening was real… I could hear the carabao in the vast rice field telling us “Yes, your unplanned out-of-town relaxation is real.” I could see the colorful nipa huts smile at us—“have fun!” quipped their walls. I could feel the crisp air hugs us, “warm welcome to the province!” I could smell the rain-soaked grass and the clean sea breeze spray out their best perfumes, “enjoy our humble setting.”

All these and more simple things opened up as the rolling grassy mountains of Zambales unfolded nature’s humble beauty and hospitality to us.

My adventurous, backpacking nature was complimented by the ever-ready, organized traits of the other woman. “Zoom in the lens,” her bitchy voice cracked the silence. Oh, there was the screen shot of the map going to the beach resort on her ipod screen.

“Okay, so we’re not fulfilling my dream of sleeping on the sand, grilling fish, getting wet in the rain, eating at carinderias?” I asked monotonously.

To cut it short, things worked for good that weekend… She got what she wanted, to have a beach resort to stay in. And me!!! Later you will find out.Ü

The resort was packed with guests and the only left accommodation was a nipa hut worth just within my budget (because I said the trip must be fun yet economical. I had to be clear with this party woman.)

“You socialite will be a ruralite this weekend, okay?” I emphasized, not waiting for her answer.

Everything I envisioned that we would do happened because this very woman fulfilled them unconsciously… Hooorrrrraaaay! (Because what she wanted was the exact opposite of my plan—decent room, prepared meal, no dancing in the rain only a clear sky for her photography.)

We proceeded from one moment to another doing our own stuff… yes, we walked together (one was ahead of the other). We sat on Love Love Love blanket together (one was taking pictures, the other was eating). We went to the shore together to drink (one was with a new friend, who by the way burned the coal for my grilled fish, and the other one was lying on the soft waves retrospecting in solitude).

How cool is that? Yes, we enjoyed our unwritten rule (of irony): let’s have fun together doing our own stuff independently.

We only talked with each other 20% of the entire time—only when we were eating meals. Most of our chats were even non-sense jokes and gloating of each other.

Our weekend getaway may seem a crap for some… But really, having someone by your side, equally happy as you are while doing her own stuff is far more fun and de-stressing than a tight and sheltered bonding. No bully, no feeling boss, no sensitive heart, no crybaby, no party pooper.

We met new warm and sincere friends who helped us cook my dream grilled fish at wee hours (FYI, they are the crew and the one who practically toiled burning the coal was the owner). We lived in simplicity of our humble nipa hut with no frills of fixing and plugging electrical appliances (we were living in ‘my’ dream palace with only two beds and a light as the furnishing). We were dressed in an unpretentious manner, walking from one place to another, sleeping by the shore and in the hammock while people passed by us. We were eating fresh sea foods and vegetables that were deliciously cooked yet so economical—that one might think we only paid for the labor harvesting and picking them rather than the normal trading price.

After less than 24 hours (excluding travel time) stay at the resort, the observations and realizations we got seemed like reaped from a decade experience.

Sometimes a great life just takes SILENCE (to retrospect and plan), RESPECT (to properly give way and accept), SIMPLICITY (for contentment and fulfillment), CHEERFULNESS (to bless other and be blessed by them), HUMILITY (to know and acknowledge that we are just among the great wonders He owns), and GRATITUDE (to appreciate the worth of small but great things and the abundance of God’s love).

I cannot describe how awesome and great God is for creating all that we see and experience here on earth—the mountains, the sea, the sand, the grass, the people, the carabao, the squid, and the eggplant (all these simple, complicated, big, and small things!)

Many great things on earth must not be waited to arrive… for they are in everywhere we go already, we just have to open our eyes to see, set our hearts to feel grateful, and free our minds to believe.

Now, it’s her time to sleep and my time to hit the wheel and conquer the road back to Manila. Both of us went home with smiles painted on our faces and beautiful things carved in our memories.

Whether in urban or in rural area, by the beach or in the praire or whether organized or anything-goes, prepared or carefree—life’s wonderfulness is the same, as the Maker is one and the same. The difference is just in our perspectives.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Everything will come to pass--so pass it on

By these acts of utilizing and optimizing God’s blessings, we affirm that we can be entrusted of His treasures because we share them and multiply them. Because of this, more will come to us… and we will have more to give and share.

We all know that we will all die one day, on an expected or unexpected day (heavy statement, eh?)

Plants wither. Foods get spoiled. Medicines expire. Houses deteriorate and collapse. And for sure, everything will have its end sooner or later—whether you believe in dying of the sun one day or in rapture.


Seeing the stock of old clothes in my room this morning, I thought out loud, “When I become a mother, I will train my kids to have their own boxes for ‘relatives’ and for ‘brothers and sisters in Christ’ for their hand-me-down clothes and other white elephants.”

I was thinking to train them to do it yearly (I am ambitious. Yes, yearly and I’m dreaming big! And I claim to have it now—I will have a lot of resources to share. At the same time, I’m ambitious until I have the ‘creator’ of my kids.)

As I am writing this, I’m thinking hmmmh, I need to get rich to provide them (yes I will have a big family) clothes this much (layers upon layers of biiig plastic boxes in front of me).

Something in my head is struggling to stick out its mouth right through my ear to say, “All things have their own ends. But if you willingly and happily share them, they will multiply a thousandfold, move many lives, and will come back to you in ways that your joy will be full before they come to their ends.”

Hmh, that small voice has a point… a very good point at that.

If we share love with other people—the less fortunate, the special people, the afflicted, our friends, and loved ones—we make them happy and feel loved, in turn we become happy as well, and God will be glad about our sincere actions.

If we pass on our old clothes to others in need of this basic stuff just to have something to protect their bodies rather than to have a fashion attire to put on, then we are making even better use of our resources.

For many of us, some clothes find their way to the trash bin or to the rag shelf. While for others, clothes are almost like a house already that protect them from the sun, rain, wind, smoke, and dust in the streets.

When we eat at fast food joints or at restaurants, we sometimes order more than what we could eat to display abundance. When, by just looking through the window, a lot of street kids ransack restaurant garbage bags like vultures just to get some bones and excess rice to eat.

I admire those people who make sure their extra food is still clean, take it out to bring it home or give the food to some kids asking for alms. Don’t just leave the excess food you paid for and let it get spoiled or be thrown at the trash bag, where other kids dive to eat.

There are a lot of things we can make better use of and share with others. Let’s not just let them sit still, dry up, and decay in our hearts, cabinets, and plates.

No matter who you are—student, congressman, jeepney driver, celebrity, housewife, CEO, preacher, or a sidewalk vendor—you have the power to bless others and the privilege to receive blessings from God through other people, whatever their statuses in life are.

By willingly and joyfully giving and sharing what we have, no matter how big or small, we can be His instruments in blessing others—as we simply touch others’ lives by ‘passing on’ or by our ‘responsible tough love’ as we reach out to some the proper way [instead of their desired way, usually in terms of money or pity].

You give—resources don’t get wasted; they are being optimized, instead. The principle of recycle, reuse, and reduce don’t just help, but moreso, save lives.

You reach out—time, effort, and wisdom don’t just come to you then immediately tarnish and go without being utilized for good. Hours of your lives become more meaningful.

When you pass on what you have to other people, you help and touch many hearts; you feel better and happier; and you please God and make Him proud of his sons and daughters.

By these acts of utilizing and optimizing God’s blessings, we affirm that we can be entrusted of his treasures because we share them and multiply them. Because of this, more will come to us… and we will have more to give and share.

The cycle of abundance continues—you give (others receive), you receive (others give), you both feel better and learn more, God entrusts you more blessings.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The ‘Hiling’ Ministry

Temple, church, house of God… whatever our religious affiliations are, many of us see the Supreme Being’s abode as a place for two confused things: ‘healing’ and ‘hiling’.

Whenever exam season comes, we visit His place to ask for knowledge and good memory. During financial crises, we go to His house, no matter what time of the day, to beg for sources of income. If we need to restore balance in our lives, we long to feel the serenity of His house so we can ask for His guidance. When we think we already see the love of our lives, we go to church to ask for signs from Him to validate our feelings or instructions on how to get close to our object of admiration.

We don’t run out of things to ask for… well, that’s good! It’s better to come before our Supreme Being and ask for His grace and guidance rather than just relying on our own understanding and strength.

Besides, it is said (for Christians), “Ask and you will receive. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened.” Yes! The promise that we will be blessed.

Me, whenever I go to the church for sure I am asking my God for something—good health, peace of mind, discipline, discernment, strength, among other things that almost everybody wishes for.

The thing is, many of us when we go to our churches, temples, house of God, or however you may call it, we always go there ‘asking’ for our hearts’ desires then leave thereafter.

Many of us see these infrastructures as places for wishes. And when we don’t get our wishes after arduous asking, we get mad and blame Him.

We sometimes tend to overlook the meaning of what He said, “Ask and you will receive. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened.” By this, He wants us to ‘ask, seek, and knock’. Meaning, He wants us to do our part, with our best probably, and he will do the rest for us.

Sometimes, we are even asking for things contrary to His plans for us. Thus, when our hearts become persistent to what they want and we grant our wishes with self-made answers (we go ahead of God’s answers); all the more He also becomes persistent in pursuing His plans for us and keep us back on the right course… to complete the best plan of all, in accordance to his glorious riches and best timeframe.

There are also times when He already answered our prayers, but we just don’t notice them because we are so focused on something else—on what we want.

In times of waiting or blindedness, we don't even tell Him, "God, I already labored with everything and did my best. I have hit blank walls. Whatever you want me to do, reveal it to me and I will follow." Faith. Yes, faith! Asking to increase our faith.

Moreover, there are also times when He wants us to wait and persevere so we can learn and grow from our circumstances first as He prepares us for our premium blessings.

When we feel tired from praying and waiting, we blame Him, we go away forgetting that He loves us and all He wants for us is the best, and only the best.

On the other hand, in pleasant times when our wishes have been granted and when our pains or difficulties ebb already, our gratefulness to him simultaneously recedes… then proceed to another ‘hiling’.

We focus more on our own wants, desires, and needs that we already forget the other equally important actions we must offer Him whenever we visit his abode or even just while spending exclusive time with Him somewhere else.

When we intentionally visit His house, we immediately proceed to ‘supplication’ or ‘hiling’, skipping offering Him praises (adoration), asking for forgiveness (contrition), expressing our gratitude (thanksgiving), and sometimes, allotting quiet time to listen to Him.

We are so active on asking and asking and asking… and we can stay awake on our knees until dawn just to ask. But we don’t get shy come thanksgiving time. We just thank Him in two minutes—dashing like in the last two minutes of a hoops playoff.

Now, as we already mastered the ministry of ‘hiling’, we can now start learning and mastering (with just the same zeal) adoration, repentance, thanksgiving, and listening to Him. And perhaps, we are now ready to explore other ministries so we can better serve Him as we become His instruments in blessing others and as we become blessed through others.