Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Archive for December, 2012

A Look Back at My 2012

After all that grueling news yearender that we’ve done for our news, it’s time that I take a breather and reflect at my 2012. It has been an exciting year, not only in my beat, but also in my seasons.

Unforgettable coverages: 

Now, most of these I did not include in my blogs. Since they are memorable to me, I’ll share some of my experiences in these covereges in bits and pieces 😀

Jeremy Renner while waiting for President Aquino at "The Bourne Legacy" Courtesy Call in Malacanang last February 22, 2012

Jeremy Renner while waiting for President Aquino at “The Bourne Legacy” Courtesy Call in Malacanang last February 22, 2012

“The Bourne Legacy” in the palace: Yes, Jeremy Renner and some of the film’s executive producers made that courtesy call with the president after their Manila film shooting that lasted for more or less a month. As a protocol, Renner has to wear barong and yet matched it with light brown cargo pants (which was not much obvious). It was a short meeting, just like any other courtesy calls with the president, and he and his team immediately left as the president has to attend to other matters.

Sec. Jesse Robredo's remains carried into the Kalayaan Grounds in Malacanang on August 24, 2012

Sec. Jesse Robredo’s remains carried into the Kalayaan Grounds in Malacanang on August 24, 2012

 Sec. Robredo’s death: Just like the rest of the nation, I was dismayed at the death of such a humble public servant. I’m always comfortable meeting him personally, as he would take time to talk with mediamen without intimidation. At the day the piper seneca he rode crashed into Masbate waters, I hoped along with thousands that he and his missing companions would miraculously be retrieved alive. But two days later, the miracle did not happen.

As an honor to this humble-mayor-turned-cabinet-secretary, the palace grounds let his remains stay for two days at the Kalayaan Hall. Wakes in Malacanang Palace are only given to men of honor.

In honor of this man who served the nation humbly, I will not erase his number from my phone…just please don’t text back, sir…

Children playing at the flooded Recto Underpass. Taken on August 9, 2012

Children playing at the flooded Recto Underpass. Taken on August 9, 2012

Post-habagat monitoring: Once again, Manila was devastated not because of floods, but because of a phenomenon called “habagat” or monsoon rains. After intense raining for days, it flooded much of Luzon, mostly the National Capital Region (NCR). Because it was no typhoon, it was nicknamed as “Habagat”. The incident was said to be a replay of Typhoon Ondoy. Upon interviewing one local government unit (LGU) leader, they remarked that the damages were a bit lesser than that of Ondoy’s. He told me how they learned to be prepared for such a flooding after Ondoy damaged much of NCR last 2009.

We thought that such a tragedy ended here…until this November, Typhoon Pablo came and greatly damaged much of Mindanao and some parts of the Visayas area. President Aquino, though he did not blame our weather system for not giving the exact location of typhoons (as it is understood that such weather disturbances are unpredictable), hoped that we’ll learn from these tragedies until a zero-casualty is reached when another typhoon comes. Until now, let’s pray for the continuous recovery of the residents there who

Dolphy's final resting place before his remains were brought here. He was laid to rest July 15, 2012

Dolphy’s final resting place before his remains were brought here. He was laid to rest July 15, 2012

were greatly affected.

Dolphy’s Passing: As one who grew up in Dolphy films and antics, I’ve loved the man. Well, not as one of his ladies, but as one of his admirers. Although I was not an exact ardent fan of his, I gave him a hats off when he gave the curtain call at his burial. But what amazed me was how Pinoys in a number of generations were emotionally moved with the passing of one man, who had influenced so much of our consciousness though they don’t know him personally.

Queen Sophia of Spain, upon her visit to the Escuala Taller in Intramuros, July 3, 2012

Queen Sophia of Spain, upon her visit to the Escuala Taller in Intramuros, July 3, 2012

State visits of Foreign Dignities: President Aquino have had a number of visits from foreign dignities this year — for the administration, this is a sign of increased trust from our foreign partners. One of those I’ve missed was the visit of Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. I was looking forward to see her personally but couldn’t because I had a scheduled leave. My most unforgettable was that of Queen Sophia of Spain. Though she had been here in the Philippines a number of times, it was in one of her photo opportunities that I almost had been up-close and personal with her…yes, believe me, I was awestruck with her because she was a real queen.

Last Days of the Corona Impeachment Trial: From it’s prologue up to its epilogue, I did not dare to miss the Corona chronicles…much more the emotional heights at the Supreme Court. I was really convinced of the strong support he garnered from the SC people as they’ve staged a number of masses and interfaith

Former CJ Renato Corona with some of the religious representatives at the interfaith prayer rally on May 22, 2012

Former CJ Renato Corona with some of the religious representatives at the interfaith prayer rally on May 22, 2012

Corona supporters don in red at the interfaith prayer rally at SC Compound last  May 22, 2012

Corona supporters don in red at the interfaith prayer rally at SC Compound last May 22, 2012

prayer movements for the former chief justice who was accused of misdeclaration of SALN and other cases. When the “guilty” verdict was given by a vote of 20-3 in the senate last May, the whole rukus in the SC seem to die out suddenly. I wondered how these same people who backed-up the former CJ now looks at its new CJ, Ma. Lourdes Sereno.

West Philippine Sea: Much of my stories this year focused on the drama over the West Philippine Sea. I’ve never missed out a beat when talks of the disputed islands would be raised in the palace briefings. From the height of the standoff at Scarborough Shoal to its continuous diplomatic moves, they filled much of my paperwork. This segment was one of the most detailed in my news yearender. But beside the transparency this administration gives on this issue, still this is a very sensitive topic. It revolves around differences of territorial principles, arguments for the inclusion of international laws are being raised. Though this has been raised in ASEAN summits, even by President Aquino himself, solving the dispute is never easy, for a country’s difference in law and culture can never be easily construed into a polished solution.

So much for national issues. With these, I’ve only realized for now how my year had been an exciting one. Now, let’s turn to personal issues.

My Life’s Minor Look Back Portion:

I cannot detail some of my own grueling emotions, disappointments, pains, and questionings. These I keep in my own personal itinerary. But here’s my word for the season, since last year:

Romans 5:3-5 (ESV), “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

Only lately, have I received revelation that these rejoicings is to worship the Lord and be joyful because of my fullness in Him. I am His daughter and I have nothing to worry, for He has blessed me much. Because of Jesus’ blood, I am set free and I have eternal life! I have nothing on earth to fret on, for this is just temporary…why should I complain?

I saw my weaknesses. There are many of them. Yes, the Lord is teaching me to worship but I did not heed Him. I warred with the world in my own terms. I rebelled deeply against authority. I countered attacks of “smallness” in a way that does not glorify my Father. Yet, I did not know He was already teaching me that I should never complain, but rejoice in Him. It took me to turn this verse into a prayer…and such is the power of His Word when as a prayer, it turned out to be a rhema into my life.

From my perspective to the “smallness”, it was shifted to the rejoicing of my Father’s greatness. And yet, He needs to refine more of my character, I need to learn so much more.

Declaration for next year:

With this look back, I’ll join it with an expectation of looking forward.

I declare new things, new life, new season, new borders and territories, and new breakthroughs in my life and the path where the Lord is leading me. I expect that more fire and testing will come into my life, but just like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego I will stand in it strong with the Lord. And when I come out of the fire, the glory of the Lord will shine through me, and my character will be like His. 🙂

I continually pursue my dreams. I claim the nations! My true identity is revealed to me. I will not go on wandering anymore, for I will have found my purpose, destiny, identity and revelation in Christ who continually changes me. I declare I will continually die to myself, I will continually lay down and not rebel, I will sow the culture of love and honor in this secular society and reap righteousness for His Kingdom.

With this 2013, I am ready to face new challenges. Because the Lord is my light, my salvation, my refuge and my strength, I shall not be put to shame! 😀

Let’s go, fellow sojourners! A blessed, prosperous New Year to everyone! 😀

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As a following to my blog yesterday, I’m blessed to have read this blog from Cole Ryan…this is for guys but it’s good to be refreshed with the truth of pursuing for that “man after God’s own heart”…may this be a reminder for my brothers, too…thanks, Cole Ryan! 🙂

The Wiles of the Heart

I was so disappointed with a person I liked. He never considered my considerations. I blamed him for wasting my emotions over his sweet nothings. But there was no agreement, there was nothing really between us. They were all assumptions; I hated myself for almost falling for him. But a friend reminded me: what’s my purpose for wanting to see him? I need to check my heart.

I realized I was selfishly wanting to feed my earthly desire. It was turning out to be a fatal attraction. I did not realize, my Father was protecting me.

I was reminded by my spiritual mother that the heart is deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9). The world tells us to follow our hearts, but the Father tells us to follow His heart and His ways. The heart is so deceitful, for it is in our humanistic nature to be born with twisted desires (Matthew 15:18-19). Yet our own passions are so different from His desires for us. And yet His dreams for all of us are for our best, and our most of our passions and our dreams lead to the second best — or nothing at all.

I remembered how imperfect I am. Though I move with His Spirit, there are still so many issues of the heart that need to be addressed. With this, I have to die to myself again.

When I decided to surrender my emotions, I felt that a dark veil was removed from my eyes. My perspective changed. My heart renewed. I believe a part of His heart was poured into mine.

He made me see that my destiny is not as this world planned for me. This world just wanted me to take all, without asking the Father about it. It’s like being a rebel in a free world. But He reminded me that His plans for me are above that I dreams for myself. He loves surprises, I know. And I wondered how His dreams for me will be in His time. He’s teaching me to wait and to abide in Him as I do. When I do, there’s an ever greater blessing…and a big, pleasant surprise for me.

But in waiting, there’s pain. Pain because I’m tempted to be impatient. Pain because my flesh is battling with my renewed spirit.

And so I received revelation what my prayer means: Romans 5:3-5…”let me rejoice in my sufferings, so that it would produce in my endurance, then character, and then hope that will never put me to shame because of the love of the Father that has been poured into my heart through the Holy Spirit.” Such is the given Word for this season since last year.

To rejoice in my sufferings, I have to worship. There is real joy when I delight in the presence of my God. When His presence envelops me, these sufferings are nothing compared to His peace and steadfast love.

I remembered that it is a mandate, and a destiny, to bring His love and His kingdom down into this earth when I earnestly seek Him and call out to Him. In abundance, in trials and pain, His love and glory is above all…and we should rejoice in this truth.

So, what was I disappointed on? Oh, I almost forgot. The joy of leaning on His bosom and hearing His heartbeat filled with love just washed away the pain I had.

Fixing Up the Culture of Giving

It has been instilled into us the nature of giving. With our Pinoy characteristic of being thoughtful, we take the chance of

The promotion of joy in materialism has left our culture marred with greed...but should we dwell in the false joy it brings?

The promotion of joy in materialism has left our culture marred with greed…but should we dwell in the false joy it brings?

showing our appreciation and love to friends on Christmas. However, the adverse effect of the commerciality of the season caused us to expect…and want even more.

One tradition that has been going on in years is what we call “pamamasko“. Kids would come and visit their ninongs and ninangs (godfathers and godmothers), expecting that they would be given an aguinaldo (gift). So comes the saying, “Christmas is for kids”, as they get most of the treats of the season.

Every 25th of December, you can see families going around visiting houses, not only of their ninongs and ninangs but also of other relatives and friends. It’s a good bonding moment for the parents and their kids, and instills a good memory from a visited godparent or relatives. I remember my niece collecting quite a huge amount of money in a day of her pamamasko when she was about three or four years old. But through the long run, one adverse effect of this tradition is the loss of thoughtfulness for one another.

Children are taught to expect instead of giving to their elderly. Actually, some of their parents complain when they don’t

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

find the gifts given to their kids appealing. It’s not only once that I hear such a case whenever I take a public ride in this holiday season, which I believe teaches kids not to be grateful at all.

In turn, their ninongs and ninangs, as well as the other relatives and so-called relatives think of these visiting families as money-grabers. Thus, they lie by laying quiet in the house, pretending no one was there.

It actually causes stress to the one being visited. My mother, though a very generous person, always felt anxious when there’s this usual person who kept on asking if she can come on Christmas Day especially when she needs something. Now, in the Filipino tradition, even if you got nothing to offer, you cannot tell a visitor, “Go back, I have nothing to give you.” But sadly, some people have the tendency to abuse one’s kindness.

The funny thing is that some families not only bring along their kids but also their nieces, nephews, very young siblings, a friend and his kid. Now, most of the mentioned “extra kids” are unfamiliar to the godparents of the kids. It’s very embarassing for a Filipino when these other kids are not given gifts, for some of them had readied gifts only for their godchildren. So, the godparent had to shovel from his savings just to give these other kids an aguinaldo. This happened to me and my mom when one of her inaanak brought a bunch of kids surprisingly at home, and she had to borrow some money from me just to give those who she did not know at all.

When I was younger, my mother taught me when I visit  my ninongs and ninangs, I have to give them something. Usually, I’d bring with us a tray of cream mango cake (made by myself) for each godparent. She taught me never to expect from them, as I should be the one to make them happy by giving back to them. Indeed, there is more joy in giving than receiving. But because my godparents were so fond of me, they can’t help but give me gifts when I visit them (which I would sheepishly accept).

It’s a joy to receive gifts but it’s a bigger joy to give. Usually, there’s a deeper sense of fulfillment when the one you give is grateful for what you have given, no matter how small or affordable it has been. When one says, “It’s the thought that counts”, it’s not only the gift that matters but how the giver remembers you. I hope we change the expectancy of pamamasko into a tradition of giving. I hope we can visit our godparents, relative, and so-called relatives on Christmas Day to give — for this is a good way to remember and honor them. When we do, we are blessed back. The joy and gratefulness we receive back would surely be more fulfilling than the money or toys we get. Besides, you would get out of the notoriety list: from money-grabber, you will be well-remembered as a thoughtful giver. 🙂

And before the day ends, let us remember that we can never take and take as long as we want. The greedy who took more than a day’s supply of the manna given to Moses’ camp were disappointed it got wasted after 24 hours. We are blessed to give away for many other need more than we do.

Merry Christmas everyone! May heaven’s gate be opened over you! 😀

Living out Christ in Christmas

If you could come and visit our house hours before Christmas, you might think of it first as pathetic: no Christmas tree, no nativity scene, not even Santa and his reindeer or a lone snowman adored the house. All we had were a few bells paired with a few shiny garlands that we did not remove from last year.

Unlike most families today, we did not cook much. With the house filled with only two souls, my mom and I, we wouldn’t do much for ourselves.

And yet the holiday music brightens the whole space.

Turning to facebook friends, I tried to greet the world one by one, and hoping I have brought a holiday cheer to those I’ve greeted (and an ounce of remembrance to this little soul).

And yet, I felt satisfied. No decor, no gift, no lavish feast did it. It’s the very love that brought a Savior to this earth. The epitome of heaven’s glory sent down to die in our places. The King who thought of nothing but you and me.

Christmas should never be brought up because of tradition. It was never there from the beginning of earth. But the very reason for its celebration has always celebrated the very existence we are.

I remembered the Christmas parties the past few days. There were a lot of laughter and noise, gifts and raffles, dance and song numbers that made them livelier. And as I now sit quietly in my room, I realized it’s so much different. None of these things were in our house now…but that’s not the reason to moan and covet for a grander party.

Should we be brought back to the moment the Savior was born, it was very dire…even more pathetic than our almost decor-less house. Instead of dining with family and good wine, Jesus came into this earth surrounded with animals. It sure was an unlikely state of being born, but none of them whined. His birth was a joy in itself to his parents and to the world.

The parties are just temporary and sadly are a cover up to the real joy made for us. I’m not against them, but on the moment we depend on them to be our source of celebrating. Taking Christ away from Christmas is never Christmas at all.  The material things that we garner from these parties will fade away. But the Lord and His love for us is steadfast and new forever.

And so I’m glad for the very reason for Christmas. This is one reason we feel joy…Jesus is the joy of the world itself. His coming is an indication of His love for us. And we should always remember how He loved us, though we can never measure it out.

I wouldn’t worry with having no visitors at this point in time. His presence alone is the One Thing we’ve always wanted to be with. It’s more than having ten kings visiting your home to dine at our noche buena. As I wait for my mom to cook our little dinner, I am thankful and hopeful. Christmas never changed. Most of all, Christ never changed. He fills us up. He draws us near to His heart. He shows His love and grace to the two humble souls of this little house.

One Soul At A Time

Sometimes, it’s so frustrating not to be a Billy Graham or a even just a plain superhero. For most times, I tend to be idealistic, dreaming that I can speak in front of millions and save them all (well, not really me, but the Lord through me). I imagine how it might be fulfilling when one reaches lots of souls at the same time.

But for most times, the Lord works in ways that we earthly people don’t expect. I’m no pastor, neither am I called to be one. And yet, there are a few souls that I always reach out in one time or another.

Every after Sunday service, I’d always look for my friends and familiar faces. There are not a lot of them, but I am always happy when I say hello to these few and see how they’re going through. And there’s this young boy whom I talk much…and pray for much…

And so my Mom tagged him as “Rhema’s Timothy”.

For most times, he’d share to me his problems, his frustrations and what the Lord does in his life. In turn, I encourage and pray for him. Most Sundays, the pattern is always the same…but every time we end in prayer, I felt fulfilled. For one more time, the Lord touched another soul through this frail little vessel.

Who knows what this little friend will be in the coming days.

I suddenly see myself that though I’m praying or talking to one soul, I am still part of God’s vast, eternal picture. I don’t know what this fellowship will make out of my friend, but I believe that this short fellowship and prayer will turn him into something that many will never expect. God has a great destiny for him and yet he needs fellow puzzle pieces to help him get into his rightful place in God’s picture.

With this, I am more encouraged to look for people and pray for them (yet, sensitive for such souls who need prayer and encouragement). It’s not only my friend who’s encouraged. Unconsciously, he helps me break out of this shell of doubt and frustration.

When I see him encouraged, I am also encouraged. I don’t feel proud. I’m happy to see him encouraged through God’s peace that works from within me. Who am I to be a vessel of the Spirit of a great and powerful God? Yet, I’m thankful, for we are both part of a greater picture that we will see in the coming days.

I don’t know how these small instances will change and mold both of us. But I believe it’s an overwhelming way on how God shows His extraordinary love to frail little souls like us. We are made for one another. These fellowships are made for such a season as this, I believe. And I can’t wait to touch another life in the coming seasons to whom the Lord will show His love and glory.

Small instances? The size does not matter. It may not be as big as any evangelistic crusade, but I will cherish these  fellowships and these friendships for the Lord cherishes and loves these people, too.

The Christmas Prayer Wall

Pasig City-20121212-00458 I was waiting at the production area when I saw these cluster of cards posted in a corner. Killing time, I idly came closer to read the hand-written notes and was surprised with what was in them.

The production girls said that these are their wish lists and prayers for the year. Most jotted down in bulleted form wishes like, “to have a baby”, “lovelife” or “house and lot”. But I’m surprised on how some listed “for my whole family to be saved” or “to become closer to God”. Knowing their character are all bubbly and very lively (add up to their fun noisiness), I was moved as I imagined how they must have silently reflected their wishes and prayers. But this corner, they said, is not exclusive to the prod people alone. They even invited me to post a card (but not a gigantic one, they warned haha :P).

I realized how it was long time since I dreamed the “impossible dreams”. I was moved in the faith these girls had as some of them added verses and declarations that the Lord is the God of the “possible impossibilities”.

With the everyday stress I’m getting into, I’m beginning to forget to enjoy life while anticipating and pursuing my innermost desires. I have forgotten how beautiful life is, as I try to go with the flow of the “urgency” of everyday issues. With the this so-called urgency, I must be forgetting my other dreams of making my own film or music album. When I think of these, I can’t help but smile — I believe that when God put such desires in my heart He’s leading me into a new road…much more a new discovery of what He wants me to be.

Yet, it is not too late to dream again. If five years ago, my present profession was just a dream, who knows that five years from now my dream to travel the world and reach the nations come suddenly. It just takes time and myself to just sit back, reflect, and ask the Lord to take over again the road where I should be going from here. 🙂

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