Monthly Archives: March 2014

Feliz Cumpleaños

 

mom

 

Thank you.

Twenty-four years ago, you gave birth to a healthy baby girl; the youngest of five girls you were responsible of forming into women.  I don’t really know how difficult it was for you to be a mom of five but I can imagine the hardships you’ve been through and the sacrifices you had to make. Thank you for standing strong. Thank you for enduring all the challenges. All these years, you had to put up with my stubbornness and apathy. Thank you for not giving up on me.

I’m Sorry.

Six years ago, I wrote a letter about all the grudges and misunderstanding we’ve had in the past. That was the day I forgave you for all the shortcomings in our relationship.  Today, I want to say sorry for all of my mistakes. I’m sorry for not letting you know how much I worry about you. I’m sorry for not letting you know that my greatest fear is losing you and dad.

I love you.

You were almost 40 when you had me. It must have been very difficult for you to add a fifth child in your list of obligations. Thank you for providing a home for me to always go back to. Twenty-four years ago today, God chose you to be my mother. Even if I had a choice, I’d still choose you! I love you mom!

 

P.S.  I grew up watching 7th Heaven marathons during Holy Week. This song couldn’t be more reminiscent of home and family.

When I see their happy faces smiling back at me…

I know there’s no greater feeling than the love of a family

Where can you go… when the world don’t treat you right?

The answer is home… that’s the one place that you’ll find

7th Heaven

Te Wa, Dich, San, Te May, Mom, and Dad, thank you for being my 7th heaven. My birthday wish is that you’ll always remember how special you are and how thankful I am of an awesome God who made you my guardian angels. I love you!

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Awareness: We Care for Rare

Awareness. It means knowing that something exists and is important.

On the appointed day of February 28 this year, everyone is encouraged to be aware, to acknowledge the importance of Rare Disease, and show their love and support to all those affected by it. From private to public institutions; from hospitals to schools; and various volunteer groups, people from different backgrounds come together to partner with the Philippine Society for Orphan Disorders in the awareness campaign for the 7th World Rare Disease Day.

This solidarity is demonstrated through displays of posters and tarpaulins in public areas, offices, hospitals, and schools. It is celebrated by sharing the “I Care for Rare” posters and “Lalaban Kami” and other rare-disease-themed videos via social media. It is exhibited by wearing the I Care for Rare denim ribbons, by distributing brochures, and conducting seminars and symposia about Rare Disease.

It is materialized by pushing the passage of Senate Bill No. 2098, or the “Rare Disease Act of 2014― a bill that will mandate the government to assist persons with rare disease by increasing their access to medical treatment and drugs, and including them in the coverage of the Universal Health Care program.”

It is declared by coming together for the Rare Disease Day Group Hug and Globe lighting at the SM Mall of Asia Globe in Pasay City. It is signified by lighting a candle and saying a prayer for the people who have succumbed to their rare disease. It is expressed by approaching the people and their families, who are seriously battling their condition and saying “Be strong! Everything will be alright.”

The nationwide awareness campaign aims to promote the welfare of Filipinos afflicted with rare disorders. It aims to let them know that they matter and that they are not alone in their journey.

Awareness. It means we care. We Care for Rare.

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Photo courtesy of PSOD

Street Food Happiness

banana cue

Google-ing banana cue!

Happiness is eating a beloved Filipino snack in the busy streets of Ermita, Manila, one late summer afternoon.

When I was taking my Spanish Classes in Instituto Cervantes, I used to crave all the goodies prolific in the sidewalk on my way to school. They range from Fishball to Tempura, and from nilagang mani (boiled peanuts) to Kwek-kwek, the hard-boiled eggs deep fried in orange batter. Yummy! Among these authentic street food, Banana cue is my favorite. It is just pure bliss in its sweet and crispy perfection. I’ve been meaning to buy one since my first visit to Instituto, but I always end up eating something else. I often forget to buy it before riding the LRT back home.

However, on one random Friday after class, the craving could no longer be ignored. I finally bought my most sought after banana cue that I paired with another all-time favorite calorie-filled drink, Mountain Dew. I sat on one of the empty benches at the park just below the UN LRT station. It’s as if the street wasn’t filled with pollution and I wasn’t eating dirty food. It didn’t matter. I just sat there and spent a whole 15 minutes pondering on my life. I was taking glances on passersby as I devour my banana cue and sip through my bottle of soda.

I managed to freeze, capture and save a mental picture of how my surroundings looked like in that very moment. There were the hustle and bustle of the vehicles on the street and students eagerly waiting for their Jeepney ride home. I recall the vendors doing their sales talk and customers buying their tricks. There were traffic enforcers doing their job and ensuring no one gets hurt. There were also other people like me, enjoying the array of street food literally on the sidewalk.

This happened three years ago but I still remember every single detail of that moment. It was such a peaceful inner experience despite the chaotic external environment. It is one of those out-of-the-blue days, when you reflect on your existence. When you realize that you have  to be grateful for the “now” that you’re living because now is all you have.

“How do you measure a year in your life?” as the song goes, and my answer to this is to count it in moments. Yes. Count it in random moments of feeling insanely happy by eating a piece of unhealthy, brown, sugar-coated, banana cue. It is through these moments that I get reminded of who I am–just a thread in a gigantic tapestry called life. I may only be one among the billions, but significant nonetheless.

Yeah, banana cue has that effect on me. Let’s all be happy and live in the moment! Now is all we have.

21 Things to do in March

Hi! It’s a Friday and I’m in love. I’m in love with life and I’m super excited to live it today! Being hopeful that I’ll still be alive tomorrow or at least until my birthday month ends, I made a list of things that I can do more of and things I can try out for the fun of it!

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I will let you know which ones I’ve accomplished by next week. How does your list go? What do you want to accomplish this month? Do you have similar things to do? What other exciting things do you suggest we do before our time is up?

I hope your day is amazing. Be happy now! Happy Friday!

What’s with the ashes?

ash

Why do Catholics place ashes on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday? This is what I learned from the mass today.

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent. It starts the 40 days of penance through fasting, prayer and abstinence, as we commemorate the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. According to the priest in the mass, Ash Wednesday is a day of “Remembering.” It is an important aspect of our spiritual life because it is a day when we strip off our self-righteousness and remember that we are all sinners and should therefore repent for all our wrong doings.

In his homily, the priest shares that there are people who are so focused in doing higher means of spiritual development like meditation or following the 7 Mansions of St. Teresa of Avila, that they forget the basics of their faith. He shared that there are people who think that ashes are from the soil in the church’s backyard. He corrected this poor notion by explaining that the ashes are collected from the burned remains of palm branches and leaves used from last year’s Palm Sunday.

The act of placing ashes in our forehead symbolizes death and repentance. As Abraham said, “I am but dust and ashes” (Genesis 18:27), we acknowledge our impending deaths. We need to be prepared for it by living according to God’s ways. In the Old Testament, ashes were a sign of contrition. That is why, as the priest places the ashes, he says “Turn away from sin and believe in the Gospel.” (Mark 1:15) Wearing the ashes in our forehead is a public admission of our sinfulness and a pledge to be better and resist temptation.

In the liturgy, the placing of the ashes should be done after the homily but for practical reasons, it is accepted that the placing of the ashes are done at the end of the mass. If we place the ashes after the liturgy of the word, the priest and lay minister’s hands and finger nails would be full of ash in time for communion. He injected humor into the thought of having the crowd receive communion with ash-filled hostia.

The priest also pointed out that placing ash in our forehead is symbolic but what is more important is listening to the homily and understanding why we do it in the first place. He commented on late comers, who sometimes are excited to only have the ashes shown on their foreheads without fully understanding the importance of these ashes. It is better to not have ashes in our foreheads but understand the meaning of this event then to wear really big ashes on your foreheads without a clue to what this day really means.

He also answered the question “why” we do this. We do this, because we, humans, are easy to forget the Lord. We do this to remember Him.  He even shared a funny story about how humans tend to forget, using married couples as an example. Husbands, accordingly, usually forget that they are married that is why they tend to have affairs. The wives are at fault, he jokingly debates, because the wives do not remind their husbands that they have wives. In humorous fashion, he advised the wives in the crowd to start reminding their husbands that they are married. Before they sleep at night, the wives can give their husbands a loving kiss and say “you have a wife.” In the morning, just before the husband goes out the door on his way to work, the wife can give another kiss and say that “you are married.” When the husband arrives at work and texts his wife to inform his whereabouts, the wife can reply by thanking the husband for informing her and reminding him once again that he has a wife. The priest also jokingly added that the wives can also place reminders on their husband’s wallet, handkerchief, and brief. Just so they won’t forget.

After the laughter died down, the priest shared that we celebrate the Ash Wednesday every year to constantly remind our forgetful selves. He even shared a personal story. When he entered the seminary, he was sure that he couldn’t do it. He couldn’t be a priest. That is why he asked his mother to help him. He asked her to remind him every time he loses strength. He likened this to us asking for God’s mercy this Lenten season. We acknowledge that we cannot do this alone, that is why we are asking God to remind us of who we are. We are asking Him to help us not hurt Him anymore. We are asking Him to help us control our desires, purify our hearts and genuinely allow ourselves to be changed.

Remember that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return.