My father fought for my country in WWII.

A Blessed Day for Christendom

Tuned in on television soon as I arrived home at one o’clock in the morning, hoping to see white smoke come out of Sistine Chapel’s chimney. Alas, after exactly an hour, I had to sleep, for I have to rise again in a couple of hours, and little did I know that just a few minutes after my head lulled to deep slumber, the white smoke I had been waiting for would bring good news, a new Pope has been elected.cheering

Pope Francis, a humble Argentinian, advocate of the poor, a Jesuit, breathing at 76 years with only one lung, is now the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, and of course, deep in the hearts of every Catholic, that includes everyone who calls himself a Christian.

The great command is evangelizebring the good news to people who do not know our Saviour,Jesus the Christ, the Son of the Most High.

And with glad tidings, we obey, and are ultra excited, for now we have Pope Francis, the 266th Pope, in the line of Peter, the Rock to whom our Lord Jesus built His Church.

By the way, Pope Francis, am sure, is dedicated to my favorite saint, Saint Francis of Assisi, the rich lad who turned himself away from material wealth and embraced the poor, the sick, the hungry, and loved the animals and nature. Rumor has it he run with the deer and flew with the eagles. Ain’t that saying something? Pope Francis is sending us a message, let us listen and heed.

Father Cash

There’s an exciting (more likely newly ordained) priest called Fr. Cash, who bears an uncanny semblance to that comedian Ogie Alcasid, but this youthful priest, believe me, is a lot more comic, totally refreshing, absolutely handsome. He apologized for his ultra energy, he was, he said, positively excited to meet us. He didn’t know he had a calling, for he wanted to be a seaman.Fr. Cash comes from an ultra poor family from Bacolod, where he, being the eldest in the family, helped his parents in trying to make ends meet. So, in between his studies, for he was able to secure a scholarship, he engaged in all kinds of income earning chores, including raising pigs. And yet, his parents never acknowledged his work. With a heavy heart, he left home and sought refuge in a mission home, where he was educated, and the rest is history.Fr. Cash received a call from his mother, crying, telling him that his father has TB, so he asked, is it flat screen?, and sent money for medicine. Not long after, his mother called again and said his father has UTI and ulcer, so he asked what his father was drinking?, and his mother said coke. He sent home money for medicine. His mother called again, to tell him that his father had an accident, a cargo fell and pinned his father’s head on top of the truck. Fr. Cash felt sad, for what else could happen to his father. Recently, his mother called and told him his father’s liver is ailing, and diagnosis, if he was not mistaken, was the Big C.

Fr. Cash asked for prayers, for his family, because they are so poor, and his father, for he is the only father he has got.

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. ♥

Thanks from Tish

The British Royalty

The House of  Tudors did it again. Queen Elizabeth hosted another pomp and pageantry by commanding all the queen’s horses and all the queen’s men in staging the Royal Wedding of the new century: William Weds Kate!

2 billion people had been granted front seats for the occasion. And the world literally stopped, breathing sigh after sigh, as Mercedes Benzs and Rolls Royces wearing the royal seal process the route to Westminster Abbey. Brothers William and Harry had totally grown into men. Diana must be smiling from heaven, happy for her boys. And dashingly, like knights in uniform, the world’s most famous brothers gave the world another lesson on gallantry. Being royal means acknowledging that your constituents love you. And they did just that. Videos though showed that Harry is up to teasing Will well and good on his wedding….

The writers and the fashion world are scrambling for the right words to describe the new Princess Kate… how about beautiful?

There is so much more to say about this JUST WED English drama… but I want to enjoy the videos again…. so….

Thank You!

The gospel today is about the 10 lepers who desperately shouted for pity from our Lord Jesus. Jesus healed them and told them to go on their way. But one returned to say THANK YOU.

How often do we remember to say THANK YOU? Everyday, despite our problems and worries, we are filled with blessings. The company of a loved one, the presence of a friend, a smile from a stranger – there is so much to be thankful for. It is a good practice if, at the end of the day, we recall the things that gave us much pleasure and happiness. Then we say THANK YOU JESUS, it had been a wonderful day!

Actually, the homily of Fr. Ferdie, a new guest priest, this morning came in very timely. I had been feeling foul all week. Things just didn’t jibe. Mommy called the other day and she was so pent up. And that was the time Jean chose to be obstinate!  There was simply no one to turn to. Tish was as busy as a bee… The three of us hunted for insects…and the fatigue caught up with me… I was just about ready to turn my back and scream…I was beginning to feel I was in a doll’s house, or a glass menagerie, where we stored the insects collected!

But Fr. Ferdie explained that the number 10 was there for a reason. The Jews regard the number 10 as the wholeness of being, a totality. The 10 lepers were considered dead, and yet they became alive again. All because Jesus healed them. Everyday, we experience failures and frustrations because we can’t manifest everything that we want. Yet, at the end of the day, when we say our night prayers, all we have to mutter is a simple THANK YOU. And everything will fall into place.  Everything will be all right.

Our Neighbor Danny Gave Us Avocados!

Rarely does my doorbell ring.  So I was hastened to stand up from my mylotting because of the prompting doorbell call.  Good thing Jean was still home and she kindly attended to the the ringer at the gate..  It was Danny Sanchez, our neighbor . He gave us avocados again. Wow!

Danny underwent surgery early this year.  He was diagnosed with colon cancer.  He is due for chemo therapy but he is seriously considering to forego that because of the expenses it would entail.  Sigh!

Danny had been my only one kind neighbor actually.  He was the only one who helped me when the robbers broke into my home. He was also the only one who had been kind enough to advise me about the status of the neighborhood, and how I should deal with the perks and pests!

Now that he is seriously ill with a life-threatening disease, he is even the one to give us fruits, even if the avocados are only harvests from his tree.

Some people are simply kind, like Danny!

Why There Is A God.

Ninoy Aquino said that once upon a not so distant past, he was imprisoned on a solitary confinement for 7 years and 7 months.  It was that length of time alone that he learned what loneliness meant.  It was when he was battling with his mind why he had to undergo such an undeserved suffering that he realized that there must be a God Who would reward him later for enduring that very suffering. And he made a pact with the Almighty that should he get out of his cell, he would declare into the world that there is a God.

He did!

And he was given 3 wonderful years with his family, the very family who would be a nation’s strength after he was killed.

The Aquino Phoenix

Remember Kennedy’s Camelot?  Well, I think I have a penchant for such novelty.  After all, what is life without real life characters living it out for us. So we see these publicly devoured people glare in our television screens as well as frozen in our daily tabloids.  Their stories are our everyday talk, whether in formal convention conversations, ornery family dinners,  beauty salons, or even in a remote vulcanizing shop.   Jacqueline Kennedy,  widowed and bereaved, became a persona of strength and classiness.  Princess Diana, stripped of her HRH, instantly became the Queen of Hearts.  We also love the families these women married themselves to, erring or not. Mostly erring but we are forgiving.

Here in our own bailiwick, many families had tried to capture that royal stamp. But alas, none had that enough charm and character for the people to consider royal and regal in every way.  Till Benigno Aquino, Jr. laid down his life for a people massacred heart and soul in the grim years of Martial Law.

Ninoy Aquino was a young, outspoken senator whose gift of gab and youth made him the toast of the august senate before the dictator Marcos declared military rule. He was arrested and incarcerated in a  barbed-wired cell in a God-forsaken field. He could have been forgotten, for all the new generation care, till he ran for an electoral seat in the Batasang Pambansa in 1978.

All of a sudden, the youth, including yours truly, was asking who was this bespectacled thin man in black, talking clearly with the speed of light, and jolting every fibers in our body with every statement he delivers about truth, justice and human rights? And who is this 7 year old girl with the Chinese complexion, shedding tears on her already rain-soaked cheeks, pleading us to cast a vote on her dad so he could get out of his chicken house cell?

My own dad, when queried, was mum about the prisoner called Ninoy.  The walls have ears, he said, and the torture one might receive is far beyond what a decent human mind can conceive. So we voted for him.  And he lost.

Three years later, deux ex machina came into play.  Ninoy’s health deteriorated and he had to undergo surgery.  But he doesn’t trust the surgeons being offered by the government.  With the international media focused on his plight, the dictator allowed him to leave for Boston with his family.

And in Boston, Ninoy recovered.  And he had the three most wonderful years of his life being a husband to Cory and a father to his brood – Ballsy, Noynoy, Pinky, Viel and Kris, the rain-soaked lassie.

But there is something in the mind of a genius and the heart of a hero that cannot remain stagnant in the sidelights.  Before anybody could stop him, Ninoy was on board the China Airllines homeward bound.  His plane ticket identified him as Marcial Bonifacio, an alias everybody would immediately realize has reference to Martial Law and  Andres Bonifacio, the brave revolutionary hero.

As history would have probably written it, Ninoy was assassinated with a gunshot on the head, even before he descended his plane, on a noonday of August 21, 1983.  His body was seen sprawled on the tarmac.  His white suit was draped red.  He was killed in cold blood on a bright shiny day.

The Phoenix dies in the ashes, only to be reborn.

Ninoy had died but his death brought a new verve on the people.  The once voiceless masa accompanied Ninoy to his grave.  It was the longest funeral procession ever recorded in history.  Was it close to two million people?  And the government controlled Manila Bulletin nary said a word about it.  The headline read – One killed by lightning.

That was not good enough for a people long held in bondage.  The blood had been shed.  Therefore the dice had been cast.  Blood it shall be.  The people was repressed no more.

Slowly, gradually, the dictator lost his grip.  In 1985 he was finally forced to call on a snap election. Cory, Ninoy’s widow, courageously accepted the challenge. And the country turned yellow with ribbons….an allusion to Ninoy’s Tie a yellow ribbon on the old oak tree… and with confettis and balloons, t-shirts and banderitas.  It was as if the yellow fever had finally become an epidemic.

By poll tally time the following year, the controlled Commission on Election declared the dictator the winner. And Cory, the housewife turned national leader, launched her civil disobedience campaign. This led to the unprecedented and phenomenal 4 day bloodless revolution that catapulted the dictator from power.  This one shining moment that brought the pride in the Filipino was  the legacy of that martyr who could have lived a good life till old age in an alien land. Instead he chose to come back and lay down his life to free his people of tyranny.

Cory governed for six years.  Her administration was bombarded with coup de tats led by disgruntled soldiers from martial rule.  Yet she made it to the US Congress, the very first Filipino given the privilege to speak before the joint session of the House of Representatives. Before her speech was over, every one in attendance knew it was their privilege to listen to this unassuming housewife called Cory.

Cory turned over the presidency to her successor in 1992.  Then she went back to her home, taking care of her family, especially the grandchildren who knew her only as Lola.

But the reign of greed seems difficult to delete.  The political animals had taken advantage of their positions in government or the legislation to benefit their well beings only.  The Filipinos had become poorer. By the time Cory was ailing with cancer in 2008, many anomalous deals had been divulged. Cory would come to the scene every now and then, holding her rosary, praying, praying, urging everyone to do the same, so that the righteous will prevail. Yet the cancer caught up with her. And the people waited as she gave a good fight.  Eventually, she had to say good-bye and yield to the call of the Almighty.

In no time, Time Magazine had declared Corazon C. Aquino as the saint of democracy.  And the people accompanied her to her final resting place, beside Ninoy, the man she loved.

And the Phoenix dies in the ashes, only to be reborn.

Noynoy was the only son of Ninoy and Cory.  Unmarried and tasked to take care of his four sisters, Noynoy was never in the limelight.  But he worked his way up from Congress to the Senate.  But all of a sudden, during the wake of his mother, the people saw his quiet image, genuinely grieving for the loss of his beloved mother.  And the cameras rolled.  The day after Cory was interred, the tarpaulins had sent the message from the people to the lone son – we want you to be our president.

Noynoy had no choice but to curtail his grief.  Like his father before him, and his mother, too, the Filipino people must be served.  Noynoy has a beautiful girlfriend called Shalani.  I am sure she wants to start with their own family right away.  But as it is, Noynoy has a job to do and she had taken the backseat.

A Malacanang Palace wedding would  totally be romantic  and absolutely be wonderful for the Filipinos.

But that could come later, when you so desire, young Phoenix.  In the meantime, fly high!

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