Monday, September 15, 2014

Alternative ways to combat dengue

We just beat dengue once again. My son was only four when he was inflicted with this deadly viral decease and he beat it heroically. It wasn't easy to get a very picky four-year-old to eat all the time, since dengue doesn't have any cure and the only best way to combat it is to make sure the patient eats a lot and takes a lot of fluids. We tried tawa-tawa that time and I was pretty sure that was the one that helped the platelet rise. But this time, I lost most of my faith in tawa-tawa. Since day one of his very high fever, I already gave him tawa-tawa. But still, after the 3-day fever and we went for a blood test, his result showed that his platelet count dropped to 88. I was so scared and I rushed him to the hospital even though that time he said he was already feeling well. He was actually eating already and gaining his strength back. He said he was feeling all normal. But I wanted to make sure. 

First day at the hospital his platelet count showed 115 so I had high hopes. We went on with tawa-tawa, cmd mineral drops, gatorade, yakult, pineapple juice, all those stuff that everyone suggested. Second day, we had a plateau. It was still 115. I was beginning to worry. And on our third day, it dropped to 102. I was crying and crying I was so scared. Then someone sent me a message telling me to try papaya leaves extract, which I did immediately.
We pounded the papaya leaf and extracted its juice, mixed some honey with it to pacify the bitterness and had my son drink the bitter but miraculous herbal medicine. Yes, indeed it was miraculous. Because the following morning, the blood test result his platelet count rose to 168, thanks be to God, the maker of everything including papaya! I am still in awe and I am writing this article to share to others who, God forbid, will undergo the same ordeal such as we have undergone. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014


I have always been a hardheaded student. I hated rules. It made me feel like I was at the mercy of these people coming up with these rules. I was convinced that rules were made to oppress, not to bring justice. And I continue to feel the same way about life. Yes, I am such a hard headed student of life. But just like the way I made it through school and eventually earning my degree, I go through it munching on my apathy and let it nourish me into the rebel student that I am. And yes, just like the way it happened, I was able to make it through school. I am pretty sure I will also make it through right now, as I go to life school every day, being the rebel that I alife degreem. I will learn, I am learning. I will pass.
When I was a freshman in college, in my Algebra class, our professor gave us a sneak peek of what was going to happen the entire school-year. I knew instantly it was going to be hard. I doubted ever passing it. As our first session ended, I approached my professor and said, “I am too dumb to ever understand Algebra. But I don’t want to fail. My class card will determine my future.” My professor smiled at me gently, amused by my honesty and she made a deal with me. “Give me a complete attendance. I won’t mind zero quizzes. Just see me in class everyday and if you’re able to do that, I promise you an 81.” I grinned from ear to ear. Hope was real.
I guess life school will require me the same thing. Complete attendance. No running away, no sulking in my pillow and getting a headache so I could miss school. Lousy as I am, I guess I have the chance to get Life Degree in the end.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


It's that moment in your life when there is nothing but total darkness. Everything seems not to work out right. Every one seems to hate you. No one to trust. No one to hold on to. No one to talk. It's suffering after suffering. It's humiliation after humiliation. It's heartache after heartache. It's complete loneliness, where you are lost in the middle of the road, and there's no signpost, no passing cars or strangers to ask for help. It's just you. And then you fall on your knees and endure the pain, the scare of being alone and lost, and the sense of hopelessness just by looking at the strange road that doesn't seem to end. I have just understood that this moment in our life is called Kenosis moment.  In Christian theologykenosis is the concept of the 'self-emptying' of one's own will and becoming entirely receptive to God and the divine will. It is used both as an explanation of the Incarnation, and an indication of the nature of God's activity and will. Mystical theologian John of the Cross' work "Dark Night of the Soul" is a particularly lucid explanation of God's process of transforming the believer into the icon or "likeness of Christ". (wikipedia) Simply put, a Kenosis moment is not something entirely unpleasant of hopeless. It's not something close to death. Instead, it is a passageway to life, if only one is able to go through it and overcome it.

Bayron Katie: on paradigm shift

These days, if I try to look around me, I guess this is what people need most of all. We all need a venue where we can say our thoughts and feelings out loud, without being least not too quickly. We all just need to be listened to, to lay down all the cards so we can sort them out. When that happens, when we're able to do that, it helps us put our minds in the right perspective. Humans are inherently good. We were created perfect. No one wants to be bad. No one deliberately wants to harm the other, or be mean to someone, or actually hurt someone. Watching this video has reminded me that if we all are stripped and naked, without our masks, without our defenses, we are all the same. We all want to be accepted, to be understood, to be cared for. We all have these needs. If we feel we are accepted, if we feel we are understood, if we feel we are being taken care of, we are a better person, and this makes us want to take care of others, too.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Tall Order

Yes, indeed it's a tall order. One of the most difficult things I have to do as a Christian. It is something in which I do not have any choice but just follow. "Do good to those who hate you," how will I be able to do that? It is so painful even just thinking about it. "Bless those who curse you." Why is it so necessary?? Present the other cheek when someone slapped you? "Lord your enemies and do good to them." I have no more words. I just want to surrender now and let God be God. He knows exactly why he is asking for these things from us. Funny though, as I read through these instructions, I feel a sense of comfort, maybe it's because in between these lines are his own assurance that he is in charge, that he loves me that's why he wants me to walk in holiness with him.

Gospel, Luke 6:27-38

27 'But I say this to you who are listening: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly.
29 To anyone who slaps you on one cheek, present the other cheek as well; to anyone who takes your cloak from you, do not refuse your tunic.
30 Give to everyone who asks you, and do not ask for your property back from someone who takes it.
31 Treat others as you would like people to treat you.
32 If you love those who love you, what credit can you expect? Even sinners love those who love them.
33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit can you expect? For even sinners do that much.
34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to get money back, what credit can you expect? Even sinners lend to sinners to get back the same amount.
35 Instead, love your enemies and do good to them, and lend without any hope of return. You will have a great reward, and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.
36 'Be compassionate just as your Father is compassionate.
37 Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.
38 Give, and there will be gifts for you: a full measure, pressed down, shaken together, and overflowing,will be poured into your lap; because the standard you use will be the standard used for you.'

Gospel, Luke 6:20-26

I wonder where I belong in all these mentioned in the Gospel. Right now is one of those moments for me, when I feel nothing seems to work out right. But it is such great comfort to know that he is a God of promises. I can only hold on to these promises. Do I even deserve to ask, "Please be near, Lord"? I do not have that confidence right now, that confidence that the Lord looks at me with compassion and understanding. I have lost all confidence from all the sufferings lately. Everyday, I put up a face, a brave face. Because that is what all warriors do. Everyday, I feel like I only go through it like a warrior would. But isn't that just the right thing to do? How else will I go through it? I am not a damsel in distress anymore. I have screwed up big time and I feel that I have lost all right to complain or feel like the world owes me anything. 

Gospel, Luke 6:20-26

20 Then fixing his eyes on his disciples he said: How blessed are you who are poor: the kingdom of God is yours.
21 Blessed are you who are hungry now: you shall have your fill. Blessed are you who are weeping now: you shall laugh.
22 'Blessed are you when people hate you, drive you out, abuse you, denounce your name as criminal, on account of the Son of man.
23 Rejoice when that day comes and dance for joy, look!-your reward will be great in heaven. This was the way their ancestors treated the prophets.
24 But alas for you who are rich: you are having your consolation now.
25 Alas for you who have plenty to eat now: you shall go hungry. Alas for you who are laughing now: you shall mourn and weep.
26 'Alas for you when everyone speaks well of you! This was the way their ancestors treated the false prophets.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

And I die... every day I die...

“What, then, will anyone gain by winning the whole world and forfeiting his life? Or what can anyone offer in exchange for his life?”  -Mathew 16:26

I used to find joy in sufferings that befell me. I used to be so confident about the reason why we all need to have our share of pains as followers of Christ. But lately, it has been completely dark and I came to a point when I was already robbed of hope. Something which we all should not allow to happen to us. But I did. And it’s my fault. Right now, I can only hope again … and ask God to forgive me and give me another chance. At life, and death, and living again. Every day, I have to be ready, every day I have to die. Each time I am being criticized, it’s death. Each time I am being persecuted, it’s death. Each time someone fails me, it’s death. Each time I am being judged for the decisions that I make in my life, it’s death. Indeed, what can I offer in exchange for my life? 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Happy Birthday Bebang!

Forty colors of happy
That brings to life the gloom
Any color close to dark
Can’t take up so much room.

Strength of spirit, and courage,
You are everything that it means.
Grace, honor and beauty
They surely will not wean.

Forty colors of freedom
You celebrate each type of hue
The good, the bad, the ugly
I celebrate the victor, that’s you. 

Gabriel and I made 40 loom bands of different colors for you. You may use them or not, depending on your mood, you may hang it on your wall just to remind you of how much love we put into these bracelets and how excited we are for your 40th year of being a dreamer, an achiever, a great motivator, a thoughtful and caring soul. All these things and more remind us of so much colors in your life that bring wonder and amazement at how gracefully you wade through the waters of life that sometimes bring all the different surprises and challenges. We love you and miss you to bits...

Friday, August 15, 2014

Saturday of the Nineteenth week in Ordinary Time

How can I be a child once again and be pure in all my ways? I have strayed so much ever since I have grown into an adult. Sins, mistakes, wrong motives... I cannot count them anymore. I wish I can just feel a love so unconditional I don't have to worry about the mistakes I've done, just to be loved and accepted for who I am. And yet this is all just the result of my own decisions, of the choices that I made. I cannot go back to when I was small, innocent and pure. I can only try to do the things which a child can do, like never having to worry about anything but just leave it all to God in complete trust and surrender. Lord, here is my broken doll. Please fix it. I surrender it to you. 

Saturday of the Nineteenth week in Ordinary Time 

Book of Ezekiel 18:1-10.13b.30-32. 
Thus the word of the LORD came to me: Son of man,
what is the meaning of this proverb that you recite in the land of Israel: "Fathers have eaten green grapes, thus their children's teeth are on edge"?
As I live, says the Lord GOD: I swear that there shall no longer be anyone among you who will repeat this proverb in Israel.
For all lives are mine; the life of the father is like the life of the son, both are mine; only the one who sins shall die.
If a man is virtuous--if he does what is right and just,
if he does not eat on the mountains, nor raise his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel; if he does not defile his neighbor's wife, nor have relations with a woman in her menstrual period;
if he oppresses no one, gives back the pledge received for a debt, commits no robbery; if he gives food to the hungry and clothes the naked;
if he does not lend at interest nor exact usury; if he holds off from evildoing, judges fairly between a man and his opponent;
if he lives by my statutes and is careful to observe my ordinances, that man is virtuous--he shall surely live, says the Lord GOD.
But if he begets a son who is a thief, a murderer, or who does any of these things
lends at interest and exacts usury--this son certainly shall not live. Because he practiced all these abominations, he shall surely die; his death shall be his own fault.
Therefore I will judge you, house of Israel, each one according to his ways, says the Lord GOD. Turn and be converted from all your crimes, that they may be no cause of guilt for you.
Cast away from you all the crimes you have committed, and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. Why should you die, O house of Israel?
For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies, says the Lord GOD. Return and live!

Psalms 51(50):12-13.14-15.18-19. 
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.

Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.
I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners shall return to you.

For you are not pleased with sacrifices;
should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 19:13-15. 
Children were brought to Jesus that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked them,
but Jesus said, "Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
After he placed his hands on them, he went away.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

What are we here for?

"Go instead to the lost sheep of the House of Israel."

Who are we if we are here just for ourselves? What are we if we are here just to ensure our own survival, just to make sure we have what we want, and need? If we have everything we need right now, who are we? If everything in our life is about comfort and survival, what are we? Who are we? What gives meaning to our existence? Say we have everything this world can offer. Then what? Life doesn't end there. Life doesn't end in possessing all the things that we think could make us feel happy and secure. Life doesn't end where there is nothing left to want or need. 

Nothing can be too boring than living a life only for one's self. We are here for others, we are here to be there for others so that we will feel we are alive. Is there someone who has actually shared himself/herself with others be it their time, their money, their house, and not feel something beautiful stirring their most innermost of heart? When you share yourself with others, when you deny yourself for others, you live again. You find it inside you your own strengths, your own gifts, you get to know yourself and you rediscover how privileged you are. At the end of the day, it is still all about you, come to think of it. It is all about how you will learn and grow and become better as a person. 

Daily Reading for Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Reading 1, Hosea 10:1-3, 7-8, 12

1 Israel was a luxuriant vine yielding plenty of fruit. The more his fruit increased, the more altars he built; the richer his land became, the richer he made the sacred pillars.
2 Theirs is a divided heart; now they will have to pay for it. He himself will hack down their altars and wreck their sacred pillars.
3 Then they will say, 'We have no king because we have not feared Yahweh, but what could the king do for us?'
7 Samaria has had her day. Her king is like a straw drifting on the water.
8 The high places of Aven, the sin of Israel, will be destroyed; thorns and thistles will grow over their altars. Then they will say to the mountains, 'Cover us!' and to the hills, 'Fall on us!'
12 Sow saving justice for yourselves, reap a harvest of faithful love; break up your fallow ground: it is time to seek out Yahweh until he comes to rain saving justice down on you.

Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 105:2-3, 4-5, 6-7

2 Sing to him, make music for him, recount all his wonders!
3 Glory in his holy name, let the hearts that seek Yahweh rejoice!
4 Seek Yahweh and his strength, tirelessly seek his presence!
5 Remember the marvels he has done, his wonders, the judgements he has spoken.
6 Stock of Abraham, his servant, children of Jacob whom he chose!
7 He is Yahweh our God, his judgements touch the whole world.

Gospel, Matthew 10:1-7

1 He summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits with power to drive them out and to cure all kinds of disease and all kinds of illness.
2 These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon who is known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James the son of Zebedee, and his brother John;
3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;
4 Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who was also his betrayer.
5 These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them as follows: 'Do not make your way to gentile territory, and do not enter any Samaritan town;
6 go instead to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.
7 And as you go, proclaim that the kingdom of Heaven is close at hand.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Te ang Martial Law ya?

A supporter crowns former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos with flowers during a traditional birthday ritual as she celebrates her 85th birthday in Batac 

 Ilusyon ka nga reyna ka samtang kadamo sang nag antos kag sige pa antos tungod sang pagka baghak mo. Wala ka na nahuya sa kalag mo. Kaya mo pa ayhan mag atubang sa istrusa mo sa espeho? Ang linibo nga nag kalamatay tungod sa imo kag sa imo bana nga utro man. Hoy, ebalik sa tawo ang gin pang kawat nyo. Ngaa haw, madala nyo na sa inyo lubong? Ikaw, dali ka na lang mapatay. Wala ka gid miskin gamay lang nga tiempo mamalandong? Ga pinsar ka man ayhan kon diin ka makadto kon patay ka na? Mga fans mo utro man nga mga aling-aling sagay sunod sunod sa imo nga daw mga ido nga gutom. San-o pa ma papas sa kalibutan ang mga lahi nyo nga halit sa katawhan.Ang natingalahan ko lang kon ngaa asta subong wala pa kamo sa prisuhan, kon ngaa asta subong, wala gid kamo napamatud-an sa inyo gin panghimo nga syado ka klaro sa mata sang tawo. Pagkatapos sang tanan nga eskandalo, ebedensya kag mga testigo, ara man kamo gyapon ga pakalipay sa inyo kabuhi. Samtang ang bilog nga pumuluyo sang Pilipinas naga sige antos pa sang resulta sang Martial Law.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


What makes people immortal are the things that they do while they’re still here, alive and privileged enough to be given the opportunity to inspire others by their works and their deeds. What have you done so far, that you think can make you immortal? Does it matter for you at all to be remembered and emulated? What defines your existence if there is nothing in your life right now that holds enough meaning to be remembered and treasured by others? If what other people think about you doesn’t matter to you at all, then that is not just arrogance, but indifference and utter disrespect for life and to the one who blessed you with it. You are not here by some freak accident. You are here for a reason, a purpose that is not for your sole benefit but for others, too. You are not here so you will live and do as you please and then die and vanish to forever. You are here because there is something that you have to do to fulfill your mission. What have you done so far?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

What Comes After Dusk

Marvin is 11 years old, but looks like he is only eight. His hands are riddled with bruises and marks which tell of his long days under the heat of the sun, toiling on the farm. He was wearing an old, almost worn-out, shirt and oversized pants that nearly reached his ankles. As soon as I asked him my first question, he hung his head and tears fell on his knotted fingers. It wasn’t easy to go ahead with my carefully lined up questions. They got all jumbled up inside my head, as I struggled not to cry with this little man, who needed all the encouragement he could get. Yes, ‘little man’, for all the burdens that his small frame carries, for the heart he has, brave and courageous amidst all the hardships, pains and uncertainties in life that he has to face each day.
‘Where do you live?’ I asked, careful not to intimidate him. ‘I live with my grandfather’, he answered meekly, still looking down, trying to stifle his tears. ‘You don’t live with your parents?’ I inquired. ‘My mother left me with my grandfather after she gave birth to me and she ran away with a man. I never saw or got to know her’. For a moment I was lost for words, feeling all the anguish his tears meant. His father also left to live with another woman and Marvin never got to know him either. His two older siblings live in other towns.

Marvin with his notebooks and a seedling to be planted in their backyard. Part of Kwaderno's advocacy is teaching the children how to care of Mother Earth. 

He hasn’t been to any place outside Barangay Sanke. ‘How would you like the idea of going to see Bacolod City?’ I asked him, hoping to see some sunrise in his eyes that tell mostly of the dusk that mirrors what his future looks like to him. He shrugged and said, ‘It depends on whether my grandfather will let me’. My heart sank. The tone of resignation in his voice tugged at my heart. How can this little man give up dreaming when he is still a child? He has a million possibilities.

I asked him what he wanted to be when he grows up and he answered, ‘I want to find a job with a high salary’. His dreams aren’t clear to him. He doesn’t know exactly what he wants to be, what course to take. The only thing in his mind is to be able to work and get paid well. He said his favorite subject was Mathematics. In my attempt to lighten his mood I quipped, ‘You could be an engineer!’ That brought a weak smile to his handsome face and he nodded shyly as if considering what I had just said.

Marvin's smile was very noticeable the following day after our interview.

Kwaderno is about bringing hope to children who do not know that dreaming is the first step to a life they rightfully deserve. Marvin is one of the recipients of the 4,504 notebooks we bought, having successfully raised enough money in only two weeks. How the donors flocked, more than eager, and so happy to be able to share is something that still leaves me lost for words. ‘Only God can do that,’ I keep saying. ‘Only love can do that.'

My own childhood wasn’t an easy one. I had to go to school with hand-me-down uniforms if there were any, and worn-out sandals that had holes in their soles. I would bring candies to sell to my classmates during recess so that I could buy some snacks with my little earnings. But I am blessed with parents who took care of me and my four siblings, discussing with us our dreams and what we wanted to be when we would be older, and telling us that we had what it took to reach them. In spite of our poverty it was clear to us that each dawn offered great possibilities. I believe God let me grow up with this kind of love and affirmation from my parents so that today I can be there for Marvin and the rest of the children that our group is now committed to share our lives with.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The kind of love that never fails

"But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.  And your Father who sees in secret will repay you."   It’s when I go to my room, close the door, and pray to the Father in secret when I feel most secure and assured of a relationship with someone so powerful yet loves me enough to want to spend time with me. Such great favor. Such great privilege.  Outside, where the world is basking in all the possibilities life brings, I feel so tiny and so little. People expect me to be certain ways, think, feel, behave, talk, respond in ways that this world finds acceptable. But too many times what the world believes nowadays confuses me with what I really want to keep believing. Maybe that's why God want's us to talk to him in the quiet, privacy and silence. Where we can hear him better. So here in the comfort of my room, I kneel down and cry out to God everything that hurts me. Things that I've done, things that others have done to me, things that I still hope to do. I kneel and cry out to him because when all else fails, his love doesn't. I can always count on that. 

Wednesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 367

Reading 12 KGS 2:1, 6-14

When the LORD was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind,
he and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal.
Elijah said to Elisha, “Please stay here;
the LORD has sent me on to the Jordan.”
“As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live,
I will not leave you,” Elisha replied.
And so the two went on together.
Fifty of the guild prophets followed and
when the two stopped at the Jordan,
they stood facing them at a distance.
Elijah took his mantle, rolled it up
and struck the water, which divided,
and both crossed over on dry ground.

When they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha,
“Ask for whatever I may do for you, before I am taken from you.”
Elisha answered, “May I receive a double portion of your spirit.”
“You have asked something that is not easy,” Elijah replied.
“Still, if you see me taken up from you,
your wish will be granted; otherwise not.”
As they walked on conversing,
a flaming chariot and flaming horses came between them,
and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.
When Elisha saw it happen he cried out,
“My father! my father! Israel’s chariots and drivers!”
But when he could no longer see him,
Elisha gripped his own garment and tore it in two.

Then he picked up Elijah’s mantle that had fallen from him,
and went back and stood at the bank of the Jordan.
Wielding the mantle that had fallen from Elijah,
Elisha struck the water in his turn and said,
“Where is the LORD, the God of Elijah?”
When Elisha struck the water it divided and he crossed over.

Responsorial Psalm PS 31:20, 21, 24

R. (25) Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord.
How great is the goodness, O LORD,
which you have in store for those who fear you,
And which, toward those who take refuge in you,
you show in the sight of the children of men.
R. Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord.
You hide them in the shelter of your presence
from the plottings of men;
You screen them within your abode
from the strife of tongues.
R. Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord.
Love the LORD, all you his faithful ones!
The LORD keeps those who are constant,
but more than requites those who act proudly.
R. Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord.

Gospel MT 6:1-6, 16-18

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Take care not to perform righteous deeds
in order that people may see them;
otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.
When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you,
as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets
to win the praise of others.
Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you give alms,
do not let your left hand know what your right is doing,
so that your almsgiving may be secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites,
who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners
so that others may see them.
Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door,
and pray to your Father in secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites.
They neglect their appearance,
so that they may appear to others to be fasting.
Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,
so that you may not appear to others to be fasting,
except to your Father who is hidden.
And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.”