Sunday, September 13, 2015


Today, Annang, we believe God wants you to know that ...
you have so much to offer to the world.

There is no limit to the love you can share, to the happiness you can inspire, to the peace you can bring.

Just when I was losing it, I read this. There are times when all of a sudden I find myself in a deep state of loneliness and I feel cold at the thought that all this time, I never knew where I was heading.  Somehow it's being exhausted from weeks and weeks of being there for others, of choosing to be there for the ones who matter to me and in the process I lose myself, or maybe just forget to pamper myself. I don't know. Whatever this feeling of loneliness means, I know this is just temporary. Reading this message this morning has greatly affirmed me and I am glad I have my faith. It makes me see even the slightest touch of the breeze on my face as my reason for getting back up again and facing the day.  

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Never without hope...

Today's Gospel is about one woman's persistence, asking Jesus to help her daughter who was being tormented by the devil. The first time I learned from the Bible that our persistence matters to God, I couldn't stop smiling. Indeed, He is a father who couldn't resist his children. This realization has brought me in a deeper sense of knowing God and understanding my value as his child. There are times when I am tempted to despair, losing hope that things could still work out and that dreams are still possible, plans still doable, or that people could still care. Failed relationships, friendships, failed plans, shattered dreams could often leave us feeling not just broken but lonely and alone. Today, I am reminded that I am a child of God and I can whine, bawl, plead, bargain with him just so my prayers can be answered ... indeed I am never without hope. 

Reading 1, Numbers 13:1-2, 25--14:1, 26-29, 34-35
Yahweh spoke to Moses and said,  'Send out men, one from each tribe, to reconnoitre the land of Canaan which I am giving the Israelites. Each of them is to be a leading man of the tribe.' After forty days they returned from reconnoitring the country. Making their way to Moses, Aaron and the whole community of Israel, in the desert of Paran, at Kadesh, they made their report to them and the whole community, and displayed the country's produce. This was the report they gave: 'We made our way into the country where you sent us. It does indeed flow with milk and honey; here is what it produces.

At the same time, its inhabitants are a powerful people; the towns are fortified and very big; yes, and we saw the Anakim there. The Amalekites occupy the Negeb area, the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites the highlands, and the Canaanites the sea coast and the banks of the Jordan.' Caleb called the people round Moses to silence and then said, 'We must march in immediately and take it; we are certainly able to conquer it.' But the men who had been with him said, 'We cannot attack these people; they are stronger than we are.'
 And they began disparaging to the Israelites the country they had reconnoitred, saying, 'The country we have been to reconnoitre is a country that devours its inhabitants. All the people we saw there were of enormous size.We saw giants there too (the Anakim, descended from the Giants). We felt like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.'

The whole community then cried out in dismay, and the people wept all that night. Yahweh then spoke to Moses and Aaron and said: 'How much longer am I to endure this perverse community muttering against me? I have heard what the Israelites mutter against me. Say to them, "As I live, Yahweh declares, I shall do to you what I have heard you saying. In this desert your dead bodies will fall, all you who were counted in the census, from the age of twenty years and over who have muttered against me.

Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 106:6-7, 13-14, 21-22, 23
 Like our ancestors, we have sinned, we have acted wickedly, guiltily; our ancestors in Egypt never grasped the meaning of your wonders. They did not bear in mind your countless acts of love, at the Sea of Reeds they defied the Most High; But they soon forgot his achievements, they did not even wait for his plans; they were overwhelmed with greed in the wastelands, in the solitary wastes they challenged God.

They forgot the God who was saving them, who had done great deeds in Egypt, such wonders in the land of Ham, such awesome deeds at the Sea of Reeds. He thought of putting an end to them, had not Moses, his chosen one, taken a stand in the breach and confronted him, to turn his anger away from destroying them.

Gospel, Matthew 15:21-28
Jesus left that place and withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And suddenly out came a Canaanite woman from that district and started shouting, 'Lord, Son of David, take pity on me. My daughter is tormented by a devil.'  But he said not a word in answer to her. And his disciples went and pleaded with him, saying, 'Give her what she wants, because she keeps shouting after us.'

He said in reply, 'I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.' But the woman had come up and was bowing low before him. 'Lord,' she said, 'help me.' He replied, 'It is not fair to take the children's food and throw it to little dogs.'

She retorted, 'Ah yes, Lord; but even little dogs eat the scraps that fall from their masters' table.'

Then Jesus answered her, 'Woman, you have great faith. Let your desire be granted.' And from that moment her daughter was well again.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Reminder to Self

nature sunrise
I will not be a beggar for love anymore, for affection, kindness, approval and the like. I won't be on my 
knees and plead for it. Not even in the most secret recesses of my heart where no one could be watching, no I won't wish for it. Not that I don't need it. Of course I do, who doesn't anyway?  Nor I am having a change of heart about life and everything that it means. I have just come to realize that these things aren't to be given like a coin to a beggar, but they are earned. I have to make myself worthy of these things, without trying hard, without changing myself. How do I expect these things to be given to me when I am not even sure I am also capable of it?Am I capable of love? Affection? Kindness? Am I generous with my encouragements?

So, today, I start with myself and try to do what most of who I know find so hard to do. It is easy to look down on others, notice their flaws, talk about them and deliberately forget if not ignore our own flaws. In minding my own scars, I hope to remember others have scars too. People are bitter not because I'm awesome and I've got what they can only wish for, but because, most of all,  they're not happy  ... and I shouldn't judge that. I, too, am like them.

It's easier said than done. I know that. I'm just keeping a record of my thoughts because it helps to be reminded every once in a while.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Meanderings of a traveller

At the end of the day, it's all about me and who I am without anything or anyone I have in my life right now. If I strip myself of anything and look at myself naked in front of a mirror, who am I? 

It's been a pretty tough journey, and well of course this long wide stretch of a road goes on. I have just turned into several bends that took me by surprise. These I call discoveries, realizations, some addition to what I already know. When I was younger I thought sharing everything here in this blog is called freedom, a liberation that not everyone enjoys because not everyone can write. But being a writer, I have finally come to understand, means being able to contain a few things not meant for everyone. Come to think of it, this world is cramped with people who, like me also have their issues and miseries and desires and disappointments and hopes and fears ... you name it. It's not easy to be compassionate when you are not so happy with your life. It is easy, on the other hand, to judge. It's exactly because of that that I stopped writing about personal things. With the way my life has turned out the past years, I certainly could make people stumble if I share about how intriguing the story has become for me.

And yet I go on. Not because I do not have any choice, but because being strong is a choice. Nothing can give me that resilience I need. It's in me. I just have to let it out and better utilize it. Amazing how finally learning not "to trust men" has opened my eyes to a whole new world. We can never expect anyone, even those who are closest to us, for anything. Not even loyalty. I know that sounds radical but I have seen that truth and it's not saying it in a bad way. It's actually something quite positive. It's accepting the fact that indeed, people have to fend for themselves. They have their own life to live. "The world will not stop for your tears." I used to say this to myself when I was in my 20s. Impressive wisdom of a younger me, isn't it. Yes, indeed the world will not stop for my tears. Shame on me for forgetting that and for expecting that everyone I have shown kindness  to will give it back to me. I have my own share of indiscretions. I take responsibility for my actions and decisions. The lessons, I will definitely learn and take by heart. These are the only things I have left, how could I waste them, if not take for granted.

I am turning over a new leaf, another chapter is about to begin. I have let go of some friendships which aren't actually friendships. Lesson on betrayal never comes easy, I can say that for a fact now... and I heave a sigh of relief. Now I know better.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Welcome Home Red!

... but I guess we will be saying "farewell" again soon enough. She just came back from Nepal with a foot injury from the recent tragedy that struck this beautiful country. My dear friend Red was working as a VSO volunteer and the immediate repatriation came with a heartbreak for her, as there was so much she wanted to do in Nepal around that time. My own feelings were ambivalent, I was sad too, knowing how much she enjoyed her time in Nepal and at the same time excited as it would mean I was going to see her again. We paid her a visit more than a week ago and I had to fight back tears when she showed us the extent of her injury. Such a brave, strong, daring, stubborn woman. I always call her stubborn, even hard headed. She wanted to take on life all the time, no matter what the challenges maybe. But this also is the same reason that makes me admire her and love her to bits. Those things she's been doing I can only dream about. I guess this is what makes us bond well as friends. Our own uniqueness, strengths, weakness, fears, dreams, hopes, all come together in a beautifully intricate weave of colors, laughter, tears, love, acceptance, only a true friendship can prove real. 
Hoy mga murat, sa aton nga tatlo, ako na lang ang wala naka kadto sa Nepal!
(Hey biatches, among the three of us I'm the only one left who hasn't gone to Nepal yet!)  

Holy Trinity

Who can ever fathom
The mystery of who you are?
Holy trinity, three times the love
Three times the intensity
Of your passion, 
Your death,
Your resurrection,
You brought it all down here,
Where I am, dirty and lost.
Here you are, alive
Blood flowing
To make me live...

Queen Anne / mpp2015


Don't judge me by my mistakes. You make mistakes, too. Unless of course if you're convinced you are perfect and immaculate. -Queen Anne / mpp2015

Let's take care of our beaches!

As part of Kwaderno's month-long anniversary celebration, Kwaderno was back in Hinobaan to organize a clean up drive in Brgy Asia. Hinobaan's main tourist attraction are it's beautiful beaches and lately some of these shorelines have started accumulating unwanted basura. Under Kwaderno's Environment Protection Program, we have worked hand in hand with the villagers to help us clean their beaches in exchange for eight notebooks for each of their students in the area. On May 17, 2015 we were able to distribute 400 more notebooks to 63 students right after we all did the beach clean-up  and a short discussion about the importance of protecting our environment. It was very fulfilling to see the children's smiling faces, eager to start their new-found mission of protecting the beach where their families depend their livelihood. /Anne

Journey to Maatop

Reaching far and wide, Kwaderno has literally reached heights as we journeyed up the mountains of Maatop, one of the villages in Brgy Sanke.  The people there do not have electricity so you could imagine how they go about their lives daily. Even dreaming, hoping and believing that there is a better life doesn't even look possible in their eyes. These notebooks speak so much about Kwaderno's desire to show them dreaming and reaching for these dreams can be real. Indeed looking at these children holding their notebooks was assurance enough for us that in our next notebook distribution next year, we would see something more in their eyes. 

To our beloved Kwaderno partners, thank you for helping us make this possible. You are these children's lifeline. This is where your notebooks have reached, this is how your simple gesture of sharing affects those who need to believe that indeed, love can. /Anne

Peso a Day for Toto Jande

Jande, only 5 years old, lost his mother to an illness only last December. He never got to know his father. Long after the villagers went home after our activity, Jande lingered. I was busy packing up when I heard a faint voice from behind me calling out, "Mam, we're going home now. Thank you very much." When I turned to see who was the owner of the small voice, I saw a small boy with a curious pair of eyes that looked straight into mine, and through my soul. I spent many minutes talking to him and asking him what he wanted to be when he grows up. "I want to be a teacher." I said, "What subject would you like to teach?" he replied, very clear and decisive, "An English teacher." In a place like Maatop, people do not even know the word "dream". Not a single pupil answered me what they wanted to be when they grow up. Jande was different. He stood out, armed with a dream of becoming an English teacher someday, without a father, without a mother, without anything to hold on to for his future.

Let us be the ones for him to hold on to. Jande is giving us the chance to share part of ourselves and be blessed by the experience. Peso a day. It can go very far for Toto Jande.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

First Kwaderno Anniversary, 10,000 notebooks, one mission.

How time flies.  Kwaderno is going to celebrate its first anniversary on May 5, 2015!! We praise and thank the Lord for putting us through all the challenges, tears, excitement, frustrations and surprises. All these have brought us from one milestone to another and we thank all our partners for being part of this triumph.  We started low and slow, giving notebooks to only 37 students in Brgy Sangke. Two weeks after that, we were able to raise more than 4,000 notebooks to all 600 students from pre-school to high school in our adopted barangay.  Now we have eight scholars, three in elementary, four in high school and two in college. And we are keeping count! We are also excited because of our new project, giving free leadership camps to elementary and high school students. For our First Kwaderno Anniversary, we are targeting to raise at least 10,000 notebooks so we will be able to distribute not just in Brgy Sanke but this time in another far-flung schools in the nearby barangay, and hopefully to other areas in Negros. Our ripple effect is getting wider and wider and we are inviting you to once again hold hands with us and make this happen.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Hues of red...

red gumamela

Your blood, your different hues of love and red, 
Of passion and dying for what I am. 
Your blood, your death that I may live, 
It keeps me going, your hues of love and red.

-Queen Anne mpp/2015


I praise you for the sunshine after the rain,
I praise you even when there's sorrow or pain.

-Queen Anne mpp/2014


Only you, Lord, know all my wonder whys,
Only you understand the meaning of my sighs...

-Queen Anne mpp/2014


Sooth me, calm me, Lord, make the tiredness go away.

Why I get up in the morning

Thank you for this day, Lord, there is reason to get up and breathe the air. It's free, just like hope, just like dreaming, it's what keeps me going.

Monday, February 2, 2015


What I like most about reunions with friends is that it gives me the opportunity to get to be young again. Well, it's not because I am already too old right now, but it's just that of course people are a lot younger a few years ago from where they are now. I'm sure you're getting my drift. 


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Look at me, I am in pain

Fault finders are miserable people. Talking about the flaws of others makes them think they're better. The more that they find flaws in others, the more that they hide their own flaws and imperfections. Fault finders are bullies, too. They find satisfaction in oppressing others because it makes them feel invincible and it convinces them that they've got power to do what they want. Yes, bullies are cowards. They are scared of so many things that's why they belittle others and scare them, too. Misery loves company. Bullies, fault finders, cowards, are unhappy people. So they take it on anyone who lets them. Somehow they're convinced that when they inflict pain on others, they've avenged themselves for their own pains.

Bullies, fault finders, cowards... most of them are unloved people. They haven't received enough, proper love so they're not able to give any at all. They need it, they need compassion, too. They're actually wounded deep inside, they cry out for acceptance. The more that you fight with them, the less chance there is for them to realize what their real problem is. It is not easy to be compassionate though, especially with these type of persons. But this world will benefit greatly from a bit of kindness from us, when everyone else believes that bullies, fault finders, and cowards are, yes, nothing but miserable souls.