Nanay ko! Happy Mother’s day

Originally posted May 2009

It was a love story that begun when my Mom was only fourteen.  She and my Dad started a family at a very young age.  It started in Manila, then briefly in Davao, and, again,  back in Tondo.  I was the youngest of eight children.  Needless to say, I was spoiled (atleast, compared to my other siblings). 

My Mom and Dad were very caring individuals.  I remember,  inspite of being poor, my  parents would bring kids who ran away from home to provide them with food and shelter until their situations were resolved.  Then, in their 50’s, they both migrated to the U.S. in hopes to better support the family (that’s “extended” family).  They sent most of the very little money they earned working as a housekeeper and fastfood worker to the folks in the Philippines.  And once, I annoyingly ask my Mom why they sent all of their money instead of saving it for their retirement.  She responded, “We need to keep helping others while we can.”  With that, she kept me grounded.  That’s how I learned about selflessness and humility.

I remember growing up watching my Mom pray all the time…when she’s sad, angry, worried, happy, sick, or just wanted to win the lotto.  Then my Mom and I would say the 6 o’clock rosary everyday for as far as my memory take me.  She would also take me to Quiapo every year on my birthday which falls on the same day as the town’s fiesta.  And for every blessing that we recieved, she thanked God.  That’s how I learned about family tradition and faith.

I remember that my Mom was my biggest supporter and fan at school.  She was always proud of my academic achievements and “popularity.”  And once when she got called in to come because I got caught trying a cigarette,…well, she didn’t tell my Dad.  But, she was also my Jiminy Cricket.  And when conscience is not enough, she would pinch me with her sharp fingernails on my side so hard that it would bleed.  She’s proud and supportive, and tough when she needed to.  And that’s how I am with my kids.

I remember getting molested (briefly) by a couple of older men in our neighbourhood, then coming to my Mom to confide.  I saw anguish in her eyes.  And yet, she asked that I don’t tell my brothers for she knew that they would badly hurt them.  Instead, she asked me to avoid them and to pray for them.  And I did.  And once in a while I still do.  And with that, she not only protected me from harm, but also from hatred.  And that’s how I learned about calmness, forgiveness and moving on.

I remember the first time she met Dawn.  How she squeezed her arm and said “You’re fat.  That’s good.”  And never before, have I seen my mother so happy to meet a girlfriend of mine.  She used to hate any girl that I dated and would always ask, “Are you leaving me for her?”  But with Dawn, she was very pleased and comfortable.  And that’s why I married Dawn. 

Happy Mothers Day, Nanay. (and to my wife, too :))

An Angel to Watch Over Me

She watched by my cradle through long, sleepless nights
She taught me to pray as she knelt by my side
She guarded my childhood, and all through the years
She echoed my laughter, she counted my tears
In the arms of my mother, I came to believe
That God sent an angel to watch over me

She taught me the meaning of courage and faith
She taught me to live with the Lord as my strength
She taught me to follow the pathway he marked
She guided my steps when the journey grew dark
And I know there were dangers that I could not see
But God sent an angel to watch over me

She taught me to serve with a spirit that sings
She taught me to seek after heavenly things
And because of her love and her kindness and care
Because of the place that I hold in her prayers
And because of her goodness, I still believe
That God sent an angel to watch over me

Published in: on May 7, 2010 at 12:50 am  Comments (42)  
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A longing for longanisa

It was a wet one here yesterday.  My wife went to church at eight to help prepare the parish breakfast.  The boys woke up at 9:15 and horseplayed with me a bit.  Then we all showered and tried our hardest to match khakis and polo shirts.  Mino would bring his ball and Elijah grabbed matchbox cars.  We anticipated having breakfast at church so we didn’t have anything to eat.  By 9:50, we were off to a 15-min drive to church.  We were all hungry.

The 9 o’ clock mass was over by the time we got there and there was a long line to the dining room already.  This week’s menu was Filipino breakfast.  I found a table and got the kids to sit.  I decided to cheat and skip the line.  So I went straight to the kitchen, where my wife was serving, grabbed a couple of plates and begged the servers for food for my poor “hungry” children.  “Look, they look like they’re about to pass out.'” I added.

They each had a cup of sinangag(garlic rice), 2 pieces of bacon, scrambled eggs, and longanisa(sweet cured pork sausage).  Somehow, Mino was given two longanisas.  Yum.  Then I decided to get in line.

longanisa

Although everyone is aware that I have to be at choir rehersal by 10:30 for the 11 o’ clock mass, I decided not to use that as an excuse for me not to get in line.  I ended up being third to last with about 30 families ahead of me.   I could hear my tummy rumble as I smell the garlic and the longanisa.  15 minutes passed and the guy infront of me decided to have a conversation with an African exchange student.  Neither one of them moved as the line ahead of us continued on.  I thought, “Should I wait? Should I tell him the line is moving?”  A minute and thirty seconds later, I said nothing and continued to pass ahead of him.  “Bah-bye.”

Finally, I got a plate.  First, a scoop of sinangag (although, I wished she would have given me two).  Then two strips of crispy bacon.  My hands were shaking—either from hunger or excitement.  And, at last, the longanisa.  The server paused for a few seconds and asked, “Haven’t you been here before?  Didn’t you get a plate already?”  So I had to explain to her that those were for my boys, that I decided to get in line out of guilt, blah blah blah….just shut up and give me my longanisa!

So I joined the kids in the table.  I took a bite of the bacon—-it was perfectly crispy.  Then a big spoonful of scrambled eggs and garlic rice.  Yum.  More…. Then,… “Daddy, where’s our drink?”  So I got two glasses of milk as requested and a cup of coffee for me.  Now I could enjoy my breakfast.  I noticed all the caramelized juices around the longanisa spilling on to the aromatic rice.  My first bite of longanisa was heavenly.  It was juicy and sweet.  Now all of the flavors were in my palate.  It was delicious.

Halfway through my longanisa, I noticed that Mino hadn’t eaten his second sausage, yet.  Wanting another longanisa, I proceeded to tell him that the fatty sausage would make him really gassy and he would hate to release longanisa gas all day long.  But, I should have known better.  He responded with a big smile and said, “Yes!” and gobbled up the whole thing in a mattter of seconds.  Oh, darn.  I guess evil does not pay.  Not at church.

But it wasn’t over.  “Daddy.”  I looked over to Elijah.  “I’m full.”  Normally, I would make him eat more. This time he only ate half of the rice and eggs.  He also did not touch his YUMMY LONGANISA!  Hooray!  Ahem, too bad. He must had not been hungry.  So there I ended up with his longanisa, the rest of his rice and eggs, and Mino’s crumbs.  I was the only one in the dining room with three plates, one stacked up on top of another .  And I didn’t care.

My tummy and my heart were satisfied.  I was not hungry for another five hours.  And my belly was remarkably comfortable.   By evening, the gas started leaking.  The room smelled like garlic and  longanisa  —which really only made me hungry for more.  I was very content for what I had for brunch that morning.  Until suddenly, as I burp out yet another exotic scent, I remembered that it was Lent.

I was not supposed to eat meat for 40 days and 40 nights.   How dare me? I’m weak and I’m going to hell.  Yet, I noticed that since I started abstaining from meat, even the smell, the sight, and the talk of meat made me very anxiety-ridden.  I would literary get nervous and shake.  But the longanisa didn’t do that.  Maybe because I got distracted enough and forgot.  Maybe because I was too hungry.  Maybe because it really smelled good.  Maybe it was evil.  But I am not a bit guilty about it.  It just feels kind of funny.  Maybe, just maybe, it was because the longanisa and bacon were served at church—the house of the Lord.  Maybe God is telling me that longganisa is truly heavenly.  Maybe.

Published 3/9/2009. 

I apologize for the repost.  I was working on a new article last week, but the weather hasn’t been too good on my aging joints. 

Published in: on February 27, 2010 at 7:45 pm  Comments (174)  
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Creation vs. Evolutuion (Updated)

UPDATE from 11/24/09: 

 My wife wrote this on her Facebook two nights ago:

Mino is my goofy son, but he said the cutest thing tonight: After his prayers, he looked at me and said “Momma, tonight I thanked God for making us”.  Aaaahhhh!!! So true–I thank God everyday for making them too!

Mino later added “Science Lab” on his Christmas list for Santa.  So I guess the balancing between science and religion is finally resolved.  He then has to wait until he’s a teenager before I tell him that, technically, Mommy and Daddy made him.

…with lots of Heavenly sugar, of course.

*********************

QUICK REPOST FROM 2/15/2009….new post coming soon.

I was reading a bedtime story about the Creation of Earth from a children’s Bible when my then four-year old son argued, “NO. People are from apes. I read it from science (books).”  I always admire my kids’ critical and analytical thinking and I encourage them to learn from science books and videos. So, for a moment, I found myself feeling stuck.  How do I convince a child about the Word of God without discouraging his “scientific” mind?  Somehow, I had to be creative.  I basically told him that evolution would have only been possible with God’s blessing.  So what is the church’s stand anyway?

Pius XII has already affirmed that there is no conflict between evolution and the doctrine of the faith regarding man and his vocation, provided that we do not lose sight of certain fixed points….Today, more than a half-century after the appearance of that encyclical, some new findings lead us toward the recognition of evolution as more than an hypothesis. In fact it is remarkable that this theory has had progressively greater influence on the spirit of researchers, following a series of discoveries in different scholarly disciplines. The convergence in the results of these independent studies — which was neither planned nor sought — constitutes in itself a significant argument in favor of the theory. Theories of evolution which, because of the philosophies which inspire them, regard the spirit either as emerging from the forces of living matter, or as a simple epiphenomenon of that matter, are incompatible with the truth about man.—-Pope John Paul II

Whoa!  That’s way over my head, let alone my four-year old son.  I do like a story that our pastor once told us during one of his sermons:

A mother was explaning Creation to his son when he argued, “Dad said that humans are from monkeys.”  His mom replied, “We are both right.  My side family were created by God.  While his side of the family were related to monkeys.”   

What would you tell my boy?  Which came first?  The chicken or the monkey?

  

I don’t know.  I still like telling them that God made people out of bread dough—whereas Filipinos were baked just right!

Related Article: God Lives in Us

Published in: on November 23, 2009 at 2:53 pm  Comments (54)  
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I wanna be like manny

After watching the much-hyped UFC 100, I couldn’t help but wonder who I think is the best fighter there is.  Well, my choice is not a mixed martial artist.  My choice is Manny Pacquaio.

PacMan has got to be the most exciting fighter I’ve seen.  The sheer quickness and power, plus his ability to evolve and change style in every fight, is just remarkable.  His offense and defense combo makes him the pound-for-pound king of the ring. 

But Pacman is a champion not because of his speed, strength, and stamina. To me, he is a champion because of his humility. The highlights for me are his post-fight interviews where we witness his true character.  Eventhough it’s a violent sport, he never talks negatively about his opponents,  always thanks God and his family, and sees boxing as his “job” and never takes ownership of the fame. In spite of the focus that the sport demands, he always surround himself with his family and friends, and gives back to his countrymen.   Despite of all the fame and fortune, he remains grounded.  Mabuhay si Manny! I know there are a lot of Mannys out there. 

Thanks kuchiki1 for the video…

Published in: on July 11, 2009 at 11:14 pm  Comments (11)  
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9-year old marries in Texas

While many young girls play dress-up brides, one  little 9-year old is granted her own dream wedding last Sunday.  Jayla Cooper, who suffers from leukemia and may only have a few weeks to live, exchange vows with 7-year old Jose Griggs, who is also a cancer patient whom she met in the hospital, to be “friends for life.” A touching story about the family’s love and their desire to make a dying child’s greatest dream come true.  See video by clicking on link below.

http://cbs11tv.com/video/?id=39014@ktvt.dayport.com

Published in: on February 26, 2009 at 5:11 am  Leave a Comment  
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