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This is a Communion Song in Filipino, being sung during Philippine Catholic Mass and is written by Fr. Gboi Samonte. Translated from English, this are from verses 3 and 4 of Psalm 37:
3 Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Manahan kang ligtas sa lupain/Enjoy safe pasture. This is what strike me the most as I hear this when lining up for communion.It’s like my parents telling me, “Be safe!”, as they bid me goodbye when I leave home for work.
The Bible instructs as to live a safe and guarded life on earth. In this world, do not be stupid. As God wants us to not lose hope and to put our full trust in Him, He also orders us to protect and defend life from any harm we may encounter.
This is how rich the words are in Filipino. Full lyrics is from http://www.bukaspalad.com/board/showthread.php?p=69102 I chanced to see when I was searching for it on the net.
Umasa ka sa Diyos, ang mabuti’y gawin
At manahan kang ligtas sa lupain.
Sa Diyos mo hanapin ang kaligayahan
At pangarap mo ay makakamtan.
1. Ang iyong sarili’y sa Diyos mo ilagak,
Pag nagtiwala ka’y tutulungang ganap;
Ang kabutihan mo ay magliliwanag,
Katulad ng araw kung tanghaling tapat. (*)
2. Sa harap ng Diyos ay pumanatag ka,
Maging matiyagang maghintay sa kanya;
H’wag mong kaiingitan ang gumiginhawa
Sa likong paraan, umunlad man sila.(*)
At pangarap mo ay makakamtan
It doesn’t help that the result of my latest pre-employment medical exam states that I am overweight. The numerous gyms where I subscribed and inquired to did not mention anything like that even when they were eager to make sales. At 24.6 BMI (max), I am at a normal range. I really cannot understand how they were able to label me overweight.
As my sister told me, maybe BMI isn’t really accurate after all. My co-employees were labeled Obese Class 1 when they all looked normal to me.
That medical exam was done last July. I am on a diet now with increased servings of food and vegetables on my plate and on my drink (I order green smoothies from Rawlicious, an online store who occasionally hold bazaars and regularly delivers drinks for clients who wants to detoxify or to lose some weight).
I exercise regularly and by regularly I mean that once a week two-hour cardio and weights session. I also have sessions of RF treatment and lipo cavitation at a nearby salon. Yes they offer treatments like that in ordinary salons now. All of these I simultaneously do just to achieve my target waistline. Oh, I also have to mention purchasing 3 bottles of topical slimming cream from an online shop I saw on Instagram (@thebeauthashop). I think my efforts work. This is my body so I feet it. I know I’m losing weight. I just can’t believe I’m overweight and even that is true I have no intention of staying that way so I really got to act. It’s just that positive reinforcement works better on me.
On the lighter side of things, my friend whom I call Sir Dan told me that I look slimmer last night. We had dinner after work (I am off at 7PM) at Tiendesitas after more than a month of not seeing each other. Maybe being the real friend that he is, he also did not miss on commenting that I should fix my hair so I don’t look like a “bruha” especially at work. We are former co-employees and I really don’t know that “previous-company-breeding” of mine he wants me to showcase on my new job but I said yes anyway. Anyway my thin, frizzy hair is hopeless but with regards to weight loss his comment served as the positive reinforcement I needed to get going.
Coffee is addictive. There are afternoons I just want to leave everything behind in the office just to get my Café Mocha fix. It’s one of my comfort drinks.
I got my Starbucks Card from one of their stores in Gil Puyat Avenue on the ground floor of World Centre Building in Makati. The card is free of charge when I purchased drinks to treat my boss and my mentor. The card can be obtained with any purchase for a minimum of Php300.
Pretty much how Happy Plus Card of Jollibee works, one can reload the Starbucks Card at any Starbucks store in Php100 denomination (thru cash or credit card) and can be used for any Starbucks product.
The card entitles the owner to one free grande beverage for every 12 beverage stars collected digitally through the card.
1 Beverage Star = 1 handcrafted beverage purchased
1 Whole Bean Star = 250g of whole bean coffee
1 Starbucks Via Star= 12 packs Starbucks via Ready Brew
For every 10 whole bean stars one can get 250 g of whole bean coffee while for every 10 Starbuck via stars, you will be treated with 12 packs Starbucks via Ready Brew.
I am close to getting my first free grande beverage. The card can be secured in case lost or stolen by registering it to their website http://www.starbucks.ph/. And oh, you automatically get free grande beverage upon registering! A happy treat,indeed.
I was reading my recently-purchased book from St. Pauls shop from Ground Floor of SM Megamall Building A called “ The Essentials of Catholic Spirituality” by Fr. Joseph F. Classen last Sunday. This book I read simultaneously with the “The Mysteries of Light”,an apotostolic letter from the late Pope John Paul II. In one of its chapters I found page 43 which discusses the presence or lack thereof of guardian angels.
Angels, for catholics are non-debatable. They exist, period. The guardian angels in question pertains to that angel supposed in one is to one ratio with every human being that intercedes our lives especially on moments of accidents and disasters. As a child, my Grade 1 teacher told me that our guardian angel is the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. Although my grandmother and mother attest to those specific moments in my infanthood when I was supposed to hit the floor hard from the bed but because of some miraculous unidentified reason I didn’t, I spent my childhood days reciting My Guardian Angel Prayer for school compliance sake. That is the go-to prayer of students who do not know what to utter when asked to lead the class prayer unprepared. After more than a decade last Sunday night, after reading the book that reads,
“Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life,” Since this is so, as with the saints, it is important to develop a real realationship with these angels, especially our guardian angel. Asking our angels to pray for us, to pray with us, and to continually foster an awareness of their presence, especially at Mass, are important things to do in forming a real bond with them.
I decided to talk to “my Guardian Angel”. What I told him was casual and simple. Pleae present yourself to me in my dream if you are real but do not frighten me. I specifically instructed him not to frighten me and I would like to emphasize that. Scared kid.
As how I spend most of my nights-dreamless that is-no guardian angel appeared in my dreams and I easily forgot about that request until the following Wednesday when me and boyfriend celebrated our mushy 57th month together. As a gift, he handed me a bag accessory that resembles, guess what? A guardian angel! The angel is aquamarine in color because as Patrick puts it, I was born in March and thus it is my birth color. I flipped through the back of the clear encasement and it reads, “My Guardian Angel” prayer.
Without goosebumps, I just sat on my sofa in stunned silence. I am usually plain teary-eyed when extremely happy. It reminded me of my prayer and how it was answered not in the venue I requested but in a manner that I requested – definitely non-frightening. I still don’t believe in guardian angels. Or maybe I do. Just not in the image my early teachers made them up on kid’s mind.Though I am not a fan, I believe in coincidences but at the same time I am not that unimaginative to deny series of events I even intentionally asked for. Maybe what is added to my faith right now is the belief that God really talks to us. He responds! 1.2 Billion of Catholics, a third of the world population who are Christians are not having monologues to a non-responding omnipresent being everytime they pray.
He has his way of talking to us. Maybe not in the dramatic, grand fashion that epiphany or apparitions to selected few saints, nuns and priests but just as special none the less. Listening and abiding to what He says is another story.
For the meantime, I am still just so amazed he replied. Well I know this isn’t the first time. He is talking to us all the days of our lives in different forms but last week’s incident was just so profound. He is always there. Sometimes maybe in the form of those unseen guardian angels or the Holy Spirit or sometimes in the form of that stranger who gave me a free private ride from Tabang FX Terminal to MRT Nort Edsa Station amidst the long line and heavy rains. I delight in the discovery and recognition of facts that everyday rule beyond reason but ultimately I want to know more.
Day 1 of Yoga Hot B
The storm had just gone outside off the country’s area of responsibility and it isn’t raining anymore until the afternoon so I decided to start using my one week of Yoga classes on Tuesday, August 31. As I have learned, Yoga is one of the priciest exercises out there ranging from Php500 to Php700 per 90-minute session. I got a membership promo at php500 entitling me to 7 days of unlimited yoga classes. “Super worth the try”, I told my sister, who introduced Yoga to me a month ago. She was the one who bought the membership for me raving about the great effects of yoga on her and how she was so satisfied with the amenities of Yoga Plus.
Well, I usually procrastinate on any form of exercises. But some two weeks ago, because of the back and shoulder pain I was experiencing, I was advised by the doctor to do some stretching exercises. The pain most probably is because of muscles being worn out. I had urinalysis just so the doctor could rule out kidney problems. I can schedule physical therapy in the Rehab Medicine Section of Medical City if the paid did not stop after the 3 capsules of Celebrex prescribed to me. Luckily after finishing two 200 mg the pain subsided. I decided to do the best stretching exercise there is, instead.
The last time I exercised was like three months ago. I am physically weak, non-tolerable with heart and naturally prone to headaches, my first class of Bikram Yoga was a total torture.
Before getting in class, I thought my Php500 would better be worth it. During the class when my being a novice is undeniable, I realized the truth above Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I don’t care about the money, I don’t care about the teacher and Yoga-mates catching glimpses of me making a sauna out of the heated 36 degrees room. I just want to lie down on my mat and collect myself. Nausea got in my way. I did not have too much trouble with the poses. But my head ached terribly. I’d better put the Php500 to waste just so I could get out!
What I am just proud of is that I was able to stay inside the room for the whole class duration. My teacher, a pretty foreigner, approached me and asked how it was with me. I said I really feel dizzy switching from the lying to sitting up poses. “Understandable for beginners”, she said, given that I never had trouble with my blood pressure. What’s encouraging is her remark that she saw me dis some of the poses right which is actually good for a beginner. Now that’s touching!
Tired but without the pain I usually get when I jog, I noticed some of the benefits the morning after. I feel more energized, more flexible somehow. I also remember all my clothes getting wet after the exercise. The throb of pain in my shoulder and back which I usually remedy with hot-compress were absent this time. That all made me come back for my next class.
Day 2 Hot C
Yoga Plus is at the 22nd floor of Estrata 100 in Ortigas. Like the first day I attended the 6PM class. On my way up to the elevator I met the teacher for the class. This time, a male teacher who looks Filipino but speaks with a foreign twang will instruct us. He looks so friendly even opening the door of the studio for me.
As the receptionist handed me my locker keys, towels and mat (yes, these things are provided for each student) I interviewed her about the different classes they offered. I did not absorb much given the Hindu terms she used. What I made clear from her was that Hot C is easier than my first class.
And it’s true. This time I performed and enjoyed the class more. I sweated more seeing the fluids drip from my hair strands to the mat. I just like the feeling of toxins being released through exercises.
I did not bump into Alice Dixon that night in the locker room. But there are new faces today. Some look like beginners like me and they usually are the more friendly and approachable ones.
I tried the restaurant adjacent to Yoga Plus. They serve meals for less than 500 calories. It’s called Yellow Halo which I later found out was owned by Maxine Magalona’s family. Prior to this I planned to order from Sexy Chef for a South Beach diet but that would be very costly. At least this one is way more affordable not to mention that orders should not be for a weeklong basis. During times I need to crash diet or just craving some healthy meals, I now know where to go that suits my location, taste and budget. Rosemary Chicken Sand which and Mango Juice are at 280 calories and 100 calories respectively.
Day 3 of Throwing Up
I don’t remember much of my third day of Yoga class All I know is that I vomited the Caesar salad I ate less than one hour before class. I thought I needed energy for the class and I arrived a really early for the class and Yellow Halo was there, very tempting with its cozier ambiance than the reception area of the Yoga studio. I haven’t thrown up for years! Probably even a decade. I know I felt so dizzy halfway through the class. I lay down on the mat for most of the 90-minute session. I was one of the first who went out of the room when the teacher announced that we may get out already. I had to support myself by holding into the walls of the hallway leading to the shower room. Luckily I made it to the comfort room. No one saw me so I did not get any help from anyone in the studio. That was the last time I attended the class forfeiting the rest of my 7 day unlimited class.
I don’t regret it. I will go to Yoga classes again given a very appropriate chance. And I highly recommend Yoga Plus for its top of the line amenities. The studio was clean including the shower rooms which are very important for me given that all who will attend the class will really be bathing in sweat. Alkaline water is provided. Mats are clean unlike the mats provided in most gyms where Yoga classes are offered included on memberships. More importantly, the room is heated which is unlike all the three major gyms I tried. If you are serious with Yoga, I suggest you try this one. They know what they are doing.
I don’t know why some people objected but traffic alone, in itself, is hell on Metro Manila. We learned to live on cities when driving/commuting is at a speed of 10kph during rush hours.
I hope the people of authority (LGU, MMDA, DPWH) know that Ortigas Avenue Extension is a hell of a road for thousands of people who are forced to go through every single day. One can really not commute there without being armed with tons of patience and a great positive disposition in life. I can say the same thing for Amang Rodriguez road utilized by people from Marikina, Antipolo, Santolan and Manggahan to reach Ortigas Extension.
Good thing I’m only renting an apartment in Manggahan. That means I have a choice to relocate when I can , want and need to. Either I find an apartment between EDSA Mandaluyong and EDSA Makati area or I commute everyday straight from Bulacan. That would just mean longer traveling hours but at least I am sure I have an FX to ride to if I just fall in line at the terminal before 6AM and an MRT ride if I just again fall in a long line at MRT North EDSA Station in order to fight for my right to ride an MRT.
With Ortigas Extension, it is a different story. You cannot just manage your time by just waiting for a jeepney or bus at an early time. You have to be strategic too on where to wait for a bus. I normally walk from the corner or Rosario (Ortigas Extn and Amang Rodriguez) to Jennys (after the floodway bridge) just to be able to stand on the aisle of German Espiritu busses or during better days, grab a seat. If I would wait for buses to ride on Rosario, it will take me more than an hour in vain.
I really wish the concerned authorities know how hard it is for the country’s woking force to commute every morning and every night. So they can do something about it.
There are times my tactic of walking around 400 meters through floodway bridge does not score me a seat on a bus. I’m still forced to stand up and gain balance from the door of the bus blocking the driver’s right rear view mirror. Still, it’s better than waiting for nothing at the corner of Amang Rodiriguez and Ortigas Ave. Extn. In this corner, also, buses usually spend 5 minutes or more waiting for their turn to pass at this “triple junction”.
Bus drivers also have this habit of forcing passengers to unload earlier which is more than a few meters than their destinations so they can load more passengers. Sometimes, they cannot, according to them, unload passengers at bus stops because it’s prohibited but they can definitely pick up passengers from those points! Sigh.
Just last night, the ordinary bus I was riding from EDSA-Shaw waited for the stop lights at Crossing to flash stop-and-go for three rounds before finally deciding to drive again. That, he annoyingly did to take in more passengers. I wanted to scream, “kuya, ‘pag nawala ang trapik dahil disiplinado mga drivers, aasenso din po kayo.” I try to understand their plight – earning less than the minimum wage(getting meal allowances only) and relying the rest of livelihood to their commission or net income less boundary. But we just all have to be fair. Live and let live.
Around 80% of city buses are filthy, based on my experience. I don’t want to sound bratty but public sanitation is public health and public safety. It should not be one trade-off for public transportation. We’ll really be sharing breath on confined air-conditioned buses and be holding on rails touched by hundreds of other commuter per day, that is a given. But maybe we should not see dirt and mud (probably from last week’s storm), insect larvae and sometimes worm on the insides and exterior of bus windows.
A recent experience of mine riding an ordinary bus includes a woman constantly sniffing snot on my left seat. At my immediate right is an old man spitting on the bus floor then blending his saliva on the floor with his slippers to dry. It could have been illegal in other cities and yet it is normal in Manila. The worst part is, those people may never know their acts are harmful-and disgusting.
Don’t the people f authority really know about these? People at “Jenny’s” are literally running after jeepneys in their corporate attires every morning. Every. Morning. No one from them ever noticed? No one thought of doing something? The only choice I had is to relocate apartment because waiting for traffic to be solved is tantamount to waiting for a miracle that may not come.
But who knows? I hope they know.
Last Saturday, I saw Angono National High School (ANHS) again on tv. Another report on how the people living very near Laguna de Bay is coping with the flood brought by typhoon Maring. ANHS, the largest high school of Angono, Rizal also serves as the most frequent and largest evacuation center for hundreds of families from Barangays Kalayaan and San Vicente. Every year since I’ve known the town, I see them in the news either because of Higantes Festival or because of flood. I was reminded all of a sudden that there was a time, that everyday, that town is all I think of, literally!
I scanned the people at the reporter’s background looking for some familiar faces-of people I possibly had interacted with during those three years I spent working in Angono. I suddenly remembered the same scenes of August last year. The people were in the same situation, it seems. Unlike last year when I even attended the municipality’s meeting for disaster prevention and relief contingency, this year I am not so sure of the extent of the damage and to how many families.
I know very well that last year’s Habagat is not yet truly out of the people’s area of responsibility until now. One of my unfinished businesses in my previous job is to see to it that those who had spiked-up water bills get some “Habagat assistance”. One prominent case I can still remember is that of an old man living by the community in the lakeside. He lives by himself and works part-time in the municipal hall for a living. From his monthly water bill of 8 cubic meters (averaged), his consumption suddenly spiked up to 1,200 cubic meters. This was when he went back to his house-vacant after two months of stay in ANHS evacuation center.
His case is much like around 50 families in Angono last year. I hope the cases are not duplicated this year or that would be a problem too hard to just be a challenge both to the customer and to the company. Back in 2009 when Ondoy happened, the affected families were able to get “Ondoy Assistance” where some percentage of their high bills were deducted. For last year’s Habagat, I submitted the list of accounts attached with the necessary documents and certificates. If it was granted by the top management for assistance, I may never know. Until my resignation there was no positive response yet. Consider this me, vindicating myself but I guess I just want to say that I did what I could when I should.
Everytime when it rained, I had to text my benchmark customers or “kasanggas” to check how they are. Did they evacuate already? Where? Do they need water tankers? For around how much headcount? Are there busted pipes in our network? In theirs? Were the classes/work suspended?
I found friends in that Lakeside Community. The most genuine, most appreciative customers I had, I found in the many “Samahan” or group of people’s organizations. I texted my “kasanggas” though I know I cannot be of much help anymore. It’s nice to read their replies telling me they are fine and asking me how I am, too. Some replied, “Hu u?”, but that’s okay, too. Cellphones, in my experience whenever I try to contact them, turn out to be shared among family members. One of the kids might be using the cellphone that time.
I miss them. I’m an emotional kid inside and large count of the immeasurable tears I cried when it was time to say goodbye was because of the farewell words of Sir Jun Aguilar and Aling Connie, two community leaders of Lakeside. We had been through a lot – projects (or lack thereof), public conferences, a Korina Sanchez show feature, summons, complaints, etc and for the most part I feel like they stood by me.
Every time they bump into me in the municipal hall, the public market or anywhere on the road, they tell me their concerns and never failed to thank me each time, emphasizing that I serve as bridge to communicate their water needs. In turn, I learned a lot from them and the life they and their neighbors lead. They gave meaning to the hours I spent on field which otherwise could be just aimless routine roaming around. They touched my life by allowing me to touch their lives. I consider their prayers and well-wishes for me when I said I was leaving as a large chunk of my back pay.
I wish whoever replaces me there will do a better job. I wish someday they won’t need the likes of me meaning all their water needs are taken care of automatically. I wish they won’t need to set up evacuation centers in every daycare centers anymore. I hope someday the system will allow them to be come fully self-reliant, self-enabling community. But if it’s too much, maybe as a start, I hope they won’t have to deal with flood with every high tide that comes with problems piling up as each storm come and go. Please keep moving, Angono. I know you will.
Just this morning, I found out from the Unang Hirit that GMA Kapuso Foundation, Inc. is building a multi-purpose hall in Angono Rizal and Pandi, Bulacan to be used as evacuation centers or recreational spots during better times.
Maybe I am just trying to open up myself to more people the way I normally don’t. But I think of joining Hands on Manila (http://www.handsonmanila.org.ph/volunteerprograms/activities), an organization which utilizes the power of volunteerism from people willing to help others. Beneficiaries are usually schoolchildren, senior citizens and mothers or even the environment by people who are willing to commit themselves to give time and share talents.
I thought of entering their Saturday Academy Volunteer Program since I have work on weekdays and I am trying to reserve my Sundays for family day and attending Mass. I noticed from their website that many activities are -mainly from the Education and Enrichment programs- are done during weekdays when students also have class schedules at school. Makes sense to me since the students got to have their day off from studying too.
Having attended public schools since Kindergarden to college, I know what it’s like to be on their shoes. I am not saying they are less fortunate than those who attended private schools in terms of the quality of education they get. Believe me it would be an endless, complicated debate. I just recognize the fact that generally, students in public schools need more help both from the government and private sector. Public education in a country such as ours needs extensive collaboration from anyone who could help.
Corruption aside, I feel happy paying taxes if only with the thought that taxpayers send scholars to public schools. I received scholarship from the Provincial Capitol of Bulacan each semester of my five-year course in college. Even then, I know I am never a scholar of the governor( I’m not questioning their efficiency or integrity for all their educational efforts during their term). I knew very well that I was a scholar of the people who believed in my potential to accomplish something good someday. I recognize the fact that it is the government itself who invested on me.
As a result, I understand the need to pay high taxes because I experienced the need and lack thereof for enough and quality school facilities. I know there is a need for the educational system itself to be upgraded. We are wise, diligent people and who knows what great things each one of us could accomplish if given the right training and exposure? Our “best” universities rank so low in world ranking of top universities. We can only do so much. So far, though it is sad reality, I have to say that our best efforts are still not enugh. That is not to say we should stop trying.
I’m still waiting for Hands on Manila for more specific instructions on how I can volunteer. For the meantime, I’ll get my little cousins (also studying on public elementary schools) to learn how to count form 1-20. From here on, we will move forward.
New International Version (NIV)
48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
Typhoon Maring once again awakened the Filipino spirit in us. The question will be if this spirit was strong enough to force us into action. It’s nice to see posts from netizens volunteering themselves for the relief operations and then there are some who shows and reminds people on how to give dignity to the donations (in kind) they will be giving.
People in the evacuation centers are obviously not in their highest esteem having to stay in inconvenient, jam-packed and possibly filthy basketball courts, classrooms or day-care centers. Putting ourselves in their shoes (or bare foot), what would we feel if we receive worn-out and/or inappropriate clothes (suits, long gowns, nighties, used underwear)? We should at least make sure that what we give can really benefit the recipients. Beggars cannot be choosy. Yes, this statement holds true if you see and treat our fellow countrymen like that.
Giving should be like giving a part of ourselves. We don’t give out our excesses. We give given that true giving hurts. This is why not only the privileged could donate. Each of us no matter our state in life could bring in some help by giving a part of ourselves be it by donating or by volunteering.
I salute the people who were not content on just watching the news after securing their own family and property. Kudos to those who inspire and pray for our people during the deluge. Many typhoons are bound to hit the country and while the government is yet to create master plans to alleviate high impact of floods we will all have to settle in packing relief goods for each other in the mean time. Even then, we should keep bayanihan flame provide us heat when it’s cold outside.
Lucky that my family has never experienced flood even when Ondoy and August,2012 Habagat came. Our neighbors living near the creek were affected. They will have to deal with the flood and its aftermath for maybe up to a few months from now. We won’t have to. Maybe to show gratitude for this great exception, I urge people to help, too.
Media offers a lot of ways to help. It’s hard to pretend not to see those. Please don’t ignore. Every centavos count just as a single shirt, a piece of soap or alcohol, a blanket, etc. Just as long as it’s a piece of us. It depends so much on how we view our lives but as I see it, all of us are given much.
Rain or shine, the following links will guide us on how to extend help: