Showing posts with label prayer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label prayer. Show all posts

Monday, December 31, 2018

Year-end ponderings on life and death leading to the New Year

A friend lost his daughter a few weeks ago to what was diagnosed as clinical depression. I learned from various sources that she had already had one attempt to take her own life recently. I also learned that she turned 18 just a week before the end. From all accounts including my friend's and those who knew her, there was no indication of her depression or her going through rough times. The photos in the slideshow at the wake showed what anyone can consider as a happy childhood and a happy, loving family. I have known my friend for almost 29 years now and I know him to be a man of strong faith and convictions. I know that he is an affectionate father and one with a good sense of humor, too.

I could not imagine what my friend and his wife were and are still going through right now. It is certainly a most difficult time given this tragic event. My friend is grieving and has only recently returned to social media where his posts reveal that he is still sorting things in his mind and heart. I pray that he may find solace in his faith and that he would be comforted by happy memories I am sure he keeps of his daughter.

We were at the wake the last Friday before her remains were cremated and witnessed the tributes and testimonials given by the daughter's classmates. The music they shared touched most if not everyone. I felt their grief, their sadness over what happened to a person they regarded as a dear friend. She was Grade 12 and would have graduated next year. She just took the UPCAT and could have passed the entrance examination and go on to study at UP. Sadly, that will not come to be.

Friends talk about how social media and all these information available to us now tend to influence he way we think and feel. I, too, think there's just a lot of information going around these days and people especially the young don't generally know how to filter what's valid or true from the fake. This creates a confusion of the mind and the heart, which may lead to depression and to some, a general loss of hope. It is this hopelessness that we need to address but more so by tackling the root causes. Many people like to say we need to "go back to the basics" and yet it seems they do not know what the "basics" are all about. Perhaps we should have less of social media, of the internet? More of family time, of outdoor activities and interactions? I think we should.

I wish everyone a peaceful, joyful, hopeful, healthy and prosperous 2019!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Rest in peace, Mama Puring

Another beloved aunt recently passed away. Purissima Fajardo-Ermino or Mama Puring as we fondly called her was the younger sister of my mother. I had photos of her in my old album but that, too, was destroyed by the flood of 2009 (Ketsana/Ondoy). The following collage was created by a cousin who posted about our aunt's passing early last Friday, June 1st.

Mama Puring succumbed to complications after she suffered a massive stroke earlier last week. My uncle, her husband, who is a retired police officer decided against her going under surgery as the prognosis was not promising and upon conferring with relatives thought they would just be prolonging her suffering as there was no assurance of a recovery. 

Mama Puring was a public school teacher; one of many in both sides of my family. She practically raised two of my cousins from another aunt who went home immediately after learning of her stroke. She and her husband didn't have their own biological child but have an adopted daughter who was there by her side when she expired. I knew of her mostly from my mother who related on how my aunt was very generous with my cousins back in Sorsogon. Their side of the family was not an affluent one. An older aunt and uncle depended on farming to raise their two children; one of whom became a registered nurse. An uncle, the youngest among the siblings, had to work many jobs including factory worker, bus conductor and farmer. He and his wife persevered, too, and now my cousins are better off than their parents were with one cousin now with the Marines. Mama Puring helped bridge the financial gaps particularly when it came to my cousins' schooling. Hers was a very generous, unselfish heart.

My siblings and I were careful in breaking the news of her stroke to my mother. We were afraid that she would become depressed after learning of the condition of her sister. So far, so good it seems and she took the news pretty well and resigned to the fact that this was something more serious than what she herself experienced.

Paalam, Mama Puring. May your soul rest with Our Creator.

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Saturday, December 10, 2016

Manaoag, Pangasinan

A trip to Pangasinan would not be complete if one did not stop by the town of Manaoag. Of course, I am referring to the Roman Catholic among us who know Manaoag for the miraculous image of Mother Mary. Devotees and pilgrims flock to Manaoag similarly as they go to Antipolo or Baclaran mainly to pray for help, forgiveness, assistance and other reasons including healing from serious illnesses, passing examinations, financial success, etc. Many of these have been granted by God through the intercession of Our Lady, which obviously led to more of the faithful coming on a pilgrimage for their wishes (desires?) to be granted. Those whose prayers have been granted come here regularly as thanksgiving and have declared they would do so as long as they can make the trip. This is what they call their panata or promise of coming back to offer prayers of thanksgiving. And they do bring with them their family members and friends.

Manaoag is not near Metro Manila and yet thousands (much more actually) come to this town despite the distance and a difficult travel. Of course, its easier now with three expressways and improved national roads making the travel faster, safer and more comfortable.

This sign basically says that if one has made the necessary preparations for the pilgrimage to Manaoag, a plenary indulgence may be granted to that person.
At the back of the church is a large area for those offering prayers through candles
You can purchase candles and other religious items like prayer books, scapulars and rosaries from one of the booths around this area. You can then light them here and say a few prayers before leaving or going inside the church.
There's this tub of water where you can place a floating candle. From the looks of it, a lot of people have lit floating candles as offerings.
The main altar of the shrine to Our Lady of Manaoag with the image at the center. Some say this is only a replica of the original one, which is kept and preserved by the church. This image, however, is touched by a lot of devotees who can get closest to the image via an access at the back of the altar.
A smaller altar at one of the church wings
A view of the front entrance to the church with the balcony above the doors.
Another view of the main altar from the middle of the church.
A view of the main altar and church dome
A less crowded area at the back of the church

The shrine has a big parking lot at the back of the church so travelers with their own vehicles need not follow those offering to guide you to a parking space. These are very much the same as those people who basically try to engage motorists in Antipolo to offer guidance on parking spaces near the shrine there. Of course, its best to visit during weekdays and what's regarded as off-peak seasons compared to other times when I'm sure its very crowded like Lent or before major licensure exams.
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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Message in a rainbow

With all the negative things happening around the world and especially in this country, the first thing that came to my mind when I looked out from our viewpoint in Leyte towards Samar was - HOPE!

The photo, taken from my phone, doesn't do justice to the rainbow. It was the clearest, brightest and largest (we were close) I've seen. I only wished our daughter Ally could have seen this one where ROYGBIV were so clear for everyone to see.

There's just too much violence and other bad things happening all around us. This makes the saner ones of us ponder about where God is in this time when our faith is being tested. We think about logic, philosophy as people use their beliefs to justify things they probably won't be doing to loved ones. I think we all need to tone down on our attitudes and rhetoric. Perhaps we should be taking some time-out from whatever there are that make us "nega". These include social media, news, and even perhaps contact with "nega" people. It will probably make our lives less toxic and help us get back to a more positive outlook than what we have now. We can start by getting out more often and enjoying the simpler things in life. Yes, that includes looking out to see rainbows that remind us of hope!
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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Near miss

Lost in the past days' heavy rains and the resulting floods that threatened to enter our home last Friday night was the close call I had last Thursday night as I returned from Korea. I had just attended the 9th International Conference of the Eastern Asia Society for Transportation Studies (EASTS) held in Jeju, Korea. From Jeju, I took the Air Busan domestic flight that was codeshared with Asiana Airlines to Busan, where I was to connect to Asiana Airlines flight OZ 705.

I had a long layover at Busan and asked for information about the city and what I could do for the 7 hours available to me prior to my flight back to Manila. I had already checked-in my baggage so I was practically unencumbered to move about. Unfortunately, the transit system from the airport to downtown Busan was not operational (surprise!) and I decided that the trip downtown where I would just probably walk around a mall was not worth it. I thought I would just end up spending on unnecessary shopping or dining.

As I entered the departure area after the routine immigration process, I proceeded for some Duty Free shopping for pasalubong. Afterwards, I took advantage of the free internet services at the airport, replying to emails received that day. There was no free WiFi at the airport so I had to make do with the terminals made available to departing passengers near the airline lounges. Afterwards, I proceeded to the gate assigned to our flight. This was about 4 hours prior to the tentative boarding time indicated on the electronic signboard near the gate.

As I had quite some time before my flight, I tried to catch up on the latest issue of Wired magazine that I had brought along specifically for the long lay-over. It was while I was reading that I noted an announcement for an Asiana flight to another Southeast Asian city being delayed due to technical problems with the their aircraft. I also noticed upon looking around outside the terminal that quite a few planes were sitting out from the terminal where passengers were brought to the aircraft by bus. I had experienced this before when our aircraft arrived in Jeju the Monday before, and at NAIA Terminal 2 in past domestic and international flights that couldn't be accommodated at the terminal due to congestion. It was then that I noticed the Asiana Airlines Airbus A320 sitting across the terminal, and it looked like it was being serviced based on the vehicles parked beside it and the activity I could see from where I sat. I assumed that this was the aircraft that was supposed to be used by the delayed flight announced on the airport PA system.

A few minutes later, however, the airport PA announced that the delayed flight was now boarding. A while later, I saw an Asiana aircraft taking off, about 45 minutes delayed from its original flight departure time. The other aircraft still sat where it was, and still apparently being serviced. I noticed later that there were no other Asiana aircraft arriving or departing prior to our flight though there were many Korean Air, Air Busan and Jeju Air planes arriving and taking off. I also saw that a PAL flight left for Manila ahead of us and a Cebu Pacific flight left for Cebu one hour before ours. That was when I suspected that the plane sitting from across the terminal would be our aircraft for the trip to Manila.

Upon boarding the aircraft, we already noticed that the airconditioning was off along with the plane's engine. This was already unusual for me considering a plane that was supposed to take off within the next 20 minutes normally had its engines running already. The Koreans on that same flight apparently were not pleased with the conditions as the cabin became warmer as more passengers settled in their seats for the flight to Manila. Not a few were already voicing their displeasure and were doing so in a way we usually see on TV. It seemed to me that they were already berating the crew. When the pilot started the plane's engines, the cabin suddenly became dark and a weird sound was heard from outside the plane. Minutes later, the pilot announced that the plane was having problems with its electrical system and we had to wait out for it to be repaired. What followed were more complaints and possible offensive words from the Korean passengers who didn't like the idea of being delayed. We were, after all, originally scheduled to arrive in Manila at 12:00 midnight. Any delay meant we were arriving early morning of Friday.

Abotu 30 minutes later, the pilot again attempted to start the plane and for the second time, the electrical system failed. This resulted in what I thought were insults and other offensive words from the Korean passengers. I could see that the flight attendants were already quite embarrassed and they could do nothing but try to assuage passengers on the situation. I was already thinking about whether we will be asked to deplane and wait our for our plane to be fixed or another aircraft to take its place. No such announcement was made and we had to wait it out for another 20 minutes. I thought that it was good though that there were cooler heads among the Korean passengers who were able to calm down others who were already threatening the pilot and the crew due to the displeasure about the situation.

The third time around, the plane finally responded and we were able to taxi and take-off without any hitch. The pilot continued to apologize even after take-off and assured everyone that the electrical system was repaired. Nevertheless, I could not sleep in the plane no matter how hard I tried to as each shake and rumble due to turbulence made me think about the possibility that the plane's electrical system will fail, resulting in a crash. It was no light matter considering that we were traveling 3.25 hours between Busan and Manila, and we will be flying between two typhoons including one whose path was to cross ours. Such assured us of much turbulence throughout the flight including a couple that made me quite nervous as I could not even see the plane's wings from my window seat due to the thick clouds around us. The only thing I could do was to pray silently that we don't have a breakdown in midflight.

I was only able to relax when we finally landed in Manila. In fairness to the pilot, it was one of the smoothest landings I ever experienced even despite my being too conscious of the turbulence throughout the flight. Yet, my worries were renewed when the the cabin blacked out momentarily after we stopped at NAIA Terminal 1. I could not help but think about what could have happened if this occurred earlier while we were still in the air. Moments later, my suspicion was confirmed by an airport supervisor who was going around the conveyor belt telling Filipino passengers that our bags will be delayed due to the difficulties experienced by ground staff in opening our plane's baggage compartment. I could not help but feel relieved that I "survived" that flight. Perhaps it was my prayers? My faith? No matter. I am truly thankful and grateful to the One Who watches over us and did so formally while in Church this morning to celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Signing on

I have made it a habit to tune in to one radio station as I drove from home to the university every weekday morning. As I regularly left for the office before 6:00 A.M., I discovered that if I started early enough, I would catch the station signing on. The sequence for this begins even before the 5:45 A.M. formality as the station warms up with easy listening music that I think is quite appropriate for one starting out the day. At 5:45 A.M. the station plays the Philippine national anthem, and followed by the mandatory identification of licensed personnel (ECEs and radio operators) and the broadcasting power and location of the station. It is a fitting introduction that I imagine myself to be somewhat like the station when I do my own "signing on" ceremony.

When I sign on in the mornings, I make it a point to start with a prayer - a panata of sorts since my days in Yokohama. The Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi is a most suitable prayer to start the day and I do recommend it to anyone who would want to start the day with a simple yet powerful reflection on what one needs rather than wants to accomplish. I believe the prayer is a very personal guide on how I should live my life everyday if I were to follow God's will. I just hope I could carry on and live the essence of the prayer despite all the temptations to do otherwise. For when I sign off for the day, I am also reminded of a song taught to us in grade school where we ask ourselves in the "evening of our lives" if we were brave, and strong, and true, and if we were able to fill the world with love during our lifetime.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Farewell Berenika

As I was exchanging news with the Clairvoyant this afternoon, she surprised me with the late word she got about the passing of a friend. She met Berenika in one of the IP conferences she attended abroad. Berenika was an associate of their firm's branch in Poland and was also specializing in IP. She was a jolly person and the Clairvoyant quickly warmed up to her, exchanging stories about work, travel, cultures and other interests. Poland, after all, seemed to have a close affinity with our country including its beloved John Paul 2, who was also Archbishop of Krakow.

I remember Berenika visiting Manila a few years ago. The Clairvoyant toured her around Tagaytay and Manila, and discovered that she was the adventurous type. Joining them for dinner, I found her very likable and her stories very interesting. She enjoyed trying out food despite her being a vegetarian and she is probably the only one I knew personally who has been to Nepal and Machu Picchu as well as other exotic places on this earth.

Berenika hosted the Clairvoyant when the latter went on a tour of Eastern Europe almost 3 years ago. As a gift, the Clairvoyant brought her a replica santo that she saw at Tiendesitas that wanted to have but could not because of baggage limitations for her flight. In turn, she gifted us with items on Poland including what I consider to be the best book on the Polish uprising during World War 2.

She resigned from their firm a couple of years ago after not getting a promotion for partner and decided to put up her own practice. Yet she continued to keep in touch with the Clairvoyant; friendships, after all, go beyond being officemates. That was the last time I heard about her although I occasionally ask the Clairvoyant about her being among the unforgettable acquaintances I've had.

And then I learned only now about her passing in August of last year. I must admit I felt sadness despite my limited knowledge of her. She was by all accounts a kind person. She was raised a Catholic but elected to be agnostic. In fact, she suspected that she had a Jewish heritage and had a theory that her family became Catholic out of necessity - at a time when Jews were being persecuted in Europe. And yet she knew a lot about Poland's history including the struggles of her people and the Church during those difficult times when Eastern Europe was shrouded under the Iron Curtain.

Here's to you Berenika! A toast to the life you lived and the friendship you shared with us. May your kind soul rest in peace.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Faith or whatever you wish to call it

In my relatively short stint in making myself informed about (or as the clairvoyant puts it - tracking) the weather, I have never come across a typhoon that moved so slowly, the process also weakening itself even before making landfall.

Lupit developed into a Category 4 typhoon while in the Pacific, slowly and menacingly moving towards the Philippines to finish off what Ondoy and Pepeng had earlier set out to do - lay waste to Luzon Island. The two earlier visitors (or bwisitors) were very efficient and any experienced military commander or Sun Tzu fanatic will tell you, very surgical in terms of strategy and tactics. Hit NCR first and hit it hard - at its weakest point, the drainage system. Devastating Metro Manila assures you that there won't be any help coming from it when the rest of Luzon is hit by the next wave, which happened to be Pepeng.

But destruction aside and climate change notwithstanding, doesn't it make you wonder what's keeping the typhoon Lupit from breaking out? Lupit is actually weakening while moving at a snail's pace. Is this normal behavior for a typhoon or is an unseen hand holding it down? I would like to believe that after all that people have been through, having our backs against the wall and being desperate for whatever can spare us from the impending onslaught, we decided to turn to God, to our faith in an Almigthy Being. Watching on TV and hearing the Catholic Church appeal to people to pray the Oratio Imperata and people actually doing it is but one example of how people decided to plead to a Higher Being, knowing it was scientifically, mathematically and maybe statistically improbable for a typhoon as strong as Lupit to slow down, barely grazing Luzon and weakening by itself.

Call it what you want. Be scientific and meteorological or whatever. For a lot of people it is only one thing and something they can hold on to - a miracle!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi

I learned this prayer from school and it has been a great guide for me. I start my day with this prayer and it has set the tone for me as I continue my journey that is life.

Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to life eternal

Amen.

Try it yourself and I can assure you that it will help you begin the day with a light, calm heart that will surely get you through any challenge or obstacle you might encounter.