Fill in the gaps.

Do I like Star Wars?

Well, like Harrison Ford. you can omit me from the discussion. Enough of the force and Darth Vader for me, especially so when the rise to evil of Anakin disillusioned many a fan that evil could be so fascinating.

Yet, with my daughters, I found myself in sync with the millennials watching the sequel hoping to know whatever happened to Luke Skywalker. Who would not want to know. After all, there is a Jedi in all of us.

The demise of Hans Solo was the last straw. Every one was talking about Ford wanting an end to his character, and I wondered if only I had seen it was a cinematic technique from Oedipus Rex, that the son will slay the father in a place where three roads meet. With Hans, it was on a bridge that hanged over a pit.

Suffice it to say that bringing back the Star Wars characters of my youth fascinated me, even if the new characters are totally millennial in action and disposition. Oh well.

Surprises of surprises, my daughter brought me yesterday to a movie treat called Rogue One. I asked right outside the theater at Century Mall if the movie was starring Baymax? My daughters sighed in disgust. They filled me in that this was a side story in Star Wars.

And I found myself enjoying a rebel group led by a lady, offering their lives, with only courage and resolve, to secure a document from Darth Vader’s Imperial Globe, a document that shows a loophole, or a fault, or the Death Star’s Achilles Heels, that which makes the sinister headquarters vulnerable.

The lady heroine is known as Star Dust, a romantic name given by her parents to a child whose life’s story is as contrary to her poetic alias. She was brought up by a questionable creature after her mother was killed and her father taken. Yet, her child’s longing for father remained, as a star dust does in the vast multitude in the galaxy.

So I found myself loving Star Wars again. And if may mention, to spoil you further, that the force is strong, with the Jedi perhaps descendants of ancient arts born from the cold Himalayas, I don’t know really.

No way to end this piece but to say that “I am one with the force and the force is with me.”

My Daughter’s Take on Human Rights

We are in perilous times once again. The world is in the winter of discontent. Just when we’ve thought globalization and mobilization, almost all citizens of the world connected through a five inch cellular phone, then we realize we are caught off guard by the seeming rise to power of despicable forces that threaten whatever peace we have enjoyed so far.

Sadly, many a collateral damage couldn’t be undone. And the inevitable war against evil is upon us. That is reality. And all is written in our history books. My mistake, I did believe that somehow, after the little contribution I participated in for my country, I would be spared of the harshness of brutal deaths and inhuman disregard to life that sporadically terrorized the world.

Yesterday, I was surprised by an article written by my own daughter, about human rights. I hope the write-up reaches the United Nations, the New York Times, the European tabloids, the Middle East, our own Asia especially China and Indonesia. because this is a youth’s perception of why we are fighting. We have allowed the bullies to tramp on us. And we need sanity, understanding, information and logic. So please read and pass. For our children.

I am very proud of you, Jean.

Spotlight on.

Tomorrow signals the beginning of Semana Santa, when we wave our palms to welcome the Lord as He enters Jerusalem.

Yet today, I feel it is already a Black Saturday.

My daughter Tish and I meant to be attuned with the Lenten Season, as we try to do so every year. Today, we were early for a recollection at our parish church, St. Paul of the Cross. One morning, we thought, to refresh in our hearts the Passion of our Jesus, a necessary restrengthening after a long year of busyness. I have no problem with the faith, fortitude is a blessing. My upbringing in the Catholic Church was a formidable one. Still, a renewal of sorts comes in useful, to wave off temptations. More importantly, Tish is hungry for a credible theological study, an infallible standpoint or viewpoint why the church we love, the Catholic Church, is the one true church. The public schools which Tish attended fell short of defining in an intellectual or academic presentation, our being and our relationship with God. In other words, even the teachers have not read the entirety of the Bible, otherwise, they could have inculcated in their students the faith in a very satisfactory level. Anyway, that was why we were punctual, because we want to know.

Fr. Alex Balatbat of the Archdiocese of Antipolo shocked the laity, most of whom were white-haired servers from different ministries, when he opened with a statement that we would be talking about the enemy, or the devil. It was a tactical strategy, he said, because in warfare, if you do not know the enemy, you will lose.

He proceeded narrating the battle of a second lieutenant Archangel Michael, the very one who defeated the five star general of a seraphim called Lucifer, the bearer of light, and cast this evil one not into hell, but right here on earth.

That is why, he proposed, to look beside you or right behind you, the devil might be there, in the form of a good person, waiting for an opportunity to tempt you. Beware, he said, because the devil can imitate even the voice of God.

Which brings me to why I am feeling a Black Saturday today. Do not get me wrong, because Fr. Alex wrapped up the Recollection with the hope in the Eucharist and an overwhelming Mercy that was instituted and bequeathed to us in the Last Supper, after one of the apostles betrayed our Lord for thirty pieces of silver that first Maundy Thursday. Fr. Alex said he had succumbed to many temptations, too, as many priests,did. Like all of us. No such thing as a perfect human being.

And I had the sad luck of picking SPOTLIGHT, Oscar’s best picture, a film highly recommended by a friend, Denis Andrenson, that movie that revealed the atrocities of the clergy, towards poor, innocent, impressionable and lonely children. I did remember those who called themselves men of God, and they dressed in robes, and yet somehow, I know, they have abused their priesthood.

No, the molestation did not happen only in Boston, nor was it a single incident. At the tail end, I saw Manila. It was a global psychiatric phenomenon that affected the Vatican. The tally of priest molesters still has to be divulged. The more depressing thing, many of the molested did not survive. Those who did kept away from the faith.

You and I will have a long week, and perhaps you could include in your quiet moments watching Spotlight, and make an effort to pray for our erring priests. Lucifer was a seraph. Our church had been infiltrated. We are called to arms.

While @ Starbucks

My daughter and I came from a forum about studying the indigenous people’s ways on predicting a disaster in the offing. Decided to sip cappucinno at Starbucks, for a little relaxation before hopping to another consultation at the university.

By way of habit, I browse through the pages of my favorite daily, the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Not really to read, for most of the issues have been reported on television and radio. I was only going through the titles and a byline caught my eye. Hmmm, someone shares my daughter’s name. When I focused, gosh, it is my daughter’s name. Ha ha.

I immediately told the man on the next table. And he smiled at my ecstatic jubilation (if this sounds redundant, no no, this is my hyperbolic reaction to something totally unexpected). Told the man to watch our cellphones charging, and went to Jean in queue for our coffee. She looked me with concern, her phone and bag left unguarded, but when I showed her the newspaper, she was surprised, too. And placed her order.

Here’s her first published article, on the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Youngblood.


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My Resolution 2014

What is your New Year’s Resolution? I have one.

Resolution, according to Google, means “a firm decision to do or not to do something.”

In school, every end of the year, or the beginning of a new year, the composition teachers would ask the students, as if there is no other interesting topic in the world, to write a formal theme about personal resolutions. Most often, the writing instructions are phrased in the negative, like, what, in your person, would you like to change. The students are given examples such as: I will study harder, I will not cheat anymore, I will obey my parents from now on, I will not drink colas or the strong stuff anymore, I will not smoke anymore, I will not party too much anymore.

It is as if the students are not studying enough, or are always cheating, disobedient to their parents, drink a lot of prohibited liquid, smoke cigarettes, and party more than school. In the minds of the students, they have to find their faults. In the minds of the students, they have to identify the bad in them, and thereby make resolutions.

I did despise those moments when I have to search the bad in me. I would have liked, instead, to find the good in me, and resolve to make better for another year. If I was a basketball player, I would practice more, so my team could become champs. If I was good in academics, I’d make an extra effort to help a classmate who is behind in Math. If I was a singer, I’d serenade someone who needs cheering up each day.

Resolutions are meant to enhance one’s person. Resolutions are meant to make yet a better person out of the old one.

I am not too old for resolutions. And this 2014, I’d like to look for a downtrodden each day and liven him or her up with a gracious compliment. A stranger to talk to each day, my way of loving my neighbor, my way of loving my self, too.

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