Iloilo

The city of love will become a living witness of our dear friends’ wedding.

A love story made in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and will be blessed at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Candles in Jaro, Iloilo City.

Special shout out to Bro. Mark Beup and Sis. Rebecca Alegre together with their families, thank you so much for being our gracious host. We are looking forward for the special day. Our warmest congratulations in advance!

We tasted some of the all-time satisfying food trips that are truly Ilonggo and will make you say ‘namit’!

 

Iloilo

A sumptuous feast of Ilonggo cuisine welcomed the CFC family from Middle East.

According ExploreIloilo.com, here are some of the best things to do and tourist spots in Iloilo.

1. Enjoy a City Tour of Iloilo
Iloilo City is a tourist hub where the best restaurants, museums, hotels, shopping districts, and nightlife in the province await. It is most known for the annual Dinagyang Festival, exquisite heritage sites, deliciously fresh seafood, and signature Ilonggo dishes. The city is also home to many Spanish-colonial churches, grand vintage houses, and old commercial and institutional buildings dating back to its heyday as the “Queen City of the South.”

2. Savor a Food Tour
Food is undoubtedly Iloilo’s biggest year-round attraction. Most true-blooded locals will, without fail, offer to take you to eat at local restaurants or prepare a home-cooked Ilonggo meal if they find out that you’re a first-time visitor. Don’t miss out on savoring fresh seafood and Iloilo’s native cuisine, especially its signature dishes like La Paz Batchoy and Pancit Molo.

3. Join a Festival
Not to be missed in January, the Iloilo Dinagyang Festival is one of the Philippines’ biggest religious and cultural festivals that transforms Iloilo City into one big venue for spectacle and merry making. Watch thousands of Dinagyang Ati performers fill the city streets as they dance in sync to fast-paced thundering drum beats.

4. Visit Iloilo’s Heritage Sites
In between food trips, visit treasured historical sights scattered over different districts in the city. Walk the streets of Iloilo City Proper to find recently restored heritage buildings along Calle Real, the city’s old central business district, and other corners of the downtown area like Plaza Libertad, and the Iloilo Provincial Capitol grounds. Head over to the districts of Jaro and Molo to visit centuries-old churches and the city’s grandest ancestral houses that have survived the test of time. To start, take a tour of the Jaro Cathedral, Lizares Mansion, Casa Mariquit, Molo Church, and Bahay Camiña nga Bato.

5. Walk along the Iloilo River Esplanade
Peaceful riverside views can be found along the Iloilo River Esplanade, a testament of the city’s desire to provide breathing spaces on its path to rapid urban development. The best time to start your leisurely walk along this landscaped promenade is during late afternoons to catch the beautiful sunset view.

6. Go Church Hopping
The towns of Iloilo are home to many centuries-old Spanish-colonial Churches of great historical and heritage value. The most famous and best preserved in the province is Miagao Church, which is included in UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites. A 20-minute drive down the coast will take you to the militaristic-inspired San Joaquin Church. Also worth visiting are the old churches and church ruins in Guimbal, Tigbauan, Tubungan, Pavia, Santa Barbara, Cabatuan, Leon, Alimodian, Dingle, Dueñas, Passi City, and Barotac Nuevo.

Decision

The Campus Journalism landscape in the Philippines needs more dedicated and committed educators.

I was fortunate that I have a chance to mingle with the best journalism mentors in the country for the past few days.

It made me realized that their decision to serve others through their students is a decision to love.

Decision

Some snapshots during the first Campus Journalism Caravan in DepEd Cavite. “As writers, we are among the fortunate few who are actually doing something we love. Yes there are struggles, both financial and personal. But we have the ability and talent to shape words into tangible expressions that can inspire, educate, and entertain. There is a real fulfillment and joy in that.” – Barrie Davenport

They have a heart of a missionary and a deep rooted hunger for excellence.

With this encounter, I learned to embrace again my passion for writing.

I was reminded of this article by Barrie Davenport about the 5 key steps in finding your passion as a writer.

Know Thyself.

  • Understand what makes you tick, what motivates you, where you get your energy, and how you perceive the world. Understanding this about yourself helps you connect with your readers and your characters.
  • Learn more about your personality and why you behave and operate in the world the way you do. How you view the world is reflected in your writing, so pursue awareness around this and use the knowledge to direct your writing decisions.
  • Use this clarity about yourself to help you focus on what is natural and right for who you really are — not who you wish you were or who others want you to be. Your uniqueness should shine through in your writing.
  • Begin this process by taking one or two personality assessments, like the Myers Briggs test. These assessments give you a framework for the process of self-discovery and exploration. They can open your eyes to parts of yourself you haven’t acknowledged before.

Define Your Qualities.

  • You might have a general idea of your skills, values, and interests, but have you really dug deep to determine which of those are imperative in your life? Are you allowing your writing work to overwhelm other places to explore? These places could ultimately help your writing.
  • Determine the values that define you, the skills that you enjoy (not just those that you are good at), and the interests that are fulfilling and fun, so you to be creative, expansive, and focused in your writing and in life.
  • Commit to finding ways to use these newly defined values, interests, and skills. Explore new options in life so that you can exploit them in your writing. Jodi Picoult is an author who routinely scrutinizes and employs her values and interests in her novels, and she is quite prolific.

Create A Vision.

  • Once you’ve gotten to know yourself better and defined what is important to you, begin to create a vision for your life and for your writing.
  • By outlining a rough vision based of your personality, values, skills, and interests, you will begin to refine a purpose and mission for your writing and your life. Any passionate endeavor, bolstered by purpose, will have substance and longevity.
  • As you explore the many possible details of this vision, your purpose and mission will become more and more clear to you. It will give you a road map for your writing and what you want to achieve. Use this road map to give direction and meaning to your writing plans.
  • Refer to this vision frequently as you write. Draw from it as from a deep well of inspiration for your work. Allow yourself to absorb the feelings your vision evokes so that authenticity shines through in your writing.

Remove the Roadblocks.

  • As you define the elements of your vision and mission, you may encounter emotional roadblocks preventing you from taking the actions you needed to make your vision real.
  • If you don’t address them, limiting beliefs, life imbalances, unresolved issues, and emotional reactions can prevent you from discovering more about yourself and your passions.
  • As you uncover your own roadblocks and work through them, you will uncover more gems of inspiration for your writing. Many people use writing as a way of resolving these issues. When you are vulnerable in your writing, you are revealing your authentic self. Your readers will resonate with that. Elizabeth Gilbert’s best selling book, Eat, Pray, Love, is a perfect example of this level of vulnerability.

Shift Your Mind.

  • As you learn about yourself, you will begin having profound “ah ha” moments. Previous ways of thinking will be challenged. Things that you once accepted will no longer be acceptable.
  • You will want to address unmet needs and remove tolerations from your life that have been sapping your energy and attention. This will open your mind and your time for writing and for other passions you have discovered.
  • Your perspective on what is good and right for you will open up. You sabotage your creativity when you do things you don’t want to do because you feel you “should.” Laser focus on what you want for your life to create the wide open spaces needed for your best writing.

Create Your Plan.

  • The final part of the process of discovering yourself and your passion is creating an action plan based on all you have learned. You may find there are many passions and options for your life in addition to writing.
  • Remember, you may have to do this work several times over the course of your writing career as you continue to evolve as a person.
  • Use everything you have learned about yourself to infuse your writing with dimension, substance, and presence. Armed with new self awareness and growth, you will find passion in your writing and in your life beyond your wildest expectations.

Caravan

It feels good to be in the company of Campus Journalism’s champion in the Philippines!

I met the trailblazers of DepEd Cavite during the Campus Journalism Caravan held in Tanza.

They shared their secrets in making Region IV- A, the National School’s Press Conference (NSPC) the ‘big’ force to reckon with.

DepEd Cavite

Gearing up for a 7-peat! DepEd Cavite is ready to carry the flag again for Region IV- A.

CALABARZON (Region IV-A) has been bagging the NSPC championship for six years in a row. In 2018, it dominated the individual, group, and school paper contests.

Individual contests included news, features, editorial, sports, Science and Technology, and column/opinion writing; photojournalism; copyreading and headline writing; and editorial cartooning, while the group contests were composed of radio script writing and broadcasting, TV script writing and broadcasting; collaborative desktop publishing; and online publishing.

The school paper contest awarded the best news, features, editorial, Science and Technology, and sports sections, as well as the best layout and page design, and the overall best school papers.

They are the creme de la creme of today’s generation of school paper advisers.

Dedicated.

Committed.

Loving.

Selfless.

A heart of a missionary for the children of Cavite was their major secret.

They always gave their all to bring home the elusive championship trophy to their respective schools.

Wealth

During our gospel reflection today in the Diocese of Imus servant’s training, I reflected on this message, is it hard for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God?

The rich young man was an upright Jew who obeyed the commandments of the Lord all his life. Yet was attached to his wealth and could not follow Jesus as a disciple.

Wealth

Saint Paul tells us that nothing can outweigh the knowledge of Christ Jesus. But in this man’s case in the gospel, he had allowed something else to outweigh Christ. Comfort, security and material things beat the invitation of Christ to be perfect. Attachments lead to sadness; there is no room for God in a heart that is already full of the things of this world. Only detachment leads to true joy. God gives himself to the one who seeks him without any strings attached.

Wealth, if earned through honest means, is not intrinsically evil.

In fact, wealth can be used to do much good for others. Jesus does not demand that we give up all our wealth before we can become his disciples.

Jesus cautions us against attachment to our riches which limits our freedom to go where the Lord bids and do what the Lord asks of us.

I was inspired by the story of Sis. Siony, she was 84 years old, a retired public school teacher and chose to serve God more together with the senior catechist of the diocese.

They opted to serve God more than anything else and share the catechesis with children.

The Bible readings remind us that as Christians, we are called to go beyond just keeping the ten commandments to the point of being willing to surrender all that we have as we face trials and tribulations in order to follow the Lord Jesus.

We, too, are asked to do what is humanly impossible, but with GOD’s help is possible – to surrender our lives for the GOoD of others.

Let us be faithful to our calling to be disciples of Christ as we face the trials we face as His followers.

Let us also be willing to let go of our possessions so we can both follow the Lord Jesus more and also share with those who have less than us.

For us, it is impossible to love at all times, but not for God. All things are possible with God. If we ask the Father for forgiveness and lean on Jesus and seek wisdom from the Holy Spirit, we become more loving. We become more heavenly.

Trinity

Sunday is family day celebrating the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity.

From Awesome Kids Ministry, Couples Light Group (LG) to my dear cousin’s family celebration – more meaningful events added to my memory bank.

Trinity Sunday

Trinity Sunday urges us to constantly strive for the unity and peace of God, Jesus, and their life-giving Spirit. Sometimes we spend a lot of time trying to figure this mystery out. While understanding has some importance, ultimately we are meant to put this relationship of unity, peace and love into action in our own lives and in doing so we come to know the mystery not theoretically but by our own very experience of peace, love and unity.

Today’s feast invites us to live in the awareness of the presence of the Triune God within us: The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

The mystery of the Holy Trinity, a doctrine enunciated by the ecumenical councils of Nicaea and Constantinople, is one of the fundamental doctrines of Christianity and the greatest mystery of our Faith, namely, that there are Three Divine Persons, sharing the same Divine nature in one God.

Fr. Antony Kadavil shared the life messages of Trinity Sunday:

1) We need to respect ourselves and respect others. Our conviction that the Triune God is present within us always should help us to esteem ourselves as God’s holy dwelling place, to behave well in His holy presence, and to lead purer and holier lives, practicing acts of justice and charity. This Triune Presence should also encourage us to respect and honor others as “Temples of the Holy Spirit.”

2) We need to be aware of God as the Source of our strength and courage. The awareness and conviction of the presence of God within us gives us the strength to face the manifold problems of life with Christian courage. It was such a conviction that prompted the early Christian martyrs being taken to their execution to shout the heroic prayer of Faith from the Psalms: “The Lord of might is with us, our God is within us, and the God of Jacob is our helper” (Psalm 46).

3) We need to see the Trinity as the model for our Christian families: We are created in love to be a community of loving persons, just as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are united in Love. From the day of our Baptism, we have belonged to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. How privileged we are to grow up in such a beautiful Family! Hence, let us turn to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in prayer every day. We belong to the Family of the Triune God.

4) We are called to become more like the Triune God through all our relationships. We are made in God’s image and likeness. Just as God is God only in a Trinitarian relationship, so we can be fully human only as one member of a relationship of three partners. The self needs to be in a horizontal relationship with all other people and in a vertical relationship with God. In that way our life becomes Trinitarian like that of God. Modern society follows the so-called “I-and-I” principle of unbridled individualism and the resulting consumerism. But the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity challenges us to adopt an “I-and-God-and-neighbor” principle: “I am a Christian insofar as I live in a relationship of love with God and with other people.”

St. Francis Xavier’s favorite prayer was: “Most Holy Trinity, who live in me, I praise You, I worship You, I adore You and I love You. Let the Son lead us to the Father through the Spirit, to live with the Triune God forever and ever. Amen.”

Bukid

Some of them are farmer’s children in the Kanluran (Western) part of Malagasang, Imus here in Cavite. They are caring and loving to each other.

I witnessed their kind and gentle demeanor during the parish’s outreach program held today.

Fr. Mel Sandoval, our parish priest initiated the activity. He shared the gospel today about being a child in God’s kingdom.

He emphasized to them that they are always loved by God and that the free school supplies were gifts from Jesus.

Bukid

Children represent for Jesus the weak and the powerless in our society. Only when we give importance to such as these we can be signs of the Kingdom of God. It is in becoming powerless that we become capable of belonging to the Kingdom of God and of serving those who are powerless. “To remain small means to acknowledge one’s own nothingness, to expect all from the Good Lord as a small child expects all from his father, not to be worried about anything” (St. Therese).

In the gospel today (Mark 10:13-16), people were bringing little children to Jesus in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.

The Gospel urges us to love. The disciples were protective of Jesus believing that they should decide who was worthy of his attention and objected to Jesus blessing the children.

Jesus intervened, invited the children closer, and laid his hands on them. He gave them two precious things that cost no money: time and affection.

In this time of prayer let us offer all our concerns before God, being careful not to let through only the ones that we think presentable.

Jesus asks us to take a lesson from the way in which a child receives. What can we learn from these people ‘to whom the kingdom of God belongs’?

It is the child in us who can most truly live in a state of becoming, always open to growth and change.

It is the child in us who can sense the perfection and stability of eternity, where there is neither time nor space, neither before nor after but, in Meister Eckhart’s words, “everything present in one new, fresh-springing now where millenniums last no longer than the twinkling of an eye.”

Our treatment of children and of the vulnerable, of outcasts and those with disabilities can fall far short of what Jesus demands.

The courage to reflect gently on past failings can give us wisdom and freedom to do better in the future.

Do I take the time to nourish and connect with my childlike qualities?

This will help me retain a sense of wonder, awe, gratitude and excitement in the small things of creation.

Creed

Fr. Manny David of the Diocese of Imus shared the importance of the First Council of Nicaea in our Christian faith during our class today.

Why is it important?

We often recite the Apostle’s Prayer during the Holy Mass without careful thought.

After the discussion today, the importance of the Nicene creed became more clearer to me and why the long version is more significant than ever.

Nicene Creed

The First Ecumenical Council. The First Council of Nicaea formulated the original Nicene Creed. Most importantly, the council defined the equality of God the Father and Christ, his son. It taught that Jesus was of the same substance as God the Father and not just merely similar.By defining the nature of the divinity of Jesus, the council did not solely rely on the Bible but jointly gave it a binding interpretation. The First Council of Nicaea (325) issued 20 canons and repudiated Arianism.

The Nicene Creed is the most widely used profession of faith in church liturgies and statements of faith around the world. The Creed, as we currently have it, is the result of two church councils: the First Council of Nicaea (AD 325) and the First Council of Constantinople (AD 381).

Luke Gilkerson shared why parents should let their kids understand the Nicene Creed?

1. It Teaches Them to Think Critically About Bible Interpretation
Heresies have always threatened the church, even from its earliest days. By the fourth century, the most influential heresy was Arianism, named after its originator Arius. Arius was a popular priest from Alexandria, Egypt, whose teaching had challenged Alexander, the Bishop of Alexandria. Their debate was centered on this question: What does it mean for Jesus to be God’s Son? What was the Father’s relationship to the Son before the world began?

Arius believed that God the Father’s divinity is greater than the Son’s, and that the Son is the Father’s first and greatest creation. In other words, the Son is not co-eternal with the Father and is not, thereby, divine in the same way the Father is. To support his teaching, Arius appealed to texts like John 14:28 where Jesus says, “the Father is greater than I,” and Colossians 1:15, where Paul teaches Jesus is “the firstborn of all creation.”

The Nicene Creed was the church’s answer to Arianism. By teaching our kids this creed, we give them practice in Biblical interpretation. What does it mean for the Son to be “begotten”? What does it mean that Jesus is the Father’s “firstborn”? What does it mean that “the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1)? These are the questions the councils wrestled with, and these are the same questions that can stretch our children’s minds and help them to think critically.

2. It Teaches Them to Appreciate Christian History
The Council of Nicaea in 325 is perhaps one of the greatest achievements in Christian history. The emperor Constantine called together church bishops from around his empire, and 318 of them (according to most early historians) arrived in Nicaea to discuss this theological matter that threatened to divide the church. For one month (from May 20 to June 19), the Bishops deliberated, and in the end all but two of the Bishops signed the creed. Another council convened 56 years later in Constantinople to bring further clarity to the creed.

Learning some of these old stories helps our children to appreciate their Christian heritage and the challenges the early church faced.

3. It Teaches Them to Appreciate Church Unity
The Nicene Creed is still the most widely used profession of faith in church liturgies and statements of faith, used by Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans, and many Protestant churches.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says the Nicene Creed is “a sign of recognition and communion between believers.” Martin Luther’s Small Catechism names the Nicene Creed as one of the approved creeds of the church. It is written in full in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer and in hymnals of Presbyterian denominations.

The Nicene Creed

I believe in one God
The Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth,
And of all things visible and invisible;

And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
The only-begotten Son of God;
Begotten of his Father before all worlds,
God of God, Light of Light,
Very God of very God;
Begotten, not made;
Being of one substance with the Father;
By whom all things were made:
Who for us men and for our salvation
Came down from heaven,
And was incarnate by the Holy Ghost
Of the Virgin Mary,
And was made man:
And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate;
He suffered and was buried:
And the third day he rose again
According to the Scriptures:
And ascended into heaven,
And sitteth on the right hand of the Father:
And he shall come again, with glory,
To judge both the quick and the dead;
Whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Ghost, The Lord, and Giver of Life, Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son;
Who with the Father and the Son together
Is worshipped and glorified;
Who spake by the Prophets:
And I believe one Catholic and Apostolic Church:
I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins:
And I look for the Resurrection of the dead:
And the life of the world to come.
Amen