Sunday, December 31, 2006

Embracing the New Year

I welcome the new year with open arms. Ah, fresh start! But that does not mean that the past year's hurts and problems will go away. Yeah, the load is carried over. Too bad the debts are not condoned, and those time wasted and unused are no longer redeemable.

But I thank God for the new year. I should look at 2007 with fresh eyes. There will be new challenges at work, play and at home. There will be new dreams and new horizons to explore. I should not be weary in doing good. I still have a mission.

50th post

This is my 50th post, and some 2,000 others have viewed my site. This is despite the fact that I have not listed this blog in technorati or in other blog search engines. Thank you my blogger friends for encouraging me to blog. Thanks to this guy for teaching me the basics in blogging and to this lady for posting the first comment. Right after her first comment, I went bloghopping. There was no stopping from then on.

Happy New Yeay to everyone! May the Lord Jesus Christ will reign in your hearts and bless you abundantly.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Career Talk

Last Saturday, I was invited by my wife to speak to some 60 youths sponsored by Compassion. It was a sort of a career talk, and I was just so eager to do that. Five of us were invited, representing various professions. One is our former Pastor, then his wife who is a social worker. Then, our Sunday School Superintendent whose full-time job is a teacher at a National High School. The other one is a computer engineer who is also an alumnus of Compassion. Then me: A CPA.

As a background, these kids (youths actually) came from indigent families and were supported by Compassion since they were still 4-9 years old. Most are enrolled in public schools. My wife is also a Compassion alumna. She was a sponsored child till she reached 18. Now, she volunteers as a teacher and a health coordinator.

I arrived late, as in very late (sorry). The first three speakers already finished their talk. I sat at the back as I listened to the Engineer. But after a few minutes, I remembered I have not prepared my speech. I asked for a pen and paper and scribbled my outline. There’s no reason to panic here, because all I have to do is repeat what I have said in a previous career talk, though that was a year ago.

Then my time came. I started narrating about my childhood dreams. They were wild actually; like wanting to become an astronaut, or a scientist. Then my aspirations when I was in high school: I wanted to take up Agriculture in UPLB. Then I told them how God closed the door for UPLB, and so I was left with 3 more options when I finally set foot at USC. I had the enrollment money but still praying for wisdom. I said to myself that there would be no turning back for whatever choice I’ll make that day. In the end, I chose Accountancy. There was a feeling of relief and lightness as I walked home to report to my parents my chosen course. They were glad that I chose Accountancy as it was also on their mind for me.

But it did not end there. I told the youths that in order to finish the course and achieve my dream of becoming a CPA, I need to constantly ask for God’s wisdom. I also need the passion and the perseverance. There were so many boring moments, boring accounting teachers, and other diversions. But I have to maintain my focus in order to achieve my goal. I concluded my short talk with some familiar phrases: Always ask wisdom from God, study hard, dream big dreams and aim higher.

Then the question and answer portion. Two questions struck me. First, how do you know that the course you are planning to take is God’s will for you? Second, since God wants us to obey our parents, do we really have to obey them if they insist on a particular course which we do not like?

I responded first to the former. God’s general will is for all to be saved. As to the specific course, we do the choosing, but we have to ask God for wisdom. This was also supported by the Pastor when he said that whatever course you take it is God’s will for you, as long as you do good and do not disobey Him. I have always taken this position ever since I can remember.

For the second question, all other speakers responded as parents concerned for their children. One suggested that she should openly talk to her parents about her planned course. But it won’t be easy for her.

I had my cases for disobedience. First, it was my father. He disobeyed his parents by not helping them in the farm and in the sea. He escaped to school. In the end, he was the only one who got a college diploma among nine siblings. He was also able to support his parents and send his younger brothers and sisters to school. Second, it was me. My father wanted me to enroll in a newly opened technical school which was supported by the Italian government and some large corporations. It was supposed to be tuition-free and assured job after 3 years. But I disobeyed and did not apply. I didn’t want to become a technician. I did break his heart at that time. But I promised him that I will do better in another profession.

After the career talk, I looked at the youths again. I saw the enthusiasm in their eyes. I heard that plenty of them are honor students, but I also heard that there were some who were forced by their parents to quit school. I asked my wife about the girl who asked the second question. She said that her parents wanted her to stop studying after high school and look for a job. But she really aspired to become a teacher someday.

So, if by any chance you want to sponsor a child to school, you can do so by starting with your own neighbors or relatives. Or you can sponsor thru Compassion. There are so many children out there who need help.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Post Christmas Cravings

December 25. Immediately right after the Christmas program, I escaped to the tent which we put up on our Aunt’s lawn. It was already 3am, and the others were still so alive in their conversation and in their inspection of the gifts they received. I was so dead tired that I slept till 730am, and not minding the happenings and the conversations outside. I did not even notice my wife enter the tent at around 5am. She just slept for an hour then got up to join the conversation of her two aunts.

The sun was already up and the early morning heat became unbearable that I decided to get up and transferred to the airconditioned sala. Since breakfast was ready, and the elders kept on prodding us, I sat on the table and ate last night’s leftover foods.

Then I returned to the sala and continued my sleep in the sofa, joining the other nephews and nieces. Ah! No work, no worries!

We drove for home mid afternoon. My wife was already tipsy from lack of sleep. Upon reaching our room, she went straight to bed and dozed off while I took a shower. Then I watched TV with my bro in law and nephews. Wow! Animax presentation was a 10-hour run of Inuyasha. We missed the first two episodes though. But nevertheless, we were able to watch the remaining three episodes until midnight. My wife got up at 10 pm and joined us to watch the last show. She grumbled upon knowing that the main characters where half-men and half-demons.

December 26. Still no work! Sleep was from 1am to 9am. My head was heavy and aching from oversleeping. At breakfast, we’re all tired of eating ham, and I thought of the dried fish for a change. I was even searching for a can of sardines, but there was none anymore.

Sleep, TV, dried fish and sardines: These are what I craved for after Christmas.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas Rush

The other day, I was walking aimlessly inside Makro. It was supposed to be a midnight sale but I was not in the mood to buy anything. All the items I wanted were still regularly priced, and I didn't want to join the very long queue at the counter.

I don’t want to be there in the first place. I, as always, avoid every madness of a midnight sale. But my wife prodded me to drive them to Makro so that they could have a last peek at the sale items. They were disappointed as well.

x x - o - x x

The other day I was at SM. I was fortunate enough to find a parking space near the entrance in such a busy night. I was supposed to pick-up my wife and her sis. Again, I was aimlessly walking and walking, not picking up anything to buy. Too many people! Not enough breathing space for me. I did enter US Booksale, as it was less crowded and picked up a few books. But still, I left empty handed.

x x - o - x x

So, there are two remaining Christmas parties which I have to attend this weekend. I need to buy a couple of gifts for manito-manita. And I still owe something to my 26 godchildren. It's normally me, every Christmas rush.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


Today is my parents’ 32nd wedding anniversary.

There are so many things I admire about them, and these are just some of those:
1. I never ever saw them fight or argue, not even in silence.
2. I never ever heard any of them complain about each other over anything. Even my father’s snore is like music to my mother.
3. They enjoy each other’s company. Seldom will my father travel to other places without my mother.
4. They never fight with neighbors, but always invite them whenever we have parties.
5. My mother is the no.1 fan of my father’s tales. She does not get bored listening to them.
6. My father adored my mother and many times he repeated to us his version of their first meeting: Love at first sight at the school library.
7. All of us 4 siblings got equal treatment and attention. Though I received most of the punishment then, because I am the eldest and the only son.

All of the above are very difficult to follow. But anyway, they promised to love each other forever.

To my parents, Congratulations! May you have many more wedding anniversaries to come!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Football Again

I always thought that the best football clubs and players in the world are all in Europe, regardless of their original nationality. And the other domestic clubs are left with either the promising, second-rate, or beyond-the-peak players. The culprit: Money. These footballers are like gods for their fans. Then some wealthy European Club snatch them up and offer them and their clubs money.

Football is business after all. But I am not to dwell on that. And business is good for the game.

In the most recent FIFA World Club Championship held in Japan, the South American side prevailed. Internacionales of Brazil eked out a 1-0 victory over Barcelona, the current UEFA Champion’s League and La Liga Cup holder. So who are the stars of Internacionales? I don’t know. Names are familiar though, but they are just namesakes of other famous players in Europe.

So what’s the final score? From 1980 up to the present, South American clubs prevailed 14-13, over their wealthy European counterpart. The 2005 edition saw Sao Paulo crushed Liverpool.

On the latest FIFA rankings, Brazil sits on top despite not winning the world cup. The current world champion, Italy, is second. And what about the Philippines? We're at 171, an improvement from 184 last month.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Stained Gift

It’s gift-giving season once again. Everyone is excited about the gifts they are going to receive this Christmas. But for me, I am not expecting anything.

Let me just tell you of a recent experience, which has something to do also with my own attitude. I don’t really expect gifts. Not on Christmas, and not on my birthday. I grew up not expecting anything. But someone gifted me something on my recent birthday. Prior to opening the gift, I was so excited. But it died down when I saw the stain on the white shorts. Why such stained gift? Is it a mockery or something? I wanted to ask more questions, and even came to conclusion that probably the gift would show the character of the giver. I sat down on the floor reexamining the gift, and its stain. What was on their mind when they wrapped this? Were they thinking of me?

But then I saw a poor reflection of myself. Many times I gave for the sake of giving, not even caring if the recipient like the gift or not. Yeah, it took a while for me to accept it. But it’s not the value of the gift that really matters. It’s the gesture and the heart of the giver. I do not have the right to judge the giver because of the gift that failed my expectations. By the way, the shorts looked new again after I bleached it.

----- ooo ----- ooo ----- ooo -----

Some 2,000 years ago, God gave us a gift, His Son Jesus Christ. It’s because of His love He gave us this gift so that those who receive Him will not perish but have eternal life. But the people at that time were expecting a different Savior, someone who can rally them against Rome. And so they rejected the gift and crucified Him instead. But it’s part of the overall plan. That gift is available for all of us today, and all we have to do is accept it. It’s not a stained gift, but can surely wash away the stains in our lives.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Who Can Stop the Typhoon?

The ASEAN Summit is postponed due to typhoon. And some personal plans had to be deferred.

I already imagined myself enjoying the white beach and the clear waters of Sta. Fe. But what can I do? Typhoon “Seniang” will hit the island tonight and tomorrow. Though our scheduled travel is still on Sunday, and the storm might probably weaken by then, the postponement of the summit quite normalized the schools’ calendar. So there will be classes, and the 4 or 5 teachers who were supposed to go with us, will now be reporting to their schools.

Ah Seniang! Incidentally, the typhoon has the same name as Aunt’s cook, whose temperament is also unpredictable. So here's a view of the typhoon’s path:

I just called up a colleague who is in Tacloban City right now. The typhoon is there at this hour. Not that strong, he says, but it will send big waves to the island paradise of Bantayan. I heard from my sis that not a single boat was allowed to leave both ports of Sta. Fe and Hagnaya. Her officemates are stranded there at this moment.

Dark clouds are covering the city right now, but a clear blue sky usually follows a storm. And I don’t have to whine and rant about the postponement of some happiness. Even the government cannot stop the typhoon.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Football Crazy

Ever since we had cable TV, I’ve been following European football closely. This is now the third year wherein I woke up at dawn (or deferred sleep) just to watch the Champion’s League. Chelsea is my favorite team. And Jose Mourinho is my favorite manager. Though I’m miles away, I am following them thru the internet, magazines and cable TV.

I saw live on TV the thrashing of Barcelona by Chelsea, the controversial loss to Liverpool in the semis, and the amazing comeback of the Reds against the highly favored AC Milan, all in 2004.

In 2005, my Chelsea team got drubbed by Barcelona, who ultimately became champs after displaying beautiful football against Arsenal.

Just this early dawn, I watched how Manchester United came from behind to beat Benfica (3-1), who scared them with an amazing drive that hit the net early in the first half. This same team trounced Man U out early in the eliminations last year.

My team would still be Chelsea. I hope they’ll win the EPL, the UEFA Champion’s League and all the cups available.

But, do I play football? I quit the high school football club on the second day of training. I hated jogging ten rounds (plus ten more if I came late). I played softball and badminton, but I envied the soccer players who attracted most of the fans.

Just a little bit of info here: Barcelona’s all-time leading scorer, Paulino Alcantara, is a Filipino. He is the first Asian football superstar. Perhaps, we were once a football-crazy nation, before we were colonized by the Americans.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

This "Bloggy" Feeling

I was out of the blog world for 3 days as I was attending the annual convention of CPAs.

There seems to be an itch in my hands wanting to type the words composed in my mind. Like I want to blog about why they served the same kind of food in almost every meal. And how I liked certain topics discussed or how I loved the speech of certain speakers.

But there were times when I’ve seen images of my blog on the large screen, when my mind floated upon hearing the speeches of certain speakers which were like lullabies to my ears. Ah! Those drowsy moments could have been relieved by a cup or two of black coffee.

And I failed to notice that it is now December. How could I forget this most awaited month of the year!