Thursday, July 31, 2008

I just like this...

Remember not the sins of my youth

    and my rebellious ways;

according to your love remember me.

    for you are good, O LORD.

Good and upright is the LORD;

    therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.

He guides the humble in what is right

    and teaches them his way.


For the sake of your name, O LORD,

    forgive my iniquity, though it is great. - Psalm 25:7-9,11

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

To boldly write my story

" Write everyday, line by line. Page by page. Hour by hour. Do it despite of fear, for above all else, beyond imagination and skill. What the world asks of you is courage. Courage to risk rejection, ridicule and failure. As you follow the quest for stories told with meaning and beauty. Study thoughtfully, but write boldly. Then like the hero in the fable. Your dance will dazzle the world. - Robert Mckee " 

No dub-dub-dub-dub


I was able to breathe...

Because it was cancelled. 

There will be a next time...


Sunday, July 27, 2008

A good talk

These days, it is not easy to find time to have a good talk. Or even the right person to talk to. Timing must be just right. And the right heart.

I don't normally open up to people. I am glad that I did tonight. I needed to hear another person's point of view. A saner perspective to my too analytic mind.

It was a good talk. Let me rephrase that. It was a wonderful talk.

Thanks. So much.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


This is going to be a long week of dub-dub-dub-dub.

Queasy stomach.

Fast heartbeat.

200 pairs of ears. And eyes.


Saturday, July 19, 2008


The Lord is my Shepherd = That's Relationship! 

I shall not want = That's Supply! 

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures = That's Rest! 

He leadeth me beside the still waters = That's Refreshment! 

He restoreth my soul = That's Healing! 

He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness = That's Guidance! 

For His name sake = That's Purpose! 

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death = That's Tribulations! 

I will fear no evil = That's Protection! 

For Thou art with me = That's Faithfulness! 

Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me = That's Discipline! 

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies = That's Hope! 

Thou annointest my head with oil = That's Consecration! 

My cup runneth over = That's Abundance! 

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life =That's Blessing! 

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord = That's Security! 

Forever = That's Eternity! 

Face it, the Lord is crazy about you. What is most valuable, is not what we have in our lives, but WHO we have in our lives!

And The LORD JESUS should be Number ONE!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Enjoying the simple pleasures of Laguna

The adventure began the moment I sat at the passenger seat. Several last-minute cancellations left a colleague and me on our own in her car. We discovered that we both didn’t exactly know the way to our destination. The only solution: follow any of the other 12 cars that made up our group.

It was a heart-stopping trip. It gave the word “swerving” a whole new definition for me. Trying to follow seasoned drivers is like running after an Olympic marathon winner. It didn’t help that the road was wet with rain and the sky was downcast. I really hoped that the rain wouldn’t deluge our company outing.

I was glad to reach our initial destination: La Corona. This is where we had a late breakfast of croissants and coffee. Soon after, we changed to our swim clothes, put on sun block and bought colorful native hats.

Several instructions were given. Only two to three passengers per banca. Wear life vests. Remain seated on the waterproof cushions and keep legs flat on the banca. Maintain your balance. Keep your hands within for they may get scraped by unseen stones.

I saw that traversing the rapids is an art. Muscles must flex. It requires speed and presence of mind. Boatmen must have attentive eyes in order to dodge the hidden rocks under the murky waters of the river (because it rained for the past few days). They knew from which side they should push to navigate the banca. Many times, I felt its bottom sliding hard against the rocks beneath the water. Sometimes, it just fitted right between rocks that jutted out. And there were moments when the water was threatening to spill over into the banca. Some may call the water ride tame but it can still make one nervous. It is like having a mini-roller coaster ride.

As we traveled through what I later learned was Bumbungan river, we spotted monkeys among the greenery. There was even a baby monkey running after its mother. We passed by a few “little” falls which might just be the accumulation of rainwater as they fell down from the hills.

The first stop was at the Talahib Falls which served as a short respite for the tired boatmen. We took pictures and then off we went to our real destination, the famous Pagsanjan Falls (or Magdapio Falls). The strong cascade of water created a booming noise. The short ride on a bamboo raft brought us underneath the falls and into the Devil’s cave. The water was refreshingly cold. For a few minutes, we stayed inside and allowed ourselves to be showered with the exploding gusts of water from the falls.

It takes an hour and a half to go to the falls because you go against the current and you cross 14 little rapids. But the way back is much shorter. It only takes half an hour as the water current carries the banca downstream. It was an exhilarating yet peaceful experience. And the best thing? The clouds cooperated. It did not rain.

A sumptuous lunch of real native Filipino dishes was waiting for us. The chatter and laughter was only disturbed by the beautiful voices of a group of singers as they serenaded us with local and foreign songs. With our stomachs full and satisfied, we headed to our next destination… Lagos del Sol.

We enjoyed all afternoon swimming at the pool. Picture addicts that we were, we just posed and smiled to the camera. And of course, we had our fill again when we were served with a late snack of pancit and buko juice. Then off to our cottages to rest for a bit, take a bath and prepare for the evening events.

The night started early with light cocktails and chips. Karaoke singing came next, with both foreigners and Filipinos showing their skills and bravado. The kids were sent to sleep while many of the adults spent the night away laughing, singing, dancing and drinking.

After breakfast the following day, we found ourselves heading towards Paete. The Paete Church was visited for the woodcarvings that beautifully graced the altar. Then off to the woodcarving shops that dotted several streets. Along the way, I noticed the road lined with lampposts of fruits and the curious names of donors.

We caught sight of some people who were still deep at work even on that Sunday morning. What I found most amazing was the shop of papier-mâché fruits. They amazingly looked so real. There were other unique products being sold such as masks, statues, etc. Of course, the trip wouldn’t be complete without a little shopping.

For the way back to Manila, we took a circuitous route through Rizal and Antipolo. It was more challenging because of the zig-zag roads. Lunchtime caught us on the road. Solution? We ate beside the road, with food spread over large slabs of concrete, shooing away flies, laughing and sharing food. We had the privilege of having a view of Laguna Lake and Manila.

Many people would not consider Laguna as exciting because of its accessibility and familiarity. What made this trip memorable was the company as well the simplicity of the pleasures we had.

*Currently published online at Philippine Star's I love Philippines.

Passion : Manila

Passion: Manila

Passion Conferences is a movement established in 1997, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, with a desire to see a spiritual awakening come to the college campuses in the U.S. and around the world. The small Passion team is led by Louie Giglio and operates under the direction of a Board that is committed to spreading the fame of Jesus Christ to the millions of college students around the globe. 

From the beginning, Passion has been rooted in the confession of Isaiah 26:8 – “Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your truth we wait eagerly for You, for Your Name and renown are the desire of our souls.” Passion exists to glorify God – uniting college students in worship and prayer for spiritual awakening in this generation. 

Passion Manila

Passion Manila is a gathering of university-aged young people throughout the Philippines and Southeast Asia. Believing in the university moment and what God longs to do in this strategic window of time, the entire event will focus on the bigness of God, calling students to prayer, worship and action, and a story so much bigger than their own. 

The heartbeat of PASSION MANILA is to: 

Foster UNITY among those who love JESUS 
Spark VISION for the UNIVERSITIES of Manila and the nation 
Tell the STORY of REDEMPTION in compelling ways 
INSPIRE students to EMBRACE their part in God's global plan for the NATIONS 

Passion Manila will be held on August 1, 2008 at the Philsports Arena (formerly ULTRA) from 7.30 pm to 11.00 pm. Tickets are available at selected House of Praise outlets and at the Becca Music Inc. office. Please call BMI at 6380663 / 6379317 / 6379187 or send an email to 

For more information on Passion Conferences, please visit and for more information on the Passion World Tour 2008, please visit 

This article was originally posted here

Two brothers with rare blood disease appeal for help

Two brothers with rare blood disease appeal for help
By  Willie Ong
Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Philippine Star

A mother of six, Lorena de Guzman comes from a poor family in Bulacan. Two of her children, Gian, 13, and eight-year-old Rhael have Thalassemia Major, a rare blood disorder.

The De Guzmans live at 077 Cacarong Matanda, Pandi, Bulacan. Lorena is a housewife and father Carlito is an embroiderer. For the past eight years, Lorena has approached practically all available government and non-government options to prolong the life of her sons. A friend suggested she approach The Philippine STAR’s socio-humanitarian arm, Operation Damayan.

What is Thalassemia?

Thalassemia is an inherited disorder of the blood. Depending on the number of abnormal genes, patients can have mild, intermediate or severe form of Thalassemia. Brothers Gian and Rhael suffer from the most severe type called Thalassemia Major or Cooley’s Anemia. In a survey in the United States , only 513 Americans have this disease.

Patients with this condition completely lack a certain protein in their hemoglobin. And since hemoglobin is part of the normal red blood cells of the body, these patients develop severe anemia.

Symptoms start to occur at two years of age when the patients develop fatigue, difficulty of breathing, paleness and dark urine. If untreated, patients develop heart failure or infections leading to early death. Diagnosis is by simple blood tests.

The usual treatments for Thalassemia Major are regular blood transfusion, medications and spleen removal. Complications are common with frequent blood transfusion because patients develop iron-overload. Close medical follow-up is needed.

Starting at age five, Gian and Rhael have been undergoing monthly blood transfusions at the National Children’s Hospital worth P5,000 per month each. As a result, both Gian and Rhael have dark gray and stippled faces from too much iron in their blood. Their whole bodies, internal organs and skin, are stained dark ashen gray.

Upon examination, Gian’s latest Serum Iron levels are at 5515 ng/ml, which is 15 times higher than a normal person. As a result, Gian’s spleen has enlarged tremendously, giving him a protruding belly.

How long will they live?

According to medical science, the prognosis of Thalassemia Major is not good. Some patients live only until their teens. With the best care, they can live up to adulthood. Gian would also need to undergo a spleen removal surgery later on to prolong his life.

But despite his weakened condition, there is something so innocent and sweet about Gian.

In their Bulacan home, Gian loves to care for wayward animals: a goat, two dogs, six pigeons, 12 native chickens and a guinea pig. Gian then sells the chicken for P100 each and gives all the money to his mother.

For Gian, as long as his mom is there, he is safe. In return, Lorena’s only wish is to have her two sons live a bit longer and with some comfort.

The brothers need around P10,000 a month to have a fighting chance at life. This amount will meet their medical expenses and help prolong their lives.

For those who would like to help Gian and Rhael, you may contact their mother Lorena at cell phone number 0916-377-7969. You may also donate through Operation Damayan at telephone number 527-7901.

Lorena would like to thank the people who have helped her children: Ms. Stephanie Zallow, a German nurse, Bulacan Gov. Mendoza, Mr. Daniel Razon, Dr. Bernie dela Cruz of the Quezon City Red Cross, One Pharma, and the kind personnel and doctors of the National Children’s Hospital.

E-mail questions to drwillieong–

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Monday, July 14, 2008

I wish the war were over

Battles everyday. In the spiritual realm and in its physical manifestation. Big ones, small ones.


I often wonder when it would all end. I happily win some but I tragically lose a lot too. Often, I fight the same battles and it makes me despair. What if I can only move on to the next stage if I win a particular battle? Does it mean that I would never be able to move on? Since I seem to lose the same fights?


But what else can I do but rise again and face the succeeding fights even if they are of the same kind? I have to face my enemies. Tactical strategies are constantly changing. Certain battles are fought head-on, demanding courage. But they can be tricky, too. They can creep into your life and stab you on your back while you are confidently thinking that you are invincible. Then you realize, too late, that you are not.


The war is raging. You have to be on the move, alert, ready to take up arms and fight. Because your life, indeed, depended on it.


My only recourse is God. Otherwise, where else would I go? I only feel safe and loved in His presence. I know that He will never allow me to stray too far. I constantly pray though that I would be able to hear His call above the din of sins and finite joys that this earth offers. There are still many, many battles to be fought and I truly hope that I would be able to survive. I know I will, with His help. I can’t help though to wish that the war were over. For good.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Do you believe I am able to do this?

As I was running along Sunken Garden in UP, I can't help but let my thoughts go back to a question my friend Beng posed to us during our recent small group discussion. Do I believe that God is able to answer my requests? How big is my faith? Is there an aspect in my life that I haven't fully trusted to our Lord?

During our discussion, I had to admit that yes, there are some things that I did not think of laying down at His feet. No, not because I lacked faith. It was more like... I accepted that it was my lot and that God can still do great things through me despite the limitations given to me. No, not because I doubted His power. It was because it completely slipped my mind that my God is bigger than anything  else I have known and will ever know. No, not because I did not believe in His miracles. It was only because I wanted more transformations in other aspects of my life, something I considered more important.

It was a gentle yet a booming reminder. There is nothing small or big that God cannot change it. I sometimes pray to Him to provide me a seat on the bus to go to work. I have to remember that I can also ask Him to give me a mountain.

This too, I believe, He is able to do.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Beauty of the mystical

Cryptic. Hidden. Camouflaged.

No one really knows the meaning of words.

Deep within the communication, there lies the relevance. Even better, the significance is already conspicuous. But only the discerning would know how to decode the semantic formation.

The writer alone knows the real intention.

And there lies the beauty of the mystical narration.


Monday, July 07, 2008

A story worth telling

I love stories. Novels of considerable length which narrate the complexities of human relationships and histories. Short stories which provide a short glimpse into our lives. Poems which often contains the deepest emotion of love and despair of the writer. Even a haiku whose poetic presence is fleeting yet leaves us with a lasting impression.


Oftentimes, stories are like a deja-vu of my life, reminding me that I am not alone in my trials and victories. I have to acknowledge the fact that at least one other person in the six billion who inhabit this earth went through a similar situation. Much like Noah who discovers the beauty of the rainbow after the flood, stories can bring encouragement and the promise that all will be well.


Stories take me into worlds that are different from mine. They leave a mark in my mind and soul, exposing me to dreams and infinite possibilities. These are the stories I love.


My life is a story being narrated. As the pages of my life get written, people weave in and out of my story. They, too, have their own pieces to tell. Sometimes, those that they narrated have been lies. Knots and tangles have been created and with such complexity, I try to break free in order to find serenity. It is too late. They are deeply entrenched in your life. The only choice is to make new stories.


At the other side of the coin, there are budding stories which I sometimes wish would bind to mine. But most of the time, the choice is beyond my story-telling skills. 

I have to remember also that though I have a choice in writing my own tale, the great Storyteller is the one who sees the big picture. I need to give him my hand so that he can guide me in my writing. Why? For I want to have an epic life worth telling

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Peace Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace, 
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; 
to be understood as to understand; 
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive; 
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; 
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Second chances have endings

In reality, you've had more than two. But you chose to ignore what was being offered to you. 

We are forgiven when we seek forgiveness. We can start with a new slate if we seek to correct our ways.

You abused the hand that fed you.

Now, you must suffer the consequences. It might be the only way to make you change your ways. 

I am afraid of what tomorrow would bring you. For sure, you would feel like the world is falling around you. Floods of tears and fears.

God, in His infinite mercy, will provide you with another chance. But even He can't do a thing if you harden your heart.

Please learn from this. The choice has always been yours. 

We will pray for you. And for tomorrow to be over soon.

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 (