My status

Hello WordPress,

It has been a while since I wrote an entry here.

There’s a lot of happenings (I hate to use this expression) this past months and I have gone through a lot of transition and change of addresses since March. To paraphrase a tweet I saw on Twitter, is there a life outside my comfort zone?

Within the year, I applied for a Japanese visa. I tried both long term resident visa and missionary visa but it seems I need to use a missionary visa temporarily since I do not know how to speak, read, or write in Japanese language.

We have three Brothers there in Japan and they don’t get any financial subsidy from the Korea-Japan Sector or the Province. I only learned anout this when I visited Kobe community last June and I learned that it is only the pension that supports them in terms of daily finances such as food, transportation, medical expenses, clothing, grooming, toiletries, and other necessities. Because we had a house property and even a school, which we used to manage but no more due to lack of vocation, we look rich from without. Anyway, I do not really know how can I contribute financially if I am not allowed to work using a missionary visa. I might use Patreon, Soundcloud, or even Youtube if there is a need to earn some money.

I only applied for a certificate of eligibility last June and I will need to wait for at least a month or three month at most.

I want to study TESOL in Claret. I do not want to spend money in studying Japanese here in the Philippines so I will just rely on the internet and some friends who knows how to speak, read, and write Japanese.

I want to learn how to drive.

I might visit Japan Foundation in Makati tomorrow but there’s a super typhoon Gardo/Maria right now.

Waiting for a visa without doing any work might have been affecting my self-esteem. Last two years, I have been very important because I taught in school. Now, I just stay in the convent reading, playing sports, surfing the internet, washing the dishes, cleaning the kitchen, using a stationary bicycle, watching NBA Finals (last month) and the World Cup 2018.

I feel very powerless, irrelevant, and not-so important.

I feel so irritatable this past few days. I cry sometimes inside my room. I drink beer almost every day. Maybe I am regressing a little bit. I am so down right now and I don’t want to confide it to anyone besides no one can understand me anyway. I feel now the pain of those suffering from Mental health problems; I feel now the sorrow of the psalmist. I did not chose to feel how I feel though. I am like in a state of sorrow. But as our Lord Jesus reminded me in the Gospel, I won’t let my heart be troubled. I won’t let this fox steal my joy. I might not be happy but I still have joy in my heart.

Now on my late 20s, I was like asking myself how did I end up choosing this life I am living right now. It is like I am going to a stage of purgation.

The readings for this Sunday inspired me that it’s not all about me. I feel these maybe because I am proud and egotistical. But just like Saint Paul said, the Lord’s grace is enough. It is when I am weak that I am strong because the Lord Himself is my Consolation. Christ said He has nowhere to rest His head; He who was rejected just because they know His parents and where they live. Christ had undergone through a lot of hardships and trials which compared to mine are nothing.

It is easier to see the things I am lacking and it takes silence and reflection to realize how God is so good to me in providing what I just need and not what I want.

For all the things I have and enjoy, thanks for it.

For the company of my fellow brothers in Marikina community, the brothers in different communities I visited who have been so accommodating and good to me, to my family, friends, fellow teachers, GIA scholars, and former students who have touched my life, thank you very much!

Whatever I say, feel, and do, let God’s name be glorified!

Amen.

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Counting down the days

Hello WordPress pals,

It’s almost the end of the school year and I never thought how I am already at the end of my teaching days here in Notre Dame of Cotabato. I don’t know how I was able to juggle all my responsibities as a teacher with eight teaching loads ( with two combined class), a coach of the Table Tennis team, a homeroom adviser to the Grade 12 class of Blessed Br. Luis Alfonso, and a coordinator of the Grant-In-Aid students here in the school. My teaching load is crazy that I teach 7 sections almost every day and I even have a Saturday class plus the coaching and coordinator responsibilities. I know I already mentioned it on my previous posts but I just find it stressful yet satisfying to be able to multi-task and handle them all at the same time.

I am happy that I am leaving because I know I would not be able to handle these responsibilities next year. No, I’m just kidding. Hehe!

Seriously, It’s sad to be able to think I’m leaving this school after two years of staying here. I actually want to stay again for another year as a Grant-In-Aid coordinator because I know I was not really able to be fully hands-on to the scholars that much. They were the victims of my hectic schedule that I cannot do a full-time hands-on approach to them. I want to  establish a better relationship to them a give them support to their studies and whatever help I can give them be it financial, moral, or spirtual. But wherever I am, I’ll assure them that I will still support them. That is my way of being a big brother to them.

Now it’s safe to say that I am almost through with teaching here and the next challenge for me is to figure out my new mission in… I already told my students where I will be but I haven’t posted it yet in my blog. I’m keeping it a secret for now.

Will I teach again? Stay tuned for more updates next time I find a free time to write whatever comes to my mind.

A peaceful Sunday to all of you.

The love I lost

When I was fourteen, I remember falling in love.
I felt so alive that time, I was so in love with the God of the Bible.
I don’t know what happened to me after that… I just lost that love.
Wandering with no direction, just drifting.
Took me years to revert back to the faith;
I even joined the Marist Brothers.
It was like Saul’s encounter Jesus on his way to Damascus;
Have to see again with eyes anew what the Bible is all about.
Again, reading it once more, loving it book by book;
Now I fell in love again.
Once more, I get lost within the world of the Book;
There I find who I really am in losing myself.
Now I know I just got lost;
I never really lost that love.
It was there all along carved in my heart.

A joyful Christmas to everyone!

  1. A joyful Christmas to everyone!
  2. I arrived here in Marikina since December 24. I did not ride a taxi to save money. Instead, I took the bus/train/van/tricycle route which costed me only 99 pesos in total compared to the 500-800 price of a taxi ride. So imagine how have I been thriftty these past two days including Christmas time.
  3. Every time I go home on Decembers since I entered the Marist Brothers last 2011, I play NBA 2K. This year, I stopped because I don’t feel like playing it. Besides, I have to graduate from NBA 2K13 that I played since December 2013. I already won two championships there with the Oklahoma Thunders (sixth man) and the Cleveland Cavaliers (starting Small Forward).
  4. Instead of playing video games, I played Spotify. Currently listening to the Tides by The Ransom Collective. I am hooked with Spotify that I even curated some playlists. Maybe you can search one of my playlist, New Pinoy Alt Rock and Indie.
  5. I am now sleeping here at the extension house adjacent to our original house. I drank two Heineken beers and a Crabbie’s (a ginger beer). Beer is alright for me. I passed on the Jack Daniels though since it’s really strong. I always follow what the television ads tell us to do: drink moderately.
  6. Actually, I am going through a lot of pondering these days even before coming here at home. During this vacation, I am reflecting on my vocation (rhyme intended). I’ll re-evaluate myself in terms of prayer life, apostolate, and community living. I’ll write that and try to put some of my reflections in my application letter.
  7. It’s been almost seven years already with the Marist Brothers and I plan to stay a little longer maybe until perpetual profession.
  8. My goodness, I think I have been so self-centered. Am I still answering to the call of leaving everything behind and following our Brother?
  9. I plan to visit chapels and churches here in Manila later alone. During this feast day of St. Stephen, I have yet to attend a Mass since I was not able to get up early.
  10. I remember the vision of Saint Jerome with the infant Jesus during Christmas.
  11. The venerable scholar was asked by the Child, “What present do you have for me?”

“I have left everything and given them up for you. What more can I offer?”, replied Jerome.

“You still have something more to give me”

“What is it?”

“Give me your sins.”

The Sound of the Alarm

Hey WordPress,

I have a new schedule now: to write before I go to sleep. Now, I am 13 minutes late with my writing time since I planned to write for straight 30 minutes from 10 PM to 10:30 PM. I’ll just write about anything. The city alarm is my signal. We had that alarm ever since the Martial Law was started here in Mindanao. I cannot really comment that much on the Martial Law extension since Cotabato City was on Martial Law since May 2017. Marawi is just a four-hour ride from here. Sometimes, I need to bring an ID every time I re-enter the city. But I just go out of the city once in a while and not that often like when I assist in the recollection giving to our high school students. The usual destinations I go to are Pigcawayan, General Santos City, Kidapawan City, or Davao City.

At times, I think of a possible city invasion from the zealots, my term for you know what caused the Marawi siege. I don’t like to call them the labels that the media gave them. It’s misleading and generalizing and unfair to those who are radical and extreme in practicing their faith since it also applies to those who are peace-loving people.

Cotabato City is generally a Muslim-dominated city but my estimate is that it’s more or less like 60 percent of the population. It’s an old city with historical scars that the current generation are almost unaware of. And one of the many scar is the effect of the Martial Law last 1970s until the 80s. The result? The Liberation Front groups. I’ll stop there besides our Philippine history is a testimony of this and even until now we can still feel its effect. It’s not the golden age just like what my fellow millennials called it. I don’t really know how their family stay relevant up to this time. Maybe us Filipinos have a collective amnesia of what they have done in our country. A result of wealth and propaganda probably.

In my two years of stay here, my encounter with fellow Filipinos who are Muslims has been very positive in general. I am speaking of my encounter with little children, parents, rich ones, poor ones, teachers, government leaders, barbers, vendors, etc. There have been some not-so-good encounters but I think it’s normal since it is just a result of our cultural and religious differences.  All I can say is that they are Filipinos too. They need better visionaries in our local government and the autonomy has to stay out of the equation for the mean time. I really feel ambivalent about that autonomy. In the national level, I think the Freedom of Information Bill can help this city’s bid to boom. Transparency will cut down, if not totally eliminate, the anomalies in the government.

Gee, I’ve been very political in this post. I was just writing about the alarm. At least my free-writing has a bit of coherence and not just a random stream of consciousness. I have lots of stories to tell but I have to sleep now.

Bye for now.

Catechesis is my Inheritance

I attended a baptism of one of our teacher’s daughter since I was chosen as a godfather. Aside from the parents, the godparents has a role to play in forming the faith of the child. It matters how we “pass on” the faith to the young ones and it’s not just during Christmas season that we become Santa Claus-like to these little ones. It is a life-long responsibility especially that these children are still children. It can be shown in simple ways such as praying first before our meals.

I remember witnessing my nephew who said the grace when he was still five years old. It was cute and evangelizing even for adults like my sisters and brothers. A catechized child also plays a role in inspiring adults to keep the faith especially those who have lapsed or became nominal Catholics.

Now, I am an uncle to the newest addition to our family, a baby boy named Justise. He was born in the last week of October so go figure out how he was named like that. I haven’t seen him personally but I have the chance to see him next week before Christmas.

I am contended with seeing my sibling’s children. I love children. When I see them pray, though their faith is simple and innocent, I envy them in a good way. I am invited to be like these little ones, to have a child-like faith to our Father.

I know I am not married and not planning to since I’m consecrated so contributing to the gene pool is out of the equation. My inheritance wouldn’t be biological; it is spiritual. Catechesis is my inheritance. It’s not really mine; it’s about the One who, too, became “little” and His love for all of us. I’ll just pass it on. I just hope I am doing what I am supposed to do. And if not, then I’ll just keep trying and pass it on again. That is my inheritance.

And you? What is your inheritance?

Background Song: Inheritance by Jon Foreman

via Daily Prompt: Inheritance

Should I be scared to travel alone?

Dear Lord,

This fast few months, I’ve been preparing myself for my transfer to a new community and ministry. I am in the midst of processing my papers for travelling outside the country. Thus, I would be leaving my first apostolate (after MAPAC) which is teaching here in Notre Dame of Cotabato. I’ve been teaching now for three straight years and I don’t know how what to feel once I stop teaching and start learning a new language and be a student once again.

Though I was briefed what’s about to happen, of course I have my own what ifs and other reservations. Like what I said to a fellow brother, I don’t know what will I do there specifically so I’ll just stick to what I know: live as a brother in common life, pray, and even work while studying the language of that country. I know I will travel alone outside the Philippines but there are brothers anticipating my arrival there in my new community.

I admit there is a part in me that doesn’t want to leave asking, “What’s going to happen to me there?”. The prophet Jonah’s travel to Nineveh comes to mind. But unlike him, I feel no hate towards the people I will encounter. I don’t feel like turning back and take a ship going the opposite direction. It’s just that I don’t feel like going out of the Philippines for a long time. I am anxious but I’ll still go and follow what I am told to.

What I am experiencing now humbles me. To some extent, I can influence what I can do in this future apostolate but of course I don’t have the total control of what will happen to me and my future community. It’s a risk I’m willing to take and I entrust my future to my superiors who decided on this.

It’s a different kind of advent for me.

I don’t know where I am going to but in faith, I surrender.

Let Your will be done, not mine.

And let this be my prayer.

Amen.