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.”

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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.

How is my teaching life so far?

Hello WordPress readers,

I am writing a test draft now but I am not in the mood to write a test draft so it will just be a story time.

So I am here in the convent library, just typing on this cheap laptop I acquired for my teaching ministry. As I look at my laptop, I can see the reflection of the cable wires outside since the glass panels are transparent. This past three days, I heard some birds banging the glass as they thought they can pass through them. Two months ago, I was wondering why I was hearing a bird crying at night. I thought it was nesting somewhere in the roof but my hunch was that it was somewhere hiding here in the library. I found it resting at the top of the book shelf and I shooed it so it can set itself free.

I’m thinking of what to purchase as Christmas gifts but I think I’ll just go outside during the weekends or during the examination time. Honestly, I don’t know what gifts should I give to them. I even forgot the name I picked on the one of the exchange gifts I joined.

I can believe it’s already December. It’s like I was just starting the school year last June and now we’re just four months away from March. I was so caught up with the school system I barely have time for social media. Well, I am online almost every day but I don’t have the energy to create contents like I did in the previous years.

I’m still teaching eight (8) sections and I am teaching a new subject this second semester. It’s about Trends, Networks and Critical Thinking in the 21st Century. I told them about my SNS (social networking sites), the term used before it was called social media. I realized almost all my online accounts were made during the year 2009: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc. Sadly, I was not able to back up my photos in my Friendster and Multiply account last 2011. I had no idea they were already going down at that year.

I think in blogging here in WordPress, I have found my “voice” in writing. I admit I am so shy in front of the crowd that I struggled two years ago when I started teaching in Marikina. Luckily, it was only one class and all of them very nice, charming, and bright. I hope no student from that class will read this . But if they found this, then that’s fine. Besides, I already told them I love them before we part ways and I miss them so much. They are now in their Grade 11. Half of them transferred schools already. The first year of teaching for me is indeed memorable.

For two year, I am now here in Cotabato and this is my final year of teaching. I will be spending my time outside the Philippines next year. That’s my only hint. Some of my fellow teachers knows already where I am heading.

Speaking of my last year, it helped me to make the most out of my remaining time here in Cotabato. I think this is the busiest year in my entire life. I took lots of responsibilities. Using the cliche term, I think I bit more than I can chew (is that the correct usage?).

When the time comes for me to say goodbye, I just hope and pray that I am able to touch the lives of the students and fellow school personnel in a good way.

I seem to attract the attention of the naughty students. It’s like they are not intimidated by me. When I scold them inside the class they straighten up. But when they talk about it outside, it’s like they are talking about someone else and talk about themselves as a matter-of-fact. I would be angry with them in the class but outside the classroom I would be waving my hands at them. In a good way, they are detached and don’t take my scolding personally. Maybe it’s the generation they are in now. They want to be friends with anyone even their teachers. Though I appear to be strict and tough at times, deep inside I know that what I do is for the good of my students. I love all of them not just the naughty ones. Loving can be tough at times. I really do will what’s good for them even those students who I seem to neglect at times. There are really students who tend to flourish even if you don’t focus on them that much. I am talking about the shy, quiet, and average students. When I was in high school, I was one of them. I feel guilty for not paying attention to each one of my students.

This afternoon, we will be honoring the achievers who got an average of 90 plus in their report cards. I will be meeting the parents of my advisory class in Grade 12. I have some 52 students in my homeroom and I will update them how their sons and daughters are doing in their academics. I have yet to prepare what to say to them.

But before that, I need to finish my test drafts. I have three test drafts to prepare. So this is all I can say for now.

It’s good to be back here in WordPress.

Goodbye.

A (not-so) New Blog site

Hello everyone.

I just posted for the first time in five years on my blogger account.

I intend to stay there for a while and put this blog on an indefinite hiatus. I don’t know when but I’ll be back in the future.

Here is my other blog: allenjambalaya.blogsite.com

Thanks for reading.

See you again guys!

My life as a Brother: Second Year Post-Novitiate Apostolic Community Experience

I am now in the middle of a Young Marist Brothers Gathering we call as the TPBIAM (Temporary Professed Brothers in Active Ministry). We are composed of fifteen brothers and even one of us will have his perpetual profession of vows on September 2.

I am now in my second year of apostolate and it’s good to look back how I have adjusted last year, my first year of full-time teaching, and how I have progressed so far in terms of handling students inside the classroom and all the added responsibilities this year.

As teachers would tell us aspiring teachers, the first year of teaching would be learning proper classroom management. My experience would tell me that it is indeed true.

Until now, I still can’t believe that I am actually teaching. It was never part of my dream to be a teacher. But because I aspired to become a Marist Brother, which I am now, teaching became part of my life.

This year, I am proud that I am waking up early in the morning that I can finally receive the Eucharistic daily before I begin my day. I used to do it last year in my first two months but I eventually stay up late in the evening or even past midnight just preparing for my lessons unless I get preoccupied with something that’s not essential in front of the computer like watching movies or television series. I still stay up late at times but I find it hard to do it these past few weeks because of busyness that I have no more energy to spend. If I do an evening run, that would make my bedtime earlier. In terms of my devotion to the Holy Eucharist, I think I am fine this year. I admit sometimes it is hard to wake up in the morning but still I try my best to walk to the Cathedral. I think it’s for the love of Jesus in the breaking of the bread—his body, blood, soul, and divinity.

Because I love numbers, let me count: 250 students, three different subjects, three year levels, one advisory class, one coaching/moderator, and one coordinator responsibility. Thinking all about this, I am overwhelmed how I still manage toget my free time. I let go of Facebook just because of these. Of course my free time should be spent on reading additional resources, praying, or just spending time for rest and/or exercise. This year, my free time is not an issue; how to fulfill all the responsibilities is the main concern of my apostolate.

They say charity begins at home. I am proud to say that my present community is a source of life and inspiration for me. We are four brothers in the community and if I count the novice and aspirant we have in our house, that makes us six all in all. All of us come from four different generations, birthplaces, hobbies, and personalities. I think the only thing we have in common is our love for Jesus and Mary, His Mother.

I know I am cutting my story short but I hope you’ll understand that I am already sleepy and I havr to rest because it’s Sunday tomorrow and we still have a session tomorrow. Cheers!