Thursday, January 31, 2008

From Souls to Sales

I visited Lingkod Office last night. But first, a little history for the new visitors of this blog. For the old-timers, you may want to skip the next paragraph, for I will just be repeating what I've written about several times already.

Ang Lingkod ng Panginoon is a national movement for single young professionals, and I've been an active member since the year 2000. I left my job in 2005 to be a full-time volunteer mission worker at the Lingkod National Office. My volunteer work ended on December 2006. Last year, 2007, was a long journey of finding myself: after-Lingkod, after-staffer life, after-everything. Now I'm with CD Asia, not entirely practicing as a lawyer, based on the common notion of the suit-wearing, attache case-bearing attorney, but selling products and services to lawyers and other professionals.

So about last night, I scheduled a catch-up dinner with a good friend who had graciously stayed on as a full-time Lingkod staffer, Regine. Since she had so much work to do (taking on what 4 people used to accomplish), Regine asked me to pass by the office first before our dinner.

I had to pause before replying to her text. Normally I would want to visit Lingkod office - to see old friends and familiar surroundings. But for the past several days, I'd been having some withdrawal symptoms about my Lingkod service. I missed it, them, me, when I was still a Lingkod member and then staffer. I had conversations with God on my morning drive to work that consisted of endless why's as to heart's desires and reality bites.

Regine's invitation came at a time when I wasn't emotionally prepared to visit Lingkod. I wanted my visit to be full of life, for me to be the classic ex-staffer, bringing in food and cheer to the holy people serving the Lord through Lingkod mission work, 24-7. Instead, as I pictured myself entering the familiar door, I couldn't fight back tears.

I had no choice, however, but to wait for Regine in the office. Thinking the others would have gone home anyway and I didn't have to bring pasalubong or snacks anymore, I proceeded to the office, empty-handed. I found my old parking spot waiting for me. The security guard, thankfully, recognized my face, although he had to ask me for my name again. I had mixed feelings as I walked through the mini-garden and went up the stairs.

This Used to be My Playground, sung by Madonna for the film "A League of Their Own", played in my head. Such drama.

When I opened the door, a new office layout greeted me. Full-time and volunteer staffers welcomed me with hugs and smiles. I was glad to see the improvements they had made in the office layout. I sat on my old chair and touched my old table. I tried to look at every nook and cranny of the office, which as Administrator I used to know by heart.

The brothers and sisters commented that I looked like I was enjoying my new job. They asked our company, which had been a close ally of Lingkod all these years, to sponsor a fundraising concert by Bukas Palad on February 16 at Clarkfield in Pampanga. (Please view the promotional video here). Two Lingkod members talked business with me, asking me to demonstrate our products' features and to explain our services.

I was there and yet I wasn't there.

I went home late last night and had a short time of reflection. Of course, I still had not found myself, or at least, the box that I wanted to put myself neatly in. No longer a staffer, I had yet to embrace my new job. Really. God reminded me of His word to me - "Own it. Claim it. I was the One who gave it to you."

I begged the Lord's indulgence once more, to give me a little more time before I could fully embrace, claim, and own my new life as a person who was not in charge of winning souls , but of closing sales. After giving so much of myself to Lingkod, I could not as easily offer the same amount of my heart, mind, soul, and strength to another endeavor, no matter how worthwhile.

I told myself to remember that it is the same God behind everything, and it is to Him I should give my all. That wherever and whomever He calls , He enables. That He has spoken and His Word is true. My head knows this. My heart is taking a longer time to follow.

I'm grateful that the Lord is ever patient in waiting for me. For us. So I tread on without understanding, or knowing, what lies ahead, or what the big picture is. I walk carefully the path that is before me, and leave everything in the hands of The One to whom I belong.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Judging Heath and Other Stories

This morning, I could not afford to press the Snooze button on my iHome because I had to be in the office before 7a.m. Two things caused this break in my usual schedule - I promised my sister I'd pick her up from the airport tonight, and I needed to avoid the car ban for plate numbers ending in 8. Despite my body's complaints for ten minutes more of precious snoozing, I forced myself to sit up, say a quick prayer, gulp down instant coffee (no time to brew), take my short-version shower, and drive to the office in my slippers and without makeup.

I encountered the early-risers on the road who were no less violative of simple traffic rules than my classmates on the second or third shift of the morning rush. They still cut corners, created illegal counter-flows, and crammed their vehicles on every space conceivable without considering the consequences to the rest of humanity. It was not a leisurely drive, therefore, as I didn't want to be fined for the after-7a.m. use of my car.

Upon reaching the St. Paul-Pasig area five minutes before 7, I encountered a traffic jam. There was probably a school event, and a security guard motioned for us to take a detour. I asked him why, he said the drivers up ahead each insisted on his own way, and thus blocked the road. As I was turning right for the detour, tears streamed down my face due to frustration. I mentally prepared my script for when the MMDA would accost me for driving beyond the allowable period. Thankfully, my prayers were answered and I did not see a single man-in-blue until I reached our office at 7:18 a.m. I was the first to press my finger on the biometric machine, and I made history. I heaved a sigh of relief.

I heard on Wave 89.1 that a church group was going to picket Heath Ledger's funeral because according to them, the late actor was a pervert who starred in Brokeback Mountain, and they were certain that he went straight to hell. I found myself lashing out mentally, while driving along Katipunan Road, at the leaders of that group for their judgmentalism. I contemplated writing them a short email asking, "Where is the Memo delegating you as Judges?" Hello!

So curious was I that I visited their website. The name alone explained where they were coming from - I found them at I realized how different their world was entirely from mine - because the website was full of little banners showing whom God hated, and was backed up with Bible passages that were obviously taken out of context. It seemed that the God of this church hated everyone except, maybe, the members of Westboro Baptist Church.

For those who are wondering, Heath Leadger is the Australian actor who was found dead in his New York apartment a couple of days ago. He was only 28 years old, and he left behind a baby, who would grow up fatherless. News of his death shocked the whole world because he was a talented, handsome, and young actor. I did not write this to defend him, but I just felt like voicing out my thoughts, so shocked was I that people could easily throw labels like "pervert" and condemn actors just because of their roles. If actors could get in trouble in the afterlife for whatever movies they took part in on earth, then there would be multitudes rotting in hell, even if their crime was only being good actors, and there would be a corresponding crowd gathered in heaven, whose only claim to eternal life was playing the role of holy people in their movies. The logical fallacy is enough to make me blog so early in the morning!

I just could not see the connection, how his part in one movie could make these people so sure that he landed in hell, just because he played the role of a practicing homosexual. I myself did not like the concept behind the movie, and I refused to watch it. That was how I stood up for my faith. But I could not see the WBC's need to use the name of God and make illogical conclusions, not to mention blacken the memory of one who was dead.

But with a group like WBC who was born to picket, it would be folly for someone like me to pick a fight over this. Or I could turn out to be someone who hated and who blogged about it, and probably get enough attention, but whose actions would not be backed by solid Scriptural basis.

I would rather we all lived in love of Christ and what He taught us, and let others be- whether they were actors playing gay characters, drivers disobeying traffic rules (yes me guilty of judgmentalism this morning as well!), or ministers leading their flock. For Christ would be the one to sit on Judgment Day, to separate the goats from the sheep, to declare who were His followers, and to deny those who denied Him and His teachings. This power had not been delegated to us human beings.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Inspirational Blog

There's a new inspirational blog, and, you guessed it, it's not mine!

My good friend, colleague, and brother in community, Atty. Bobby Quitain, another one of them lawyers-by-day-missionaries-at-heart, has joined the blogging world and launched a new inspirational blog. Visit Bobby Q at

Bobby will post bible reflections daily. He's a gifted preacher and writer, and through this blog he aims to gives some hope, inspiration, and encouragement to his visitors everyday.

His wife Jeng advised him to visit my blog and I gave him a disclaimer. This blog is not updated daily and worse, I'm not always inspirational or encouraging in my posts. If some found hope in my experiences, those were unintentional, albeit most welcome, results.

In fact I've been trying in vain to write a sharing for the past two years. This dry spell is taking too long.

So hop on to Bobby's blog. Come back here when you want to browse through archives of photos, plugs, passions, and persecutions of the little blogger-in-waiting. I'm not sure when real posts are going to show up here again.

Only by grace, as in everything.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Passion vs Reason

I don't remember the last time I've written anything substantial in this blog (Read: I'm too lazy to check my own archives!). I've uploaded various photos, answered inane slum book questions, and posted several announcements, but I haven't written anything in a long time.

Tonight I attempted to bravely see my thoughts "on paper" again, perhaps because I had dinner with a writer-friend and her husband, The Coach. We talked about our passions and frustrations, as well as our dreams and challenges. We shared about how we lived out our Christian faith in the context of our respective careers. We tried to understand how God was working in each of our lives.

While on my way to the office this morning, I already knew I had a dinner appointment with them tonight. When I heard a radio commercial asking, "Ikaw, may passion ba ang buhay mo?" (You, is there passion in your life?), I refused to answer in my head. I brushed away the thought. And then I remembered that I might have to face the question again tonight, when I share a meal with a friend who pursued her passion - and left lawyering for good in order to do so.

In some struggle between reason and passion, I wondered if I sold out somehow. I wondered about this all day, even while working, and especially on the ride home from my dinner appointment.

Who needs these thoughts?! Yet I can't brush them away tonight.

I, a person who loved to read, write, sing, and dance, became head of Marketing and Sales, a target-ridden and pressure-laden position. It seemed like a compromise, that if there had to be some speck of the legal profession I wanted to be part of, then I reckoned it would be Legal Research and Training, and I went into that.

I, a former full-time Lingkod staffer, who read Christian books rather than the Business Pages of newspapers, have had to adapt to the new demands of my job. I've had to tap skills I never thought I had and to summon ideas I never knew I could produce. I've had a dazed and lost look for months now.

I struggled with keeping my prayer time and being on time for work. But I told myself that I had preached about these things to the single young professionals of Lingkod before. I found myself being confronted with the exact same challenges that were so easy for me to dismiss, just because they were not mine. Back then, when I was BWM, I lived five minutes away from my former office and had a results-oriented position, meaning, no bundyclock or biometric time in/time out system. I lived ten minutes away from the prayer meeting venue and had the free use of my father's car. Of course it was easy for me to manage my time and to serve God while having a career then.

In my present position, the long drive, the traffic, the biometric machine, the amount of work, and my own ignorance at many things, all proved to be too challenging to maintain my previous schedule of daily mass, long prayer time, multifarious services, and unlimited fellowship nights.

I wondered if this - my job - was where my heart's desire met the world's need. Then I started wondering again what my heart's desire was. When you sweep things under the rug, you tend to not want to see the mess you've made underneath. You'd like, as much as possible, to step on the rug!

I don't really have an answer tonight. But at least I faced the questions once more. I also made myself count my blessings and to be grateful to God for them.

I don't need to know the answers right now. I could die and not know. It wouldn't make a difference to the world.

Yeah, right. Of course it would make a difference, a world of difference, in how I lived my life and served my God.

But really I'm clueless as of yet. I'm either too busy or too scared to face this reality.

It's easier to just keep workin'. Just keep workin'.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Iskolar na Walang Magawa

Dahil centennial ng U.P. at di ko napanuod ang fireworks nung kickoff dahil sa work, at dahil brain freeze na ako at overtime sa dami ng work, sasagutin ko na lang ang islambook questions para sa mga Iskolar ng Bayan na galing sa blog ni Ted.

1. Student number?
91-06012 (first question pa lang, buking na ang edad)

2. College?
School. of Economics.
College of Law.

3. Course?
Business Economics

4. Nag-shift ka ba o na-kickout?
Muntik na. Pareho. Haha.

5. Saan ka kumuha ng UPCAT?
U.P. Diliman :)

6. Favorite GE subject?
Humanities I under Prof. Tess Isidro. (reaction lang kay Ted, nung panahon namin hindi na G.E. ang Psych 101. But I liked it as well.)

7. Favorite PE?
Social Dance

8. Saan ka nag-aabang ng hot girls/guys sa UP?
Sa Eng'g. :D

9. Favorite prof(s)
Hmm. Hirap nito...

Prof. Tess Isidro,
sa Econ sorry wala,
sa B.A. Prof. Emerlinda Roman
sa Law, Prof. Albert Muyot, Prof. Jacinto (Corpo), Prof. Theodore Te (na hindi ko teacher, Supervising Lawyer instead)

10. Pinaka-ayaw na GE subject.
Wala. GE lang nagpahila ng subjects ko eh. Ay teka baka P.E. I. Na pinilahan ko ng DALAWANG ARAW, 5 am start ng 2nd day ko, para makapag-enlist.

11. Kumuha ka ba ng Wed or Sat classes?
Nung undergrad hindi. Sa law school oo, required na eh.

12. Nakapag-field trip ka ba?
Ahh yes! Lucban, Quezon for the Pahiyas Festival (sit in sa summer class ng kapatid ko, Hum yata)
Cavite, Batangas, Laguna, Rizal area for my summer P.I. 100 (Rizal course) class.
Di ako umattend sa field trip sa Environmental Law class ko, ayun 3.0 tuloy binigay sakin.

13. Naging CS ka na ba or US sa UP?
Yes, those were the days.

14. Ano ang Org/Frat/Soro mo?
Christ's Youth in Action (CYA)
Economics Society (ECOSOC)
Organization of Business Economics Majors (OBEM)
U.P. School of Economics Student Council
Women in Law
UP Law Student Government (org ba 'to? basta...)
Gabay (a Malcolm-based political party )
Sidhi newsletter
Haraya yearbook (na never lumabas)
Meron pa pero di ko maalala at present.

15. Saan ka tumatambay palagi?
Undergrad - Sa tambayan ng Masci Batch '91, na naki-squat lang sa tambayan ng isang frat at ng Sangkamalayan (vinandalize pa namin iyong tambayan name nila into SangkaMaScian), sa may steps ng former Registrar katapat ng A.S. at katabi ng CASAA; nung 3rd-4th year Econ lobby lang
Law - library! Para magpa-xerox at chumika.

16. Dorm, Boarding house, o Bahay?
Nag-rent ng room shared with a blockmate, nag-apartment with 4 blockmates, pero mostly, bahay, in my 8 years in U.P.

17. Kung walang UPCAT test at malaya kang nakapili ng kurso mo sa UP, ano yun (Given ang mentality mo nung HS ka)?
Law, wala nang pre-law.
Piano/ Music
Journalism/ or Creative Writing
So bakit ako nag-Econ? E kasi. Quota course, na mataas daw passing rate sa LAE. Ayun lang.

18. Sino ang pinaka-una mong nakilala sa UP?
Madaya ako kasi pagpasok ko, 98 kami batchmates from MaSci and we stuck together for 2 years.
Siguro blockmates ko sa Econ.
Sa UP law, marami akong friends from Econ, pero orientation pa lang chummy na kami ni Karreen! And 4 whole years of law school. Up to now.

19. First play na napanood mo sa UP?
Siyaks. Ang hirap. Marami akong plays na napanuod, pero matagal na yun. Meron si Aureus nag-direct, merong Bacchae, Waiting for Godot, marami pang iba. Favorite ko Salome.

20. Name the 5 most conyo orgs in UP
Org lang hindi sorority?
Siguro, AIESEC, JPIA, ECOSOC (uyy feeling), IBA, KEM. I'm not sure ha. Don't quote me on this.

21. Name 5 of the coolest orgs/frats/soro in UP.
I wouldn't know really. I loved OBEM and CYA a whole lot.

22. May frat/soro bang nag-recruit sa yo?

23. Saan ka madalas mag-lunch?
Undergrad - Kamia, CASAA, Beach House (da best bbq! namiss ko tuloy), Anne's, Full House
Law - ay sosyal ang blockmates ko. Cravings, Chocolate Kiss, Trellis, basta naikot namin lahat ng malapit sa UP na restos.

24. Masaya ba sa UP?
Walang kaparam!

25. Nakasama ka na ba sa rally?
Oo, Iskolar ng Bayan, ngayon ay lumalaban...

26. Ilang beses ka bumoto sa Student Council?
Di ko alam, di ko maalala. Apathetic ako until I ran for local elections, i.e., Econ student council at LSG. Siguro maximum of 4x. Hehe.

27. Name at least 5 leftist groups in UP
Nasabi ko bang apathetic ako? Tsaka ignorante.

28. Pinangarap mo rin bang mag-laude nung freshman ka?
Libre namang mangarap sabi nung teacher ko.

29. Kanino ka pinaka-patay sa UP?
dead na dead as in patay na patay? Crush, you mean? Wag na patayin na natin sa limot. :))

30. Kung di ka UP, anong school ka?
Nung undergrad, pumasa rin ako nag Ateneo (Legal Management) at PLM (Psychology).
Nung law, pumasa rin ako ng Ateneo at San Beda.
Pero UP or Nothing ang mantra namin nung high school. :)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The One With Everyone in It

With my parents, sisters, brothers, sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, and nephews. Taken on November 11, 2007 at L'Aqua, Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia, during the reception after Danny and Lani's wedding.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Send Youth to World Youth Day

Let's help send youth delegates to the World Youth Day in Sydney on July 2008.

We're raising funds to help them with plane fare, registration fees, and pocket money.

If you want to know more about our youth ministry, Youth Alive, under the Missionaries of God's Love, please go to this site.

You may email me at for inquiries as to where to send your donations.

You may also visit our parish website, which is still under construction at

Thank you and God bless!