Tuesday, December 28, 2010


---That humble, gentle Saint of the Catholic Church, Cure of Ars, rightly said:

" Humility is to the virtues what the chain is to the rosary. Remove the chain, and all the beads escape. Take away humility, and all the virtues disappear." ---

Man is made to think that he is invincible. Truth is, it's not all about you. If you know who you are in the eyes of God --- that's what truly matters. And that's all you need to know.


"Four basic premises of writing --
clarity, brevity, sincerity, and humanity."
(William Zinsser)

This is what I tell friends who ask what guides me in the writing. Sincerity tops the list, to my mind. Plenty of topics to write on or about perhaps but I'd rather pick something I feel sincere and honest about. So that when I'm found to be either right or wrong... Well, that'll be my honest right or wrong. :-) Makes for a wonderful learning environment.


Images came to life one day as I sat by the window looking out to a dull day. That of a young girl in high school and a best friend who saw herself as insignificant incompetent. That of an office-mate who didn't think that he could deserve a promotion. That of a niece who thought herself to be a loser. But all three were good at some talent or skill. I remember them so well.

Then came one day when.......

---Dina was pushed by her English teacher to join a campus essay contest. She came out besting the best. She was sent off to represent the school in a national competition; won that.
---James was sent by his boss to handle a project at their provincial branch office. He improved their sales dramatically within a year. He became the manager of that branch.
---Leah was asked by an uncle to assist in an NGO sponsored community activity for street children. The children adored her. She later headed similar community activities and became known for her highly-rated organizational skills and efficiency.

Sometimes we don't get to know our potential nor see the spark of genius within our selves. Sometimes we need a little push from someone who sees us for what we are.. one who sees our genius or potential. And when that happens, it now becomes our responsibility to let it shine even so much more. There can no longer be an excuse for not letting our star shine and shine even brighter. We should aspire to do what we do best at anytime, any place, with whoever is sent us, with every opportunity that knocks on our doors. We should be who we are constantly consistently unbendingly uncompromisingly... regardless... because that's who and what we are. The best is our yardstick. The goal is to live life with our best.

"Good, better, best. Never let it rest until good be better and better best."
-- Mother Goose rhyme

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


The big day is just a few days away now. Here's a heartfelt wish prayer and blessing to you, friends visible and invisible:


May God's grace peace and love
be with you all on Christmas Day and the rest of your life.
Stay blessed, be blessed, and essentially be a blessing to others
with every gift of a new day.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


"Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you're not really losing it. You're just passing it on to someone else." - Mitch Albom

I think he's right. One may give up something.. so that someone else could hold on to his. A mother leaves her comfort zone so that her children could keep theirs. A husband, father, son, brother goes to war so that his family and other families more will have peace. A young doctor turns his back to a lucrative job abroad to serve the sick poor in the far-flung areas of the islands. Sacrifice indeed is a part of life. The list is long and it's the same old story told many different ways everywhere.

Many say that we have a dearth of heroes in our times. I beg to disagree to that. We have plenty of heroes in our midst then and now and tomorrow yet. Silent - unspoken - unknown - unrecognized heroes. I believe that for as long as people know love and learn to love so well -- sacrifice will continue to be a relevant part of life. It's love's true and noble expression... and divine.


"We move through places every day that would never have been if not for those who came before us. .." (Mitch Albom)

Consider the roads & bridges we travel which people have built, the food on our table which people have grown, our families & homes put together by generations before us. Everything passes through different minds hearts & hands who toiled at it before we came. And now.. it's our turn to make a difference too.

There is much to do still as life-the world-people continue to evolve. And everyone is to contribute to that with who we are and what we may know. We cannot simply sit by and watch it roll out and not be taken along or not get involved. We too must work at it just as others do.

As we now are enjoying the works of those who came before us, so must we work at life so that others in the future may enjoy that life too. We are given our talents, minds, hearts, and able bodies not solely for personal gain.. it's for so much more. And that so much more is to make a big difference. And if you ask me what that is... I'll say it's being the best of who and what you are.

Friday, December 10, 2010


My tree continually evolves changing through every passing of time year after year after year. Sometimes it's so sparse with barely a tinsel hanging on its branches. Tough times but the Christmas spirit kept alive with love all around from everybody near or far. Then again in another year there would be tiny rag dolls the size of a finger in colorful peasant dresses. Yes indeed it was for three little girls who just love dolls. In other years the tree would be laden with very small bells or balls or shimmering ribbons or light cotton angels or butterflies speckled with glitter dust or tiny Santas made out of red yarn. And there was that year when I created miniature gift boxes tied in red and green ribbons. But whatever the theme on the tree, it would never be without Christmas lights.. circling the tree from top to bottom.. twinkling like stars up in the night sky. Sometimes we put one which twinkled in step with its pre-recorded Christmas music.

This year my tree, the same one we've had for some years now, is trimmed with tinsel and decor of past four Christmases --- it holds both the old and the new. For me...

- a Christmas tree is not just a Christmas tree. It doesn't only stand there as another form, one of many, in celebrating the season. Rather it stands tall & proud a witness to dozens of Christmases past, of celebrations with family & friends, of memories of precious love and sharing, of countless blessings. It bears witness to eternal hope, courage, trust, belief, faith, familial love and God. All Christmas trees in homes everywhere, I think, bear that message. I love Christmas trees!


Monday, December 6, 2010


My best friends and I got together for lunch like we always do each month. Oh it's the usual updates and chit-chat ladies do when they come together... family, children, home, and work. Well, one still holds on to a 9-5 job. Sez she's not ready for retirement yet.. at least not for another year or two. Anyway we talk about anything and everything.. people, things, events, the world and life.

Marie, that's not her real name, is the internet freak.. blogs, emails, chats, and does her research work online too. She's got about 300 people on her network list. How she connects with all 300 makes me wonder. But this time she was complaining because some on her friends list have left without even saying bye. They just disappeared. And she's beginning to wonder if it's her fault or something. Then all eyes were suddenly on me. "What??" I said. Gina spoke "Well, you're the one with more history with your blog.." "And so?" I countered. But they looked at me even more intensely. You know when the ladies do that, you just got to give in or eat your chocolate mousse elsewhere.

"Okay. Just because you have 300 or more people on your friends list does not necessarily mean that everybody's your friend... if friends like you and me is what you mean. But it does mean that 300 people like what you're doing with your online page.... your profile, photos, stuff you write. And the interaction that follows it becomes such a joy.

But as much as you may want to keep them forever, you can't. Life won't let you. Because in the same strange ways that life brings people or strangers together... it also can take them apart. Most times not through their own fault or liking but rather because life has other things in store for them.

Life and living is constant movement, motion, change, and journey sparing no one. We might like to be at that one place and time forever as we savor its moment in our lives, but that's not what it's all about. Time moves on and we must move on along with it. Families grow, friendships transform, people and fortunes change, priorities continually shifting, babies are born - old people die, everything happens when it happens.

So the 300 on your friends list will continually be shifting and moving... some towards you and then some away from you. What a wise man once said, in essence it went this way, that....

People come into your life in many different ways....

-- some will come to you, stay for awhile, and leave
-- others will come perhaps stay longer than long
-- then several will simply be passing through
-- and then again several will come, leave, and never return

True, isn't it? Don't despair, It's not about you. They have their reasons. Trust life to hand it out to them. It's the same old story told repeatedly from one person to another, online or in real time. But you know what, nothing can quite compare with it.... people when they come into your life enrich your life. Never mind if it's just for awhile. Enjoy and cherish it while it lasts. It's still a precious gift and is there for a definite reason -- to help you become the person you were meant to be. It often works both ways ... that too is by God's design."

"Okay, anymore questions, ladies??" as I looked at their intent faces poised round the table.

"Yeah. How bout a toast to friends and friendships!!" says Marie. Happily in the midst of laughter coffee cups came together unanimously for the rousing toast. By the way, the chocolate mousse was simply divine!!

Monday, November 29, 2010


I like it when people are so nice. But when i come across unpleasant characters, it makes me think.... What has happened to make that person the way he is --to others, to life, to the world, to himself.

Nothing ever happens without reason. It could be a long or short story but there is a story to be found in that person. In every one of us, in fact. We've come to this point of our lives pushed by events, experiences, decisions, and the often called 'things beyond our control' stuff.

I believe this to be true... -- "Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."

Life spares no one. Even the strongest or the richest man on earth is up against something or someone. So then understand, look kindly at him, try to see beyond what you see. You'll find that he is just like you and me... fighting his battles too.

Monday, November 22, 2010


This question comes from a friend...

I read this line in a blog.Do you agree? It is like this.
We have been forgiven by God many times, for the mistakes that we made.
In the same way, we have to forgive others. That makes God smile.
Then all kinds of miracles can happen
Is it possible to forgive always?

As God's children, we are instructed to forgive in the same manner that God forgives us. But then it's easier said than done because we, bigger fools than we think ourselves to be, are more inclined to harbor hurt and pain longer than we should. We think too much pouring in reasons and excuses not to forgive. Funny but I don't understand where this comes from despite the repeated exhortations---- we're more inclined towards huge egos, so much pride, hate fear vindictiveness and suspicion. Such dark feelings will leave no room for love's light to thrive or flourish. Remember how often we've been told that 'we can't give what we don't have'.

I think my pet dog Maxie has a better understanding of forgiveness. Because no matter how i scold her for some mistake, she would always come to me and offer me the same love over and over again, regardless if i had hurt her or was deserving of it or not. If that isn't a show of forgiveness, what else is! I love my dog; even if she were naughty repeatedly i would love her still and too forgive her mischief each time. I learned that much from her. Oh but there is much that people can learn from animals. Things such as devotion - loyalty - unconditional love... Dogs can teach us a thing or two about that. Just as nature teaches us about the art of life and living. Teaching is not and never is the monopoly of human beings. Everything is a teacher or teaches ... to one who is eager to learn. All that is required is an open and welcoming mind.. and to see with the eyes in one's heart.

Yes, 'it is possible to forgive always'.... it springs from a heart that loves.

I guess that is how Jesus lived his life on earth.... loving people. Love makes forgiving easy. God's love is the greatest love of all. Tough act to follow for mere mortals like us... but nothing is stopping us from ever trying.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


An except from an email sent me by a friend ... "Instead, he learned that mistakes were just opportunities for learning something new, which is, after all, what scientific experiments are all about. Even if the experiment "doesn't work," we usually learn something valuable from it. Make mistakes, you learn from them . . . . but never repeat mistakes . . . ." (Unquote)

It's been spoken and written lots of times before. So have I written too. That can't be said often enough. Because it's going to be there until we agree to learn or care to listen.

What life guarantees is an ample measure of life questions - lessons - discovery - challenge - mystery - search - problems - tests, as a rule. And to these we are asked to put in no less than our courageous involvement and commitment. As Mom told me long ago... "Life does not send us answers but rather sends us questions and challenges to attach answers to."

However if we so fear or dread the difficulty pain or discomfort that learning entails, then we probably won't be doing much in our lives as we would be simply coasting along in mediocrity. And dreams will simply remain dreams. We should try to shake away that fear, go ahead and step out into the unknown. So what if we should make mistakes. That's okay too. Nothing can kill us but our own thoughts. Everybody makes mistakes - great men and women in history may have bungled their jobs in some and probably felt miserable about it. But they didn't let it stop them. Instead they kept on at their tasks, bungled some more perhaps, and yet kept on until at last their concerted efforts met with success. Now we enjoy the fruits of their hard work and making our lives easy.

We can do the same. It's just in looking at mistakes the way they saw it to be --- that mistakes are opportunities for learning. Knowledge, growth, progress, maturity, and learning are always paid for by and with our mistakes.

Monday, November 8, 2010


Oh but I always do have them close -- my mainstays -- right there inside my tote bag. My life is quite ordinary and humdrum but it always leaves room for surprises, wonderful surprises. I look forward to see-touch-smell-feel-experience it each day -- helped along by my mainstays without fail.

Well, are they big surprises? Yes and no. Times that they come wrapped in mundane and ordinary your-everyday-things which one never ever notices usually. Things normally taken for granted. And times they come huge and packed in a big Wow! Well, I've learned to pay more attention because Mom would always chide me if I failed to. She'd always say -- "Don't let a thing pass you by.. ever.. cause it may not come your way again."

So okay, let's get down to my list of 10 Must-Haves inside my tote bag.

1. A shawl
Have about 5 or 6 shawls in my closet in assorted colors and style. Mostly gifts from my daughters. Simple light and airy but works well for warmth. Am not too comfy with very cold weather or an air-conditioned room turned-on on super high. A shawl just does the wonderful trick of keeping me instantly warm whenever daughters spring a surprise for a nice resto dinner date or a terrific movie to watch downtown. Too works as an instant umbrella under a sudden downpour... at least for the first few minutes until it gets soaked wet. Enough time to dash quickly from a cab to the building.

2. Cellphone
Am a huge fan of this technology but who wouldn't be if one thrives on communication. This goes back and forth with my daughters and close friends. Big thrill it is when suddenly my phone rings and lo! out of the blue an old-long-time friend saying 'Hi!'. That makes my day. One simple delight perhaps in what would have been a mundane or ordinary day.

3. Pocketbook
It could be anything, a best seller or one that nobody has ever heard of. Or it could be a book that I keep reading for the __th time. Funny and surprisingly, there are books which grow on you and books which get better and better each time, how-I-don't-know. Perhaps it's in finding lines or phrases or thoughts within those pages which finally finds its right time in my life, hour, or day. Like a 'eureka' moment.

4. Notebook & Pen
It is in odd times of the day and everywhere that an idea or thought strikes. Sometimes a dozen ideas one after the other. So that means that responding to such sudden bursts of inspiration would have to be just as quick. So before losing it to the winds, with pen in hand it all goes down pronto into my tiny notebook. But it's not always meant for the writing or blogging that it happens. Sometimes bits of knowledge, info, observation, perception come across for my own learning. And that just as well goes straight to the old reliable notebook for some meditation or reflection at some proper time.

5. A make-up kit
Well, am a girl and have never stopped being one, age or not. A hair brush to comb loose strands in place. A lipstick or two for color on some not-so-vibrant days. A lip gloss when choosing not to have color on my lips. Powder to pat away shine spots on the T-zone area of the face. What do I take out often? It's the mirror in my powder case.. to check for salad, fruit, meat, or fish stuck between my teeth somewhere there after a hearty meal.

6. Utility pouch
...to hold mini bottles of moisturizer & alcohol, pocket tissues, mini pack of wet towels to wipe away dirt when water is nowhere to be found nearby, a mini nail cutter to clip away chipped nails, safety pins to tuck away loose hems. Happy surprise that these get to be useful serving others too in ways where and when the urgent need arises.

7. Medicine pouch
Aside from regular doctor-prescribed pills, I've slipped in a few for ordinary headaches, dizziness, cold tablets, and one or two for diarrhea. This comes in quite handy when anyone inside my line of vision or space suddenly aches from this or that at unexpected or odd times. Delighted to have this standby med kit coming to the rescue every time without fail.

8. Wallet
It's not just money that's in there, more or little of it. So is a credit card, health card, atm card, family pictures, calling cards of people I know, identification cards, and a prayer card. Am happy with this wallet (a gift from my youngest daughter) although it has seen better times. Its color (avocado green) is now faded at the edges. Other than blue, green and its other color variants is also a favorite. It may get replaced one day but not today, not yet anyway. It has been blessed immensely on several occasions.... blessings which extended and spread itself all around. And that is its work and mission until it wears itself out.

9. Reading glasses/shades

Like it or not, can't go anywhere without this. That's what I miss most about being 20-something -- a 20-20 vision. :-) While shades are fantastic for its apparent use and for people-watching.. unnoticed. :-)

10. A fan
The origin of the fan goes back to the ages and even before that when in prehistoric times humans discovered fire and would use any kind of object to blow air and keep it alive. It then evolved through time into other artistic representations as used by the Egyptians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Chinese, Japanese, and everywhere else around the globe.

My fan more functional than fancy is small cheap yet a precious aid saving me on countless occasions from the piercing summer heat, a hot crowded public vehicle, stalled in traffic on a hot summer day, a windless day, a sudden light rain shower, much needed air when feeling a faint coming, blowing away insects ... and other uses I have yet to discover and will. But best of all it also serves others for those very same reasons mentioned.

Yeah, my tote bag is its permanent home. Mom told me long ago that to know a person better, just peek into his or her bag and see what's inside --- it usually tells and says something about that person.

Oh there are countless other things one can put down in a 10 Must-Have List... stuff inside one's bedroom, home, kitchen, travel, vacation, ideal man or woman, relationships, work desk, tool box, birthdays, Christmas. Every bit is part of you, every piece has a story to tell about you. It defines you as a person -- who you are in caring for self, or for the world around you, or how you live life. And yeah, the surprises do come and if you're lucky sometimes you become that pleasant welcome surprise for another person in need of one.

What's your 10 Must-Haves List? :-)

Thursday, November 4, 2010


"I say to my child, I will explain to you as much of life as I can, but you must remember that there is a part of life for which you are the explanation." -- Robert Brault ---

Beautiful and true. Parents after giving the child his or her best.. can only do so much. The rest is up to the child or soon enough the adult. If the child now adult misbehaves or messes up his own life, do not be quick to blame it all on his parents even if they indeed have played a vital role in his formation.

Because every person is equipped with a free will and the exercise of it is solely his own responsibility and accountability. He decides his own fate or destiny as a grown-up -- as an individual person. He writes his own life. He now makes his own choices and decisions, good or bad. At times shortsightedly and foolishly disregarding even a parent's plea or the gentle nudge from the Heavens above to get back on track again if he loses his way. How can we stop this kind of self-destruction? We can't. We simply sit back and watch and earnestly pray. But.. as parents we will always be there when he needs us. It's who and what we are to our children. And our children will be who and what they will be..... by choice.

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Some of us have our cups running over the top with blessings. All good, for such is God's will. But have we ever thought that blessings though they be intended for our benefit, enjoyment, pleasure, comfort.... are meant not to be solely kept or hoarded?? A blessing is there for two purposes:

one, is for you and everything it would mean for you...

second, is to have you function as God meant you to -- that is to be His conduit or channel of blessing to and for others using the blessings He has blest you with.

A quote on SHARE:

You were taught to share when you were only two years old. When did you forget? That rule still applies. Share with those who are less fortunate than you.... Share your joy with those who need encouragement. Share your laughter with those who haven't heard any in such a long time. Share your tears with those who have forgotten how to cry. Share your faith with those who have none. -- (Unquote)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

THE WEDDING DAY - (View From A Mother's Eyes) --- " YOU DON'T FIND LOVE, IT FINDS YOU"

Christine with her dolls - 1983

With elder sister, Amchit (L) and younger sister, Malen (R)

With her Mom (L) and the three sisters - apples of their mother's eyes.

And here she is now, Christine: "You don't find love, it finds you." (Excerpt from her wedding vows)

The groom - Daniel C. Salapong

The reception at the North Forbes Pavilion with family, friends, and guests.

The godparents (L) Fr. Tanseco (R)

The couple's wedding dance, with the proud mother/happy mother-in-law looking on.

Enjoying a light moment

Groom serenading his lovely bride

Daniel and Christine thanking everyone who in every special way have helped create the day's wonderful memories -- precious memories to last a lifetime.

Sisters' one quick pose before wrapping things up... a magical night!

Back at the hotel so tired - exhausted - HAPPY!!

"Forever and Longer"

Yes, my story ends here but nope, this is not the end but the beginning for them.. for my Christine. If I may say something....

Dear Daniel and Christine,

Marriage is a lot of things to many different people but what it is is this --- A marriage is defined by what you do or not do with it.. as individuals and together as husband and wife. A marriage is learning from each other -- is taking care of each other -- is being each other's best friend -- is loving each other with heart mind and soul --
is living an honestly truthfully shared life. To get the best out of marriage, you give it your best no matter what, inspite of, regardless. The challenges are many but you work at it because it deserves no less from you. And when at times you feel you have lost your strength, get down on your knees and be strengthened by HIM who alone truly loves you beyond measure. God listens with His heart and never fails -- All you have to do is pray. Remember too that a little bit of fun and laughter won't harm, in fact it softens the rough edges of a mundane life. You may be creating a new world of your own now, yet you cannot isolate yourself from the rest of the world, family, friends, people, and life. You bring it all together where you can and where you should.

I pray for you Christine and Daniel -- May God pour out His grace, light, peace, and love upon you both and may your marriage be twice as blessed with joy, happiness, peace, health, abundance, faith, laughter.

Love you... forever and longer,

(Sincere thanks for some of the photographs used in the blog to: Malen A. Santos Diaz, Alan K. Santos Diaz, Jason Magbanua, Joahn Mari Callao, Min Lopez-Pozas, Cors Fernandez, Mary Alix, Jessica T. Cruz, and our old reliable digital camera alternating with the new digicam sent by Sonia Torredes Miller. Thanks everyone and God bless.)