Thursday, March 22, 2012

Secret To Happiness

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Missing A Friend

I missed a great FRIEND of mine.

A friend whom I can tell anything without hesitation and fear.

With Him I can be my true self and openly bare my soul with - unafraid of
being judged and unaccepted.

I missed Him because It’s been a while that we haven’t talked.

If I’m not mistaken, its been years.

I missed the days when I talk and He’ll just listen..

Though most of the time I do the talking, I too can feel Him conversing.

In the silence of my heart.

Giving me consolation, wiping out the tears in my eyes and giving me a
sense of peace.

A kind of peace, they say, “the world cannot give”

Every conversation with Him is truly a relieving and refreshing experience.

Leaving the place ready to face the world again.


Now that my life was crowded with new priorities, I have forgotten Him.

And didn’t even bother speaking to Him again.

But I miss Him.

I truly miss Him.

I truly missed the happy old days when I was young, energetic, tireless and
spent much of my time spreading and proclaiming His Love.

I missed that indefatigable spirit and tireless conviction burning inside of me.


As I profess this longing for Him, I hope that I’ll be drawn closer to His
Ocean of Love.

And for me to bask again in the greatness of His Loving Presence.

And hopefully to regain the lost connection.

And to converse with Him again.

In deep prayer.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

An Open Letter To My WIfe

My wife and I just turned 7.

A night before I jokingly told her, "Seven years na pala tayong nag-titiis sa isa't isa," and she bursted with laughter.

Kidding aside, she's truly a gift from above. Though our married life isn't perfect, our imperfections made our union to last for years.

So on our special day, I scribbled a letter to show my loving and grateful heart.

____________________________________________________________
June 8, 2011


Beloved YhanYhan,

Happy 7th year Anniversary.

I don’t have the materials means to have a fancy celebration today.

What I can offer is the richness and pureness of my loving heart.

Thank you for bearing with me all these years - for understanding and
loving me despite and inspite of my weaknesses, frailties and shortcomings.


Thank you for being there for me when I needed you most - for giving me
comfort, for listening to my stories, for helping me chase my dreams and
for listening to my cries of frustration.


Thank you for the daily coffee moments. For waking up early in morning to
prepare a hearty breakfast and for the sumptuous dinner every time I go
home from work.

Thank you for teaching me to be responsible, to know my priorities and be focus in life.

Thank you for teaching me what it means to be a family.

Thank you for showing me what it means to be generous, selfless and giving.

And for teaching me what it means to love and be loved.

And most of all, thank you for giving me Mandela, our adorable baby girl - our greatest treasure here on Earth.

Together, let us continue to hold hands, build our lives as we mount every foibles and fears that life may brings.

And together, let us continue to drink coffee every morning, our daily ritual of love, to show how much we love and care for each other.

I love you very much.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Know Your Worth

Looking at my old pictures, I can proudly say that physically, at least I have evolved from a dark-skinned and skinny boy that I am before to a dignified-looking banker that I am today. Proof to that is how I am labeled in my workplace. As an office newbie, my boss used to call me Fido Dido, obviously because my look resembles the character of the Sprite’s TV commercial. After several years, I am now tagged as "Matt Ranillo". Not Matt Ranillo the III (The Actor) but Matt Ranillo The Dead (Laughs!).

Kidding aside, as a student and office worker my appearance and stature in life contributed a lot to my low self worth and lack of confidence. When surrounded with affluent classmates and colleagues, I've always felt small, thinking having less in life, I am not capable of achieving more. That inferiority complex unconsciously led me to entertained self-doubt and diminished my self-trust.

Not until I came to know myself as a dear child of God. I’ve known that I am precious in His eyes. That I am deeply loved, cared and important. That unbounding Love alone gives me confidence, a childlike confidence in the Father's love.

With that knowledge came the realization that beyond physical transformation, what matters is who we are, what were made of, and our worth as His beloved Children.

The psalmist beautifully exclaims in Psalm 139:13-16:
"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

One day, I came accross this beautiful story, I cant wait to share.

A black child isolated himself from a group of kids playing in front of a church. A balloon salesman tried to get their attention. So he released one red balloon and it soared up high. Then the blue, then the yellow. It all went soaring up until they all disappeared. The black boy asked the man.

“Sir, if you’ll send the black baloon, would it go as high as the others?”

The salesman answered, “It isn’t in the color, Son, it’s what’s inside that makes it rise.”

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Lesson On Giving

One of our bonding moments with my baby girl Mandela is our regular Saturday afternoon walk to the beach near our place. We would spend moments together watching the fisherfolks preparing their boat for fishing. Sometimes, we would catch some kids enjoying swimming in the murky cold seawater. When already bored, she would pull my hand and said, “Adto ta slide Daddy”. (“Let us go to the slide Daddy”) - referring to the children’s slide at the playground of the nearby orphanage.

I was told that the orphanage was built two years ago. It was actually founded by a German named Albert Schweitzer of the Albert Schweitzer Familienwerk Foundation Philippines, Inc (ASFFM)and is known as Children's Haven. True to its name, it has become not just an abode but a haven to more or less sixty (60) homeless, parentless and abandoned kids. During my several visit to the place, I took the chance to interact with the orphans by talking and playing with them. Every kid has a different sad story to tell. And their stories made me think how lucky my daughter is for having a family she can call her own. But even if they appear lacking in material provision, their young faces emanate childlike joyful spirit, genuine smile, sincere intentions and positive vibes. Everybody seems happy and doesn’t care about the world and what it can offer to them. Their friendly and welcoming gestures are manifestations of their zest for life despite of their conditions. Love and sharing abound in the place. Everybody is family and in my heart I can feel that the place is overflowing with love. No wonder my baby doesn’t want to go home everytime she lands her foot in the place.


One unforgetable experience during one of our visit made me pondered on the true meaning of unselfish giving. When we went there one Saturday afternoon, I decided to bring some munchies for the kids to eat. Our way of thanking them for their goodness and hospitality. For reaching out and playing with my baby girl.

I was surprised, when in return a boy orphan handed my baby his favorite toy – a yellow plastic ball and another baby girl named Rosemarie offered her favorite blue dress.

I was left teary-eyed.

These kids had such pure and giving hearts.

At first, I am compelled not to accept the items. I knew that having less in life, these things are precious to them – or means everything to them. In their world of nothingness, these items might be treasures in their eyes and taking it might be inflicting pain.

But all the while, I thought refusing would means robbing them the chance to experience the joy of giving. These items were given out of pure intentions – from the gratefulness and goodness of a child's heart. I can see the delight in their eyes when they offered it to my daughter which made me decide to graciously accept it.

That experience taught me what it means to truly give with a cheerful and grateful heart. The orphans might have understood what Blessed Teresa of Calcutta once said when she exhorted “give until it hurts”.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

How to Teach Honesty to Kids


For most parents with growing up kids, raising an honest child might be an arduous and a challenging responsibility. Given the vast and strong media influence that sometimes edify distorted moral values, parents nowadays find it hard to inculcate in the young minds of their kids the value of honesty. But according to Mary Vanclay in her article entitled “The Honest Child: How to Teach Honesty”, there are helpful tips parents can do to teach their child the importance of telling the truth.

AVOID LABELS. Parents out of anger unintentionally say unpleasant words to their kids. They failed to realize that kids live up to the labels we place upon them. Call them a liar and overtime they may start to believe in and live up to the label. Parents should tame their tongue not to label their kids to the person they don’t want them to be.

DON’T GIVE YOUR KIDS AN OPPORTUNITY TO LIE. Avoid asking questions when you already know the answer. If you’re quite sure your child hasn’t cleaned her room, instead of asking, “Did you clean the room?, it would be better to ask her the reason why she wasn’t able to clean her room. Asking the “why” question allows your child to explain his behavior rather than setting a stage for a lie.

FIND THE REASON BEHIND THE LYING. “Children can learn to be dishonest out of fear for the consequences of their actions or by following the examples of others.”,says Dr. Harold Sala, author of the book, Raising Godly Kids. Enough good reasons why your child deserves to be heard. An open and free communication with your child about the reason why she lied would create a loving atmosphere. Stressing to your child your disapproval of her not telling the truth but still assuring your unconditional love and acceptance will surely encourage her to be honest with you no matter what the consequences may be. One good way to encourage honesty is to praise or reward your child if she tells the truth.

KEEP YOUR COOL. "Where did we ever get the crazy idea that in order to make children do better, first we have to make them feel worse?" says Jane Nelsen, author of the Positive Discipline book series. "Most punishment comes out of anger — and then we’ve taken the child totally out of any learning mode, because now she’s feeling defensive or afraid."

SET A GOOD EXAMPLE. Parents should model honesty to their children. As they say, the best way to teach honesty is to be honest. Parents should be extra careful not to say a lie especially if their children are around. A simple scenario if she hears you call in sick for work when you’re fine or lie about her age so you can avail of a discount on her fare ticket would send her a message that it is acceptable to say a lie.

Honesty does have a price, and it’s worth paying it now.

Life's An Amazing Race




“Congratulations, you’re team No. 1, you’re the first team to arrive.”

If you’re a certified reality show fanatic, you can easily recognize those familiar words of Phil Keoghan, host of the hit reality show AMAZING RACE. He usually utters those words, every time the first team arrives at the pit stop of each leg of the race.

The AMAZING RACE is just one of the many foreign reality television game shows invading our local television scene . It is a game show produced by CBS in the US in which teams of two race around the world in competition with other teams.Contestants strive to arrive first at the end of each leg to avoid the possibility of elimination. Unfortunately, in an elimination race, the last pair to arrive gets eliminated. Teams are progressively eliminated until three teams are left. At that point, the team who arrives first in the final leg wins the much-coveted one million dollar prize.

As a contest mechanic, the contestants will travel to different countries and various continents until they will reach the final destination – the final pit stop- which is the culmination of the entire race . At the initial race, they will be given initial directions on the first place to go to get the next clue. In order to reach the destination, the team will travel or drive by themselves, relying only on the information they can get from the travel map, clues and directions and some by asking information from the folks living in the area. Route markers also serves as helpful hints for them to reach the exact destination. But along the way, the race doesn’t guarantee an easy journey. Aside from the difficulty of reaching the exact spot, there are physically-demanding tasks that should be accomplished in order to be handed a clue for the next destination. These tasks come in the form of DETOUR, ROADBLOCKS,YIELD AND FASTFORWARD.


A Detour is a choice between two tasks, each with its own pros and cons. Teams must successfully complete one of the tasks described on the clue in order to receive their next clue.


A Roadblock is a task that only one team member may perform. Before heading into a Roadblock, teams read a vague clue about the task to come, e.g., "Who’s really hungry?" (for an ostrich-egg eating challenge), or "Who wants to get down and dirty?" (for a task involving making mud bricks).


Yield allows any one team to force another team to stop racing for a predetermined amount of time.


The Fast Forward allows the team that receives it to skip all remaining tasks on that leg of the race and proceed directly to the Pit Stop.

Admittedly, I first ignored the show when it was shown over a local channel. I find it senseless for cameras to follow infamous personalities who keeps on running and running as if there’s no tomorrow. It was only when I am able to sit down and started watching the show from start to end that I am able to appreciate the excitement that it can entice to its would-be viewers. I began to feel the thrill of watching teams compete with each other, outsmarting each other by courageously doing each tasks, racing as they hurtle with time, and even doing dirty tricks just to be the first team to land on the pit stop mat.

But I realized that aside from the excitement it can bring, the show offers a clear picture of our daily complexities in life. That looking in a deeper light, the show conveys similarities to our journey in this temporal world towards a destination.

One AMAZING RACE episode that I can still remember is that when a couple decided to give up their backpack so they can run fast and land first at the pit stop. Those extra baggages in their back hamper them from running as fast as they can to win the race. The symbolic giving up of backpack could mean giving up material things for a higher gain. Giving up things for a nobler purpose. I’m sure letting go of these things isn’t easy but it’s the only and the surest way not to be left behind and win the race.

Majority of us in this modern and hedonistic world, are pack rats who like to collect and transport stuffs. In our journey in life we tend to bring extra baggages that will make our journey tedious and tiring, uncomfortable, complicated and less enjoyable. We are overshadowed by the importance that it can provide us that we always brought them along wherever we go. These extra baggages come in different forms and sizes. It could be unfulfilled dreams and desires, failed relationships, shameful and dark past, unreconciled relationships, strong materialistic pursuits, greed for fame and power, fear, unresolved guilt, strong need for approval. The list is endless. What most of us failed to realize is that those extra weight could deter us from winning our race in life.

Relating to life, DETOURS are life crossroads. Situations wherein we are torn between a decision and options. Difficult moments to decide what in our life are worth letting go and worth keeping. An inspiration I browsed from www.authenticity-road.com states that life is a highway with roads which can be maddeningly circuitous, boringly linear, painfully narrow, amazingly wide, sadly short, or, interminably long. In life, there are several pathways laid before us that we find it difficult and confusing to decide what path to take. Due to uncertainty of our decisions, there is an accompanying risk in possibly making the wrong choice.

ROADBLOCKS are life situations that will test our independence and our courage to let go of our co-dependency and attachments – our attachment to people, materials things and places. One unforgettable roadblock task I watched happened in India that required the African American wife to give up her hair in exchange of a clue. Giving up her crowning glory is hard for the woman but she decided to let go of her attachment because that’s the only way to continue the race. The hapless husband was brought to tears. In the end, the sacrifice is worth the effort because they won the race. This is probably what author Mike Murdock refers as “experiencing a season of pain to create an eternity of gain.”

YIELDS comes in the forms of difficult people who will pull us down. In our life, there will always be negative people who will pissed us off and make our life miserable. These people will be an inevitable part of our journey so its just in the manner of how we handle them that lie the challenge. According to Donna Beal, “Difficult people are God’s sandpaper to smooth out the rough edges of our personalities.”

FASTFORWARD are life’s unexpected blessings and surprises. They comes in the forms of life’s extra comfort and convenience and answered prayers. Situations that will give us reason to look up to heaven and say “Thank you, Lord.”

God intended each one of us to enjoy our journey. He wanted us to travel light so we won’t be having difficulty carrying our backpack. He desires us all to enjoy every moment of our journey by journeying with Him and allowing Him to direct us to the right path. One beautiful promise can be found in Jn 8:12 when He said, “I am the Light of the World, anyone who follows Me will not walk in the dark; he will have the light of life.” He gives us DIRECTIONS for us to reach our destinations. In the Bible, Jesus said, “I am the Way, The Truth and The Life” (Jn 14:16). He wants us to recognize Him in the face of ordinary people because He is with us in our daily walk.

But due to our human frailties, we tend to run so fast that we miss the joy that goes with our journey. We are so preoccupied with the daily hustle and bustle of living, we hurtle with time as if life is a race and there will be no tomorrow. Even though God sent us clear directions by giving us signs, maps and route markers, still we stumble in choosing the wrong path. The enjoyable walk in our journey becomes a race always battling with time. Worst of all, like the disciples in the Road to Emmaus, we didn’t notice God walking with us. We only notice Him when we fall.

Brothers and sisters, our Catholic faith dictates that our life on this earth is a temporary journey and that we are only stewards of our life. Even though in this life, we all travel in different paths, follow different directions and embark on different journeys, in the end, we are heading towards one destination – our eternal home. Let us allow Jesus to direct us towards the right path. Let us allow Him to be our tour guide and open our hearts for Him to be our sole travel companion. After all, in the end, what matters when we came face to face with our Heavenly Father is for Him to smile at us and say, “Congratulations, my son, you’ve ran a good race.”

New Beginnings

At 32, I must have thought I've learned a lot from life.

Borrowing the concept from writer Bum Tenorio, Jr., in my silence, I interviewed myself and culled 32 simple or not-so-simple things I learned about life.

1. Being born unfortunate is not a license to an unfortunate future. It doesn’t matter who you are today, what matters is who you will become tomorrow.

2. People tend to ask themselves why they failed in an endeavor not realizing they failed not in the execution but in planning.

3. Say “10Q” even if the situation doesn’t requires you to say so.

4. Write down your life greatest dreams and aspirations and read it as often as you can.

5. The purpose of our existence is not merely existing but to live our existence. Our actions, plans, and decisions should revolve around that purpose.

6. Respect your spouse - it is one of the proven secret formula of a lasting married life.

7. Keep your passions burning. Winners are people who desperately pursue what they badly want.

8. Take a daily dose of prayer. Prayer in absolute trust and surrender sweeps out anxieties, worries, fears and doubts. Above all, it gives peace the world can't give.

9. Believe in God’s mighty hands working in your life. If things get wrong, believe that all things pass through His gentle hands. God writes straight through crooked lines.

10. Smile, smile and smile. It is the secret of a lasting youthful glow.

11. Difficult people are inevitable part of your life. You cannot avoid them but you can choose to love them.

12. Build your life on solid ground. Your good values, morals and sound principles are the strong foundations of your life.

13. Good things will come to those who wait. Patience is a virtue.

14. Hug your loved ones and say “I love you” as often as you can. Tomorrow might be too late.

15. Call each person by his or her name. It is one of the commandments of human relations.

16. Be genuinely interested in people - even if they aren’t interesting enough.

17. Take charge of your own life because nobody else will.

18. Enjoy your journey in this race called life. Take Jesus as your travel companion.

19. Laugh and laugh as often as you can.

20. Focus on the positive side of life. Be an optimist. You are far more blessed than anyone.

21. Forget all the hurts people have caused you but dwell on the good things they’ve done.

22. Your earning capacity is dependent on your self-image. Start expanding your psychological wallet. God desires you to be financially blessed so you can be a blessing to others.

23. During difficult decision moments, let go and let God.

24. All addictions - drugs, alcohol, material or sexual is a manifestation of a psychological hunger for love.

25. Don’t be afraid to try. Trying isn’t always associated with failing.

26. “Whatever comes our way, whatever battle we are raging inside, we always have a choice. My friend Harry taught me that. He chose to be the best of himself. It’s the choice that makes us who we are, and we can choose to do what is right.” (as quoted from the movie “SPIDERMAN 3″)

27. Hopeless and desperate situations aren’t forever. There will always be a way out. All sufferings and hardships will come to an end.

28. Happiness is relative on one’s perspective on it. A person with a single centavo can be happier compared to a man with a million dollar bucks.

29. Business people are sharks. In order to survive in the highly competitive corporate world, you have to swim with the sharks.

30. Married life isn't a walk in the park. You have to talk while you walk to get there.

31. The greatest gift a man can have is the gift of being a father.

32. Happiness is always a choice.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Rebuild what you call "Home"

Ang kuya ko adik

MY ELDER BROTHER IS AN ADDICT.

Pag gutom siya,

WHEN HE’S HUNGRY

Hindi niya nararamdaman ang sakit

HE DOESN’T FEEL THE PAIN.

Nagra-rugby lang siya,,

HE JUST SNIFFS SOLVENT,


Solb na..

AND IT’S ALRIGHT.


Gusto ko

WHAT I WANT TO BE

Paglaki ko

WHEN I GROW UP

Adik din ako.

IS TO ALSO BE AN ADDICT.


Para pag gutom ako,

SO THAT WHEN I’M HUNGRY

Hindi ko rin mararamdaman ang sakit

I ALSO WON’T FEEL THE PAIN

Alexander

7 Years old

Payatas 13, Quezon City

(text taken from GAWAD KALINGA Primer)

Alexander is just one of the many faces of poverty in our society today. At such a young age, his impoverished condition forces him to face the cruelties of life just to survive. Left with no choice but to embrace the harshness and ruthlessness that life has to offer for the unfortunate. His innocent words convey the inculpable cry of hopelessness and despair. His young forlorn-looking and tattered face mirrors the mentality of helplessness, confusion and impotence. For him and his kuya, survival depends on that plastic of solvent. For them, life means survival of the fittest.

Sad to note that 70% of the Filipinos belong to Class E a technical description of the socio-economic status of those who have no home, no job, and eat only once a day. Local pollster Social Weather Station, even cited that as of the fourth quarter of 2006, the incidence of hunger in the country has reach a new high. Poverty surge in our country seems to be a recurring dilemma that appears to halt no more. Just like any raging war, the battle against poverty proves no promise of winning in the end.

But who is to blame? Some blame their unfortunate situations on their irresponsible parents for not giving them a good life. Activists and militant groups point to the lack of government support and corrupt public officials as the main culprit. Some believe their case is hopeless and so there is no way of getting out. Others perceive it as just pure bad luck and fate. But on top of all these reasons, I believe it is also a valid point to stress that POVERTY IS A PSYCHOLOGICAL ISSUE. And I have the following explanation to emphasize my view.

Catholic lay preacher and author Bo Sanchez in the Kerygma Magazine January 2003 issue exhorted that one of the biggest obstacles he faced in trying to lift people from poverty is what he refers as HOMING INSTINCT. And he explained how it works in this way, as quoted :

“The people I tried to help were born poor. At the core of their being,they defined themselves as poor. If I give them a new home or a scholarship or a tiny business a part of their unconscious minds would rebel. Something screamed within them. This is not me! This is not my home! Fear of the unknown set in. And suddenly they want out. So they sabotaged their new path . They got into drugs again. Or they got pregnant out of wedlock. Or they married an irresponsible bum. So they lost the scholarship. They lost the house. They lost the tiny business. By doing so, they recreated what they had been used to. They were back home. Even if it was a home called poverty.”

I can’t help but agree with the preacher’s exhortation. Although not all, but there are some people who are born poor and think they should breath poverty the rest of their lives. For them, being born from poor parents is a license to poverty. Their mindset dictates they don’t deserve a place in the sun. So they never care to have the drive and ambition to rise from the pit of poverty that they are into. They allow their low self-esteem, financial constraint, hopelessness and unfortunate situations to stuck them forever in the pit called poverty. They just watch things happen instead of making things happen in their lives.

Idealistic as I may appear to you, but I believe WE NEED TO HAVE THE INITIATIVE TO CHANGE OUR LIVES FOR THE BETTER. We need to initiate and start it ourselves because nobody else will. After all, we are the only initiator, decision-maker, catalyst and agent of change in our lives. As architects of our lives, the future of our masterpiece lies in our very own hands and our dreams and aspirations should be its blueprint. I loved it when World Entreprenuer Awardee, Nabi Sale exclaims, “You must have a dream, and it has to be bigger than yourself.”

Rebuilding what we perceived HOME won’t happen overnight. Just as Rome was not built in a day, it takes years and years of hardwork, perseverance and persistence for you to change and elevate your social condition. It requires ample belief in yourself, in God, and in your dreams. Believe in the fullness of life that God desires for his children . Believe in the power of your dreams. Believe that you can achieve your goals if you will pursue it with avowed intent and desperation. Believe that if there are people who came from humble beginnings but made it to the top, then, surely you can.

Winding up, I must agree with what Nobel Prize winner Jacques Monod when she says, “Between the great things we cannot do and the small things we will not do, the danger is that we shall do nothing.”
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Friday, May 6, 2011

Manny Pacquiao's Yellow Campaign


"All my life I have had to fight. At first as a child I had to fight just to get something to eat. I believe this world needs new heroes. The biggest fight in my life is not boxing but it is now to end poverty in my country".

Such an admirable and moving words from RP's boxing superstar Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao during the Final Press Conference of his fight with Shane Mosley.

Yes, he is true. The world needs more heroes. Heroes like him, who not only has a heart for the poor but also felt their hapless plight and responded to their cry of hopelessness. He truly understood how it is to be one having came from humble beginning.

To prove his "fight against poverty" advocacy he had worn yellow gloves and encouraged boxing fans to wear yellow as a sign of support. during his fight where he came victorious in the end.

Manny is not only a boxing champion. His advocacies in helping the poor surely made him not only a sports hero but a true champion of the cause of the poor. Such greatness and concern for the needy made me respect and admire him more.

May his tribe increase.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

For One More Day


I am a certified Mitch Alboom fan. I got his first book "Tuesday's With Morrie" given to me by a friend and I am so in love with it. And now, here's his latest addition - For One More Day. It is a book that recounted the story of a man, Chick Benetto, who gets the chance to spend one more day with his mother, who died 8 years earlier. It is a story of redemption and one's man struggle to deal with ghosts.

The story personally appealed to me because it tackles about family relationship and how we often neglect its importance. I personally love "The Times My Mother Stood Up For Me" section in the book because it proves how marvelous, genuine and unconditional the love of a mother is.

Below is an excellent book review I got from the website goodreads.com :

For One More Day is the story of a mother and a son, and a relationship that covers a lifetime and beyond. It explores the question: What would you do if you could spend one more day with a lost loved one?

As a child, Charley "Chick" Benetto was told by his father, "You can be a mama's boy or a daddy's boy, but you can't be both." So he chooses his father, only to see the man disappear when Charley is on the verge of adolescence.

Decades later, Charley is a broken man. His life has been crumbled by alcohol and regret. He loses his job. He leaves his family. He hits bottom after discovering his only daughter has shut him out of her wedding. And he decides to take his own life.

He makes a midnight ride to his small hometown, with plans to do himself in. But upon failing even to do that, he staggers back to his old house, only to make an astonishing discovery. His mother—who died eight years earlier—is still living there, and welcomes him home as if nothing ever happened.

What follows is the one "ordinary" day so many of us yearn for, a chance to make good with a lost parent, to explain the family secrets, and to seek forgiveness. Somewhere between this life and the next, Charley learns the astonishing things he never knew about his mother and her sacrifices. And he tries, with her tender guidance, to put the crumbled pieces of his life back together.

Through Albom's inspiring characters and masterful storytelling, readers will newly appreciate those whom they love—and may have thought they'd lost—in their own lives. For One More Day is a book for anyone in a family, and will be cherished by Albom's millions of fans worldwide.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My First Running Story



MY CHASE FUN RUN
Run For Personal Record
April 3, 2011, Sunday, 5:30 AM
Asiatown IT Park, Lahug, Cebu City

Finally, I was baptized to RUN.

Though I have tried joining fun run twice for the last two years, it's only
last Sunday that I've made a self-declaration and commitment to take running
seriously for three reasons.

1. To stay fit
2. To stay fit
3. And to stay fit

I've never been a sports buff and admittedly I'm not getting any younger. Thinking about my family made me realize I have to take good care of my health now. As a famous commercial tag line puts it, "Bawal Magkasakit". Being a father I have to be in good health to provide for my family. And the only healthy regimen I could think of is running.

So when this invitation for My Chase Fun Run organized by our client came in, I did not hesitate to give my nod.

I was with my boss when the run started. Being a health buff, it was him who convinced and encouraged me to have a healthy regimen and to take good care of my health. Sharing that running moment with him is such a precious and priceless moment.

In the middle of the race, I was lost in the crowd and did not see my boss anymore. I decided not to look for him and run on my own. I ran and ran. Decided to finish the 6k that I have set for myself.

Seriously running 6k for the first time is not a joke but I've make it. It was personal accomplishment for me – a personal record I've conquered myself . Not bad for a first time serious runner like me.

This is the start of my running story.

Stories behind every running adventures that are yet to unfold.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Amusing Thoughts On Marriage


Got this email from a friend. Very funny and can't wait to share.. Whether its a fact or fiction - It's your call..hahaha.

- Marriages are made in heaven. But so again, are thunder and lightning

- After marriage, husband and wife become two sides of a coin...they can't face each other, but, they still stay together.
- Married life is very frustrating.
.In the first year of marriage, the man speaks and the woman listens.
.In the second year, the woman speaks and the man listens.
.In the third year, they both speak and the neighbours listen.

- When a man opens the door of his car for his wife, you can
be sure of one thing: either the car is new or the wife is.

- Marriage is when a man and woman become as one. The
trouble starts when they try to decide which one.

- Before marriage, a man will lie awake all night thinking
about something she says. After marriage, he will fall asleep before she finish.

- Every man wants a wife who is beautiful, understanding,
economical, and a good cook. But the law allows only one wife.

- They say when a man holds a woman's hand before marriage,
that is LOVE. After marriage, that is SELF DEFENSE.

- A wife becomes a "SEX OBJECT" when every time the husband
asks for sex, she objects!

- Marriage is the only war where you get to sleep with the enemy.

- There are two four-letter words that are offensive to
men in marriage : "don't" and "stop", unless, they are used together
("don't stop").

- Marriage is an institution where the man loses his
Bachelor's Degree and the woman gets her Master's Degree.

- In marriage, a man can have words with his wife,
but, a woman can have paragraphs with her husband.

- Marriage is love. Love is blind.
Therefore, marriage is an institution for the blind.

- There are 3 stages of SEX in a married life:
Tri-weekly, try weekly and try weakly.

- LOVE is a long sweet dream; MARRIAGE is the alarm clock.

- When a newly married man looks happy, we know why.
But, when a 10-year married man looks happy, we wonder why.


- Marriage is not a word. It is a sentence ... a LIFE SENTENCE.


Testimonials:
************ ***

A long married couple came upon a wishing well. The wife leaned
over, made a wish and threw in a penny.
The husband decided to make a wish too. But he leaned over too
much, fell into the well, and drowned.
The wife was stunned for a moment but then smiled,
"Wow! This stuff really Works!"

Son: Is it true Dad? I heard that in ancient China , a man
doesn't know his wife until he marries her!
Dad: That happens everywhere, son, EVERYWHERE!! !

************ ********* ******

Last night, my wife and I were sitting in the living room and I
said to her, 'I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent
on some machine and fluid from a bottle. If that ever happens,
just pull the plug'.

She got up, unplugged the computer, and threw out my beer!
She is such a bitch!

************ ********* ******

The great question... which I have not been able to answer is...
what does a woman want? -Sigmund Freud

************ ********* ******

"Some people ask the secret of our long marriage. We take time
to go to a restaurant two times a week.
A little candlelight, dinner, soft music and dancing. She goes
Tuesdays, I go Fridays." - Henry Youngman

************ ********* ******

"I don't worry about terrorism. I was married for two years."
- Sam Kinison

************ ********* ******

"There's a way of transferring funds that is even faster than
electronic banking. It's called marriage." - James Holt McGavran

************ ********* ******

"I've had bad luck with both my wives. The first one left me,
and the second one didn't." - Patrick Murray

************ ********* ******

A good wife always forgives her husband when she's wrong.
- Milton Berle

************ ********* ******

My wife and I were very happy for twenty years. Then we met.
- Rodney Dangerfield
************ ********* ******

A Dream Fulfilled





It has always been my dream to become a teacher. Over the years, I have
developed a passion and love for teaching. For me its not only the noblest
profession but the most fulfilling and satisfying work one can endeavor.

Last February 28, 2011, I had the rare chance to fulfill that dream. I was
invited to talk before a group of university students on the topic
“Corporate Banking.”. Having toiled sleepness nights of preparation for the powerpoint presentation, all my efforts finally paid off as the talk went smooth.

The experience made me feel in love with teaching more. Sharing insights to students is such a wonderful experience I wouldn't trade for the world.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Para Kanino Ka Bumabangon?


The newly launched 60-seconder TV commercial of coffee-giant and industry
leader, Nescafe Classic really hit me in the heart. The first time I saw
it on TV, I immediately loved its script, its storyboard, and its simple
yet sensible execution. The questions - Whom are we living for? Whom do we
wake up for? simply suggest us, viewers to examine our conscience and
recall what motivates us to live each day and lead us to eventually
rediscover our sense of purpose and existense.

Nanette Franco-Diyco of Businessworld in her Ads and Ends column puts it”
Its by far one of the most beautiful commercials churned out this year by
creative agency Publicis. The thematic campaign is thought provoking and
inspirational without missing a heartbeat. It has depth while maintaining
its warmth from the quick sunrise scenes to its final quest for an answer.
Great concept. Good writing.”

No doubt, the commercial has been repeated over and over again in TV
because, as Ms. Diyco exclaims, “ it’s a commercial that leaves you feeling
good about yourself, your country and the people around you.”

Hefty Resolutions for 2011

I will summarize the things I wish to accomplish for 2011 through the classic Italian phrase “Vive Bene, Spesso l’ amore, di risata molto" which means "Live well, Love much, Laugh Often”

Live well
Indulge on a healthy diet - less meat, more vegetables and fruits
intake. Eat meat only during weekends.
Start on a healthy regimen. Brisk walking and distance running every
weekend.
Be a running enthusiast. Start joining fun run and marathon. To join
at least five (5) Fun Run event this year
Minimize softdrinks/ Coke intake, if possible, drink only during
weekends
Get oneself pampered in a spa treatment once very quarter.
No-No to Junk Foods
Start exploring/experimenting healthy but appetizing dishes
Read at least 6 management books – once every 2 months
Start learning basic Nippongo and Japanese culture appreciation
Revive the faith and have a constant daily prayer life

Love much
Daily “coffee moments” with my wife
Have a once-a quarter date with my wife
Spend quality time with my family during weekends. Don’t bring work at
home.
Schedule get-away/escapade with my family as bonding moments
Be expressive with my wife and daughter – shout them “I love you”
everyday
Give my wife a surpise gift on her birthday
Write love letters to my wife – one in June and the other one in
December
Write a love letter to my baby girl on her birthday
Monitor birthday of family and close friends and as much as possible
don’t forget to greet them
Love Mother Earth – start on a conviction to save planet Earth !

Laugh Often
Reconnect with old friends and batchmates via the website created for
the high school batch and via facebook
Have a once-in a while videoke espacade
Sorround myself with funny, optimistic, happy and positive people
Make an inventory of happy and funny moments and dwell on those happy
memories
Explore funny TV shows and watch funny but sensible movies with my wife
Retain the cheerful and happy disposition. Laugh as often as I can.
Collect happy and funny photos and mount it in an album labeled as
“HAPPY MOMENTS”

Immortal Love


ABS-CBN’s primetime teleserye, IMORTAL had really changed my primetime
viewing habit. I've never get to sleep without watching the show. I was so
impressed with the series that I never failed to watch every episode. Since
it is shown late, every episode is truly worth the wait.

On top of the superb acting ability and execution of the lead roles, Angel
Locsin and John Llyod Cruz, what appealed me most is
the wonderful message the series wishes to impart.

It is very comforting to believe in LOVE
In LOVE that knows no bound
In LOVE that will conquer the impossible
In LOVE that is willing to repel whatever forces that comes against
In LOVE that’s willing to sacrifice even if it means giving up of oneself
In LOVE that believes and hopes in the transformation that it can bring
In LOVE that will definitely triumph in the end

Friday, September 17, 2010

On Corporate lessons, Chopsticks and Shabu-Shabu

At 32, Ive never been inside a Japanese restaurant, so when an invitation
came in for a dinner in an authentic Japanese Restaurant, I must admit I
was frightened.

Frightened because of two reasons. First, I don’t know how to use
chopsticks and never in my entire life did I get hold of one and second,
because Im not used at dining out with these people and the fear of being
“out-of-place” is killing me. True enough, the host is very surprised that at my age, I still cant use chopsticks. To hide my shame,I bluntly told him its my first time and promised to practice more. I was reminded by my boss who often told me that there are only two rules in the corporate survival- its either you retool or retire. In my case, practicing how to use the chopsticks is a way of retooling.


But the Japanese host is gracious enough to make me feel comfortable.
Being new to the group, he jokingly said that as part of the new team, the
dinner is a welcome gesture for me as an official member of the Japan
Desk family and hearing that from him, give me a sense of belongingness.

As a ceremonial initiation, he made me try the Japanese Sake, a rice wine variant. Not a wine drinker myself, the wine just tasted fine. No difference with the wines Ive tasted before, though, this one has a subtle taste. I like the drinking cup where the wine were being poured and hoped I can bring it home.

Then comes the Shabu-shabu. The word is not new to me as I heard it several times but to be honest, I really dont know what it means. He told us it is a Japanese variant of hot boiling pot, a cook-your-own way of dining. In Japanese culture, it should be the host who will prepare the shabu-shabu for the guest to appreciate.

But what really caught my attention are the several sushi of different toppings like
sea urchin, eel, shrimp, shell meat, sweeteneed egg, milkfish, salmon eggs, etc. The mere sight of them beautifully placed inside a box is enough to create an appetizing appeal. . He kept on telling us that in Japan, the most likely favored and expensive is the one topped with sea urchin. I agreed and found
the reason why when I tasted one. It was absolutely yummy. The sight of
sea urchin brought back childhood memories. I remembered as a kid, we used
to hunt sea urchins in the private resort my grandparents used to stay as
caretakers. The fresh delectable seafood is very abundant at that time and I can
often see people selling bottled sea urchins at a very cheap price. I can
conclude that its being exported to other countries, including Japan, is
the reason why we seldom see them being sold in the street anymore.

But the most satisfying part of the experience, are the valuable inputs the
host imparted on me. He said that being in a department that caters to
Japanese clientele, I should muster to have PATIENCE, emphasizing that as a
virtue, it is very important not only in the corporate world but also to our
personal and family life. He stressed that Japanese people had a different
mindset compared to Filipinos. Japanese always liked to be treated like
kings and queens and they would not take “NO” for an answer.
Though I already knew and heard these things over and over again, this time hearing these lessons and reminders from a top executive in our company, it had a different impact on me.

To cap it all, my first Japanese dining experience is truly an unforgetable bliss. It not only filled my gastronomical craving but it also filled my minds with unforgetable lessons that I can use to survive in this very competitive corporate world.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Jovit's Journey To Victory



I am a self confessed JOVIT BALDIVINO fan. From the first time I saw him auditioned for Pilipinas Got Talent, I was already mesmerized by his natural singing talent. He also exudes a unique charm and mass appeal only endowed to chosen few. His rendition of Journey’s “Faithfully” as his audition piece blew me and my wife away. To say “nakakakilabot ang boses niya” is an understatement. It was just so perfect and flawless and watching him singing left my hair standing. He is just a naturally gifted and amazing singer who is very enticing and engaging to behold.

I long waited for the semi-finals as I was clamoring to see more of Jovit’s performance. When the semi- finals came, I wasn’t surprised when he did a fantastic job singing his version of “CARRIE”. The song isnt familiar to me and it was the first time I heard it as contest piece, but it left a mark on me. I learned to love the song because of Jovit. From then on, I knew this guy is destined to become a star.

When the contest progressed, I learned that there are also equally talented Finalist who joined Jovit in the list. Equally talented in their own respective fields. But what makes Jovit stands among the rest is his natural charm that captures the hearts of the viewers. He has undoubtedly the “charisma” and appeal to the masa. This is maybe attributed to the way he was branded in the show. The usual “nakaka awa” approach always works in talent search. Jovit as we all knew came from a simple family not so blessed in life. Because of financial contraint, this simple probinsiyano tried selling Siomai to earn his keep and help augment the family’s income.

No wonder he emerged as the first ever Pinoy Got Talent’s Winner. People love him. The skyrocketing text votes is a proof to that. Though he is not so gifted in the looks department but who cares? After all, Pilipinas Got Talent is a talent search and not a modelling search.

Winding up, I am proud to say that I have witnessed the birth of a star . Watching him performed his finale song “Too Much Love Will Kill You” made me jumped on my seat. He nailed the song. It was again perfect for me. Another unforgetable and remarkable perfomance from this simple lad from Batangas who dreamed and conquered victory at the end.

I wish him luck. Luck as he starts to journey in the long, complicated and winding road of showbusiness. I pray that he be guided properly with the right people so when crossroads came, he will surely know which path to take and which road to cross. And most of all, may he remain grounded and humble, after all this were the very qualities of him that I simply adore.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Last Tatoo Artist


I was able to watch Kara David's Eyewitness episode last Monday featuring the prized art culture of tatooing in Kalinga Apayao, Cordillera Mountain. Tatooing or "Pagbabatok", as it is known among folks is a long tradition preserved from generation to generation. Eighty-nine-year old WHANG OD (see above photo) never got married and dedicated her life in the art of tatoing. She manually uses wood and charcoal ink in imprinting the art on the native's skin. She is known as Kalinga's Last Tatoo Artist or "Ang Huling Mambabatok".

Watching the show, I was so fascinated not only by the unique artistry of the tatoo, but also by the worth, dignity and valor it brings. It was considered a passage of rite for women about to be married. For them, the more tatoo a woman has, the more beautiful and attractive she is.

For men, it is a symbol of strength and bravery. Each tatoo strand represents the number of enemies a person killed during the war.

But sad to note that the modern generation of Kalinga view the art differently. In fact, none of the children wears tatoo. For them, having a tatoo would deprive them of a dignified and decent life and make them look like criminals and ex-convicts.

Who can blame them? In this internet era, who do you think still appreciates our past and value our culture and treasure the dignity that it brings?

After watching the show, I became even prouder to be a Filipino. Proud of the beauty of my culture and ancestral past and prouder for the Kalinga old folks who wear proud the indelible symbols of their identity.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Gift of Mandee


Being gifted with such a wonderful tyke - Mandee - made me realized how blissful life is to me. Next to her mother, she is one of the most wonderful gift God endowed on me. The thought of her makes my heart smile in silence. Her presence is enough for me not to ask for more.


From the very moment I first saw her until this time that she started to make tiny steps in her journey to the world, I am still amazed at her beauty, uniqueness, giftedness, innocence and purity.


How grateful I am for God -for giving me the Gift of Mandee.


A gift I will forever cherish.


A gift I will always protect.


And a gift that I will forever love.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Worldwide Hunger

One day, a friend of mine emailed to me some heartbreaking photos of starving children in Africa. My heart was really moved with compassion as I eagerly watched the malnourished little angels whose faces were truly begging for food. On the later part of the email can be found few notations telling the readers that the award -winning photographer who took the photographs committed suicide several days after taking the pictures. He was severely discouraged and depressed on the scene he witnessed before his very eyes. I emphatized with him believing he might be so devastated upon seeing that pitiful sight that taking his life will be the only resort to escape a very hurting and alarming reality.
Statistics says that there is so much hunger in the world today. According to the United Nation Food Agency, three hundred million children are hungry and eighteen thousand die everyday for want of food. Hunger kills more people than AIDS, malaria, and tubercolosis put together. Although more evident and widespread in parts of Central America and Africa region, I still believe there are also parts in Asia that struggle with famine and starvation.
What I find surprising was the information I've read from a business newspaper that the world process enough food to feed everyone as qouted from the World Hunger Education Service. Let me reiterate - "Enough food to feed everyone." Based from the statistics presented and believing it's true, then how come there is so much hunger in the world?
The answer lies in the unequal distribution of food. In the world's measure of economic progress, economists often rely on larger factors or macroeconomic statistics to measure development. In most countries, there is a disparity between rich and poor. No wonder even economic giants such as the United States is not sparred from the hunger dilemma. As qouted from the site www.thehungerstrike.com, in 1999, a year marked by good economic news, 31 million Americans were food insecure, meaning they were either hungry or unsure of where their next meal would come from. Of these Americans, 12 million were children. Although America's case may not be as worse as those starvation afflicted areas such as Kenya, Somalia, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and many others, still it is an alarming fact that even rich countries are experiencing difficulties to survive.
The world is hungry. And I predict there will be more hunger as days passed given the difficult times. I hope people from all continents will learn to multiply their bread and fish so other people will simply live. I know there are a lot of people out there who were blessed by GOD with a financially abundant life. I was so touched by Oprah Winfrey when they aired their Christmas episode dubbed "Christmas Kindness", wherein they fed and handed personalized gifts to thousands of children, mostly orphans in some remote villages of South Africa. I figured out, if all of us will do our share to help feed the hungry, I'm sure we can help lessen if not totally eradicate this very alarming problem the world is facing. Ponder on this, "If we will live simply, we will let other people, simply live."

When Humans Create Humans

Human cloning is one subject that got my attention. I find it a crazy idea when skeptic scientists believing so much of themselves and what they can technically do started acting and playing like God.

Several years ago, when the first cloned sheep named "Dolly" was first made known to the world, I anticipated that it will only be a predecessor of a more complicated and advanced cloning. True enough, I wasn't surprised then to have read from the newspaper articles on scientists doing scientific attempts to clone humans. To date, I haven't heard of a reported clone human, but it made me laugh when a Korean scientist admitted in public that he falsified research documents claiming to the cloning of human embryo. Hahahaha. How foolish it is for so-called genius scientists to be overshadowed by their intelligence and started feeling superior over the Divine Creator.

One day, I received a text message from an officemate, it reads as follows:
Scientist said, "Lord, we don't need you anymore. We are already as intelligent as you. We know how to create man. See we can clone humans."

So God said, "Really, so let's have a man-making contest. Let's do it the way I did with Adam." The scientist agreed, then he started to pick up some dust.

But God told him, "No, you make your own dust."

Truly the wonders of science has made impossible things possible. But for me, nothing can surpass the wisdom of the One up there who is the ultimate source of wisdom. I can't blame the scientists when they think too much of what they can do. After all, most of them don't believe in God. It made me utter words of thanks that I wasn't endowed with much intelligence like most scientists have, because if I do, I might not feel the need of God.

Imagine a glass full of water. Even if how many times you'll pour water on it, it won't be contained in the glass - it will just overflow. Because there's no more room for additional water to fill in.

The same holds true in these case, when people believes so much of their intellect, knowledge, power and skills, there will be no more room for additional inputs. Teaching them will be a hard task.

It really takes tons of humility to empty oneself. Let us just pray for those people who doesn't feel the need of God in their life to realize that God created humans not just with a brain but with a heart.

That amidst the extraordinary things they can accomplish, still there are mysteries in life that can't be fathom by human mind.

Be Not Like The Doubting Thomas

The gospel of St. John 20:26-31 is one of my favorite Bible verses that accounts the doubting Thomas. A week after Christ death on the cross, His disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!". But despite GOD's awesome presence in their midst, Thomas failed to believe it was the Risen Christ. He asked if He can see and touch Jesus wounds so He will be convinced. Then God said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe."

Many of us act like the doubting Thomas. Like him who asked for a sign to confirm if it was really JESUS whom he is speaking with, often in our prayers we did not content ourselves with enough faith to believe but ask GOD for confirmations through signs. We wanted to make sure. That's why we set conditions. Like Thomas, we wanted to see Jesus wounds. Sign for Thomas is his condition to believe Jesus. Thomas faith is conditional, and so ours.

Three years ago, when I am seriously seeking my state-of-life discernment, I remembered praying to GOD that if He wanted me to become a priest, He will allow me to dream of heaven. Heaven for me is my condition of faith. No wonder I did not enter the seminary. My faith is not enough to believe GOD unconditionally. I have prematurely set a condition to believe my GOD whose love for me is unconditional. I did not realize that true faith is a commitment to believe to a Personal Saviour.

I loved it when St. Teresa of Avila prayed for GOD to give her the faith to believe and not signs to confirm her prayers. In our human desperation to see outright answers to our pleas, we failed to meditate that God answers our prayers in three ways - yes, no, and wait. God sometimes easily grants the desire of our hearts, sometimes He sent a vague reply of not granting our prayers. And sometimes, He answers it with delays and wants us to wait on his appointed time.

As Christians, may we all learn from the pious Saint. From now on, let us pray for the gift of faith to believe GOD's ways in answering our prayers rather than asking signs to confirm GOD'S answers to our petitions

Evading Temptations

Our journey towards following and imitating Christ in our everyday life is a never-ending struggle between our choice of good or evil. Christian life will always be full of tests and trials making our faith hard to keep. Much to that can be attributed to the alluring and tempting offers of the modern world . The world has offered much wordly values that sometimes we are tempted to trade off our moral and spiritual beliefs . Things that are taboo such as premarital sex, same-sex marriages, abortion, etc. are increasing gaining widespread acceptance and slowly becoming part of social norms. The world is selling sex like a prime commodity. And sadly, teenagers are struggling to keep pure because to have sex is to be "in" and "cool". Standing up for Jesus seems a difficult choice than blending in. The world has offered distorted and decaying standards that if we let it that way, no wonder our children will soon compromise their faith just to go with the flow. No doubt, we find it a hard endeavor to be holy in an unholy world.

I am not saying I am a holy person and was never been tempted all my life. Nobody is exempted from temptations. Not even Jesus. I was tempted twenty four hours a day and seven days a week. Like most people, I struggled in my faith because resisting the devil and standing up for Jesus seemed a difficult decision to make. I failed a lot in my Christian walk.

Three years ago, I came to understand how unmature my faith was. When I was still in college, I went to confession as often as I can and expressed before GOD (through the priest) my desire not to offend Him again. But I guessed at that time, I did not have a clear understanding of what I am doing because after confession, I committed the same mistakes again and again. It has become a cycle of habit. There is no real resolution to sin no more. I am just wasting my time. And worst, I am abusing God's mercy.

After all the temptations that I've gone through, I've learned to be sensitive to temptations. Although sometimes I failed in my resistance to evil, one good aftermath is I found the way to combat the devouring lure of the evil. I've learned that THE BEST WAY TO FIGHT TEMPATIONS IS FLIGHT. Stay away from people, occassions or places that will lead you to sin. FLY AWAY in other words.

Second, you have to equip yourself with a lot of prayer to combat temptations. You should not believe you can do it alone. Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 14:38 ,"Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

Fighting tempation is not our battle - its a battle between God and the Devil. It's a battle within that you cannot handle without God's mighty help. But the good news is - Jesus already won the battle when He died on the cross. Remind yourself often that victory is yours and defeat is for the Devil.

Third, Jesus showed us how to respond when temptation comes. In the Bible, He was tempted in every way yet He did not sin. The devil offered Him everything yet He was so strong that not even any of these tempting offers could move Him.

May we all learn from JESUS Himself.

Let us fix our eyes on HIM and learn to emulate from His example. Let us continue fixing our eyes on JESUS because when we do, there will be no space for the devil. As written in the Bible, "Resist the Devil and he will flee from you."

We Can't Have All

Everytime my wife, YhanYhan vocally expresses her disappointments on me and frustrations hits her so badly, I am clever in saying, "Life is like that. We can't have it all."

Unable to accept my justification and in a furious mind, she would say, " Bakit, ano bang meron ka?". I would laugh and say, " I am rich - rich in goodness!"

Well, my wife maybe right in some way, because I don't exactly knew what I have. But that doesn't bothered me at all because I know she's just joking everytime she says that. I am confident of her great love for me and I know where my place is in her heart. But everytime we had that same confrontation, I am led to the realization that people usually wanted to have all in life. And that includes my wife, me and you.

To be honest, I borrowed that words from former President Cory Aquino. When press people interviewed Cory Aquino on the issue of Kris Aquino's controversial break up with former live-in parter Joey Ma rquez, she smiled and said she advised her daugther to move on with her life and believe that despite being blessed in almost everything, failure in her relationship is part of life's trials because "she can't have all in life".

That hits me in the head. There is wisdom and inspiration from the words that she uttered. Truly, life here on earth is a never ending quest for meaning and happiness that not even material things can fill. Material things may give us joy, true, but not lasting joy and genuine happiness. No wonder why drugs addicts always crave for their addictions.

I wasnt' surprised then, when I watched on the Oprah Winfrey show a doll-looking woman who had undergone twenty-six plastic surgeries in her life but still uncontended with what she looks like. If you have read the Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, you will surely understand what I am saying. "Our life has God-shaped vacuum that only God can fill" wrote Blaise Pascal.

I have learned to stuck in my mind that as long as I am here on Earth, life will not be complete and the search for true happiness and contentment will never end. Because I know that true happiness can only be attain once I will be united with my Creator in heaven. God is the reason why we are here and so in Him alone will we find the fullness of life.

Life will be less hassle and stress free if we all think that way. If we all remember that we are just stewards of the life that GOD loaned to us. That we can't have all that we wish for. I love that line from Bro. Bo Sanches book that states," Contentment is not getting what we want, but wanting what we already have." God has given us almost all to enjoy life, yet it's hard for us to content ourselves with what we have.

Let us ponder that life can only be made complete by the One who created it on the first place.

The Courage To Try

"Try and try until you succeed" may sound an overused cliche among many but not for me. "Never be afraid to try" has become one of my life's guiding principles.

As a young student, I remembered being forced by my teachers to join school competition of all kinds. Name it - I've joined it. From quiz bowls, to oratorical contests and other gab competitions, essay contest and school paper writing tilt , poster making contest to cooking contests- except a school beauty contest, of course. hehehe. The most memorable one was a inter-school Nutrition Quiz Bee where I bagged the top prize. It was memorable because it was the first time I've joined a competition and I won. That experience compeled me to join more school contests even if I know i had slim chance of winning. After years of trying and trying, here's some thoughts i wish to impart:

1. WHEN YOU TRY, YOU'LL DISCOVER MORE OF YOURSELF. Believe me, you'll unearth your potentials and discover your strengths when you give yourself a try. You'll never know you can climb a mountain unless you take a courageous start. I've discovered I can actually write when I tried to post some blogs. I am surprised when friends told me I had a gift in writing and had the potential of becoming a writer someday. After hearing that positive comments, I decided to pursue my dream of becoming an inspirational writer.

You'll also discover your weakness and learn to set your limits or boundaries. After joining several oratorical contest and not excelling at all, I've learned that I cannot be a good public speaker. I trembled in front of a crowd. That public speaking is not my cup of tea.

2. TRYING HELPS YOU BUILD THAT COMPETITIVE SPIRIT. My friends often question me where on earth did I get that drive to compete. Little did they know that I got that competitive spirit not from the lessons taught in the four corners of the classroom but from the competitions I joined through the years. It's a compeling drive accumulated not just an overnight.

3. IT CAN HELP YOU BECOME A POSITIVE-MINDED PERSON. My optimism as a person was brought upon by my several experiences of losing and failing. In my several years of existence, I can proudly say I failed several times. I remembered crying before God when I did not top the NSAT test in my batch when I was in high school. After all, my teachers expected me to be the topnotcher. I failed in my goal of graduating college with honors when I got a below 2.5 grade in Physics. But that doesn'st stop me from finishing college with flying colors. I invested on the subjects I performed well and truly I excelled. My being not good in Physics does not mean I am a failure as a person. I had other assets or skills devoid of those good in numerical skills. We all have different forte.

I BELIEVE LIFE IS ALL ABOUT TRYING.

I believe it is a try when we first send our application letter to our prospective employers. I call it a try when we send a love letter to a crush with a heart hoping for a positive response. And it's obviously giving marriage a try when we said that "I do's" during a matrimonial ceremony. When a father tried his luck by going abroad, he is giving himself a try to gain greener pasture in a foreign land. Businessmen take risk when they try a new business venture.

Whatever state of life we are into, wether we like it or not, everyday we are all trap with life-changing decisions to make. And everytime we make decisions, we are giving ourselves a try.

Why?

Because we aren't certain of the consequences of our decisions and so we try.

Winding up,legendary basketball star Michael Jordan beautifully states, "We should not be afraid to try. I can accept failing but I can't accept not trying."

God's Balancing Act

Have you ever thought what would happen if God created all people rich and powerful?

If everybody has equal footing in terms of net worth, possessions, power and influence?

Surely the world will stumble.

There will be total chaos. War will be a never-ending activity among nations. Peace will never exist. For sure, there will be no poverty, but people in the world will not survive. Simply because nobody will be doing the we-thought-ordinary-but-equally-important work that servants, farmers, street cleaner, fishermen and other ordinary people do and contribute to society.
Perhaps God in His wisdom must be thinking this scenario when He created the world. That's why He allowed different people to have different backgrounds and stature, different interest and different way of life. People from different walks of life had varied standard of happiness and different array of problems. Look closely at the people around you and you'll fully understand what I mean.

Some people are blessed in some areas deficient to others. Some families are financially rich but poor in terms of relationships. The parents are separated, children not in good terms with their parents, kids are drug addicts, kids don't do well in school and many other relationship deficiencies. Some might be enjoying the comforts of living in a nice home but can't enjoy life simplest pleasures. Others might be poor in monetary measure but bursting with happiness and contentment in their relationships.

GOD surely knows how to balance people's lives. At the end of the equation of life, we might be deprived of some things but looking closely we are blessed in some areas of our lives. We are equal, not maybe in the standard of the world,but in God's eyes, we are.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

No Turning Back

One early morning, while browsing one of my favorite social networking site, www.christianster.com, I came across a heart stirring story that almost brought me to tears. The story was all about the blind girl who hated herself just because she's blind. She hated everyone, except her loving boyfriend. He's always there for her. She said that if she could only see the world, she would marry her boyfriend.
One day, someone donated a pair of eyes to her and then she can see everything, including her boyfriend. Her boyfriend asked her, "now that you can see the world, will you marry me?"
The girl was shocked when she saw that her boyfriend is blind too, and refused to marry him. Her boyfriend walked away in tears, and later wrote a letter to her saying. "JUST TAKE CARE OF MY EYES DEAR."

Many of us seem to act like the blind woman. Most of the time we are guilty of the crime of not keeping our promises. Overruled by our selfish tendencies, we tend to promise something not putting in mind the binding commitment to fulfill them. Oftentimes, we failed to mean what we say and say what we mean. We failed to realize that aside from the pain we inflict on others, when promises are broken, it breaks down the fragile walls of trust and confidence that must be maintained in order for any relationship to flourish. As children, we are taught that promises are unbreakable pledges that should be fulfilled. But, as we grow older, the old adage, "promises are meant to be broken," more often justified our lack of commitment in keeping them.
Until now my favorite part in a wedding ceremony is when couples exchange vows to love each other in richer or in poorer, in good health or in sickness, in good times and in bad times until death because it signifies the commitment to give unconditional love to each other. That for me, is the core and essence of marriage. But a lot of couple will agree that those promises are easier said than done.

One funny aphorism I once read states, "Marriage is like a cage; the birds outside are desperate to get in; and those inside are desperate to get out. Marriage is not a bed of roses,as they say. Like any other vocation, married life has its share of sacrifices and struggles, trials and tribulations, imperfections and uncertainties. During trying moments, it is very tempting to ask, "Did I marry the right person?" and blame your spouse for the unfortunate situation in your married life, instead of owning the blame and start asking yourself, "Am I the right person for the one I marry?". I once read an email sent by a friend that, "THE KEY TO SUCCEEDING IN MARRIAGE IS NOT FINDING THE RIGHT PERSON; ITS LEARNING TO LOVE THE PERSON YOU'VE FOUND."

Marriage counselor and author Gary Smalley beautifully states, "Honor is at the heart of all healthy relationship - and genuine love is a decision - not a feeling."

When one decides to love, there should be no turning back. Precisely the good reason why the Catholic Church don't allow divorce among couples. Every couple should have in mind, that their union as a couple is a decision based on love and commitment, thus, they should be ready to embrace whatever life that awaits them. After all, when God blessed the marriage, He desires every couple to build eternal and satisfying relationships.

Husband and wives, the path we choose to embark doesn't guarantee eternal happiness but we can choose to build eternal relationships because God designs every marriage to last a lifetime. I would be radical in saying, that we can achieve a happy and satisfying marriage, if everyday, we will remind ourselves of the very promises that we uttered to our spouse in the presence of GOD and His people and try to live each day, with the grace of GOD, fulfilling those promises with so much love, faithfulness, commitment and dedication.

Starting today, let us carve those promises and vows in our hearts, so when tough and trying moments besets our marriage, just like a house built on a solid foundation, our marriage will not be shaken.