Saturday, July 30, 2005

Joy in serving Him

It has been almost a week since my last entry. I had not noticed this till I visited my blog again today. I guess there have been some concerns at work that I needed to sort out. Well, it's a Saturday evening and just came from UP this afternoon from French class and a long afternoon walk with Amats.

Looking back this past whole week--it has been a bit crazy. I think I cannot blog about some of the things that happened this past week as you have probably observed. It just goes to show that a blog cannot contain just to begin describing how it is being human or the days in a life of a human being. Only snippets and some random thoughts.

Last Tuesday, we got an invitation to a LSS at He Cares by Judith, despite the many many things that needs my attention--how can I refuse my help to God who is calling me to serve Him for just one night? My mind and my body is weary in many ways than one could describe, a different kind of being in the bottom or something like that. When Amats told me about it, I just said Yes. No thinking, just ruminating that the Center must be needing a hand and God wants us to be there --so I thought do not ask, just go.

Last Wednesday night, the minute we arrived there, the mommys and kids at He Cares, the warm greetings, Kuya Joe Dean there, AG, Honey, Joy, Judith, Nora, the minute I started singing His praises my weariness disolved instantly. Ennervated!

Indeed it is such a joy to serve Him. Despite the many things that weakens my spirit that leaves me restless, with Him, I find rest as He promised.


I had a great time talking to the girls of He Cares and listening to their sharings. I am in awe how strong they are for they were able to go through difficult times. It has been a long time since I led a DG, or discussion group. This one was quite a young group but I am humbled by the trials and challenges they are facing.


After the late night meeting at He Cares, we invited AG to stay with us to spend time and he spent the night at home with Amats and I. It is also good to have long talks and chats with an old friend especially a missionary friend who gets by with almost nothing at all and yet God's provision is very rich in their lives.

Monday, July 25, 2005


I have known this word for a long time. I have also used it innumerable times. When one bids goodbye--we sometimes say goodbye with Adios. But it was only last Saturday that I learned the true meaning of the word from Professor Wynstan. He said it means: "I leave you in God's hand".

As I recall how the word is sometimes not properly used and to some extent miused in a tone that contradicts the true meaning of the word. This has been a good lesson to be wary of how to use words. Words indeed have the power to sooth or to hurt.

Learning a new language has broaden my boarders without leaving QC.

love pa rin

Courage to live our life to the fullest indeed is a challenge. We aim for things, fame and glory but these are for naught. Still the thing that sustain us is love. Love in its many forms.

Melo's book

Yesterday, we were happily surprised by a visit of a good friend Melo. It was good to see a brother and a friend we haven't seen for a long time. He teaches in Ateneo de Naga and he is in town just for the day, we are honored by his visit. He bears good news that his thesis is now a book -- Son of Man. Ateneo de Naga University Press will be officially publishing this year and this is the very first book to be launched by the university press scheduled in the next couple of months maybe September 2005.

Congratulations bro! Galeng.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

sampaguita and agapanthus

These are the many angles showing the different flowers of my wedding bouqet which i took several pictures off 360 degrees. I just love variety. Today I remembered my special request for this was the sampaguita and agapanthus flowers for their scent and color, respectively and their very unique delicate small petals. I love flowers.

Many thanks to Gibo, our friend who works in Penang, Malaysia who sponsored a big chunk of our flowers even if he was unable to be with us that 27th day of Nov.

Arrangement by: Sunday Cabagay of Kablooms

center of center

Working for the environment, coastal communities, and living in the Philippines. I feel truly blessed by these and I appreciate these things more now that I am doing my research paper for ENRM 290 my sort of baby thesis. I am studying coral cover and fish abundance. I just reviewed the paper by Kent Carpenter about the probable epicenter of marine biodiversity in the world is central Philippines. I am also very excited that our project site is very near the area where Carpenter's study revealed. Iam thankful for Joyce J. for being the one to send me this message a few months back, that the center of center of marine biodiveristy in the world can be found here in the Philippines.

I am truly amazed and Im in constant awe at God's creations. As I read on, review and work on data about marine biodiversity in the country, my appreciation for my field work and study and the uniqueness of the Philippines continually grows.

My imagination can only comprehend a minute understanding the one Maker of all these. Every day as I live and work and see His creation, I am renewed, refreshed and my faith in Him strengthened.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Dream passport

Today I've been gearing up for all the travel logistics that needs to be done. All the meetings, conversations that need to take place and leg work, does not affect my zest for traveling. But there is one thing, visas *%&$#. I had some horror stories to tell and personal experience how terrible it is sometimes. But I am hoping this years plans will go smoothly. Just now, I've been dreaming of a blue passport--a UN pass-port. I saw one before when I used to work for the Environment Unit when the country office was still along Amorsolo. It would be really great to have that kind of pass.

Fan of HP

Just read the first two chapters of HP6 the Half Blood Prince. Thanks Honey for the copy. No, I wont spill out the beans hehehehe thus, you can read on. It has been a while since I have been a fan of a fictional character. Until a few weeks ago when I showed clear symptoms that I am indeed a FAN. The last time was Nancy Drew circa 1984 and not counting recently Chris Nolan's Batman. I guess it was Nancy Drew that really encouraged me to read early on.

About being a fan of HP. I have been resistant to HP when it first came out and now I have to admit that I am a fan. I guess the first symptoms of my being a fan was when I read Prisoner of Azkaban. The undenial signs of being a fan was apparent when I read my fave among the HP volumes---the Goblet of Fire. I bought a complete paperback set for my nephew Julius as a birthday gift to encourage him to read good stories. My only deal with my nephew is that he read first all the other books before I give him the copy of GoF.

Another aspect of being a fan, unlike being a fan of a hollywood star is that you can stalk them etc. But I guess you cannot do that with HP. I don't really think the HP image is totally represented by Dan R. I guess the story is bigger than the movies but the one made by Cuaron is exemplary.

I remember one hardcore fan of Tolkien, she said that it was sad that a movie was made on LOTR. Because every time you think of Frodo your image is locked on Elijah W. Whereas when there was yet the movie your imagination brings you to more unlimited and unexplained imagery of the character and each will be unique to each reader, thus making such a great adventure reading.

In another plane, being a fan sometimes is hard especially if you lack the budget to buy that universally launched volume. Being in the "global south" it is hard to part with that amount even if I am now openly declaring being a fan. But all is well and as always God knows what we want and provides for us. God is good indeed.

I'll continue reading tonight...

Monday, July 18, 2005

Bagong Gising

Meron tayong kasabihan "magloko ka na sa lasing, wag lang sa bagong gising". In these series of pictures you can see my beautiful niece, baby Jane Allison staring curiously at the camera.

What happened was that we visited a bit late last Sunday, but still around dinner time. Apparently JA had several visitors that day including auntie Leah. I guess she was playing the whole day before we arrived. Oh well, after dinner just before we were about to leave she woke up. She was kind of shocked to say the least. Tito-Ninong Amats' theory is that this kid will hate cameras as our digital camera keeps on blinking a red light towards her. The pictures says it all...

The pursed lips should be a warning sign already that taking pictures at unholy hours is a no-no. You can just see the transformation from happy cute expression, to mildly surprised then apparent irritation. hehehehe.

I'll take this Jane that you wouldn't want to go to Italy then?

I have taken many pictures of Jane since she was born six months ago. But it was this this shot that made me really laugh. It just shows her disgust being the subject of a paparazzi.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Buhay Banahaw

This is Buhay Banahaw, my inaanak, the son of Abi and Earl. All his life (all of 2 years) he lived in Jersey and it was just the other day that I was able to meet him in person and spend time with him. Such a joy to see him play. Amats and I brought some gifts. I wrote in the card, "for all birthdays and Christmases past". While we were there he called me "Nyay nyi" his word for Ninang. It was amazing that while we were eating pizza he was able to say Ninang straight while offering a glass to drink. Awww.

I also learned that he like ping pong balls Abi will tell you the story herself. We really enjoyed spending time with Buhay and Abi and Earl. Good to see here he likes the yellow-orange truck we gave him checking it's tires.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Moving to Paradise

Today, this morning, one of my really good friends Jane is leaving for El Nido--for good. We have spent unforgettable times working together in projects for the past year, we climbed numerous mountains with her, swam the waters of Secret beach with jellyfish, cooked on the beach at Samal and many out-of-the-box, spur-of-the-moment, shoestring-budget, just-travel-and-do-it moments. She has helped me countless times and I am grateful to be blessed with a friend like her! As a gesture to cheer her towards her dream of a life in the islands--here's to you Nine!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

A day on a river

One hot sunny day we went to the river to meet some friends.

Then we saw this little boy paddling along the river.

He was so small compared to the size of his green boat. I wonder where he wants to go? Catch some fish for dinner maybe?

Then he saw me.

and went his way,

and paddled along.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Con mi amor, Filipinas

Today am filled with mixed emotions. I never thought that I would cry for my country. I had this vague idea that those emotions are reserved for the likes of Rizal or Ninoy and I do not consider myself in their league so to speak. I was almost ambivalent to what is happening around me for the past weeks. I even participated in the unflagging Filipino way of dealing with adversity by finding the humor in these things. I guess that is uniquely us.

A few days ago I revealed to a sister some thoughts about migrating to another country. She knows that in the past I am not even thinking of living in a foreign land. (Remembering the time that I wrote a note to the US embassy upon my return from the US--how can you judge people's hearts? I have never wanted to live in the US)If not for a business trip I will not be going there.

My husband also, we are on the same level that living in another country is not for us. I told Riags that I do not ever want to change my citizenship. I love to travel and visit other countries and that is it.

Riags said that she is happy that I have opened up to the idea. It is for several reasons that we thought about it, future and security of our children, financial mainly. You cannot blame people for their exodus for greener pastures. Days past and thoughts of making concrete steps to realize this plan made me sad. Thoughts like, I cannot leave my country to be second class citizen in another. I do not want my children to be raised in a foreign culture. I want them to learn Tagalog as their mother tongue.

But as I stand on the sidelines and look at what is happening now, to the contrary it has in a way made me realize how much I love my country more. An urge to help her be better. How? I do not know exactly. But I know I wouldn't be helping the Philippines if I migrate in another country.

Eventually other circumstance might lead us to do leave but definitely and I am certain that we will come back. If ever that sad thought happens.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Conspiracy Theories

High heels are a conspiracy against women. I have used this particular line many times before. Especially during times when one is required to be in a formal attire, sunday's best or dressing on the better side. For anyone who knows me, rarely will anyone see me in heels even at my own wedding, the highest heel I own is about an inch which almost the same elevation as my trek shoes.

I really cannot understand it why women would choose to wear heels. Fashion? why would we follow fashion when it is downright un-comfortable? Duh!? Heels specially stilleto (tama ba spelling?) are a conspiracy it reminds me of the days when Chinese women were made to wear this super small steel shoes which National Geographic made a documentary of. It made me realize how I really appreciate walking flat on level ground when I read something that made me appreciate the simple things in life.

So, why did I write about high heels? Well I guess it was one of the residual thoughts from yesterday when we were doing the documentary shoot at El's place about how at very young age, gender difference are made through several influences and norms and one of those partly discussed was the choice of color. Association to color of pink or blue for the baby's dress and automatic gender just reflects how deeply ingrained in our conciousness the things that are the norm or what culture has ascribed to men and women.

Liberte, I am always thankful for the freedom of choice. Wearing heels is a choice but i still think it is one huge conspiracy against women to have comfortable walking lives.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Notes from our travels

This was taken in Vatuolailai village in Fiji Islands in the South Pacific back in August 2003. I was with some of my Filipino co-delegates visiting the village and one night after dinner we were playing with the local children. I just thought that I would post this to remind myself that working for the environment is not only for endangered wildlife but for humanity. I am already excited for August this year.

Today is one of those rare occasions that I stumbled upon some information that made realize and rethink my level of respect for her-- Angelina Jolie with her work for the UN and a book she has written about her travels.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

in the know

One of my past years goal is to be less stressful and this is still an on-going process. One major improvement and success which I am thankful for is that we do not have a TV at home, not that we cannot afford it, we just decided that it is such a constant source of bad news and good-for-nothing-tele-novelas. We decided that these are one of the things that we can live without. True enough, it has been a year now since I lived in this apartment that I do not own a TV set. I am happy to say that I get more things done and have been able to sleep early! yey such luxury.

So, now that there are these things happening in the country, how do we keep updated and be in the know then? Well thank God for blogs like MLQ3. And PCIJ stories behind our stories is one of the most updated in Philippine politics, if you want to be in the know.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Stand for something

Yesterday I was able to attend the last day of the CSR Expo 2005, another acronym--Corporate Social Responsibility. I was able to attend and listen for free to world class speakers and one of them is Jude Mannion, CEO of Robin Hood Foundation in New Zealand. She said stand for something or stand for nothing. The way she presented to a large room of development workers in the Philippines is riveting to say the least. Beyond giving was the theme of the expo and her talk yesterday afternoon was beyond inspiring.

It was an affirmation of sorts for me personally. As I listened to her talk about "Why are there increasing trends that CEOs of top companies migrate to CSR"? Where would you find a work that builds on your creativity, has immense flexibity, and opportunity to do good and you actually have a job. Development workers are in this league.

It was a day well spent networking with different foundations in the country that have various environmental programs and linking with possible partners and funders. And listening to world class speakers like Jude is icing on the cake.

By the way there was a TNF exhibit, to boot!

Almost Photofinish, again

I just finished writing today a proposal that I have been mulling over the past weeks. I have dropped it at the post office a short while ago and I feel that indeed it is another photofinish. Actually the deadline is tomorrow July 8th and that it has to be postmarked not later than then. Finishing at 4:30PM today and the post office closes at 5:00PM and well, you know how on-time the post office people here close. I was a bit tense. I also had less than 250 pesos in my wallet and no more time to pass by the ATM machine. I just took my chances and went to the PO. I thought if God is not willing to have me mail this today I won't and I still have tomorrow if ever. But I had an urgent sense that I needed to do it today - finish it once and for all. After a tricyle ride, a short wrong jeepney ride, then a padyak (local rickshaw) I arrived at the PO and with 5 minutes to spare. A good lady opened her closed window and helped me, gave me tape to close my envelope and I had enough cash to have the proposal mailed to Japan the ordinary registered mail which amounted to 180 pesos and still had enough coins to go back home. Amazing. Thank God.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Prayer power

Healing. That was the message I got today during reflection time. Today and the recent past, health and healing has always been a thing that I felt is always out of our hands to control.

I was chewing on thoughts of strength and power and what would one do in times that we need healing on a personal level, family, loved one and even a confused political society that is plaguing the country. I felt powerless. And the call is for sobriety and to pray.

My mind has been stuggling with some recent events that concerns family as well as my country. And I have once again underestimated the power of prayer. I was brought to my senses as I read about the woman who touched the tip of the garment of Jesus. By her belief and faith, she was healed.

And I thought, the Maker of the universe has this infinite power and the only thing we need to do to communicate with that power is to pray.

To pray is not to be without strength but it is the most powerful thing one can do. It takes courage to accept that we are powerless to influence health and healing of those around us and to acknowledge that there is a much, much greater Being that holds us in the palm of His hands.

Praying indeed is not for the weak of heart. Now the image of a prayer warrior comes to mind.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

First time

When was the last time you did something for the first time? I saw this line on an ad and it has the picture of a child with her mouth open trying to catch a snowflake. I remember this picture whenever I realize that there are still many many things that I have yet to see, touch and experience. And like in the picture it was tasting a snowflake. I have lived all my life in a tropical country and I never regret living in these islands. I love the sun and tropical waters. But going back, still I would want to exprience things like touching snow.

To answer the question above, I did something for the first time last Saturday. I recited the alphabet in French. (Ha! ang babaw) but I really enjoyed learning something new. I am very much excited about my French 1 and Spanish 1 class but learning French is a much more challenging task. I am really excited to learn and speak a language that is spoken differently as it is written.

Last week I asked Monsieur Teddy, how do you say God in French? His reaction was of mild surprise but answered me nonetheless-- Dieu.

As in Mon Dieu.


Friday, July 01, 2005

Pineapple Juice

a juice that is like no other.

List of joys

Why did I start blogging? I had second thoughts if I should publish this or not. Today, as I was promted to share why.

To have a list of joys. It has always been the reason.

I cannot totally say that all the entries in this blog is all about joy. But basically it attempts to record my own take on a list of blessings that I have received. What really inspired me was a story about a person with cancer and knowing that she had little time to spend life on earth, she decided to list all the joys and blessings in her life.

At the end, she gave this to her loved one so that she would be remembered by her joys and the challenges she overcame in life. This would be a solid reminder of a life lived to the full--and will be well remembered. By doing this, she was not remembered struggling with her cancer, but through her own words how she has enjoyed a life full of blessings.

That particular day, and I guess also in the past, I pondered on what will I do if I know that my time is limited. What would I leave behind to be remembered? And It came to me the idea to put together a list of joys, big and small, what happened here and there, who I loved and places I've been.

I remember one of my friends in college called me a "Polyanna" which can have a double meaning but I would like to think that I would like to focus more and dwell on my joys rather than my sad moments. This is not to say that those have not made me stronger and a better person and that is why I include them also as challenges that have come to pass and the story told with a different perspective--one on the angle that in the end it became a source of strength and joy.

Its going to be OK

In diving, this hand signal means OK. If you flash this hand sign you should be able to get a similar hand sign indicating that your buddy is a-ok. When I was learning to dive, it took me quite a while to get over my fear of the water. Like the one I posted about "floating" a few months back. More often than not I get really panicky under water until I have learned to relax and trust that the water has a property called bouyancy and that if I just relax I will float. Whenever I rely on my own strength, I feel heavy and start sinking. It is only when I allow myself to float, to let this force carry me through that I become light. I have been in deep waters before both literally and figuratively and today, I am very glad to get this signal from Him.

In my ears I could hear "I can see clearly now the rain has gone, I can see all obstacles in my way, its gonna be a bright, bright sun shiny day!"

Photo by Toni Parras