Monday, December 31, 2007

With Gratitude

Manila time- We have just written off the year 2007 and made it history.

Like the past years, 2007 had its share of misfortunes and series of unpleasant events around the world. Despite that, there were countless blessings that we each received in the year that was- there were true friends who held our hands when confusions bottled up; the presence of children who constantly reminded us to seek joy in simple things; the influence of people who openly shared their stories of adversities to inspire with triumph in the end; and the unwavering support of loved ones who stood by us in all-weather conditions.

This piece comes with gratitude to all who brought us joy in the year 2007. We appreciated, too, the opportunities that allowed us to be more humane and more refined. We acknowledged the boundless blessings given to us and we forge ourselves to keep it multiplying by living our purpose and being a worthy fellow for others.

Here's to a more abundant year ahead with good health and infectious joy. Thank you and cheers!!!

Happy New Year!!!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Is Santa Claus from China?

Christmas day was the most awaited day for my children, Rica and Adrian. They woke up early and headed to where their socks were hanging to check their gifts from Santa Claus. They wrote a letter a month ago so they were quite sure, Santa will be there to give what their parents couldn't give.

They did get their presents but not the expensive ones that they have specifically asked for. While my son was oblivious to what was happening around and was busy toying with his new yoyo, I noticed my daughter was checking some things on the gift. She was mumbling that there's a bar code. She lifted the paper bag and then looked at the bottom of it. She probably can't wait to kill her curiosity and blurted out, "Is Santa from China? How come all his gifts and even paper bags are made from China?" ;o) Hohoho! 'Tis the season to be jolly!

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Writing this for my School Director/Principal, Fr. Ed, for the 3rd issue of our school publication.

Christ is the Reason

The mad rush to shop for dear children, loved ones and close friends is here. The tradition of giving at this time of the year is unstoppable. We remember the joy of receiving when we were once kids and we pay the kindness forward by tangible gifts to let them know that we are thankful for their presence in our lives. We give and we share until we can. In a subtle way, we pass on the kind of valuing to the children who mirror our ways. It is a good thing that, over the years, we have managed to become more spiritual, more educated and more practical in toning down extravagant celebrations in deference to our less fortunate brothers and to the coming days after the festive season of giving.

More than the glittering lights, colorful gifts and overflowing food on our table, the preparation for the season is really about the joyful welcoming of the baby in the manger, Jesus Christ. Beyond fleeting material presents, the best gift that we can give Him is to let Him reside in our hearts and allow Him to be our constant companion in life by increasing our faith and love. Lest we forget that He is the reason for this merry season.

As we prepare, we pause and offer a moment for each migrant worker in the family who is away from home and is part of the diaspora that has become a way of life in third world countries. Togetherness is what each of them may yearn for- to be like the Holy Family. May no one feel hunger and coldness in their hearts in the face of progress. May they be strong in their resolve to keep their families intact and put emphasis on the sacrifices that have ushered to them more blessings. May it be an assurance that the hopeful Christmas spirit reaches out to one and all.

As a Christian community, may we devote more quiet time to renew our relationship with Christ. May we be more aware of His loving presence through the gentle hearts of our families and glad tidings of everyone.

A blessed Christmas and a prosperous New Year!

Friday, December 14, 2007


While browsing on my recovered files, I chanced upon a speech I wrote below. This was delivered by my former Section Head on behalf of the FSI Director for the new Philippine Foreign Service Officers who completed the Cadetship Program in April 2005. This was my last year at DFA and quite nostalgic, I liked this batch for the pleasant memories I had with them.

It is time. To all of you, our Junior Foreign Service Officers, who are about to face the “real world,” congratulations! I know that almost everyone is eager to live his or her dream of being a full-fledged diplomat. You all will be in no time.

While a few may be hoping that there could be more hours of lectures in preparation for the future tasks ahead, the best training there is, is actually when you get to do the job. FSI has helped prepare you for your future roles but it is out there where you will truly learn what it means to be a Filipino Diplomat.

And after more than six months of training, albeit in a condensed time frame, you have beautifully metamorphosed. I am certain that you are now more than ready to carry out your responsibilities as Foreign Service Officers.

I remember when you first came, each of you possessed different personalities so hard to contain. There were those who were quick to assert themselves; others just critically watched on; some were contented of “diplomatically” sharing their two cents worth; while few have skillfully mastered putting humor on instances when lecturers arrive late, when the batch seems to be going through a little tension or when light moments permit.

Though your strong personalities may not have been tempered and may have even been made stronger by the knowledge you have acquired, you managed to team build and appreciate each other’s idiosyncrasies.

Remember that your batch will be your source of strength--your anchor when you are drifting from your purpose as an FSO and your guide when things aren’t the way they ought to be. You belong to this batch. Bear in mind that one’s little accomplishment is for everyone. One’s failing may reflect on the rest. Thus, it is my hope and prayer that that you will all be proud and supportive of each other.

As travelers, your journey has just begun. Keep your feet firmly on the ground. May your never lose sight of your personal mission and may your commitment in your work never wane.

We, at FSI, will miss you. On a personal note, I’d like to say that I enjoy having you around and being of service to all of you.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

This Way to Happy Ending

Nel found her great love and they lived happily ever after. That's fast forward.

Imagine if stories begin with endings, it is half palatable as going through the motions of how all things started. Nel wanted to share her peculiar tale which is worth rewinding that everyone may take every bit of fun in this sometimes seriously, mean world. Her life is as enchanting as every woman's adventure in finding their own McDreamy in this land away from faraway land. Be her guest and witness her crossings.

She has given her downpayment for her own house and lot in Cavite province. That was her dream house where Nel intended to build her own family and raise her kids. She has pictured this vividly and it was ok for her to be acquiring the property instead of her boyfriend who was, at that time, struggling to review for his Accounting board exams. They will soon become one and with a baby in the offing, everything was in place. Nel planned to continue pouring in monthly contribution to her parents and siblings even if she has already settled. This was the life she has been accustomed to- free from fancy stuff, simple and happy with the basics to save her loved ones from taking tattered lives.

They all thought that she was getting married. She knew it would happen sooner than her growing tummy until she discovered that her man was moonlighting to an old lady vamp who made herself believe it's alright to take a young hapless looking man from a pregnant lady. As in every love story, there was a struggle. Nel did and her man, appeared to be under an evil spell, was running dry of good emotions and spinning webs of lies to be able to walk out of their relationship that will give him big responsibilities.

Nel gave birth with no one but her supportive mother on her side. A night before she was about to be discharged, she learned about the incurred hospital bill and there was no way for her to pay it unless someone withdraws thru her ATM. That someone had to be her. Weak and very much recovering from giving birth, she literally walked her life from Lourdes Hospital to Cherry Foodarama Supermarket, Mandaluyong City.

When he was least needed and everything was settled, the man whom Nel loved so much came to see them. This time, appearing regretful and taking his part on the word "us" for the cute baby. The kind Nel accepted him with forgiveness. There was no way but for this man to change, she thought, especially when their son gave that sense of awakening for them to be more responsible as parents. She forgave and eventually forgot the lesson of the past that she ought to love herself before him. She later learned that she was in for another surprise for her man was up and running another affair.

At work, she had another life. She was lucky to be sent to Switzerland for a training and was able to get her son a medical insurance coverage. She was hush-hush about her sordid past and determined to be loved for love alone without bringing up her son's existence. That will come when life is kinder to her. But Nel, oh Nel, was an amateur to the high tech international organization that she is into. She hit the "send to all" button revealing her status to all the employees and international officials which she initially prefers to be discreet about. What could have been an uncomfortable mounds of concealing her past turned out to be a relief for a multitude of open arms reached out to her as a gesture of acceptance and respect from newfound friends and coworkers.

Nel has learned that love is a game of chance. She may be hurt but that does not mean that she is giving up the search. She is the most assertive and most courageous in finding love over the net. Whoever would not agree that love may come in the form of another man, from Nel's point of view, is losing her delectable desire for life.

She is funny yet she feels "seasonal" pangs too. She does not fret about it though. Nel is in the process of loving herself more. She still eats with much gusto, with cupfuls of rice and filling her appetite to the rafters!
What is important now is the consolation that her friends accept her the way she is, her loved ones stand by her and her son inspires her to become a better person.

Out there is a man wondering about her kind. That just man may be as happy as Nel being able to bounce back to life after a bad fall. That man echoes her sentiment that no one is lonesome unless by choice. The throbbing of her heartbeat tells her that some well deserved man will sweep her off her feet. That's why she is taking the path to love even if it may mean a long travel for her. Nel doesn't mind. She knows she will get there and for all her painstaking extra challenge in life, we must be in one with her believing that true love is hers to find.

Nel isn't afraid to share her photo. I don't know what got into her when she asked me to write about her. She's bravely wanted to publish this one (when, for her protection, I'm more reluctant to do it for her).