Sunday, December 31, 2006

Classic Cebuano songs stir the Cebuano soul

I really love listening to Hawiran Ta Ang Kagabhiun. It's a program over at DZRH (1215 in your AM radio dial) that features classic Cebuano songs sung by local haranistas. (I don't know, what is the English word for "haranista"?)

Some day I'll record their programs and put them up in a blog. I'll have to ask the station's permission for that, but I think they won't object to it. It's a way of promoting classic Cebuano songs, making it available to a larger audience. I'm sure a lot of our countrymen overseas would like to listen to them.

Quote of the day: Acceptance of God's will

"Consider Jesus' act of acceptance in the garden and how much it cost Him, making Him sweat a sweat of blood! Make this act yourself when things are going well and also when they go against you. If your will flees from rebellion you may be certain that the will, in its own way, has uttered its act of acceptance."

-- Saint Pio of Pietrelcina

Saddam's execution

Saw it last night on BBC. Not the actual hanging, of course. It just showed a footage of him in a room with masked men placing a noose around his neck.

Yes, he's committed crimes against humanity. But still, I find the video very disturbing.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Back to the textbooks

Our classes will resume this coming Wednesday, January 3. Only two days after the new year! But we have to start early because the ASEAN Summit will start the week after next and our schedule will again be interrupted. No classes, but not a cause for celebration because there would be plenty of stuff to read, I'm sure.

We will have a post-test next week on alteration on oxygenation. I have to read my book again for that.

The topics to follow are the cardiovascular system and hematology.

I love the cardiovascular system. I love the human heart. It's a very beautiful organ, structurally and functionally. It's easy to understand how it basically works.

So I have a mountain of reading material to face in the next couple of days. Whew. Wish me luck (or a miracle).

Ah oh, we have an oral reporting too for our Pharmacology class. Our topic is the autonomic nervous system and the drugs used in that system. Complicated but interesting stuff.

Rizal joins Dickens and Austen

Here's some really good news for Philippine literature: Penguin Classics publishes Rizal's 'Noli Me Tangere' (Touch Me Not).

PDI: Rizal joins ranks of Dickens, Austen

JOSE Rizal’s “Noli Me Tangere” has been published in a new English translation and released worldwide by Penguin Books, one of the major publishing houses of the English-speaking world, under the Penguin Classics imprint. The publication effectively canonizes the novel as one of the classics of world literature.

Augenbraum said he stumbled upon Rizal’s novel in 1992 while compiling a bibliography of North American Latino fiction writers. He said he came across the name of National Artist N.V.M. Gonzalez whom he thought to be Latino. He went on to read Gonzalez and “loved it” and thereby got “introduced to a whole world of Filipino and Filipino-American literature, which I began to seek out here in the US.”

“The name of Rizal came up several times, so I read the ‘Noli,’ which fascinated me,” he said. “Then I read the ‘Fili,’ which also fascinated me. Then I read the Austin Coates biography, and Rizal himself became one of my heroes.”

Augenbraum said the “Noli” should be required reading in Asian-American courses in US universities “because it is the foundational novel of the nation, with large implications for the diaspora and its influence on other writers.”

Very exciting indeed.

About a week ago I also got excited by the idea of reading Rizal's books into a podcast (after I found out Project Gutenberg actually has them as etexts, including his essays). No one's doing it, as far as I know. Librivox reads all sorts of books from the public domain, most of which, if not all, are great works of literature. But no one's doing classic Philippine literature. No one's doing Rizal's books.

I still have much, much, much to improve on my reading, particularly my fluency and pronounciation of the English words. But with practice, I believe I can eventually arrive at a reading that is at least understandable hehehe.

What I really want to see in the future is people 'converting' Filipino literature into audiobooks. Librivox is doing an awesome job with Western Literature, why not do the same with our own literature? We have a wealth of books, essays and poems, I believe, and they would add to the richness of the audiobooks available in the public domain.


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Go visit

Thursday, December 28, 2006

More quotes from saints

"Let us avoid evil companions, lest by their company we may be drawn to a
communion of vice."

-- St. Augustine

"Do you want our Lord to give you many graces? Visit Him often. Do you want
Him to give you few graces? Visit Him seldom. Visits to the Blessed Sacrament
are powerful and indispensable means of overcoming the attacks of the devil.
Make frequent visits to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and the devil will be
powerless against you."

-- St. John Bosco

"The accidents of life separate us from our dearest friends, but let us not
despair. God is like a looking glass in which souls see each other. The more we
are united to Him by love, the nearer we are to those who belong to

-- St. Elizebeth Ann Seton

"Virtue is nothing without the trial of temptation, for there is no
conflict without an enemy, no victory without strife."

-- Pope St. Leo the Great

"The Christian life is a continuation and completion of the life of Christ
in us. We should be so many Christs here on earth, continuing His life and His
works, laboring and suffering in a holy and divine manner in the spirit of

-- St. John Eudes

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

If the rape happened in the US

One letter writer, um, writes in today's PDI:

If rape happened in the US

As an American, I can say unequivocally that had the incident--where an incoherent, drugged or drunk, sexually abused young woman was flung in a state of degrading undress on to a street filled with horrified citizen witnesses--occurred in the United States, the criminals (even if they were a group of foreign soldiers) would all be
facing long prison sentences. There would be no spiritual advisers like Fr. James Reuter, no "We Love The Rapist" female fan clubs in Makati and, certainly, no overt or covert pressure from any foreign government to "go easy on the lads."

Where on earth can such things happen except, it seems, in the Philippines, where a significant sector of the population still indulges in a self-hating colonial mentality, which gives a disgusting, foreign rapist higher importance than the rights and honor of an abused local citizen?

Precisely! If a similar incident happened in the US, how do you think the citizens in that country would react? Don't you think they would be outraged? And don't you think the US would be gravely insulted all the more if the foreign government would still push for custody even after a conviction while at the same time, it appears, blackmailing them?

I think our government is to blame for this because, in the first place, they entered into an agreement which may have unfair terms, that is the VFA.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Bernard Leach: pottery and dish

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Bernard Leach (1887-1979), British studio potter and writer.

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So beautiful aren't they? :) I love art that I can actually touch and feel with my hands. For this reason I love sculpture, too. I can appreciate sculpture more than painting.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Malipayong pasko

Malipayong pasko kaninyong tanan!!! :)

Saturday, December 23, 2006


A PDI news article reads: US cancels military exercises with RP over rape case

“The custody issue is at the heart of this,” embassy spokesman Matt Lussenhop told "Due to the current custody issue (over the US Marine), the usual protection provided to US servicemembers is in doubt."

But Mr. Lussenhop, doesn't it now appear that our people, especially our women, need more protection from your troops than your troops from us? Our people have never harmed your servicemen. History will show, rather, that it is they who have committed various crimes to us since you established your military bases here. I guess what you mean when you say "protection" is that you want to shield your troops from wrongful accusation. But in Smith's case, the matter has been decided in our court, his guilt has been proven. He has already been convicted, so why are you still pushing for his custody? Are you really seeking justice, or do you just want your troops to be exempt from our laws?

I wonder, what does the VFA really contain? Is it putting our country and our people at a great disadvantage? In short, is it fair? And what's the Balikatan exercises for, anyway? If it's doing more harm to us than good, then thank goodness they're cancelling it. And hopefully they'll pull out totally and permanently.

Friday, December 22, 2006

W.H. Auden: In Memory of W.B. Yeates

Follow, poet, follow right
To the bottom of the night,
With your unconstraining voice
Still persuade us to rejoice;

With the farming of a verse
Make a vineyard of the curse,
Sing of human unsuccess
In a rapture of distress;

In the deserts of the heart
Let the healing fountain start,
In the prison of his days
Teach the free man how to praise.

-- From In Memory of W.B. Yeates by W.H. Auden

Thursday, December 21, 2006


"If you intend to serve God, prepare your soul for temptation, for it is an infallible truth that no one is exempt from temptation when he has truly resolved to serve God."

-- St. Francis de Sales

Why we study

"When you begin to study, look up to Him and think: 'O Lord, how worthless this knowledge would be, if it were not for the enlightening of my mind for Your service, or for making me more useful to my fellow men.'"

-- St Elizabeth Ann Seton

The Screwtape Letters*

"My Dear Wormwood,

"So you "have great hopes that the patient's religious phase is dying away," have you? I always thought the Training College had gone to pieces since they put old Slubgob at the head of it, and now I am sure! Has no one ever told you about the law of undulation?

"Humans are amphibians -- half spirit and half animal. (The Enemy's determination to produce such a revolting hybrid was one of the things that determined Our Father to withraw his support from Him.) As spirits they belong to the eternal world, but
as animals they inhabit time. This means that while their spirit can be directed to an eternal object, their bodies, passions, and imaginations are in continual change. Their nearest approach to constancy, therefore, is undulation -- the repeated return to a level from which they repeatedly fall back, a series of troughs and peaks. If you had watched your patient carefully you would have seen this undulation in every department of his life -- his interest in his work, his affection for his friends, his physical appetites, all go up and down. As long as he lives on earth periods of emotional and bodily richness and liveliness will alternate with periods of numbness and poverty. The dryness and dullness through which your patient is now going are not, as you fondly suppose, your workmanship; they are merely a natural phenomenon which will do us no good unless you make a good use of it."

"Talk to your patient about "moderation in all things." If you can once get him to the point of thinking that "religion is all very well up to a point," you can feel quite happy about his soul. A moderated religion is as good as no religion at all -- and more amusing."

"You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness. But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy. It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one -- the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts."

* A book by C. S. Lewis. It contains a series of letters written by an elderly retired devil, Screwtape, to a young devil, Wormwood, his nephew, which talk about how best the latter can undermine the faith of his first "patient", who is a recent convert to Christianity.

The way we live our lives

"Our life helps paint our neighbor's picture of Christ."

-- Monsignor Esteban Binghay

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A breather

Went to the beach yesterday with some of my duty mates. The tide was somewhere between high and low. Cool water, soft sands, quiet place.

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Me, Conan, Chielo, Michael, Lalaine, Ate Janice and her son Ladie, and Richard

The Red Studio

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"The Red Studio" by Henri Matisse (1869-1954)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Davao plaza

Here's a beautiful photo of Davao plaza that appears in today's PDI front page.

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Misa de Gallo

Went to the first Misa de Gallo this morning in our parish church. Overwhelming number of people. The church grounds were crowded and even the streets beside it.

My first in so many years. The last was in Sto. Nino. I was still a little kid.

The early morning sunlight after the mass revealed a beautiful day.

Friday, December 15, 2006

"Ate" and "Kuya"

What's interesting about our school is that we have a lot of second-coursers. A huge number. They, or should I say we, make up 30-40% of the student population, I think. That's much bigger than with the other schools.

That's one of the reasons why I chose to study here. I was conscious of my age, you see hehe. I don't want to stand out among my classmates.

So it was a pleasant surprise for me when I found out that there were people older than me, much older than me, folks who are old enough to be my parents!

So I found myself in the middle of the age group. Some classmates of mine call me "kuya", and I in turn call my other classmates "kuya" and "ate".

"Kuya" and "ate" are very curious labels because we still use them even with those who we would normally call "uncle" and "auntie" or "tito" and "tita" outside the school. Perhaps it's just a sign of respect? Because they would probably be embarassed if we call them "tito" and "tita" in school. It emphasizes their age. Whereas if you call them "ate" and "kuya", you limit any adverse psychological impact it may have on them as much as possible hehehe.

Last day at MCH

It seems our CIs are in vacation mode already. We waited for him/her in the hospital this morning and he/she didn't come. He/ she was to relieve our CI yesterday, who told us that she couldn't work today. She didn't like her assignment (MCH) because she's not very comfortable with the staff and she's more used to the OR in Sotto. I thought that's a very silly reason.

So we went to Chowking in JY to have breakfast. We hitched a ride with Ate A.

What's interesting with Ate A is that she's an entrepreneur. She and her husband owns a well-known restaurant and a snack bar in SM. She's well off, and I've wondered about this because she and her family is already doing well in life yet she still wants to become a nurse. She told me she wants to give her children a wider option later on. If things get worse in our country, her kids can choose to live abroad.

I really want to ask Ate A for some advice about entrepreneurship. I see her as a really successful person, and I want to know how she did it. I wish she could share with us her knowledge and wisdom and motivate us to succeed also in our lives.

I don't know if I'll be able to go to Davao this Christmas. I really want to, but there are financial considerations. There's a reunion of our relatives this month in Leyte but I don't feel like going.

Isaiah 48: 17 - 18

Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: "I am the LORD
your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should
go. O that you had hearkened to my commandments! Then your peace would have
been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea."

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

MCH this week

We've been having our clinical duty this week at the Mandaue City Hospital Special Area (OR and DR). No OR cases so far, only DR ones. I assited a delivery two days ago. An episiotomy was performed. Poor woman. Is it always necessary? Because at the birthing homes where we were assigned it was not. The babies were delivered spontaneously.

"Bitchy" doctor hehe... Didn't do anything much than merely stand at the doctor's side and handing her the instruments. Our C.I. commented afterwards that she herself don't like the doc. The latter always seemed to have bad days, never having "happy moments"... Well put, I thought.

We spent the day today standing around and walking aimlessly about the S.A. room because there was not much to do. The SWU and CDU students did the same hehe.

Vacation starts next week.

New look

I'm trying out a new look for this blog. I've been wearing old clothes for quite some time now. This gives me a fresh feeling.

The links will follow, plus more new ones that are quite interesting.


I'm listening to Sitti right now. The music fills the entire house. I can do that because I'm alone hehe.

But I kind of like Sofia's voice more than Sitti's. I have both CDs, pirated though they are hehe. They were a gift from pangga's father to mine. Both men love bossa.

I remember my days in Davao at pangga's house. We would be alone together and listen to the music. Breakfast would be laid in the table and we would enjoy each other's company.

The day before I was to leave for Cebu I saw in Matina Town Square that Sofia was going to play there on the same day of my departure. Sayang. And I remember about a week ago Sitti had a concert here, in Ayala. I saw the posters advertising her gig and was shocked to find out the tickets were sold for 800 and over a thousand pesos! Didn't watch it, though I would've wanted to.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

BBC 7 Radio

I think The Horse And His Boy is a more majestic and more beautiful book than The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I just finished listening to the former (published by Harper Audio). It's the fifth of the seven Narnia series (in the order in which they were written).

The timing is just right, for I just discovered BBC 7. They actually have dramatisations of classic works of literature! This week, they have just started The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and The Magician's Nephew! To follow in the couple days or so is The Horse and His Boy. It's simply amazing. When I discovered it I was so excited and thrilled. I felt like devouring all the great stuff they have (A Thomas Hardy classic is ending this week; an adaptation of Charles Dickens' novel just began its first few episodes; there's a short story by Mary Shelley about to disappear from the 7-day radar [I'll explain this later]; and another classic book by G.K. Chesterton -- these, to mention only a few).

I wish I could share this with more people, especially with my pangga, and all those who don't have regular access to the internet. Because the catch, you see, is that these programs only stay in the website for 7 days. Such a waste, isn't it?

Not really. Thank goodness there are such softwares as Audacity (it's a freeware, btw, so just Google it). It can save stream audio as MP3 files! So I'm gonna be collecting these great productions from now on and share them with my love ones.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Urbandub, again

Here's an article on Urbandub by The Weekly Sillimanian.

What I like about them, aside from being uber-talented, is that they're so humble.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The VSMMC Operating Room

I seldom talk about my nursing experience in this blog. How ironic for this is what I made this blog for, hehe... It's just that I feel there's really nothing special about my day to day experience. (I know, if there's nothing special about it, then I should stop doing this). But there's another purpose for this. I'm doing this mainly for myself. I'm using blogging for its barest, most basic purpose -- to log in my experiences as a nursing student. Sort of like a repository for certain things I want to remember or recall in the future.

Anyway, this week I've started my clinical duty in the Operating Room of the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center. It was a relief to know that the experience is actually not that dreadful. We heard of certain feedbacks from previous groups, not only from our school, that the OR at VSMMC is the most dreadful place a student nurse can be assigned to. We heared of tales about surgeons barking and throwing pieces of surgical instruments at absent-minded student nurses. We heared of stories about shouting staff nurses. We imagined busy OR theaters where everybody has to work quickly and where the student nurse has to think and act rapidly to attend to the surgeon's needs. That's not how I found it, so far at least. We are fortunte enough to be assigned to the night shift, so most of the cases are emergency cases, and we don't have to make a pre-operative report of our cases. I haven't gotten my case yet (tomorrow I will). One thing that surprised me is how huge the OR room really is. It is comprised of 6 OR theaters (or was it 8?). And the things that I saw that were really interesting were caesarean section procedures, cranial surgery, dilatation and currettage, and bilateral tubal ligation cases. It's fascinating to see how layers of skin are cauterized. I imagined long ago that i'd probably faint if I'd see an operation being performed in front of me. My knees used to weaken at the mere sight of blood. But now I look at surgical procedures and I don't feel anything at all, just wonder, and sometimes sympathy for the patients.

Yesterday a woman gave birth, through CS, to a baby girl with a large lesion in her cheek. Her head was somewhat disfigured too (her forehead was protruded), and her left eye couldn't open very much. I don't know if it was only temporary. Imagine a boxer at the end of a brutal fight, that is exactly how she looked like. I don't know how it happened.

One very trivial thing, my head cover really feels uncomfortable. It's so small. It hugs my head so tightly that I sometimes wonder if I'm getting enough blood supply to my brain.


Urbandub played last Saturday in a gig dubbed "Bottlefest" at the Ayala Center parking grounds. They blew everyone's mind that night. They always sound awesome live.


Endless, A Silent Whisper

First of Summer

Gone (with Faspitch)

Soul Searching

And a snippet of Junior Kilat's "Buwad, Suka, Sili"...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


My bro and I watched the BoToks concert last night. It's Bo Sanchez's special concert. The other Kerygma preachers were with him. It was a blast. Brother Bo was funny, as usual. The show sort of centers around him in that in it he talks about his life. How he came to know God early in life, how he found the love of his life, and how he was healed of his psychological and spiritual wounds to become what he is now. But the actual star of the show was really God, because he played and continues to play the major role in his life.

But I felt that the show was too short. I felt that brother Bo shared only a small portion of his life to the audience, and in a hurried manner, too, hehe...

But it was a satisfying show. Nakakataba nang puso kasi you always had to laugh. But even more importantly we were blessed for being there. Brother Bo is truly a living testament to the fact that God heals broken, imperfect persons, and uses them as instruments to spread his glory and his blessings.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Manny's wealth

I hope someone will hand Manny a copy of any of Robert Kiyosaki's books, to advice him on how more wisely he can manage his tremendous wealth. I'd hate to see him corrupted by his millions. He should get a financial adviser, someone to guide him on how best to invest his money, how to make it sustainable, so that by the time he retires from his career (and boxers only have short-lived careers), he can just sit back and earn passive income... hehe.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Awesome fight

Stunning! At only 3 rounds! Amazing!

But I really feel sorry for Morales...

"The grand finale"

I'm not really a boxing fan, but I've never been this excited for a boxing match in my life before. I'm even more excited now than last January, when Pacquiao and Morales fought for the second time. The whole country is practically as excited.

The fight promises to be an explosive one. Both fighters are very determined to win. Both are in great shape. It's funny how Pacquiao said in one interview: "I hope nobody get's seriously hurt at the end of this fight." Haha. Is he joking or he just being gentlemanly? But someone definitely will get seriously hurt. As a sports analyst said, someone will get knocked down. Whether it's going to be Pacquiao or Morales, let's just wait and see.

Go Pacquiao!!!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Human Anatomy

The second semester has finally come. Most of our clinical areas this sem will be in the operating rooms (last sem most of our assignments were in the delivery rooms because our focus then was on maternal and child nursing). This week we will be at our own hospital's special area. There's a scheduled hysterectomy tomorrow morning. I will be the circulation nurse (I think). I'm really quite anxious because it will be my first time. I need to review the different instruments, the proper gowning and gloving techniques, etc., because we had our OR lecture last sem. There's so much I need to relearn...

Anyway, here's a great podcast I discovered: General Human Anatomy Podcast. It's a series of lectures of the different systems of the human body and their functions. It's taught by Marian Diamond, a professor at the University of California in Berkeley. You can listen to it through streaming audio or you can download it as an MP3, so if you have an iPod (if you do, I envy you) you can just upload it and listen to the lectures while you commute to school, go to the gym, wash your clothes, do the dishes, or whatever you do. Anywhere, anytime, you can listen to it. Isn't that a cool way of reviewing anatomy and physiology? You can also watch the videos.

There are other interesting courses available at the main site besides anatomy, although most of them look technical.

An iPod + academic audio lectures = a great learning experience!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Glimpses of Sanke

My grandparents own a sizeable tract of land in Negros. These are taken in Sanke, their home town (courtesy of my bro) last All Saints Day.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Quote of the day

Seen in a guy's t-shirt one day:

"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."

Bo Sanchez' new daily "reality show" on the internet

Bo Sanchez has a wonderful new "reality show" on the internet and it's called "Preacher in Blue Jeans". Plus, he has a podcast! It's about time he makes use of that wonderful technology to reach out to more people.

Monday, October 30, 2006

A blink of an eye

I was gone for 10 days and yet it feels like I just blinked my eye and here I am again back in Cebu.

It's like a dream. I prepared for this last night, when my pangga and I walked in the streets of downtown Davao in search of durian. I held her hand tightly, felt her hand's pressure on mine, to concretely register the moment to my memory. I watched our feet as we walked, watched our shadows, felt the coldness of the night.

I pondered long and hard inside the room where I slept, I took in all sensation I can to record the moment while it unfolded. I thought, "I'm going to miss this room, I'm going to miss this house, I'm going to miss this place..."

And most of all, I thought, "I'm going to miss your presence ga, your smile, your face, your eyes, your voice..."

I drowned my senses because I knew in a matter of hours all that's going to be like a dream.

True enough, I'm here, back home, and Davao and everyone and everything there that I experienced and hold dear feels like a dream.

Getting ready for the kabab-attack at Majid's.

Mmmmm mmmm...

How to eat a kabab (um, at least how to prepare to eat a kabab).

The videoke diva and the videoke prince at Gimik's.

Ginagmay'ng negosyo.

Donnie in his more innocent moments.

The University of Mindanao choir. Part of the Cancer Survivors Day organized by Smiles, a cancer support group in Davao. The event took place in Matina Town Square last Saturday. They sang beautifully.


Mother and future son-in-law hehehe.

Matina street at night.

"Satan's Army". A candidate of The Venue's holloween costume contest. He didn't scare us. My favorite was the "cursed bride".

"Night of the Phantoms"

The winner: King something and Queen Sofia.

Durian. I'm a convert!

That is one giant durian.

Bye Davao.

Majestic clouds over Mindanao.

Friday, October 20, 2006

All set for Davao!

I'm all ready for Davao. I'll be leaving tomorrow morning (at 5am!). I'm excited to see my baby, whom I haven't seen for about four months. I'm excited to see Davao again; and of course, I'm looking forward to my plane ride. I look at it with such childish anticipation.

I'll choose a seat next to a window if I can. I'll take photos of the view outside, especially of the clouds, which marvelled me so much the last time. This is the advantage of those who get to travel by plane only very rarely, they get to really appreciate the experience of flying.

I'll be gone for 10 days, yet I've packed clothing that can last me for about 3 weeks. It's always like this when I travel. It's a sign of being a segurista.

Our family will be in Negros on All Soul's Day. So the day after my return from Davao on the 30th, I'll be travelling again. We'll be going via the land route. It will be my very first time to drive from Cebu to Negros. It's going to be a very looooong drive. But I'm also excited because it's been many, many months (perhaps more than a year?) that I haven't seen the southern tip of Cebu, the channel between Bato and Sibulan, and of course Dumaguete, sweet old Dumaguete...

I can't wait to watch Pride and Prejudice (the one produced by the BBC) with my pangga. Yes, I'm finally done downloading it through BitTorrent, after more than a month of waiting! Unfortunately, I'm only able to burn 2 of the 6 episodes. I didn't expect it takes forever to burn a single episode into a CD.

Till then, sayonara.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A Rizal in Cebu

Would you believe that a patient with a family name "Rizal" is being admitted right now in the OB ward of Sotto? Is it possible that she, or her husband, is a direct descendent of the Rizal family from Laguna? :)

I don't know, I haven't approached the patient. Maybe I will before the week is over. I imagine myself saying to the patient, "It's a great honor for me to meet you, ma'm". It seems no one else in the ward, including my duty mates, is making any fuss about this...

Another surprise for me is that the patient assigned to me this morning actually hails from Basay, Negros Oriental, the place of my birth. I told the patient this and she was pleasantly surprised. And what's more, her husband is actually a best friend of my mother's brother. He is actually from Sanque, a small barrio not far from Basay, where my mother is from. What a small world we live in.

Saturday, October 07, 2006


You should subscribe to InTouch Ministries' daily devotionals (I don't know how I did it before, just visit the devotionals page).

Here are samples:

October 07, 2006
Defending Against Temptation
James 4:7-8

Temptation never completely goes away. The intensity and form of what tempts us may change with time and spiritual maturity. But as long as we're in these earthly bodies, we will never be entirely free of it. That's why we must learn to build a defense against its pull.

The first step to defeating temptation is trusting that the Lord is in control. Believe that He will limit temptation to what you can handle through His strength. Before a tempting thought even enters our head, be determined to resist with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Second, we need to be proactive. We need to identify weaknesses--those areas of our life where we are easily persuaded to sin. Likewise, it is helpful to recognize the conditions under which we are more prone to give in. Satan prefers to attack when believers are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired (H.A.L.T.).When facing temptation, we usually have little time to decide on our response. Once we are already feeling stress, the path between fantasizing and doing is particularly short.

The third step is training our mind to focus on the big picture rather than the immediate pleasure. The following four questions can help us make wise choices: Is this a violation of God's Word? What are the consequences? Am I prepared to pay that price? Is there a right way to meet this desire?

We can't be totally free from temptation, but we can defend against it. Begin now. Make yourself mentally and emotionally ready for the next time you're tempted. Preparation helps build a barrier of protection around your mind and heart.

October 06, 2006
The Result of Rejecting God
Romans 1:24-32

By its very nature, a vacuum can never be full. In the same way, when a man or woman denies God's rightful position as Lord over their life, that person's heart will remain hopelessly empty.

It's impossible to know true satisfaction if you refuse the divine call--to be filled with the Holy Spirit and have constant communion with the Father. Instead, a person will fall into idolatry. He or she will find some philosophy or object to devote time and attention.

Without the Lord, people will keep seeking new ways to satisfy the emptiness that only God can fill. Then, taking the short step from idolatry to immorality becomes all too easy. Indulging the sinful nature can take many forms. For example, some people are drawn to sexual perversion (Romans 1), while others who worship wealth may be lured by unethical business practices. Scripture clearly warns that idolatry and immorality will incur divine wrath.

God uses a subtle but potent kind of punishment on those who degrade themselves in the service of a false god. We're told in Romans 1:28, He "[gives] them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper." There is no worse penalty than to have the Creator turn away and leave one of his children to be devoured by that which he or she worships. The heart becomes like an iron prison, locking God out forever.

There is only One who is worthy of your worship. If you have denied the Lord, you are already on the slippery slope to immorality--worshipping something that does not deserve honor. Let this be a loving warning for you: Turn back to God before it is too late.

October 05, 2006
The Privilege Corrupted
Romans 1:18-23

A person cannot deny the Lord and still live successfully. Mankind was created to acknowledge God and share a relationship with Him. When someone chooses to ignore the truth of His existence or His sovereignty, he or she begins a downward slide. It's a choice which ends with a hardened heart and eternal separation from a loving Father.

God gives everyone the capacity to understand Him and the free will to choose whether to pursue that knowledge. The truth of His existence is revealed in nature and written into every person's conscience. However, many people ignore reality because it interferes with their preferred lifestyle. Instead, they chase false philosophies, which are usually mixed with just enough truth to make them believable to the inexperienced.

Any "truth" crafted by man is foolishness. A mind that has rejected the fact of a sovereign Lord cannot see its error. It has slipped from intelligence--an inherent knowledge of God--to willful ignorance. In this state, even when all evidence points to the truth, a person can still convince him- or herself that the opposite is right.

All the denial and atheistic arguments in the world will not change what is real. Jehovah is God. Jesus Christ is His Son. God created you to love, obey, and honor Him. If you resist the truth, you choose a life of darkness and willful ignorance. The choice is yours to make.

God invites you to see if He is better than all that the world has to offer. Psalm 34:8 challenges us to "taste and see that the Lord is good." Will you taste and see?

October 04, 2006
Dealing Wisely With Temptation
1 Corinthians 10:12-13

As believers, we sometimes hear wrong information about temptation. For instance, many people believe that feeling tempted is sinful. But Jesus was tempted by Satan in the desert. (Matthew 4:1) If the Lord remained righteous after being encouraged to do wrong, then temptation itself cannot be a sin. We must guard against false ideas that could disrupt our ability to stand strong.

The truth about temptation is that it's an enticement to take our God-given desires beyond God-given limits. We all feel the pull of our natural, sinful selves to do and think things that are immoral. In this lifetime, we will never be so mature or spiritually minded that we can relax our vigilance. Satan will always try to capitalize on our weakness and selfish desires.

Temptation is based on fantasy--the capacity to enjoy something we want to possess or do, without actually taking any action. However, the lack of action is deceptive. We tell ourselves it's okay just to think as long as we don't act. But if we allow ourselves to dwell on a tempting thought, that idea connects to emotions and produces desire. Desire grows until a choice must be made about whether to act. Temptation starts small--with a "one won't hurt" attitude: One drink. One lie. One kiss. The problem is that once we give in, sin gets bigger and more demanding until one turns into a lifestyle.

Thankfully, our Source of help is greater than both Satan and our fleshly desires. The key to victory over temptation is to protect our relationship with God.

Is it wrong to listen to devotionals from other Christian denominations? (InTouch is Baptist). It's probably harmless, right? The InTouch devotionals are really beautiful. Try to listen to Charles Stanley's daily radio talks, too. His talks, too, are beautiful. A local (AM) radio station used to carry his talks nightly.

I'm not about to convert to another denomination, if that's what you're thinking. I just appreciate the way they practice their faith. My own responsibility as a catholic is to educate myself more about my own faith. When it comes to knowledge about my faith, I'm still in kindergarten.

And now for this piece of news...

Davao reviewer says nursing board cheating was nationwide

A NURSING board reviewer from Davao City on Saturday corroborated reports that cheating in the June 2006 nursing licensure examination (NLE) was nationwide.

Daryl Joel "Butch'' Dumdum, a registered nurse and former nursing professor, said he got information that NLE test questions were also leaked in the cities of Davao and Tacloban.

Dumdum, who said he is now a reviewer for a review center after quitting a teaching job at the Davao Doctors College, said a certain review center which has branches in Davao City and other parts of the country offered tests questions to a dean in a Davao City nursing school a day before the June 11 and 12 NLE.

“The dean who is also teaching the subject (of the leaked questions) was offered a leakage by a review center. She refused to take it,'' Dumdum told the Inquirer by phone.

Dumdum said one of his students relayed the information to him just a week ago. He said the same review center, which he did not yet want to identify, could have also given the questions to its examinees in other areas.

Dumdum said he learned of another leakage in Tacloban.

“I called an ally from Tacloban and he said there was also a leakage there,'' Dumdum said.

Dumdum said he was convinced that the leakage of the NLE questions reached not only Manila, Baguio and Davao but also other parts of Mindanao and the Visayas as pointed out by Rene Luis Tadle, president of the faculty association of the University of Sto. Tomas College of Nursing.

“The leakage is everywhere. It's simple logic because the review centers in Luzon have branches in the Visayas and Mindanao,'' Dumdum said, adding he was willing to help investigators.

"I will disclose the information I have (to the NBI),'' Dumdum said.

Dumdum said he came forward to support efforts to restore the integrity of the nursing profession.

“And the only way to do that is to have a retaking of the entire examination. The far-reaching effect of a no-retake is unemployment and shame to the country,'' he said.
(Emphasis mine)

“How can we claim now that we can produce globally competitive nurses, which we had before, if this issue is not resolved in a justifiable manner? I hope MalacaƱang would listen to this. Let not our sense of hopelessness, despair and vested interests cloud our duty to those people whom we have sworn to serve,'' he added.

I agree with him. There's no question that a retake, especially for those who had completely nothing to do with the leakage, is truly unjust. But what can they do about it? What can anyone do about it? The best that the authorities can do is to go after all those who are responsible for this whole mess (go after as many of the guilty parties as possible) and make them accountable for their crime. But that won't change the fact that the NLE was tainted. There's no telling how wide the leakage really was, because as was pointed out, the different review centers alluded to have branches nationwide. So a retake, no matter how painful the preparations will surely be for the retakers, is the only measure that can restore some integrity to the profession. It's truly, truly unfortunate that the examinees are victims twice over...


This morning we had our last lecture in Maternal and Child Care Nursing. We discussed three chromosomal disorders (Down, Turner, and Klinefelter's syndromes) and had a long exam afterwards.

Then we had our Health Teaching activity in Pakigne, Minglanilla. It's our final requirement for the subject Strategies in Health Education. Our topic was Breast Self-Examination.

Next week we will have our final clinical duty in the OB ward of Vicente Sotto Memorial Hospital. Then after that, finals week.

I'm looking forward to our semestral break. I'll be in Davao in my baby's arms hehehe...

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Hawiran ta ang kagabhiun

I was listening to this AM radio program tonight and I just realized how much I love classic Cebuano music.

The program is called "Hawiran ta ang kagabhiun". Isn't that title so poetic? :) The format of the "show" is like this: They have "hanaristas" in the studio and people call in or text to request their favorite classic Cebuano songs.

I just feel that these classic Cebuano songs (I call them "classic" because they're immortal, they have survived the test of time) are cultural treasures; they hold within them the soul of our culture; they hold within them our identity.

How sad it is that these treasures are dying, because fewer and fewer people continue to appreciate them. They're mostly those who belong to the older generation. Probably these treasures will die when this older generation will be gone. I really hope that those who belong to the younger generation will appreciate and preserve this great treasure that we have. The growth of the "Bisrock" music scene might be seen as a hopeful sign. Majority of the "followers" of this scene are teenagers. Appreciation of Cebuano rock music can probably lead to appreciation of classic Cebuano songs.

Catch "Hawiran ta ang kagabhiun" every Sunday, 7 to 9 PM at DYRF (1215 in your AM radio dial).

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Remember The Flying House?

Back from EBH

I got back yesterday from our 3-day duty in a birthing home in Lapu-Lapu. We only got 4 deliveries (we were divided into 4 groups with 3 members each - one to handle the delivery, another to assist, and a third to do the cord care - so we only got 1 case each). That was our last birthing home for this semester. Next semester we will be assigned mostly in the Operating Room area of different hospitals. The Professional Regulatory Board requires 5 handled cases, 5 assisted cases, and 5 cord care... I don't know how I'm going to complete these requirements, because my total so far is only 1 handled case, 1 assisted, and 1 cord care.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Two wonderful programs on the (AM) radio

Two great radio programs I have "discovered" last week: One is a Catholic apologetics program hosted by Socrates Fernandez (yes, the present Talisay mayor), and the other a program on Cebuano dialect and culture.

I have often wondered why we don't have any Catholic apologetics radio programs here in Cebu. I thought that maybe there are such programs but that I just don't know when they air because I seldom check the radio for them. Last Saturday I chanced upon one. Soc Fernandez apparently is a very learned apologist. He can answer all sorts of questions about the faith and theology and quote verses from the Bible to illustrate or support his explanation.

The program uses the vernacular language. It airs every Saturday (5-7 PM) and Sunday (6-8 PM). Turn your AM radio dial to 1215.

The second program is over at DYAB. It airs every Sunday from 4 in the afternoon till 6. It's a very enriching program because it talks about Cebuano culture and dialect.

To digress a little bit, do you know what's the Bisaya word for "music"? Obviously, it's not "musika", because it is simply derived from the English word. "Kanta"? Nope, I don't think so. We probably borrowed it from the Tagalogs. "Awit"? Yes, but there's actually a more unique word for it...


When I first heard it I thought it is so beautiful. Saluma... I don't know, I may be romanticizing a bit, but doesn't it perfectly capture the idea and experience of "music" for us Bisayas? The sound of the word evokes an ancient feeling inside me... maybe there *is* such a thing as a "national soul"? :)

Take for example, when you say "I love you" to your significant other, does it fully express what you really feel for him or her? Now consider saying "Nahigugma ako kanimo" or "Gihigugma tika kaayo" or "Gihigugma tika nga wa'y sama"... Lol... I wonder how many people use such expressions nowadays. We think nga para ra na sa mga tiguwang, o nga baduy ra kaayo na paminawun, o nga makatindog og balahibo, which just shows clearly that we still have a deeply-ingrained "colonial mentality". But anyway, doesn't these expressions more fully capture our sentiments and emotions? :)

Someday I'll post samples of classic Cebuano songs here, including verses from a Bisayan translation of the Song of Songs (Awit) from the Bible. The Song of Songs contains plenty of examples of passionate exchange between lovers (hard to believe it's in the Bible; the passionate love is actually understood to mean God's love for his children and vice versa). We will see how deep and how beautiful our dielect is.

This coming Saturday, September 30, there will be a Cebuano music concert at the Mandaue Sports Complex. I think most of the songs that will be played will be classic Cebuano music. The show will start at 7:30 in the evening. I have no idea how much is the entrance fee.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The pope's point

Today's Inquirer editorial:

Papal point

POPE BENEDICT XVI HAD INTENDED HIS SIX-DAY visit to his native Germany to be a restful but meaningful homecoming. Like his great predecessor who had been the first non-Italian in 400 years to become pope and who had made a moving homecoming to his native Poland a year after his election to the papacy in 1979, Benedict, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, had wanted to make his Bavarian visit a symbolic “return of the native,” a reaffirmation of the roots of his person and the roots of the faith.

The visit turned out to be too meaningful for comfort; and it was anything but restful. By quoting a 14th-century Byzantine emperor on Islam—“Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached”—during a university address, Benedict has riled Muslims and even some Christians and sparked a global conflagration. Catholic churches and Catholics in Islamic countries have been attacked.

The Pope has said he is “deeply sorry” (some linguists say the English translation should have been “deeply saddened”) that Muslims have been offended by the quotation. He clarified that in no way does the quotation reflect his opinion. He has also explained that his university address has been misinterpreted and that he has a “deep respect” for Islam.

In hindsight, the “misinterpretation” seems a “miscontextualization.” The quote from the emperor of Constantinople, Manuel II Paleologus, consists of 32 words out of a text of more than 3,000 words (at least in the English translation of the German original)!

To be sure, the overall text must balance and complement those 32 words, which everyone must be reminded is a quotation that merely served to illustrate a point. And what was the point of the address? It was about the rationality of faith, about the Hellenic or rational influence on Christianity that makes of the religion a marriage of faith and reason. Definitely the hysterical reaction in the Muslim world and some sectors of Christianity is an ironic counterpoint to what the Pope was trying to say in an eminently academic, level-headed, and, yes, rational way.

But was the Pope irresponsible in using the controversial quotation? However incendiary the import of the quotation, the Pope indicated he did not share the opinion of the emperor about the evil and inhumanity of Islam. But he indicated that the quotation from the “erudite” emperor should show that rationality plays an essential role in the faith, and this rationality is translated into peaceful resolution of differences; in short, in dialogue.

That rationality is eminently dialogical and peaceful was demonstrated by the fact that the Pope was delivering an address to his old university of Regensburg. In fact, he opened his address to the students and faculty with a fond recollection of those days in the academe when “despite our specializations which at times make it difficult to communicate with each other, we made up a whole, working in everything on the basis of a single rationality with its various aspects and sharing responsibility for the right use of reason.”

And the dialogical rationality of the faith was also embodied by the Pope’s quotation of the emperor that was uttered in the context of a discussion with a Persian scholar—and a Muslim at that!

The Pope, in fact, said that the remark about Islam as “evil and inhuman” was delivered with “startling brusqueness.” The severity of the remark then was merely a dramatic flourish to what the emperor was trying to point out:

“The emperor, after having expressed himself so forcefully, goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. ‘God,’ he says, ‘is not pleased by blood—and not acting reasonably is contrary to God’s nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats.’”

The pre-eminent rationality of the faith, the Pope went on to expound, must be maintained amid a Europe that has lost all sense of faith because of extreme rationality and secularity. He said rational faith is needed in the discussion with the great cultures and religions of the world.

It is the tragedy of our time that a great address that exalts reason and dialogue should be drowned in the din and blare of hatred and irrationality.

They also published the pope's lecture in the Talk of the Town section here and here.

Politically-motivated, too

The angry reaction to the pope's lecture is politically motivated too, explains this article:

Anyway, it looks like the reaction of Muslims were not as violent or as bloody as the leaders wished them to be and that's why they're now provoking and yelling at the "sleeping" masses and pushing them to show more fury.

They want to add another big scene to the countless previous ones—angry mobs burning flags and pledging to destroy the "infidels".

Actually their latest calls for MORE ANGER are becoming pretty much like begging.
Iran thinks the Muslim people fell short of doing their duty and Qaradawi calls Muslims to have a "day of fury".

All these are theatrical acts directed by governments and corrupt clerics seeking controlled anger among the mobs to use in intimidating the west and discouraging it from applying more pressure on, or calling for changing, these tyrannical regimes.

Such calls are taking the headlines in the governments-controlled media in the Arab countries, and the governments, whether religious or secular, are promoting this provocation of anger.
Meanwhile, voices of reason are being pushed to the rear to appear in a short subtitle or in a tiny corner in the 10th page, or even not mentioned at all.
What the rulers want is the anger that the masses, in the eyes of the rulers, did not express enough of.

What has to be done now from the governments' perspective is to lash those lazy masses with the whips of the media and religion to do more angry protests and show more fist-shaking on TV.

For a while let the people forget about poverty, hunger, terrorism, illiteracy and other problems of the region… And let's redirect the world's attention from "insignificant" issues like Darfur, nuclear reactors, Hizbollah's defiance or Syrian and Iranian meddling with Iraq's or Lebanon's affairs.
What matters now is anger and only anger.

More here.

"Good pope vs. bad pope"

John Paul II, "pope of peace" vs. Benedict XVI, "pope of dogmatic rigidity"?

Think again.

Friday, September 22, 2006

"Flipino" review

Resty Odon reviews Dong Abay's new album "Flipino".

(Via Expectorants)

I've always been a fan of Dong Abay since Yano. I love his album with Pan. Now that group has disbanded and he has since gone solo. I saw his new album in a record store some time ago and thought I might buy it someday. Now I'm pretty excited to get my hands on a copy.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

What was the Pope saying?

First, read the lecture.

Then, listen to these two podcasts from The Hugh Hewitt Show:

Father Richard John Neuhaus of First Things reacts to the controversy over Pope Benedict's comments on Islam

Former Cardinal Ratzinger student, Father Joseph Fessio, on the Pope's speech last week at Regensburg University

They are very helpful in helping us understand what the Pope was saying.

A Challenge, Not a Crusade

Here's a nice article to help put context to the controversy.

A Challenge, Not a Crusade
By John Allen
NY Times

SEEN in context, Pope Benedict XVI’s citation last week of a 14th-century Byzantine emperor who claimed that the Prophet Muhammad brought “things only evil and inhuman” to the world was not intended as an anti-Islamic broadside. The pope’s real target in his lecture at the University of Regensburg, in Germany, was not Islam but the West, especially its tendency to separate reason and faith. He also denounced religious violence, hardly a crusader’s sentiment.

The uproar in the Muslim world over the comments is thus to some extent a case of “German professor meets sound-bite culture,” with a phrase from a tightly wrapped academic argument shot into global circulation, provoking an unintended firestorm.

In fact, had Benedict wanted to make a point about Islam, he wouldn’t have left us guessing about what he meant. He’s spoken and written on the subject before and since his election as pope, and a clear stance has emerged in the first 18 months of his pontificate. Benedict wants to be good neighbors, but he’s definitely more of a hawk on Islam than was his predecessor, John Paul II.

The new pope is tougher both on terrorism and on what the Vatican calls “reciprocity” — the demand that Islamic states grant the same rights and freedoms to Christians and other religious minorities that Muslims receive in the West. When Benedict said in his apology on Sunday that he wants a “frank and sincere dialogue,” the word “frank” was not an accident. He wants dialogue with teeth.

Roman Catholicism under Benedict is moving into a more critical posture toward Islamic fundamentalism. That could either push Islam toward reform, or set off a global “clash of civilizations” — or, perhaps, both.

Personally, Benedict’s graciousness toward Muslims is clear. For example, when Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani, a member of the powerful Guardian Council in Iran, wrote a book comparing Islamic and Christian eschatological themes in the 1990’s, Benedict, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, swapped theological ideas with him in the Vatican.

Immediately after his installation Mass last year, Benedict thanked Muslims for attending an inter-faith meeting. “I express my appreciation for the growth of dialogue between Muslims and Christians,” he said. “I assure you that the church wants to continue building bridges of friendship with the followers of all religions.”

Yet Benedict has also challenged what he sees as Islam’s potential for extremism, grounded in a literal reading of the Koran. In a 1997 interview with me, he said of Islam, “One has to have a clear understanding that it is not simply a denomination that can be included in the free realm of pluralistic society.”

In the same interview, he accused some Muslims of fomenting a radical “liberation theology,” meaning a belief that God approves of violence to achieve liberation from Israel. He also said he opposed Turkey’s candidacy to enter the European Union, arguing that it is “in permanent contrast to Europe” and suggesting that it play a leadership role among Islamic states instead.

Thus it’s no surprise that Benedict has struck a different tone from his predecessor. John Paul met with Muslims more than 60 times, and during a 2001 trip to Syria became the first pope to enter a mosque. He reached out to Islamic moderates. He talked of Muslims and Jews along with Christians as the three “sons of Abraham.” And he condemned injustices thought to be at the root of Islamic terrorism.

Desire for a more muscular stance, however, has been building among Catholics around the world for some time. In part, it has been driven by persecution of Christians in the Islamic world, like the murder of an Italian missionary, the Rev. Andrea Santoro, in Trabzon, Turkey, in February. A 16-year-old Turk fired two bullets into Father Santoro, shouting “God is great.” But perhaps the greatest driving force has been the frustrations over reciprocity. To take one oft-cited example, while Saudis contributed tens of millions of dollars to build Europe’s largest mosque in Rome, Christians cannot build churches in Saudi Arabia. Priests in Saudi Arabia cannot leave oil-industry compounds or embassy grounds without fear of reprisals from the mutawa, the religious police. The bishop of the region recently described the situation as “reminiscent of the catacombs.”

The pope is sympathetic to these concerns, as several developments at the Vatican have made clear.

At a meeting with Muslims in Cologne, Germany, last summer, Benedict urged joint efforts to “turn back the wave of cruel fanaticism that endangers the lives of so many people and hinders progress toward world peace.”

On Feb. 15, he removed Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, who had been John Paul’s expert on Islam, as the president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, sending him to a diplomatic post in Egypt. Archbishop Fitzgerald was seen as the Vatican’s leading dove in its relationship with Muslims.

That same month, Bishop Rino Fisichella, the rector of Rome’s Lateran University and a close papal confidant, announced it was time to “drop the diplomatic silence” about anti-Christian persecution, and called on the United Nations to “remind the societies and governments of countries with a Muslim majority of their responsibilities.”

In March, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the pope’s vicar for Rome, voiced doubts about calls to teach Islam in Italian schools, saying he wanted assurance that doing so “would not give way to a socially dangerous kind of indoctrination.”

And on March 23, Benedict summoned his 179 cardinals for a closed-doors business session. Much conversation turned on Islam, according to participants, and there was agreement over taking a tougher stance on reciprocity.

Through his statements and those of his proxies, Benedict clearly hopes to stimulate Islamic leaders to express their faith effectively in a pluralistic world. The big question is whether it will be received that way, or whether it simply reinforces the conviction of jihadists about eternal struggle with the Christian West.

John L. Allen Jr. is the Vatican correspondent for The National Catholic Reporter.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The controversy over the Pope's lecture

Amy Welborn: "This is not an effective way to argue against someone who has questioned your religion's relationship to violence:"

More photos:

Outside the Vatican embassy in Indonesia. The caption reads: "Let's crucify the Pope."

And a British blogger had this experience when going to Mass at a Cathedral (he/she also has some photos):

Unfortunately after Mass today at Westminster Cathedral it was shoved in my face. Holy Mass on a Sunday is the very source and summit of the Catholic week, so my family decided this Sunday to make the trip to Westminster Cathedral together. As we came out about 100 Islamists were chanting slogans such as "Pope Benedict go to Hell" "Pope Benedict you will pay, the Muja Hadeen are coming your way" "Pope Benedict watch your back" and other hateful things. I'll post more pictures of it when I get more free time. It was a pretty nasty demonstration. From 11 - 3pm they chanted absurd things, literally just outside the Cathedral. And from 11- 3pm (and indeed all day, every day) like every day of the week, faithful Catholics and non-Catholics (mainly tourists) wondered in and out of the magnificent Church, largely ignoring the furor of hatred this crowd of muslims was trying to stir up.

All this is very disturbing and sad. Can't these Muslim brothers and sisters voice their outrage in a more peaceful and rational manner? Do they need to insult and humiliate the Pope in such ways?

The Pope already said his apology, and earlier in a statement he said that his speech was taken out of context. How many of these Muslim brothers and sisters of ours actually read the Pope's statement in its entirety before reacting the way they did? How can they so easily jump to such a conclusion about the Pope that led them to express such anger and hatred towards him?

What does the Pope think about Islam? This is a speech he gave in a meeting with Muslims last year in Cologne:

It is in this spirit that I turn to you, dear and esteemed Muslim friends, to share my hopes with you and to let you know of my concerns at these particularly difficult times in our history.

I am certain that I echo your own thoughts when I bring up one of our concerns as we notice the spread of terrorism. I know that many of you have firmly rejected, also publicly, in particular any connection between your faith and terrorism and have condemned it. I am grateful to you for this, for it contributes to the climate of trust that we need.

Terrorist activity is continually recurring in various parts of the world, plunging people into grief and despair. Those who instigate and plan these attacks evidently wish to poison our relations and destroy trust, making use of all means, including religion, to oppose every attempt to build a peaceful and serene life together.

Thanks be to God, we agree on the fact that terrorism of any kind is a perverse and cruel choice which shows contempt for the sacred right to life and undermines the very foundations of all civil coexistence.

If together we can succeed in eliminating from hearts any trace of rancour, in resisting every form of intolerance and in opposing every manifestation of violence, we will turn back the wave of cruel fanaticism that endangers the lives of so many people and hinders progress towards world peace.

The task is difficult but not impossible. The believer - and all of us, as Christians and Muslims, are believers - knows that, despite his weakness, he can count on the spiritual power of prayer.

Dear friends, I am profoundly convinced that we must not yield to the negative pressures in our midst, but must affirm the values of mutual respect, solidarity and peace. The life of every human being is sacred, both for Christians and for Muslims. There is plenty of scope for us to act together in the service of fundamental moral values.

The dignity of the person and the defence of the rights which that dignity confers must represent the goal of every social endeavour and of every effort to bring it to fruition. This message is conveyed to us unmistakably by the quiet but clear voice of conscience. It is a message which must be heeded and communicated to others: should it ever cease to find an echo in peoples' hearts, the world would be exposed to the darkness of a new barbarism.

Only through recognition of the centrality of the person can a common basis for understanding be found, one which enables us to move beyond cultural conflicts and which neutralizes the disruptive power of ideologies.

During my Meeting last April with the delegates of Churches and Christian Communities and with representatives of the various religious traditions, I affirmed that "the Church wants to continue building bridges of friendship with the followers of all religions, in order to seek the true good of every person and of society as a whole" (L'Osservatore Romano, 25 April 2005, p. 4).

Past experience teaches us that, unfortunately, relations between Christians and Muslims have not always been marked by mutual respect and understanding. How many pages of history record battles and wars that have been waged, with both sides invoking the Name of God, as if fighting and killing, the enemy could be pleasing to him. The recollection of these sad events should fill us with shame, for we know only too well what atrocities have been committed in the name of religion.

The lessons of the past must help us to avoid repeating the same mistakes. We must seek paths of reconciliation and learn to live with respect for each other's identity. The defence of religious freedom, in this sense, is a permanent imperative, and respect for minorities is a clear sign of true civilization. In this regard, it is always right to recall what the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council said about relations with Muslims.

"The Church looks upon Muslims with respect. They worship the one God living and subsistent, merciful and almighty, creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to humanity and to whose decrees, even the hidden ones, they seek to submit themselves whole-heartedly, just as Abraham, to whom the Islamic faith readily relates itself, submitted to God.... Although considerable dissensions and enmities between Christians and Muslims may have arisen in the course of the centuries, the Council urges all parties that, forgetting past things, they train themselves towards sincere mutual understanding and together maintain and promote social justice and moral values as well as peace and freedom for all people" (Declaration Nostra Aetate, n. 3).

For us, these words of the Second Vatican Council remain the Magna Carta of the dialogue with you, dear Muslim friends, and I am glad that you have spoken to us in the same spirit and have confirmed these intentions.

You, my esteemed friends, represent some Muslim communities from this Country where I was born, where I studied and where I lived for a good part of my life. That is why I wanted to meet you. You guide Muslim believers and train them in the Islamic faith.

Teaching is the vehicle through which ideas and convictions are transmitted. Words are highly influential in the education of the mind. You, therefore, have a great responsibility for the formation of the younger generation. I learn with gratitude of the spirit in which you assume responsibility.

Christians and Muslims, we must face together the many challenges of our time. There is no room for apathy and disengagement, and even less for partiality and sectarianism. We must not yield to fear or pessimism. Rather, we must cultivate optimism and hope.

Interreligious and intercultural dialogue between Christians and Muslims cannot be reduced to an optional extra. It is in fact a vital necessity, on which in large measure our future depends.

The media is partly guilty of this, I think. I forgot which newspaper carried this banner; it was an international daily. It read: "Pope Slams Islam" or words to that effect. Such headlines only provoke and foment anger. These media outlets should be responsible enough with the way they carry their news.

Finally, this is from a French Muslim leader:

The rector of the Mosque of Aix in Marseilles Mohand Alili thinks his fellow Muslims are making too much of the Regensburg citation.

"The Muslim can't expect that the Pope is going to glorify them. All he did was what a Pope would do," said Alili to France Info.

"Others have said similar things before....Moreover, he's not Muslim, never has been. He's the Pope. What do they want him to do? Why would he preach Islam over Christianity?"

"Benedict XVI," he said, "stands up for who he is. Now why can't Muslims say, '"All right, and this is who we are,' but there's no need to go into all the polemics."

"Besides, I don't see why they should be taking it out on the Pope when they should have it out among themselves, among those who have discredited Islam. No, I don't see why I should be angry at the Pope."

Check Amy Welborn's blog (and also Carl Olson's: Insight Scoop) regularly for running commentaries and updates on the controversy.

Nice pic

I don't know, but there's something beautiful and peaceful about this photo.

(Via Photography and Spiritual Exercises)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The price of disobedience

Just a thought....

You know why God "punished" Adam and Eve, after they have eaten of the forbidden fruit, by giving them children?

To the woman also he said: I will multiply thy sorrows, and thy conceptions: in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children, and thou shalt be under thy husband's power, and he shall have dominion over thee. (Genesis 3:16)

Well, they disobeyed God, so God in His infinite wisdom allowed them to bear forth children... so that they may feel how it is to love your children (as God loved Adam and Eve) and be disobeyed by them. They will experience how it is to be hurt by their children's disobedience. But most of all, they will learn how to practice true love, by practicing the virtues of patience, tolerance, and understanding as they care for their children and as they guide them from infancy to adolescence. Only then will they truly see how much God loved and continues to love them.

So we see that it is not really "punishment" for its own sake, but "punishment" done by God out of love for us.

Would you agree?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Been busy

We had two exams in our Maternal and Child Care Nursing this morning. The previous days we've been discussing about Cardiovascular and Hematologic diseases.

The clinical instructor who discussed the topics impressed us a lot, nay, put us all in awe. A very intelligent and dynamic nurse, had a lot of experience in pediatric nursing. Wish I could have the same passion.

I'm really struggling with MCN. It's not an easy subject.

Well, it's intrams week, which means no class for three days! Yehey! I really need a break.

Crazy about audiobooks!

This blog is getting me very excited lately:


A lot of very exciting stuff about audiobooks and podcasts, or "audiolearning" in general. You can find a lot of free stuff in there for your aural pleasure. I've already subscribed to the website, and what's great about it is that you get to download one audiobook for free every month. The site already has loads of free audiobooks, so that's just an added bonus.

I'm still dropping by Librivox once in a while. I've finished Northanger Abbey two weeks ago but I didn't enjoy it very much. I'm now listening to Hans Christian Anderson's fairy tales. A lot of his stories are strange...

I've also been listening to Sherlock Holmes stories (the site seems to be experiencing some technical problems). Great stuff.

I have literally dozens of audiobooks in our PC right now which I have recently downloaded. I don't know how I'm going to find the time to listen to all of them. I have almost eaten up all the storage space in our hard drive, and my brother's complaining. So I've begun transferring most of them to CDs.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The perpetrator and the whistle-blower

The Talk of the Town section of the PDI yesterday carried the issue of the NLE leakage. An excerpt of the statement made by the "whistle-blower" is published.

What struck me in his story is this:

I said to him, “Sir, be careful, you might be blackmailed.” Cordero said, “No, I have a lawyer. Gapuz is pointing at me because a PCHS student gave him the materials. The evidence that the PRC holds is the photocopy of the handwritten materials from my student. Walang kwentang bata ’yan. Do you know who the materials are really for? For my child [son].”

I replied, “Oo nga po, sir. Salamat po at hindi niyo ipinagdamot sa amin,” I then asked him, “Sir, bakit kaya niya kailangan ibigay ’yun?” Cordero said, “Eh para ano pa, eh di sa pera.” “Balita ko nga masama ang loob sa akin ng member ng BON na nagbigay, eh. Pag nagkaipitan naman, hindi ko sasabihin na siya. Sasabihin ko lang na may nagbigay sa akin, hindi ko kilala tapos binigyan ko kunwari ng P20,000.”

"Salamat po at hindi niyo ipinagdamot sa amin." He did not condemn the act, after having discovered that there was a leakage, and that they benefited from it, after they took the exam. He even thanked him for it!

According to the statement even Gapuz welcomed the leaked material given to him by the second-courser mentioned in the story.

Cordero's values are truly twisted. He cheated for his son, and the way that he said it, it seemed to him a very normal thing. Moreover, he was "generous" enough (a value which Bautista thanked him for -- and for that reason Bautista's values are also twisted ) to share it with the reviewers. Tsk tsk tsk.

God's will

Currently in my inbox I have about 29 unread messages from different e-groups that I'm a member, plus 215 more, daily devotionals that I'm too lazy to read.

Anyway, I was deleting old emails to free some space when I found this very beautiful and funny article by Bo Sanchez which I never bothered to read until now. It's quite long, but it's really worth it!

My Long, Convoluted, Complicated Torturous Process of Knowing God's Will for My Life That Lasted For 18 Years And The 7 Keys I Discovered On Discerning God's Will

I am, without question, the Top World Authority and Expert in Discernment.

I'm also the Top World Authority and Expert on how to eat peanut butter in 181 ways - but that's another book.

Let me tell you why I consider myself an expert in getting heavenly guidance when you make the big decisions in life: Because I made the most mistakes.

Specifically, 18 years of wonderful mistakes.

It all began when I came to know God at age 12.

I enjoyed serving God at a young age - giving talks, leading retreats, conducting seminars, producing musicals, traveling all over the country. You know, regular stuff.

But I also did some really, really special stuff. Like for these same events, I also cleaned toilets, swept floors, arranged chairs and washed dishes. All-Around Janitor by day, Big-Time Speaker by night.

I fell in love with what I was doing.

So I told myself that I'd serve God for the rest of my life. Obviously, I thought of becoming a priest - or at least a celibate person.

I mean, how could you not think of it?

My Wild Journey to Singleness

Gosh, every big-name saint is celibate.

Every single one of them.

Married saints are awfully few and their popularity rating sucks. (They need a PR firm to pull their numbers up. I've recently volunteered for the job.)

You've got to admit. Heavyweight saints are priests, nuns, bishops, theologians, popes and founders of congregations.

So here was my thinking: If I'm serving God, I might as well go all the way.

My first attempt at celibacy was when I formed a small group of men to live together in a ramshackle house.

It was really more like a bodega - but we lived there for five straight happy years.

St. Francis of Assisi was our hero, and we wanted to live like him, talk like him, eat like him, look like him and smell like him. So for five years, we slept on old cardboards laid on cement floors, wore the most worn-out clothes, fasted regularly, prayed two hours in the morning and went off to do God's work during the day - until we arrived home in the evening for more prayer and sharing - tired, poor, smelly and happy.

All of us wanted to be celibate. But one by one, all the guys with me discerned that they were for married life. (Still, I look back at those five years as one of the most fantastic seasons of my life. We still see each other and work together.)

Why Are You on This Planet?

My second attempt at celibacy was joining the Servants of the Word, an international celibate brotherhood. I lived in their house for one year - and was overjoyed to be not the leader - but just a member this time.

Again, the daily schedule was similar. We also slept on floors, ate on tin plates, had a limited set of clothes, prayed long and fasted a lot. We also had lots and lots of fun. The Servants of the Word brotherhood was an incredibly rich blessing to my life.

But after one year, I knew in my heart that I wasn't meant to join them.

A very simple reason: If I joined the Servants of the Word, my first ministry would be the brotherhood. And theoretically, they could assign me to go anywhere in the world - and I needed to leave the organizations I founded.

But deep within me, I knew that God wanted me to serve the groups I founded - Light of Jesus, Shepherd's Voice, etc.

Here's Key Lesson #1 on Discerning God's Will: Identify Your Sacred Personal Mission.

To me, the organizations I birthed were part of my original sacred mission - and that mission has not yet been lifted from my heart.

Let me explain. I pioneered a lay community composed of thousands of people spread all over the country, plus a media ministry that was touching the lives of hundreds of thousands more... potentially millions. And I was their spiritual father. Does a father abandon his children?

No, he doesn't.

Tell me: What is your personal sacred mission?

Never Make Decisions at Night Time

So with a heavy heart, I left my wonderful friends at the Servants of the Word.
Now, I was on my own. Again.

After praying and thinking over it for a few more months, I decided to get married. I told myself that I had tried celibacy. And nothing worked. So this other road must be my path.

I zeroed in on one of the young women that I was attracted to in the prayer meeting. I dated her. I gave her flowers. I even composed a song for her.

But by the third date, she gave me the words of death all suitors dread to hear.

"Let's just remain friends." (But of course, guys would translate these words to mean, "You look like a yellow toad, so bug off, you creep.")

That was when I said, "Wow, perhaps I'm really called to celibacy!

I mean, gosh, how can a human female in her right mind turn down a great catch like me?"

Okay, that's not what I said.

I wrote that down to make you laugh.

This is what I actually told myself, "Gosh, she's right. I am a yellow toad."

And after some time later, I was somehow thinking of celibacy again.

Looking back, I realized this choice was caused by the deadly mixture of a genuine passion for God and the sadness of a broken heart. If romance doesn't want me, I don't want it either. So celibacy, here I come!

Of course, at that time, I didn't know all this. Which brings me to Key Lesson #2 on Discerning God's Will: Never make decisions when you're discouraged.

Make decisions only when you feel good about yourself.

Figuratively, don't make decisions during the night of confusion. Sleep over it, and make decisions when you wake up in the morning and feel better.

That's not an original from me. St. Ignatius of Loyola shared these same thoughts when he said, "Don't make decisions during times of desolation. Make decisions during times of consolation."

But again, I didn't know all this during that time...

The Craziest Thing I Thought about In My Entire Life

I continued to pursue celibacy for three more years.

During that time, I founded Anawim, a ministry for the poorest of the poor.

I actually lived in a bamboo hut (without electricity and any kind of plumbing) in the boondocks for three years together with a bunch of like-minded friends. We took in orphans, abandoned elderly, drug addicts and mentally handicapped people. It was a wild adventure.

You see, I had a plan.

With my stint with Servants of the Word, I realized that if I was to live a celibate life, it had to be on my terms - that is, become a priest but still be able to serve my organizations.

So my only option was to start my own congregation of priests. (Don't laugh. I was dead serious.)

And I was imagining it to be right there in Anawim, living with the poor, and serving the different Lay Communities I founded all over the Philippines.

So I talked to Bishop Teodoro Bacani and asked him, "Bishop, can I form my own congregation of priests?" The good bishop probably received crazy proposals like this about 12 times a day.

He simply said, "Let's talk about it some more."

Check What God Has Given You

But after two years of trying and thinking and praying, I shelved the entire idea.

One big realization: I didn't have the gifts of "forming" men one-on-one, which is essential to forming a congregation.

I thrived (became most happy and alive) when I preached in front of thousands or when I wrote my books to millions of readers - not when I was in front of one person- wrestling with emotional issues, giving spiritual direction, counseling personal problems. Ugh. That kind of work was death to me. I simply wasn't made for it.

Here's Key Lesson #3 on Discerning God's Will: Identify Your Raw Materials.

When God designed you, He gave you the raw materials you need to do His will. So you need to study these raw materials well - and you'll find out what He wants you to do. God's not a sadistic taskmaster that will force you to do things you don't want to do. In fact, He gave you your specific gifts, temperament and personality precisely because He wants you to use them to bless the world.

Saying all that, I must warn you that it takes time to discover your happiness. What may give you so much happiness later may, in the short-term, give you misery. So discern well.

Going to a Retreat

So when the option of forming my own congregation went up in smoke, I was already 30 years old.

I knew I had to make a choice.

So I went up a mountain with nothing else but a Bible and a wise Jesuit priest. For seven days, I holed myself on that mountain. I was determined that when I went down, I would already have a decision.

I recall that my first three days on that mountain was pure torture. I wrestled with God and found no answer. He wasn't telling me what I should do with my life.

But on the fourth day, my spiritual director said that his fellow Jesuit Fr. Manoling Francisco, the composer of Hindi Kita Malilumutan and many other beautiful songs, had a concert at the parish church nearby. Would I want to listen?

I told him that Manoling was my friend. Yes, I'd love to go.

So I went there and listened to his lovely music.

But in between his songs, Fr. Francisco said these powerful words that blew me away, "We think that God's will is found out there, somewhere in the stars. That's not true. God's will is found within. Ultimately, God's will is your deepest desire."
What did he say?

Searching Within

Wham! It was like a missile that had my name on it.

My gosh, what are my deepest desires?

What do I really want?

No, not my shallow desires.

But the desire from the deepest core of who I am.

What do I really, really want?

Everything made sense to me. Of course, God's will is my deepest desire!
Sometimes, it takes years to discover this. But through the sharp scalpel of discernment, you peel away your superficial desires, layer after layer, until you touch base with the deepest desire of your heart.

And here is Key Lesson #4 on Discernment: God's Will is your deepest desire.

Because when He created you, He planted it there - deep within your soul.

No Luck Came

Armed with this knowledge, I went back to my retreat with vengeance.

For the past four days, I was asking God, "What do you want me to do?" Now, I had three more days to ask myself, "What do I want to do?" I was confident I could answer the question in a few minutes.

I went to the chapel.

The few minutes turned to an hour.

The hour turned to two hours.

After three hours, I was sweating.

After four hours, I was in pain.

I was still stumped as ever.

Why? I realized I wanted both!

I wanted marriage. The intimacy of marriage. The joy of children. The hugs. The quiet evenings and noisy mornings.

But I also wanted the freedom of celibacy. The missionary that goes off to wherever. Alone. In prayer. At work. And with other buddies as passionate for God as I was.

So for the next couple of days, I was as torn as ever.

False Alarm

By the sixth day of the retreat, my brain was fried. Micro waved, grilled, poached, baked and re-fried all over again.

And then all of a sudden, I had a brilliant idea.

I solved my dilemma!

I rushed to my spiritual director, knocked on his door, and said, "Father! Father! I've got it!"

He pulled a chair and we sat facing each other.

"Okay, what is it?"

My words came bubbling out of my mouth, "I know now what to do! I'll remain celibate for 25 more years - serve to my heart's content - and get married when I hit 55!"

He looked at me, startled. And then laughed. "Bo, anything is possible. But don't you think you'll be unfair to your kids? You'll be playing basketball with your 10-year-old when you're 65? Bo, you're not making a choice."

Rats. He was right.

I had one more day to pray.

A Truth that Rocked My World

I remember that day very well.

I went to God and said, "Lord, this is my last day. This is your last chance. I like both. Is it celibacy or marriage? You've got to help me..."

And that day, it happened.

I cannot fully describe to you what took place that fateful morning. Except to say that it was one of the most mystical experiences of my life. But mind you, without the Hollywood pyrotechnics. (If Steven Spielberg interpreted that scene into film, he'd have laser lights shooting wildly from different directions and I'd be levitating with translucent rainbows crisscrossing my body. Nope, it didn't happen that way.)

On that day, I "met" truth. A truth that was like a golden key that unlocked heavy chains that wrapped around my body for so many years - and they all fell, and I heard them crashing on the chapel floor. I was simply asking God to resolve whether I should marry or be celibate. But He gave me a truth that would rock my entire world.

Here's what happened.

I was alone in that chapel, and it was as though everything around me - the entire universe - was speaking to my heart.

And I heard two words.

I Saw God's Perfect Will In a Totally Different Way

The two simple words were: You choose.

I was stunned.

I answered, "But God, I need to know what is Your perfect will!"

And that was when I realized the craziest, most insane thing: At least in my own life, single life and married life are both in God's perfect will.1

For all those years, I had a limited view of this thing called God's will.

It's not so narrow after all! It could be very, very wide.

And it made all sense to me - God's will is as big as God Himself!

Of course, I could choose any of those two options - and I'd still be in His perfect will.

Here's Key Lesson #5: God's will is bigger than we think it is.

Fruit Salad, Anyone?

We think God's will is narrow - and woe to you if you fall to the left or to the right! Today, I see many Christians who are like struggling tightrope artists. It's a pathetic sight. We get this idea because Jesus said the way to the Kingdom is narrow. But the context is all wrong. He was talking about moral issues - good and evil. Not about decisions that are both morally excellent.

Tell me: In the Garden of Eden, how many fruits could Adam and Eve not eat? Answer: One. And how many could they actually eat - and eat as much? Answer: Everything else.

I've discovered that this is the perfect picture of the human life God has given to us: All the fruits are for my picking. Only one fruit isn't in God's will - and that fruit is called Evil.

This Universe Is a Wild Place of Blessings!

That's why I now believe everything is sacred.

The universe is such a beautiful, wonderful, phenomenal place filled and overflowing with His blessings.

Marriage and celibacy included.

But that day, I still heard a huge part of my heart complain, Noooooooooooo! This cannot be! My old programming was kicking in. My mental software didn't want to be upgraded.

But slowly, the truth took root in my heart.

It took another ten years from that day for this truth to break down all my theological arguments and emotional biases. (I probably still maintain a few guerilla stragglers fighting in my brain.) That's why it took me this long to write this book. I couldn't make myself teach these things to others.

Perfect Love Casts Out What?

But that morning in the chapel, I noticed something remarkable.

All of a sudden, fear was gone from the equation.

I could now discern without fear - which I realize is very, very important.
First, the fear of displeasing God had disappeared. (If I chose marriage, He'd be happy. If I chose celibacy, He'd be happy too!)

Second, the fear of being cursed for choosing the wrong thing also vanished from my heart. (Through the years, I've met lots and lots of people who feel God has cursed them because they've chosen wrongly. This cruel lie has robbed them of years of happiness.)

Third, the fear of choosing something wrong - and settling for God's second best - being trapped forever in a second-class life. This fear was also gone!

I could now choose without these useless fears.

Which is Key Lesson #6 of Discerning God's Will: Never choose in the presence of useless fears. First banish fear - and then choose out of love.

The Historic Phone Call that Changed My Life

If I had nothing to fear, what would I choose?

I closed my eyes.

And found the answer.

I lay flat on the floor of the chapel - and it was as though all my tension and stress drained from my body. I began to laugh.

It was a beautiful feeling to finally know what to do with my life.

I stood up, went to my room, quickly packed my bags, walked to my spiritual director's room and bid farewell. I told him all my Lessons of Discernment I mentioned above. He smiled. "Great discoveries. So you have made a decision."

"Yes, I have. Thank you very much, Father."

Going down from the retreat house, I whipped out my cell phone.

I dialed a number.

"Hello, Marowe?"

The Chair in My Office

Let me tell you the background of that story.

Five years before that phone call, I met a beautiful young woman at my office - applying for work. We hired her and she ended up becoming my secretary.

But as I told you, I was at that time still seriously considering becoming a priest.

So I brushed romantic thoughts aside and decided to look at her the way I looked at a piece of furniture. So to me, she was one of the Monobloc chairs in the office.

This strategy worked.

I'd be rarely in the office anyway, preaching and travelling around the world. We'd have very brief phone calls, perhaps once a week, and it was purely business. Do this. Do that. Go here. Go there. For those five years, not once did I show any hint that I was attracted to her. Not once did I show any special treatment towards her.

But I must be honest. In the rare times that I was in the office, I'd sometimes find myself secretly gazing at this Monobloc chair for no apparent reason. I was attracted by her simplicity, her steady relationship with God, her pretty smile and her no-none-sense attitude towards work. But again, I pushed this at the backburner of my brain.

I knew I was attracted to her - and enjoyed knowing that I was human.

But I knew it wasn't something to focus my attention on.

Which brings me to the final Key Lesson #7: Enjoy the Journey Of Discerning God's Will. All the zigs and zags. All the bumps and jumps. All the twists and turns.

It's all part of this package called Life.

The Decision

Five years later, going down that mountaintop, I phoned the monobloc chair.

It was the very first time I called her on her cell phone.

"Yes?" her voice sounded perplexed, wondering if there was an emergency.
"Oh nothing, I just want to say hi!"

Obviously, she was as surprised as a cat in front of a truck's headlights. She couldn't speak for a while. Her boss had called her to say hi. His brain wasn't functioning normally, she must have thought. Must be the altitude in the mountain.

"Uh... hi too. Where are you?" she finally thought of something to say.

"I'm here in Mindanao and I've just finished my retreat. I'm going home now."

"Oh, uh... okay. Was it a good retreat?"

"Yes. Very, very good. I'll tell you all about it."

"Uh... okay."
"I'll see you soon, Marowe. Bye!"

"Uh... yeah. Okay, Bo. Bye."

That was to her one of the weirdest phone calls she had ever received.
But to me, it remains the sweetest.

Going down the mountain, I felt good.

I felt very, very good.

For the remainder of this book, I will now tell you how to find your One True Love.

I remain your friend,

Bo Sanchez

1Note: I'm sure there are some people who - because of their personality, character, history, strengths and weaknesses - are fit for either single life or married life. But my point here is that there are people who can choose any - and will find that God is pleased in whatever they do.

21 John 4:18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out all fear.
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