i just recently realized that there are several things to observe or celebrate during the month of october. allow me to enumerate:
a) for one, it's the month of the Holy Rosary. i have been praying the rosary since i was a kid. we pray at school during october since i went to a catholic school. then i learned to pray the rosary whenever i have some important personal prayer intentions, and i still do until now. i have been steadfastly observing the rosary for life crusade since tita chelle gave me the prayer book that was being disseminated by the Rosary for Life crusade.. (and especially since that was the time when my young niece recited a brief prayer intention during that year's celebration). i guess, i started because it was a catholic practice, and back then, as a child, one doesn't have any other recourse but to follow. i am happy to say, though, that it gives me a great sense of peace whenever i finish praying the rosary so i still continue to pray the rosary and ask the intercession of the blessed Mother Mary in my personal intentions.
b) it is also coffee month here in the philippines. i just got to learn of this. and since i am currently interested in coffee, i attended this year's coffee summit and met some (if not, got to know) of the bigshots of the trade. i made my own networking and hopefully am all set on executing my plans of being a farmer. (fingers crossed here) :-)
c) october is also breast cancer awareness month. for me, i'm observing it as (well, generally) cancer month, regardless of the type of cancer. it's got a bit of a stigma to it, since we have the big C gene on both sides of the family.
d) then, there's the fiesta here in the block where we live. i have already posted some pics of that one in a previous post.
e) then there's halloween. okay, i know that there are some who find the activity overrated. one just can't understand what all the fuss is with costumes and treats and pranks on this day (for kids trick-or-treating) and night (for adults partying the night away). the trick or treat for the kids here at our place was last saturday morning til afternoon. the hall was decorated very eeriely, it seemed like a horror booth with a really spooky music playing aloud. residents were enjoined to give some treats for the kids who'll be visiting our halls so i asked trish to buy some when she goes to the store. we gave this:
and then yesterday afternoon, i heard someone knocking at our door. i was surprised to see two young kids trick-or-treating when i opened the door. i hurriedly went back in and gave them some chocolates and those marshmallows left from our stock (those that actually escaped my happy munching). and just tonight when i went out to buy Coke, i saw this at our door.
the tenants at 2K have so generously given us a treat and hung one on each door (well, on our floor at least, as far as i know as i didn't check on the other floors). well, looki, lookie here at our treat:
this is it for now. whether you celebrate the same things i do (or not!), i hope that you do have something to celebrate. be it a birthday of a loved one (or yours), a graduation, or just a simple milestone in your life. take time to celebrate. celebrate life!
october is breast cancer awareness month. so while already onto the third week, hope this blog is not late on the scene.
just wanna express my solidarity with the aim of raising awareness about breast cancer. this disease afflicts not only women but also men. let us all be mindful of the risk to this disease. i'm even worried 'coz i have all the risks to such high predisposition to cancer, u know: old age, cancer genes from both sides of the family, old age, not married / have not given birth, old age, uncontrolled weight, old age... get the picture? ;-(
i participated in a pink ribbon walk in dubai four years back when i just arrived there. it was such an eye-opener for me. i only learned just then of this campaign. and i bear witness to the human struggle against cancer since then. see related posts: Pink Ribbon Walk , Aunty Gingging and Life's Miracles.
i pray that the number of people with breast cancer will be reduced. i pray that those afflicted will have strength of mind and body and emotions to fight this disease in their life right now. i pray that they will have family, friends and loved ones holding their hands right now and supporting them through this ordeal.
let us continue to pray for one another, to bring hope to people who are emotionally, physically and spiritually in need of healing. be a prayer warrior. keep the hope alive.
i'm naturally sweet.(wink-wink).. probably why i've got sweet tooth. all of us in the family are. our craving for something sweet runs in the family. imagine us during family reunions - all huddled up at the tables and in front of us would be our favorites: cakes, fruit salad, leche flan, brownies, biko, or whatever kakanin is there available... much to our gustatory delight! oh, i almost forgot to add, diabetes is in our genes. awww.. but how can sweets be so fatal?
when i was young, i first realized how dreadful diabetes was during this one time when our family went swimming. i didn't know how to swim (i still don't until now, by the way) and what i usually do is to accompany any of the older members of the family so there'd be somebody looking out for me. i'm not a precocious child. i just stay still and would just wade through the sandy beachline, of course. and should my older companion decide to swim out to sea, i'd be tagging along with my ever-dependable 'salbabida' (life-saving device / life buoy).
that time, my lola susing (mom's mom) was the one who accompanied me. she normally makes several laps around me as she loves gliding through the water. on this occasion, however, i noticed that she was not her normal self. she was treading water stuck opposite me in my salbabida, with her eyes closed. we stayed that way for about half an hour when i couldn't contain my curiosity any longer, i just had to ask. so i rocked my salbabida a little to catch her attention then proceeded to ask, "La, ngano wala man ka mulangoy didto sa lawod? (Granny, why are you not swimming in the depths?)"
she opened her eyes a bit, looked at me and answered, "Dili na man ko kaayo kakita. Halap na akong mata. Uban na lang ko nimo dinhi. (I can no longer see clearly. My eyes aren't that sharp anymore. We'll just stay here together.)"
and the naturally curious child in me just had to ask again. "Ngano man nahalap imong mata? (Why did your eyes grow dim?)"
"Kay tigulang na ko. Ug sige pud ko makatulog nga basa ang buhok. (Because i'm old. And on top of that, i sleep with my hair still wet.)", was her reply.
"Ha? Makahalap diay na ug mata? (What, that can ruin the eyesight?)"
"Oo. Busa, ayaw katulog nga basa ug buhok, ha. (Yes, so you better not go to sleep with your hair wet.)"
Little did i know that i was witnessing the first signs of the complications wrought about by diabetes on my grandma's body. Her vision was slowly waning, and this effect was downplayed by the perpetration of old folks' belief regarding sleeping with wet hair as a cause of loss of vision. the conversation that transpired between us seemed innocently true to my young mind. and for a time, i would refuse to go to bed if my hair is wet. i insist on playing till late night just to ensure that i have already dried my hair.
most of my relatives on my mom's side suffered from diabetes and died due to complications arising from this disease. and now, i learned that i also have relatives on my dad's side who have diabetes. it's official. i have double the risk. my predisposition comes from both sides of the family. and i have seen how it has wreaked havoc on the lives of some relatives - vision loss, amputated legs, kidney failure, lung disease, liver disease, heart disease, and more.
today, my mom has it, too. and she continually monitors her blood sugar level so as to be able to better manage her diabetes. her older sister is also diabetic. but if there's good that's come out of it, it's that they are able to share experiences and reach out to each other well because of their similar situation. when aunty madeilyn brought us her insulin plant which she sells to doctors and diabetic patients, my mom and aunty tata (living just beside us) immediately planted it so that we'll have plenty of plants at home. this insulin plant (scientific name: Costus igneus) seemed to be a miracle plant as it has been proven to keep sugar levels at bay. one should not eat too much of it though as one might experience sudden weakness (especially if you're not diabetic, like me). there was this one time, after sweating it out cleaning our garage, i happen to be resting a while and in front of me was the insulin plant. out of curiosity, i picked out one leaf, cleaned it by the faucet and began chewing on it. about 15 minutes from then, i suddenly experienced mild weakness at the knees, that i just had to sit down and my head was feeling buoyant. so after about 10 minutes of rest sitting down, i went into the house and looked for anything to eat inside our ref. i realized i should not be eating this plant which seems to drain sugars from circulation so fast, i really got dizzy. but still i have been taking care of my own plants here in manila. i brought stems from back home and planted it here. who knows? somebody just might be needing it. just have to carefully inform her/him of its use though. and there's also some caution to be made when taking medicinal herbs for curing illnesses.
mom's insulin plant initially intended for selling was not sold at all. a lot of the people who my mom had talked to about the benefits of the plant would come by our house and ask for it. and my mom would happily give it away. when she sees that there's only a few left, she would start re-planting again and these get to be given away again. the good thing about it is that my mom has helped a lot of fellow diabetics like her and encouraged them to learn how to properly take care of their health. once you know of someone with diabetes, you start sharing your experiences and your knowledge about it and so in some way be able to make a difference in another. not necessarily that one might depend on the plant. she shares with them the need to take regular meals, learn what kind of food to eat and how much to eat, learn to include physical activity within the day, make sure to monitor sugar levels, etc.
the plant may not be a cure-all. nothing ever is. the important thing is that people get to learn how to properly take care of their health, make correct lifestyle changes and thus better manage their disease.
last sunday, seven saints were canonized by Pope Benedict XVI at St. Peter's Square in Rome. among them was Pedro Calungsod, a missionary, migrant and sacristan who sacrificed his life suffering religious persecution as a lay catechist in Guam back in 1672.
filipinos join all Christians and Catholics around the world in celebrating the canonisation of its second saint (after San Lorenzo Ruiz) and six other saints who braved all the odds and stood up to their faith as servants of the Lord.
while canonised during world mission sunday, 21 october 2012, the feast of san pedro calungsod will be celebrated every 2nd of april along with his companion blessed diego de san vitores for their martyrdom and death in guam.
san pedro calungsod is now hailed as the saint of filipino OFWs.
everyone is called to a life of holiness. no matter how lowly the state of life, how humble the beginnings, how sinful and wretched, how poor, how simple the mind, God calls on everyone to lead a holy life. this is not a calling solely for the few religious persons in society but a call for everyone willing to live blessed.
may we act and speak and think blessed in the way of the Lord. God bless everyone!
today is the Feast of St. Luke, the Evangelist. Luke was a companion to Paul and Barnabas, as we can gather from the Acts of the Apostles during their years of spreading the Good News. he was a doctor in Syria (in ancient Antioch) who became a disciple of Paul. he was not present during Jesus's ministry.
Luke was a writer as well (imbibing a clearer grasp of the Gospel during their missionary evangelization). being an educated person, his accounts were very accurate and well-put. some would even say he is a good historian because of the details that can be gleaned from his writings. but still, they were just narrative, a historical account. the Gospel as told by Luke has unique accounts of miracles and parables not in the other books. he depicts Jesus as pro-poor and pro-social justice, who is forgiving and merciful to sinners and who has a special connection and reverence to women (esp. Mary's Magnificat and salutation in Hail Mary).
St. Luke's symbol is an ox, as a symbol of sacrifice. he is the patron saint of physicians and surgeons.
"I choose you from the world, to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord."
Luke 10 : 2-3
He said to them, "The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves."
Thought to ponder:
We are all called to be Gospel writers in the sense that we can all reflect on our own faith experiences and share them with others.
i am not one for talk, especially idle talk that is. i am really not that good with the spoken word. i would much rather write. in fact, if i have to stand in front of a crowd, i would like to prepare ahead of time - write my jumbled thoughts and put them in order before i can be confident in saying my piece. i recall a time when i was in the speakers' ministry of the Singles for Christ in laguna. i always prepare in advance for my talk, especially since we usually go to secluded towns and barangays to give our testimony of God's love and mercy at work in our lives. and i always pray for God's voice to work through me as i collect my thoughts and share the good news of God's love. i miss those days.
St. Luke is one fine example of a Gospel writer. even though he was not physically present during the time of Christ, he learned about Christ during his years of evangelisation from the accounts of Paul and the other disciples. and he believed. he firmly believed. that is why he was able to write vividly about Christ's life and works. his faith reinforced his will to share God's love and message to the world.
with the advent of IT and the global phenomenen that is the internet, i am happy to be able to do my own share once again. it is the only way by which i can share the Gospel. i do not even know if somebody reads it. but i pray that sometime, somewhere out there, someone will come across my writing (maybe at a time when somebody needs it the most) and i hope that it will be helpful in sending the message across about God's unconditional love and infinite mercy.
i hope that like small pebbles thrown onto a pond, my small voice (sharing) will touch at least one heart or one soul out there and let them feel God's embrace. i hope that it will in some way be helpful to the one reading it. i pray that my sharing will cause a rippling effect to others about the power of God's love.
with Halloween just around the corner, i'm going through a list of movies that would be worth movie-marathoning over the holidays. and one such movie on my list is Casper. migosh, how i love this movie which was shown back in the 90's when i was still in university. made me cry. i vaguely remember watching it over again with good friends and cs sisses, tearjerker that it was to us then.
and i love one song on its soundtrack, Jordan Hill's 'Remember Me This Way'. though it's kind of a sad song. but a good song for friends soon to part ways after college. whatever path we chose to follow, wherever life has taken us, i always believe in my heart that my friends would remember me just as i was and always have been.
on another note, the song really seems to be by a ghost, or a spirit rather. we have loved ones who are already gone and i think they would want to say that they want to be remembered as well; that they are always by our side, watching over us and cheering us on in every adventure that we take. and that they will never leave.. as long as we believe.
huwattt? never leave?!! ... spooky!!!.... (hehe... happy halloween!)
posting here the song:
by the way, my kuya has become obsessed with fishes these days. haha.. we now have an aquarium in the house. there were only three kinds of fishes at first. the aquarium looked really sparse with nothing else swimming there. but the loaches needed something in which to burrow into or hide in. we couldn't find any old toy of my niece that could get wet and fit right there. so i offered my ghoulish candle holder that i would usually take out for decoration during halloween.
here he is at first on the sparsely populated tank:
now here he is after plants, sand and more fishes have been added to the aquarium:
still he smiles. Casper really is a friendly ghost!
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.
How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God.
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God!
Yesterday's Gospel spoke of a man who felt sad when Jesus told him that he needed to give up everything he has so that he will be able to enter heaven. you see, he was a very wealthy man and had lots of possessions.
In the present times, people are going after materialistic pursuits and are on a constant drive for career development. i know, i've been there myself; and have not been immune from that 'keeping up with the Joneses' crippling disease. things just don't seem to be enough. you needed to satisfy yourself with having the things that you think you should have. so you struggle so much to be better that what you have now. you go for higher studies, you go for that career move, you buy the things you think will say "hey, you've got it!". but there's never enough time to do all the things that need doing. and the more that you give yourself into your work, more tasks keep pouring in. it never stops. it's a constant cycle of chasing after life's 'to-haves'. in my personal experience, the process of letting go is painful but crucial to attaining a more peaceful and balanced life. now, i place more value in the things that have more meaning to the people i love, my family.
taking the road less travelled was not an easy decision. while all the rest of my friends are buying new cars, moving into their new house, going up another rung in the corporate ladder, or posting pics of recent trips abroad, i opted for the slow life, the less stressful life, and it has given me peace and satisfaction. well, it is in fact just a matter of mindset and willing the heart.
with more time on my hands, i can think more, reflect more and laugh more; heck, even cry more... as i have more time to watch dramas now. bottomline is that i have changed a lot in my perspective about life. i am now able to appreciate life's little joys. i look back to my growing up years and realize the value of living a simple yet sensible life.
what do you know? we also celebrate fiesta here in CGS. the condominium association celebrates with the Our Lady of Fatima Parish just across the block where we are at. we woke up this morning to the sound of the band outside, and the loud music from the sound system at the gates (where the stage was set up). booths were set up the night before and participants in the tiangge were there early to put up their wares/ food displays.
managed to get down in time for the march/ parade of participants in the day's program. they have a competition for Ms. California, Mr. California, Maid in California, Cosplay and CGS Have Got Talent.
had fun watching the festivities and the throng gathering around to watch the Ati-Atihan, the parade, the program at the stage and just hopping from one booth to another.
well, here's what caught my eye:
and this is what i bought... :-) funky earrings for only P50. yipee!
even the Clubhouse table setting was ever colorful to go with the festive occasion.
truly, CGS is already a community all its own, with around 8,000 residents in its 7 clusters of 25 towers. and even with the residents' profile typically that of urban living, the Filipino culture of celebrating fiesta is still very much alive. i even saw some foreigner residents enjoying the day's festivities as well.
when i was out for a meet-up with CS friends Anna and Jayne last saturday, i chanced upon the Oct 2012 issue of Yummy and grabbed a copy of it. while Anna was flipping through the pages, i suddenly discovered a new to-go store for my baking needs. and what's more, it's just along Boni Ave which is so near where i live. i don't have to go to Quiapo or Chocolate Lovers in P. Tuazon anymore.
i decided to go there today. i just rested a bit after having lunch and off i went to SweetCrafts. it is just across Rizal Technological University. i have been running out on some ingredients and was glad to find them all there at the store. and the staff are nice and accomodating. also learned that some new items have arrived, especially those for halloween and christmas treats.
thankfully i got home early and went ahead to bake some. my niece arrived home from school and immediately asked what i was baking. here's what she was enjoying soon after:
as i end the day with my reading of the Gospel, i am reminded of the significance of prayer in our lives. prayer is our channel to God. it is an instrument to be able to communicate with the Lord.
i have always been living a life of prayer. i call on Him always, whether it's for giving thanks or asking/ requesting for something or asking Him questions or just simply letting Him work His calming grace on me. the Lord doesn't always give me answers right away. in fact, there's still a lot of things i have categorized as 'Pending' because i'm still waiting for them. but He talks to me most of the time. I feel Him and i have learned to listen to Him in the different ways by which He chooses to communicate to me. it's amazing how creative He is in the varied methods He uses. but i sense Him right away. we already have that connection. :-)
i pray that wherever you are, whoever you are reading this right now, may you be continuously blessed by the mercy of God and touched by His overflowing love. continue to pray. it is our lifeline to God.
Luke 11: 9-10
"And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door
will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened."
let me share this vid i found on YouTube. be blessed!
the numbers on today's date are consecutive numbers. well, that's all to it really.
anyway, i am finally reunited with Bell, my PB EasyNote. it's already more than 4 years old and have started getting sick so trish had it checked at their office MIS. like me, it's old and getting rusty already. i remembered when trish took it and told me upon getting home that Bell is sick and has been relegated to sick bay until checked thoroughly. Bell needed surgery and was reset. and now it's finally home. and i'm so happy. it's so good having my Bell once again. Silver's been waiting for its return. they're together once again, my Silver and Bell. i'm just looking forward to the coming days.
Today's Gospel acclamation:
You have received a spirit of adoption as sons through which we cry: Abba! Father!
Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, "Teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples." He said to them, "When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test."
"Be careful when you get there. The place is enchanted", was all that my mom could say when we told her we were planning to go to Pampam falls which is situated near their family's farm in Kalubihon, Iligan City. well, we took her word for it. after all, she knows the place more than any of us who have not been there for decades now.
upon picking us at the airport, esmond has promised to take us to another falls and this time he mentioned Pampam falls. so it was quite timely that when aunty Tina went to our house last fiesta, she learned that we wanted to go and immediately volunteered to take us there. it's so near the Yanez farms' and she said we'll start the trek from their land up there. so off we went the very next day, after packing up some few foods leftover from day before's festivities. aunty took another cousin with her. she even promised that we'll be having fresh buko from their trees. happy, yippe, yehey, indeed!
we left by 10am. mom said it's late. we should have had an early start because we'll still go hiking. but we follow esmuky's time. there's just nothing we can do. :-) mom and dad stayed behind because they had guests coming for lunch (fellow choirmates at the church).
we parked the car at aunty's place and started walking.. first downhill, then uphill, then up again, and down... and it went like that for like 15 minutes. and me, who's not been exercising, was starting to pant and thus taking short breaths while happily taking shots of the others ahead as i was the last one on the trail.
and this is Pampam falls. but, upon getting there we were told by the kids living there that the place was amess. trees were cut (see, on the pics... horrendous monster, whoever it was who had the trees cut!!!)
just look at the waters down there. it was filled with bamboo cuttings as well.
so the kids advised us to go to the langub. langub is a visayan word meaning cave. they said the water's better there to swim in. though it is more difficult to get to and further uphill. since there was nothing that we could do, we followed them uphill. but before that, just had to take a pose. op kors!
here we are, again on the trail to the next falls.
finally, we arrived!! after about 15 more minutes uphill.
this is the entrance to the cave.
what clear waters... it's continuing to form limestone.
and here's my 'gutter'. hehe.. forever gutter girl that i am, who can't swim, my kuya pointed me to where to tread so i can go up to the falls inside.
and here's the falls. when my kuya looked it up in our list of falls to go to, we realized this is the Kalubihon falls. we have heard so much about it before. my mom's dad's family basically grew up in Kalubihon. the name of the place is rooted from the visayan word lubi meaning coconut. Kalubihon, is a place in iligan city situated uphill and predominantly coconut farms. it was even said that during World War II, my lolo francis (mom's father) utilized the falls to make electricity in their area. lolo was a very good electrician. as i have mentioned somewhere before in this blog, he was the first one to open a radio shop in Iligan. back in the days, the Yanez family were well off and the neighboring farmers go to them to ask for manok (chicken), eggs and rice. later that afternoon, upon going back to the farm and having our fill of buko and buko juice, the old man farmer living there in the farm said he does not know us anymore. he only knew my lolo and his siblings and my mom's generation of the Yanez clan. but for us third gen, it was his first time to see us. so he was really happy that we took time to visit the farms up there. and we were, too. we felt happy and full, with the experience. happy to be back in Kalubihon.
Kalubihon falls. it enchanted us alright. we just loved the place. esmond enjoyed it so much he even went back with his friends. i just saw his friends upload their pics today on facebook. aha... i also intend to go back!