Alupihang Dagat

My brother cooked a mouthwatering Alupihang Dagat or Mantis Shrimp in Coconut Sauce (Ginataan na may Kalabasa) a few days ago.

Mantis Shrimp

Mantis shrimps are highly aggressive crustaceans that capture prey using large, raptorial claws much like that of a praying mantis. They’re very perishable out of the water – only the big ones are worth eating because there’s not much meat on them, just a thin strip.

It was given by his friend from a fresh market in Tanza, Cavite.

I posted the dish online and an amiga from Riyadh called it Tatampal or Hipong Dapa.

It’s a cross between a shrimp and a crab but much tastier.

It was not easy to eat but the meat was sweet like a lobster.

Some startling facts about Tatampal:

Despite their namesake and relatively puny stature, mantis shrimp aren’t shrimp at all. (Neither, of course, are they mantises.) They’re stomatopods, distant relatives to crabs, shrimp, and lobsters.

Mantis shrimps are highly aggressive crustaceans that capture prey using large, raptorial claws much like that of a praying mantis.

The life of a mantis shrimp isn’t all cold-blooded killing. Some species of stomatopods are known to engage in the rare practice of social monogamy, a behavior that’s especially remarkable among crustaceans.

This means mantis shrimp will choose one partner to share food, shelter, and raise offspring with over the course of a lifetime. What may sound romantic to humans serves a practical purpose for mantis shrimp.

Research has shown that certain mantis shrimp tend to cluster outside reefs instead of living in the heart of the action. Without the need to go looking for someone new to mate with on a regular basis, mantis shrimp couples are able to enjoy a relatively safe, sedentary lifestyle secluded from predators.

Some mantis shrimp species mate for life — they meet the shrimp of their dreams and they share the same burrow, protect their eggs and help each other with hunting for their entire lives — up to 20 years.

Stomatopods began evolving independently from other crustaceans nearly 400 million years ago, about 170 million years before the first dinosaurs appeared on the scene. Since then they’ve followed an isolated, evolutionary lineage that’s resulted in some of their more unique characteristics. Their biology is so bizarre that scientists have assigned them the nickname “shrimp from Mars.”


I have always loved cartoons. I might not watch as many cartoons now as I did when I was a kid but I enjoy them way more than any other adult I know. A significant part of my childhood has been spent watching cartoons, especially Tom & Jerry.

I saw this Tom & Jerry – true to life photo shared by Mr. Jerry Fernandez, a dear friend from India and a former colleague in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.


The bitter-sweet relationship of Tom and Jerry taught us why life is meaningless without a partner to share moments of fun and laughter with.

This particular piece of animation uncovers the reality of our everyday life.

The twisted friendship between Tom and Jerry draws a brilliant analogy with the relationships we share with people in today’s world.

According to, there are valuable life lessons from Tom & Jerry:

There will always be someone you will meet in your life who will make you feel ‘small’ or ‘big’.

We often feel that others are more superior than us and believe that there is someone better than us and we are, after all, not that great.

Your strength and your might is not measured in physical attributes. You are bigger than you think you are!

It is not always the external appearance that matters. The ways we think also matters a lot. A person should not be judged as a powerful human being only in the basis of his/her physical strength.

Is there ever a shortcut to success? Haven’t we all learned it the hard way?

We often tend to take shortcuts to reach the acme of success. But the shows presents a lesson that there is absolutely no shorter way to achieve what we really want in life.

Life will constantly push you. Change is the only constant.

We hardly take a moment to breathe and don’t take enough breaks. We have reached a stage where when we do take moment to chill, we feel restless. Even though, this show was made way before the internet generation was born, it spectacularly sketches an image of something way ahead of its time.

Every scar is a story to tell.

Crossing difficult destinations with patience and determination makes us a strong person. The same is implied in the cartoon. Every experience is a lesson to be learnt.

Changing the way, you look at a problem can prove to be a game-changer.

When one solution we think does not solve the problem, then think from a different perspective to solve it. Jerry tries to escape in every different way and Tom chases the same way. So it is all about looking at a problem from a different perspective just like Tom & Jerry who never seem to give up.


Last Sunday, the Awesome Kids Ministry team taught the children about forgiving oneself.

They enjoyed a short skit and a balloon analogy about forgiveness.

For the craft activity, they made a hot air balloon artwork that reminded them that God sets us free and we must forgive ourselves.


Forgiving yourself is far more challenging than forgiving someone else because you must live with yourself and your thoughts 24/7. Despite the challenge, emotionally healthy people must have the capacity to forgive themselves when they have made a mistake.

I was reminded of a sixty-five year-old taxi driver I met few years back. He asked me what I did for a living. I told him I was a former OFW and shared my healing journey.

Like many others who learn of my concerns, he decided to open up about his life to see if I had any advice.

He’d been married for twenty-seven years, and had tried to commit suicide two years prior by overdosing on pills. His wife found his body and helped revive him. He was grateful he didn’t succeed in committing suicide, but said that, though he thinks his wife is a great person, he is not attracted to her. He said that ever since his suicide attempt he had been attracted to many of his passengers and one of these days would like to “take it to the next level.”

I didn’t really want to dwell on his attraction to his passengers, so much as try to get back to his childhood.

Many of the problems we have as adults have their roots in our upbringing. Come to find out, he had a very rough childhood. His parents were alcoholics, which drove him to seek aid and comfort from a male church leader he trusted.

This church leader tried to have an inappropriate relationship with him. So he was cut off emotionally from his parents, and spiritually from the religion that was supposed to sustain him during difficult times.

This sense of being isolated from his social world led him to make many bad choices, starting from a young age. These added up, until he felt like he couldn’t escape from the consequences.

He felt trapped in a prison of his own making, and that’s why he wanted to end his life. I told him that it must be really hard to carry all of these difficulties with him his whole life, but that it was time to forgive others and, more importantly, forgive himself.

I told him to write a letter to himself listing all the things he forgave himself for. Writing is very therapeutic, but it also helps to hear a message. So I wanted him to read the letter out loud to himself and process it aurally as well. Who knows if he ever followed my advice. Many hurting people know what to do, but don’t do what they know.

Sometimes our poor choices stack up, and churn the ground beneath our feet into quicksand.

We must remember to relax, breathe in, and not let our current situation rob us of the will to make changes. Don’t’ wallow in a temporary negativity—take action!

Don’t spend so much time going over the past that you allow it to define you.

Life is full of choices and every choice we make will either take us in a positive, life-giving direction or rob us of the opportunity to be a life-giving individual.

Forgiving ourselves does not let us off the hook, it does not justify what we have done, and it is not a sign of weakness.

Forgiveness is a choice that takes courage and strength.

Let us pray:

Dear Heavenly Father,

I understand that there is nothing to gain by holding myself in unforgiveness and there is everything to gain by releasing myself from unforgiveness and beginning the process of healing.

I want to move forward and make a positive difference in the future. I confess the ungodly accountability, self-abasement, and the vows I have made to never forgive myself. Because Jesus died for my sins, I choose to forgive myself–to no longer punish myself and be angry with myself.

I forgive myself for letting this hurt control me and for hurting others out of my hurt. I repent of this behavior and my attitude. I ask for Your forgiveness and healing.

God, help me to NEVER again retain unforgiveness of myself or others.

Thank you for loving me and for Your grace to move forward with You.

In Jesus’ Name,



Finally, I entered the seminary.

Not as a priest because I am happily married but as a lay servant.

Special thanks to the Erni Couple of our Light Group (LG), Bro. Anton and Sis. Flor.

There were so many challenges along the way but it was God’s plan that prevailed.

We attended the Jesus Encounter (JE) pastoral formation of the Light of Jesus (LOJ) community.


“You are the light of the world. Your light must shine before others so that they may see the good you do and praise God in heaven.” That’s our call, and we must find now the ways to live out that call as as a community of disciples of Jesus.





My big take away from the program’s experience of faith and love:

Jesus said that we are “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world”. Being salt and light is not optional. Jesus did not say you can be…or you have the potential to be…He said you are.

When Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth”, He meant that all of His disciples were to serve as preservatives, stopping the moral decay in our sin infected world.

Christians, as salt, are to inhibit sin’s power to destroy lives. This in turn creates opportunity for the gospel to be proclaimed and received.

As “salt”, the Christian is to counteract the power of sin. As “light” we are to illuminate or make visible. Our lives are to be an on-going witness to the reality of Christ’s presence in our lives. When we worship God with pure hearts, when we love others as ourselves, and when we do good without growing weary, we are lights shining.

The more we look on the face of Jesus, like an impressionist painting, the more light we see and the more we are transfigured by it.

Jesus isn’t telling his disciples to let their light shine, only when they are with each other. No, He is telling them to let their light shine in the dark places.

Jesus is telling His disciples to let their light shine, wherever they are.

Let you light shine as a father.

Let your light shine at your work place.

Let your light shine in your neighborhood.

Don’t withdraw at the workplace.

When the opportunity knocks, don’t be a coward.

Light is worthless if it doesn’t shine.

God has chosen you and me to make a positive difference in the lives of mankind.

Jesus desires that we walk with Him, listen to Him and obey Him that we can be used by Him to bring about eternal change in the lives of others.

It is Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, living inside true Holy Spirit-filled believers Who causes us to shine brightly in a world of darkness!

We are to be salt for the world and light for the world — to the glory of God!

Let us pray.

Father, you are indeed worthy and deserving of a people who are fully committed to you and unafraid to say so. Forgive us for sometimes hiding our commitment to you in order to avoid unpleasantness from unbelievers. Help us to be unashamedly salt and light in your world, until you return with the full uncompromising brilliance of your Coming.

In Jesus’ name, we pray.



A fellow volunteer from Awesome Kids Ministry gave me a piece of Hello chocolate while waiting for our after service meeting last Sunday.

Lo and behold there was a cheesy line that caught my attention printed in the label and I shared to my wife.

“A stormy day with you is better than a sunny day spent all by myself.”



Photo caption of the little boy and the little girl. Minamalat na naman ang puso ko.. *** paano kasi, laging sinisigaw ang pangalan mo.

Cliches are often cheesy because they are an obvious and artless way of making a point. A movie might be cheesy if it contains ‘on the nose’ dialogue, like “I can’t live without you” or “You had me at hello.”

It also means using phrases when hitting on a girl at a “club” or any social setting.

Here are some compilations of cheesy lines from Rania Naim of

1. Are you a magician? Because whenever I look at you, everyone else disappears!

2. I’m not a photographer, but I can picture me and you together.

3. Do I know you? ‘Cause you look a lot like my next girlfriend/boyfriend.

4. Do you know what my shirt is made of? Boyfriend/girlfriend material?

5. They say Disneyland is the happiest place on earth. Well apparently, no one has ever been standing next to you.

6. For some reason, I was feeling a little off today. But when you came along, you definitely turned me on.

7. Are you religious? Because you’re the answer to all my prayers.

8. I seem to have lost my phone number. Can I have yours?

9. I’m lost. Can you give me directions to your heart?

10. Are you a parking ticket? ‘Cause you’ve got fine written all over you.

11. Are you sure you’re not tired? You’ve been running through my mind all day.

12. Is there an airport nearby or is it my heart taking off?

13. Was your dad a boxer? Because damn, you’re a knockout!

14. I was wondering if you had an extra heart. Mine was just stolen.

15. Would you grab my arm, so I can tell my friends I’ve been touched by an angel?

16. There’s only one thing I want to change about you, and that’s your last name.

17. Aside from being sexy, what do you do for a living?

18. Hi, how was heaven when you left it?

19. Do you believe in love at first sight or should I pass by again?

20. Is your dad a terrorist? Cause you’re the bomb.

21. Did the sun come out or did you just smile at me?

22. Kiss me if I’m wrong, but dinosaurs still exist, right?

23. Hey, you’re pretty and I’m cute. Together we’d be Pretty Cute.

24. Did it hurt? When you fell from heaven?

25. Can I follow you home? Cause my parents always told me to follow my dreams.

26. Is your name Google? Because you have everything I’ve been searching for.

27. Are you from Tennessee? Because you’re the only ten I see!

28. Hello, I’m a thief, and I’m here to steal your heart.

29. I may not be a genie, but I can make your dreams come true.

30. If nothing lasts forever, will you be my nothing?

31. There must be something wrong with my eyes, I can’t take them off you.

32. I’m sorry, were you talking to me? [No] Well then, please start.

33. Was you father an alien? Because there’s nothing else like you on Earth!

34. Was your father a thief? ‘Cause someone stole the stars from the sky and put them in your eyes.

35. Do you have a pencil? Cause I want to erase your past and write our future.

36. I’d say God Bless you, but it looks like he already did.

37. I must be in a museum, because you truly are a work of art.

38. Are you my phone charger? Because without you, I’d die.

39. Can you take me to the doctor? Because I just broke my leg falling for you.

40. You don’t need keys to drive me crazy.

41. Are you a dictionary? Cause you’re adding meaning to my life.

42. You remind me of a magnet, because you sure are attracting me over here!

43. I’m no mathematician, but I’m pretty good with numbers. Tell you what, give me yours and watch what I can do with it.

44. Didn’t I see you on the cover of Vogue?

45. Somebody call the cops, because it’s got to be illegal to look that good!

46. Sorry, but you owe me a drink. [Why?] Because when I looked at you, I dropped mine.

47. You must be a broom, ‘cause you just swept me off my feet.

48. My buddies bet me that I wouldn’t be able to start a conversation with the hottest person in the bar. Wanna buy some drinks with their money?

49. Is it hot in here or is it just you?

50. Hello. Cupid called. He wants to tell you that he needs my heart back.


Quaipo visit today and the world commemorates International Women’s Day 2018, a day to reflect on the changing female role in society.

I thanked the Lord for all the great women who work diligently each day to bring more love into their homes, communities, and the world at large: mothers, sisters, friends, teachers, activists, volunteers, authors, and more.


March 8th is International Women’s Day (IWD), observed throughout the world as a day of action for women, a time to seek specific improvements in women’s lives and to commit to ending the suffering that women experience merely because they are women.

Outside the church, a group of women have a rally. They voiced out their concerns on justice and governance.

I watched how passionate women on the streets fighting for their rights.

International Women’s Day (IWD) has been observed since the early 1900’s – a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies. International Women’s Day is a collective day of global celebration and a call for gender parity.

International Women’s Day is all about unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy and action.

To set aside just one day to remind ourselves to treat more than half the human population of the world, or any segment of it, as fully human, is a challenge that calls us to grow as God’s people.

Our celebrations of each other must be constant individual celebrations of respect and gratitude celebrating each day by each of us for each person in our lives.

Please join me in prayer:

Gracious God of all that is, we give you thanks for the endless possibilities of life as you have set it before and around us.

The many ways of being human make possible endless ways to serve you and each other.

We are tempted to judge some kinds of living or thinking as better, worse, good, bad, acceptable, offensive – without understanding what our differences make possible for all of us.

Turn our heads and our hearts, O Holy One, so we see the wonders of difference and the limits of prejudice.

Enter the heart and mind of each person to see each other person, every difference, all ways of being fully human, as gifts from you to all of us, in a world that needs all the gifts and help you give to and through us.



March 6, 2015 was my first major surgery. Nine (9) hours of God’s embrace in the operating table. I surrendered everything and the rest was history.

Last Sunday, during The Feast at Manila Hotel, God’s big message was “I am bigger than you are. Trust me!”

Who am I to question God’s way in my life?

I may never know the reason why but I entrusted everything to Him.

I may have a lot of questions but God is bigger than all my worries.


I used to have a habit of trusting myself. I formed this habit through years of trusting people, getting hurt and finding out I couldn’t trust them. This caused me to believe, If you want something done right, you’ve got to do it yourself. If you don’t ask anybody for anything or open your heart to them, they can’t hurt you. But this mindset just kept me from trusting God. It was a bad habit I had to break. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths (NKJV). When you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, the Spirit of God comes to live inside you. This is one of the greatest blessings of salvation: You don’t have to go through someone else to get to God. He dwells in your heart and you can learn to hear His voice.

Have you ever had to wait for something? I’m not very good at waiting, I’m not a very patient person. I don’t like waiting at the doctor’s office, I don’t like waiting for a table at the restaurant, I don’t like waiting in line at the grocery store or waiting in line to get on ride at the theme park. If I’m going to the doctor I want to schedule my appointment first thing in the morning. I will leave a restaurant if I have to wait very long. I love theme parks but refuse to go on weekends because I hate waiting in line. For me, waiting is a total waste of valuable time.

Yet, I have come to learn that there are times and periods in our lives when God says wait and through personal experience I have learned that when God is saying wait we need to wait, be still, be silent, listen, and let God do what it is that He must do. I have learned that if I will just serve Him while I’m waiting, worship Him while I’m waiting, and simply trust Him while I’m waiting; then when He has finished whatever it is He is doing in me, to me, through me, and for me is better than I ever thought or dreamed it could be.

If God has you waiting it is for Good reason and it is for your good. Be patient and let God do what only God can do in you, to you, through you, and for you. As you wait be obedient, surround yourself with the fellowship of other believers, be prayerful, search the Scriptures, and trust God to do exceedingly abundantly more in you and for you than you have ever dreamed he could do.

If God has you waiting this morning then you should simply say, “Lord, I’ll serve while I’m waiting, Lord, I’ll worship you while I’m waiting, Lord, I’ll trust you while I’m waiting. Lord, I don’t know exactly what I’m waiting on but I know it is for my good and your glory therefore I will wait upon the Lord who is worthy to be praised.”

I would like to share with you this praise and worship song from the movie ‘Fireproof’ entitled While I’m Waiting, an anthem for those actively waiting on the Lord.

While I’m Waiting

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will waitI will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I’m waiting
I will serve You
While I’m waiting
I will worship
While I’m waiting
I will not faint
I’ll be running the race
Even while I wait

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it’s not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait

I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting on You, Lord