This part of the year brings out my drama king aspirations. Thanksgiving is my favorite American holiday, a day I’ve celebrated eight times; from 2006, my first time do so, up until the last time I celebrated it in New York in 2013. As much as it is a day to give thanks and honor God for the blessings He has given, and look back at the people and experiences that have made me a better person, Thanksgiving is my marker for the number of years I’ve been in New York. My second Thanksgiving in 2007 marked my first year in the city, the same holiday I celebrated in 2013 would marked my last full year living in the states (at least for now).
I miss New York, big time. There was never a day since I moved back to the Philippines in 2014 that I didn’t think, pray, or dream that I’m back in the city. I’ve prayed the same prayer since my first day in Manila – “Lord, bring me back to New York.” My Mom, my friends from church, and even the students I’m helping grow in their faith have been saturated (sometimes exasperated) with my pleas of wanting to go “home.”
PASIG CITY, PHILIPPINES- Friday night’s attacks in Paris once again reminded us of the reality of evil. It is a showcase of what can happen when hate is seeded in people’s hearts. Hate, anger, disdain, intolerance, and rage, when nurtured, can lead to deadly expressions.
In these instances, which we hope would be as rare as they come, it’s important to be mindful of the words that we speak and the messages we post in our social media profiles. Evil can manifest in its simplest forms, and well-intentioned venting of disgust from this horrific attack can be misguided and laced with hate toward others.
TEL AVIV, ISRAEL- The tongue has the power of life and death. Those who love it will eat its fruit. Two major ideas inspired by Proverbs 18:21.
This is just one of the many verses that highlight the significance of speech, the power of our words. Proverbs was written by no less than one of the richest man in history and also considered one of the wisest. King Solomon, during his reign some 3,000 years ago penned this book. Now, I would guess for anyone who wants to be rich and wise, learning from this ancient leader isn’t a bad idea.
We call it timeless, universal, and for some, absolute. Values – those which we believe in and adhere to and have dutifully integrated into our way of life as Filipinos, is more attractive and dear to our hearts than we think. And yes, we can all thank Alden Richards, Maine Mendoza, Wally Bayola, and the legendary cast of Eat Bulaga led by Tito, Vic, and Joey for this mainstream realization.
AlDub, which at this point bears no significance to explain what it is, may have been born out of serendipity. It was a fantasized phenomenon that has provided a windfall of views and advertising revenue for the 36-year-old TV program. But though the intent was mainly for eyeballs, the accidental love team, and its supporting cast struck a chord in our hearts. This KalyeSerye segment’s story resonated so deep – tens of million of tweets show how.
TEL AVIV, ISRAEL- Elections begun last week when the COMELEC opened its doors so candidates can file their Certificates of Candidacy, enabling their names to be at the ballot. A report by Rappler’s Paterno Esmaquel II noted that those who filed for candidacy to run as president broke records, standing at 130.
According to the candidates, they all want to serve the country. They’re all putting forth promises. They’re all heralding themselves as hope for the nation.
But hope, as I’ve discovered, can rarely (if ever) come from a person or circumstance.
On May 9, 2016, millions of Filipinos will head to the polls to vote for our next president, vice-president, 12 senators, and other public positions, totaling 18,069 posts up for grabs. Millions of qualified voters, many of whom maybe cramming to get their biometrics registered, are staking the direction of our nation to a select few. The up and coming candidates are hoping to be elected or re-elected and presumably stand for something. All of them would claim to be the right choice.
But in a political environment where one’s leanings or political values are optional to vie for public office, voting requisites a measure of blind trust. It’s an exercise akin to riding an airplane, with the option of choosing your pilot. In this case though, the destination is unknown and the journey will take longer than a few hours. There was a time the Filipino people had a man at the helm for 20 years. Continue reading
I’ve been writing for a living since 2009. It was the only full-time job I could have at that time. I didn’t consider myself a good writer then (I still don’t), but I’ve always been persistent – determined to get a story out there.
Since then, I’ve become a content manager, tech reporter, and operations officer for a media start-up. As I’ve told my friends, ESL for me stands for English as a source of livelihood. My assignments have been limited though since I voluntarily terminated my full-time staff contract. It’s why I’m incredibly grateful that for the month of August I’ll be writing for the website Scribol and assisting in the content development of a church website.
Church splits, bickering deacons, embittered pastors, and offended missionaries. As an evangelical who has been exposed to a few churches since I was a kid, these were realities I’ve seen and heard of.
The scenario is painful for everybody – from the most experienced church leader to the newest member. It’s an ironic sight, especially when the church is supposed to be the place to get encouragement and support in your faith journey. It’s why my heart goes out to every member of Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC). The Philippines’ largest indigenous religious movement is facing its biggest scandal, in full view of public eyes. The scale of their reach is so immense that the Justice Secretary of the Philippines is well briefed on the topic and the nation’s largest newspaper dedicated an editorial on the issue. Continue reading
“I think she sees my sins,” was the first thing that came to my mind when I was first introduced to a person labeled as a “prayer warrior.” You know those men and women who we think do nothing but pray, eat rarely because they always fast, and see our bone structure and internal organs with their naked eyes.
Of course, my reaction was not at all an exception. It’s usual for many to think that prayer warriors, intercessors or however you want to call them, are part of a Holy of Holies SWAT Team. We think that membership to the prayer team is only for those so sinless you feel so unworthy when around them. Instead of being encouraged by them, we feel unnecessarily frightened or intimidated.
But this exaggerated reverence (read: mockery) for men and women of prayer comes from a misconception of what prayer is and it’s incredible significance to your daily walk in the faith.
“My son, you can make it.”
I’ve heard these five words over and over again from my parents in the seven years I was living in New York City. It was a phrase whose impact has brought me life when I felt I was in a dead-end. There have been more than a few moments where I was feeling hopeless, wondering if there’s anything worthy to see in my future. These very words have in many ways saved me from myself. It became a statement that helped me to press on. Looking back, my parent’s spoken words over me exhibited the significance, impact, and value of speaking life.