Thought For the Soul

Lurking around Facebook and saw this quote shared by a friend. Instantly, it appealed to me - especially because of everything that's been happening around me for quite some time.

Lately, there had been lots of people on Facebook who are being too criticizing. I guess, it rooted from the constant vigilance in social networking sites we, Filipinos, are being taught of. The main purpose is basically to encourage awareness about the current happenings in the Philippine government. We are encouraged to observe and notice all things we think could eventually lead to the revelation of who's corrupt and who's not.

But what we don't realize is that some of us are doing it wrong already. Exaggerated posts and accusations were made public in the internet. It has become a trend to criticize without thinking and many are constantly jumping into the bandwagon of this idiocy. Most of us fail to remember that words and social networking site combined is so powerful that it could readily ruin a whole country, if not just one person's life.

Getting away from politics, I see this situation in ordinary people too. Just last night, I saw a post about a couple being bashed online for pretending to be in Singapore when they're just actually in Nuvali in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. While it is quite funny why they would do that, it was kind of alarming how the share counts basically escalated overnight - complete with comments bashing the two for that simple case.

I know it was a little funny why they did that but do they really deserve such harsh treatment from people who don't know them in the first place? Based on other's researches, the pictures were actually grabbed by an unknown person and were uploaded on a poser Facebook account... probably to stir up controversies.

Moving on... I think the worst case I've come across this past week was that of a KPOP fan who happened to wear a WOLF 88 shirt on Super Show 5 Manila. While I consider it also rude, I wish some fans actually put their feet on the break pedal and controlled themselves. I didn't exactly read the comments to stop myself from getting involved; but I think I burst out when the child had to post a public apology. I read the letter. I thought it was too much for her pride.

You see, she's most likely a new fan as she said it was her first concert. Meaning, there are still things she doesn't know about the fandom. I know common sense should have been applied, but mistakes like that happen. In one way or another, we've all done that. 

So why is there a need for bashing?

With all these things that happened, I was once again reminded how shallow people's minds can be. It's so easy for us to hate on something that doesn't meet our standards. What we fail to do is to try to understand why that happened. I mean, everything has a reason; why can't we try to at least be a bit objective and know those reasons first before we let out harmful comments?

I wish people would understand that basking on hate does nothing good. I can attest to that because I've been there, I've done that; and it just destroyed me. If we don't want to understand, at least we should open up our eyes to see the positive side of things. We need to accept the fact that there are still good things in this world apart from our ownselves. We can stop hate if we learn how to appreciate. We're not the only ones trying to be perfect; and we don't become perfect once we point out the dirt of others. 

If we try to find the good things, we'd be very amused that we won't have time to look at the bad ones. There are so much of it, waiting to be noticed. So let's all free ourselves from the hypocrisy of hating on things we don't understand. 

It's about time.

A Promise

If there is one thing that the Roman Catholics are often bashed for, it's our belief in images and statues. Just recently when the churches in Bohol and Cebu collapsed due to the destructive earthquake, many non-Catholics suddenly commented that it happened because God was angry that we worship wooden images. While I believe that that comment was way below the belt and totally uncalled for, let me just say it straight that it's not the wooden image which we revere, not worship. We pray through the saints, and NOT to the saints. There's a big difference lying between those two ideas - something which many loose-tongue people don't actually see.

Now what does this have to do with my post?

I have quite a number of friends who own wooden images of different saints. Most of which are shown to the public through processions and expositions on the altar. Called 'camareros', they do exert effort to keep their images well-taken care of. 

For so many years, they have been trying to turn me into one, and I always refuse. It's not that I don't want to; but you see, being a camarero can be totally expensive. There are two main reasons: One, I need to spend on the procession coach, flowers, lighting, etc. Basically, money is greatly involved in maintaining the statues; and with the social and financial status I have right now, the idea will surely be very, very difficult.

Second, I couldn't determine who I should get. It's not like I can just choose who I want. I need to have a devotion the saint because that's basically the primary purpose of taking care of one. Initially, I thought I should get a Niña (young Virgin Mary), but then the choice became St. Jude Thaddeus or St. Augustine of Hippo (considering that I graduated from the then-St. Jude Academy, an Augustinian school). However, they all didn't stick to my mind simply because my devotions to them aren't as strong as I should have. I'm working on it though.

In the end, the plans turned to vain. Financial difficulties arose and it left me with nothing in my pocket. I thought I'm no longer interested...

But after the procession of the Holy Rosary in our parish and as we lounged at Kuya Marvin's house, a Eureka moment came to me and it stuck since then.

"Pope John Paul II," I just said.

To be canonized on April 2014, I have always liked the pope. It started when I was in Grade 1 when World Youth Day happened in the Philippines. I know I wasn't really into faith then as I was still so young, but perhaps, we can attribute the interest to the song "Tell the World of His Love" which basically stuck with me until this very moment.

As I grew up, Pope John Paul II holds the position of the Supreme Pontiff; so I basically had him as My Holiness throughout my whole life of being a Catholic. His smile had always been very calming to me, and his love for the young ones has always been inspiring. It's only recently though that I actually delved into who he really was during his earlier years.

Back to the real topic, I couldn't really determine how Pope John Paul II suddenly popped up into my mind. But nevertheless, I felt back then in an instant that here's gonna be the real thing.

Obviously delighted that they finally got me converted, my friends immediately told me it was a good decision and offered me all the help they could provide. Kuya Marvin said he'll take care of the vestments while Luwi will help in the flower arrangements. I can tell they were excited. Well, I am too. 

When I got back home that night, I saw the pope's picture hanging in my wall; and as usual, he was smiling at me and i couldn't help but smile back. That's his prime effect on me after all. I told myself that I'll try to push through with the plans. No backing out.

As I prayed the rosary, I asked Mother Mary to give me signs that I promised the right thing. Since then, the idea of having Pope John Paul II's image in my home never left my mind. It's like every place I go to reminds me of him. 

The strongest sign I think would be during Sunday when I was waiting for friends to come over the house, I turned the TV on. Suddenly, I felt the urge to turn to Channel 50 (EWTN) and watch the Papal Audience. As soon as Pope Francis' face popped up in my screen, he said Pope John Paul II's name.


Instantly, I tried to plan where I'll get the money. I have already figured out how much I'm willing to shed, and through the blessed pope's intercession, I know I'll be able to get the amount before my 25th birthday next year.

It's gonna be exciting! :)

Not All Adults are Worth It (THIS IS JUST A RANT)

I may be incredibly rude, but I can say that I can totally be nice to adults. But today, I have learned one of the ultimate truths the society should learn to accept: NOT ALL ADULTS DESERVE TO BE RESPECTED.

Excuse me if this will go against the 'religious person' in me who I'm trying to establish through my recent blog posts. I just felt so fed up with the annoying stereotyping of most elders nowadays.

This afternoon, I was in a renewal/formation seminar of Lay Ministers and we were in-charged of the taking the ID pictures. One parish annoyed me to hell simply because they kept on insisting something that they should come first. The thing is, we told the organizers that they are the priority but for some reason, they were put on second. I think it's because the group failed to actually follow the rules.

As they were waiting forcibly for their turn, I saw them looking at us like it's our fault. And I hated it. I hated how they think we weren't true to our promises. I told them they will come first, but how can I go against the decision of the organizers, right? I was a merely contracted for a certain task, why would I freaking meddle with another?

I thought that's the first and last annoyance for the day. But just before the event ended, I was told that one group failed to submit their registration form. Thus, we didn't know that there were 36 more whose pictures we had to take.

Now here's the issue: It's not our fault that they didn't get to give us their form beforehand. When I told them that, they began blaming the registration people for not giving the form to us. That's when I began to wonder why they just won't admit that it's their fault? The rules were clearly set and delivered to them. Why didn't they understand? For them to learn their lessons, the organizers told us that they should come last.

Fast forward: The event ended and three groups were asked to stay for the ID picture-taking. When I got back to the booth, I noticed that the group which was supposed to be last were the ones seated. I kinda thought it was downright unfair considering that they were the last one to submit the requirement. Good thing, the director came and settled the issue and it was made clear that they should be the last.

That's when I began erupting. They were insisting that they had to leave and so some of them actually annoyed the hell out of us. For the sake of a smooth-sailing though panic-stricken process, we all decided to accommodate them and move on to the actual arrangement.

But of course, this last group won't stop. They ended up getting my email address, saying they will just send their pictures because they need to be somewhere else. I realized that it was a better idea and gave my detail right away.

But to my surprise, they didn't leave and fell in line instead. It could have been okay and I could have dealt with them properly; but no, they just have to blurt out unnecessary comments and take out their annoyance that they came last at me.

To my utter displeasure, one even actually had the nerve to tell me that while I was taking group pictures, I should have brought another camera so they weren't put on waiting. WELL EXCUSE ME BUT THE CAMERA WE'RE USING ISN'T EVEN MINE! I hate it how they think we have everything just because we were there. And I hated it how they rudely deliver their suggestions. Couldn't they see that we were already going gaga over the situation? Was it our fault that there were too many of them and a total of more or less three hours lack to accommodate them all?

I was shaking in anger already as I used my intermediate pad as their name signs. I couldn't handle disrespectful adults who think they should always be prioritized. I mean, there were a lot of them who want to come first. HOW THE FUCK WOULD I MANAGE ALL OF THEM AT THE SAME TIME!?

Then you know what irked me more? Someone really had the nerve to blame me for not assisting those first in lines when it's their co-members who were actually crowding around me. THAT'S WHEN MY BLOOD REACHED ITS BOILING POINT. I reasoned out that their members were the ones at fault, and not us.

Probably realizing that I was right, he just took the piece of paper from me. Or rather, he SNATCHED it.

Goodness. I thought I should have just shoved the piece of paper down his throat.


Okay, I know what you guys are thinking: that they're still adults and that as the younger one, I should exert more patience. BUT THAT'S MY POINT! They easily blamed us when things go wrong even without our knowledge, but they wouldn't freaking accept it if we point out their mistakes? WTF.

I've always believed that respect begets respect; and I just hope adults know that they aren't exception to the rule. No one is worthy of good treatment and unending patience, unless he could practice those himself.


I know I did wrong too for showing the group that I was angry. And to anyone who were just dragged to the annoyance, I apologize. Your fellow brothers' attitude kinda got into me; and I'm sorry that you had to be affected in a way or another.

La Voz de Dios

I can clearly remember that night when Kuya Marvin and I were talking at the parish office. I was told to get a piece of paper as we were going to hold a one-on-one meeting. Next thing I knew, I was jotting down notes about a certain production plan about the exposition of the bells of Meycauayan. "Many churchgoers have never been to the belfry so let's take this chance to bring this hidden place to them," he said. I chuckled as I just rode on his trip. 

I should have known that he was being totally serious about it. 

Believe it or not, it was more than grueling preparing for it. Well, it didn't look exactly difficult but somehow, there was this heavy weight put on our shoulders when we committed ourselves to it. Personally speaking, I was overwhelmed with how it all turned out to be. We held shoots, editing sessions, and whatnots. We even pulled an all-nighter designing the whole venue.

And boy was it so fulfilling when it opened on September 28. 

So the main focus on the exhibit are the historic bells which had been in the parish for over three centuries already. Named San Jose, San Francisco and Maria Concepcion, these bells can still be found (and are still being used to this date) at the belfry which was erected on 1800 as per the order of Fray Francisco Gascueña, OFM. 

As for the belfry itself, it is considered one of the cultural treasures of Meycauayan and the rest of Bulacan. Aside from the fact that it is the belfry of one of the oldest churches in the province, it is also one of the only two remaining belfries in the Philippines which is connected to the main church building by a stone bridge. 

Certainly, this piece of trivia is one reason why I am so proud to be under the Parish of St. Francis of Assisi in Meycauayan.

However, the belfry is in no good condition anymore. Although the main edifice still stands strong, foliage are threatening its exterior. The interior is pretty much ruined too by dirt and too much vandalism. The bells are in no good conditions too, especially Maria Concepcion, one of the most beautifully-sounding bells in the province then.

It is the primary objective of La Voz de Dios to collect enough money to fund the restoration of the belfry. I took part on the whole team because I really wanted this cause to begin. I have always insisted that for people to advance, they have to look back on their history. The belfry is a huge part of Meycauayan's past and we all have the responsibility to take care of it, as parishioners.

Aside from the bells and the belfry, La Voz de Dios also featured the history of the actual church of the Parish of St. Francis of Assisi. Rare pictures of the structure as it gets transformed through time were displayed for everyone to see. Culture buffs would surely enjoy looking at it, discovering new things, about a place not everybody would have thought to mean so much, history-wise.

I'm not being a suck-off or anything but I really think we at the Parish Commission on Youth and the Parish Committee on Church Cultural Heritage really did a great job on this one. I honestly believe that to draw people to faith, there has to be something shallow that would attract them to it. I know this sounds ridiculous but I remember what our Religion teacher in HS said: "Let people find something they like in one thing you want them to always do. When it becomes a habit, then you take the next step by instilling in their minds what their actual purpose for doing it should be."

In my honest opinion, the exposition of the church's history could have instilled a sense of importance towards the parishioners. I won't deny that I grew more fond of my parish when I learned how colorful its history has always been. I guess this only applies to culture buffs like I am but I think the thought has become a stepping stone for some to actually practice their faith. And hopefully when they do, it will turn into something bigger that would strengthen their Catholicism more.

It has been more than a week since we opened La Voz de Dios; and we think it was too short. That is why we decided to extend it until we think we've reached enough people. If you guys are coming to Meycauayan, I wish you would stop by the Parish of St. Francis of Assisi in Poblacion, and at least take a glimpse of the wonderful heritage and history of our humble church.

La Voz de Dios
Weekdays: 8AM-5PM
Weekends: 7AM-8PM

St. Francis, Here are Thy Servants...

the teacher. the writer. the hotelier. the government worker. the banker. the priest (hehe).

I know I should be blogging about what happened yesterday; but to be honest, ideas won't flow well until I get to write about the people behind the event. I haven't slept well yet but excitement rushes in so please just excuse me if I'm gonna come up with a mess or sound like I'm kissing my own ass in this article.

Anyway, in the picture above is the Documentation and Design Team of the recently concluded Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. We were the ones responsible for La Voz de Dios, the exhibit about the Meycauayan belfry and its bells. We were also the ones in charge of taking pictures and videos, and some design stuffs needed for the event.

We are a team, but more than that... we are friends.

To be honest, the whole preparation season for the feast day wasn't as smooth as everyone must have thought. We ran out of time. We ran out of ideas. We ran out of physical energy. But I guess, when you offer your distraught, sufferings, and fatigue to give back and strengthen your faith with your friends who have the same endeavor, things will eventually fall into its proper places.

Up to this point that I haven't actually slept that much yet, it still feels amazing how we got to do what we did yesterday and the past months. If I had not been involved with these people,  I wonder if I could even get to come up with something as grand as what we planned. Friends really do help each other, and in our case, one is just so essential. 

I know a lot of things had happened yesterday but I still feel thankful to God and to St. Francis that I got the chance to take part in this exciting milestone of the parish. More than that, I feel intensely grateful that I got the chance to work with Kuya Ron (not in the picture), Kuya Marvin, Sir Robby, Celine, Luwi and Tina for something as big as this. 


Obviously, I was too busy with real life that I wasn't able to write about my regular monthly goal. And no, I'm not extending GRACE because I realized that there's just no point on it. I mean, I do want to be graceful but I think that would need all year round to master. Plus, I think it's something I cannot force to happen. I am a very loud and outgoing person, I guess I should keep it that way. 

And so I'll name October, 'REALITY'.

Here's one major principle of mine: YOU ONLY BECOME A TRUE PERSON WHEN YOU'RE REAL. Pretensions suck and would just lead you to nowhere so it's better to be who you actually are. You won't feel the burden of pleasing others, because everything you will do will be in coherence to your will. No pressure.

I also think that people should all learn to accept a certain reality intended for them. (Read destiny.) In my case, it's the fact that I'm not rich and KPOP is merely a sideline of entertainment. I have allowed six years of my life to happen around its world that I almost thought it's my reality. Hence, the idea that it is my happiness.

But it's just gonna be what it is - source of entertainment, distraction, alternative.

I guess I owe to 'growing old'. I guess six years had been enough and now I almost don't pay attention anymore. Well, I still do treasure it, as well as the friendships I made, but I suppose I just realized that there are bigger priorities in life that I should actually spend on.

And that's the real 'reality' where family and future exists.

So this October, I'll be focusing on what I actually am as a person and not on who I want myself to be. Like any other months, this is going to be a challenge but something in me dictates - and I know - that I can manage.