After Listening to President Aquino on EDSA Anniversary Mass

Thanks, President Aquino, for sharing to us your juvenile thoughts when your father was killed and tossed. I was watching the television that lunch time of August 21 when the tube went blank, but news of your father’s assassination has hit the airwaves, and I saw my own father’s face, his concern, his sadness. My father told me about your father’s genius and gift of gab, and together, my father and I listened to that one rare moment when from prison, he was allowed an interview, and gosh, he outsmarted his interviewers, including that Sri Lankan Ronnie Nathanielz.

Of course any one of us would very much like to avenge a senseless act of violence for a loved one, but as you reminded us, that is not forgiving, that is not the way to peace, not love at all.

I have done my best to listen to you, as you are my President, Now I will put my total trust in you on this Bangsamoro Law, because you are right, peace begins with us.

And as St. Francis would pray…..

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life

My Lola’s Feast Day Today.

They say that a saint’s feast day is commemorated on the saint’s death day.

There is one person in my life I call a saint, and that would be my grandmother, Lola Naty.

Today is the feast day of my grandmother, Lola Naty, she died thirty-two years ago. and left behind seven children and some twenty-six grandchildren. It feels good to remember this old lady, who, when my siblings and I were little, quietly prepared our breakfasts, taught us to pray the Angelus and the Rosary wholeheartedly every night, shielded us with her calm resolve from the violent storms, and brought us to hilarious failed picnics, swim pools, downtown movies with treats either at the panciteria or batchoy @ Skorpios, and the annual Acies (the renewing of pledge to the Blessed Mother).

Lola, as we called her, accent on the second syllable, was a partner in crime, for she translated my homework in Spanish, making my teacher believe I was proficient in the language, till he asked me to recite in class and discovered the only conversation I could carry is Si Senyor, perdona me, pero no mas intiende. I think the only thing that saved me and gave me a good grade was my singing of Dios Te Salve Maria, which of course, was our growing up Santakrusan song every merry month of May. LOL.

Will light up a candle and lay some flowers, on Lola Naty’s grave at Loyola later today. Hoping that her children and grandchildren, wherever they may be, would remember this courageous lady who endured, with certainty, many of the harshest trials in life. ♥

Ronald Santiago, from OFW to security guard, a story of endurance and faith!

He was the graveyard shift at the UP Institute of Biology, so my sister Grace and I, and my daughter, asked him if there are ghosts in the buildings. We were up early because my daughter had to make some ID of her moths and butterflies. Of course, the security guard said, I just had an encounter with him, for I am new here. His name was Ronald Santiago. And his brush with the spirit did not recur again because he supposedly talked with the spirit and said that he is the new guard, and he is only securing the premises.

That brought the goosebumps, and more stories about this young, talkative guard whose duty is to keep the students safe.

Well, he was once an OFW in the Middle East. Worked as a welder in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya. The past year 2011 was, as the news featured, the fall of dictatorships in these countries, and Ronald was one of those migrant workers displaced by the civil strife. At first, he was willing to stay and endure the chaos, for there was a job there that would give him pay, as compared to none at all back home, for he has not enough education in his bio data. At 32, he had finished sending his siblings to school, unfortunately though, they all married right away and has still been dependent on him.

He would have stayed, and had actually been residing with two Libyan women who sought his help. One day though, the elder of the two women made the mistake of opening the door to soldiers with power arms, as in AK 14, Ronald said. The soldiers grabbed the younger woman and was about to rape her when Ronald shouted “Don’t, she is my wife.” So the soldiers grabbed the older woman and raped her in front of them. Ronald couldn’t save her anymore, for the soldiers know that migrant workers only has one wife.

That experience brought Ronald home. He traveled by foot to get to the plane that brought him home. He brought some seven hundred thousand with him, thinking that was enough to marry his girlfriend of nine years, and start a family. For some divine reason though, his girlfriend Roxanne fell ill. She collapsed one day and was diagnosed with a heart condition. Ronald had her attended to at the Philippine General Hospital. That meant also that his hard earned money had to foot the bills.

They had not married, and Roxanne is deteriorating. Ronald enrolled himself in a security agency, hoping he could have a post where there is a minimum pay.

The post at the UP IB was a prayer answered, he said. He added that God had always answered his prayers. He just didn’t foresee that a ghost was his welcoming party in his new job.

Thanks from Tish

Patricia Anne Leyva Palma plays a Shostakovich!

Tish rendered her Second Piano Recital last Saturday, June 26, at the Mini Hall of the College of Music. Here she is playing a Shostakovich Concerto with her teacher, Professor Augusto Espino.


I am not going to talk about birds. Falcon – that is the name of the tropical depression that had been lashing throughout the archipelago since yesterday afternoon. I do not know if it had been upgraded into a storm but right now, it is damn cold!. The volume of rain had reached critical level, and  the people had been advised to seek shelter on higher grounds, or so I heard over the radio this morning. Whaaah, the weather is really dampening. I wish the rain stops. We ain’t got food yet, not even rice to cook. I was so busy preparing for the recital tomorrow that I forgot to replenish our own ref. So, I had been keeping warm with mugs of coffee, and the two girls, with warm Milo.

Tish is ready  for the piano recital, and the suspension of classes today is a bonus practice time.  The downpour is loud and wind is howling, but when Tish plays her pieces, the weather becomes bearable. Music does changes moods, and I am :).  I am tuning in to television news in a few moments though…., I do hope the poor are not exposed to the cold…

My Mommy Reminisces Her Childhood!

Mommy called sometime after lunch today. Her half-an-hour phone card ran out in twenty, so I dialed. She couldn’t sleep even if it was almost midnight in LA. She said that perhaps now that she is alone, she gets to reminisce her childhood, one that was so difficult because of the world war. The call was rather long, but I enjoyed mommy’s recollection…

She was a happy child despite their house getting bombed and burned down by the Japanese forces… She sold peanuts and envied her classmates who queued for their classes… and one day, her friend Punggit forced her to leave her peanut post and come line up for class. She did, and when the new teacher asked who she was, Punggit answered She is our best student!

Mommy was under a teacher called Mrs. Suarez. One day, Mrs. Suarez gave the top students some seat work. When the bell rang for recess, mommy ran to the lohiya to eat her merienda. Her stepfather was there and she asked what was the answer to one choose the correct answer item. Her stepfather pointed to the answer she thought was right. So she marked her answer, folded her paper, and returned to class. Then the teacher asked them to submit their papers. Little did mommy know that that was the final test that would determine the rankings of the honor students. The following day, the teacher announced the placing, and mommy was first honor. Ha Ha!  Mrs. Suarez declared that in  her 23 years of being a teacher, the class mommy belonged was the best.

Mommy said that her classmate Cesar Gonzalez was pitted against her in spelling. It was sort of boys versus girls. Cesar asked mommy to spell the word immediately. Mommy forgot one m and the girls lost! Cesar went on to become a doctor, so mommy said he was really intelligent. But that is mommy”s way of saying that she didn’t have books, much less a dictionary. Their house got bombed. In fact they didn’t have towels. They used their clothes to dry themselves after bath. And she had only two worn dresses then. Mommy was accelerated from fourth to fifth to sixth grade all in a span of one year, three months for each level. That was also why she was not given elementary honors, because she only had 3 months of 6th grade. but she graduated.

Mommy said that one of her classmates , Odon de Castro, became a priest. So, their batch from Cavite must really be a good group. And of course mommy turned out to be the best secretary in the US Naval Supply Depot. She was high school valedictorian, after all.. And the Blue Cross of America lauded her for performance par excellence.

Mommy said that a student from Northridge named Pam was writing her thesis in 1994. Pam wrote mommy’s story and her childhood experience is now archived in the university. 🙂

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