Monday, December 26, 2011

Who's afraid of 2012? (Expecting for the best of things to happen is why the year 2012 will be a much better year than 2011)




"The experience of each new age requires a new confession, and the world seems always waiting for its poet"--Ralph Waldo Emerson




With only just a few days left to the new year and 2011 will be finally closed down, a lot of people would probably be asking about what the year 2012 may bring. 2011 brought us wars, calamities, and other negative things. But, of course, it has also brought us many good things and, as we went through all of it, we either became bitter or better persons. The way we respond to both the negative and positive things define us who we are and what we will become.

The year 2012, according to the Mayan calendar, is the point in time where a new cycle takes place. Some people have misunderstood or misinterpreted this to be such that it is thought or believed as the end of the world or doomsday. But who's afraid of 2012?

I was thinking about the movie I watched two years ago called "2012" which only added all the hype and more. The movie, to some degree, may have struck a point but the fact that it's only a fiction, remains a fiction. If  we are going to base it in the Bible, nobody knows of the exact date and time of Christ's second coming except God the Father alone. It is during that time when all things will be made new and Christ will reign as king for the redeemed people of God forever.

There's nothing to be afraid about the year 2012. Instead of worrying about it, let us all pray and expect for the best of things to happen and make it a much better year than the previous one. We can make it better and, as the clock hits 12 midnight on December 31st, a new year unfolds for all of us to do what many good things we failed to do in the year that's passed.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Why we have to celebrate Christmas?


While there are some people who will discourage us from celebrating Christmas citing reasons like the wrong date of Christ's birth issue, not biblical, extension of old pagan belief, and more, I would like to stress out my point why we have to celebrate so in spite of that. Christmas is celebrated by more than two billion people worldwide each year. Some non-Christian countries have also already adopted the  Christmas tradition making it all the more colorful and rich, uniting cultures and people for one big celebration. Though we can't avoid the fact that Christmas season nowadays have somewhat became too commercialized, its true essence still is the one that is important. The following are just some of the few reasons why we have to keep the spirit of Christmas alive in our hearts:

1. Christmas has all the good intentions. There's nothing wrong about doing something good for the good reasons. Christmas centers on Christ's birth and it has become a symbol of hope for all of us to embrace.

2. Christmas encourages us to selflessly give or share to others of what we have or ourselves. While most of us wished to receive the best of gifts in a Christmas party, it is in the exchanging of it that counts the most.

3. Christmas promotes peace and harmony. In the Philippines, the government declared a ceasefire agreement with the rebels within the Yuletide season period. This is to make sure that Christmas celebration will be more peaceful than any other time of the year.

4. Christmas is thanksgiving. Now who's going to try to argue that thanksgiving should not fall on Christmas Day just because it is not biblical? Thanksgiving should be done, if I were to suggest, everyday of the year. But there's nothing wrong doing it on Christmas Day either. Perhaps one of the reasons why Christ didn't reveal to us the exact or accurate date of his birth is that he wants us to remember and observe it everyday of the year with Christmas Day being the main event.

5. Christmas is to recognize Jesus's birth just as we also observe his death and resurrection. The exact or accurate date of his birth may be important, but the way we submit ourselves to actually observe and make it special is everything. Just because we don't know the exact or accurate date of Christ's birth doesn't mean we don't have to celebrate at all. God will be much more delighted with the goodness we can do and give to others than to try to hardly impose upon ourselves rules that only keep good things from happening. Merry Christmas to one and all!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Killer floods hit the Philippines again


When God had set the first rainbow in the sky as a sign of His eternal covenant with Noah and his family to never again destroy the world with water, it doesn't  mean that floods would be totally wiped out from the face of the earth. Yet the entire world is guaranteed to never again experience the same magnitude of that great deluge that costs all of humanity except Noah and his family, though. Floods are natural calamities resulting from having too much water than what a particular place or area can contain.

Last week's typhoon "Sendong" that struck most of the Northern Mindanao areas in the Philippines especially in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan have caused floods (flash floods in some areas) that killed hundreds of people and counting. My heart broke when I saw in the news the dead bodies especially those of innocent children scattered everywhere drenched in thick mud. How devastating Sendong has been to these people two weeks short of celebrating Christmas Day.

Most calamities happened and struck when we least expect them. They often caught us off-guard and it will be too late to make the necessary move to avoid or bring ourselves to safety. We can only hope and pray and provide whatever help we can to all of the victims and their families. Death may have taken the precious lives of our loved ones but they will remain in our hearts forever. Someday, the pain and trauma will be completely gone, wounds heal, and a smile once again beaming in everyone's face like this horrible thing is not happening.

I would like to share to you a poem of my original composition titled "There comes a flood, flowers may die". I hope one can find this poem to be such inspiring. Click here to read the poem.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Why do some relationships fail? (A personal approach to making relationships work)

I think it's a very old question that the answers have been said and done for the countless times already. Why do, in fact, some relationships fail? Yet, by trying to tackle such a topic once more, I would like to share to you some of my personal opinions and insights by which I hope anyone who reads could relate or reflect with at. Relationships fail for some reasons, but it's always worth restoring. The following are just some of the very reasons relationships would collapse:

1. Impatience. We must acknowledge the fact that patience is a virtue. When misunderstanding erupts in a relationship it is wise to keep your cool. Slow down your temper. Talk it all out to your partner or the person you have made quarrel with and always tone down your voice without sacrificing what you would like to point out to settle the disagreement. Good conversation is very important but a heartfelt, open communication is a necessity. It will serve as the vehicle to sorting things out for good. Open communication brings out a positive impact to bridging the differences where walls are slowly building up to further isolate one from the other.

2. Pride. Pride is a hindrance to reconciliation. It can only block what has been shut between two parties all the more. Cut down your pride and start making the first step towards reconciliation.

3. Lack of will. Many relationships could have been saved from breaking up only if either of both parties has the will to actually fix it. Be motivated to do what is necessary and do not rely it on chance. Things could happen because we let them.

4. Being selfish or self-centered. To a certain degree, it is good to love our own selves. But it is best to extend our love to others. Love's most common character is generosity. Sometimes in a relationship we forgot what is love all about and, as a result, we became over demanding in the process. To love is to give a portion or a whole of ourselves selflessly to others.

5. Unforgiving heart. Learn to forgive no matter how big or small the offense being committed. To forgive is not about tolerating or to give someone a chance to do the same mistakes again but to accept the fact that what's done is done and to try to repair what has been broken. Time, it has been said, heals, but forgiveness do a lot more than just healing. It brings a relationship back in the light of truth and strengthens it.

6. Lack of Divine guidance. Last but the greatest, always ask for God's guidance. Pray it all out to the Lord. Ask Him to bless your relationship with someone and make it last. Prayers coupled with the right actions are a very potent problem-solver, be it in relationships or just any other field of human endeavor.

I would like to also share to you a poem (actually a sonnet) of my original composition about why a relationship fails. Click here to read the poem.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christ's birth, death, and resurrection: the complete fulfillment of a Divine Promise

There was a war in Heaven long time ago when Lucifer, the choicest of God'd angels, wanted to take God's throne in a coup attempt he launched with his converts. He was later on called the Satan or the Devil and, after his forces were defeated, he exiled himself away from God's Heavenly Kingdom. The struggle between the forces of Good and Evil began since then.

It was evident from the very beginning that God permits us to use and exercise our free will. He could have destroyed Satan forever in that war in Heaven but yet He allowed him to roam for a time to follow his chosen path. No wonder why in the Garden of Eden, although He has given Adam and Eve His instruction, He allowed them to freely choose which fruit of the tree to be eaten and which fruit of the tree that was forbidden. Disobedience from God's instruction, as the result of Satan's deception to the first human beings, paid a very high price.

Right after Adam and Eve's fall at Eden the ultimate plan for redemption was already set up. There must be a sacrificial lamb, a ransom to reconcile man with God once and for all. It was told in Genesis 3:15 about Christ's role being the fulfillment of a Divine Promise for Redemption and to finally destroy Satan by crashing him in the head, as what was God warned the serpent: "and I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel."

Christ symbolism appeared many times in the Bible long before he was actually born. The High Priest Melchizedek, whose origin was unknown, resembled much of Christ when he took bread and a cup of wine just like what Jesus did in the Last Supper with his disciples (Genesis 14:18-20): "and Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine: and he was [is] the priest of the Most High God. And he blessed him (Abram who later named as Abraham), and said, 'Blessed be Abram to the Most High God, possessor of heaven and earth, and blessed be the Most High God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand'. And he gave him tithe from all." During the time of Moses, when the Israelites were wandering around the desert and serpents attacked them, God instructed him to make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole (Numbers 21:8): "The Lord said to Moses, 'Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.'"

Christ's birth was prophesied by the Prophets especially Isaiah but most of the people during that time and also after that failed to recognize about the importance of such a prophecy and, even in the time of the Messiah's birth, they failed to recognize him. How lucky we are today because we have Christmas to celebrate about. We must, therefore, radiate to others the true meaning of Christmas so that all our hearts will be filled with much love, joy, and understanding. Christ will finally destroy the Evil in the End of Days.

Monday, December 12, 2011

In the Philippines it's called "sinuglaw"

Locally called as "sinuglaw" is actually what comes out of combining the two words "sinugba" (usually grilled pork) and "kinilaw" (raw fish meat flavored with spices). I first tasted about this high-protein Filipino food sometime in my high school years and it has since captivated my taste. It is best served with sweet potatoes or with just plain rice.

Sinuglaw has a distinctive flavor that makes you salivate and to crave for more. It's perfect for beach picnic but also for other occasions. Sinuglaw is a yummy as well as one of the best of comfort foods.

Here's how to prepare the sinuglaw:

1. Grilled pork (about two kilos but also depending on how much you're going to consume).
2. Small cubes of sliced fresh tuna meat. The ratio is 50:50. So if you grilled two kilos of pork, the tuna meat slices should also be weighing two kilos.
3. Slice the cooked grilled pork into small pieces and put inside the salad bowl.
4. Put the small cubes of tuna meat on a separate bowl. Add with vinegar and other spices. After all of the spices have been added and mixed up, pour it in the salad bowl where the grilled pork is and mix well. One of the secrets is in the proper mixing of the right spices.
5. Adding mayonnaise is optional. Sinuglaw is now ready to be served and eaten.

With only two weeks to go before Christmas, sinuglaw will be served side by side with roasted pig and other delicacies in most Filipino tables during the Noche Buena and the Media Noche. The merry making could reach fever pitch as the season peaks but to drink and eat moderately is always a wise choice. Forget about the roasted turkey, kebabs, or spaghetti, etcetera, and take a bite of what is OFF--Original Filipino Food. Sinuglaw is available in some native Filipino restaurants countrywide.

Monday, December 5, 2011

5 things everyone must know about Christmas

While the exact and accurate date of Christ's birth is until now a subject for debate, many Bible scholars and historians believed that Jesus was born sometime in the month of September or October just before the onset of winter. The Bible has mentioned in Luke chapter 2 about the angels of God appearing to the shepherds in the desert informing them of the birth of the Messiah. The month of December would be just too cold for anyone to stay outdoor and this has led to the conclusion that December is not the month of Christ's birth.

It was the Western Christian Church in the early-to-mid 4th century which has set the fixed date, and for all the faithful to observe and celebrate the birth of Christ, on December 25th. It is better to observe or celebrate the birth of Christ on the wrong date than to never celebrate at all. What's more important is for us to acknowledge God's greatest gift to mankind and to be thankful for that. Christmas should not only be observed on the 25th of December but throughout everyday of the year.

Christmas brings all of those wonderful things back to memory. It reminds us of the joy, peace, and love for one another once more in this becoming increasingly indifferent and unforgiving world. The following are just five of the things I would like people to know about Christmas:

1. Christmas is for love. One of my favorite Bible verses in John 3:16 said: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life."

2. Christmas is for hope. It is to give hope to the little and innocent ones. During Christ's infancy, Herod the great, King of Judea, ordered the killing of all young male children in the village of Bethlehem in his desperate attempt to stop the Messiah being prophesied to become the new King of the Jews.

3. Christmas is for healing and forgiveness. Just as Christ forgives us, so we must also forgive those who have done us wrong.

4. Christmas is for thanksgiving.

5. Christmas is to worship Him. Just as the three wise men who traveled a long journey guided only by a bright star just to worship the baby Jesus and offered Him precious gifts, so must we.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The world's longest Christmas

The Philippines has the world's longest Christmas celebration which officially starts on December 16 and ends in the Feast of the Epiphany on the 6th of January of the succeeding year. A nine-day dawn mass called "Misa de Gallo" will be observed from December 16 to 24. Originally, during the Spanish-era Philippines, it was a night mass or locally called as the "Simbang Gabi". Church authorities later on changed the schedule making it at dawn instead as parishioners (many of whom traveled long distance of miles) during that time found it difficult to go home very late into the night.

On Christmas Eve, a midnight mass will be offered. After the mass, families and relatives gather together around the dining table, and when grace and prayers have been said and done, feast voluptuously on the delicious foods. This is what we called "Noche Buena". It defines the rich Filipino tradition and the true spirit of a Philippine Christmas: thanksgiving, family reunion, sharing, joy, celebration, hope and, most importantly, love.

Another midnight mass will be observed on the 31st of December, New Year's Eve. It would be much of the same as the Noche Buena although it's called the "Media Noche". There will be firecrackers making most of the noise everywhere and a fireworks display exploding into the night sky allowing spectators to get a first glimpse of a brand new year as it unfolds.

Christmas is to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is a day for the sharing of love, joy, hope, and goodwill to all mankind. Nobody knows for the exact date of Christ's birth, but even such can't prevent us from acknowledging and to actually celebrate it. The Philippines may have the longest Christmas celebration in the world, yet we can make it everyday of the year if we'd like to.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

War and Remembrance: The Pearl Harbor Incident



"Seeking to forget makes exile all the longer; the secret of redemption lies in remembrance."
--Richard von Weizsaecker






Perhaps one of the greatest military deceptions during World War II was the Japanese invasion of the American outpost in Pearl Harbor. At exactly one week to go from now, on December 7 (December 8, Manila time), the day of infamy of what was the Pearl Harbor incident will be 70 years old. The Japanese imperial forces mercilessly attacked the island fortress while there was a negotiation between a Japanese delegation and its U.S. counterparts taking place in the White House.

The Japs did not have that blitzkrieg trademark of Germany's Hitler, but the way the Pearl Harbor was taken and destroyed caught the U.S. by surprise, paving way for the great carnage of mostly unprepared American troops. The U.S. declared war on Japan, only making the war bigger as the Pacific theater now being added shall be fought aside from the already battle-clad Europe. But the Japs celebrated too early, considering the Pearl Harbor as one of their greatest victories in a single day, while Uncle Sam gearing up for the counter-offensive the Japs would later on taste the ferocity and bitterness of the American wrath.

Right after the Pearl Harbor attack, Japanese bomber planes stormed the Philippine skies and dropped bombs on major cities and ports. I'm fond of history and it thrilled me each time to know/read/learn about it and how it unfolds but nothing excites me more than to hear it directly from someone who has actually became a part of it. My maternal grandfather, who narrowly escaped death from the hands of patrolling Japanese soldiers spraying him with bullets flying in all directions coming from their rifles, was always enthusiastic and, sometimes, sentimental, telling me his story. He told me that war is hell. Hell, like what U.S. civil war general Sherman was also saying, being tired and sick of it.

The Allied forces prevailed victorious. Germany was captured and Japan, flattened to its feet with two atomic bombs dropped in both Nagazaki and Hiroshima, surrendered. Millions of lives lost, buildings destroyed, and family members never seeing each other again.

The Pearl Harbor incident produced many heroes and we've grown and learned a lot from it. We must. We should. It must be remembered with a different way of looking at it. History repeats itself, but with the way it teaches/allows us to see with new eyes finally settled, for love, remembrance, forgiveness, reconciliation, and better understanding.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Cocos nucifera: Tree of Life

Cocos nucifera or what is also known as the coconut might be just an ordinary tree to many, but it is not. Some people have been re-naming it as the "Tree of Life" simply because there's nothing in this tree, from the tip of its leaves to the very end of its roots, that can't be used. Human beings have long been benefited from out of its medicinal, food, cosmetics, and other uses.

The Philippines is blessed to have grown coconuts in abundance. It was believed that the first coconuts to have reached the Philippines were brought by sea travelers and explorers. During the Spanish-era Philippines, Spanish authorities instructed each and every Filipino to plant coconut as much as possible and as much as they can. The result, today, the Philippines ranks as one of the world's largest coconut producing countries.

I can still remember when I was a lot younger when my grandmother used to cook us a Filipino delicacy called "biko". It is made from a certain type of rice called "pilit" mixed up with "latik". A latik is a molasses-like mixture of  pure coconut milk and a much rawer form of sugar called "camay" cooked for several minutes until the mixture boils and becomes very sticky. The cooked pilit is then poured into the boiling latik and, after being mixed up very well, a biko now it will be called.

A biko would never taste any good without the coconut milk as one of its ingredients. The more coconut milk being used, the better the biko would taste. The following are just some of the many uses of coconut trees:

  • Coconut timber for lumber. Coco lumber is more affordable than other lumbers.
  • Coco milk as hair conditioner. It leaves the hair looking very shiny and fresh.
  • Coconut ribs for brooms.
  • Cholesterol-free cooking oil produced from the matured coconut meat.
  • Coco milk for cooking purposes.
  • Coconut husk as floor polisher.
  • Young coconut meat or also called as "buko" for snacks is not only delicious, but a very nutritious one as well.
  • Coconut shells for fuel and also for charcoal.
  • Young leaf shoots may be eaten as salads.
  • A natural vinegar will be produced from the fermented coconut water.
  • The coconut water is a natural isotonic beverage, with the same level of electrolytic balance as the blood, is, in fact, more nutritious than milk.
  • Native wine called "tuba" is produced out of its nectar. 

There are still a lot more uses of the coconut tree. It is just right to call it "The Tree of Life".

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving

Today, the United States of America celebrates its 390th Thanksgiving Day celebration. It was first observed in the year 1621 at Plymouth in present-day Massachusetts. Thanksgiving was actually a tradition brought in by the Europeans who first arrived to the Americas and to also give thanks for making it through the long journey.

In Canada, Thanksgiving is to be celebrated a month ahead of the United State's every fourth Thursday of November. That was so because of  Canada's location being nearer to the north pole paving way for the earlier onset of winter therefore ending the harvest season earlier. Thanksgiving Day is a legal holiday in both the United States and Canada.

Thanksgiving is all about celebrating and giving thanks for the harvest of the year. It is the time of year when family and friends gather together to eat bread, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, corn, turkey, and other traditional foods. There are also a lot of activities involved and among them is a fireworks display highlighting the event.

Giving thanks is one characteristic innate to mankind being expressed in many forms and ways by a lot of people regardless of race, belief, culture, and nationality. It is usually in the combined form of prayers, offerings, and festivities. Thanksgiving is not just about the feast, but about giving thanks.

The Philippines has its own version of Thanksgiving, too. Most Philippine festivals are colored by the unique blending of pagan belief with Christianity. Filipino Catholics adore and remember their Saints on the date of their canonizations. A festival can not be without the luxury of foods prepared to be shared with all and other activities.

There are Filipinos of today who, despite being Christians, still practice a diwata or buhat by offering foods and prayers to the gods for a bountiful harvest or for good luck and health. It is to commune with the Supreme Provider or God and to appreciate and acknowledge His generosity and goodness. Thanksgiving is, indeed, the joy of giving thanks by sharing to others the blessings received.

Note: Diwata or buhat is a form of divination/ritual practiced by early Filipinos and transferred from generation to generation. It is to commune with the gods, nature, and other spirits by offering a slaughtered pig or chickens cooked without salt and other spices accompanied with prayers and the sweet-smelling scent of frankincense.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Concerning the look of things




"You don't have to stay forever, but at least stay until you see it through."
              --Jim Rohn






Some things are better left alone or forgotten, some things deserve to be kept and remembered. But whether we like it or not, things travel in a journey of change and yet, surprisingly, the more that they advanced themselves further away and metamorphosed, the more they're the same things and closer.

It's like the four seasons of the year: winter, spring, summer, and fall. Each season brings out a change every year, yet it's the same season we always come to know about. And, each time, it offers us new eyes to see the same things differently.

Sometimes we tried hard to look deeper and to gauge what there is in things worthy of our scrutiny. We make, by some occasions, attachments to these possibilities became meaningful only after our having encountered with and upon. We do our best to keep as close as we can possibly get with and as committed as we can be, providing but a trap, to make things stay.

Some things are better left alone or forgotten, some things deserve to be kept and remembered. In the end, it's all about the way we look at things and not how they are in themselves. Things travel in a journey of change, yet remain as fresh as with our first encounter with them.

The following is a poem I wrote about the way we look at things and how, in our own ways, we can manage to capture such every little aspect of what it is we would like to freeze over. It is to dwell in that state of clinging until one sees through and to glide away. I have tilted it "Ephemeral":


If I'm sure you know
what I'm going to say

I'll speak with you
this morning

knowing it would be that way
over again.

Thanks for planting that worry
in my head

someone's licking a finger
to turn a page.

Well, thank you.
But what is it?

I know you'll think of something
you're going to put it in the book

looking pointedly in
another direction.

I'm sorry but you won't have
to make a speech

I mean I'm not getting any younger
it never crossed my mind

what it is I'm going to know.
Yet I had nothing to say to that,

not even as if to spear a glance
of what is not there

disappearing into
the deepening twilight.

Friday, October 21, 2011

A writing experience

 Lately, a friend of mine have asked me to write about the story of his own life. He said he just feels like he needs to have his life story written and trusts that I could do the job better for him. I know that he, too, could write as I've had read some of his works before but for him to allow me to write his own life's story is, for me, something quite flattering and surprising at the same time. "I know you can write it better than I do, Nap", he said as he handed me the manuscripts which would be my reference to what I must be writing about him.

Writing is my passion--a gift I've had discovered way back when I was in my third grade. Our teacher asked us to write something about the experiences we've had during the last summer vacation. I wrote about the vacation I've had spent in my paternal grandmother's hometown in Leyte. It was my first attempt at writing and that kind of thing has since never left me; it somehow lodged in deep within myself like a fountain of something that never dries out.

But my passion for writing may have taken roots earlier than that. My grandmother, before she died in 1988 at age 78, used to tell me about my unusual curiosity at almost everything back when I was just about 4 or 5 years old. I can only imagine how she must have dealt a lot of patience with answering my questions and carefully explaining them one by one so that a young mind would know and understand. Curiosity, as I would come to understand about it now, is one of the characteristics a true writer must possess. It is where creativity should base from and the springboard for whatever it can translate about. Because a writer is like a scientist or inventor, he seeks to find out something or invents it. Or perhaps, I had inherited this gift from my maternal grandfather who has a deep passion of the same.

I had been writing poems, essays, and even a thesis by request and until now there are still quite a few who would like me to write in their behalf. Writing has become a wonderful experience for me; it is more about the joy felt that you were able to help someone or by simply being just a voice to others than just seeing your works getting published or recognized. The more I write, the more that I enjoy.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Love Spell

Some few years back, I wrote a poem which I didn't finish. Last night, I found the old notebook with the unfinished poem on it. It's been a long time and it's all about love. I grabbed a pen and scribbled something on the notebook. Love Spell was born.


What is it that must be seen when all there is
but a shrouded mist I could portray?

What is there in the depths within
to have a heart that feels?

The only thing that matters most
is what I need to say--

But yet no words could best express
than what my love to you foretells:

From out the fleeting moment's perfect glow,
I caught a glimpse the thoughts of you.

From out the night's so soothing breeze,
you are a dear to me--no less.

So let me from my heart should care,
I love you most and truly, I swear.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Steve Jobs did a good job

I happened to read someone's Facebook profile commenting on, what he believed, the biases displayed by the local and national media with regards to Apple Inc. Steve Jobs's passing away being given so much attention and emphasis with instead of the two of our national artists' death that should have deserved more recognition than what the foreigner may now have enjoyed. I understand about this someone's outcry and for his criticizing against news reporters especially of a certain Philippine television network that, according to him, never read what is our own. But whether these news reporters may have read or not about our own artists, it doesn't mean that by covering a foreigner's life story will make them less a Filipino.

Steve Jobs, although an American with Syrian roots, is no stranger to us and is worthy of our praises or to be also called our own. He belongs to the world. His life story is an inspiration for all and one telling us to never let adversities stop us from pursuing our goals, dreams, and all these things with our heart we keep doing.

After having forced to resign from his own company in 1985, Jobs never gave up and continued on to make what his peers called "crazy" ideas a reality. But this college dropout is truly, and undisputedly just a born genius. He has showed to us that, by thinking and seeing things differently to change the world for the better, he's done a wonderful thing and that's what matters to him.

Jobs would be best remembered in the iMac, the iPod, the MacBook, the iPad, the MacBook Pro, the iPhone, and many more. But most, he would be remembered for his to "stay hungry and foolish" philosophy or to think differently from the rest. With his technological expertise and creativity combined, high technology was made available to the people and the world was never the same again.

Now that he's gone, the world has lost a gem. Farewell to the man considered as the Thomas Edison of the 21st century. He did a good job. May he rest in peace.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Impromptu

During my application for a Copy Editor position at a publishing company and, as part of the application process after having passed the initial interview, one of the questions asked in the examination was this:"How would you explain death to a four-year-old child?" The examination, which was four to five pages long and divided into four parts with the essay type being the last part, was the type of exam designed to gauge up a writer's editorial capability and as much, as well, as of the insights one can effectively convey with for a given situation or subject. But how would you explain death to a four-year-old child?

Explaining death to a child, I think, requires a skill. But I also wonder how a four-year-old child would be curious about death and to ask or let someone explain what it is all about. After having written some few good sentences on the topic, I started to think and paused for a while. Since the exam was time-pressured so I'm aware that I only had a definitely limited time to finish it. Should I have to wait a little longer for that linguistic explosion to take place? Or should I proceed on with whatever my mind is capable of translating thoughts into written words.

I think we are all writers in our own rights. It's only that some would rather write it simply and in a much digestible language while others, on the other hand, exceptionally expressed it very well and convincingly. To write is to express one's thoughts and emotions. To write is to think. Writing begins in the mind. To write is to be free. To write is to be responsible.

Explaining death to a four-year-old child requires a skill, indeed. Our instant insights would be crucial. It must allow us to reveal the best writer that each one of us can possibly be and to try to instill wisdom at even such a so young and innocent a mind of our subject.

I would like to write more but I'm losing space on the page. It's not yet time but someone must read the unwritten or, if not, the what was otherwise being meant. Taking a deep breath, I walked towards the HR and handed her the answer sheets.  In my mind I told her, that's impromptu. That's me.

Monday, October 3, 2011

There's Always Got To Be An Error


"Action and reaction, ebb and flow, trial and error, change--this is the rhythm of living. Out of our over-confidence, fear; out of our fear, clearer vision, fresh hope. And out of hope, progress."--Bruce Barton 


There's always got to be an error
In everything we do;
A wise man says nobody's perfect
That rules this whole world through.

There's always got to be deceptions
In everything we see;
A wise man says our eyes were faulty
That leads us all astray.

There's always got to be a wrong side
In everything we deal;
A wise man says just keep on going
Just keep on going,sail!

There's always got to be an error
In everything we love;
A wise man says 'tis good than nothing
A love one we must have.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Pacquiao will be too much for Marquez in 3rd encounter, a classic fight though


What Pacquiao has achieved as a boxer is something very few could, as far as the boxing world is concern, equal to or surpass with in the level that he is now. Outside the boxing ring, this fearless warrior who may always look fierce when he fights could be as meek as a lamb towards others and his rags-to-riches life story inspires and continue to inspire a many.

Of course, there were the all-time greats in Ali, Robinson, Armstrong, Duran, and Leonard, to name just a few, but the fighting pride of the Philippines is just a cut above the rest. Highly regarded as boxing's current pound-for-pound king and as the only boxer in history to have won titles in eight different weight divisions, the "Pacman" as he was also called, is the storm somewhat tasked to destroy anything that the sport could put in front of him, hasn't just yet showed any indication of slowing down.

But the only fight that could matter now is for boxing's gifted, and most defensive fighter in Floyd Mayweather Jr. to face the Pacman inside the ring. For the sake of boxing this fight has to happen. I'm positive though that these two of the sport's bests will finally lock horns, hopefully next year.

Pacquiao has still a pending fight against Juan Manuel Marquez on November 12, this year, to complete what many considered as one of boxing's greatest trilogies of all time. Marquez is the kind of fighter who has the heart of a true Mexican warrior. Despite being floored by Pacquiao three times in round one of their first encounter, the Mexican yet managed to get up and salvaged a draw.

Their second fight, four years later, would have been too close and just as controversial as the first, with Pacquiao winning by decision. But those were being fought in the featherweight, and super featherweight divisions, respectively. Pacquiao has never been the same as he was years ago and he has since evolved to become a complete fighter.

After their last encounter in 2008, Pacquiao moved several weight divisions up to face bigger guys and defeated each one of them while Marquez, on the other hand,  dominated the lightweight division. Marquez is one of the sport's best counter punchers who would still give Pacquiao a trouble but the Pacman may just simply overwhelm the brave Mexican warrior in every which way this time around and to make him fall to what is a total annihilation. It will be a classic fight though with Pacquiao destroying Marquez within six rounds at a 144-pound catch weight.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Terminus

This poem was written several years ago. People usually call me "Nap", but there are some who will also call me Nappy. But why "Nappy"? Nappy means, in the British English, a diaper. But it could also be a metaphor for what I am as a poet. A diaper to absorb the tears and other human emotional releases and, in the process, transform them into a positive force through my verses.


I’m puzzled all about myself
If what’s in store of me ahead
A pleasant thought perhaps would help
But far away it went and fled.

I phoned some friends whoever else
And asked them what they could have said
About myself, and though it feels
Like a nonsense I did proceed.

They told me this and that and that
And so much more a flattery
I look for something else of what
Cannot be said, cannot be said of me.

But one night as I fell asleep
I’ve dreamed a pleasant dream can be
‘Twas Jesus merging from the depths
Calling to me, "Nappy! Nappy!"

I’ve answered back, "I’m here my Lord!"
"Is there a thing you need to say?"
He calmly said, "Pay heed my words"
"You need so much to give away".

"To give of what?", I asked Him instead.
"I even lacked what I should have".
But He just smiled to me and said,
"You only need to give but love".

I woke up glad and all refreshed
And thanked God for this brand new day
Of my life, I’m so much blessed
I somehow found the real me.

Monday, September 19, 2011

If I shall but love not your dearest soul

"What if you didn't meet the person you are now loving with, would it exactly be just the same feeling you would have felt for the person you would have loved instead? And if you should but love not the person you are now so much in love with, would you have loved the person you think you cannot love?"


If I shall but love not your dearest soul,
I would have been a fading hymn at night--
A song that no one bothers to recall--
And to wait in vain for the morning light.
If I shall but ignore your inner glow,
I would have always dwelt in the darkness--
Or, perhaps, after all, I wouldn't know
What's in a thing that I should have to miss.
If I shall but--while the needing's growing--
Don't mind you at all and lead mine own way,
I would have, alone, always been wanting:
Life can't be without you each passing day.
What's more that this loving can truly hold?
But, yet, the greatest story ever told!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What is a Filipino?

The Filipinos, just like any other race, possess both the negative and positive qualities that would, in one way or another, define them as a people. You probably may have heard a lot of bad things about the Philippines and Filipinos, but the good things about them may just be, as well, too many. But what, in fact, is a Filipino?

The term "Filipino" was first used by the Spaniards during the Spanish-era Philippines to refer to a Spanish mestizo and to all of the Spaniards who were occupying the Philippines during that time. Filipinos therefore, in other words, are the descendants of King Philip of Spain (Felipe in Spanish). The Philippine natives then were called "Los Indios de Las Islas Felipenas".

In the passing of time, a typical Filipino is someone who looks Asian, has a Spanish-sounding name, speaks English in an American accent, and a Latin temperament. The Filipinos are a unique race with four cultural heritages: European, American, Asian, and Mexican. Today, Filipinos are one of the most cosmopolitan people of the world. You can find Filipinos almost everywhere else in the world blending with different cultures and beliefs.

Majority of the Filipinos are Roman Catholics and are very religious. They are a happy people in such a way that even in the midst of problems and misery they can still manage to joke, smile, or even laugh at them. They are likened to a bamboo tree that, when the storm came to strike in great force, only bends with the wind but never breaks.

A Filipino is a courageous fighter yet God-fearing, optimistic, and has a good sense of humor. A Filipino is someone who could never live without rice in his diet, tuba (Philippine coconut wine) to fire his blood, a friend to count on in, a loving wife and family to live and keep with for as long as he live, and a God to believe in and worship to. To be a Filipino is to be morally good.

No matter what race you may be and no matter where you came from, to be a Filipino is to be in harmony with other people and to act as a citizen of the world. It is to acknowledge the fact that life is, indeed, God's gift to mankind and it is our duty to make that gift valuable and one that each of us could benefit from for good. To be a Filipino means to have faith in the Almighty God, love one another, and hope for a better tomorrow.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

If I should allow such a nameless bloom

Not long ago, somebody had asked me a question it took me awhile to answer. Not because I find it hard to answer the question but because the delay in answering is, in fact, a part of the answer itself. This was the question: "If you could only own just one thing, what should it be and why?" No words have been uttered but this sonnet I wrote in 25 minutes.


If I should allow such a nameless bloom
To please mine eyes with all the nurturing,
I would have found what's being kept--a room
To house all of it--more than just a thing
To settle with, hold on, or throw away
From out the rush of the sluggish awhile
The growth no longer needs a constancy.
But where a sight has crossed the distant miles
Is why the urge to find it all the more!
There it lodged in deep down within one's chest
Or something that pricks the mind's very core
And things will be restored like all the rest.
If I could own a thing that I should have:
It must be, like all of us thus need, love.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Except for loving, love will cease

"It doesn't matter how long we may have been stuck in a sense of our limitations. If we go into a darkened room and turn on the light, it doesn't matter if the room has been dark for a day, a week, or ten thousand years -- we turn on the light and it is illuminated. Once we control our capacity for love and happiness, the light has been turned on."--Sharon Salzberg



Except for loving, love will cease
To find for its offender's path;
But brings the best that it can give--
The Love in all its aftermath.

Except for loving, love will die
A very senseless death of all;
But Love is the Fountain of Life--
It gives itself and gives the full.

Except for loving, love will fade
And spread itself in the darkness;
But Love is Love and Love will be:
A thing for all the completeness.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Faith and Fanaticism: Defending where Catholics are most misunderstood

Do Catholics worship idols? The answer is a big "No". Catholics only worship the true and living God. But why do we find so many images inside a Cathedral where most of the faithful  say their prayers and kneel down to? Are these faithful committing idolatry or is it simply just a form of fanaticism under the cloak of faith?

Two years ago, I happened to chat with a one time online friend of mine on various topics  but especially on one we've spent three hours arguing with(no, not really arguing but discussing) that sparked from her asking me a question, upon knowing I was from the Philippines, about why most of the Filipinos are fanatic worshiper of a God? She was, of course, obviously and in fact, an atheist who hailed from the Northern European country of Sweden. "It is because the Filipinos", I told her, "believed in God just as you believed in atheism." She replied in three words she may have quoted from Nietzsche: "God is dead." "So you believe there is God," I said, "but only he was dead."

Mostly, Filipino Catholics are fanatics. But they are fanatics only in a sense that they are so much devoted and in depth with their faith. When you saw them kneeling before the images of the crucified Christ, the Saints, and the Virgin Mary, they don't really mean literally worshiping the wooden carvings in front of them, but the true God beyond the represented figures. In the case of the Saints and of Mary, they served as our intercessors to God  where we can also offer our prayers and devotions.

We Catholics don't worship Baal, Anubis, and many other pagan gods from long ago, but the true and living God alone. Faith and fanaticism may be a different thing at one sense but they may also be just the same at another. But what's important, though, is that we have a God to believe and worship to than to deny His existence in the midst of His presence.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Real Education: One that springs out from one's own self

America's greatest contribution to the Philippines is education; democracy comes a close second. I remember what my paternal grandmother had once told me that in their time(the American occupation of the Philippines) even a fifth grader could already teach in school. I also noticed that her penmanship had that stroke of the typical American cursive style of writing. My maternal grandfather, on the other hand, although with the local accent so evident when he talks, writes English very well as I came to read some of his writings before he died last 2009 at 83.

The Thomasites were the  first batch of American teachers who came to educate the Filipinos, arrived in the Philippines on August 12, 1901
on board a ship called USS Thomas. They educated the Filipinos the American way and taught them English. It is not to say that the Filipinos were uneducated before the Americans came as the Spaniards in the Philippines during that time have since already had been educating but only to the few who can afford. Asia's oldest university, the University of Santo Tomas, was founded and established through the initiative of a Spanish friar in Bishop Miguel de Benavides back in the early 17th century. What the Americans did was to make sure education is available to all.

Today, the Philippine government is doing its best to improve the quality of education among Filipinos. It is evident that, with the passing of time, the country's quality of education deteriorates. It is also embarrassing to know that many of our graduates today are incompetent, uneducated, and in most instances, lack wisdom. It has become the case of more schooling but less education.

In my humble opinion, real education springs from within one's own self. You can get to school only to be schooled, or get as many a degree(even a masteral or doctorate) as you like or want, and excel in academic studies with the highest honors, but education requires a high-level of deep thinking on knowing what it is to understand about that makes you a better person in the process. It is to show you the way like a guiding star and, most importantly, one that brings you to where no academic learning could fill up but the marriage of Truth and morality.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

On why that a flower has to wither

Yesterday I had in mind about composing a poem that tells about preserving something (like a relationship for example) for good. I came up with a sonnet and with every metaphor I could possibly find to best portray of what I'm trying to implicate, poured out in the poem: Relationships are always worth restoring. I hope you will enjoy reading my poem and always keep that flower thing growing inside of you.

On why that a flower has to wither:
I take my stand--it withers not at all
But what's, in our hearts, felt with less of care
When the best of things remain in the soul;
In every knowing's find with its new eyes,
A flower keeps growing inside of us.
Despite what the picture tells otherwise
It always be the thing that it once was:
Pure and innocent like the sweet embrace
Of love's first kiss--what freely it can give
That blossoms everywhere upon the face
Of someone's life--with love it has to live.
So long as there is much to take away
Is why the needs to nurture it to stay.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A rainy morning

I am this morning reminded of an amateur band a friend of mine used to introduce to me with pride back in college where three of the band members were his classmates: the vocalist, the bass guitarist, and the drummer. He used to have collected cassette tapes(cassette tapes then were most common) of the band's recorded amateurish songs and I even got one through his generosity. The band sounded like the typical heavy metal branch of hard rock music most popular then and one which I would sometimes find out these days to be only putting more emphasis on noise than music.

Which makes me wonder. Where have all they had been now? Last time I heard of their music was when I had their songs played on a tape deck one rainy morning of long ago before losing it somewhere. But, this morning, as the rain falls in earnest I phoned my friend and asked him about the band which he responded with a sigh and a long pause but with a sense of assurance in his voice said: "Never heard of them for a long time but they were all doing good for sure."

It had been raining for days now and as much as it somehow forces you to be confined indoor, memories flow to where you can only reminisce the past until the flooded streets abate to keep you again busy or forget. I used to like hard rock music before which I still today, but it's only for some particular time of my life. As I grow older(though I'm only just in my 30s), even the noise caused by the pouring down of rains at the roof will be just as good a music as it is.

The coffee tastes great which I sipped down between every thunder and lightning. Moments like this refreshes the system to bring me back to where I could again start to add a new chapter in my life's journey. I caught a glimpse of the outside at the glass window, fine weather lurks ahead.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Time and again a star alights on me


There's a star shining on each one of us; it guides, inspires, and leads us all to where we can only cease dreaming because the dream was attained and realized by the heart that believes.




Time and again a star alights on me
When all the world was covered with darkness
Or: when lights confused the eyes of many
Walking to the pull of their blinding rays.
Or perhaps mine star shines for me alone
Or for those who can only see its light
That beams from within the heart like the sun
Or, by faith, seeing what is out of sight.
Mine star shall take me to the infinite
Or what is at stake at the Other Side?
It once descended long ago and yet
Remains but, after all this time, my guide.
Though countless stars may shine like all the rest
Mine lonesome star only shines the brightest.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Life's greatest gift is life itself


“Life is a gift, and I try to respond with grace and courtesy.”
   --Maya Angelou


“Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more.”
   --Anthony Robbins

"I look upon life as a gift from God. I did nothing to earn it. Now that the time is coming to give it back, I have no right to complain."
   --Joyce Cary


Life's greatest gift is life itself:
Like what you can see with your eyes,
Feel in your heart, hear with your ears--
When all the sensing becomes nice

Returning back to Self the joy
Of being just a part of it--
Or what just in itself aligns
With Truth--for all that it can get.

A seed that's planted long ago--
Why bother nurture,love, and care?
Life's greatest gift is life itself;
It must grow into a flower.

Monday, August 1, 2011

There was a time for everything

There was a time in my life when I have asked myself about why we should grow old and die? I would have learned later on for the answers and this poem, which I've just finished writing, is one. But life is a journey and, along the way, we can find inspirations by being just an inspiration to others. And though we grow old and die, we would live forever...in His time!


There was a time for everything
And for everything that will be;
Like the shadow of your smile glows
Where the darkness takes me away--

The gloom can't make no further hold.
A strand of hair, I contemplate:
Each is counted--has time to shine
Like stars--drawn towards its own fate.

So, go on like nothing happens;
Take the journey for what it brings.
And for everything that will be:
There was a time for everything.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

How to unleash the writer in you: For the beginners and aspiring to be one

One of the best form of expressions is through writing. It is fun, relieves stress, helps improve vocabulary, and develops creativity. However, not all of us are born writers, and there are some who really are struggling at it.

I think we are all writers and poets in our own right. For those who can't express it well of their thoughts and emotions through the written words, here's some simple tips to help you out of it from which I have to base from personal experience:

1. Write what you know. This could mean you have to write down any particular idea, event, thing, place, and person that you would like to be written about and support it with details. Make it simple, expressing in the language you're most comfortable with.

2. Write to express, not to impress. One of the things that keep us from writing effectively on a particular subject is that we are putting so much effort trying to impress others than to simply just express of what it is we would like to convey about.

3. Be yourself. Writing requires that you only have to express it your way. Later on, you will learn by experience that what used to be your simple expression will have to impress a many.

4. Write it all down now, edit afterwards. The best way to write something is to actually write it down. Start writing it all down now if you have something in your mind that you would like to write about. Chances are, if you don't write it down right away, it will somehow be blown away by the wind, and worst, even allowing creativity to jump out of the window. Write as much as you can and edit later on. You will be surprised at how much your writing of a particular subject starts taking shape.

5. Read. The more you read, the more you learn. And the more you learn, the better you will become at writing. Reading exposed us to other writer's writing style, choice of words, and ideas which can help a lot improving our own.

6. Think of writing as a fun, and not a burden. When you start to think that writing is a burden, then you'll surely be having hard time becoming a writer.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Victorious is the heart that loves



I wrote this poem some two years back. Love has always fascinated me and with its many a definition by different people. The point is, in spite of everything, love should always strive itself to be understood. Otherwise, its beauty is useless. But love is a special feeling that does not require much answers. You just love despite all the odds--and win!





Victorious is the heart that loves
Though sometimes it must end in vain;
For what such that a heart exists?
It's good to love--there's joy in pains.

When love is like a tranquil ride
Or to endure life's perfect storms;
And through it all must be survived
For love can take but many forms.

But there is more to love than love
That in return a loving's gained:
For what such that a heart exists?
Love can't be found--or is it earned?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Time to Kill

You probably might find the title quite familiar and, to some degree, intriguing. Or so because you maybe have already had read John Grisham's novel which bears the same title and, for some of you who were able to read the Bible in Ecclesiastes 3:3, it's not why I wrote this article though. "A Time to Kill" is my personal opinion as well as an attempt to boost the Filipino warrior spirit against a superior power--China (a.k.a. the sleeping giant) should it push through with expanding its territory against smaller neighboring countries, especially the Philippines, from the viewpoint of, and for this particular issue, a such case as to show that heroes are not always the people with the greatest brute force nor does the size always matter.

Throughout history, victory doesn't always favor the much superior and strong armies but in the belief of the "power of weakness" to accomplish the almost impossible. The so-called US "Tin cans" (an American naval slang for destroyers), despite being outnumbered and out-sized, crippled the much superior Japanese fleet in major naval engagements within Philippine waters during World War II. The Israelites in Biblical times gathered an army of 300 with Gideon, assigned by God to command, leading them to victory against the 135,000 fighting men of the Midianites in what was a different kind of warfare. Modern day Israel were victorious against the Arabs who outnumbered them in wide margins during the Israeli-Arab Wars series that started in the late 40s, and many more stories of military upsets in wars in different parts of the world from ancient times to present.

The Filipino race is a warrior race. And despite being mixed up with other races' blood in the process now running through his veins the warrior side remains or even upgraded by it, waiting to be released where it's needed. Yet he is peace loving, except when oppressed or his own right or freedom is being taken from him by an oppressor that he fights courageously to take that back. The late American General Douglas MacArthur once said: "Give me ten thousand Filipino soldiers and I will conquer the world". I know some of you will disagree or even argue but, if God is with us then who will be against us?

In case a war breaks up in the disputed Spratly islands in the South China Sea, China will no doubt be the most dominant force to seriously deal with than all of the other claimant countries' forces, including the Philippines, combined against. The Philippines has the weakest military in the region which still relies on its vintage warplanes and battleships that have been rendering services in major naval engagements numerous times already  in the Pacific and within Philippine waters during World War II, and also during the Vietnam War. China has the world's biggest population to date, and boasts millions-strong, upgraded military enough to push a threat with any of its neighboring countries.

It will be a high-tech war as the battlefield requires war machines that could negate well the inconveniences of fighting at sea plus the dogfights bringing it into the level of a sci-fi encounter. I would like to see the Philippines acquiring its upgraded version of plasma weaponry to make up for what it lacks in its arsenal which could balance the ratio against a far more superior and bigger military. It will be drawing the war into something that makes China's military superiority becomes less effective or even obsolete in the actual combat.

It is not the purpose of this writing to encourage or promote war, but to let everyone know that war should only be the last resort. Nobody wants trouble but that doesn't mean that we'll allow ourselves to get dragged by bigger countries. Filipinos should not allow themselves to be bullied by bigger nations because if we allow ourselves to be pushed around, maybe tomorrow our 7,100 islands would be down to just two digits.

They must be the Philippines' brightest, and most promising, aspiring prospects who will be able to do it. We have world-class, top-caliber engineers, scientists, and inventors. With all of them combined working together for one goal, mission, purpose, and with God's will can come up with something to upset against--if not China--anyone who dares.

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