Thursday, April 14, 2016

Sa Lourdes Ang Sabado Ko

We Come and Are Healed
    (written by eapostol)

We come,
Woken early this day,
The Good Lord’s call, heeding.

We see and listen,
With eyes and ears of faith,
Words alive and living.

We lift
Our palms and spirits,
To God’s mercy and grace, believing.

We pray
Father, if it be Thy will,
Grant us the gift of Your healing.

You are invited to come to the Saturday healing mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes.  Rosary procession starts after the 6:30am mass. The Novena prayers to Our Lady of Lourdes are prayed thereafter.  Healing Mass starts at 7:30am.

All of us, in one form or another, are in need of healing. Our illness, more or less obvious than our neighbor's, but still we all have a need to be made whole. Let us be open and be ready to receive the gift of God's mercy, grace and healing.

Like and follow the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes 
(or NSOLL) on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  Come visit their website at :

Monday, March 14, 2016

Being a Member of a Ministry - (VAM - Visual Aids Ministry)

So I’ve become a member of this ministry called the Visual Aids Ministry or VAM.  I ask myself as I nervously begin my first “solo” shift, “How did I get here?”  Well, I had long wanted to become active in the Church again but just didn’t know in what capacity or in what way I could best be used by God.  It was during those hours of waiting for my son while he was still training to be an altar server, having his weekly meetings/trainings that I would sit idly in the church observing passively people’s comings and goings.  There was the young, vibrant group of lector-commentators practicing their readings, the voices and sounds from the choirs and organist as they practiced their songs and, at times, the altar servers, as they practiced their service at the altar or their processional marches - practices or activities that are not usually witnessed by the regular mass attendees.

And there I sat idly.

Flashback to circa 1996 to 2002… (and it seems so long ago now)…  I would arrive to our Christian Life Program where I was an active member of Singles for Christ (Seattle, WA Chapter), greet each member and participant, set-up my keyboard, practice, play some songs, be part of the meeting and pray-over, or when assigned be part of the prayer warriors, play more songs, and afterwards help set up and serve the food, etc. etc.  It was a tiring, busy and fulfilling ministry and one that I have missed since.

Then, I hardly had time to sit idly.

Fast-forward… after my son was commissioned as an altar server and became an active member, he would try to convince me and my husband to also join a ministry: “Dad, mag-lay minister ka na. Mom, mag-greeter ka”.  Natatawa na lang kami ng asawa ko.  On several occasions, a couple of altar servers, came to our home in regards to some of the activities of their ministry.  One of them, in his persistence, would again invite both my husband and I to become part of a ministry.  I did consider volunteering to be an organist, but well, it’s been awhile since I’ve played and to be honest, I didn’t consider myself that gifted – yes I read music notes thanks to the many lessons of my childhood, but yeah, well… I didn’t feel good enough to play in mass.

My background is in computers and I more seriously considered the Media Ministry, and when I showed my willingness, I got invited the next day to be trained.  And that’s how it started… I said “yes”, I was willing and I came.

God opens many doors, and He is always waiting for us to come in… He just waits for us to willingly take that first step.

Oh, I still have a long way to go in learning the ropes.  Bear with us folks, if ever you see that the projector screen is not on cue or the wrong slide is shown.  It’s not as easy as it looks, and more factors are involved than a mere Powerpoint presentation.  But with God’s grace and helping hand, He will make all things work out.  To God be the Glory. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

On the Phenomenal AlDub - From a Proud Fan

I mentioned in a previous blog that I would write on Aldub, and here it goes. So where do I start? Aldub has become such a phenomenal love team that has kept trending and hitting records on twitter in the past 7 months.

Their recent Valentine's date

I could tell you the background of Aldub - how it started and developed et al, but I want to write on a personal note and try to explain it from my own experiences and feelings.  Have you ever been a fan before - of a celebrity, singer, actor, sports personality or team?  I do remember my past idols: Scott Baio (And I hear a resounding “WHhooo???” from the younger generation. Believe me he was a cutie during my younger years and I did see him recently and he still is looking great).  Then there was the Purefoods team of the late 80s with the likes of hunks, Jojo Lastimosa and Alvin Patrimonio.  I was in college at the time and a couple of classmates and I went to one of the team’s workout/fan day fair and I remember, with some embarrassment, running and screaming to get close to the players and even giving Alvin a kiss. I shriek now from embarrassment as I write this.  Honestly I’m the shy, reserved type and was coerced by my classmate to give him a peck on the cheek, hehe – blushing as I make this confession.

So anyway, I’m sure the reader knows what I mean.  You idolize someone and become a little obsessed with them.  Now the last couple that I actually became a fan of is the love team of Katherine Bernardo and Daniel Padilla.  I loved them in the teleserye “Got to Believe” and even watched “She’s Dating the Gangster” with my family.  But since Aldub, I see no other love teams or personalities. I have total admiration for the new phenomenal stars, Maine Mendoza and Alden Richards.  Their love team is so different from the rest and we fans have become so connected (and as I've read it mentioned before, so "emotionally invested") because we were there when it all started – from that very first glance-  July 16, 2015 to be exact (and Maine has even noted the exact time).

That first glance and smile

From that first glance, a connection started – a spark that has hit so many lives.  We, Aldubnation (the fans of Aldub), have stayed tuned to how their romance has bloomed, wanting so much to see it go from reel to real.  It’s the little nuances – that started from the looks, grins, fan signs and just recently the touches - that gives this kilig (tingly feeling inside) that have kept us tuned-in to the Kalyeserye segment of Eat Bulaga.  I’ve read many times of people, both men and women, from all different age brackets and from different walks of life, experiencing this kilig feeling, when seeing the two make their exchanges.

These exchanges are subtle, no torrid kisses or hardly any kisses, even the ones we’ve seen are innocent kisses on the cheeks or the foreheads.  Even the slightest touch brings on the shrieks of the crowds.  Their wittiness is so evident in their exchanges, I find myself smiling when seeing them, either together or on split-screen (the way they first met).  I just have this happy, and if I can say, this young, girlish feeling when I see them, whether as Aldub (Alden and YayaDub), MaiChard (Maine and Richard) or even as AnselRa (Anselmo and Nidora).

Flashback of the young Nidora and Anselmo

Their accidental love team has been a gold mine for them both, making way for endorsements left and right covering almost every product from head to toe.  You can see them both or individually in several tv commercials, billboards and even on the back of buses.  And every time I see them I cannot help but smile.  they’re not the only ones skipping all the way to the bank though, as we see the producers of the shows they’re on and of the products they endorse receiving the rewards of the loyalty of aldubnation.

But aside from this commercialized aspect of their love team, we see that the two are genuinely good people (and I was about to say kids, because I’m probably old enough to be their mother).  Not only that they, although in the beginning they had thought they did not have enough talent, are blooming right before our eyes as we see them gain confidence in their singing, dancing and acting talents.  And the number of awards they have achieved in such a short time and the rising number of their true fans is evidence of their God-given and newly discovered gifts.  So my admiration of these two keep going, though I hear from people around me that I have become quite an Aldub addict, but I defend it all saying that they give me inspiration.  Inspiration to believe in myself, inspiration to look at life and others and find hope, inspiration that destiny is true, and that true love still exists.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Reflection on Buffet Meals and Ash Wednesday

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday as we are again reminded that "For you are dust, And to dust you shall return." Genesis 3:19 (New American Standard)...

For the past two days, we ate buffet style. The first last Sunday after going to Mass we headed to Eastwood City to Somethin' Fishy for their Midnight to 10am buffet.  And just yesterday, we unexpectedly got an invitation to Jojo's nephew's son's birthday celebration to have merienda at Dad's at SM Megamall.  There have been countless other times that we have eaten at these and other buffet restaurants, feasting to our heart's content or at least to the point that our stomach tells us to stop and we feel that we can't look at any other food or everything we ate will go into reverse mode.

There are some good buffets and others not so, the best costing more of course.  Vikings has to be one of the best, and one of the most expensive.  We chose Somethin' Fishy because of the reasonable price that satisfies.  But our experience last Sunday was less than satisfying, maybe because we got there late and got seated at around 9am with only an hour left for the end of the "shift".  And so there were dishes that you had to literally scrape the bottom of and dishes that didn't get refilled.  There were dishes that hit the taste buds, and others not so.  With Joselyn being the picky eater she opted for the Yang chow rice, eggs and the waffles/pancakes section. Medyo lugi pagdating kay Joselyn. Benjo on the other hand is more adventurous and we always get our money's worth with Benjo.

Oh, I was contemplating on Ash Wednesday.  When I eat at buffets I do feel a twinge of guilt, being reminded that there are so many who either have nothing on their plates or if they do, is not enough. And here are these platters of dishes for your choosing, where we get to eat as much as you want (or in some cases until the serving dishes are emptied).  I realize too that this binge eating style is not healthy for our stomachs.  Although I try to choose healthy foods at these buffets, still there is always a tendency to eat way over our limits.  Starving yourself before the buffet and then making yourself full afterwards cannot be healthy for our internal organs like our intestines.  Buffet meals are truly temptations to the sin of gluttony and if we don't realize it, our bodies will feel the consequences of this excessive lifestyle.

Ash Wednesday, the start of the Lenten season, reminds us that our lives are only temporary.  There is a permanent life waiting for us.  Our bodies are made of "dust" but while our spirits live within this earthen body, let us take care of it.

Let us be reminded to live more simply, to not live in excess, to be satisfied with what we are given, and to share the gifts that God has given us in abundance.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Starstruck by Father Jerry Orbos

I was starstruck as I looked at awe at this person whom I had only seen on tv and heard on the radio and even read in the newspaper. No, he’s not an actor but is a celebrity in his own right. Father Jerry Orbos SVD was the guest priest/presider on the 3rd night of the novena to Our Lady of Lourdes, held at the National shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes parish in quezon city.  I even choked up and held back a tear as I saw him walking down the aisle during the entrance procession.

It was a long day and I had expected to be sleepy during that night’s mass, but on the contrary Father Jerry kept us all awake with his usual humor and charismatic way of talking. I felt that I was attending a mini-recollection, with father talking directly to us as our father god would, telling us directly what we all wanted to hear. and there was that time when we closed our eyes in prayer and I couldn’t hold back my tears.

I could tell though that father was tired, choosing to sit after his homily and his voice, though deep and soothing was kind of hard to hear at times. After the procession while looking for benjo, who had asked me to buy him some bottled water, I noticed some church-goers who were excitedly grouping together and taking pictures. Upon getting a closer look, I saw that in the middle of the group was Father Jerry, courteously signing the books that he wrote which the church-goers had purchased while smiling for the several cameras for his eager fans.

He did look tired and I stood a few steps away just admiring him. I didn’t bring any extra money to buy his book, nor did I bring a camera to take his picture, so I did the next best thing, to enjoy just glancing at him and trying to get close.  I did get to “mano” him when he went out and asked who was selling his books. I was talking to Ate Mely at the time, who is one of the volunteers who sells fiesta souvenirs including Father’s books and I pointed to Ate Mely and the two other volunteers near her. He thanked them for helping him sell his books.  After a few more greetings and thank yous to other people, he then got into his awaiting car and headed home.

How blessed I feel to have listened to Father Jerry in person and to even get close to him. He had so many memorable quotes that day but if there is one that I can leave to those who happen to read this, it’s just this simple one: “Stop hurting others. Period.”

To read more on Father Jerry... here's his post in today's Philippine Daily Inquirer:

Friday, February 5, 2016

Discovering Twitter World

Where did the months go? My last blog was last September and I had promised myself that I would blog more starting this 2016. And it's already February 5! Well I would love to write more but somehow some other priorities have gotten in the way.  I do have one confession to make though... I have been writing ... not on this blog but on another social media platform called... TWITTER.

Gosh, how do I start to explain my newly-found obsession with Twitter world? Well, let me begin by saying that I have become a BIG fan of ALDUB and a proud one at that.  This I will blog another time, but for now I want to focus on my new love for writing or as we say, tweeting on Twitter.  Twitter has been around... for how long now? And when it first became popular, I was too busy and contented with Facebook.  So I told myself, why bother with another form of social media. And besides Twitter limited the users to 140 characters per tweet.  For me to express my sentiments in 140 characters, well I thought it wouldn't work for me since I try to be more specific with my words and feel I have to explain myself in detail as not to bring about confusion.  (I guess that's what blogs are for).

Anyway, I began tweeting to get more in tune with AlDub and the other fans, etc. And I'm proud to say that I was a part of the record-breaking Twitter record set last October 24, 2015 for Tamang Panahon with 41 MILLION tweets.  I started tweeting a few weeks before that time.  Our (my husband was the one who set it up) twitter account was opened in 2009 and I tweeted my first tweet in 2015.  And for the most part I've tweeted, retweeted, liked, replied everyday since then about 99.9% of the time on AlDub.

So what is it about Twitter that I, among countless others around the globe, have found it such a great way to get in tune with others.  And mind you, most of the 128 followers I currently have, I do not know personally.  Well, I do feel that we, the people I follow and the people who follow me, have something in common, in our case, the love of Aldub, and there's a spirit that comes on fire when you see your hashtag on the trending list and that you are part of the reason why it's trending. (That term hashtag, always brings back Perl programming in my mind)

And about the 140 character limit that kept me away from Twitter, well there are ways around it and sometimes 140 characters is all you really need.  And about getting your sentiments confused, well that maybe is the beauty or attractiveness of the 140 char limit of Twitter.  Confusion, reading between the lines, questions, even arguments abound because of a tweet where one means something and is taken in the wrong perspective.  So I've learned to limit my words and condensed my usual wordy-self, which is actually a good practice, one person retweeted me.  Twitter is there for that spur of the moment thought that you must broadcast to the world, or at least those that follow you. While blogging is here for the unli-characters that I can just let myself spill to my heart and fingers' content.

Oh I realize that I've missed blogging... which I will do more of... when I'm not tweeting :)