Saturday, April 26, 2008

I have enough...

... when I have Christ

When You Have Christ
Illumination of a quotation by Thomas a Kempis
Check other images in 

Friday, April 25, 2008

Ready to be surprised

I was reminded tonight that there are three things we can be sure of. 

- That life is short. 

- That death is sure. 

- That there is an eternal life.


What do we do with these certainties? Try to deny their realities? Distract ourselves with temporary bliss? Silently despair over the futility of it all?


Death comes to all. A little early to some, a little later to others. It should never surprise us.


We cannot dwell on its inevitable arrival. Since eternal life has been established, the only thing we can do is to be prepared. To know for sure, in this short life we have, if we are going to be eternally blessed or be forver damned.


I want to be always ready when sure death knocks on my door to give me the surprise gift of eternal life. 

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Running the race

May our lives create ripples in the ocean of humanity.

To live is Christ. 

To die is gain.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Intercessory prayer might be defined as loving our neighbour on our knees. - Charles Ben

Courage is fear that has said its prayers. - Dorothy Bernard

There are thoughts which are prayers. There are moments when, whatever the posture of the body, the soul is on its knees. Victor Hugo

"Prayer is a cry of hope."  French Proverb

I believe in prayer.  It's the best way we have to draw strength from heaven.  ~Josephine Baker

My happy list...

It has been more than a month when Aleks ( tagged me. I have been so busy writing about wonderful experiences and numerous thoughts that I am only now doing this. Hope it is not to late Aleks. :- )

The rules are easy. Just post 10 things that recently made you happy! Then tag 10 people and force them to post this meme on their blogs…

Here’s my happy list:

1. To get a phone call from a friend abroad who asked for my perspective.

2. To get a call from a friend in the middle of the night to share to me a wonderful news.

3. To discover silver hoop earrings deep within my mess of a room.

4. To walk on my own two feet and reach the crater of Mt. Pinatubo.

5. To conquer my fear and see God's creations under the sea.

6. Luscious strawberries.

7. To hear that a colleague learned a lot from an audio book I gave her.

8. To have a prayer answered by God.

9. To write an article and read people's positive response.

10. That it is possible to change for the better.

And now it’s your turn to make your happy list: Ptr. Jessie, Nio, Xtian, SJ, Raechel and Paula, Mommy G, Reah, Joseph and Claire

For us to be thankful to God for the happy things He brought to our lives!

Carpe Christ!

Monday, April 21, 2008

My sin, your sin, our sins

Human that I am, I can be judgmental. Not verbally, not in actions. But I have to admit that often, I have done it in my heart. 

It was so easy to fall into that trap of thinking that I am better than someone else. No, not regarding talents, not regarding beauty, not regarding skills. But morally. Or is it spiritually?

But the more I experience the grace of God, the more I see my own sinfulness. And thus, I was rebuked and convicted that I, too, am guilty. Even guiltier.

I realized that I have my sins, you have your sins, we all have we are own sins. The hardest part is that I may sin and no one would know about it. People would maintain my goody image but in fact, I may have the blackest heart. We cannot judge another person's actions or appearance. He or she might be struggling with this particular aspect of his/her life and it became the basis of my judgment. It is not the complete picture.

This won't be easy. Refraining from forming impressions about people around me.I have a constant reminder though. We all report back to God. It is only to Him that we need to make an account of our lives. My only role in this is to make sure that when I face Him, I will have an acceptable slate to show Him. And even this, only because of His grace.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Break Through by Tommy Walker

Break through

Break through

Break through all my doubts

Break through

Break through

Break through all my fears

Break through

That I may worship You

Oh break through

Break through

Break through all my pain

Break through

Break through

All my guilt and my shame

Break through

Like only You can do


You are brighter than my darkest night

Stronger than my toughest fight

Just one touch from You my King my friend

And I'll never be the same again


Oh break through

Break through

All my pain

Break through

Break through

All my guilt and my shame

Break through

Break through

Like only You can do

Oh break through

Like only You can do

Break through

Like only You can do

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Finding life beyond the tragedy of Mt. Pinatubo

Mt. Pinatubo erupted 16 years ago, devastating whole villages and destroying many lives and cattle. The river has become filled with lahar, a type of mud flow from the volcano. It has rendered the area grey, desolate and lifeless. It is the image of tragedy.


Humans though have this resiliency to survive and bounce back. And so the locals found the easiest trail back to the mountain through Capas, Tarlac. And life began again.

For the last three (or four) years, 4 x 4 vehicles traversed the lahar-filled river. They bring in tourists to a short but steep pass. This would take them to a trail up to the mountain. A trail that is filled with sand, pebbles, stones and rocks, with foliage and water in various parts.

Weighed down by a backpack filled with water bottles and snacks, going against the pull of gravity, blinded by bright sun and scorched by the hot sun, we traveled for one hour through the arduous trail.


The fatigue was all worth it when you reach the look-out post. To marvel over a beautiful lake at the crater of the volcano. To ponder how such majesty could be created through a catastrophe. To be awed how these people who became victims of nature have now found a way to earn their living.

My friend clearly said it. We do not know the plans of our Father. We often cry against Him for the tragedies in our lives. But at the end of the journey, once we see the lovely resultant, we realize that He is always at hand.

May I always remember what I have learned from Mt. Pinatubo’s transformation and from my own challenging yet fruitful climb of its trail :  from any trial, expect a marvelous gift from above. 

What time of day are you?

You're 6:49 a.m.

You're the time of day right around sunrise, when the sky is still a pale bluish gray. The streets are empty, and the grass and leaves are a little bit sparkly with dew. You are the sound of a few chirpy birds outside the window. You are quiet, peaceful, and contemplative. If you move slowly, it's not because you're lazy ? it's because you know there's no reason to rush. You move like a relaxed cat, pausing for deep stretches that make your muscles feel alive. You are long sips of tea or coffee (out of a mug that's held with both hands) that slowly warm your insides just as the sun is brightening the sky.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A few hours at the Cagsaua ruins and Daraga church

Any self-respecting tourist in Legazpi City must visit the Cagsaua ruins and Daraga church.

The Daraga Church exterior is marvelously old. But the inside had extensive renovations that one would no longer recognize it.

The Mayon volcano was really breathtakingly majestic. I just wish that the "pasaway" clouds allowed us to see the perfect cone. I guess, I have to visit this land that bears my name and is home to my mom.

The ruins, lovely ruins of Cagsaua. Good thing it was not destroyed further by Storm Reming. With the constant breeze, the wonderful view of Mayon, and the uniqueness of the place, one has the desire to just sit on the grass and enjoy the ambiance.

We had fun taking pictures! Or having our pictures taken!

Swimming with the gentle giants in Donsol Sorsogon

Terrified. That was how I felt when informed that we were supposed to jump into the water and swim after the butandings (whale sharks). 
No, I was not afraid of the whale sharks. They are not called gentle giants for nothing. And that is how they are… gentle. Darren, our BIO man (Not the show we used to watch when we were young… it means Butanding Information Officer!), was asking me to do two things I fear: jump… into deep water! And we were supposed to do this several times since the boat must maintain some distance from the big fish. And so with my heart thumping loudly (so it seemed), 
I watched my colleagues leap into the sea. It didn't help that one of them panicked for not knowing how to use a snorkelling gear.

I know how to snorkel. I have done it several times. I love seeing the colourful fishes interesting corals, etc but for the life of me, I can't get over my fear of the water. My swimming teacher told me years ago that I know how to swim but I just can't let go of a guiding hand. I subscribe this to a childhood experience of almost drowning in a swimming pool. And so there I was, with a life vest, goggles and snorkel (I abandoned the fins, dangerous for my fractured leg), battling with myself. I know I have to do this. I planned this trip. But no one told me that I have to jump!

But like any fear, it originates from dreading the unknown. I did say that this would be a year of courageous acts for me. I know I have to do this. And so I did. With the help of Harvey (our 'guide"), I braved the sea and marvelled at the sheer size yet gentle movement of the butanding. The experience beckons you to do it again and again. And so I did. Jumping into the water became easier (still with the help of our "guide"). In fact, we chased the giants of the sea. The last swim would always be etched in my memory. The pursuit brought me right above its body and tail. I could almost touch it and then it swam away.

I wish I could say that I got over my fear of the water. But no, it is still there and might be always there. Yet, I am not worried. For life, in fact, is filled with fears. The challenge for us is to overcome them one day at a time. It is when we try to conquer them that we discover magnificent things in life. I faced my fear of the water for a few hours yet the memory of the butandings would be with me for life.

The gentle giants

Another check for my list of things to do before I die.

It was worth the jump (and the climbing back into the boat!).

Lovely and gentle giants of the se. The dots on their gills are so unique that the pattern is recognized as their thumbprint. There are now 159 identified butandings in our Philippine seas.

Way cool! 

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Firefly watching at Donsol River

In my search for activities to do in Donsol, Sorsogon, I came across the term “firefly watching.” I had no time to make further research but since a comment from said that it is a must, I included it in our itinerary. And it was the first thing that was offered to us when we reached the Casa Bianca resort.

Having no expectations whatsoever, we just settled in our little banca and let the boatmen motor us into the Donsol River . It was eerie though. There was total darkness. Except for the tiny houselights along the shoreline. And the flashlight that our boatman turned on and off throughout the cruise. The same kind of light was flashing from time to time in other areas of the river signifying the presence of other bancas. I just rationalized that there couldn’t be a lot of light since we wouldn’t be able to see the fireflies.  

The darkness became beautiful though once you look up. The evening sky was dotted with hundreds of stars.  With the continuous breeze of fresh air, the gentle movement of the currents, and the constant humming sound of the motorboat, I could only marvel at God’s wonderful creation. It was the same kind of sensation I felt once we entered Donsol River and saw certain trees pulsating with lights. It looked like the fireflies were languidly dancing to a common song that only they can hear.

As we continued plying the river, it became darker and darker, leaving behind signs of civilization. But as the night became more black, I appreciated more the distant stars, the occasional firefly or fireflies and the intermittent flash of light. I remembered a common knowledge that a little candle can light up a gloomy room.

The show of the fireflies was not spectacular. The stars were not brightly shining. But as we traversed the long river, I appreciated the fact that in the darkest night of our lives, we can be fully confident that someone is guiding our paths. 

Friday, April 04, 2008


Several times I just wanted to throw everything out. I got tired of sorting, again and again, files, clothes, books, etc. It felt like I have been doing this for so long when in fact, we just started three weeks ago.  But it seemed like we opened a Pandora’s box of stuff and the monster came out, that is, an endless supply of objects to sort out.


I can’t help but get surprised time and time again when I see the things that my mother kept. I can’t blame her though. I know that our busy lives hindered her from organizing our material things. Spiritual, emotional, intellectual and relational matters are more important. But it is agonizingly hard choosing which to box in, to give away, to throw out, to maintain on the shelf, etc. This will go on for, I think, another month.


But since there is always something to learn from any aspect of our lives, here are some lessons I gleaned from the process of sorting.


  1. Keep life simple. Give or throw away things that you don’t need. Better yet, do not buy unnecessary objects. Get only what you will really use.
  2. Clean out your closet and clear out your table at least once a month. Don’t let your stuff pile up. Organizing is easier when it is done slowly.
  3. This is not easy but try to think that the stuff you are sorting is not yours. It is so easy to get so sentimental about a frayed ribbon, an old and faded shirt, worn out shoes, etc.  Replay a constant question, will I miss this after five years?
  4. Don’t maintain a box of “for repairs.” Trust me, you won’t get them repaired. Have them fixed as soon as possible. Otherwise, give it to someone who can repair and use it, either someone you know or a junkshop.

Lion Chaser Manifesto

Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. Set God-sized goals. Pursue God-ordained passions. Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention. Keep asking questions. Keep making mistakes. Keep seeking God. Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution. Stop repeating the past and start creating the future. Stop playing it safe and start taking risks. Expand your horizons. Accumulate experiences. Enjoy the journey. Find every excuse you can to celebrate everything you can. Live like today is the first day and last day of your life. Don't let what's wrong with you keep you from worshiping what's right with God. Burn sinful bridges. Blaze new trails. Criticize by creating. Worry less about what people think and more about what God thinks. Don't try to be who you're not. Be yourself. Laugh at yourself. Quit holding out. Quit holding back. Quit running away.

Chase the lion.

In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson (