Monthly Archives: September 2010
I don’t think I am Filipino enough. And here’s why.
I don’t eat anything coconut. Not Buko Juice. Or any pastry with coconut on it. I don’t like the feel of coconut between my teeth. I think it is tough and rubber-y.
I don’t eat anything purple, like ube. Well, the only purple food I like are grapes. I guess I am too visual, and purple food doesn’t appeal to me.
I don’t eat bananas. I know that when I was younger, I loved bananas. But now, I can’t even smell them without getting turned off by them. It is just too slimy.
I don’t eat durian – smells too bad. I don’t like sago’t gulaman. I don’t eat halo-halo. I don’t enjoy kakanin.
I hardly eat a lot of Pinoy dishes: kare-kare, dinuguan (though I was tricked by Des into eating this… until now I convince myself it was Adobo), menudo (and other boy band-named food), mechado, lechon (unless I have to), sinigang…
And I don’t eat fish if it looks like a fish. You can just see them stare at you, asking you why you are eating them. And why do we do that? No one puts a whole pig on their plate and eats it. Even lechon, though cooked whole, you only get portions of it to put on your plate.
Oh I don’t eat anything that comes off a cart in the middle of a busy intersection – isaw, fishballs, betamax, taho, balut, etc. etc. Seriously, how can you dip your food in a jar where people have double-dipped before you? And how can you eat innards and …. ugh.
I can go on and on about food. But I also don’t like going to malls when they are jampacked. Or riding jeeps – you aren’t even facing front! Commuting, in general, is hard. Which is also strange, because anywhere else, I love commuting. Maybe the chaos of running and jumping in jeeps and buses bothers me.
And the clincher – I don’t even speak Tagalog that well. I use the excuse that my mom is Ilonggo and my dad is Tagalog (and a lot of the people who help us out at home are Bisaya), so our mode of communication at home is English. But, you can only use that excuse until you are 12. I am trying. But I get so tongue tied all the time.
So do those things make me less Filipino?
I hope not. Because I love the Philippines.
I love the weather. The extreme Summer heat and the torrential rainy Typhoon season.
I love the beaches and the islands. And the fact that you can drive a few hours and you end up at a beach with beautiful sand and water.
I love the smiles and the warmth of Pinoys. And that everyone will go out of their way to help you.
I love the country. And I kid you not when I say that there is really no other place I would like to live except the Philippines. All the other places are nice to visit, but nothing beats the Philippines.
I love how we love families. Though some activists are trying to convince us otherwise, Pinoys will always love their families (old and young) – and will always take care of them.
I love our facial expressions and “call signals”. Even if i don’t answer to”pssst”, I love how it gets everyone’s attention.
I love our names. And how we can call our kids Ondoy. Onday. Marimar. Pacquaio. I am sure there are Charice’s already out there.
I love how we bounce back. In the midst of natural and man-made (government) disasters. And even through the struggles, we smile and make jokes.
I (secretly) love our Filipino passport. It may be annoying, but we get to visit all the embassies of the countries we want to visit. And we get to talk to immigration officials. Ok… maybe I don’t really love this part.
But I love being Filipino, even if I don’t think I am Filipino enough.
There is not other country for me. No other better people. And no other way of life I’d rather have.
So one of these days, I will eat that ube-covered banana. And drink that coconut shake with sago and gulaman. And eat dinuguan (again) with purple puto with coconut shavings on top. And then go to UP to eat isaw and drink taho. Because that’s what Filipinos usually do. And I am proud to be one!
I am currently in the Sotto home in Makati, where every minute is entertainment and informative at the same time. My tito Manolo talks about the most random, and sometimes most interesting, things! He mentioned that the Most Reverend Fulton Sheen once said that: “The biggest tragedy of Judas was that he could have been St. Judas.”
And so, what was an interesting quote became a topic of research for me. And here is what I got from Catholic.com: “Judas did indeed feel remorse for what he did (Mt 27:3-4), although he chose the wrong means to demonstrate that remorse (Mt 27:5)”
In Matthew 27: 3-4 it says: “Then Judas, his betrayer, seeing that Jesus had been condemned, deeply regretted what he had done. He returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned in betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? Look to it yourself.”"
That was his chance to be St. Judas. That even with being the cause of a great injustice and sin, he had the chance to turn around and make things right. He could have repented and have been forgiven. I doubt it would have changed events, but it would have changed him. And he would have been a wonderful example of remorse and forgiveness.
But he chose differently. And his wrong means as written in verse 5: “Flinging the money into the temple, he departed and went off and hanged himself.”
We can definitely learn from him. That no matter how bad we think things are, we can always choose the better path. We can always make sure that we are still on that path to Sainthood. And that there is no reason for us to think that we cannot change. Because we can.
So don’t give up. Because life is just preparing us for something better.
In the news today, we read that Noynoy has come out of the closet. And he is now open to contraception and other forms of population control. Coming hot on the heels of his announcement of investments in the Philippines by the US government. Babies. A small price to pay for dollars.
The Church is up in arms with the announcement. I understand they thought they could change him. But, we already knew that he was not pro-life when he was running for office. So, instead of complaining about it, we just need to fight. Harder than ever. I have to say, though, that I DID NOT vote for him. No way.
But these are all reactions to things we already knew. We knew he would be like that. We knew he’d cave in to dollars. We knew he wouldn’t have the same love for family and children that we do. We knew that. We can still pray for him, but the battle is not there anymore. The battle is with showing the world that there are people who know what is important; who choose to be living the right way of life; and who struggle with that choice everyday. Struggle because they KNOW that if they succeed, their lives will be better and fuller – and this world WILL be a better place.
And there ARE people like that in the world. They exist!
And we can all be like them. We can all LivePure as well.
Is there really any other way to live?
It has been a dilemma of mine. When filling up that boarding card (or anything else, for that matter). What to put in “Occupation”? I used to put “student” which only lasted a few years. I then used “Youth Worker”. But felt guilty after moving on from Youth Ministry. I put “Missionary” for a while, but it was hard to get through immigration with that. I now interchange “Pastoral Worker”, “Program Head” and “Coordinator”. But do those titles really describe what I do?
It also is an interesting situation when friends and relatives ask what I do. “I am a missionary” doesn’t really answer the question. “So what do you do?” is the usual answer. “Um.. I give talks. And put up conferences…” always iffy answers and unsure roles. Not because I do not know what I do, but because those tasks don’t even come close to what I am trying to explain.
So what do I do? What has kept me as a Missionary for the past 13 years?
What do I do for a living?
I speak the truth.
That God loves you. And no matter how bad you feel, or empty, that he is there for you. Waiting for you to come to Him with your problems. So He can give you a big, great hug and tell you everything will be ok.
That you are special. You are NOT insignificant. And you are NOT useless. We were all made for a reason – and whether we see that reason as important or not, is up to us. But we all have a special role to play in the world.
That you are important. People see Christ in you. And that makes you important. Important for others to see that there are good people in the world. And it doesn’t matter if you are struggling and striving to be good – we are all like that.
That you make Him smile. God watches over us. And He smiles when we do things that help other people. And He smiles when we try our best. And He smiles when we try to make plans for our lives. He is there smiling and guiding us as we go through life.
And that this world is a hard place to live in… but not an impossible place to live in. There are so many temptations and possible wrong choices. But we can always choose the right path. And we can always do the right thing. And that will give us a taste of the life that is waiting for us.
And that people want to be told the truth. No one likes being lied to. And everyone appreciates the truth, no matter how much it hurts. So, yes, I tell the truth. That’s what I do for a living. And I see myself doing this for a very, very, very long time.
I have met a lot of pro-life pillars over the past few years. Ever since I got to be more involved in this way of life. It started with getting into the Board of Trustees of Pro-Life Philippines, and being able to talk, interact and bond with Sr. Pilar Verzosa and Mayor Lito Atienza. Two very strong and passionate pro-lifers. With them around, you have absolutely NOTHING to fear!
And then I got to meet people from Human Life International. The fiery Ligaya Acosta. The extremely smart and funny Brian Clowes. And the icon Fr. Tom Euteneuer (though I can’t really say that I have had a long conversation with him – hopefully when we find out where his Parish is, we can invade it).
I also get to have email exchanges with the elusive Zoe Vidal.
Now, getting involved with the Theology of the Body, I got to learn from 2 of the people leading the effort in the Philippines – Fr. Maxell Aranilla and Fr. Joel Jason. I am very excited to learn even more from them. And soon, I will get to learn from one of most well-known people in regards to TOB – Christopher West himself. My heart is beating fast just thinking about it.
And added to that, in February, Jason Evert is coming to Manila to speak on Chastity! He is also one of the leading people in regards to that.
We are all blessed to have so many eloquent pro-lifers in our midst. And these aren’t those who speak about it, but LIVE IT OUT as well. Being pro-life isn’t just a stand, after all, it is a way of life!
Oh my, how will I get a good night’s sleep? I stay awake smiling just thinking of that seminar. I truly owe everything to the first pro-lifers I have encountered. Without them, I would not have this fire within me to learn more and do more.
I really love my parents. No cliche. Just truth. Thank you.
The chapel at ALPADI
In reading the Gospels (or books in the New Testament, for that matter), we always come across Jesus going to a deserted place to pray. Or praying in solitude. Sometimes for hours, and sometimes for days.
I have difficulty sitting still and concentrating on my prayer. This comes from the technological generation mindset where when we want something, we can get it NOW. And if we don’t, then we become irritated. We want people to reply to e-mail NOW. We want the line at the grocery counter to move NOW. We want cars to whizz once the light turns green, and if they don’t we honk them like crazy. We want everything NOW.
And so it always amazed me to read how Jesus could spend hours and hours praying. Alone. Sure there was no Facebook then, but he was always walking. There were always people following him. People who were sick were always being brought to him. So how could he make time to pray?
I believe, one of the reasons, was because He knew.
He knew that He would have to suffer and die. He knew He would die on the Cross. He knew how painful it would be. And so He had to connect to His Father and feel the love and affirmation coming from God. He needed that constant connection, to get revitalized and to be able to keep working and spreading the Gospel.
And we are no different. We may not have the privilege of dying for the faith, but we also KNOW. We know that we will die. We know that what we are enjoying here on earth is just temporary, even fleeting. And so we know that we will be facing an uncertain death as well.
So why aren’t we also going to that deserted place to pray? Why aren’t we finding that time to be alone with God? Also to prepare ourselves. Also to get that connection and get revitalized. Also to keep us secure and founded in spreading the Gospel.
We know. And we should act knowingly.
There are just some talks you hear, even if the speaker is the same, that strike you. The session with Fr. Gustilo today really struck me. It just opened my eyes and heart to the beauty of the Bread of Life. And the wonders of communion at Mass. Being one with the Catholic faithful.
Yes, we hear that all the time, but we become desensitized to it. Today, it again became real.
We have started not bringing our kids to Mass with us, if we have the choice. Because they become restless, and we end up not listening much to the Mass. But, our faith cannot be taught. It is imbibed through osmosis. How can we expect them to be faithful, if they do not see it in us? Maybe the bringing of the kids to Mass is not the problem. Maybe the Mass time is the problem. Lunch time will definitely make them cranky, since they are hungry. And it is hot at the same time. Time to change routine.
Fr. G also mentioned Rembrandt and his painting of Jesus. And the expression on His face asking “Do you also want to leave?” (John 6:22 ff). When we hear things that are right, but they are not what we want to hear, will we also leave?
Not me. Because like what they said…. where else will we go? When we have what we will ever need right here.
[watch the Bible study here: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/9762059%5D
Sabine and Aida now have an addiction to the Little Mermaid movie. They watch it everyday! Though I really don’t mind. I can watch those older Disney cartoons everyday (Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, etc). I can also watch Sound of Music everyday. Or any musical done well, for that matter.
When Ariel gets to the end where she sings “part of your world”, Sabine lies face down on the ground, and as she sings it, pushes her upper body up – just like how Ariel does it on the rock. This just makes me think more and more about watching what they watch on TV. Because they really do end up copying what they hear and say. Kids really say (and do) the darnedest things.
I also like it when Sabine starts singing parts of the whole song. And it sounds as if she herself is asking those questions. Questions like:
“Look at this stuff, isn’t it neat? Wouldn’t you think my collection’s complete? Wouldn’t you think I’m the girl who has everything? How many wonders can one cavern hold?” – Though I start thinking that we shouldn’t be too materialistic, and just live within our means.
“What would I give if I could live out of these waters? What would I pay to spend a day warm on the sand?” – I realize that one day, these kids will want to cut the apron strings and explore the world on their own. But in the meantime, I am tying these strings tighter.
“Walking around on those – what do you call ‘em? Oh – feet! / Strolling along down a – what’s that word again? Street / What’s a fire and why does it – what’s the word? Burn?” – Hmmmm… maybe I should homeschool? If I put them in regular school, the answer to these questions might involve sex education topics.
“When’s it my turn? Wouldn’t I love, love to explore that world up above?” – I have had the chance to explore this world. Been all around the world, and I did it while doing what I love. And I have to give my kids that same faith and conviction that I have. That same missionary spirit and desire. That way, when they do get the chance to explore the world, they won’t do it by partying and getting drunk – but they will do it bringing the great experience of God’s awesome love and strength to everyone they meet.
Hay. Even cartoons get me thinking nowadays. I wonder what message I can get from Rainy with a Chance of Meatballs…..
I’ve lived in a number of places throughout my life. When I was young, I can vaguely remember living in Bel-Air subdivision in Makati. I cannot really pull any distinct memories, but when I think of it, I see brown. After that, we moved into a townhouse in Victoria Valley. We lived there for a number of years, while the house in ALPADI was being built. I can remember birthday parties there. The steep road coming from the top of the village. And having neighbors!
We moved to ALPADI sometime early 1980s. Sumulong Highway was a dirt road. We had no phone. No cable. Just a HUGE black mobile phone that hurt your fingers when you pressed the buttons. We had snakes in the backyard. But fresh air. No noise. And the feeling of quiet.
When I was in College, the flyover of Katipunan was being built. So we were subjected to 4 hour traffic jams on the way to school. I ended up staying in a condominium; and then a townhouse, with two of my good friends – both women. That was a fun time. And memories from then are hazy.
I moved back to ALPADI soon enough though. I was having TOO MUCH FUN. Stayed there for years again after that. Just changing rooms within the house (oh I lived in the Couples for Christ mission house for a few months as well. Just to experience that life…. ummm… never again).
To prepare for married life, I moved into an apartment in Pasig. Des and I got married, and lived there for almost a year. We decided to move back to ALPADI, to get help with our first born child – Sabine – since my parents were more than willing to help us out.
We stayed. We had a place in ALPADI made (connected to the “mother house”). Had another child – Aida. And now another one on the way. But now, it is time to make another move. The house is getting smaller. And as I said in my previous post, it is also time to live according to the life I have chosen.
So, come 2011, we will be making another move. Making plans. Fixing budgets. Tightening belts. Taking that deep breath, and making that leap.
Come visit. Bring food.
>> ABORTION, A CRIME AGAINST LIFE
> With possible malicious intent the ugly part of life is again gaining the
> limelight in our country as the frequency of aborted fetuses is publicly
> exposed. The placing and exhibiting of aborted human fetuses in public
> places are not favored in other cultures, and decent people refuse to do
> the same.
> Thou shalt not kill! A deliberately procured abortion is a moral evil and
> the Catholic Church attaches the canonical penalty of Excommunication on
> those who procure it and on those who help obtain abortion (Canon 1398).
> If the expositions of discarded human fetuses are not done with evil
> intent, then the practice alone of rampant abortion is symptomatic of a
> grave moral decadence and irresponsible behavior that now seriously
> threaten the country.
> Human lives are always precious to God and any violation of it will be
> dealt with by Him for He said, "Vengeance is mine . . . He will avenge the
> blood of his servants" (Gene 4:15, Deut. 32:43). Abortion is a grave sin
> against a defenseless life; and for this the severe canonical penalty to
> perpetuator/s is Excommunication.
> Unwanted pregnancies could be avoided if only people are less selfish, are
> more disciplined and capable of self control, exercising a strong will,
> and capable of making sacrifices. These are virtues that are much needed
> in a country of disciplined people.
> Short cuts to progress even by way of new laws cannot compensate for
> abandoned values. Human life, created in the image of its Maker, (Gen.
> 1:27), the very source of the rights and dignity of the human person, must
> always be respected and defended.
> In Churches where public exposition of fetuses occurs, special prayers and
> acts of reparation will be made, for the sins of the perpetrators, at the
> church's Prayer and Adoration Chapels. Pray and include also in your
> prayers the special prayers to ST. MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL, for the
> perpetrators and instigators of this grievous sin against the life of the
> May Mary, Mother of Life, intercede for all who value the sacredness of life.
> GAUDENCIO B. CARDINAL ROSALES
> Archbishop of Manila
> Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows
> 15 September 2010
> Pro-Life Philippines
> – is a non-profit organization of citizens who are concerned about
> issues pertaining to the inherent value, dignity and nurturance of human life
> with corollary issues of survival, security, sustainability.
> Our Mission
> – to promote a culture of life to stop a culture of death
> by harnessing all available time, talent and treasures of information,
> education and advocacy programs.
> http://www.prolife.org.ph is continuously designed, developed and maintained by
> Filipino Web Services Inc. – Always Updated, Very Large Web Sites
> Tel +63-2-4336368 SMS/Text +63-919-3277337
> To unsubscribe, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
> For additional commands, e-mail: email@example.com