A Tiny Good News in the Midst of Ongoing Uncertainties

Good news has been so left behind and seem to have totally been overshadowed by bad news.  Everybody would agree with me when I say that there has been a surplus of bad news this year.  Situations has been so cruel in this ambiguous and uncertain times of the world. Everybody if given the opportunity would go back last year (2019) so as to reboot the year 2020!

Let me then relay a tiny good news.  Because of the vague, hazy and unclear future of my personal life which I could no longer seem to control, influence and regulate due of the bad news that lurks around, I decided to flung and cast all my worries to God.  Because of the ongoing impact of the pandemic and all its effects of oversupplied bad news which has directly affected me, I was left with no alternative course of action but to pray and call God, Mother Mary, the angels and the saints for support, assistance and furtherance.

my nightly weapon

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, bizarre and strange as it may seem, the tiny good news I want to relay is that I now pray every day.  And prayer has been my only weapon now in these times of crises.  And I am glad to say that I don’t just say a little prayer, I actually do the grander scheme of things.  Since middle of March this year. I do recite and meditate on the beauty of the mysteries of the Holy Rosary every day without fail!

You may want to ask the effects of my praying the Holy Rosary.  Well, let me just say that it has helped me a lot to keep my sanity.  It has helped me to stay hopeful and optimistic that all this bad news will soon come to an end.  And the little requests, wishes and appeals that I would sneak in between my praying of the Hail Mary-s and Glory Be-s has so far been fulfilled and realized.

Happy day to all and I hope you have a tiny good news to share.

Thanking the Heavens Via Santa Clara!

I am back in Manila.  And I am back in my usual normal routine.  I am, however, is not yet done with chronicling my 2019 NYC and Washington D.C adventure.  There are still an enormous amount of experiences that I have yet to write about.

But since I am back, let me just squeeze in this post.  A thank you and an expression of gratitude post to the heavens above for gifting and blessing me with such an amazing NYC and Washington D.C. journey.

This afternoon, I went to Santa Clara Monastery to express my hearty gratitude.  And in keeping with the odd and eccentric Filipino custom of saying thanks to Saint Claire of Assisi, I offered a dozen of eggs wrapped in colored cellophane.  I also wrote a short thank you note and have it lodged for the nuns to read and send it instantaneously to the heavens via Santa Clara.

I did this because I have always believed that prayer is done not because you are asking for something but because you have a ton to thank about.

By the way the colored cellophane I chose was pink and red which according to tradition has some mystifying meaning.  Red would be luck on travel and career while Pink would be for love life and family.  I was laughing about the “luck on love life”! Hahaha!

Thanks Saint Claire! My NYC and Washington D.C. adventure was a blast!

monasterio real de sta. clara de manila

Santa Clara, Salamat! Sa uulitin…

 

Saying Thanks at St. Patrick’s Cathedral

I am a Catholic.  Finding and visiting a Catholic church during the duration of my travel has always been like something automatic.  It’s like an involuntary response of saying Thank You every time I am heftily rewarded.

And now that I am in New York, I made sure that the Catholic church that I would visit to say my sincerest gratitude to the Holy Heavens would not just be any other ordinary church. I made sure to enter and visit the largest neo-gothic cathedral in the United States, St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

saint patrick’s cathedral

awe-inspiring!

had to light up a couple of candles to complete my saying thanks…

calmness and serenity seem easy to achieve

St. Patrick’c Cathedral is as magnificent as it is massive.  What is so unique with St. Patrick’s Cathedral is that it is a European-style of a church that is centrally located at America’s ode to consumerism and one of the most expensive shopping district, the 5th Avenue, no less.

It comes not as a big surprise then that St. Patrick is the patron saint of a local Catholic New Yorker.  And despite its being located in the busy street of 5th Avenue, as you walk in and gaze heavenward, achieving the sense of peace and solemnity seem easy to achieve.  Thus, saying a deep prayer and thanks was something uncomplicated and effortless to do inside.       

And just like any other Catholic church, St. Patrick’s Cathedral definitely completed my NY adventure.

San Patrisyo, salamat…

Finally Understanding A Priest’s Homily

One opposite of living a normal life in a Catholic country like the Philippines is not having a Catholic priest as a friend.  In this particular aspect, I have long considered myself as abnormal, a nonstandard and an aberration. 

Yeah, I guess I am one of those self-promoting folks in Manila who lacks a saintly priest as a friend.  Dealing with a Catholic priest on a regular basis is an unchartered territory for me.

Maybe one of the reasons why I don’t have a Catholic priest friend is because I am seldom impressed by their delivered Homilies during a Holy Mass.  Commonly, priests in their Homilies would often talk too vague and too imprecise and they would move from one topic to another in a nonsensical fashion.  Their line of thinking often times is so ambiguous and so formless I would often suspect that priest’s common mental illness is schizophrenia.

But the priest I heard last Monday during a Holy Mass in Greenbelt Chapel to commemorate the death of my boss (Sir Larry Cruz) eleven years ago was somebody who was impressively different.  He was specific and was exact.  He was coherent and was so cohesive in his Homily.  His talk was well research.  It was actually enjoyable, charming and was very inspiring.

 

that’s me (left) with super friend dominic… nagdadasal? thanks to mj for this blurry photo. hahaha! 

i was so impressed, i took a glimpse of the greenbelt chapel’s priest

He talked about the man whom the Holy Mass was for and successfully correlate my amiable boss’s vocation and persona to his homily.  He was inspiring when he said that it is not about the years in your life that counts, but it is the life in your years that matter.  And what struck me most about this priest’s Homily was his wisdom about: “people will forget what you said”andpeople will forget what you did”butpeople will never forget what you made them feel”

If I am to make friends with a priest that Greenbelt Chapel priest would be the first dude in line!

Hay salamat at sa wakas, naka-intindi rin ng sermon!

Malou’s Prayer 2019

In my country, the Philippines, any corporate event or gathering will not be complete without the Invocation otherwise known as the opening prayer.  It is as if the event will not be successful if the organizers chose not to supplicate and plea to the heavenly spirits for guidance, strength and protection while the affair is on-going.

Surprisingly, one of the most popular posts I have in this blog is an Invocation.  I often see my blog’s stats sour high during Christmas season because folks assigned to lead the prayer in their respective event, program or party seem to search online on samples of beautiful prayers.  I can attest that Malou’s prayer has been so popular in the past few years! 

needs to have my photo before the whole stressful yet fun event starts!

malou & edwin, the designated hosts of the program

Last January 21, being the yearly designated organizer of a company’s Employees’ Night Grand Ball, I again designated Malou to compose and lead a gorgeous and inspiring prayer.  Despite having so much going on in my head that night – anxiety, pressure, worries and apprehensions – to ensure and make the party a success, Malou’s pleasing prayer consigned my being at ease.

And because of that, I again requested Malou for a copy.  She said okay when I told her that I am to post it in my blog.  Here it is…

Dear Lord,

Thank you for the blessings of 2018.

Thank you for bringing us together tonight and giving us another reason to celebrate our successes, our friendships, our teamwork, our lives.

We thank you most of all Lord for giving us 40 fruitful years and may we be blessed with so much more.

As we face the New Year, may You grant us the strength and the courage to live each day to the fullest, being a reflection of Your love to each other.

May you grant us the wisdom to perform our daily jobs and bless us with the inspiration to carry on each day.

Deliver us Lord from everything that will destroy us and help us to put our trust into your perfect care.

May we be to each other a beacon of light, a loving and forgiving friend, a strength to hold on to, a joy to look forward to, and an inspiration to keep us going.

May You bless our company with another 40 years of success and may we be a blessing to the people we serve.

All good things are not possible without You, Oh Lord.

 All glory and honor be to You Lord God, now and forever, Amen!

 

Gondohhh, di ba???

A Palm Sunday in San Francisco and My Anti-Ageing Cream is Working

My Holy Week last year would most probably be the holiest Holy Week I will ever have, it is because I got to spend it right where the holy Holy Week happened, in Jerusalem, Israel.  This year I am in San Francisco USA.  And though it is definitely less divine compared to last year, I nevertheless got to observe Holy Week here.

I got to attend and celebrate Holy Mass at Grace Cathedral last Palm Sunday.  I actually arrived 30 minutes before the mass started that is why I got the opportunity to take photos and go around the holy church.

my 2017 palm sunday church

lovely

solemn…

One funny thing happened though.  As I was about to leave the church after dipping my fingers into the Holy Water to make the sign of the cross, a lady approached me with the biggest smile.  She expressed that she was so glad to see such a young man like me attending a Holy Mass on a Palm Sunday.  She further expressed in a very gentle voice that new generation whom according to her I belong no longer attends a Holy Mass.  She then uttered “God Bless you young man!”

turista…

my instagram post last palm sunday

selfie muna

eto na yun… palaspas nila… pinitas lang.

I did not say anything.  I just stood there.  Listened to her and smiled.  If she only knew how old I am and that I may actually older than her.  I decided not to correct nor rectify her statements.  Besides, I don’t want to ruin her beautiful morning.  I just left the church smiling and thinking how much love I have for my anti-ageing cream….

Lumelebel… o baka naman malabo lang ang mata ni Inday.

Kissed a Relic

national shrine of padre pio

One of the highlights of Nengkoy’s birthday celebration last week was my whole family’s visit to the National Shrine of Padre Pio located in Sto. Tomas Batangas (80 km south of Manila).  Except for my younger sister Joie, it was everybody’s first time in the church.

Before proceeding to the main church area all of us took time to roam and check out the grounds of the holy national shrine.  We even lighted a number of votive candles to give thanks and pray for some groovy and awesome intercession.

votive candles…. got myslef a green for health, nengkoy took a brown for birthday while nephew miggy got himself a yellow for money! hahaha!

smiling nengkoy with smiling padre pio

come holy spirit…

few of my monster nephews… denden, luis, kambal, neil and miggy

got to kiss this…

a super blessed day… (nephew alexis: a photo bomber hahaha!)

We failed to attend and listen to a Holy Mass but we were nevertheless lucky and were at the perfect time to have attended an awesome Healing Liturgy.  And part of the blessed ceremony is that people got to kiss a sacred relic of St. Padre Pio followed by an anointment of a fragrant oil on both palms and the forehead.

Though it initially freaked me out, because I thought my lips are gonna burn (hahaha!) when it touches the relic, the experience was something serene, calm and divine.  I definitely felt God’s blessings and Padre Pio’s embrace.

Visiting Padre Pio church in Batangas was one beautiful experience.  It was one blessed experience!

Mwah! Mwah!

Pater Noster: Prayer For Life

Just like missing prayers before a meal or going to sleep I missed writing about the Church of Pater Noster. Also known as the Sanctuary of the Eleona, Pater Noster church is located on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.

pater noster church

pater noster church

lords prayer in its first two language...

lords prayer in its first two languages…

Being a Catholic, my not writing about this place felt like heresy of some sort.  It is because this special spot, where I and my sister visited when we were in Israel, is where Lord Jesus believed to have taught the Lord’s Prayer.

Not all Catholics were blessed enough of being able to see and experience what it was to be like in such a special place.  Honestly, I consider Pater Noster to be one of the highlights of me and my sister’s tour of the Mount of Olives.

This 4th century Byzantine church is serene and beautiful.  And underneath this massive structure is a cave which I think is considered the holiest spot of the area for it is believed to be where Lord Jesus taught his disciples  the ‘Ama Namin’ (translation: Our Father) prayer.

highlight!

highlight!

selfie inside where it's taught

selfie inside where it’s taught

searching for the tagalog version...

searching for the tagalog version…

got the ilonggo version

got the ilonggo version

feeling so blessed...

feeling so blessed…

The walls of the structure are placed with multilingual plaques bearing the Lord’s Prayer in different languages.  Feeling proud Pinoys, I and my sister failed to locate the plaque in Filipino-Tagalog language.  We nevertheless was successful in locating the English and the Filipino-Ilonggo prayer versions.

Saying the Our Father has always been part of my prayer, in whatever form or state of mind I am.  And I may miss saying prayers before meals and before sleep but I will forever be so thankful that the stars has aligned for me to see and experience this holy place where the prayer for life started.

Oh ‘di ba, ang banal banal ko na??  

Wish Follow-up

One common yet unofficial belief of religious and unreligious Catholics is that they can make a wish every time they enter a Catholic Church for the first time.  Others, may they have a religion or none, would take the opportunity to make a wish every time they came across a wishing well.

I love churches and wishing wells, these spots gives me the feelings of positivity, optimism and upbeat emotional strength.  Both feels like they have strange and mysterious healing powers!

one massive door of st. martin de tours basilica, the largest church in asia

one massive door of st. martin de tours basilica, the largest church in asia

Almost all people, I guess, after making a wish in these places would either forget about it or let fate and providence be the arbiter if such longing will be granted or not.  No one I guess ever thought or dared of going back to the church or wishing well to follow up his or her wish.  Relaying a reminder for the granting of a yearning is not part of the tradition or the custom of making wishes.  This is definitely something rare and uncommon.

And since I am rare and uncommon, I did the rare and the uncommon.  I followed-up.

Last Thursday, after touring a very interesting meat processing plant in Malvar, Batangas, me and my colleagues decided to go for a side trip.  We went to the old heritage town of Taal, Batangas.  For a very brief exploration, we went to 2 old churches and one mystical wishing well in Taal.

We went to the St. Martin De Tours Basilica, the largest Catholic Church in Asia and at the Shrine of Our Lady of Caysasay, one of the few churches in the world that was given the special privilege by the Vatican for plenary indulgence.  To cap our short Taal trip, we went to the old spring-fed wells of Sta. Lucia, a miraculous wishing well.

Since I have been to all these three spots just a couple of weeks ago, this means, I would not have the opportunity to make a wish.  Thus, to make this trip a more fruitful one, I simply expressed a reminder for the granting of my wish.  The same request I made the first time I went there.

a day to wish! (at sta. lucia wishing wells)

a day to wish! (at sta. lucia wishing wells)

At the miraculous Sta. Lucia wishing well, people are obliged to return to this site when their wishes has already been granted.  Grantees return so as to offer white or violet-colored flowers and to pray their deepest thanks.  Since my wish has yet to be granted, I did not bring with me any flower but nevertheless say a short prayer of thanks for being well and alive.

Still at the miraculous Sta. Lucia wishing well, while dampening my face, my neck, my arms and my hair with the banal na tubig (sacred water) fetched from the well  I was literally uttering in a sweet gentle tone, “Follow-up lang po… follow-up lang po…”.

a day to follow-up...

a day to follow-up…

Everyone was laughing when they heard me say this.  Maybe it’s because it’s unusual to follow-up.  My colleagues knew that I was just there few days ago, that is why they were giggling when I was making a follow-up.

So, to make my wish become more potent, I called for reinforcements! I requested my colleagues’ that part of their wishes is that they wish that my wish be granted!

Siguro naman matutupad na… Palow-ap lang po…