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Archive for July, 2011


July is definitely fading into oblivion.  It’s a nice start to have August 01 falling on a Monday. No, this is not my usual, “goodbye July, hello August” blog.  There were a lot of things that happened yesterday and my thoughts keep on nagging me to write about them.

Hello AFCC friends! I really could not describe the happiness I felt seeing some of you yesterday. Thank you for gracing us with your gift of presence, cherishing and enjoying the day with Fr. Louie and me for our very first AFCC gathering in the Philippines.  I appreciate it a lot that you were not deterred by the heavy rains just to be with us.

When I think  of the earlier months I spent with the Apostles Filipino Catholic Community, I feel a sense of awe and wonder that it evolved from a simple Catholic group to something truly inspirational and uplifting.  The members’ involvement became somewhat personal in nature when  Fr. Louie  created the AFCC Global Tambayan page where they could post at their hearts’ content about anything “under the Catholic sun” (it’s how Fr. Louie puts it). It’s an offshoot from the more formal set-up of the AFCC main site.  It has evolved into something where we are now one big happy family.

Friends at AFCC, it is so amazing to see you share your thoughts with us, share a little of your life with us and even sometimes your heartaches too. It is so amazing to see you being very enthusiastic about most of the topics we share on the site. And it is even more amazing to see some of you contributing your own talents and gift of gab, even to the point of creating games and making interesting posts that keep the Tambayan page alive. And meeting some of you yesterday really made my day complete. And as I’ve said in my welcome remarks, yesterday’s event was a culmination of our wish to see each other personally.  It was a lovely  and enriching experience for me.  Compared to a well-executed plan, it was just like a blue-print before but the reality of seeing you made it a truly “certified true copy”.

I didn’t have much time to take photos of the event but thanks for those who brought their own camera and shared the pictures with us. It’s lovely to see us on cam, all smiles – a picture of happy togetherness. Here are some of the photos I picked from Eva, Paul, Reymon and Tere’s albums. Thank you very much. I took the liberty of downloading some of them for this blog.

Here’s a casual pose while waiting for the rest of the members to arrive.  Tere (in white shirt) was our secretary for the day, taking down notes at the start of the gathering but quickly lost it when Fr. Louie started the games. Paul, our talented and resident painter/artist at AFCC. He was so generous in taking videos and pictures of us while we were at our best laughing our hearts out with the rest of the group. Lilet, in green shirt  who was so generous with bringing a bag full of rosaries to distribute to everyone. I think it was  Aehvz who took this shot.

That’s our friend and mentor Fr. Louie Coronel, OP – the indefatigable and creative priest who is behind the success of the AFCC online and AFCC Global Tambayan. We are so lucky to attend this intimate communion with God. Lovely homily, great insight Father. Thank you very much.

Our group shot at the lovely conference room of Bahay Dominiko. Notice the smiles of everyone. It’s a nice proof that we enjoyed every minute bonding with each other.

We had our lunch at KFC. Happy moments, lovely day to cherish. Thanks Reymon and Aehvz  for the yummy KFC chicken.

With Paul, Fr. Louie and Reymon

Those two pencil sketches were our gifts from Paul, our talented artist. I could not thank you enough Paul for the lovely sketch of my favorite Pope.  Aren’t we lucky, having you around in our group? I cried seeing those lovely works of art.

“Halos isang oras na pagpapaalam” . We just could not get enough, you see, it took us almost an hour to say goodbye to each other.

 The boys in our group – from left to right: Fr. Louie, OP, Noel, Clemen, Matt, Reymon and Gian.

Another group shot before we go. This was taken at the lovely garden of Bahay Dominiko. At the back, left to right: Joan, Lilet, Fr. Louie, OP, Noel, Clemen, Matt and Reymon. In front: Aevz, Tere, me and Gian.

Charlene brought the whole family. It was lovely sharing and laughing with all of you. I could not describe how truly happy I was having you all around. We  are one big happy family. I really hope, we’ll have another chance to meet each other again in a future gathering.  My big thanks to my co-admin Jlyn de Guzman Bengala and to Fr.Tacky, OFM, our AFCC Spiritual Director in  Rome  for the lovely messages you sent us.

More days of happy togetherness. God bless us all!

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I’ve been blogging about AFCC (Apostles Filipino Catholic Community) now and then, writing about my journey as one of the administrators of the group.  We’ll be having our first gathering tomorrow at Sto. Domingo Church and every one of us is quite excited for the event.  Most of them are online friends and except for Fr. Louie and Noel, this will be the first time that I will get to meet them in person.  I’ve been bombarded with questions since this afternoon, they are all excited to meet each other and to meet the admins too. We’ll be having mass to be presided by Fr. Louie, the creator of the site.  They were asking what to bring and I told them, “your presence is enough.”

We are blessed with fellow sojourners -  sharing their lives with us, having one common goal in mind – to be closer to God.

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It’s been my dream to blog in Tagalog. Although I speak the language fluently, I still find it easier expressing myself in English. I feel though that the title of this post sounds better in Tagalog than in English. It simply means, “What does a billion dollar coffee taste like?”

For those of you who have read PNoy’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) which he delivered last Monday, July 25, 2011, you’ve probably noticed his mentioning what the Commission on Audit found out about the more than a billion worth of coffee spent by PAGCOR in all its 12 branches of operation.  This has a particular impact on a nation whose lower percentage of the population is  barely on a hand-to-mouth existence. Allow me to quote his exact words . I won’t attempt to translate them here because I have previously posted both versions of the SONA earlier.

Ang totoo nga po, marami pang kalokohan ang nahalungkat natin. Halimbawa, sa PAGCOR: kape. Isang bilyong piso po ang ginastos ng dating pamunuan ng ahensya para sa kape; sa isandaang piso na lang po kada tasa, lalabas na nakakonsumo sila ng sampung milyong tasa. Baka po kahit ngayong iba na ang pamunuan ng PAGCOR ay dilat na dilat pa rin ang mata ng mga uminom ng kapeng ito. Hanapin nga po natin sila, at matanong: nakakatulog pa po ba kayo?

My gosh, a billion worth of coffee! I was telling my friends that perhaps, it’s a gold coffee in a gold cup. Later reports say that it was overpriced by 70%. How can a government agency spend that much on coffee alone?  On valued clients, maybe?

As usual, there are more negative remarks about the SONA than positive ones. Doomsayers never believe that the Philippines would be able to lift itself up again. They always think that the success of one nation depends on its government alone, more particularly its president. I ask you, as I have always asked before in my previous blogs about such similar subject, are you doing your share? And is there a perfect SONA that would cover all aspects in one hour delivery? Do you expect the president to be a magician and wave his magic wand and all the problems of the nation will be solved in a year? Aren’t  we asking too much?

Our nation is like a victim of typhoon Ondoy or typhoon Juaning for that matter. There was a devastation, read – corruption in massive amounts that we could not even imagine.  We need a complete clean-up in order to start on a clean slate and do what is necessary. PNoy couldn’t have expressed it better when he said:

Ang mali—gaano katagal man ito nanatili—ay mali pa rin. Hindi puwedeng “Oks lang, wala lang iyan.” Kapag kinalimutan natin ang mga ito, mangyayari lang ulit ang mga kamalian ng nakaraan. Kung hindi magbabayad ang mga nagkasala, parang tayo na rin mismo ang nag-imbita sa mga nagbabalak gumawa ng masama na umulit muli.

Just my thoughts…what’s yours?

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I am sharing Nissa’s prenuptial pics taken by their official photographer at Pan de Amerikana and at Parks and Wildlife. Would have loved to add more pictures but they are reserving them for their guest album.

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Dear Rain:

You are welcome when you gently fall and I am lulled to sleep but I don’t like you when you drench everything in our garden and create large puddles on the street. It makes me feel so insecure to see you falling nonstop.

Insecure me

I wrote this on my wall at Facebook this morning. It’s been raining the whole day because of typhoon Juaning. We are presently under signal number 2 and there are lots of provinces affected by the typhoon. I wish and pray the rain would stop soon.

Please Lord, spare us from the wrath of the typhoon.

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State of the Nation Address
of
His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Philippines
To the Congress of the Philippines

[Delivered at the Session Hall of the House of Representatives, Batasan Pambansa Complex, Quezon City on July 25, 2011]

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile; Speaker Feliciano Belmonte; Bise Presidente Jejomar Binay; mga dating Pangulong Fidel Valdez Ramos at Joseph Ejercito Estrada; Chief Justice Renato Corona at ang ating mga kagalang-galang na mahistrado ng Korte Suprema; mga kagalang-galang na kasapi ng diplomatic corps; mga butihing miyembro ng Kamara de Representante at ng Senado; mga Local Government officials; mga miyembro ng ating Gabinete; mga unipormadong kasapi ng militar at kapulisan; mga kapwa ko nagseserbisyo sa taumbayan;

At sa mga minamahal kong kababayan, ang aking butihing mga boss:

Humarap po ako sa inyo noong aking inagurasyon at sinabing: Walang wang-wang sa ating administrasyon. At ngayon, patuloy nating itinitigil ito. Naging hudyat at sagisag po ito ng pagbabago, hindi lamang sa kalsada, kundi pati na rin sa kaisipan sa lipunan.

Sa matagal na panahon, naging simbolo ng pang-aabuso ang wang-wang. Dati, kung makapag-counterflow ang mga opisyal ng pamahalaan, para bang oras lang nila ang mahalaga. Imbes na maglingkod-bayan, para bang sila ang naging hari ng bayan.  Kung maka-asta ang kanilang mga padrino’t alipores, akala mo’y kung sinong maharlika kung humawi ng kalsada; walang pakialam sa mga napipilitang tumabi at napag-iiwanan. Ang mga dapat naglilingkod ang siya pang nang-aapi. Ang panlalamang matapos mangakong maglingkod—iyan po ang utak wang-wang.

Wala silang karapatang gawin ito. Ayon sa batas, tanging ang Presidente, Bise Presidente, Senate President, House Speaker, Chief Justice, at pulis, bumbero, at ambulansya lang ang awtorisadong gumamit ng wangwang para sa kanilang mga opisyal na lakad. Kung sa trapiko nga ay di masunod ang batas, paano pa kaya sa mga bagay na mas malaki ang makukuha, tulad ng sa mga proyektong pinopondohan ng kaban ng bayan?

Kayo po ba gusto ninyong makulong ang lahat ng tiwali? Ako rin. Gusto ba ninyong matanggal ang wang-wang, hindi lamang sa kalsada, kundi sa kaisipang nagdulot ng baluktot na sistema na pagkatagal-tagal na nating pinagtiisan? Ako rin. Gusto po ba ninyong mabigyan ng patas na pagkakataon ang lahat na umasenso? Ako rin.

(this is not complete, kindly see the full text at the Official Gazette of the Rep. of the Phils.)

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It’s another busy Sunday today. Son and I left the house at around 5am to do the weekly marketing. Since hubby is not around to drive me to the wet market, I have to wait for my son’s free day to do the weekly marketing.  At around 11am,  we went grocery shopping and had to forego lunch, just snacking on Henlin’s siomai. We were in a hurry to pick up Nissa’s CD on the prenuptial pictorial they did the last week.  When we reached the place, it rained cats and dogs so we had to wait for it to subside a little before going home. Even then, we passed some flooded areas.

Nice pictures if you ask me with some done in infrared shots. Nissa and I were laughing when mom casually remarked and asked why there were so many pictures when the wedding is still almost two months away.  They would use some of the shots for their guest book.  Photography has definitely evolved. I love the sample shots the studio had taken of various  weddings.  Did you ever wonder why all brides are radiant on their wedding day? I love looking at the pictures of couples who are so much in love and anticipating the big day in their lives. It’s a start of a new chapter, right? Pictures really tell stories not just in a thousand words but in a number of ways and  they also create lovely memories. Hmm, just feeling romantic for a change.

We had to attend late mass at 6:30pm.  That ends my busy day. I wish I could share with you the official prenup pictorial of my daughter.

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Are you a people watcher? Let’s just say, are you aware enough of what some people do in public while you are watching? It was one of those rare times that I have to take a commute going to UST to meet a friend last week.  That was Thursday and our old car ends in 7 so there’s no way I could reach the place on time if I don’t take the bus going to Quiapo. So commute I did.

I didn’t want to be late so I hopped in a tricycle with two passengers waiting. Imagine my consternation when the driver turned out to be the one my kids and I always avoid  when we take a trike ride.  It only takes all of 5 minutes to reach Ortigas Extension from our subdivision but it took me double time to reach it. The driver was wearing  eye glasses and he was so old to be driving such, he can barely see the road ahead, with almost half-closed eyes and so slow, oh so slow drive. I was praying hard while I was inside the tricycle. And it was unfortunate that my co-passenger was wearing a sando, that kind of sleeveless shirt guys are better off wearing inside the bedroom.  Yucks, I hate it when your arms touch bare sweating arms in a public conveyance.  What a bizarre way to dress up in public. There are two things that I think people like that want to project – either their fashion sense has left them or they want people to see those bulging muscles in their arms.

And this is more funny. Or maybe you think it is gross. I caught a bus ten minutes later  with plenty of time to spare for my 10am appointment. Seated a few rows from me was this lady in uniform.  Imagine my surprise when I saw her comb her hair then put on those hair curlers right in front of everyone – five curlers in all. I was fascinated and slightly annoyed but was so curious what she’ll do next because she might not have realized yet that she was in a public place. “Wow”,  I said to myself, “ang lawak naman ng bedroom niya.”  She put on her make-up with lipstick to match then fixed her hair before alighting in front of Robinson’s Galleria.  Maybe, you could get away with that when you are in a private car with tinted windows and you won’t be seen by many but in a public bus?

This morning, I accompanied Nissa to our brand new Parish to file the marriage bann for her upcoming wedding. On our way home, I asked her to wait a minute because I wanted to go to the comfort room. There were three doors in all (squeaky clean from the outside), one for Men, another for Women and for Disabled. I was about to enter the Women’s CR when a guy came out of it. I almost screamed but just said in a subdued tone, “Di  ba pambabae po yan?” He answered, “Pambabae ba?” Wow, this man must surely come from Mars. Wasn’t he aware that there were no male urinals  inside? “Yuck”, Nissa exclaimed.

How one acts in public speaks so much of one’s personality. Do you agree?

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It rained last night, the kind that created deep puddles  on the streets and drenching the carabao grass.  We’ve had sunny weather the past two weeks and the heat was getting kind of oppressive. I woke up seeing the silver hues of rain droplets atop the big leaves of our canna,  and the colocasia planted at the back of the house. How nice to see nature showing its lovely face again.

Just watched Kris TV, a new talk show by Kris Aquino. Some people are so negative when it comes to Kris’ private life  and all but we could not ignore the fact that she is the best talk show host in this side of town. I don’t often watch her but I love her Friday features – homes of artists, actors and actresses like Toni Gonzaga, Kim Chiu, Lucy Torres, etc. I wonder if there is a video of the Lucy feature since I was not able to watch it. I sometimes forget to switch the TV on because I am not a regular TV watcher. I’d rather listen to news on the radio while attending to daily chores at home. And this  reminds me, about a month ago, I chanced upon a program my son and I used to listen to when he was still in grade school and I was still working at BPI. It’ s called The Sounds of the Soul by Fr. Larry Faraon, OP. After all these years, it’s still on air. It’s a fifteen-minute daily reflections on the Gospel of the day.  Years ago, before we left the house, we listened to him and while walking going to the tricycle terminal in our village, we have shared lessons and reflected on them.  How nice!  I have this big smile on my face every time I discover something like this, a nice surprise that gives that wonderful feeling inside.

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I was just as excited to see Nissa’s prenuptial pictures which they took yesterday. These are not the official pics their photographer took but they were from the camera of  her make-up artist while trailing the couple projecting themselves  in front of the camera. Would have love to see her in the purple gown, unfortunately though,  her friend did not take pictures during their stay at Pan de Amerikana. These are outside shots taken at the Parks and Wildlife Center in Quezon City.

She was telling me that she felt like a celebrity with all those change of clothes they made for the camera. Thought about being in love, her eyes shine every time she gets the chance to update me with what is happening in her world – preparing for the wedding and all.  It’s barely two months to go before the big day.

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