30 Minutes with Miss Universe Beauties

More than their pretty faces, towering grace, and perfect smiles these ladies touched us to move a little higher from where we are, encourage us to do more than what we limit to believe, reaffirm our vision, take delight in our ambition and reconnect us to our own uniqueness.

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The brief time spent with them increase our capacity to make a difference, to build a better world, on choosing to be a good citizen, creating bigger dreams … to acknowledge our individuality with a dignity equal to all and to be a great human being…able to love, to hope and be faithful. Keep smiling!#missUniverseNCF #SmileTrain #MissUniverse2017

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Meaningful Silence

Lakandiwa: The way of the spirit/warrior

1. Use language to capture a moment.
2. Be mindful of everything that you may not miss a thing…
3. At the first glimpse or impulse catch it or else you will never know…you will never understand.
4. Take your only chance because every second counts – everything is impermanent.
5.Don’t forget these.

#‎MindfulSilence‬ ‪#‎SustainedSilence‬ ‪#‎Impermanence‬ ‪#‎UsingLanguage‬‪#‎Dontloseit‬ ‪#‎Speak‬ ‪#‎SayItOutLoud‬ ‪#‎CarpeDiem‬ ‪#‎AwakeningTheSenses‬‪#‎EveythingMatters‬ ‪#‎PoetryInEverydayProse‬ ‪#‎365BucketList‬‪#‎LifeInExclamation‬

ON WAITING FOR LOVE

(reposted from June 2, 2015)

After a refreshing weekend and great women friends, ah here’s my personal story I am sharing again for you and for all single men and women out there. Before that here are two questions to challenge you:

ARE YOU REALLY WILLING TO WAIT FOR TRUE LOVE? OR THIS IS JUST SOME DEFENSIVE THOUGHTS WE USE BECAUSE WE ARE SINGLE?  

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“I am true to my promise yet I also want you to know that all these promises have its perfect time. I want you to renew your heart and have me occupy all of it. I want to remove all your doubts…I know everything just as I know all your desires. I know the very essence of it but I also know that it’s not yet its season. I know you well.”

These were words I saw in my journal dated August 7, 2014. In the next few pages my writing continues:

WAITING for God’s timing is not in vain. A thousand years means nothing. As I restlessly abandon myself to Him I know it is preeminent for me. That this interval is not measured by my understanding of time, that aligning to His dance is to let go of all my attachments.

History tells how the Israelites waited for the Messiah for such a long time and weren’t their hearts burn as the promise was fulfilled when Christ was born? The Jews waited 40 years before they we’re freed from Egypt…there were much rejoicing then. Or that moment in the scripture that tells Jesus’ death and His disciples anxious. In their anxiety they hid themselves but also recalled His words that He will raise from the dead. True to His words, on that Easter morning the scripture was fulfilled and their sorrows turned into joy. All of these were progressions of what will come – what will be, it is waiting.

Waiting means there is something worth it. You don’t wait because everyone else is doing it. Waiting is not something done without purpose, it is always for something hoped or longed for. It may be difficult but know that there is an outcome. More than that you wait because you know at some point there is a probable result. Like the seasons, winter comes before spring. Isn’t it winter last longer than Spring? The season of winter is also our waiting period – because our celebration comes in Spring.

In general, we wait for a response when we ask a question; we also wait to get our answer be it a machine processing it’s installed memory or a person we talked to. We make time for it or the person to formulate an answer in the same way that we are waited to articulate a question.

That’s why we wait for  a reply/replies over text, email, and phone calls. We wait when we pay our bills or at the grocery store, we fall in line waiting for our turn, we wait for the train/jeepney to stop to aboard it and take us to our destinations. On an interview, we patiently wait. Often on days when we want to watch our favorite TV series, we just wait. Life is not complete if you don’t wait.

There are different events though that may need longer waiting; like getting a Visa, applying for a license, an approval of a project, a result over a national examination like a Board/BAR. Though others takes shorter time of waiting period, like the lining up on a blockbuster, boarding a plane, paying for something or for the bank teller to assist your deposit or withdrawal on your bank account.

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Intentional and purposeful

There’s so much to wait for in our life; like reservations on a cruise, tour packages there will always be a response but waiting for a lifetime partner is not buying an MRT ticket, paying the bills or all other forms of waiting. It is deliberately serious. It is something that would need a much detailed approach while it is customary to have a bill waiting for a partner needs discernment.

Like a woman who waits for her baby to be born. How sweet it is when that day comes and she’s able to wrap her arms on the tiny creature. Perhaps she may have counted a million times her child’s fingers and toes if only to assure her that it is the reality of her long wait. How must her heart skipped to see her beautiful baby as she holds her. Who would have thought that her life was at risk in those nine long months, nonetheless she prepares. Carefully detailing everything needed when the baby comes. She did not sit around complaining of the weight or the pains she feels; instead she takes good care of herself, her health not only for hers more so for the little one growing inside her.

To wait for a partner is also like the package you always wanted delivered at your doorstep. When it arrives you don’t leave it unchecked. You are actually excited to open it, to inspect for breakage as you turn it upside down, left to right to confirm that it’s the right package you had in mind.

Sometimes it’s like buying the right pair of shoes, thoroughly trying it for the fit, comfort, the sole, the design and more. You just don’t take the first pair you had your eyes on until you have inspected it for your specifications and satisfaction. Buying it was also set and planned, you just don’t go to a store at the spur of the moment buying what your eyes have set on. Your intelligent choice on a pair of shoes or even your personal wardrobe needs a careful and thorough scrutiny.

The same is true in waiting and choosing your lifetime partner — you verify all that is written in your checklist. The reason why you wait for it and not simply ‘giving away’ what you have… in buying a pair of shoe you wanted you also prepare for its amount – – same when you wait for your future lifetime partner…you prepare till he/she comes. You don’t wait around twitchily, rather productively. You just don’t have to go around content being a barnyard chicken when you can soar as an eagle. So keep yourself busy with things you can do, ought to do and want to do till that person comes.

It is challenging but there is grace in waiting. We are refined in patience and trust that it will end. We are reformed in our prayers as we allow ourselves to bask in His presence. We develop the maturity to understand and the wisdom to know. We learn to humbly seek only His will and desiring it. Moreover, we are changed inwardly by the same grace believing that everything will come to past. Yes it will end maybe soon for some or a little while for others. It is not certain. I only believe that as I receive this grace while I wait, I know I am purified. That my confidence is magnified in the intricate design that God reveals to me every day, and in all its colors. And as I continue on this process; it is not important what standards I have rather the changing ‘me’ to be the person God wanted me to be that when the time is right I am ready.

If you are also single and waiting for this future spouse, remember our father is the King of Kings and we are His priceless princes and princesses deserving the best. Knowing this truth, believe in His promise that He is God and (I want you to also) own what He has revealed to me in prayer: “…I have always loved you with an everlasting love. You are my joy, you are my delight. I will never forsake or abandon you.” I haven’t found my partner yet but I know he is coming and my heart will recognize him and he will acknowledge it. If not, nothing is wasted because in the end, it’s not about finding my partner but in finding myself in His plan and attuning my love for His ultimate purpose. I pray for you too as you wait and be bless for what will come!

 

Ilongga Ako Nga Tunay

(I am A True Ilongga)

I am a proud Ilongga who grew up in a modest home. As an Ilonggo we’re known to have the ‘malambing’ (melodious) accent, and most would want us to talk in our Hiligaynon dialect. Of course, we are always unaware of this effect… our soft-spoken nature is but natural. True that whenever we are at the peak of our emotions our manner is still a monotone to others, we maybe always serene but we mean every word we say. Maybe that’s why our city is tagged as the ‘City Of Love’ … as an Ilongga, I was at some point confused of it but after carefully studying my Ilonggo history indeed it is rightfully ours.

As the ‘City of Love’ it’s not about our accent, not about the manner we have, it is a love that speaks more of our love for our home…our own native land. A love strong enough to believe that we can make a difference for our country and the world…and it is one of the things that define our rich Ilonggo heritage. The love for our homeland, our country, our forefathers who fought for democracy… Love for the generations to come with our green and clean living lifestyle. The election proved the same love…that never again will we ever give up our peaceful and liberal existence.

Calle Real, 1986

I fear to hear this same story from my future children or grandchildren:

During Martial Law my uncle did not came home one night because he was actually taken by soldiers and put to prison. Years after EDSA I met people who we’re with my uncle during his imprisonment… they we’re only bunch of teenagers and college students who stand their ground for freedom… who fought for democracy we are now enjoying.

To this day, i know i will fight for the same democracy my uncle and the bunch of teens and college students did …because of it i grew up safe and free …because of it i didn’t have the fears and threats my relatives experienced.

I am an Ilongga who may not have witnessed the sufferings of Martial Law but I’ve seen the stigma it caused the people I love. I’ve seen remnants of this dark period in my fellow Ilonggos. I’ve heard the stories of Martial Law babies who were deprived of the same rights I have. I fully understand the moving lyrics of the songs “Bayan Ko” or “Magkaisa” – I feel the same patriotism they have. I am an Ilongga and I love my country.

photo credits from http://www.iloilocity.gov.ph/iloilocity2014/index.php

 

Kalis ng Kasalanan

I’m fond reading Filipino literary pieces even if I have a hard time understanding it, its tenses and the vocabulary. So here’s the very first literary piece in Filipino that was sent to me by one of my student, Elmira O.Enjoy reading her piece as I did and yes she had an English version of this piece:-).

Thank you Elmira for this wonderful work:-)

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Ako si Rey Cristanato; Nagkasala ako; Nagsisisi ako; Humihingi ako ng kapatawaran; Ngunit ang makukuha ko pala ay higit pa sa aking inaasam. (Tagalog Short Story)

Hindi ko maintindihan kung bakit ako kinakabahan. Bawat hakbang na aking gagawin ay may kalakip na pagbilis ng tibok sa aking puso. Napakahirap naman kasing bumigay. Lalo na kapag ilang taon ka ring nagkimkim, at nagtago. Lalo na kapag alam mong hindi ka karapat-dapat na bigyang oras ng nasa itaas.

 

Maraming taong nagkalat dito sa Quiapo, ang lahat ay may kani-kanilang pinagkakaabalahan. May mga nagpapahula sa mga kanto, may mga nagbebenta ng kung anu-ano, may mga dumederetso sa simbahan upang humiling, upang magdasal, upang humingi ng tawad. Binilisan ko ang aking tahak papasok. Nakakapanibago sa pakiramdam ang makita nang harap-harapan ang lalaking nakapako sa krus, nakayukod at nagdurugo, pero kinikilala bilang hari ng mga hari. Napalunok ako nang ‘di oras. Kung ganito lang din pala ang mararamdaman ko, sana’y hindi na ako tumuloy. Pero hindi na kinakaya ng konsensiya ko. Paulit-ulit na akong ginagambala sa aking pagtulog sa gabi. At hindi ko na kayang magtago pa.

 

Nagkataong tapos na ang misa, at ang pari ay nag-anyaya na magkakaroon ng kumpisalan sa bandang likuran. Sa kabutihang palad ay kakaunti lang ang pumila at ikaapat ako sa mga mangungumpisal. Isa-isa silang lumuhod at nagdasal, umiyak sa nagawang kasalanan. Alam ko ang nararamdaman nila. Pero hindi ko magawang umiyak, hindi ko magawang maawa sa sarili ko. Masyadong nakakapangilabot.

 

Nang dumating ang pagkakataon ko, bigla akong natigilan sa paglakad at sumikip ang aking dibdib, ang aking paghinga. Ganito na ba talaga kalala? Natanaw ako ng pari at ako’y pinalapit niya.

 

“Mukhang mabigat ang dinadala mo, binata, ikaw ba ay mangungumpisal?” tanong niya nang may kalumanayan sa kanyang mukha.

 

Hindi ako nakasagot, at napatango na lamang.

 

Opo, mangungumpisal ako.

 

Hari nawa’y mapatawad ako.

 

Paglingon ko sa paligid ay nawala ang pari. Medyo nabahala ako pero agad na naremedyuhan nang makita kong pumasok siya sa kumpisalan. Malamang ay para hindi ako mailang sa pagsabi ng aking kasalanan. Sumunod ako at lumuhod sa kabilang banda ng kumpisalang iyon. At sa tonong sanay na ay nagwika ang pari, “Iho, narito ka upang magsabi ng iyong kasalanan, hindi ba?”

 

“Opo.” Aking tugon, “Pagpalain niyo po ako, aking Diyos, dahil ako ay nagkasala. Nagkasala at dinibdib ng napakatagal. Ito ang una at huli kong pangungumpisal.” Nanikip ang aking dibdib at parang ginusto kong umiyak. Parang.

 

“Maaari mo nang sabihin ang iyong kasalanan.”

 

Paano?

 

Paano ko sasabihin?

 

Ano ba ang dapat kong sabihin?

 

Sa tinagal-tagal ng aking pagtatago ay hindi ko na alam kung paano ako mag-uumpisa. Napakabigat sa dibdib pero, alam mo yung pakiramdam na kahit mabigat na ay ayaw mo pa ring ilabas dahil natatakot ka? Iyon ang nararamdaman ko ngayong narito na ako sa kumpisalan. Ngayong kaharap ko na ang maaaring magbigay sa akin ng hatol, ang maaring markahan ako bilang isang halimaw. Hindi ko magawang umimik. Parang tinabunan ng lupa ang aking lalamunan at ako’y nahihirapang huminga. Paano ko ito gagawin?

 

Ipinikit ko ang aking mga mata, mas mabuti nang napalilibutan ng kadiliman, ng kawalan, kesa harapin ang riyalidad ng lahat. Ngunit… hindi na rin naman magtatagal  ang aking kalupaan sa mundong ito. Ano pa ba ang kinatatakot ko?

 

Huminga ako nang malalim bago nagwika, laking pasasalamat ko sa pari dahil siya ay mapagpasensiya at naghintay nang mataimtim, ”Ako po ay nagkasala, malala at napakabigat. Hindi ko hinahangad na ako ay mapatawad, ngunit ako sana ay inyong pakinggan.”

 

“Ipagpatuloy mo, Iho…”

 

“Madumi po akong lalaki, inaamin ko. Kabig ng dibdib, tawag ng laman. Pinatulan ko ang bulong ng demonyo at ikinasaya ko ang lahat ng kalaswaan.” Nang marinig ko ang mga salita na nanggaling sa sarili kong bibig ay ginusto kong magpatiwarik at dumuwal. Nakakadiri ako, nakakadiri.

 

“Limang babae. Limang kama. Limang linoko at pinaiyak. Patawarin niyo po ako.”

 

“Iho, ano ang dahilan ng pangloloko mo?” biglang tanong ng pari. Ikinagulat ko ito ngunit hindi ko ininda at nagpatuloy.

 

“Maraming dahilan kung bakit. Marami…masaya. Dahil ang bilis nilang mahulog, ang bilis kumapit sa patibong ng salawal. Sa sobrang bilis nakakarindi. Buti at matauhan sila. Masyado silang nagmamadali, na parang hindi na kayang manatili sa kanila ang pagiging birhen. Tila’y wala nang halaga para sa kanila ang paghahanda sa sakramento ng pag-iisang-dibdib. Nakakasuka. Kaya linoloko ko sila, nang sila’y matutong mag-isip, at magpakalinis.”

 

“Sabi ng maduming katulad mo, tama ba?” tugon ng pari sa kabila ng kumpisalan. Nanlaki ang mga mata ko. Bakit tila’y iba siya magsalita? Anong pinalalabas niya?

 

“Madumi ako, alam ko iyon. Ngunit ako lang ba? Kahit kayo din. Walang taong malinis, Padre…” bawi ko sa kanya, “Limang babae, limang kama, limang linoko at pinaiyak, limang leksiyon. Tinuruan ko sila ng leksiyon. Dahil sila ay masyado kung mangati, masyadong nagmamadali. Ano ba ang ibig nilang patunayan? Na sila ay mga diyosa na dapat pagkandarapaan ng lahat ng katulad ko? Hindi maaari, dapat silang matuto.”

 

“Ano ba ang ginawa mo, Iho?”

 

“Limang babae, limang kama, limang linoko at pinaiyak, limang leksiyon… limang katawan. Malamig at maputla. Nakabulagta sa kama. Hindi humihinga. Nakatirik ang mga mata. Isang lalaking tumatawa. Nangungumpisal sa inyong harapan. Humihingi ng tawad sa lalaki sa krus, sa lalaki sa kalangitan. Nakapatay po ako, Padre.”

 

“Inaamin mo ang kasalanan mo?”

 

Napatigil ako, bakit ganoon?…sino ang nasa kabila? Tumayo ako sa aking kinaluluhuran at dali-daling inikot ang kabila ng kumpisalan. Tumambad sa akin ang itim na bangin, nakatutok sa aking noo, handa nang kumawala at tumagas sa aking bungo.

 

“Rey Cristanato, na inaamin ang salang panggagahasa at pagpatay sa limang babaeng natagpuan sa likod ng iyong tinitirhan, arestado ka!” Madiing pagsabi ng lalaking nakaasul. Ang mga mata niya ay puno ng galit at pandidiri. Ang kanyang paghinga, ay malalim at mabilis. Hindi ko itinaas ang aking mga kamay.

 

“Itaas mo ang iyong mga kamay!” pilit niya.

 

“Kung kayo’y makapagsalita…tila’y para kayong mga nakakrus.” Wika ko, “hindi kayo malinis, sa pagkakaalam ko. Mga halang. Ginamit niyo pa ang simbahang ito, ang tahanan Niya. Ang kakapal niyo para akusahan ako, ako na nangungumpisal, na humihingi ng tawad sa aking nagawa. Napakagaling,” sabay palakpak ng aking dalawang kamay.

 

“Manahimik ka! Kung hindi ay babarilin kita!”

 

“…at makakapatay ka.” Dugtong ko, “hindi ba’t kapag ginawa mo iyon ay magiging magkasingdumi na tayo?”

 

“Binabalaan kita, Cristanato! Itaas mo ang kamay mo, arestado ka!”

 

“Mabuti pang mamatay!” Sigaw ko sabay karipas ng takbo palabas ng simbahan. Narinig ko ang pagkakagulo ng lahat ng tao sa paligid at ang malakas na pagputok ng baril.

 

Hindi! Hindi maaari!

 

Naramdaman ko ang pagtarak ng bakal sa aking dibdib. Nanlaki ang aking mga mata at napatigil sa aking pagtakbo. Liningon ko ang halimaw na bumaril sa akin, unti-unting lumabo ang aking paningin, humina ang tibok ng aking dibdib, umikot ang mundo.

 

Ano ba talaga ang tama, Panginoon ko? Dapat lamang na ako’y parusahan, alam ko iyon. Ngunit ako lang ba? Paano ang mga katulad nila, na ginagamit ang kanilang pangalan para masabing malinis sila? Ano ang nakatakda para sa kanila?

 

Tumulo ang aking luha at sa mga huling hininga ay nagawa pang ngumiti. Narinig ko ang mahinang alingawngaw ng mga sirena ng pulis at ambulansiya. Ang mga sigawan ng mga tao, ang natutuwa nilang mga sigaw.

 

“Patawarin mo ako, Diyos ko…” bulong ko at napabulagta na sa semento. Nalunod sa sariling dugo. At habang nawawala ang aking malay, ay aking naisip; habang ako’y abalang mamatay sa pagsisisi sa aking kasalanan, abala ang lahat na mabuhay sa lagim ng pagkakaroon ng mga katulad ko sa mundong ito.

 

Pero ano nga ba ang tama?

 

Sino ba ang mali?

 

Paano ba masasabing malinis ang iyong pagkatao at ikaw nga’y ligtas sa kasalanan?

 

Dahil kung tutuusin, pare-pareho lang tayong lahat.

 

 

 

 

Wakas.

 

 

for more of her stories visit her blog https://whatisgoldinspanishblog.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

St.Pope John Paul II

Two years ago…in loving memory of St. Pope John Paul II.

Months ago we’re praying and hoping to attend a once in a lifetime event of one of the most loved and revered person. We had reservations on a house just overlooking Vatican, or a brief 5-10minutes walk. I had made several attempts for my visa application to the Italian Embassy…we we’re all keeping our faith on high hopes. We prepared whatever we can, continued on whatever we do: work, pray, live everyday.

Today we’re only two nights away, we’re not in Vatican but we’re still blessed. We may not have gotten our tickets for this Holy Pilgrimage but our hearts are burning with joy for the late Pope John Paul II. In a country too far from Rome, He granted all possible requests we’ve asked despite not having to witness his soon to be canonization. He allowed us to be more vigilant in our prayers…to continue doing little sacrifices for others with discretion. He inspired us to pray to those who may have hurt us, to those who must have misjudge us. To run with a zeal of compassion for loving the Holy See, for adoring the God…to renew our faith and enriching ourselves with the doctrines of the Church.

I realize that John Paul II, my most loved Holy Father of whom I’ve known since birth has taught me to study the scriptures, to read the encyclicals, to learn the Catholic faith, to open my heart for others (all Christians and non Christians alike), to extend my service to the poor, to live in boldness of charity, to deny myself of the ways of the world, to continually try to live in humility and simplicity in doing what I can do best for the love of God.

Thank you so much my dearest Papa: Pope John Paul II – you are a living Christ when you we’re still with us. Please continue to pray for us, we know that from heaven you will look after us and will meet us on heaven’s gate when the time is right for us.

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To Pinocchio

(excerpt from Illustrissimi by Pope John Paul I)

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I can’t stop myself laughing the first time I read this book way back when I was a little younger . Recently, I came across it again in the most appropriate time. The late Pope have the wit and wisdom combined in a humor so much easy to understand by people like me. I chose this letter  he addressed to Pinocchio (and the modern Pinocchios , children, young people …maybe most of us adults too) because most of my personal clients could relate to him, I as well and those I worked with…perhaps most people  I know or even all.

 Illustrissimi or “To the Illustrious Ones“, is a collection of letters written by Pope John Paul I when he was Patriarch of Venice. The letters were originally published in the Italian Christian paper ‘Messaggero di S. Antonio’ between 1972 and 1975, and published in book form in 1976. The book was first published in English in 1978 when Cardinal Luciani (as he was then known) was elected Pope. As the English translation only reached the public after his death (after reigning as Pope for just 33 days), it stands as one of the few writings in public circulation that indicate what sort of person John Paul I was and what sort of Pope he might have been had he lived longer.(wikipedia.org)

TO PINOCCHIO:

When you fall in love…

Dear Pinocchio,

I was seven years old when I read your Adventures for the first time. I couldn’t tell you how much I liked them nor how many times I have read them again since then. The truth is that in you, boy, I recognized myself; in your atmosphere, my atmosphere.

How many times you ran through the forest, through the fields, by the beach, by the streets! The Vixen and the Cat, the dog Medoro, the children of the battle of the books were running with you. They seemed my races, my fellows, the streets and the fields of my village.

You ran to see the covered carts that arrived at the square; so do I. You complained, you twisted your mouth, you put your head under the sheets before drinking the bitter medicine; so do I. The slice of bread with butter on both sides, the cinnamon pie, the lemon candy and, in sometimes, even an egg, a pear, or even its skins, represented an exquisite dish for you, glutton and hungry as you were; the same happened to me.

I also, when going and coming back from school, I saw myself involved in “battles”: with snow balls in winter; with punches and kicks in all the seasons of the year; sometimes I “incased”; or gave, always trying to balance “credits” with “debits” and not to snivel at home, where, if I had complained, perhaps they would have given me “the rest”.

And now you have come back. You speak from the pages of the book no longer, but from the TV screen. But you continue being the same boy of other times.

I, however, have grown old. I already am, if it is possible to speak like that, to the opposite side of the barricade. I can’ t recognize myself in you any more, but in your advisers: the teacher Gepeto, Beppe Grillo, the Blackbird, the Parrot, the Glow-worm, the Crab, the Marmot.

They tried – God!, without success, except in the case of the Tuna – to give you advices for your child life.

I try to give them for your child and adult life. Be careful! Don’ t have the idea of throwing the hammer on me, you either, because I am not willing to end like the poor Beppe Grillo!

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Have you realized I have not mentioned the Fairy between your “advisers”? I don’ t like her system. When you are persecuted by the killers, you knock desperate at her door; she put her head out of the window with her white face, like a wax figure, she refuses to open the door and she lets you be hung from a tree.

You are got rid of the holm by her, of course, but afterwards, she made you the practical joke of putting, in your room of patient, those four rabbits, black like the shoe polish, with a small coffin on their backs.

Still more. Escaped by miracle from the frying pan of the green Fisherman, you come back home stiff with cold in the middle of the night and when it is raining cats and dogs on your back. The Fairy makes you find the door closed and, after many desperate calls, she sends you the Snail, that takes nine hours in going down from the fourth floor and taking you – half starved as you are – a bread of plaster, a cardboard chicken and four alabaster peaches painted in a natural way.

No! Children must not be treated like that when they make mistakes, mainly if they are reaching, or they have already reached, the age called precious or, also, difficult, starting from thirteen up to sixteen years old, and since now it will be yours, Pinocchio.

You will see by yourself: difficult age, as much for you as for your educators. You are not a child any more, and you will reject the company, the readings, the games of the little ones; but you are not a man either, and you will feel misunderstood and almost rejected by adults.

And while you are going through the strange experience of a fast physical growth, you will have the feeling of finding out that you suddenly have kilometric legs, Briareo’ s arms and a strangely changed, unusual, unrecognizable voice.

You will feel a strong need of strengthening your I : on one hand, you will be in trouble with the family and the school atmosphere; by another one, you will enter the solidarity of “the gangs” at full speed. On one hand, you demand independence from the family; on the other hand, you are hungry and thirsty of being accepted by your fellows and depending on them.

How much fear of being different from the others! Where the gang goes, you want to go there, too. Jokes, language and pastimes of the others, you make them yours. You dress as they dress: a month, all in sweaters and jeans; the next one, all in leather jackets, coloured trousers, white cords on black boots. In some things, non-conformists; in another ones, without realizing, conformists one hundred percent.

And changeable mood! Today, quiet and docile, as when you were ten years old; tomorrow, wild as an ulcerous of seventy years old. Today, you want to become an aviator; tomorrow, you are determined to be a theater actor. Today, audacious and unworried; tomorrow, shy and almost anxious. How much patience, how much indulgence, how much love and understanding the teacher Gepeto shall have to have with you!

There is more: you will become introspective, that is to say, you will begin to watch within yourself and you will find out new things. Melancholy will come out from you, the need of dreaming with open eyes, the feeling and even the sentimentality. And even it will be able to happen that, in seventh or eighth EGB, you “fall in love”, like the young David Copperfield, who said: “I adore miss Shepherd. She is a girl in a short little jacket, round face and curly hair. When I am in the church, I cannot read the missal because I must look at miss Shepherd. I consider miss Shepherd between the members of the royal family…, sometimes, in my room, I feel impelled to exclaim: ‘Oh, miss Shepherd!’… I would like to know why I have secretly given twelve nuts to miss Shepherd. They are not a symbol of love… and, however, I feel that it is a gift that fits well on her. I also give insipid cookies and innumerable oranges to miss Shepherd… Miss Shepherd is the only vision that invades my soul”.

“How is it possible that, in the length of few weeks, I break off with her? It is said over there she prefers Mr. Jones… One day, miss Shepherd pulls a face when she passes by my side and she laughs with her friend. Everything is over. A whole life devotion has disappeared. Miss Shepherd leaves the Sunday morning religious service and the royal family doesn’t recognize her any more”.

It happened to Copperfield. It happens to all. It will also happen to you, Pinocchio!

***

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But, how will your “advisers” help you?

During “the growth phenomenon”, your new Beppe Grillo should be the old Vittorino of Feltre, a pedagogue who loved very much children like you and who gave a great importance to outdoors exercises for the education.

Horseback riding, jump, swimming, fencing, hunting, fishing, archery, singing. He tried, by these means, to create a quiet atmosphere in his “Joyful House” and to give a useful option to the physical exuberance of his young students. Very willingly, he would have made yours what Parini would say later:

What will not a corageous soul be able to do

if it lives in a strong body?”

 Besides, your friend Tuna, who took you safe and sound to the shore when you left the shark belly, will be able to help you, with its calm and persuasive strength, in the next crisis of self-strengthening of which I have spoken to you.

Your dream, young people of today, it is not only the car (n. d. t.: In Italian, car = auto, and also the Italian word “auto” means “self” so the following terms are a play on words). You dream a full garage of moral autos: auto-election, auto-decision, auto– government, autonomy. A very short time ago, some boys from Bolzano started an auto-school directed by themselves.

“Regarding how to arrive to the auto-decision – the wise Tuna would say – is very good. But little by little, step by step. It is not possible to go suddenly from the whole obedience as a boy to the whole autonomy as an adult”. Not even it is possible to use today the hard method of a time for everything. As long as you are growing up in age, Pinocchio, it will grow inside you the wish of autonomy. Then, well, make that also grows – with the external help of good educators – the right conscience of your rights and duties; make that grows the sense of responsibility, to use properly a so wished autonomy.

Listen how the brothers Visconti – Venosta were educated for more than a century. One of them, Giovanni, was a writer; the other one, Emilio, a politician of our Risorgimento : “One of the methods of my father’ s education consisted of spending as much time as possible with his children, demanding us an unlimited confidence, giving us back much as far as he is concerned, and considering us like a little elder persons. So, he instills on us the sense of responsibility and duty. He treated us like little men, thing that pleased us enough. For that reason, we also made an effort to rise”.

***

In your trip towards autonomy, perhaps you will crash, dear Pinocchio, like almost all the young people between seventeen and twenty years old, with a difficult obstacle: the problem of faith.

Yes, you will breathe anti  religious objections as the air is breathed, at school, in the factory, in the cinema, etc. If your faith is a lot of good wheat, a whole army of mice will come to take it by assault. If it is a suit, one hundred hands will try to tear it. If it is a house, the pick will want to demolish it stone by stone. You will have to defend yourself: nowadays, from the faith it is only kept what it is defended.

And remember two things:

First: all certainty deserves esteem, although it does not share the evidence of mathematics. The existence of Napoleon, Caesar or Carlomagnus does not enjoy the certainty as 2 + 2 = 4, but for that reason it does not stop being true with a human, historical certainty. In the same way, it is also true Christ existed, the apostles saw Him dead and then resuscitated.

Second: man needs the sense of mystery. From anything we know everything, Pascal said. I know many things about myself, but not all. I do not know exactly what is my life, my intelligence, the degree of my health, etc. Then, how can I try to understand and know all about God?

The more frequent objections you will hear will go straight against the Church. Perhaps an anecdote told by Pitigrilli will be able to help you. In London, at Hyde Park, a preacher is speaking outdoors. Sometimes, he is interrupted by a ruffled and dirty individual. “The Church has been existing for already two thousand years – says suddenly the individual – and the world is plenty of thieves, adulterers, killers”. “You are right – the preacher replies -. But also since two million centuries ago water exists in the world and look how is your the neck like”.

In other words: there have been bad Popes, bad Priests, bad Catholics. But what does it mean that? That the Gospel has been applied? No, all the opposite. In those cases, the Gospel has not been applied.

My Pinocchio, there are two famous sentences on the young people. I recommend you the first one, by Lacordaire: “Have an opinion and assert it”. The second one, by Clemenceau, and I do not recommend it at all: “He has no ideas, but he defends them passionately”.

***

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 Can I come back to David Copperfield? The memory of miss Shepherd has been moving away from him some time ago, and David, now seventeen years old, falls in love again. This time, he adores miss Larkins. He feels happy as long as he can bow her every day. It only finds lightening if he puts on his best suits and cleans his shoes constantly. He dreams: “God, if tomorrow Larkins father came and he told me: ‘My daughter has told me everything. Take twenty thousand pounds. Be happy’ “. He dreams his aunt, who is touched and blesses his marriage. But, while he is dreaming, the girl marries a hop cultivator.

David spends two weeks demoralized: he takes out the ring, puts on the worst suits, stops using brilliantine, he does not clean his shoes any more.

Later, a love at first sight from arrives Dora: “She was a superhuman being for me. She was a fairy, a sylph… I don’ t know what she was… all that nobody has ever seen… I was devoured by an abyss of love in a flash…, hurried, headfirst, before having told her a single word before”.

They are transparent appointments: through them, it is possible to catch a glimpse of the problems of love and engagement, for which you will also have to get ready, dear Pinocchio.

On this point, some people defend a very permissive moral, today. But, still admitting that in the past it has been a little too much strict in this subject, the young people do not have to accept that permissiveness. Their love must be with capital A, beautiful like a flower, precious like a jewel, and not vulgar like a glass bottom.

It is convenient that they accept to assume some sacrifice and keep away from people, places and amusements that can be an occasion of harm for them. “You don’ t trust on me”, you say, “Yes, we do, but it is not distrust to remember that all we are exposed to temptations. And, however, it is love to take off the way, at least, the unnecessary temptations”.

Look at the drivers: they find policemen, traffic lights, pedestrian crossings, one way, no parking, all things that, at first sight, seem annoyances and limits against drivers, when, in fact, they are there in their favour, because they help them to drive more safety.

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And if one day you have a girlfriend – Shepherd or Larkins or Dora -, respect her. Defend her from yourself. Do you want she keeps intact for you? Very well, but keep yourself in the same way for her and do not pay attention to certain friends who tell their “feats”, boasting and thinking they are “machos” due to their adventures with women. The true “macho”, the strong man, is who knows how to win over himself and he takes his position in the young people’ s lines, who are the souls aristocracy. While one is a boyfriend, love must try not as much the sensual pleasure but the spiritual and sensible joy; it has to be shown in an affectionate way, of course, but proper and decent.

Similar advices have to be taught to the other part, too, so long as the “sermons” can be beared.

“Dear Dora (or miss Larkins or Shepherd) – her mother tells her -, let me make you remember a biological law. The girl, in general, has more self-control than the boy in the sexual aspect. If man is physically stronger, woman is spiritually stronger. It could almost be said God decided to make depend the goodness of men from woman’ s. Tomorrow, your husband and your children’ s souls will depend a little on you. Today, your friends’ and your boyfriend’ s. So, you must have common sense for two and know how to say no in certain things, when everything would even seem to invite to say yes. The boyfriend himself, if he is good, will thank you in his better moments and he will say to himself: ‘My Dora is right. She has a conscience and it obeys her. Tomorrow, she will be faithful to me’. The too much easy girlfriend, however, does not offer the same guarantees and runs the risk of seeding from now on, with her too much careless condescension, dangerous seeds, from which jealousy and suspicions on the husband’ s part will sprout in a future”.

I don’ t go on, Pinocchio, but don’ t come out now that talking about Dora was beside the point. When you were a child, you had the Fairy, first like a sister and then like a mother. Now, you are a teen and a young; the only Fairy who can accompany you is a girlfriend or a wife. Unless you want to become a Priest!

But I do not see any vocation on you!

June 1972

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* PINOCCHIO, inmortal personage from the homonymous story by the Florentine writer Collodi, pseudonym of Carlo Lorenzini (1826 -1890). Once grown up, the “Pinocchios” of today (the children) will have to deal with the problem of love. On this point, some people defend a large permissiveness, but the young people must not accept it: their love must be beautiful like a flower.

 

 

 

 

 

BITS AND PIECES

(to my fellow bookworms, movie goers,writers, and friends that I so much miss drinking coffee or sitting on the streets downtown on wee hours during press work, the till the next day life conversations in the middle of the fields waiting for sunrise…or celebrating thanksgiving with our picnic baskets at the backyard…sharing our milestones.)

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I am always fond of watching movies and reading almost anything. I’d rather trade it than killing time in the mall or exchanging sweet nothings before a crowd of people. I enjoy my own space and only in those moments that am my real ME. In all these books and movies I’ve watched here are some of the nuggets that I have found most incredible: (in no particular order though somehow arranged in themes)…

  1. A Beautiful Mind (2001), the story of John Forbes Nash, Jr. the American mathematician who made fundamental contributions to game theory, differential geometry, and the study of partial differential equation. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences (1994) among all his other awards.

“What truly is logic? Who decides reason? my quest has taken me to the physical, the metaphysical,the delusional and back. I have made the most important discovery of my career – the most important discovery of my life. It is only in the mysterious equations of love that any logic or reason can be found. I am only here tonight because of you.”

Such courage from someone who have always been on top, always winning but has never found ‘real logic’. Sometimes the most genius individual may be able to give meaning to almost everything but they could never find what love really means…maybe until they experience how to love.

  1. Love Actually (2003). Are stories of people who are looking, lost and found love in rarest occasions, in impossibility, in contrasting settings or the most undesirable plots.

 Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinions starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.”

Hmm…judge it yourself. I enjoyed the idea that a politician can really have that keenness of observation, however it’s something worth thinking. Somehow he was elusive but very much straightforward. He’s one of those who takes the reigns and just move forward and let’s see what happens next.

  1. Little Manhattan (2005). This will make us laugh (ladies) alright, really laugh at the men’s reaction to this film as well 🙂 For me, it is more for (you) guys but I understand why it would be difficult to admit your semblance to Gabe :-). Anyhow, who could ever forget his First Love?

“Love isn’t about ridiculous little words. Love is about grand gestures. Love is about airplanes pulling banners over stadiums, proposals on jumbo-trons, giant words in sky writing. Love is about going that extra mile even if it hurts, letting it all hang out there. Love is about finding courage inside of you that you didn’t even know was there.”

If that is a point of view of a child, imagine him when he is in his 20’s …He could be one of the best gentleman that have ever exists. There will always be love coming and going but there is only one first love – and it’s worth opening your heart and declaring your love…that way you may hear what that person has to say.

  1. Tristan and Isolde by William Shakespeare. Who would ever forget one of the greatest love stories in Greek Mythology? It’s the classic ‘so near yet so far’ love…literary on the other side of the wall.

“You were right. I don’t know what is greater, life or death. But love is more so than all.”

No one is fireproof or bulletproof when they’re talking of love… many may have caused their life for it and for centuries…they are still fighting for all it’s worth. What is it in this four letter word that could even melt a tyrant, change the mind of a King or end a war?

  1. Bride Wars. (2009)

“Sometimes in life there really are bonds formed that can never be broken. Sometimes you really can find that one person who will stand by you no matter what. Maybe you will find it in a spouse and celebrate it with your dream wedding. But there’s also the chance that the one person you can count on for a lifetime, the one person who knows you sometimes better than you know yourself is the same person who’s been standing beside you all along.”

Often we look for things we imagined in our minds in a store and not one has it. What we actually imagined is what we already have – and it’s the only one, no copy but just ‘the one.’

  1. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult adapted in a movie (2009).

There’s always a special bond between sisters and if you have one don’t ever neglect her and keep her in your heart.

“I’ll never understand why Kate had to die and we all got to live. There’s no reason for it, I guess. Death’s just death, nobody understands it. Once upon a time, I thought I was upon Earth to save my sister. And in the end, I couldn’t do it. I realize now, that wasn’t the point. The point was I had a sister. She was fantastic. One day I’m sure I’ll see her again. But until then, our relationship continues.”

We are afraid of losing because we dread the pain it’ll cause, or the idea that we are alone. Though we know that life is not a guarantee of all that is beautiful (on our standards), we hold on to it because that keeps us sane.

  1. Autumn in New York.(2000) One of those tragic and overpowering film that would make you think that living life is a choice even when you know you have to die.

“You don’t want to die! You want to live!”

“You don’t think I’ve been through this so many times? I don’t want to give people hope when there isn’t any!

“Why not? Maybe we need hope.”

Life can be so gloomy, it could be winter forever. We see ourselves melting away all the memories and we want to quit. Yet we also know that spring comes after winter – that grey has a streak of white in it. So life becomes a great adventure and that is its beauty – and we begin to understand. That even in a cold dark day, there is a flicker of light somewhere out there all we need is to look for it.

  1. The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks. “Why do you have to go?” – is the classique question when someone has to leave. More than music this book reminded me that loving people are not afraid of leaving or dying.

“Sometimes you have to be apart from the people you love, but that doesn’t make you love them any less. Sometimes it makes you love them most.”

All things said. It is so true. Love is a decision and because of it no distance can make it wither. Even if it takes being in different lifetime, space or realm. It will be the same perhaps even stronger.

  1. The Lakehouse (2006). what if ‘the one’ for you lives in another lifetime and portals for you meeting up is impossible? What could be or what could’ve been?

“Even though this is clearly impossible, it’s amazing.”

It may defy all the things I’ve learned that ‘nothing is impossible’ yet knowing that things happen it is already a possibility. Living a particular moment as it should is substantial enough.

  1. Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder. How do you teach philosophy to a 12 year old? This book gave me more than what I’ve learned in my Philosophy class (no offense to my professor).

“I believe there is something of the divine mystery in everything that exists. We can see it sparkle in a sunflower or a poppy. We sense more of the unfathomable mystery in a butterfly that flutters from a twig – or in a goldfish swimming in a bowl. But we are closest to God in our own soul. Only there can we become one with the greatest mystery of life. In truth, at very rare moments we can experience that we ourselves are that divine mystery.”

It is a mystery that makes things more enticing and we draw ourselves into it. Unexplained things are obscurities and finding truth is intertwined to our very existence. Somehow we begin searching what it is, where is it that everything streams from…and the answers are also unfathomable and even more profound.

  1. Bambi by Felix Salten . The doe that travelled far in search for meaning of his existence. Why do people closest to us dies? What is so important that we should know where we came from?

“There is Another who is over us all.”

Our kiddie books have wisdom in its own simplicity. In cognitive development a child’s mind can only take much concretely or by figures…and complex things can always be explained in sheer reality.  It is in the simplest truths that true logic are learned –  and God is understood by a child’s innocence.

  1. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. Can one live when everything is a catastrophe? Can one still love and forgive despite being hurt to death? Can we get use to anything even by those who dehumanize us?

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

When we go for a battle, we leave equipped and with a goal to win. We always look onwards for victory. We would dare ourselves for the goal our enemies are also fighting for in the end nobody wins… in this moment we only think of one thing…peace…and we start changing our plans, we start recognizing our foes as friends only then we can win. Our victory is sure without even bothering to fight because we take a step back and realize that we were fighting for a wrong reason.

  1. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Magic and beyond. It doesn’t take a sorcerer, an alchemist or a master to tell us what we desire…most of the time they are just telescopes to make things crystal clear.

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

No it’s not “obey your thirst” that is more on our physical desire or act…it is the deepest longings of our hearts. It maybe that we come across certain things that flicked our senses and attracting us into it or doing it…but within the recesses of our being is hidden the soul of what we dreamed of. Sometimes it is in the shadows of our own doubts…or at the back of what we think we want. Our own mindset would attract these desires to make it real because it is/was always there. And we only have to acknowledge and once we do, we only need to hold on to it.

  1. The Art of War by  Sun Tzu. War is not being in the killing fields visualizing victory for glory. War is everywhere…everything is war…and we need to learn and understand that is an intricately designed artwork…a tapestry with its self-knitting needles.

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb to every battle.”

Facing our giants is the first step to conquer more giants that will come. When we know ourselves it is easy to know what will work or not work for us. However when situations are predictable we are more prepared for it. In every circumstance we have to be as witty as we can to know what is coming – that alone is a sure success.

  1. Star Wars 7: The force awakens.2015. After all what are we fighting for?

“The Force is strong in my family. My father has it. My sister has it. You have that power, too.”

We need to run the risk to go beyond what we thought we only can for us to discover the much greater potential we have.

  1. With Honors.(1994) Harvard education puts anyone on pedestal but an honorable man knows the fullness of freedom and appropriately applies it in his life.

“To drive free, to love free, to court destruction with taunts, to feed the remainder of life with one hour of fullness and freedom- one brief hour of madness and joy.”

All we need is a little push – somehow taking a little leap of faith, facing our dragons and just go for it.

  1. Man Of Steel.2013. We all love superheroes and want to have one…we appraise those who fought for us…not knowing that we too also have the same purpose for the people we love and depend on us.

“You are my son. But somewhere out there you have another father too, who gave you another name. And he sent you here for a reason, Clark. And even if it takes you the rest of your life you owe it to yourself to find out what that reason is.”

Each of us came not by coincidence – whether by advancement of technology or not. We are here because we have a purpose. Some of us our purpose is to eat or be eaten in confusions or waves of our lives. Whatever it is we are each made for a reason and the grandest thing to do is be thankful, enjoy in all our madness what life has to offer.

  1. The Little Prince by  Antoine de Saint- Exupery

“All grown-ups were once children…but only few of them remember it.”

As development happens we went through a process and in stages. When we were kids we express ourselves like there we’re no pauses…life goes on and on in circles. We’re not afraid to be wounded when we run or jump…we laugh all of it because everything is a play. Then we became adults, and we tend to protect ourselves with all sorts of vests that we won’t be hurt or be in pain. We show a stern self when people makes us laugh, we neglect running or jumping because we are too tired…at times we even forgot how is it to laugh out loud or roll in the sand… to be free…

Once we we’re children…and that is a treasure, rare and special – we must not miss it out that our hearts and minds were once naive…that our dispositions were not as fragmented as we do now. Let’s be vibrant, bold, and free, like when we were children and never ever forget that our creativity came along with it!

  1. The Giver by  Lois Lowry

“The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It’s the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.”

Our experiences are great teachers and it is. Our forefathers have passed it on to us. We learned it in all our subjects in school. Our memories are not meant to be locked up that’s why we are given examinations in school for us to remember things.  Our being human and knowing it all are passed on to us and those are memories of those who came before us, before them and those ahead of them…so on and so forth.  We are social beings we have to talk to each other in whatever way we can to share things: feelings, moments both of joy and sadness, grief, sorrow, dismay, trust, confidence and more. We have too, we must or else we all die lonely and that is sad.

  1. Stardust.2007. – If you want adventure of true love, magic, wizards, witches and a knight’s quest…or finding the courage you thought you never had. This is one film you can watch and for the guys…you may want to take inspiration on how he became a real King and found the queen that will love him forever.

“My heart …it feels like my chest can barely contain it. Like it’s trying to escape because it doesn’t belong to me any more. It belongs to you. And if you wanted it , I’d wish for nothing in exchange – no gifts. No goods. No demonstrations of devotion. Nothing but knowing you loved me too. Just your heart, in exchange for mine.”

Am speechless…a broken star cannot shine but with love it will somehow brighten whatever luster it has will keep the flame burning.

  1. Ever After.(1998). This is not the fairy tale we knew where the maiden waits for a prince to rescue her from the chains of an evil stepmother. It is about a woman’s wit and the courage to fight and protect the people she loves…and it made her standout that a man would question his own worth as a man enough to fight for her.

“You cannot leave everything to fate, boy. She has a lot to do. Sometimes you must give her a hand.”  Leonardo Da Vinci

Now, that came from someone who understands the whims and the profoundness of women. Women can do almost everything but a real man will not allow her to.

I hope you can find time to watch these movies or read these books. When you do maybe I can stay a bit and chat with you but for now I have to go.ciao!

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LIVING THE MOMENT

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I started counting miracles since I was 6. Everyday I would say to the sun :

” hello Mr.Sun, did you see Ms.Moon? Do you miss each other too? Have you really met? How are the other stars there when you are up?” And other inquiries from a little girl.

Nowadays I still count miracles and do my morning rituals. Looking back it’s been a long while. How time flies and I’m not sure if I’ll still be around in the next 10 – 20 years more.

So today I was thinking:  “if today is my last day….”

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…i will
…i will go
…i will stop
…i will tell
…i will find
…i will give
…i will have…. on and on my list continues with endless goals.

It’s a worthwhile pause from my busy routine. Writing down goals and acting on it is the best achievement. I know I have to act now or it will be too late…

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or I might regret the things I could have done when I have the chance.

So today I will…and will start living my dreams NOW! :-)

 

‪#‎CarpeDiem‬ ‪#‎lifeIsSweet‬ ‪#‎LifeInExclamation‬ ‪#‎BeginningToday‬ ‪#‎atm‬

My Most Notable Things of 2015

BY SIR LAWRENCE DA JOSE

Here we are again. Another year begins, and another year ends. Before we start 2016, I like to go back and take note of the moments and milestones of 2015 that has left a mark on us Filipinos. I’ll start with the best ones, but would also mention the not so good. After all, it was a wild year for many of us (as any year proves to be), so it’s good to remember both the blessed and challenging hallmarks. In the end, we should be thankful for the blessings, and learn from the failures. Such is life. C’est La Vie, as the saying goes.

Here’s to 2015, the year that was.

 

The Best Things of 2015

 


  1. Pope Francis Visits the Philippines

 

We start the list with the first major event of the year. In January 2015, Pope Francis made his first visit to the country as head of the Catholic Church. For close to a week, almost everyone was gripped in the Pope Francis Fever with  “Lolo Kiko’s” joyous and simple demeanor winning over Filipinos.

 

This wasn’t just another charismatic celebrity visiting the country though. When the Pope visited Yolanda-stricken Leyte for an outdoor mass, it was a moment of spiritual catharsis and grace, made especially poignant by the fact that the Pope insisted on going through with the visit and mass even through heavy rains and storm. Seeing the Pope celebrate mass in a yellow raincoat – the same raincoat most of the Yolanda stricken populace who went to the mass wore – was such a symbol of spiritual solidarity much needed by a people who, only one year prior, has experienced grief and tragedy beyond measure in one of the strongest typhoons to hit the Philippines.

God was with us during those blessed days when the Pope visited us. It’s a memory we will cherish forever.

II. The AlDub (#SaTamangPanahon) Phenomenon

There was no bigger love team in 2015 than Eat Bulaga’s Kalyeserye couple Aldub. The on-screen budding romance of “pambansang bae” Alden Richards and  “Dubsmash” Youtube sensation Maine “Yaya Dub” Mendoza was such a phenomenon that it set worldwide records in Twitter, sold-out special episode stage shows in minutes, and filled the gigantic Philippine Arena with thousands of near-delirious fans who awaited the couple’s first meeting. Aldub was inescapable in the Pinoy psyche in 2015. Everywhere you look – TV programs, news items, and social media –  almost everyone went gaga over this seemingly overnight love team sensation.

 

But Philippine showbiz has not been new to love teams – from Guy and Pip, Gabby and Sharon, Wowie and Judy Ann, John Lloyd and Bea, to the present Kathniel and JaDine, love teams have been the most common of showbiz vehicles. What makes Aldub different then?

 

Chalk it up to the most unique of “third wheel” characters – Lola Nidora (played brilliantly by comedian Wally Bayola), who, together with her co-horts of fedora-wearing Lolas and barong-clad bodyguards, not only provide the pre-requisite comic relief in the show, but has also “tormented” Alden and Yaya, along with their army of fans eager for the two to finally meet face-to-face, with her constant meddling in the lead stars’ meet-ups. But this is not your typical “kontrabida against young love” skit – Lola Nidora’s interference has always been to the tune of  #SaTamangPanahon – the most popular (and perhaps most influential) hashtag and by-word this year.

 

#SaTamangPanahon, or “the right time,” puts emphasis on making the most awaited meet-up of Alden and Yaya happen at the proper place and time, not to be hurried or forced just by whim or desire. Yes, in the show, it serves to make the love angle even more enticing for audiences, but by the show’s constant emphasis on waiting for the right time, #SaTamangPanahon has gone beyond just puppy love aesthetics in Pinoy pop culture. By the massive popularity of the series, together with Filipinos’ tech savvy on social media,   #SaTamangPanahon has become the most viral of bywords, with people applying it not just to love matters but in different facets of life — career, money, destiny, and what have you.

 

Aldub then, has not only become today’s most popular love-team, they have also come to symbolize the moral uprightness of waiting for the proper timing in life. This comes at a time when the media needs a moral beacon to translate celebrity beyond popularity and into true positive influence. For every funny meme in FB telling you to not to be hasty on that new gadget you want to buy, to your best friend encouraging you to wait for Mr/Ms Right; to your work mate telling you to be patient in your career choice – most likely they would  have told you that things happen #SaTamangPanahon. Yes, at a point it becomes annoying (as all pop culture pet peeves turn out when over-used), but you can’t deny that it’s right. And Aldub was the one that started it.

 

With its constant banner of #SaTamangPanahon, Aldub has arguably become the most influential moral icons in Pinoy Pop Culture – such a breath of fresh air in local showbiz. Not bad for a series where the female lead star doesn’t even talk.

 

 

III. Heneral Luna’s Success at the Box Office

03_Heneral_Luna

 

 

This movie almost did not make it to the most notable things of 2015. By the second week of its local run, the numbers of movie housesshowing this historical biopic were already dropping significantly. If not for a late social media campaign to bring it back to the cinemas – backed by strong word of mouth recommendation, this could have been just one of those well-intentioned, well-made historical movies to pass the Pinoy movie-goers’ consciousness.

 

Fate would have it otherwise. The passionate campaigning in social media by those who watched the movie in its early run reached critical mass, extending its local showing to an amazing 5 weeks (when most local films would only run for two and even the most successful ones only run for a month). Heneral Luna became the constant conversation piece not just by seasoned movie-goers but almost all Pinoy movie watchers – even those just used to the usual foreign fare or the local love story movie.

04_Heneral_Luna_meme

 

Historical bio-pic is a loose term applied in this case, as Heneral Luna the movie itself mentions in its introduction. More concerned with social commentary than just presenting factual events (though there is basis in true to life events in history), Heneral Luna struck a chord with present day Filipinos, addressing the social concerns of today with the story of yesterday. Set in the Filipino-American war just after the declaration of independence from Spanish colonial rule, the movie tells the story of how Gen. Antonio Luna led the Philippine Military against the Americans amidst the turmoil in the then newly established Philippine government. Against the backdrop of ill-discipline and self-interests of the military and civil leaders then (as depicted in the movie),  the general from Ilocos bravely put up the Philippine fight against the foreign army, while recognizing the sad fact that the Filipino nation was not only up against a foreign power, but was, more importantly, engaged in a war with our own selfishness and divisiveness.

 

Heneral Luna sparked an awakening of sorts for Philippine pride and patriotism – “Negosyo o Kalayaan? Bayan o Sarili? Pumili ka!”, tag-lines from the movie’s dialogue, became rallying cries of social concern. Whether this awakening has a long term and concrete effect in the Pinoy psyche or whether the patriotism will fall for the “movie of the month” syndrome is still to be seen. Thankfully, because of the movie’s success at the box office (P250 million, a figure unheard of for an independently produce local film), the original plan of the trilogy of historical movies by the producers will now push through (the Gregorio del Pillar and Manuel Quezon movies are up next).   Hopefully, this trio of movies would fan the flames of national spirit that Heneral Luna truly wished for in his time.

 

And to think we almost only got to see the movie in two weeks. You just have to thank social media sometimes eh?

 

 

  1. Pia Alonzo-Wurtzbach wins Miss Universe 2015

05_MissUniverse

The Philippines has actually been on a very good run in winning (or coming close to) in international beauty contests for the past decade. We have constant runner-ups in Miss Universe, multiple Miss Earth victories, a couple of Miss International wins by Bea Santiago and Precious Lara Quigaman, and even had our first Miss World in Meagan Young.

 

(2015 was actually a wildly successful year for our Filipina beauty queens; see the list of our international beauty pageant triumphs here: http://www.mb.com.ph/philippines-is-country-of-the-year-2015-in-beauty-pageants-gb/ )

 

Still, we waited for the “big one” – the crown with the capital U.

 

Well then, the long wait is over: we finally won again the biggest crown of them all. After 42 years, we can once again call a Filipina as Miss Universe, with Pia Alonzo-Wurtzbach winning the Miss Universe pageant in Las Vegas – albeit in an awkward and controversial fashion, with Host Steve Harvey mistakenly declaring Miss Colombia the winner, but owning up to his mistake almost immediately and declaring our Pia as the real winner. (Much has been said about this mix-up, and I won’t say anymore; let’s forgive and move on, shall we? Thank you.)

 

Ms. Alonzo-Wurtzbach doesn’t only have the beauty and brains of the fairest in the universe, she also has the grit and perseverance worthy of battle-worn soldiers. She previously joined Binibining Pilipinas two times previously before winning last year, her first two attempts yielding no crown on her head. She has been called “trying hard” for joining the pageant repeatedly. But the Filipina-German lasso from Cagayan de Oro was undeterred. Openly admitting to be “trying hard” to achieve what she really wants, Pia joined Binibini once again, and finally won the Bb. Pilipinas Universe in March of 2015. Onward to December, and the rest, as they say, is history.

 

And hopefully, our Pia is not only history, but history in the making. Starting the year 2016 as Miss Universe, here’s to hoping she represents women and the Philippines as the best woman she can be. We believe she can do it – she’s “confidently beautiful with a heart.”

 

PS: Shortly after Manny Pacquiao’s loss to Floyd Mayweather in May, Pia tweeted the now famous line “Kalma lang guys. Ako bahala. Babawi tayo sa Ms. Universe.” Well girl, we gotta say you have confidence in spades.

 

 

  1. Filipino Talents Shine Locally and Internationally

06_Pinoy_Talent

Filipino talent in performing arts is a given. Good thing that slowly but surely we are being recognized not just in the local front but in the international scene as well.

 

The note-worthy thing for this year is that our talent showcase has gone from the usual pop song and dance to something more unique, inventive, and artistically informed. Best example of this is when Filipinos ruled the first ever Asia’s Got Talent show (shown internationally via Sony and AXN), where we won first and third places.

 

First placer El Gamma Penumbra – a dance trope collective from Tanauan, Batangas was an early favorite in the talent show and was able to carry their momentum all the way to the finals with their truly creative rendition of the interpretative dance medium, their “shadow dance” consisting of silhouette movements depicting themes such as nature, war, tolerance, and peace. (If you can’t picture out what I just said, I can understand – El Gamma’s performances are truly meant to be seen by your own eyes – go find the videos on Youtube).

 

Meanwhile, third placer Gerphil Geraldine Flores, a Filipina-German (yes, the second awesome Filipina-German in this list; fantastisch!), classically trained music major from Bicol, was a complete standout as a classical songstress, giving Asian audiences beautiful renditions of arias, opera, and theater with her amazing voice. So impressed was one judge – international composer and producer David Foster — with Gerphil that he said, and we quote “I promise you, the whole world is going to know about you.”

 

(Note to Mr. Foster, we hope that what you meant with what you said is that you’ll produce Gerphil’s international album. I’ll buy a copy, I promise. In fact I’ll buy as much copies as I can, because Gerphil is awesome.)

 

On the local front, alternative comedian Ryan Rems Sarita of Novaliches, Quezon City made waves as the winner of It’s Showtime’s first ever “Funny One” competition for Pinoy stand-up comedians. His brand of unusual, off-kilter, non-sequitur humor was a hit in the contest, and quickly spread in social media, making his trade mark “Rock and Roll to the World!” tagline viral. His comedy, going beyond slapstick and theatrics, is a bit of stretch at first for the audience, used to such aforementioned styles of humor, to get, but Ryan’s infusion of the everyday Pinoy’s slacker-rocker-tambay character to his brand of alternative jokes made him a crowd favorite and the eventual winner.

 

El Gamma Penumbra, Gerphil, and Ryan Rems are as different in their talent showcases as night, day, and dawn, but all three share the common trait of going for their own unique style and medium, even though it’s not immediately popular. In so doing, they were able to showcase not just talent but their own creativity and artistry, and inspiring Filipinos that it’s ok to be different and not follow the usual trodden path.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Philippine GILAS Basketball Team wins silver at FIBA Asia in China

07_Gilas

We may not have netted the gold medal (and the outright birth to the Rio Olympics in 2016), but we have shown the whole world that the Philippines is once again a powerhouse contender in international basketball with our 2nd place finish at the recent FIBA Asia Basketball Finals held in Channgsa, China. It was an impressive run that included a win against Iran, the erstwhile FIBA Asia champion and Asia’s recent top basketball squad. Yes, we lost the somewhat controversial final against the hometown Chinese squad, and we have to go through qualifiers to be able to join the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, but it doesn’t tarnish the merit of what we have achieved, as it has been quite a long time since we made a splash in the Asian basketball circuit.

 

Go GILAS! This basketball crazy nation known as the Philippines is all out to support you. PUSO!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Worst Thing of 2015

 

The past year was of course, not perfect. There are a ton of things to rant about: riding-in-tandem, lag-lag bala, pre-election brouhahas, social media bashings, etc. etc. ad infinitum ad nauseum. But for me, this one takes the cake:

 

  1. Metro Manila Traffic.

08_Traffic

Oh dear, what a mess this one is.

 

I am a daily commuter and I can attest personally that Metro Manila traffic has gone from bad to worse to utterly, mind numbingly, disastrous. EDSA has been a virtual parking lot (probably the longest one in the world; we should enter this to the Guinness Book of World Records) during rush hour, while most other main roads (C5, Ortigas, and other thoroughfares)  get grid locked too.

And its not just the public roads. The MRT has been a constant story of break downs,  long queues and not-enough-trains, to the dismay of commuters who seem to have no choice anyway in traveling by EDSA – super heavy traffic below, sardine-can-chaos expressway above; takeyour pick.

 

 

 

(To be fair, the unified BEEP no-contact ticketing system has been implemented in LRT1, LRT2, and MRT; say you you will about the other problems of MRT, but the BEEP card has certainly helped reduced queuing and made train hopping between the main rails much easier.)

 

There is so much to rant about the transport situation but I rather not go there.  It is the new year after all,  we are allowed to hope for better.  Let’s just continue to be patient,  improve our discipline (hey, drivers should look at themselves too, it’s not all the government’s fault) and hope that our collective effort would bring the change we want in our daily commute.

 

As I said, we can rant about so many things we see wrong from the past year, but I rather not do that. Why? It’s 2016,that’s why! 2015 problems are soooo 2015….

 

 

******************

 

So there you have it. Let’s be grateful for the year that was, learn from our mistakes, and look forward to a better, new year ahead. AJA!

 

 

 

Photos in this article are from: rappler.com, gmanetwork.com, philstar.com, inquirer.net, pep.ph, Miss Universe, smartgilasbasketball.com, Instagram (Ping Medina’s account)

 

FAITH is everything.

theweekendfarmer

a blog about natural farming

Always Springtime

FAITH is everything.

graceandivy.wordpress.com/

Sharing my creative journey...

What an Amazing World!

Seeing, feeling and exploring places and cultures of the world

Literature and Libation

Through it all, your spirit's alive

theweekendfarmer

a blog about natural farming

Always Springtime

FAITH is everything.

graceandivy.wordpress.com/

Sharing my creative journey...

What an Amazing World!

Seeing, feeling and exploring places and cultures of the world

Literature and Libation

Through it all, your spirit's alive

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