A Visit to Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage ( A Special Spiritual and Physical Nourishment for the Volunteer Teachers of APB Foundation )

January 30, 2010 was a special day for the volunteer teachers of Alalay sa Pamilya at Bayan Foundation whose thrust is to give Values Education through Catechism in public schools in the Philippines.

It started with a quick breakfast of hot pandesal and coffee in Mrs. Brown’s posh house in Greenmeadows where we all gathered before boarding the airconditioned bus courtesy of Victory Liner. Upon boarding the bus, the very thoughtful Mrs. Brown shared shawls with some of the volunteers to keep them warm during the trip.
Off to Antipolo. Sis Tere led the Sorrowful followed by the Joyful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary during the trip. Some volunteers catched up on sleep after praying the Rosary.

On reaching Antipolo City, just before getting off the bus, Sis Marievic announced that we shall break up in groups of five, and look after one another in visiting the church and the Blessed Sacrament. A Holy Mass is being celebrated in the church during that time. It was actually the latter part of Communion time when our group got in. We were fortunate enough to join the congregation in saying the Novena to Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage right after Communion. I find it amusingly amazing that the silent prayer I just said, the prayers that I requested the Blessed Lady to intercede for me, are in the Novena! I took it as a wink from the Lord, an answered prayer for me I hope! Praise God! After saying the Novena, we went to visit the Blessed Sacrament in the Adoration Chapel where we spent a few minutes of quiet time before the Lord. Some of the volunteers went shopping for pasalubong such as crunchy cashew nuts/kasuy, suman, brown kalamay, etc. before getting back on the bus. The fun side of the little shopping in Antipolo was you get to have a free taste of the delicacies before actually buying the food items. Talk about good marketing…

From Antipolo City to Tanay, Rizal. After visiting the Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage in Antipolo City, we headed to Tanay, Rizal for the next set of activities. When we reached the Brown Family’s farm in Tanay, Rizal, and while waiting for lunch, the volunteers busied themselves posing for the camera, taking photos of the beautiful place, taking in the beautiful scenery that was before us.
Lunch time! Inside the house a buffet of lunch was waiting for us! We had a balanced hearty meal of pinakbet, fried tilapia, chicken adobo, veggie salad and steamed rice mixed with some sweet corn. We also helped ourselves with sweetened saging na saba (boiled banana) and kamoteng kahoy (sweet potato) for dessert. While enjoying the healthy food courtesy of Annabel’s Restaurant, our eyes feasted on the picturesque view of Laguna lake before us as the cool breeze brushes our skin. It was a delight gazing at and enjoying the beauty of nature, God’s wonderful creation! It was an excellent place to do deep breathing for there are trees and flowering plants all around, not to mention the clear blue sky and the cool breeze. Hmmm… Inhale… Exhale… Inhale… Exhale… If only we can take home fresh, cool air…

After lunch, we gathered under the big Balete tree, and had a short individual introduction of the volunteers. Mrs Brown mentioned that the Opus Dei-Women’s Section is celebrating its 80th anniversary on February 14, 2010. Sis Tere then proceeded to give a short talk on the history of Opus Dei and its Father (founder), St Josemaria Escriva whose three (3) loves are Our Lady, the Church, and souls. There was a short video presentation of St Josemaria’s interaction with the youth in some of the places he visited. We prayed the Glorious Mysteries of the Holy Rosary on our way to the farm’s camp site where the bus is waiting. We boarded the bus back to Greenmeadows.

My group (my sister Budeck, friends Pinky and Matet, Auntie Dhel, my Mom, and myself) went home to my place to freshen up and have a quick bite, then proceeded to attend the anticipated Mass in Rockwell Chapel in Makati. We prayed for Mrs Brown, her family and staff, for so generously providing everything to make that special pilgrimage possible. We had coffee then went back home, and called it a day! We went home tired, but happy!

Indeed, when we offer back to God the talents and skills, time and treasure that He blessed us with, He gives back again so much more. Our God can never be outdone in generosity. Glory to our Loving and Generous God!


Election time is fast approaching. Have you made up your mind who among the many candidates you will vote for? What would be your criteria for choosing your candidates?

It is so sad that there are self-seeking interests and ambition within the government and even in the church. People are seeking to play king, obsessed for position and recognition by others. Such self-serving interests and ambition often lead affluent candidates to place advertisements and hold press conferences to gain influence in an attempt to promote their own agenda. Sadly, these advertisements and press conferences often result in spreading rumors and tearing others down in an attempt at self-promotion.

These people think they have the gift of saving people. They see it as their calling to save all the poor, and enrich their lives. But most often such people have hidden agenda behind their actions. It’s not really love at all, but a way to promote themselves.

Although the call to serve is universal, some of us may have the wrong idea of service. We do not need to hold public office to be able to serve people. We do not need to have a title or position to serve our neighbors in need. We only are required to fulfill the duties placed before us by God in whatever state of life we are in with great love for God and our neighbor. We can give life to that love by doing our ordinary duties extraordinarily well for God’s glory. We can volunteer for ministries in the church or any non-government organization. We have to keep our eyes open to the needs of the world around us.

One has to mind his own life and affairs first, and it would involve getting one’s spiritual life in order, getting the planks out of one’s own eye that one might have the ability to help others in their failures and difficulties. How do we know who among these candidates who openly declare that they love the Filipino people so much are sincere? What we need to see is faithfulness—lives that back up their job or business with works and a walk consistent with their talk.

We cannot trust somebody who does not truly love God. How can somebody say that he loves God whom he does not see when he cannot sincerely love his neighbors whom he sees? How can somebody who cannot remain faithful with his/her spouse be faithful with the whole Filipino nation?

Who are those who, as children of the light, walk after the example of the Lord Jesus Christ? Who are those who abide in Christ by faith and walk in the pursuit of growth in love and holiness? Who are those with a real heart of service for the poor without any vested interest? Who are those who do not exploit and use the poor for their own self-seeking ambition? People who really love God are those people who obey and try to please Him in whatever they say and do, with or without any press people watching.

John Paul II said, “The deepest joy there is in life is the joy that comes from God, and is found in Jesus Christ.” We can find joy in serving God and ministering to His people. John 10:10 says, “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” An abundant life is a life of love and holiness. A life of love and holiness is a life shared with others in service, not necessarily having the highest office in the land.

Exercising our right to vote is no joke. It comes with a big responsibility. The future of our nation especially the younger generation is in our hands. Let us pray hard. God uses emotions and conscience to speak to us. Come election time, listen to your heart, then go out and vote.

Watch Flywheel and Fireproof!

I praise God for inspiring the people behind the film "Flywheel" for coming out with a movie that not only touches the heart but the spirit as well!!!  Zig Ziglar, author and motivational teacher, said that it is an entertainment that packs a message right where we all live and work.

"Jay Austin wants to sell used cars in the worst way... and that's exactly how he does business at his dealership.  Promising much more than he can ever deliver, he'll do whatever it takes to sell a car.  His manipulative ways permeate all of his relationships- -even his wife and son know they can't trust him.  But as Jay works on restoring a classic convertible, he begins to see that God is working on restoring him as well.  Coming face-to-face with the reality of how he truly conducts himself, Jay Austin begins the ride of his life as he learns to honor God with his business, his relationships, and his life!"

It's one film you would want to see over and over again.  It would have you cheering and crying at the same time as you hear and see the word of God becomes alive in the film.  Just approach the film with a prayerful attitude, and you will hear God speak in your heart.

The film was produced by Sherwood Pictures, and distributed in the Philippines through Magnavision Incorporated.  Get your copy, sit back, relax and let God speak to your heart!  Watch it with your loved ones!

To the married people out there, I strongly recommend "Fireproof" from the makers of "Flywheel."  It's a powerful story of triumph, honor and forgiveness.  I'd like to thank my sister, Yae, for recommending the said films.  To God be the glory!

Praying for the Poor Souls

This month of November, let me share with you something.

It has been my practice for the longest time to pray for the souls in purgatory especially that of our departed relatives and friends. One evening, on my way to work before boarding a bus, I was surprised to see many passengers inside looking out the window, looking at me. I told myself, "Uy, bat kaya gabi na ang dami pang pasahero?" "Buti na lang, para may mga kasabay ako, " I answered myself while getting in.

To my surprise, upon getting in, it turned out I was the only passenger. I looked around a number of times but didn't see a single soul. It was at that moment when I remembered the Poor Souls. Got goose bumps!... but then I didn't get scared for I realized it was the Lord's way of assuring me that someone's (many, I'd dare say...) watching over me... or even escorting me in the wee hours... on my way to work...

IT IS INDEED TRUE that if you pray for the poor souls, they will do you favors... If you haven't done so, BETTER START PRAYING FOR AND OFFERING YOUR SACRIFICES FOR THE POOR SOULS... and GOD, WHO CAN NEVER BE OUTDONE IN GENEROSITY, WILL SURELY BLESS YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES FOR IT. Believe me, I am a living witness to it.

In this busy world, a Hail Mary or Holy Mass for them, will greatly benefit them... and you and the people you care for as well... Take care...

Lenten Reflections

On this season of lent, I am sharing with you my personal reflections lately:

1) "Those who joyfully leave everything in God's hands will eventually see God's hand in everything." -- When you look beyond the pain, you'll see the bigger picture, and you'll understand and appreciate the learnings that go with the trials; then you'll come out a better, stronger and wiser person. That is, if you won't dwell in the past and on the pain.. After the storm, you'll even thank God for it! I did!

2) God is greater than all the problems put together. -- Place all your concerns in God's hands. He knows and understands. He loves you. He wants what's best for you.

3) Whatever difficulty you're going thru, remember that Jesus is journeying with you. He is always with you. Ask for the grace to be able to respond properly and act accordingly, then you'll overcome any trial/problem and come out victorious.. . in Jesus' Name!

4) What do you do when you're lost? Do you go back to where you started or will you find your way out, leading to your destination? When I am lost, I try to find my way out that leads to my destination, where God wants me to be...

God loves us, His children, that's why He wants us to be stronger, wiser and so much closer to Him. I can never ever understand the depth of God's love for me.. I just praise and thank Him for loving me. God has manifested His love for me thru the people He brings to my life. They never cease to amaze me. I call them blessings, and you are one of them. Thank you for coming into my life! I pray for special blessings, healings and miracles for you and loved ones.

Let me greet you in advance--A TRULY MEANINGFUL AND HAPPY EASTER!


I believe the Lord can very well say this to each one of us, His children, "Minsan Lang Kitang Iibigin...dahil ang minsan ay magpakailanman. "

I remember when my niece had to go through blood test. We had to take her to the hospital. In the lab, there she was, on my lap, holding on tight and crying hard. As she cries she kept calling my name, and looking straight in my eyes as if imploring, "Tita Chic, if you want to, you can make them go away (the who's holding the syringe and the nurses assisting us). That moment, however brief, tore at my heart. I felt so guilty allowing something painful to be experienced by my young niece... but it was for her own good.... She has to go through it so she can get well. I would have offered to have my own blood extracted to spare her the pain... but I just can't... I looked at her eyes and told her Tita Chic will be with her when she goes through it. I told her I love her that's why I am allowing it to happen. As I embraced her I allowed the med. tech. to prick her arm to get some blood.

God allows certain circumstances to happen in our lives. And no matter how painful, it comes with a blessing. Sometimes we don't understand but there's always a reason.... and it's for our own benefit, always... because God loves us.

We can never be sure of anything or anyone in this world. Only God's faithful love is certain. Yes, God is faithful. He is capable of transforming something so painful into something so beautiful... in His time.

"Oh God, grant us the grace to be and to remain faithful to You and Your call. You deserve the best from us. Let us love like You do... in Jesus' Name!" GLORY TO OUR LOVING AND MERCIFUL GOD AND FATHER!


"Sometimes it is when you have given up already that our faithful God answers your prayer. Keep your eyes on Him! God loves you and knows what's best for you!" This is the shoutout I posted in my Friendster account hoping it would bless, inspire, and give hope to people. Unknowingly, this message, in about six to twelve months later, would become very much alive for and in me.

Our loving and faithful God answered my special prayer! During Christmas season of 2008, the God of Love, in His amazing and amusing way, granted me a sweet blessing that truly made my heart smile again.

Glory and praise to God for His faithfulness and loving kindness! Indeed, our God is truly alive and listening to our prayers no matter how simple it might seem. I personally attest to the fact that our Loving God and Father is very much concerned with our everyday affairs as much as He cares for the major events in our lives.

Take heart! Believe, hope, and continue to trust in God's unfailing love. In His own sweet time He will certainly answer your prayer. ADVANCED HAPPY HEARTS' DAY!