Oh Well…

There was so much I wanted to post here, since i’d last written my thoughts since way back when, but there was just not enough time to gather the words and just write them here.

As it is, now I am having a difficult time recollecting those that mattered, such as the preoccupation with shoal and other matters with China (including the execution of a Filipino drug mule), and the water companies squeezing the blood of the citizens by deliberately but secretly passing the payment of the the company income tax to the people, (including their travel expenses and donations to charity), SHAME on each one of them!

So, as the world spins, I put on as much effort to accomplish my tasks, even when the flesh is not willing anymore.. Thus, the flat tire when I drove right onto the stone blocks the Manila Water dug up and left unattended. I do thank my Guardian Angel for keeping me all right. Cost me a few hundreds for vulcanizing, the rubber tear was ugly. My greatest consolation, of course, is that I’m still alive! (Mommy, spare the scolding, please.) It was just a flat tire, and a very expensive tire.

I remember being surprised by the Richard Poon-Maricar Reyes nuptials, and concluding how humble must that girl muttered her prayers and begged for love, for honestly, would anyone really take her seriously after her disgusting sex video, but here’s this dashing entertainer, so genuinely in love with her, and when many women wait wanting for attention, the gentleman sealed his love for her in a storybook wedding.

So, what did I do? Okay, I was tired with the countless errands, including telling GLOBE people they are deceitful, and my local government Engineering Department complacent, that I wanted to comfort myself. I texted my daughters and said I was buying a single ticket for MAN OF STEEL. I wanted something to shoo my concerns away. The girls said okay, and so I groped to the cold theater with my chicken fillet and iced tea. But the moment Superman started, I dozed off to sleep, and woke up just in time for the credits.

It couldn’t get any worse, can it.?

Calling Complacent Catholics

Heard 7pm Mass at St. Paul last night, Fr. Eymart delivered a very powerful homily, addressed the complacent Catholics, said statistics show that for every eleven Catholics, one departs the Catholic Church, for such reasons as: the priest does not deliver a good homily; second collections are money making for the church. and the like. How flimsy, or how lame. Truth is, Catholics who say such things are those who seek attention for themselves, those who are afflicted with crab mentality, because they are the ones who are not happy watching many other Catholics live Christianity as the Master commanded them so. So, they find reasons to create talk, to put down their fellow Catholics, and in the end, they leave, and live by one protestant rule: attack the Catholic Church. Catholics had been complacent long enough, and that includes those who are Catholics on Sundays only. There is much more to being a Catholic than attending the Mass an hour in a week. Catholicism calls for universal service. And what is alarming, while Christians are busy destroying Christians, abominations in every facet of the human being are inculturated in the Christian. Now the Christian believes divorce is right, abortion is right, or same sex marriage is right. No, these things are never right. This is of great concern. What is more scary is: there are more believers of Islam now, and gradually, they are asserting their sovereignty over society. Just go to your nearest malls, you will find them there. Come on, come on, Catholics, wake up, our job is not done, the mission is not over, come on, wake up and help. Carry your Cross.

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.

Unexpected Angel Online

Sigh! I have to check myself. My mom is in the worst of condition, and I could’t care for her. She’s an ocean away. And I stay tuned to whatever progress, or the lack of it, via internet.  Good thing there is this stuff, albeit the waiting could also be painstaking. Nevertheless, I stay online, and become miserable by the minute…

Until a High School mate suddenly greeted me “Good Morning!” I was surprised, for I was real depressed and agonizing and I thought I couldn’t communicate sanely with anyone. But she asked how am I?, and I, who always says my true state of being, simply answered how bad I feel… And unexpectedly, she gave me some of the most beautiful words of encouragement I needed. And some sound advice also on how to be realistic…

And of course, for a brief moment, I pondered on how I must not allow my Mom’s helplessness and my own melancholy get the better of our situation.

My classmate continued:

“There’s nothing that’s too much for you if you’re trusting God. You can handle whatever comes your way because God promises that He’ll never put more on us than we can bear and deal with.

Said that was the quote she reminds herself with everyday, as it was posted on her desk. Made me pause and reflect really, for I always contend that I love God. And that love must be premised with trust, or it will not be love at all.

So, I did thank my classmate of long ago, and now my new online friend. She replied”

“Always here for you, anytime. Dinner tonite is chicken soup and pot roast with veggies. Kain na tayo. They say God brings people unexpectedly in our lives as His instruments, ako kaya yun ngayon? I am honored to be able to deliver His message and hopefully lighten your load. O ayan, maybe I will be lucky to be mentioned in ur blog as the “unexpected messenger.” lol Keep smiling!”

Ha ha, I am smiling still as I write this blog. Thanks, Edelyn, you are my unexpected angel online, bringer of good feelings.

Why People Are Lonely On Valentine’s Day

Okay, I am not going to discuss here emotions lovers typically exude on this Day of Hearts. I just want to put on record the thoughts that transpired in my mind when I attended the Mass this day. Here is:

Curious that Fr. Mike at the UP Church would discuss, on Valentine’s Day, the alone-ness and loneliness of our Lord Jesus, or was it intentional? He said that it was poignant that Jesus recognized, in His human nature, the depths of sadness even if He was in the company of His disciples. Why? Because none of those with Him had conceived the level of His spirituality, and therefore did not understand Him.
Thus, we who find ourselves lonely, too, must have, in our attempt to be like Christ, reached a certain level of spirituality that others do not understand. So, for all the lonely people, just think that Jesus did feel lonely first.

The Rainbow

I was tired. I attended the 4 pm Children’s Mass at the UP Church of the Holy Sacrifice after I dropped Winnie and Patrick at the Capitol Medical. There was a little traffic at the university gate but it was smooth sailing from Katipunan to Marikina.

I stopped for fuel at the Petron in Marquinton, and bought some bread, too, at Pan de Manila. Right before I boarded my van, I looked up into the heavens and breathed a deep sigh. It was a long day. I had been meditating and praying for my petitions. And my heart was tired. But I wanted look at the heavens and try to see if God is looking back at me. I always do that, search for Him in the heavens, that is.  I had always felt alone in my life’s journey, and when I feel sad, I seek His company in His marvelous creation. So I said to myself that I had to look now, for my heart was heavy, and mentally made a run down of the petitions I prayed for.

White and grey clouds were scattered all over the skies, and I couldn’t see a clear blue. Hmmm, I said, perhaps I had to wait more days for answers….. and weeks, or months…. I thought about how my mom must be uncomfortable. I told God that that prayer was immediate. And I perceived the anguish in Winnie, that was also immediate. Yet, I told God, okay, I concede,  in Your own time, everything will be beautiful.

So, I hopped in my rickety jalopy and started my drive home. I made a U at the fuel depot and as I drove, right there before me, amidst the chaotic clouds, a tiny rainbow was peeping bright! Whoooah, I said, Oh God, thank you! I cried. I made many rights and lefts, yet the tiny rainbow stayed with me, guided me, till I got home.

I will remember your Covenant, my God. 🙂

Signs that the times are changing .

We had been having some fine days this January.  It has not been very cold like it used to many years back, but the days are just fine, people can actually walk without worrying too much about the heat of the sun. The heavens are showing play by play of cumulus clouds interchanging with cirrus and stratus, and twice or three times this week, even with the nimbus rain clouds.  And the drizzle that the nimbus brought helped refresh the parching earth.

Yesterday afternoon, I was witness to the marvelous sight of the silver lining gracing the heavens, and later on, the majestic tangerine sun setting on the horizon.  As I was feeling utterly alone again, I felt that the heavens was one with me.

But of course the day, as I described it on facebook, was riveting.  I brought Ate Grace and Tami to the US Embassy for their visa interview early in the morning.  Soon, the two will depart for the land on the other side of the great Pacific, where my mom is, and the rest of my family.  And, as I always contend, the divide makes the family alienated from one another. I do hope that that does not happen to our children.

But I would like Ate Grace to get there fast, because mommy is ailing with lung cancer. The chemotherapy had made mommy very weak.  Mommy said that my brothers were excellent caregivers.  But Ate Grace, she could give my brothers the necessary reprieve.

Tish had her interview at St. Luke’s Medical School after lunch. The president of the college, a neurologist, told her to enroll  right away once  she receives her acceptance letter.  Yehey! I knew my Tish would make it because she had been totally focused in her studies, aside, of course, from her musical escapades, wherein she is a natural.  The prez  asked Tish if she had seen the med school, and my honest rolly-polly of a girl answered, not yet, except for the canteen. The prez gave a hearty laugh. And that meant life, for my Tish,  in the next five years, would mean poking her nose on medical books.

But there is still the matter of the UP-PGH College of Medicine, where Tish truly prays she gets a slot on. Not only is this a matter of prestige, because batting average for excellency is a hundred per cent, but PGH is the only recognized school in the US, meaning should someone be given a chance to continue medicine in the US, all units garnered from PGH are credited. At least that is what the rumors have it.

My daughter now has a mind of her own, and she decides for herself. That started when I lost in ’04, my Tish insisted that she wanted a Pisay education, for she passed the exams in the first place. I yielded.  Now I am advising St. Luke’s, facility wise, and there is no waiver for a three year service after studying med.  I hope my daughter heeds my advice.

My oldest friend, in terms of  length of years, Menchie, joined me in hearing the Mass,  a daily devotion I do for my ailing mother. Menchie is a survivor, too, and she simply said the only recourse is prayer.  Then we ate at Pancake House in Katipunan. The soup was hot, the shrimp salad with veggie greens was good, and the fillets of fish with brown sticky rice and garnished with pesto seasoning was filling. Mench was a good audience to my movie tales, and actually liked my narration and corresponding criticism of the movies I discussed with her. Ha ha, I held her captive for an hour till my Jean texted she was on her way home from overtime.

I fetched Ate Grace and Tami at McDonald’s, Jean at the Katipunan station, and then we proceeded to see Winnie at the Capitol Medical at Quezon Avenue. Her husband Nick had a mild heart attack and he was placed at the intensive care unit. Winnie was afraid, but I told her to clasp a firm hold with prayers. Winnie and Nick had been dearest friends to me for more than two decades now, and it is frightening that Nick who had kept us calm, is lying there in the hospital…

The times are changing. Surely the signs are being shown in the heavens.  The journey of our lives continue.  I, for one, am very apprehensive. I am sure though that I cannot allow fear to set in. The future is something we truly do not know, but I would like to believe that something good is ahead for all of us.

A Time To Embrace.

My life is not exactly as ideal as I would have wanted it to be.  There were moments in my past that had truly been trying. I couldn’t say I escaped from those moments unscathed, for now I own some ugly marks that remind me of how battle scarred I am.

I just had a painful recollection of what had been. I wish I could print it here but I’d rather not.  As it is, the recollection was probably a time to break down, or a time to weep.  At certain points in one’s life, I think, tears are sticky and messy but necessary. Why? Maybe because there is a time to heal, and later….

a time to embrace, again.

Here’s thanking a very special person for that firm but soft shoulder to lean on.

Home Alone Beating Boredom

Technically, my Artemis is with me. So there is nothing to worry about. I do talk to her and she nudges my thigh when she needs some food, but that is all our relationship is all about. My lovely bitch is more interested in the chained labs and poodles whose daily walk routine mean excitement for my Greek goddess. And there is the matter of shooing the jellicle cats away. And when Artie comes inside the house, she simply loves sleeping instead of bothering me with the household chores and my own siestas. Well….

So, I feel home alone. What is that thing they call empty nest syndrome? I do hope I would not succumb to such ever. Depression is a scary disease. I am glad I have loads of work, and before I could even think about the word rest, it is already time to go and fetch my girls.

Today is one example of what I am ranting here. I was up at 4:30 am, half an hour late from my daily waking time. That was because I had a late night last night. My Jean went on overtime again and I waited one and half hours for her at McDo. And the traffic home was, as usual, a jam. I have a long cut, but I suppose many motorists had already discovered my route, and now I am not by my lonesome self passing by the graveyard….

I cooked some fish pops and crab omelets and fried some rice for breakfast. It is a good thing that there are easy to prepare meals for days like this, when the body wouldn’t want to rise up from the bed. And Jean and Tish enjoyed my new gourmet… ha ha… but I think the ketchup made the seafood better tasting.

And I tackled the laundry just as I turned the computer on for yahoo news…. I was hanging the clothes by the time the girls got down for the new day. And minutes later, after hurried baths (I still don’t understand how my two girls seem to take their baths leisurely but are still able to beat the clock by the time I bring the L3 out), we were traversing the zig and the zag on the way to UP, and the highly congested Katipunan Avenue on the way to the train station.

As always, I am one of a hell driver, and I know many are peeved with the way I nose myself in the bumper to bumper situation, but what can I do?, I have to beat the clock at 7, especially today when I am number coded.

So I was back home a little after 7. I drizzled tank water on my new plants, especially the wild weed chleome that Tish needs for her thesis. I did pull out some wild grass and trimmed the sampaguita vines, and by the time I finished, the rain has gone and the hot sun was upon me. So, I came inside the kitchen and disinfected the sink and the floor and washed the rugs and cleaned the oven… Then I headed to the bathroom for a real good bath, the quick morning shower whilst my girls were eating were taken only because I want to feel fresh while driving. Bath always mean shampoo and conditioner, and indulging in the soft lather bubble soaps make… That done, I made myself some cream cheese croissant. And my Artie had to feed on her merienda of fried chicken and nothing else….

By noontime, the clothes have dried and I was on to ironing while listening to the horrid news.

And now, here I am, pretty bored with the reruns that followed the news, so I turned on this gadget, hoping to make a few cents before the day is over.  I am glad there is facebook, and currently I am communicating with one treasured friend from a quarter century ago. I have lost a few friends in the past, including some I believed were gold. Alas, not everything that glitters is gold. But I am happy that here is one lost friend found again… true  treasures lost has ways of coming back… 

And the ennui, it’s nothing.

Monte Maria

I had so many blessings to thank the Almighty for, and I know that those blessings would not have come my way had I not invoked the help of the Blessed Mother.  Despite my multiple misgivings, Mama Mary had seen to it that all my prayers be granted. Gradually, blessings came, one after the other, and all I had to do was to utter 3 Hail Mary, or when I am troubled, the Memorare.

And so I insisted that by way of thanking God and His handmaid, the Legion of Mary CEO, we – that means Praesidium Mirror of Justice and I – go on a pilgrimage to Monte Maria. It was, after all, time for summer function. The members, mostly college girls, needed that bonding and breathing, or simply a real good break from everyday routine. The girls had been very devout to  the Legion, heeding to the commands of the Blessed Mother even if the tasks given them conflict with their personal schedules. Student life is totally pressurized, but the girls dutifully commit their Sunday mornings to weekly meetings and rendering Catechism to the marginalized children of the community. They know that there is a lot of more work to be done but for now, they had to deliver only what they can offer.

But when I mentioned Monte Maria, their eyebrows raised!  They only saved PhP700 bucks for their summer leisure! A pilgrimage would simply be a dream. But I urged them to activate their resources without mentioning that Mama Mary makes all things possible. The Legion of Mary can never solicit nor accept any donation, but by the end of the meeting, the girls had transport and food for the trip.

And so Monte Maria, here they come!

But what is Monte Maria? And why do many people set on this pilgrimage when two or three years ago, it was probably never heard of.  Google can answer the basic facts…. but here is what we discovered…

The pilgrimage to Monte Maria subtly subjects the pilgrims to a misty, modern miracle!  This simply means: we got LOST!

Okay, google was not clear what road to take, nor what province was Monte Maria located. So we groped our way, asking locals which way was it to Monte Maria… but in the process of stopping and asking , we saw the mist over  Taal Volcano, the world’s tiniest volcano which lies in the heart of a lake, and right then and there, everyone can feel the mighty power of God, guiding us through our journey…which, at the end of the day, I really literally said, what a journey it had been…

We did reach Monte Maria. It was situated some two kilometers after Alfonso Cavite, so technically, the real property tax goes to this province. But the cliff seemed perched on the borderline of Batangas, because I believe we are just a ferry boat to the island of Mindoro. And when I asked a youth volunteer where we were exactly, he told me a tale about Calle Ruega being so beautiful that I forgot what my original query was…

And so, I had my hot arroz caldo, although the caldo was just a bone and there was a hard boiled egg in exchange for the chicken… while the girls posed for picture mementos. The sun seemed to be hiding somewhere because although it was a bright morning, the rays were nowhere to be seen.

We arrived sometime after seven, just as the rest of the pilgrims were beginning to arrive. Probably, every other soul was surprised as I was because the Shrine was invisible to the naked eye! And before I forget, I must write that that Exupery adage is true, it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, for what is essential is invisible to the eye!

But as I said, the girls had fun capturing  some scenery, especially the flowers, most likely a present day version of Mary’s flower garden. And after I had my bowl of hot arroz and egg, and after I had that enchanting chat with the youth volunteer, I also posed for my pictures. By the way, by way of calming me down, the youth volunteer expressly said that no matter the volume of rain nor the howling of the winds, it does not flood in Monte Maria, and all we ever get is the passing of the gentle breeze… That, of course, gave me a thought… a thought that the answer of which was just about to unfold….

So we got lost, and I enjoyed the mist, and I couldn’t see the Shrine, and wondered where the sun was…can anything yet be more marvelous?  Read on….

The girls and I decided to occupy the aisle seats, so we can have a better view of the altar. We already learned from the youth volunteer that Fr. Fernando Suarez, the now famous healing priest, would not celebrate the mass. He is in France, most likely healing the French! They probably need him more. 🙂

As the mass started, I let out a sigh as I looked far into the horizon. The pine trees line up the distant mountain top, and I said to myself, what a view!  And the slopes of flowers to my right, what a surrounding I would always wish to be in… And then minutes after that thought, from out of the blue, the heavy rain poured. The pine trees vanished and a white wall occupied its space. I looked to my right, I can see the green slope but no way can anyone pass that way…!  We were isolated from the world.

So I listened to the homily. The priest was asking the faithful from where they came…Someone said from La Union. Another said Palawan. Two said Mindanao… The priest did not say anything about the downpour, as if it did not exist. The downpour, amazingly, was not deafening, because I could hear my daughter whispering Move Ma, the rain is dripping on you!   There was obviously a hole on the roof, but it was so tiny it was only dripping on me. But I love the feel of drops so I let the raindrops roll on my hair…

And before I knew it, the mass was over, and the drops that was pouring down my skin was already the agua bendita. The priest was blessing us graciously. I looked again into the horizon. The pines were vividly aligned on the mountain top. Where did the rain go? All of a sudden, it stopped!, as if it did not drop at all. But all I said was Thank You, Father, and the priest administering the blessing answered You’re Welcome!,  as he made his return route to the altar.

The rest of the trip was a joyful one. I realized that we passed by a long, narrow, winding and rolling road from Sta Rosa exit, a concealed highway where pineapples grow and simple folks dwell. We stopped at Mang Inasal and ate grilled chicken for lunch. We also stopped by Collete’s delicacies and bought Buko Pie. Julie said that we had spare money for dessert and she bought a real large peanut panutsa. It was gone before we were home, ha ha!

Here are my photos…and the young girls with me are Elaine, Maki, Jean, Julie, Bam and Gwen…

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