Archive for the ‘ Others ’ Category


– Remember what you felt at that moment. The explanations and responses will not be sufficient. They will confuse you even more with that which is already so complex. Simply forgive me.

– I do not know why I have to forgive the man I love.

Hilal searches for inspiration on the golden walls, the columns, the people coming at this hour of the morning, the flames of the lit candles.

– I forgive the girl I was, not because I want to become a saint but because I do not want to endure this hatred. This tiresome hatred.

This was not what I expected.
– You may not forgive everyone and everything, but forgive me.
– I forgive everything and everyone. I forgive you because I love you and you do not love me. I forgive you because you reject me and I am losing my power.

She closes her eyes and raises her hands towards the ceiling.

– I am liberated from hatred by means of forgiveness and love. I understand that suffering, when it cannot be avoided, helps me to advance towards glory.

Hilal speaks softly but the acoustics of the church are so perfect that everything she says seems to echo throughout the four corners. But my experience tells me that she is channelling the spirit of a child.

The tears I shed, I forgive.
The suffering and disappointments, I forgive.
The betrayals and lies, I forgive.
The slandering and scheming, I forgive.
The hatred and persecution, I forgive.
The punches that were given, I forgive.
The shattered dreams, I forgive.
The dead hopes, I forgive.
The disaffection and jealousy, I forgive.
The indifference and ill will, I forgive.
The injustice in the name of justice, I forgive.
The anger and mistreatment, I forgive.
The neglect and oblivion, I forgive.
The world with all its evil, I forgive.

She lowers her arms, opens her eyes and places her hands on her face.
I move closer to kiss her, but she makes a signal with her hands.
– I have not finished yet.
She closes her eyes and looks up.

Grief and resentment, I replace with understanding and agreement.
Revolt, I replace with music that comes from my violin.
Pain I replace with oblivion.
Revenge, I replace with victory.

I will be able to love above all discontentment.
To give even when I am stripped of everything.
To work happily even when I find myself in the midst of all obstacles.
To dry tears even when I am still crying.
To believe even when I am discredited.

She opens her eyes, puts her hands on my head and says with an authority that comes from above:

– Thy will be done. Thy will be done.

Christmas Prayer

Amidst the giving of gifts, the excitement of children and the cooking of traditional dinners, it is easy to miss “the reason for the season”, the birth of God’s son, Jesus Christ. There are several ways of bring Jesus back into our family celebrations of Christmas, including church services. Here though, are a number of Christmas prayers for use at various stages of the day – these can be said by the family together, or silently in a moment aside from the rush.

A Christmas Prayer by Robert Louis Stevenson

Loving Father, Help us remember the birth of Jesus,
that we may share in the song of the angels,
the gladness of the shepherds,
and worship of the wise men.

Close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world. Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting. Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings, and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.

May the Christmas morning make us happy to be thy children, and Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts, forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

At present opening time :
Lord Jesus, Wise men travelled for miles to bring you the first Christmas presents. So may we, too, remember with thankful hearts the love that comes with each present we open. We also thank you for the amazing love you have for each of us, and we thank you for the many gifts that you give us. Amen

For those who work on Christmas Day :
Lord. As I spend today going about my work, help me to put aside any bitterness that I’m not celebrating at home with loved ones. I ask you, Loving Father, to give me a special sense of your presence as I meet people, that I may shed on them the light of the Bethlehem Star, the Spirit of Christmas. Amen.

A reflective Christmas prayer :
Father God, When your precious Son became a tiny baby in a stable in Bethlehem in poverty and simplicity, you changed our world. As we imagine those surroundings, we join with the shepherds and the wise men in wonder and praise. We thank you for our material lives, praise you for our spiritual lives, and trust in you for our eternal life. Amen.

Focus on “voluntourism”

MANILA, Philippines—Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad was the guest speaker at “Pulong Bulong” at Sofitel last Tuesday and eloquently talked about the conditional cash flow that would alleviate poverty in the country.

His lecture was easy to understand, perhaps because he’s an academician. It was Secretary Abad who counseled me to continue my Batanes Photo Safari after our first trip in 2006. The photo exhibit that followed raised funds to restore one stone house in Batanes. Abad’s new project, aptly called “voluntourism,” aims to restore more stone houses. Interested parties may contact us.


As a public servant, teacher and research advocate, Butch adheres to the highest tenets of professionalism, integrity and commitment. He graduated from the Ateneo College of Law in 1985 as a scholar.

He is a leader in agrarian development, peace-building, governance reforms and education.

He is credited with helping revive the Liberal Party, of which he was president from 1999 to 2004, as a reform-oriented political organization.

* * *

Join the Ati-Atihan Boracay Photo Safari on Jan. 14-17,2011, or the Batanes Photo Safari from February to May 2011. Visit, e-mail, or call 899-1767.

The Vermonster

A Vermonster is a monstrosity that is available at your local Ben And Jerry’s consisting of:

* Twenty scoops of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream
* 4 ladles hot fudge
* Whipped cream
* 3 cookies
* A choice of 4 toppings

and according to a Travel Channel, the Vermonster has 14,000 calories and 500 grams of fat!

NAIA security tightened for Clinton arrival Wednesday

Security was tightened at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport early Wednesday for the arrival of former United States President William Jefferson “Bill” Clinton.

Radio dzBB’s Denver Trinidad reported police and personnel from the US Embassy coordinated security measures at the airport, hours before Clinton’s arrival.

The report said Clinton was scheduled to arrive at 11 a.m. on a private jet, which would taxi at a private hangar in the general aviation area.

Early Wednesday, security personnel declared several areas at the NAIA off-limits even to media. No video footage of Clinton’s arrival was to be allowed, the report added.

Clinton, who was US president from 1993 to 2001, will deliver a lecture titled “Embracing Our Common Humanity” at the Manila Hotel at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Meanwhile, security was also tightened in Metro Manila, with Manila police rounding up “suspected criminals” living inside the city’s North Cemetery before dawn Wednesday.

‘Bitter’ memories Militant groups, however, said Clinton’s visit brings to mind bitter memories, noting that it was under his watch that two whammies from the US hit the Philippines.

The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) said Clinton’s visit stirs memories of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the failed economic policies of “globalization.”

“Amid the ongoing review of the VFA and amid the worst global economic crisis since The Great Depression, here comes Bill Clinton with a message that seems to echo the existing US foreign policy of neo-liberal globalization and US military hegemony, couched in such terms as ‘inter-dependence,’ ‘common humanity,’ and ‘shared goals and values,'” Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr said on the Bayan website.

Reyes recalled Clinton was US president when the controversial RP-US VFA was signed.

“Let’s not forget that it was the Clinton administration that pushed for the passage of the VFA in 1999 as a way to maintain US military presence in the region even without having a bases treaty. We have come full circle since then. The VFA is now being reviewed after many legal and diplomatic controversies during its 11-year implementation,” Reyes said.

He added Clinton was also the US president when the Philippines hosted the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in 1996.

“The US is making a renewed pitch for globalization amid its own worsening crisis. Despite the tremendous damage wrought by neo-liberal policies worldwide and even in the US economy, here is the former US president who seems to be telling us that globalization still works,” he said.

“The message is likely the same as when Clinton was here in 1996 at the APEC Summit in Subic. The former president apparently wants us to believe that it is in our best interest as a nation to open up our economy to foreign investors and banks,” he added.

Bayan noted a year after the 1996 APEC Summit in Subic, the Philippines was embroiled in the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis which raised questions about government’s neo-liberal economic policies.

But last Monday, President Benigno Aquino III said that Clinton’s visit despite the US government’s travel warning on the country due to terror threats shows that the nation remains safe for tourists. “I would assume that that would be a vote of confidence. The former US president has a Secret Service detail still assigned to him who would object if there was a realistic and imminent terrorist threat,” Aquino told reporters in Malacañang. [See story: Clinton visit shows PHL is safe, says Aquino] — LBG, GMANews.TV