Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Archive for May, 2015

The Measurement of Being Pinoy

Here’s another article I wrote for a newsletter way back in 2010. Too bad I couldn’t remember where this was published or if it was published at all! Proud of being Pinoy, though. Forgive the picture though, couldn’t find a better one from my archive 🙂 Enjoy reading! 🙂

Nowadays, a lot of us express our patriotic spirit even more. I’ve seen more and more people wear “Tatak Pinoy” t-shirts on the streets (even foreigners are delighted to have one), more shoutouts in social sites expressing “Pinoyness”, and an articulate appreciation of who we are in the broadcast media. We seem to love our nation more than ever before. But is this really enough to prove our love for our Inang Bayan?

Maybe. It has always been said that it’s the thought that counts. But it’s also true that action speaks louder than words. Even though many like web pages such as “I love Pilipinas” or “Proud to be Pinoy”, many still cling on to the “ningas kugon” stigma. Here it comes…and there it goes…

We love to express ourselves. In our willingness to voice out our feelings, sometimes we easily criticize anything we don’t see right. One time, I was on the jeep accidentally overhearing a conversation between an opinionated passenger and the jeepney driver. When the jeep passed by a huge, smelly mountain of trash on the sidewalk, the passenger clicked on his tongue, shook his head, and said, “Wala talagang disiplina ang mga Pilipino.” Take a look of himself…is he not totally Filipino?

We blurt out our disagreement with the wrong things we see…which I also do. But sometimes we tend to go sideways with our thoughts. We agree to what’s right and to those things we disagree with we shift the blame to others. Just like the guy in the jeep, most of us like saying that our own brothers are no good than us in an indirect way. But we do not realize these people are completely like you and me – totally Filipino.

I wonder if we make an effort to keep the value of our cultural pride. I was very surprised one time when groups of young boys who claim to be Badjaos sat on the doorway of our jeep and sang for a penny. Looking at their historical heritage, I wondered how they can be willing to sell the pride of their race – while we ourselves exploit by looking down at them. Though I am not sure if they are really Badjaos, I couldn’t help think that this made us label them negatively.

To think, the variety in our culture made us unique as a nation. The Philippines does not only have 7,107 islands but also has hundreds of dialects and ethnic groups. Each one is unique, if not mixed, to one after another. Though we have picked a pieces of Asian Eastern and European cultures, the results of this is unique in its own sense.

It’s so sad that most people do not take notice of other cultures and tribes that thrive in the other parts of the country. We had made a wrong sense that these kinds of people only live in the past and just stay in our textbooks as the facts to be unlearned after graduation (which I also admit I did). When they come and invade our cities, we are irked. But we do not realize this destroys the pride of their heritage. Most of us think they are just nuisance and wish that the government sends them away to somewhere we don’t care about. When I think of these things I feel guilty I had the same thought – these people are our fellow brothers and sisters – totally Filipino.

In fact, we need to learn from them. It’s not bad to enjoy going to tourist spots to enjoy scuba diving and city tours. We do learn from them, don’t we? But I believe one will learn more when one stays to learn the people’s lifestyle. When I had gone to Bicol for a vacation, I got a hold of more than sweet pili and a peek of the Mayon. I appreciated the place even more because of the people whom I ate and lived with. I got a hold of their simple, quiet lifestyle that was totally apart from my fast-paced environment. I never thought that there are so many differences between my culture and their culture – the language itself, to start with.

The culture of the other ethnic groups is also very important to be preserved. However, we just let them rot away by degrading their sense of existence.

That’s why it’s disparaging to hear of ourselves just mumble away against things we do not understand. Sometimes, we do not realize we ourselves are the part of both problem and solution. We can be indirectly part of the problem like environmental crisis and degradation of culture but we can counter them back. It’s good that no superheroes were created. Whatever we have ruined must also be fixed by ourselves. Of course, we cannot do this alone. That’s why we have bayanihan, right?

Why not focus on the good qualities we have as a Filipino? Think again on the words we have said, begin by doing small good things that will help us grow as a nation. Whether that would be picking trash, cease to be self-righteous, and help by giving a piece of what we have, I’m sure that could go a long way.

So, what’s really the true measure of being Filipino? Yeah, it’s great to see the Pinoy map hanging on your shirt and the Philippine flag as your keychain bag. But I guess it takes more than artifacts and social sites to show that you are proud to be Pinoy. It takes sincerity to be one. Our character in real life situations should reflect that we are truly Filipino in mind, in words, and in action.

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Jumping Into the Pool

Here’s a devotional I wrote way back in 2011. After finding this while cleaning my bin, I’d like to share it to you. Hope you’ll be blessed 🙂

I wonder why of all the sick people at the Pool of Bethesda, Jesus only healed the invalid man who must have stayed the longest there. I wonder how come not all the sick the people flocked Him when this guy was healed.

Jesus had mercy for everyone for sure but He focused on this man. As tradition says, when an angel touches the pool, the first person jumping into it will be healed (I wonder if this was for real – maybe it was like believing a quack doctor or something). The invalid man, though, couldn’t make it. Somebody always jumps before him. Who would care anyway? It’s like first come, first served! And everybody there was as eager as any hospital patient who wants the care and attention of the only resident doctor. Jesus, seeing how tradition had bounded the poor guy (he has been there for thirty-eight years!), was also eager to heal him.

Before He can perform any miracles, He asked first if he wants to be healed (verse 6). Here we can see how the Lord can be as a gentleman. Well, the man sadly – and indirectly – told Jesus that he wanted to but can’t. He did not even know that he was already talking to Israel’s popular Rabbi! Yet, Jesus just told him to “Get up, take your mat, and walk!” Now who wouldn’t be dumbfounded with that reply? Yet, the man was obedient enough and had faith enough just to do as He said.

Jesus got no favorites. I’m sure He had mercy for all the sick people who were there (oh, how He loves us so He wants the whole world to be saved!). But, take note…this WAS Jerusalem and as He said, “No prophet is acceptable in his hometown” (Luke 4:24). Also, that’s where the oppression against Him was the strongest and sadly, until now, not the whole of Israel believes in Him.

As He can discern the hearts of man (Mark 2:25), He must have seen hunger in the man. It’s a hunger for healing, and thus, it can lead him to believe in anything (even if he had to wait for thirty-eight years just to jump into the pool). So, though he could have been dumbfounded with Jesus’ command to get up, take his mat, and walk, he just did it! He must have had such a faith to do such a thing knowing he was an invalid for a long, long time.

Jesus is looking for hungry hearts. In our world today, so many set aside God, but He reveals Himself to those who are hungry enough to know Him. I’ve heard stories of people who have not heard of Christ becoming born-again because He shows Himself to them through visions and other miracles. How come? They were so hungry to know the real God!

Miracles only happen when the person being prayed with has that faith enough to believe (Hebrews 11:6). It goes the same with salvation (Galatians 3:22). It only goes to those who believe.

Hunger and faith are not only meant to the unsaved. We are also called to be filled with such characteristics. Revival will happen if we are hungry for Him and we believe Him enough to shake the whole earth. I pray we will soon all get to a higher level of faith and hunger and see Him reign over the earth once and for all! Glory be to God!

The Magic Of Dinner Over Movies (Sixth Bite): A Reunion in Pampanga

It’s strange how our relatives could only get together after years. If it were not for a cousin’s special occasion, my mom and I wouldn’t get a chance to visit Pampanga.

Pampanga is a province located in Central Luzon. Should you begin your travel point from Manila, go in a two-hour northward travel to get to Pampanga, or longer depending on the city to visit. Since my province Bulacan is adjacent to Pampanga, travel going there is quicker. From the district of Bocaue, Bulacan to the city of San Fernando, Pampanga, it takes about an hour’s ride. So what’s so special about this place? For foodies like me, of course, it would be food.

I had the privilege to taste of the authenticity of Kapampangan dishes as my cousin invited us for the christening of her first baby. Now, add up the mini-reunion of relatives on my mother’s side, our visit is worth to remember.

Kapampangan dishes are known for their richness. Besides that, their food can range from simply being savory to exotic. I’ll give you a peek to one of the restaurants there.

Bale Capampangan:
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My craving to taste the best of Pampanga has been answered by having the privilege to visit and have lunch in this cozy restaurant, located in Dolores, San Fernando, Pampanga. The buffet it offers has a variety of dishes, igniting the curiosity and the hunger pangs in me.

IMG_20150516_112354There are the classic dishes of bulalo (cow soup), pinakbet (vegetables cooked in sauce made of seafood like shrimp or fish), bistig damulag (the Kapampangan version of beefsteak). I’d take only a little of each, since they are very rich in ingredients. The each sauce of these dishes is filled with much flavour. It embodies the homestyle cooking. Besides, the place is a good place for family reunions as it gives a homey feel.

Adobong Balut

Adobong Balut

There are also exotic food like the pasta aligue (pasta made with crab paste), susong supsop (yes, it’s

made of cooked, small snails) and adobong balut (the matured chicken egg now cooked adobo-style). These are but a few in the whole bunch of buffet offered by this restaurant. I bet you’ll keep on coming back once you take a bite of them.

As most Filipinos, we had the habit of ignoring the people around us while we eat. Perhaps, it’s an inborn ability to take note of the food first before we get to talk much. Or perhaps, we heed what the elders say: “Don’t eat when your mouth is full.”

Susong supsop

Susong supsop

Of course, Filipino meals are not complete without sweets. After a plateful of the main course, we’d line up for halo-halo (or mixed up, literally in English). Just fill your glass with sweet banana, red sago (round starch pearls), mongo, pinipig (uncooked glutunous rice), sugar, crushed ice and milk. A cold treat to chase the summer heat away.

Aside from that, there are also other sweets and rice cakes like the palitaw.

I guess this place gave us much to talk about, like language differences. Yes, that’s right. The signs are mostly in Kapampangan. In the Philippines, each provinces have unique dialects. Pampanga has its own dialect, aside from the Tagalog widely spoken in the whole country. Even my uncle admits that he was still confused with some of the words, being a Bicolano himself.

The calming atmosphere of the restaurant made us stay, relax, dive into nostalgia and crack jokes at one another. Because it shunned us from the terrifying heat of the day, I did not notice that we were staying there for more than five hours! It was past three in the afternoon, and we would have wished to stay longer with our relatives.

After scouting for pasalubong, my cousins invited us to try the popular cheese bread and Spanish bread of a bakery just beside Bale Capampangan.

L.A. Bakeshop:

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When the door was opened, the smell of freshly baked bread gave us the tingling sensation of home in the city. Started in 1985, this bakeshop had its humble beginnings at one of this city’s market. But the populace would flock this store because of its tasty cheese bread, thus it grew into a cafe and resto-bakery.

Some of L.A. Bakery's special breads and cookies lined up at the counter beside the cafe

Some of L.A. Bakery’s special breads and cookies lined up at the counter beside the cafe

L.A. Bakery's tasty cheese bread and Spanish bread. Thirty pieces of these can be sold for P195. Freshly baked, it's inviting scent invigorates nostalgia and the hunger pangs of the other passengers in the van as we went home :)

L.A. Bakery’s cheese bread and Spanish bread. Thirty pieces sold at P195. Freshly baked, its inviting scent ignited nostalgia and the hunger pangs of the other van passengers as we went home 🙂

Unlike some usual cheese bread bought in other bakeries, this one is oozing with much cheese and it’snot airy; even though it looks smaller compared to other breads. The Spanish bread is sweetly superb, as well. A box of it would make a good pasalubong. Aside from being tasty, a box of it is worth its price. Even if you reheat it in the oven, it still smell as if freshly baked, provided that you keep it in a safe place. My mother said that instead of using lard, real butter and egg yolks were used for the dough. If we had much more time, we’d stay with our cousins and have coffee in this homey little bakeshop. Perhaps, I would not stop myself from its offer of unlimited coffee and bread. Yes, coffeeeeee… 🙂

My cousins introduced us other shops just near these places where we’ve been. I promised them and myself that we would return and try them all. But I would enjoy these places and food better with my relatives. That would make every bite and taste more sumptuous and even memorable.

Meet my family. My mom (in red) and I (in the dark green dress) together with my cousins, uncle, and aunt :)

Meet my family. My mom (in red) and I (in the dark green dress) together with my cousins, uncle, and aunt 🙂


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