The Child in Me

Sky 2

The Express Train ride was a bit more relaxing.

 

Sky Ranch in Tagaytay was very near Amadeo but I never had a chance to visit the place. Few days ago, my wife bought a special priced ride all-you-can ticket. We finally enjoyed the place and it was a blast. I have a slight acrophobia but it did not hinder me to try Sky Eye (a big Ferris wheel) and conquered my fear of heights.  The ride gave us a wonderful view of Tagaytay, its neighboring provinces, Taal Volcano and lake for 10 minutes.

After Sky Eye, the Super Viking was an exhilarating experience. It swung up to 90 degrees, back and forth. I was flustered but I flashed a winning smile all throughout the ride. I kept my cool but deep inside I was worried that my pancreas would come out of my mouth.

To calm our nerves after the electrifying ride, I just rode the Express Train – a more relaxing and fun way to roam around Sky Ranch. It was the perfect way to enjoy the place while enjoying the cool breeze of Tagaytay when a little boy caught my attention, probably American, 3-5 year old.

He was with his father.  I saw in his eyes how amazed he was of the place. He was giddy to go from one ride to the other. I was reminded of my childhood days every time my father would brought us to Luneta and enjoyed the kiddie playground.

I don’t have kids yet and probably I don’t know if I’ll have one because of my cancer and chemotherapy. But, I believed in God’s providence. He knows what is best for me.

Like a little child, I have the expectant faith that I am healed.

There’s nothing impossible with God.

I learned to savor every moment given to me and the wonderful opportunity to be with my family. At the end of the day, it was all that matters.

As Grigoris Deoudis said:

“Let us liberate ourselves from any form of control. Let us focus at the inner drum, where the rhythm aligns with that of our heart. The measure of responsibility, equals to the need for evolution. Just listen, the inner child, let it whisper in your ear.”  

Sky 3

Inside the Sky Eye with the most beautiful woman in my eyes.

 

 

Sky 1

The Super Viking – all smiles before the big 90 degrees back and forth swing.

Random Acts of Kindness

Mall 1

A special pray-over at the mall with a lady of faith.

 

Mall has been a special part of my life. I worked before in a high-end shopping destination and observed how the mall goers interacted with each other. But today a kind-hearted lady approached us, asked my permission and showed us her senior citizen ID for a prayer. I was amazed how the Lord made His presence felt in the most unusual places.

She spoked as a gentle lioness with a sincere intention for my healing. She thought me a great lesson that we are God’s vessel of hope wherever we are.

She thanked us for giving her the opportunity to pray with me. Most of the time, some people would questioned her. But, we gave her a chance to do what the Lord prompted her. For that, she was thankful.

But, I was more grateful for the gift and moment of prayer with her.

Indeed, it was a blessed experience.

As Robert J. Furey said:

“Those who make compassion an essential part of their lives find the joy of life. Kindness deepens the spirit and produces rewards that cannot be completely explained in words. It is an experience more powerful than words. To become acquainted with kindness one must be prepared to learn new things and feel new feelings. Kindness is more than a philosophy of the mind. It is a philosophy of the spirit.”

After the prayer, I saw the most beautiful smile of the lady as she walked away feeling fulfilled with her mission.

Mall 2

A special thank you to this very special lady.

Question of the Day

Today is something different. I want to hear from you, my dear blog readers. I’ll ask a question and I would appreciate your answer. I hope to hear from you soon and get your feedback.

 What is more important to you, just choose one: your health or your wealth?

Thank you for your time. Have a great day!

Question-of-the-Day-1

 

Happy Easter!

Easter

“We are the children of Easter morning, we sing to celebrate our new lives.”

“Easter is very important to me, it’s a second chance. God had brought me to my knees and made me acknowledge my own nothingness, and out of that knowledge I had been reborn. I was no longer the center of my life and therefore I could see God in everything.”

After more than ten years in KSA, I finally attended an Easter Sunday Eucharistic Celebration back in the Philippines. There’s no place like home. The Parish of Mary Magdalene in Amadeo, Cavite was in fiesta atmosphere with the marching band background music inside the church. A fitting ambience for the most important celebration of the Catholic Church.

Fr. Jojo emphasized the importance of being an Easter person to the family. A renewed relationship with God, a deeper love for others especially to the needy and a burning faith amidst challenges.

There was no substitute attending the Easter mass with my wife and family. Last year, I was very sick at the hospital but now, my heart was full of thanksgiving for He gave me the opportunity to live again and to celebrate the greatest feast in Christendom.

Have a blessed Easter to everyone! Enjoy this beautiful song from Bukas Palad, the message were loud and clear, may our lives be a song of praise in the goodness and glory of God:

Children of Easter Morn

We are the children of Easter morning
We sing to celebrate our new lives
The dawn of an eternal morning
The fulfillment of our ageless desires
We sing with joy in our hearts overflowing
We sing to beckon those who dwell in the dark
We’ll keep on singing till all men celebrate
This Easter morn

We are the children of Easter morning
We sing to proclaim the Lord’s might
Now there’s meaning to our life of dying
For the Lord, our God, has conquered the night
With joy we dedicate our lives to the service
Of the God of Life whose goodness we’ve known
Until our lives be themselves our song of Easter morn

May our simple lives be a song of praise
To the goodness of the Lord
May the Lord delight in this song we sing
This song we live with joy
If we had to sing just one song
To the Lord, Creator of life
May our lives be that song resounding in praise
To the goodness and glory of God

Anima Christi

At-the-foot-of-the-cross

At the foot of the cross, His redeeming love sustains us.  The beautiful altar of Ina ng Laging Saklolo at Tagaytay.

 

I attended two Visita Iglesia with my wife, families and friends this year. It was not an easy pilgrimage, my left foot was swollen with boils due to side effects of the oral chemo drug. The trek was difficult. From one church to the other, the agony escalated but it was nothing compared to what Jesus experienced at the cross.

He died for my sins. Bore all the excruciating pain and all the mockery. My difficulties were just a mere speck of sand compared to what He has done for me.

I am eternally grateful for all the blessings He showered me in my life. Last year, I thought Lent for 2016 was not possible but His graces and mercy prevails.

My journey was probably nothing compared to what others experienced but one thing I am sure of; God’s love sustains me. He is my anchor of hope. Amidst the difficulties, His embrace assures me of greater things to come.

This Good Friday, I want to share this reflection posted by Sir Simon Mossesgeld:

A Prayer Exercise for Good Friday

Today’s reflection comes from Jim Maloney, who has been involved in the ministry of companioning others in the Ignatian and other prayer exercises for more than 20 years.

As we enter the most holy and challenging week of our faith, consider this prayer exercise for Good Friday.

Imagine yourself at the Foot of the Cross. You have followed Jesus’ life, know something about that life.

And now you see this, you can say or do NOTHING. In this moment, knowing what you know about Jesus and your life, how do you feel standing there, able to say or do nothing?

Jesus turns and looks directly at you. You stare back, looking directly into His eyes. Still, you can say and do nothing. How do you feel at this moment – Jesus’ deeply penetrating eyes looking into you?

Finally, Jesus “passes over” to His Father, Our Father. In the silence of your feelings, begin to think about you, your relationship to Jesus and to Our Father.

In the silence where you now stand, what will you do with the feelings and thoughts which have come to you?

After some time passes, give thanks for these moments with God, then close your prayer in your usual way.

———-

As you reflect, listen to this favorite prayer of St. Ignatius de Loyola:

Anima Christi
Words by Jandi Arboleda
Music by Manoling Francisco SJ
Performed by The Philippine Madrigal Singers

Soul of Christ
Sanctify me
Body of Christ save me
Water from the side of Christ
Wash me, Passion of Christ
Give me strength

Chorus:
Hear me Jesus
Hide me in thy wounds
That I may never leave thy side
From all the evil that surrounds me
Defend me and when the call of death arrives
Bid me come to thee
That I may praise thee
With thy saints forever.

On Asking & Giving

Mt.-Carmel

Finally, I was able to hurdle the stairs going to the miraculous site of Our Lady of Mediatrix & Grace at Mt. Carmel in Lipa, Batangas.

 

How many of us would appreciate a simple encounter, a smile from a stranger, a pat in the back or the smell of the flowers along the road? A humbling experience that makes you beam with hope.

When I attended the Holy Mass last Sunday at the Parish of Mary Magdalene in Amadeo, Cavite, a young girl approached me and asked for a fifteen pesos (Php 15) to buy a food for her siblings. Of all the people in the church, she saw a tall cancer conqueror with a face mask on. I don’t know why but the small girl taught me a big lesson about asking and giving.

I was afraid to ask for things that I deserved but later on I realized that whatever you need will not be given to you if you don’t ask. I needed to communicate more in order for me to get what I wanted.

The little girl slapped me with a realization that she was helpless and needed someone to cling on. Someone that can help them live another day. There’s no problem in asking, you just have to do it.

Being diagnosed with a big ‘C’, I experienced that people are genuinely open in making a difference in the lives of others. I was grateful that I am surrounded with kindhearted individuals who gave generously their time and treasure.

I was fortunate that God blessed me more than what I deserve. He knows my needs. Like what He said:

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future full of hope.”- Jeremiah 29:11

In one of the reflection of Mark Giszczak, he mentioned:

….is not just about assuaging our anxieties about the future, but about the growth and restoration of our own relationships with God.

Indeed my healing journey brought me back to a deeper relationship with God. He gave me another chance.

 

This Lenten season, my wife and I attended the Visita Iglesia 2016 with our family and friends. We visited the old churches in Batangas. The edifice was a glaring manifestation of God’s love through the years.

 

Basilica

The beautiful façade of Basilica of St. Martin of Tours in Taal, Batangas.

 

The Basilica of St. Martin of Tours in Taal was a beautiful masterpiece of God. It was dubbed as the largest Catholic Church in Asia; one astounding landmark that sits atop a hill right at the center of the town.

 

The church for me was God’s manifestation of giving. It was a remembrance of His undying love for everyone.

Basilica-2

The magnificent altar of Basilica of St. Martin of Tours.

 

 

If you’ll have a chance, please visit the church and give yourself an opportunity to breathe history at its best.

 

Whatever trials and challenges you experience right now, ask the Lord for guidance and give more of yourself in serving Him in whatever way.

 

Most of the time, we need a young girl to remind us about this bible verse:

 

“Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. Everyone who asks receives; everyone who searches finds; everyone who knocks will have the door opened.” – Matthew 7:7-8

Our Lady of Lourdes – Tagaytay

Lourdes-2

The second summer capital of the Philippines – Tagaytay has a special place in my heart. The high altitude terrain, the pristine view of Taal volcano, the tranquil presence of nature and the wonderful people of the town; made the city one of the top tourist destinations of the country.

When I was a young boy, I associated Tagaytay with puppies because my father always brought us one whenever he came back home from the city with langka (jackfruit) and seńorita (a petite & very sweet type of banana).

My wife grew in the coffee town of Amadeo and saw the development of Tagaytay and my mother-in-law was a former educator in Tagaytay National High School.

From cogon weeds to tall residential skyscrapers, from hole in the wall businesses to bustling famous retail hubs and from a quaint town to an immerging industrialized city; the immense growth were seen everywhere you go.

But for me, Tagaytay was a place of love. My wife dreamt of having our wedding at the Parish of Our Lady of Lourdes. Before, it was a covered court of her kindergarten school and the small old Franciscan chapel was the main church.

It was a place of friendly people. I remembered when we booked our wedding day at the church. It was raining cats and dogs but a friendly Franciscan brother offered us to stay at the convent and have lunch with the seminarians. The outpour of rain was a blessing, we booked our special day at the church, met our wedding suppliers; and found a reception venue – all in the same day. The next day, we flew back to Riyadh without any worries. God provided everything for that memorable day.

In less than two (2) years of getting married, there was a big challenge in my health but our prayer and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mother helped us a lot in my healing journey. Through her intercession, we faced the most difficult time of my life with hope and thanksgiving.

Since my wife is in town, we visited the Parish of Our Lady of Lourdes and took our mandatory selfie.

 Lourdes

 Prayer to Our Lady of Lourdes

Oh ever immaculate Virgin, Mother of Mercy, Health of the Sick, Refuge of Sinners, Comfortess of the Afflicted, you know my wants, my troubles, my sufferings. Look upon me with mercy. When you appeared in the grotto of Lourdes, you made it a privileged sanctuary where you dispense your favors, and where many sufferers have obtained the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and corporal. I come, therefore, with unbounded confidence to implore your maternal intercession. My loving Mother, obtain my request. I will try to imitate your virtues so that I may one day share your company and bless you in eternity. Amen.