Sunday, October 31, 2004

Acoustic Night at Punta Villa Resort Posted by Hello

My Nephews Asked Me About God

I’ve read some forwarded emails about kids’ comments and questions about God. I found them all amusing but inwardly thought that some very creative writers must have cooked them up. I realized today, however, how endearing and innocent children actually are when they talk about God.

I was scouring the food court of Shang with my nephew Miko (now 5 years old! How fast time flies), looking for his favorite buko juice, when he asked me a question out of the blue. “Tita Ella, why is God on the cross?” This caught me off-guard. I do not have a direct hand in the Christian formation of my nephews as I leave it to their parents and teachers to do that. I am happy to be their playmate, driver, and yaya but I’m the type of Tita who returns the babies to their mommies for nappy change and avoids having to answer earth-shaking questions as much as possible. J I do not feel qualified to teach them these things because in the past, I gave them very complicated answers and received a lecture from their father (my Kuya) about it. Somehow my being “active” in Lingkod have made my friends think that I’d make the perfect godmother and they’ve passed on to me difficult, and sometimes amusing, questions their kids have asked about religion. I’ve always felt inadequate and unarmed for those questions.

I looked at Miko who was holding my hand and waiting for an intelligent answer. I replied, “It was Jesus who was on the cross, baby, and he did that to show us all that God is more powerful than the cross and death and all kinds of pain.”

He asked, “But how is God stronger than the cross? How is he strong?” Time for quick thinking, Ella, and I thought of speaking in a language my Cartoon-Network-raised nephew would appreciate. “God is very strong, He’s the most powerful person of all! Did you know that Jesus healed the sick? He made the blind see. He cured the lepers (oh no, I thought next thing I’d have to explain leprosy, but he let that pass. Something else caught his attention). And one time, He walked on water!”

Jesus can walk on water? Can He make us walk on water???”, I could see that his interest was picking. “Yes, of course! St. Peter was also able to walk on water.” Thankfully, I stopped myself from adding that San Pedro also sank after removing his eyes from the Lord and that I could relate to that experience big time, otherwise my brother would complain that I’ve planted too many grownup things in the boy’s head without explaining them properly. “Above the water and not under???” He asked again in disbelief. “Yup!” I replied, so proud once more of Jesus my Hero.

Then he turned to me, “Can Jesus make me fly?” Now that was a familiar question! As I was growing up reading about The New Mutants and The X-Men, I asked God also why He didn’t allow me to fly, which to me was the coolest power aside from reading minds. Today when I think of Heaven I imagine myself flying too. But to a five-year old, I needed a simpler answer which I wasn’t sure I had. I said, “Well I think Jesus CAN make us fly, but He’d only do that if He thought it would be for our own good.”

Why are you asking me these things?” I questioned him while I was paying for the buko juice which we finally found at the other end of the food court. “Because I saw the movie ‘The Passion of the Christ’ and I was very afraid…” Now that movie was definitely not kid-friendly! I loved it and wrote about it last April but it was not something I would recommend for kids.

Miko, don’t worry, diba in the ending Jesus was alive again without blood in his body and He was able to rise up?” I got worried how those bloody images affected him. I made a mental note to beg, borrow or even buy a Children’s Illustrated Bible or Bible Encyclopedia for him and his Kuya Luigi. They would have to learn the bible stories the way I appreciated them when I was their age – using beautiful pictures. I also had single aunts who were Catechists and who patiently explained the bible stories to me. The wheel has indeed turned… am I that single aunt now? Well this isn’t the sharing for that issue, haha.

Miko whispered, “I wasn’t very afraid, Tita Ella. I didn’t finish the whole movie. I just saw parts of it. But I remember that Jesus cut off the soldier's ear.

"Noo, it was St. Peter who cut off the man's ear, and Jesus put it back. Like magic." I attempted to explain. With that we returned to the table to join our family. Miko happily told his kuya that I told him that Jesus could walk on water.

Luigi (the 7-year-old) asked me, “Diba God is the father of Jesus?” Fresh from the NLTC, I wanted to attempt to have a scholarly answer to this but of course realized that I was not qualified to echo Dr. Jake’s lecture on the Trinity; neither was my listener interested in that. “Yes, God is the Father of Jesus. But He’s also Our Father. He’s our Big Father in Heaven!” I triumphantly replied.

And diba, Tita, Jesus is two thousand and four years old?” Hmmm, tough one, as I was tempted to have a long answer, but to simplify our lives, I simply said, “Yes.”

The ever-competitive Miko asked, “And also God?” I smiled. “No, I think God is much older than Jesus.”

Luigi asked, “How much older? Is God two thousand and seven years old?” This elicited laughter from his parents, my parents, and even the kids themselves.

I had run out of answers. I remember Jake said that Jesus was there from the beginning with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit! How do I explain Him to my nephews? I’ve given the Holy Spirit talks in the CLP but there was no way I could re-tell that for children. Could I wash my hands off that topic too, or would my conscience nag me when the time comes to teach them what I believe to be true? Should I just wait for my own children (which was my mindset before) so I could shape their young minds into the faith that’s growing deep in my heart?

I pray that I could somehow contribute to my nephews’ love for God but as to how, I would have to learn. Meanwhile they remind me of my own questions and how they have evolved through the years. I have discovered that my mind is not enough to contain all there is to know about God and I’m glad for the priests, nuns (whom I refer to as my spiritual aunts and uncles), and Lingkod elders who are around to answer my questions in a language I can understand.

Post-Movie Marathon Thoughts

If my life were made into a movie, it would have '80's music in its soundtrack.

I saw "Before Sunset" with my parents at the Shang Cineplex today. There were two other couples who looked like senior citizens in the movie house with us. Less than twenty people came to see the 1:20 p.m. showing. I learned that at the next showing, three of my friends watched without planning to bump into each other and they ended up having coffee afterwards. I would have loved to join them, but I was on driver duty. Besides, it's a Sunday - Family Day. I spend time with friends six days a week already.

I think it's great to bump into people we know at unexpected places and to be free to have coffee or tea with them afterwards. In my life-movie I would drive around the city and go on with my day running into good friends at the drug store, the gas station, and even at church. I wouldn't run into the people with whom I would rather not see, of course. I would only be with the people I love to talk to and spend time with. Of course that movie is never going to be made but I like to plan about it sometimes.

My mom didn't like "Before Sunset" as much as my father and I did. The movie revolved around two characters who did not stop talking and it thrilled us to follow their conversations and drink in the nuances in their lines. They could not stop talking about the one night they spent nine years ago, along with religion, politics, and every other topic under the sun. That looked like the perfect relationship to me, with the perfect romantic background - Paris. I love to talk and I love to listen. I can only be with a person who would love to listen to me and who would make so much sense, or make me laugh so hard, that I could spend the rest of my life listening to him. He is already part of my make-believe movie, you bet.

I must have inherited my father's passion for books and movies. A few hours after we got home, I played "50 First Dates" on DVD. This movie is about a girl who impaired her short-term memory and who had her dad, brother, boyfriend, doctor and the rest of her little island creating a comfortable life for her. I enjoyed how Adam Sandler's character made Drew Barrymore fall in love with him all over again every single day. What a totally Hollywood concept.

Upon reflection, I realized the contrast in the two movies. The first one was about all the little details that the lovers could not forget and that made them long for each other all those years that they were apart. Between the two of them, they wrote a book, a song, and two journals about their memorable night. The second movie was about how love could create a memory deeper than what medical science could predict, for the girl might have been incapable of remembering her boyfriend/fiancee/husband but everyday she is able to realize how deeply she has fallen for him, even without her memories. She was able to paint his portrait from a memory that she did not know she had, deep in her heart.

So where is love stored in our brain? I dug into my own memories of love, and chose to close them one by one immediately after.

I'd rather make up my own movie not based on memories, but on dreams. What was it the girl from "Before Sunset" said? Memories are not forever, they change as long as we live to change them. Something like that.

I'm a girl with a good memory, a computer and an Internet connection. Regarding those memories I'd rather forget, I could still change them, with or without the other characters in my life. All I have to do is write....

Saturday, October 30, 2004

GMMACQ BLs and BWMs Posted by Hello

NCM at NLTC 2004 Posted by Hello

Thursday, October 28, 2004

To Submit and/or To Bear Fruit

From Psalm 1:

1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;

2 but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.

3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.

Psalm 1, I learned during my Day of Prayer at the start of year 2004, was for me. Yes it contains the word "yield", which means to submit and/or to bear fruit and which I know is God's Word for me. Verse 3 assures me that I shall yield fruit in due season and in all that I do, I shall prosper.

Busyness during the year made me forget about this Psalm. Sometime August, I began to feel a restlessness that would not go away, and after hearing Psalm 1 again during the September anniversary prayer meeting, I felt assured once more that the Lord is speaking to me.

Then I started blogging and called this My Process of Yielding. I wrote about my plans and dreams here. I planned and dreamed some more until I went to Iloilo for eight days, where I laid everything before the Lord, for Him to show me which path to take. I asked Him what my Life Purpose or Mission was.

The sense that I got was Jeremiah 17:7-8, the theme for the conference, which was cross-referenced in Psalm 1. It's beginning to make sense.

Is it any easier to yield? Unfortunately, no. But at least I'm getting a clearer picture of where I'm headed. It's a long process.

To submit, yes, but to bear fruit in the end: this is my call. This is my hope.

Yield is the Word

yield (from Dictionary. Com)

v. tr.

a. To give forth by or as if by a natural process, especially by cultivation: a field that yields many bushels of corn.

b. To furnish as return for effort or investment; be productive of: an investment that yields high percentages.

a. To give over possession of, as in deference or defeat; surrender.
b. To give up (an advantage, for example) to another; concede.

v. intr.
a. To give forth a natural product; be productive.
b. To produce a return for effort or investment: bonds that yield well.

a. To give up, as in defeat; surrender or submit.
b. To give way to pressure or force: The door yielded to a gentle push.
c. To give way to argument, persuasion, influence, or entreaty.
d. To give up one's place, as to one that is superior: yielded to the chairperson.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Hole-in-One for the Holy One

"Hole-in-One for The HOLY ONE "
TEE OFF for the Mission

Inviting you to Lingkod Ng Panginoon's 1st ever Golf Tournament Nov 9, 2004
(Tuesday) at the Ayala Alabang Golf & Country Club.

Tournament Ticket: P2,500.00 only! Gallery tickets also available. Drive in flights of 4 and get P400 discount.

Part of the proceeds from this tournament will be given to the "He Cares" and Sigla ng Buhay Foundations. Both are outreaches for street kids and out-of-school youth.

For ticket reservation, you may get in touch with Vannie Siloterio. Her contact numbers are 373-9870, 411-3149, 0920-9017488 or you email her at

Eating Lechon Like a Pinoy Posted by Hello

Board of Judges for the Human Bingo - Tita Cloty, Tita Cely and Tita Zeny Posted by Hello

Buffet Table Posted by Hello

Tito Ric and Miko Posted by Hello

CCP Recitalist and Teacher Posted by Hello

Kamanyang ng Wika - MalvaRosa Posted by Hello

Enjoying Lunch Posted by Hello

Registration Team - Celeste, Kuya Dan and Peeya Posted by Hello

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Inheriting God's Kingdom

So much for a career change before the year ends. I don't think I'm going to relocate from QC to Makati after all. I don't think it's going to work out with The Company. When they call again, I would have to turn them down.

Part of my restlessness in the office sprung from the lack of opportunities for financial growth. I'm in a dead end job already, as there's no more room for promotion within the next seven years, at best, and for life, at worst. Working for the government requires me to chew on my ideals to sustain me from one payday to the next. I know I'm being taught to live simply. I can't even engage in any sideline, as practice of law outside of the office is strictly prohibited for court attorneys. I've had to train myself not to think of any rewards here on earth while I do what I do. I can't even write about what I do because it's confidential! For my personality, this takes a lot from me.

I took this job for good reasons. This allowed me to serve the Lord more, which is my source of happines. I've been spared from private practice that was causing me too much misery anyway. I was given a concrete chance to fight graft and corruption. I wanted this. I was happy and content before.

As a friend would say, the cloud has moved. I've started to notice little things that irritate me. I've started to search for things I knew I would never find - like a regular supply of post-its and highlighters from the government. Worse, I started to compare myself with my peers from college. Because they started working when they were 21, most of them are now successful and/or happily married. Since I started working only in 2000, I've lagged behind everyone I knew. Everyone.

Measuring my life in the meter stick of the world, no wonder I've found myself wanting more. This wasn't my usual measuring stick, however. I know God measures our lives in love.

I just came home from a prayer meeting, and our speaker talked about Inheriting God's Kingdom. She said that Jesus calls us to do His mission. I thought to myself, I feel like a missionary, serving in Lingkod and working for the government. And then she said that Jesus never assured us that it would be easy. She said that He already told us to prepare for the worst, and her exact words were, prepare for a measly salary. I wanted to raise my hand - that would be me. She said, prepare to be disappointed, frustrated, and hurt. Jesus did not invite us to a life of luxury, but to a life of challenges. I was reminded that I answered a call to follow Jesus, and yet I started counting the cost. I started complaining. I started comparing. I was miserable because I lost sight of who I was following, and where He was leading me.

Growing up in a Franciscan school, I've prayed with St. Francis :

Make me a channel of your peace,
Where there is hatred let me bring your love
Where there is injury your pardon Lord
And where there's doubt true faith in you.

O spirit grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console
to be understood as to understand
to be loved as to love with all my soul.

Make me a channel of your peace
Where there's despair in life let me bring hope
Where there is darkness, only light
And where there's sadness, ever joy.

Make me a channel of your peace,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned
In giving to all that we recieve
And in dying that we're born to eternal life

Thank you for reminding me once again, Lord, that I am where you want me to be at this time. Tame the stormy seas within me that long for treasures here on earth. Nurture in me the desire to reap my reward in heaven, my home, where you and I will be together forever. Empower me to survive this difficult path that I have chosen to take, and remind me to recognize joy where your joy is sprinkled, in my otherwise challenging world.

Dearest Lord, teach me to be generous
Teach me to serve You as I should
To give and not to count the cost
To fight and not to heed the wounds
To toil and not to seek for rest
To labor and ask not for reward
Save that of knowing that I do Your most holy will

I put my trust in you, Lord. I know you can read my heart.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

What a Wonderful World

Louis Armstrong
(George Weiss / Bob Thiele)

I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world

I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world

The colours of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shakin' hands, sayin' "How do you do?"
They're really saying "I love you"

I hear babies cryin', I watch them grow
They'll learn much more than I'll ever know
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world
Yes, I think to myself, what a wonderful world

Oh yeah

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Shameless Plugs 1

If Oprah has her Favorite Things, I see no reason why Ella cannot have her Shameless Plugs. I have several friends whose businesses I want to endorse here!

  1. Martha Mendoza-Sazon and BJ Sazon opened a bbq business in Makati Mini-Mall, Batangas St., Makati City. Only P10 per stick, super yummy! (Marts/BJ, pag marami nagpunta dahil sa endorsement ko, libre na catering niyo sa next party ko ha.)
  2. Carla San Pedro-Ondoy and her sister opened their second food stall, this time at Makati Mini-Mall (what's with this mall? Everybody's setting up a food stall there!). They sell french fries, nachos, etc. More on this later!
  3. Le Beouf at the newly-opened City Golf along Julia Vargas in Ortigas - for affordable steak dinners. P150 lang salisbury steak, the owners (Mr. and Mrs. Lachica, thank you soo much) treated us last Friday night and I promised to encourage my friends (that's all of you) to come over. If the driving range is not your thing, just go there for the great ambience. There's a building choc-full of locators to suit every golfer's family member's needs - barber shop, spa, gourmet shop, bag shop (Aranaz - think Sex and the City bags for export, featured recently at the Inquirer), bake shop, etc. - all at affordable prices. :)
  4. Rommel Escoto's Thinking Face Study Center (KUMON) at Unit 4 Thaddeus Arcade, Mayor Gil Fernando Ave (formerly A. Tuazon Ave.), San Roque, Marikina City. Mommies and daddies who live near the area, you might want to enroll your kids at Kumon, where they (allegedly, haha, never tried it as it didn't exist during my learning years) would learn Math and Reading the Kumon (read: Japanese discipline) way.
  5. My friends Paulleanore Elauria, Glecy Nolasco and Cyrill Juria will sell Naturalizer shoes and bags at unbelievably low prices this October. Please email for more details.
  6. Netgazer Internet - please visit if you need an ISP. Tama na ang prepaid Internet! Look for Mrs. Dolores Mooney and say that you were referred by Laura. Promise wala akong komisyon, but Netgazer has been my only ISP since the year 2000. :)
  7. My brother, Dante, has a company for all your digital needs - contains all the information about this. Kuya Dan is an architect-artist and more whose passion for excellence and dedication to his craft inspire a lot of people, including me.

I'll have to go for now. More shameless plugs in the future!

Saturday, October 02, 2004

What a Difference!

There are times when life seems to depend on one thing: for married couples longing to have a child, it's a matter of "positive" or "negative" (actually, for nervous lovers who don't want to have children, it's the same question, only with the opposite reaction); for bar hopefuls, it's "pass" or "fail"; for ardent suitors, it's "yes" or "no". The rest of the world does not seem to exist for the future is determined by the outcome of that single question.

For those of us who have gone through trials like these before, the waiting does not get any easier. In fact, precisely because we've come to recognize the importance of these life-and-death situations, we could even become more prone to anxiety attacks.

A couple of years ago my father had to undergo a quadruple bypass operation. He felt he did not need one but relented in the end due to the insistence of his cardiologist as well as our pleas. Since we did not have a doctor in our family, although we were all professionals, we could not concretely ensure the success of his operation; neither could we speed up the process of healing. We surrendered to those who knew how to take care of him better, and then we waited. It was not an easy thing to do. Our prayers were answered soon afterwards and he was able to go back to work in less than a month's time after his surgery. It was one of the most trying times for us but the Lord saw us through.

Recently my father said that his doctor wanted him to have an ultrasound test to check his liver. He was again brushing the matter aside, and I found myself slowly getting anxious as the day of his checkup approached, fearing a sense of deja vu. When his cardiologist finally saw the ultrasound report, he said that as he suspected, Papa's liver was merely affected by the medication he was taking, however, he saw that Papa had gallstones. He recommended a specialist to look into it further.

I could not take the suspense any longer. I offered to drive Papa to the specialist this morning so I would know the verdict immediately. I asked for prayers from friends, finding that I had reduced the situation into one question - surgery or no surgery? It was all in God's hands.

After checking Papa's medical records, interviewing him, and looking for symptoms which were not there (thankfully), the doctor said that there was no need for surgery and that Papa should just watch his diet. I felt relief surging through my body. In that one sentence, in that clear answer from the doctor, there lay a moment worthy of praise and thanksgiving to God. It may have been a small thing, what Papa had, and it may be common for men his age to have gallstones, but I would not take this for granted just because I heard the answer that I wanted.

For I know the difference between a "yes" and a "no", a "go" and a "stop", and a "pass" or a "fail". Though the Lord could spare us from any and all harm wherever He leads us, it is still a cause for rejoicing everytime He saves us from distress, anxiety, and pain!

I thank God for this wonderful news.