Reunion

A few years ago, a study was undertaken to find the U.S. city with the lowest incidence of cancer and heart disease. The winner was Rosetto, Pennsylvania.

Soon experts descended upon the city expecting to see a town populated by non-smokers, people who ate the correct food, took regular exercise and kept close track of their cholesterol.

To their great surprise, however, the researchers discovered that none of the above was true.

They found instead that the city’s good health was tied to the close family bonds that prevailed within the community. This suggests that there is much to be said for a close and loving family relationship.

Do you love your family?

We all do.

After 12 years, my wife celebrated Christmas in the Philippines.

She was so excited that she prepared everything a year in advance.

One of the most awaited event was #TeamApolonia reunion, a gathering of siblings, cousins and grandchildren of Nana (my wife’s grandmother).

It was my first family reunion.

I never attended a family event from both of my parents’ side.

It was a joy to celebrate an event that honors the eldest member of the family by the presence of everyone.

We had a family lunch, a bingo game and an exchange gift.

Next year, Nana will be celebrating her 85th birthday and everyone is so excited.

Reunion

Family is ❤. #TeamApolonia together as one. Nana’s all smile for the presence of everyone.

Today, the Catholic church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family.

We are here to offer all the members of our own families on the altar for God’s blessing.

The first reading is a commentary on the fourth commandment: “Honor your father and your mother.” Sirach reminds children of their duty to honor their parents – even when it becomes difficult.

Pope Francis once said that as a child, he heard a story of a family with a mother, father, many children and a grandfather. The grandfather, suffering from Parkinson’s illness, would drop food on the dining table, and smear it all over his face when he ate. His son considered it disgusting. Hence, one day he bought a small table and set it off to the side of the dining hall so the grandfather would eat, make a mess and not disturb the rest of the family.

One day, the Pope said, the grandfather’s son came home and found one of his sons playing with a piece of wood. “What are you making?” he asked his son. “A table,” the son replies. “Why?” the father asks. “It’s for you, Dad, when you get old like grandpa, I am going to give you this table.”

Ever since that day, the grandpa was given a prominent seat at the dining table and all the help he needed in eating by his son and daughter-in-law. “This story has done me such good throughout my life,” said Pope Francis.

“Grandparents are a treasure,” he said. “Often old age isn’t pretty, right? There is sickness and all that, but the wisdom our grandparents have is something we must welcome as an inheritance.”

A society or community that does not value, respect and care for its elderly members “doesn’t have a future because it has no memory, it’s lost its memory,” Pope Francis added.

On the other hand, the children serve as the joy of their parents’ young years and the help and comfort of their old age, but above and beyond that, they are a gift for which their parents are accountable before God, as they must, in the end, return these, His children, to Him.

Let us pray for the grace of caring for one another in our own families, for each member of the parish family, and for all families of the universal Church.

May God bless all our families in the New Year.

Source: en.radiovaticana.va

Risks

We remember inventors, explorers, and entrepreneurs by their successes instead of  their persistence in the face of uncertainty.

The common elements that unite these groups is their willingness to take calculated risks & the perseverance to persist in spite of seeming failure.

None of them went into any endeavor with the intent to fail but neither was success guaranteed.

As an immuno-compromised patient, it was difficult to be in public.

You don’t know what type of infection that you’ll absorb in the environment.

But, I have to take the risk.

This 2017, I went out of my comfort zone.

I created more memories with my wife and my friends.

I traveled to places, I’ve never been before.

I explored North Luzon and visited pilgrimage sites like the Our Lady of Manaoag in Pangasinan together with my family.

I experienced Kapampangan hospitality in Angeles, Pampanga during my radiation therapy sessions. I discovered the Carmel Monastery and listened to wonderful homilies and also the devotion to Apung Mamakalulu.

I went to Divisoria again after so many years. The hustles and bustles in the most visited market place in the Philippines was teeming with energy.

I completed the Simbang Gabi novena masses and witnessed the Christmas traditions in Amadeo, Cavite.

I met different types of people and immensely enjoyed their company.

I was able to see life from another perspective.

Indeed, risks makes the journey in life more meaningful.

What did you risk for 2017?

As we plunge into 2018, take more risks and go beyond the horizon.

“The uncertainties in life are so uncertain for us to determine the kind woe we shall be entangled in in the next future. When you stay dormant, your life is at risk; when you dare to take a step, you take a step to take a risk. We have a choice. Yes! A choice to choose to dare to get to our real reasons on earth or to choose to live in mediocrity and conformity, but, we ought to note that, it is riskier to risk nothing when the life we live is always at risk.” – Ernest Agyemang Yeboah

You are abundantly blessed!

Risks

To live is to risks. Enjoying the fast-paced world in Liwasang Bonifacio in front of the iconic building of the Manila Post Office

Appreciate

Each person, each life form, and each and every single day is not just another reminder on a calendar, it is a gift wrapped in papers of opportunity, challenge, insight, foresight, and other things.

We may not feel we have made an impact on the world, but you never know when someone is listening to our words, taking note of our actions, and basking in the warmth of our smiles and our kindness.

Live life.

Go against the tide.

Appreciate people more.

Before 2017 ends, I want you to know that I am forever grateful to you who is reading this piece of my mind in the world wide web.

Thank you for sharing your time.

Thank you for scrolling down and reading my post.

Thank you for sharing it, if you find it useful.

Next year, there will be more ramedy to come!

More years of blogging and keep on reading!

I hope your 2017 was a blessed one and for 2018 have a meaningful year ahead!

cof

Savoring every moment. Bonding with my wife sisters Twinkle & Aya – movie date and pigging out on some modern fusion of Filipino cuisine at Mesa restaurant.

Breezy

If you find yourself living in the past or letting past experiences hold you back from bringing new and exciting things into your life, STOP!

Tell yourself, “My past has no bearing on who I am right this very second. And, therefore, is NOT important. I am here to glorify God. I am God’s child and, therefore, worthy of greatness.”

And always remember: A saint is just a sinner who fell down and got up!

Jason Mraz, captured it in his song, “Living in the Moment”:

If this life is one act
Why do we lay all these traps
We put them right in our path
When we just wanna be free

I will not waste my days
Making up all kinds of ways
To worry about all the things
That will not happen to me

So I just let go of what I know I don’t know
And I know I only do this by
Living in the moment
Living my life
Easy and breezy
With peace in my mind
With peace in my heart
Peace in my soul

Wherever I’m going, I’m already home
Living in the moment
I’m letting myself off the hook for things I’ve done
I let my past go past

And now I’m having more fun
I’m letting go of the thoughts
That do not make me strong
And I believe this way can be the same for everyone

And if I fall asleep
I know you’ll be the one who’ll always remind me
To live in the moment
To live in my life
Easy and breezy

With peace in my mind
I got peace in my heart
Got peace in my soul

Wherever I’m going, I’m already home
I can’t walk through life facing backwards
I have tried
I tried more than once to just make sure
And I was denied the future I’d been searching for
But I spun around and hurt no more
By living in the moment

Living my life
Easy and breezy
With peace in my mind
I got peace in my heart
Got peace in my soul
Wherever I’m going, I’m already home
I’m living in the moment
I’m living my life
Just taking it easy
With peace in my mind
I got peace in my heart
I got peace in my soul

Oh, wherever I’m going, I’m already home
I’m living in the moment
I’m living my life
Oh, easy and breezy
With peace in my mind
I got peace in my heart
I got peace in my soul
Oh, wherever I’m going, I’m already home
I’m living in the moment

Breeze

Live now! Breeze through life with a smile. (Photo credits to the owner.)

Pista

Blessed to experience God’s amazing Feast of St. John, the Evangelist at Kayquit, Indang, Cavite today (27 December).

IMG_20171227_212933Sharing and giving made this beautiful chapel or ‘tuklong’ a living testimony of a loving neighborhood with so much passion, commitment and optimism that everything is possible as long as you are selfless.

I felt the warmth and kindness of every family during my first house to house ‘pista sa nayon’ experience from last year to this year now with my wife. The food was awemazing!

Special thanks to Mama Adora Morena Ambas- Bayot and the big family tree in the area for the gracious hospitality.

Lessons that I learned kapag pistahan sa nayon:

1. Magsuot ng maluluwang na damit. Kung maaari may garter.

2. Siguraduhin na comfortable ka sa shoes mo, mahaba ang lakaran.

3. Tikim-tikim lang ang kain lalo na kapag maraming kamag-anak sa lugar. Huwag itodo kaagad sa unang bahay.

4. Magdala ng eco bag para sa mga ipapauwi na pagkain, siguraduhing matibay ito.

5. Kausapin ang kamag-anak. Huwag lang kumain ng kumain. Makipagkamustahan at maging magiliw sa pakikipagusap. Masaya sila sa iyong pagbisita.

6. Ihanda ang panlasa sa iba’t-ibang luto at lasa ng masarap na menudo.

7. Maging handa sa mga back to back to back na videoke session ng mga kapitbahay. Ihanda ang tenga sa mga birit ng kapit-bahayan sa musika ng Aegis, Air Supply, Justin Bieber, Bruno Mars, Imelda Papin at marami pang iba.

8. Magdala ng payong. Maging ‘I am Ready’ sa taya ng panahon.

9. Maghanda ng pambili para sa pamangkin o kaya ay inaanak mo na gustong bumili ng sisiw na kinulayan na parang rainbow at unicorn. Or kung di niya dig ang sisiw, may lobo, pailaw at nilagang mais sa paligid.

10. Laging magpasalamat sa bukas-loob na pagpapatuloy ng mga naghanda sa pista, kamag-anak man o hindi. Pinatuloy ka sa tahanan ng may saya at ipinaghanda bilang pasasalamat sa mga biyaya na kanilang natamasa. Laging magsmile!

Hanggang sa susunod na pistahan!

Deacon

My wife and I attended the Christmas Day eve morning mass at the Parish of Our Lady of Lourdes in Tagaytay.

Not so long ago, the building beside the church was her old school St. Francis of Assisi Academy – Tagaytay managed by the Capuchin friars but later on handed over to the Diocese of Imus.

The school molded her at a young age like St. Francis of Assisi to become not-so materialistic . They were taught to help the poor by sharing their blessings.

No wonder, my wife has a heart to give to anyone in need.

Deacon

An alumnae’s homage to her alma mater. My wife inspired by the virtues of giving through St. Francis of Assisi.

I would like to share to you a saint whose feast is being celebrated after Christmas.

He is St. Stephen, one of the first deacons of the Catholic church, a man filled with the Holy Spirit and with faith.

Besides his job of overseeing the distribution of the poor, he also preached.

A group of Jewish Hellenists strongly resented Stephen’s preaching of salvation through Jesus. The situation became so tense that they found witnesses to falsely testify that Stephen had committed blasphemy.

Stephen was arrested and brought to the court. The odds were against him and Jesus said, “When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you to say will be given to you in that hour; for it not you who speak, but the Spirit of your father speaking through you (Mathew 10:19–20). Stephen knew he would be helped by the Holy Spirit, and he wasn’t afraid.

When Stephen testified in court, he made two major points. First he believed that God could be found everywhere, not just in a single place like temple or a single person like Abraham. Second he demonstrated how from the beginning, the Israelites had consistently rejected God’s messengers, prophet’s, and chosen servants. And now they rejected and killed God’s Son who had been sent to them.

Those who had been listening to Stephen were blinded by anger so strong that they didn’t even wait for normal court proceedings. They rushed toward him, dragged him out of town, and stoned him. Stephen was the first person killed for Christ. His last words were “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7:60).

Source: Saints and Feast Days, by Sisters of Notre Dame of Chardon, Ohio

Declare

Merry Christmas!

I took this photo today at the St. Mary Magdalene Parish in Amadeo, Cavite. I was awed by God’s overflowing love to mankind.

He sent His only begotten son in flesh and blood to save us from our sins and yet crucified Him later on.

While on his mother’s womb, he was already rejected. He was born in a manger together with farm animals and swagged in dirty linens.

Yet, He was the son of God.

To restore the broken relationship of God to man, si Lord pa talaga ang nagadjust!

Unfathomable love.

During the novena masses (Simbang Gabi), [completed the nine (9) days with my wife and family], I realized my nothingness.

He was bigger than my fears and worries.

I was assured that whatever happens, He was there from the beginning.

He never left me.

This Christmas, may God’s victory reign in our lives.

Let us trust Him more.

Sharing this meaningful song from Feast Worship entitled “Declare Your Victory”, a song of surrender that reflects my healing journey:

At the cross I come to worship
My savior Jesus crucified
In sin and shame you came to save me
You were raised from death to life

I stand in awe
In awe of your goodness
I stand in awe of you

Oh I sing your praise
Hallelujah
Death can never hold you down
Oh the heavens roar
Hallelujah
Jesus you have overcome

See a cross and I find glory
Seeing nails and I find freedom
I see wounds and I find healing
Your empty grave me life

I stand in awe
In awe of your greatness
I stand in awe of you

Oh I sing your praise
Hallelujah
Death can never hold you down
Oh the heavens roar
Hallelujah
Jesus you have overcome

In your triumph I’ll stand
For your glory I’ll sing
And every battle, every storm
I declare your victory

Oh I sing your praise
Hallelujah
Death can never hold you down
Oh the heavens roar
Hallelujah
Jesus you have overcome

Oh I sing your praise
Hallelujah
Death can never hold you down
Oh the heavens roar
Hallelujah
Jesus you have overcome

In your triumph I’ll stand
For your glory I’ll sing
And every battle, every storm
I declare your victory

In your triumph I’ll stand
For your glory I’ll sing
And every battle, every storm
I declare your victory

Become more closer to Him everyday, you are blessed!