Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Posts tagged ‘honor’

The Wrong Gift

My eyebrows were twitching with horror as I glared at the huge box before me. By the looks of it, it did not contain the book I had asked for in my Christmas wish list. The moment I ripped open the green, Christmas wrapper around it, I was even more horrified.

I had received a pair of sandals in our office Kriskringle.

“WHAT’S THIS?!” I cried in dismay, my voice ringing around the office. “I DID NOT ASK FOR A PAIR OF SANDALS THIS CHRISTMAS!”

I realized my embarrassment when a bespectacled guy approached me. He was the one who had picked my name. He explained he could not find the one I was wishing for so he looked for anything that’s connected to my interest. He thought the sandals would be good for my hiking trips, but I am sorry they could not help my feet maintain balance on assaults. I’d rather have highly-expensive shoes to ensure footing on such trips.

He offered to replace the gift since I did not like it. 

I meekly and guiltily returned the box to him. Such was the episode of receiving the wrong gift.

But that was not the first time I had received disappointments on such occasions.

For the past two consecutive Christmas parties at another company, I had never – as in, never – had the privilege of receiving any of the three gifts I had listed on our Kriskingle wish list. The guy who had picked up my name gave me disappointing gifts. He explained he had lost the list…and lost it again the next year because he was the same guy who had picked up my name. He seems to be at the habit of losing wish lists.

My friend warned me that men usually don’t take the time and effort to look for what was listed in the wish list of their monito or monita. But I am careful not to do that to keep from ruining the Christmas spirit of my monito or monita.

I took so much time and effort to find what my monita really wanted. It was harrowing and stressful, especially copies of the book she wanted were sold out in the midst of panic buyers. I was ready to give up and resolve to another gift until a text message came to me at the last minute, reserving the book she wanted under my name. 

Praise God for the timing. I guess this is the reason I was not buying another gift or asking an accomplice if she wanted another book of the same author. When she unwrapped the present, she was bursting with glee and she ran away with the most perfect Christmas present she had received in her life.

She was total stranger to me. But deep inside I was glad to make her happy by fulfilling her wish (but hey, I’m no genie). Somehow, that’s my mission. And I want to ensure that the receiver would not be disappointed. 

Somehow, I believe some people would give just anything because tradition obligates them to do so. But giving gifts is not an obligation. It is an act of appreciation, friendship, love, and respect. 

It’s fulfilling when the person receiving your gift smiles because all your effort and sacrifice searching for it has been paid. I would never forget when my monito, a seious guy who would occasionally give charming half smiles, brightened up when he received the pair of boxers he wanted. That smile made me forget the great embarrassment of going to the men’s section to buy a pair of boxers (where I asked my mom to accompany me on buying such a pair because I had no idea about boxers). As much as possible, I follow what’s in a person’s wish list because it’s also an act of valuing that person. In turn, receiving the gift I really wanted gives me the impression that the giver values me well. 

All my disappointment had washed away when my closest friends gave me the most wonderful gifts later that day. I saw they were all attributed to my personality and needs. By what I had received, I could see their effort and the love they had poured into their sleepless search across every mall and specialty store. It’s fun receiving them but it was even more fulfilling to know how much I am loved.

I just hope my Secret Santa next year would value me just as I value my monito or monita. And before this year ends, I’ll make a follow up on my not-so-secret Santa about the right and perfect gift I had been waiting for all my life…

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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! 😀

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! 😀

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