Saturday, March 31, 2007

Thoughts for Holy Week

Romans 5:8

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

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God is God, whether we believe in Him or not. And he hates sin.

We sin, whether we believe in sin or not. How grave is mine, or how petty is yours, it does not matter. Sin is sin. There is a penalty for that. I just can’t imagine how he deals with sinners in the Old Testament times. Bloody! How scorching is the lake of fire for those who will perish.

In those nights of our struggle, we hear our conscience talking. We weep. We regret. We fast and we pray. We wear a gloomy face. We do good deeds every now and then. Aren’t these enough or too much? How much of noble deeds less petty sins equal to heaven?

What have we learned from the troubles and the calamities that have struck us? Aren’t we mere mortals struggling to appease someone up there? Why do we keep on failing? Why can’t we find answers to sin, catastrophes and moral degradation without mentioning God?

Next week, the whole Christendom will observe the Lenten Season. May we be enlightened more as we remember what He did on the cross for us more than 2000 years ago. Let us not take for granted what we believed in. May we put our faith on Jesus Christ who died for you and me. Even before we were in our mothers’ wombs, He knew us. We are frail. We are human and limited in our insights. All our good deeds are still filth to him. It cannot merit salvation. But because of his love, we can have eternal life through faith in Him.
P.s. Sa mga magbabaksyon, ingat kayo palagi. Have a safe trip. May the Lord bless us all!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Lolo is a Strict Disciplinarian

Mama said that Lolo Badoy is a very strict disciplinarian. One whistle and they should be in front of him in 5 counts. Failure to do so would mean lashes from his heavy leather belt. No one is allowed to leave the house past 6pm. No one is to stay at a neighbors’ house uninvited and beyond 6pm. No one is allowed to attend ‘bayle’ in the town or in the next town.

The exception is known only to those few who are wily enough. An uncle of mine, who once experienced the fiery fist of lolo, was one of those crafty kids. Since he knew it’s almost impossible to join his classmates in a town dance, he requested his pretty classmates to drop by their house, and to ask lolo’s permission.

True enough, the girls dropped by and did what was asked from them. They were giggling as they asked lolo for permission to take uncle with them. Aha! Lolo can’t refuse these young girls. He immediately summoned uncle who was trying to hide his amusement.

“Dress up and accompany these young girls to town. Hurry up!” he commanded, maintaining the same strictness in his voice.

When I lived with lolo when I was in grade 1, they said he already mellowed down. I got belted only once because I arrived late from school. Had I known of uncle's story earlier, I could have brought a pretty classmate with me to avoid the spanking.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Those World War II Stories

An article about Filipino World War II veterans prompted me to write about my Lolo. It’s been a while since I saw him. Being the eldest grandchild, I know I have this special place in his heart. I confirmed that when I lived with him and lola when I was in Grade 1.

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Lolo Badoy was born in the 1920s to an aging Spanish mestizo and his third wife. His father died when he was on his teens, leaving him and his younger brother to his mother. There was no inheritance left for them. No land, no money. Perhaps the children from the first and second wives got all of the shares. He was not even close to his father’s large clan in Dumaguete City. So he lived and grew in the countryside, working on the farm all day, and getting drunk at night.

When World War II came, he had no choice but to get enlisted in the army, part of the USAFFE. It was at this time that he lost his only brother. He said he might have traveled to Manila. He cannot even confirm if he died. He did not seek him either after the war.

These wartime stories fascinated me. I watched that FPJ movie about the war. Hundreds and thousands of Japanese and Filipinos died. History books tell us about the death march. But what could be the story of my lolo in the island of Negros?

“How many japs did you kill?” I asked him once.

“I don’t know. Perhaps many. We ambushed lots of them in the mountains.”

“Have you seen the enemy eye to eye?”

“It was not a close range encounter.”

“Have you ever been hit by a bullet?”

“Nope. I hid.”

Ooops! I would have wanted to ask more. I want the numbers, perhaps some memorabilia, some loot, or some items from the conquered foe. But then, it’s a bloody war. Survival is of utmost importance.

Lolo Badoy must have been wily. He survived unscathed. Well, I thanked God he survived. He got himself a beautiful wife right after the war. Then he returned to tend a farm he did not own. They had 10 children and my mom was the 2nd eldest daughter.

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Boat is Sinking

It was not a vacation trip. It was purely work. But for my colleague, it was a scary trip.

“I thought the boat was going to sink last night because of the big waves. I had difficulty sleeping. I wondered how you were able to sleep soundly. Did you hear the sound of the waves when it hit the side of the boat?” My colleague told me the other morning when we were about to disembark at the port of Ozamiz City.

“I was thinking of my small child and my wife. I was also thinking about how I’m going to swim to the nearest island” he continued.

I looked at him and can’t believe he was afraid. He’s an excellent swimmer, a member of the university swimming varsity team, and a tri-athlete. I’ve traveled by boat many times, and I considered this as just a normal trip.

I calmly told him “I was awakened by the waves that battered the boat. But I immediately went back to sleep. If we’re gonna sink, the crew will sound the alarm and announce ‘abandon’ ship.”

He could not believe my reaction. “But this cabin is located very far from the exit. Getting out would be very difficult”. I certainly agreed with him. But my thoughts were far from the disaster he was thinking.

This morning, on our return trip from Ozamiz, as we’re nearing the Cebu port, we had a little chat with our co-passengers. A woman of about 50 was traveling with her mom. She said that she went to the chapel last night and prayed hard because of the strong waves. Then our discussion went as far the bombing of the Superferry, and the sinking Princess of the Orient.

I told them how two of my high school classmates lost their fathers on the Princess of the Orient tragedy. Another co-passenger, also on his 50’s, told us that the boat we’re riding is the same boat he used to ride when he was still a teen-ager.

Oh, well! My officemate sighed and shook his head. This is just one of those risks in travelling. "What I am afraid of if the boat sinks" I told him grinning, "are sharks. I'm not wearing black socks."

Monday, March 19, 2007

A Year Ago...

Exactly a year ago, out of the blue, I started this blog. It was a Sunday. I could not recall where I was at that time. Perhaps I was at the office finalizing reports for the annual audit. Or in some internet cafĂ© experimenting some features of I already had another blogsite, why do I need another one? After this blog was set up, I said to myself, “This is where I’ll write my leftover thoughts.” From an alternate blog, this has become my main site.

It was coincidental that Dodongflores tagged me last Saturday. I was thinking of what to write today. I’ve seen the meme in someone else’s site a few months ago. So I skimmed through my archives to check if I’ve done this before. There was my unstructured answer to the question of “Why do I Blog?”in this entry.

However, this meme requires me to write down 5 reasons why I blog. So here goes my five:

To stave off boredom, one has to fill his mind with a lot of things. Let me emphasize this: I blog not because I’m bored.

A college buddy of mine introduced me to blogging. He was so excited telling me about it. He mentioned about the many good reads in the blogosphere. At first, he did not give me a link to his blog. So I bloghopped on my own. But the first few blogs I’ve visited were written by bored people. I was about to conclude that many bloggers were lonely and bored in this second entry of mine. But that view had already changed over the months.

Honing my Writing Skills
I am amazed at the writing skills of many bloggers. I would like to write like them too. Perhaps it’s not yet late. I used to write poems and short stories. But when you deal with numbers daily, there is no more time to create stories and compose poems even in your mind. I used to scribble down a lot of my thoughts (not notes from class) but I have a very bad handwriting. I found some of my notes when I was in high school and in college, and I can’t even read them. The PC is a heaven-sent relief. But then, it’s the spreadsheet that is used more often.

I am inspired by the posts of my blog friends. There are those who were also inspired by some of my posts. And these wonderful exchanges are nutrients for the soul.

I’d like to look back at what I’ve written these past few months. And reading them made me smile. I can’t believe I’m writing down my father’s tales. I should publish a compilation one of these days.

Ex-link? It feels good to be connected with another blogger though we may not know them personally. When we leave a comment or see that link in their blogroll, it feels like we are part of their blogs too.

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I won’t be tagging anyone. But if you would also like to share your reasons for blogging, consider yourself tagged.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Psalm 23

With all my frail attempts to rid myself of certain feelings of hollowness, God spoke to me through a Psalm I’ve memorized since I was a little child. It is a reminder that He is my shepherd, and a very good one. I shall not want. I shall not go astray. I shall not fear. I shall not feel lonely. I shall not be sad.

Psalm 23 (KJV)
1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Just another day

Six days from now, this blog will be a year older. I’m neither happy nor sad about it. I just can’t understand what I’m feeling right now. Perhaps stress. Maybe it’s boredom. It could be a little frustration. It could be a sudden flooding of unsaid things.

Perhaps I should take a leave of absence. Take a week off, then a vacation. Or possibly work abroad for 6 months or a year. Cebu is such a comfort zone for me, and I may need a little twisting right now. But I can’t fly alone this time. I promised my wife that we’d be together for better or for worse.

In a few days, or maybe a few weeks, some dreams got to be realized. Or it will add to the disenchantment. I can’t just close my eyes and sleep. I can’t just play badminton and smash my stress away. I have to do something.

I can’t allow an inner void, wherein an introspection takes too much of my time. There are many reasons to be happy. There are many reasons not to be bored. There are many good and noble things to fill my mind. There is a career to take care of. There is someone to love. There is a future to look forward to. There is a badminton tournament coming. There are young people to guide. There is a pastor’s sermon to listen to. There is a job to be done. There are friends to hang out with. There are real friends to treasure. There is a family to help. There is this blog to fill twice or thrice a week.

I thank God for the everyday strength, wisdom and provision. If not for him, I don’t know where I could be right now.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Winning the Lottery

No! I didn’t win the lottery. How can I? I didn’t buy any ticket. Someone else did and got the shock of his life.

Ed Nabors, a Georgia truck driver, won half of the $390 million richest lottery prize in US history. The winner of the other half hasn’t showed up yet. Read the entire article here.

So, what is he going to do with all the money? Buy a house. Quit present job. Travel to Europe. Hide from pesky relatives. Donate to charity. Buy an island. asked their readers what they will do with their money if they hit the jackpot. Their responses are here.

I knew of many people who buy lotto tickets. My boss here won the sweepstakes years ago. His share of the win was just enough to pay off the medical expenses of his child who had a heart problem. He considered it as God's provision. For the others, I can see the excitement in their eyes even if only 2 or 3 numbers are carried in the winning combination. I really never thought of buying any ticket. So far, I haven't bought a single one, though a colleague kept on prodding me. I just wished I'd stumble on a winning ticket somewhere.

What about you? If you were the winner, what would do with the money? I have the weekend to think it over. he he.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Champion's League - again

I woke up 4am today and watched Manchester United (England) vs Lille (France) in one channel, and Bayern Munich (Germany) vs Real Madrid (Spain) in another channel for the European Champion’s League round of 16.

There was no problem waking up, though I was all alone in my hotel room in Malate. I was just so excited watching the games live on TV that I slept at 1030pm and set the alarm at 4am. Had I arrived here in Manila a day earlier, I would have watched my team Chelsea dump Porto at Stamford Bridge.

Ron Makaay of Bayern Munich scored the fastest goal in Champion League’s history. He put in the goal at 10 seconds at the start of regulation. Crazy football! Shame on the many-time European Champion Real Madrid! They were knocked out on away goals despite leading 3-2 in the first encounter. Fabio Capello must be shivering right now. Plenty of Madridista may again demand his resignation.

As expected, Manchester United waylaid little-known Lille. Their first encounter last month was very controversial. But the better team prevailed this time. Last year’s losing finalist, Arsenal (England), was knocked out by PSV Eindhoven (Dutch). The Champion’s League was the last of the trophies attainable by them this season. In another match, AC Milan (Italy) held on after scoring over Celtic (Scotland) in extra time.

The other day, the reigning champion Barcelona (Spain), was knocked out by 2005 champion Liverpool (England). Chelsea (England) drubbed Porto (Portugal), after a first half scare. Valencia (Spain) and Inter Milan (Italy) involved in some trouble. Valencia emerged the victor, but at a cost of many players that may be sanctioned. In another battle, AS Roma (Italy) held off French Champion Lyon.

So, here’s the final 8.
AS Roma (Italy)
Valencia (Spain)
Liverpool (England)
Chelsea (England)
Bayern Munich (Germany)
Manchester United (England)
AC Milan (Italy)
PSV (Dutch)

Three English teams in the final eight. This could speak of the superiority of the English League over the others, at this moment. But there will always be surprises. My Chelsea team is still alive and running for the trophies in all competition they entered. They already got their Carling Cup. The Champion’s League is still their ultimate goal this season. Go Chelsea!

Monday, March 05, 2007

From The Province

There was this temporary feeling of relief and liberation after I posted something in Cebuano. But somehow, I felt guilty. Plenty of my blog friends could not understand what I was writing. Lost in translation, as Sexy Mom puts it.

I remembered when I was in college my sister had this visitor from Manila. She was staying overnight at our house and we had this lively conversation about many topics.

We called her Ate, as she was 6-8 years older than me, and that’s how the young people at a youth camp called her also. In the middle of our conversation she suddenly asked me, “Ba’t ang galing mong mag tagalog?”

Toink! I was shocked. Right then and there I could no longer find my line. Somewhere across the table my sister was laughing. “Natanga si Manoy.” Ate laughed also.

I told her that we have Filipino subjects at school and we also watch tagalog movies. Cebuanos find it difficult to speak tagalog probably because of the soft tone. Medyo matigas ang dila ng mga cebuano.

Or it could be due to attitude. There is this regionalistic pride. Most of my classmates then hated Filipino subjects. I just don’t know exactly the reason why. Even us cebuanos don’t know much about our own dialect. There are many shortcuts and slang, and the grammar is unstructured. It is really easier to learn tagalog than learn any other dialect.

When I was already working, I had this colleague before na nainis sa speaker who introduced us as from the province. “Why can’t he just say that we’re from Cebu Office or Davao Office?”, she complained. But I kept mum on it. We Filipinos still have that regionalistic attitude. Most of the time, that attitude is a hindrance to our growth as a nation.

When you say that a person is a Bisaya, or Illongo, or Kapampangan, or Tausug, or Waray, or Bicolano, what comes to mind is not really the dialect, but the traits associated to the region they belong. But I just want to see the day when we think of ourselves as Filipinos and as one nation. And the politicians, would not just think of representing their regions or provinces, but uphold nationalism.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Nanampiling sa Kalaay

I always wanted to write a Cebuano post but most of my readers could not understand the dialect. In my blogroll, I can only count around a dozen of them who understand Bisaya (Cebuano). My sincerest apologies to my blog friends. Pero tungod sa ka way lingaw aning tungora, mamahala na. Pasayloa lang ko kun dili ko makahatag ug hubad sa uban mga pulong diri.

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Hapit na usa ka tuig ang nilabay sukad nako sugdi ni nga blog. Naa man pud ko lain blog nga gihimo apan murag di man nako masulat didto ang tanan nakong gustong masulat. Nganong gitago pa man nako ning akong mga salin sa huna-huna gikan sa akong mga higala? Naa baya ko’y mga kaila nga nagkaaway kay ang usa, didto nagpahungaw sa iyang blog sa iyang kalagot. Naa nakabasa, sumbong sa pikas, unya naglinabanay dayon. Paita ning kinabuhia uy! Nag away man tungod sa blog.

Pero dili na mao ang rason nganong akong ning gitipigan nila. Wala lang. Gusto lang pud ko ug suspense. Ako na kining gililong bisan wala pa to mahitabo ang panag-away. Sunod-sunod ra man ko sa akong usa ka amigo nga banggiitan kaayo mosulat. Ako ra gihapon kining ipakita sa pipila ka mga pinili sa tukmang panahon. Wala man sad koy gidaut diri. Taas man sad akong pagtan-aw sa akong mga higala.

Bitaw, karong mga orasa nia ko sa Cagayan, nanampiling sa kalaay samtang naghulat sa oras sa ting-pauli. Mosakay ko sa barko karong gabii, ug mabalik na didto sa Cebu ugma. Wa na lang nako pangitaa akong mga amigo diri kay nasayod ko nga busy pud sila. Sunod semana, adto na pud ko sa Manila. Kini ra bang laayon ta, wa diri wa didto mahuna-hunaan. Manampiling na pud unya sa kalaay. Murag ra ba gyud ug mapilit ta sa P500 bill. Nah! Di ra ba!