Find your place on Earth and Dance!

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Quezon City, Philippines is where I grew up. Now I live in Vancouver, beautiful British Columbia, Canada. And where are you from?

I could dance with Matt to this beautiful music of Garry Schyman feat. Alicia Lemke – Trip the Light, fell the joy of being alive and remember that we are all the same.

If all the days come to pass
Are behind these walls
I’ll be left at the end of things
In a world kept small

Travel far from what I know
I’ll be swept away
I need to know I can be lost
And not afraid

The Shadow Knows!

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The Shadow reminds me of younger days when my ears were glued to the radio listening to: “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!” Coming from the Philippines, our culture is steep with superstitious belief. … Continue reading

Far away from home, make it memorable.

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It’s not even a day, I miss them already; my family, friends, neighbors, cats, and the comfort of home. Leaving them behind to travel for my annual pilgrimage creates a nostalgic moment. Far away from home, I want to make … Continue reading

Stick and Stone May Break Our Bones, but Your Cartoons Will Never Hurt Us.

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As a catholic, I am trying to understand the humor in Charlie Hebdo’s caricature. I looked for anything that Charlie created depicting Jesus and I found these. I don’t remember that Catholics went on an uproar and started shooting the cartoonist … Continue reading

The Endurance of Tacloban: Heart of the Philippines

China Sojourns provided us with an excellent photography, writting, lessons and Save the Children project on the impact of Typhoon Yolanda in Tacloban, Philippines. An Excellent post! And I want to add with the gifts of faith, hope, and love the Filipinos will recover and become stronger people. Thank you, Randall for keeping us up-to-date.

Global Sojourns Photography

Tacloban Philippines Save the Children Yolanda -35

Violent winds swirl the dark, ominous thunderclouds overhead. The pounding waves crash onto the rocky shore and the roar of the Pacific Ocean makes its intention clear: thrash anything in its path.

With electricity in the air, I am oblivious to everything except the power coming my way as rain beats against my face, sucking me into the depths of the storm.

Tacloban Philippines Save the Children Yolanda -33

Ever since I was young, the powerful forces of storms, especially on the Oregon Coast, have held a rare type of electricity for me.  Electricity that excites my soul and eliminates any trace of fear I may have.

Chasing the idea of becoming one with the storm.  Not just to see the power unravel in front of me, but to physically feel this rare electricity.

Tacloban Philippines Save the Children Yolanda -3

The past three days I’ve experienced a different type of feeling.

Walking along the Tacloban city coastline watching the sunrise, I am beginning…

View original post 1,112 more words

A life for life

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Listening to my elders sharing their war stories fascinates me. Not that I enjoy knowing the gory details but understanding how they came to live a full life after the war. My Uncle “Tito Jess” is the best story-teller, ever. … Continue reading

Proud to be

Philippines_flag

The highlight of my mornings going to school in the Philippines is singing the national anthem.  Then we all can start our day of studying.

We all go out in the courtyard, dress up in our uniforms, with our right hand on our left chest, eyes fixed on the flag, a conductor moving her hand the three-quarters beat,  and we sing with feelings and gusto. In doing so, this is how we learn patriotism to the country and flag of the Philippines.

Even the lyrics alone makes me feel the freedom and pride how my ancestors fought hard to gain our independence.

Land of the morning
Child of the sun returning
With fervor burning
Thee do our souls adore.

Land dear and holy,
Cradle of noble heroes,
Ne’er shall invaders
Trample thy sacred shores.

Ever within thy skies and through thy clouds
And o’er thy hills and seas;
Do we behold thy radiance, feel the throb
Of glorious liberty.

Thy banner dear to all hearts
Its sun and stars alight,
Oh, never shall its shining fields
Be dimmed by tyrant’s might.

I must say, I love the Philippine National Anthem. It was first written in Spanish, then translated in Filipino, and finally in English, a total of three versions versions you can listen here.

Symbols on the Flag of the Republic of the Philippines:

  •  Blue – peace, truth, and justice.
  •  Red – patriotism and valor.
  •  White triangle – equality and brotherhood.
  •  Three stars on the corners of the triangle – the three main geographical regions of the country namely Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
  •  Sun at the center of the triangle – eight rays representing the eight Philippine provinces that started the revolt against Spain that symbolize unity, freedom, people’s democracy and sovereignty.

Very brief background:

  •  Spain ruled the Philippine for 300 years. Magellan discovered the Philippines. Catholicism is the main religion due to the Spanish Rule.
  •  America came to the Philippines.  An outbreak of war ensued between Spain and America.
  •  Spain surrendered the Philippines to the America.
  •  Philippines revolted against America.
  •  America proclaimed that Philippines’  independence is the 4th of July.

Just a minute now, Philippines does not want the America’s national day of holiday. They wanted their own date to fall on June 12.  Finally, America approved it  on August 4, 1964 that the Philippines’ National Independence is June 12.

I am a Canadian now but deep in my heart, I am still a proud Filipino.

“Filipinos die for love. Americans die for principle”

valerie

Click on the photo to take you to the original post.

This Memorial Day, I offer a tribute to the hundreds and thousands of Filipino Guerrillas who fought in World War II alongside the Americans. In a moving poem, General Romulo penned these words:

To the men who fought
In defense of the Philippines
In the 1941-1942 campaign
The ill-trained, ill-armed recruits
In straw helmets and rubbers shoes
The pilots without planes
The sailors without ships
The men on horseback
Fighting tanks with sabers
The gunners short of shells
The soldiers with obsolete rifles
Hungry in the foxholes of Bataan
And the batteries of Corregidor
Racked by dysentery, malaria, beriberi
Surviving on false hopes
Defeated at long last by their bodies
Sent to die in their faceless thousands
In the long cruel march to Capas
And in the concentration camps
This memorial is dedicated
By their grateful countrymen
Who will not forget
That their defeat was weakness of the flesh
But victory of faith loyalty and love.

~ Carlos P. Romulo

Half-American and half-Filipino, Panlilio wrote:  Filipinos will die for love, and Americans will die for principle.  I am half-and-half.  I die the same way.” 

excerpt from: Valerie Gonzalez  to read the original post visit : Dream to Learn

Dream of a life time.

For ten days, the Sochi 2014 connected me with the whole world  and it was relatively exciting time of sportsmanship.  I was even surprised to see in Facebook that the Philippines joined in figure skating even if a medal is not in the plan, to be part of it is an honor.

I did not really watch any of the games, however, I kept my ears open to the daily news, the cheering of colleagues and poking my head in the office cafeteria to see who is watching the Olympics game.  I’ve read some controversies about gay right activist to animal lovers.  Olympics is such a political event no matter how they put it. We had our fair share in Vancouver 2010.

The Washington Post wrote a good article about this:

“In the end, it was the right thing for the Olympics to come to Sochi, for all the wrong reasons. If the Winter Games had been staged somewhere else, then we never would have seen this still-rising emblem of the “new Russia” — so visually spectacular yet suggestive of a vast chasm between potential and reality. Here’s hoping that the promise of Sochi will be real.”

The top ten:
top 10

So, what’s next?  Let’s see what will be the talk at the office at the water cooler, this will be interesting.

 

Science or conScience: On Donating

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Money cannot buy happiness but how you spend it differently will make you feel better and happier. Michael Norton experimented on making people spend money on others rather than on themselves and measure their happiness as shown at TED.  Michael went … Continue reading

A Special Gift

Today, I received a gift.  For me, it’s nothing special.  From the giver, it’s a very special gift.  And the gift is one Mango.

This is a very special mango brought by the three special stooges (my nephews) all the way from Palawan, Philippines.  Men think differently when it comes to buying gifts.  I wonder what they were thinking in choosing a Mango for a gift?  Maybe they though this is a perfect gift?  Maybe they thought I want a mango?  Maybe they thought of surprising me.  Maybe they were not thinking at all?  Maybe I will surprise them by returning the gift!

mango

Not.

I am happy to receive the gift and happier even more that these young men came home safely.  That is the most important part.  As for the gift, it’s the thought that counts.  It’s a gift from God to bring them back to us, mango included.

Now, allow me to ask these questions.  Indulge me, please participate, especially the men.  The questions are:

  • What if you bought the perfect gift for someone you love and they wouldn’t open it?
  • Would you leave it with them so they could think about it and maybe open it later?
  • What do you think God does when His gift is not accepted?

If you do not believe in God, think of your higher power or think up of anything.  Your comment awaits.  Thank you.

 
 
Source:  Patricia

Joyful Mystery

Announcing that a new baby coming is filled with excitement.  We cannot wait for the baby to come.  Wait we must, with joyful anticipation for the birth of a new child.  Same thing with birthdays, we can’t seem to wait to celebrate someone else’s birthday.  Wait we must, with gladness. 
It’s a waiting game. 
I don’t mind waiting.  For most of my life, I wait.  Life consists mostly of waiting.  The question is what do I do while I wait?  The in-between-times. how do I respond to this?  
This photo is one of the many depictions of the Annunciation displayed in Bethlehem contributed by the Philippines.  It’s an image of pure simplicity. 
Bethlehem  Annunciation
 
The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit. 
Meditating on this photo with Mary in mind, she gladly accepted what was unacceptable.  She said YES to conceive.  What a courageous act.  She waited with great understanding, anticipation and longing to fulfill her calling. 
As I reflected on this, my breathing slows down absorbing the joyful mystery.  A one-minute-meditation, my mind and heart became pregnant with desire to be more intimate with Jesus Christ. 
 

Guess who’s coming to town

Yesterday’s event section at Metro News: Hilary Clinton headed to Vancouver as a keynote speaker on March 5, 2014 for an event on Women’s Leadership Circle.  Expected cost $600 a ticket.

z hilary clinton

As much as I want to see Hilary, $600 dollars will go a long way not for me but to the needy.

The purpose of this post is to challenge the Vancouverites instead of spending it for the Leadership Circle to hear  Hilary, donate this money to the needy in Vancouver.  Or better yet, send it to the Philippines for emergency relief.  Canada will match your dollar.

Be a servant leader instead.

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Reflection after the storm

Memories came flooding in, seeping out of my memory bank.  The earthquake, the storm, death, then calm.

Sea of Galilee

Being born in the Philippines Mother nature rules.  Nature does not discriminate, from the young and old, from the poor and rich, from the ordinary to famous folks; we are all affected.  One of the saving graces, I now live in beautiful British Columbia, Canada.  Hardly any storm but plenty of rain and cloudy days.From what I can remember, Father was swept away by the sea, never to be found.  Was there a storm at the time that caused ragging waves?  I still have yet to know.  Mother had a nervous breakdown when Father died.  Was it his death or the thought of having to care for 13 children, the youngest four months old.  I was only four years old.  Most of my memory is vague maybe it was buried with Father in the sea.

Flying debris, the tin roof blown by the mighty wind, trees falling down, roaring of the wind, torrential rain and flooding are the effects of nature passing through.

Then came Ruby Tower crashing down.  It was intensity 7.7 in the Richter scale.  People rushing out of their homes.  Me standing by the canal, the water creating a whirlpool and saw a huge rock emerged from the ground.

We were spared from these disasters except Father.

The Voice of God in a Great Storm
A Psalm of David. (Psalm 29) 
 Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name;
worship the Lord in holy array. 
The voice of the Lord is upon the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the Lord, upon many waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful,
the voice of the Lord is full of majesty. 
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars,
the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf, 
and Sir′ion like a young wild ox. 
The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness,
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. 
The voice of the Lord makes the oaks to whirl,
and strips the forests bare;
and in his temple all cry, “Glory!” 
The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord sits enthroned as king for ever.
May the Lord give strength to his people!
May the Lord bless his people with peace! 
 This is a  Day of Grace.
 
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The rest is history

“There are causes worth dying for, but none worth killing for.”   ~   Albert Camus

Trying to gather some war stories from the family to document is just like pulling teeth. Inextricable

My first older four siblings, their dad was a World War II soldier. Their dad was my Mother’s first husband.  It’s just one of those things that we forget to share family stories especially our parents are no longer on earth.

Today, being Remembrance Day, I want to remember their dad.  So I sent out e-mails to them asking to tell me a story about their dad with emphasis on being a soldier.

I learned that he was a Major in the military of United States Armed Forces of the Philippines. His full name is Maximo Abendan Papas descendant of  Greek origin.  He was a prisoner of war and helped wounded co-soldiers in the concentration camp.  Their dad survived and escaped from the famous “Death March”.

Death March happened when the Japanese invaded the Philippines.  The Japanese have taken Americans and Filipinos as prisoners in 1942 and made them march 128 km to reach the camp .  There were many casualties that even the historians cannot take the full account of the prisoners.  War is war: prisoners were treated brutally, full of  physical and mental abuse.

Even their dad escaped, he did not escape the disease he contracted during the war and eventually died of lung cancer.  He was 36 years old.

My eldest sibling was only four years old when his dad died.  At that age, I suppose one has little memory of their biological father.  One thing that stood out in their story how they spoke highly of Mother’s second husband, my father.  Father was good to them and that he is the Father they know and love.

The rest is history according to my sisters.

Semper Fidelis

Semper Fidelis is Latin for “Always Faithful” or “Always Loyal.” This is the motto of the United States Marine Corps.  It is a useful slogan not just for the Corps but as well as to our country and to humanity.

I have taken the liberty of posting war stories.  A proper theme for the day. This is a Remembrance Day story that I am proud to share about my Uncle during his younger days and his brother Moises Gonzalez, who lost his life in 1944 who were faithful to humanity during the war.

The Gonzales brothers saved the life of James Carrington.  James was a World War II veteran reunited with Uncle who aided his escape from Japanese after 64 years and died shortly after the reunion.

reunion

Both men cried with joy when they met. Carrington was thankful that if it were not for the courage of the Gonzalez, he would not be here.

You may want to read the rest of the story by clicking on the picture or here.   A YouTube is also available here.

I am happy for them.  I wish I could make Uncle happier if I could help him find out what really happened to his brother.  I posted a story about it in Love and Valor.

Take time to remember.  Let us together as a nation to honour and remember  the Veterans, war dead and all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf in times of war, armed conflict and peace. There are many ways to remember and actively participate to honour those who served our country. For one, do not hesitate to discuss this with your family and friends.  It’s important to remember so that we don’t repeat the past.

Santa Cruz nathaniel (3)

Nathaniel ~ US Marine

Let us honor the valiant who sacrificed their lives for your safety. Let us  salute our nation’s heroes. Let us remind our friends and dear ones about the patriots who lost everything in battle. Let our  silent prayers be a tribute to them.

Lester Pearson
Whether we live together in confidence and cohesion; with more faith and pride in ourselves and less self-doubt and hesitation; strong in the conviction that the destiny of Canada is to unite, not divide; sharing in cooperation, not in separation or in conflict; respecting our past and welcoming our future.

Lest we forget.

Related Links:
 
Photo Credits: Nola News and Nephew Nathaniel

Home of the Topnotchers

I was searching for the University of East where I studied back in the Philippines.  Finally, they are now on line however the history is still yet to be updated.  I have so much fond memories studying.

This University is really top-rated.  No such thing as being humble based on its logo.

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That is tall order and I cannot reach that for I am only five foot and two inches tall.  As a freshman, I prefer to have good times and date the men in the Engineering Department.  I was a flower amongst the thorns.

There is one person, though, who jumps so high that she became a topnotcher.  She must be about four feet and eight inches tall.  They say dynamite comes in small packages.  And that she is.  With that small head, she is all brains.

Thelma

Was my Mother very proud of her dreams to educate her children?

She was more than shock to find out about this.  Her perseverance and dedication to raise her children with good education no matter how poor we were was a great sacrifice for her.  Mother, we are proud and love you for providing us the life you didn’t have.  Thank you, Mother.

I know I will be in deep doo-doo for flaunting this.  Here’s to hoping that she hasn’t been reading my blogs.

Thelma was the top-notch.  We are siblings and she is the second Octoberian who celebrates her birthday.

Happy Birthday, Sister!

God Bless.

Tenth Month of the Year

The month of October is big in our family, too many birthday celebrations.  By the end of the month, there goes my savings.  Mother and Father must have been so busy just after Christmas and New Year’s.  Did I count the gestational months correctly?  Nine months of incubation, right?

The first three consecutive days of October 1-2-3 followed by October 10, 17, 28, 30 are the days of birth.  I know I’ve missed some dates.

To top this, Canada celebrates Thanksgiving Day the second Monday of October the same as USofA.  Thank goodness, we abolished adult birthday celebrations and gift giving except for children.

We celebrate Thanksgiving Day instead to be thankful for the gift of family.  There is just too much love going around, can’t get enough of it, not to mention food.

This year there will be an extra celebration because my niece will be graduating from University.  

Celebration might be postponed at the later part of month due to absences of a few people going on vacations.

Married siblings are doing the Love boat style, cruising, and home away from home.  We just waved goodbye to them recently.  The three stooges, nephews of the same age who grew up closely, will be visiting the Philippines to meet older cousin. And I will be away to do the annual pilgrimage walking the earth for 15 days. 

Time for another foot spa.

Foot Spa

Foot Spa

There will be plenty of stories to go around when we meet on Thanksgiving Day whatever date will that be. 

“I AM GOOD.”

An African tribe does the most beautiful thing.When someone does something hurtful and wrong, they take the person to the center of town, and the entire tribe comes and surrounds him.For two days they'll tell the man every good thing he has ever done.The tribe believes that every human being comes into the world as Good, each of us desiring safety, love, peace, happiness.But sometimes in the pursuit of those things people make mistakes. The community sees misdeeds as a cry for help.They band together for the sake of their fellow man to hold him up, to reconnect him with his true Nature, to remind him who he really is, until he fully remembers the truth from which he'd temporarily been disconnected:"I AM GOOD."Please Share :)
 An African tribe does the most beautiful thing. 
When someone does something hurtful and wrong, they take the person to the center of town, and the entire tribe comes and surrounds him. 
For two days they’ll tell the man every good thing he has ever done….
The tribe believes that every human being comes into the world as Good, each of us desiring safety, love, peace, happiness. 
But sometimes in the pursuit of those things people make mistakes. The community sees misdeeds as a cry for help. 
They band together for the sake of their fellow man to hold him up, to reconnect him with his true Nature, to remind him who he really is, until he fully remembers the truth from which he’d temporarily been disconnected: 
“I AM GOOD.” 
This is a brilliant idea, in my opinion, if I can bring this In Canadian / Filipino culture.  Maybe not, I think I will be the person in the middle.
Source: Facebook

Your Country

As part of getting to know you, I am very keen in finding out what country you are blogging from.  
Can you please tell me what Country you are from?  Thank you. 
Source: Geology.com

Source: Geology.com

Here’s a map of the world. I now live in Canada originally from the Philippines.

The boy who reads: A story of hope

“One would think that the last place to find a starved and unkempt street urchin is in a book store.” 

He is 13-year-old Mark Jayvee “MJ” Mojon and he frequents the store to beg for money or food. But on some days, he also stops by to read. 
At age 13, MJ is just an incoming Grade 2 student. MJ’s mother says financial struggles forced MJ to drop out of school for several years. 
But poverty hasn’t stopped MJ from wanting to learn.  When he wasn’t begging, he would visit the bookstore to read.  Even in his house, MJ has a small corner where he keeps books borrowed from neighbors.  
This story has a happy ending. 
To read the full story, visit these links:

Nature at its best

Nature, what nature? 
Being born in a third world country, Philippines, especially in a poor family nature consist of playing in the garbage dump, abandoned lots and slum area. 
There’s hardly any nature where I lived unless I go visit neighbours who have gardens.  I am lucky enough to have a girlfriend whose family allows me to sleep over at their mansion.  
Sabrina is her name.  
In a child’s mind, the house is a jungle.  There is so much vegetation.  A housekeeper waters the garden almost every day to keep it lush.  They have a dog.  It was fun to have a playmate and to be accepted by this rich family. 
Part of playing is going to the dumpsites.  This is FUN.  We collected tons of waste materials to sell for recycling.  Found some parts to build us a scooter.  Collected Coke bottle caps for the Coke versus Pepsi challenge.  The more we collected Coke bottle caps, we won free movie passes. 
In the slum area, we run around on the board walk like horses.  During rainy season, there are so many amphibians to play with such as crabs, tadpoles, dragon flies, water spiders and much more.  At night-time, we hunt for fireflies and put them in a bottle.  We used the bottle as a flashlight.

 Ah, what a memory.  Now this is nature at its best. 
We may be poor but we know how to live the good life.
 

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If this is not love, then what is?

When it comes to perfect love, I can only think of my Mother.  
Mother has so much love to share.  The story of Mother’s love is no different from others but in my mind, of course, is the best. 
Everybody calls her Mother: her siblings, my family and our friends. 
What kind of love did Mother shared?  These are collective stories shared by one generation to another generation. 
Mother gave up her own education in order to take care of her younger brother.  She reached Grade 4.  Why on earth would a young mind give up her future for a younger brother?  Don’t they have anybody to take care of my Uncle?  The family is rich, for one.  They can afford to hire a nursemaid.  But that is beside the point.  Mother took care of her brother. 
Mother married a soldier.  They had four children and their father died at a young age, cancer of the lungs.  Widowed young with four children.  Who would marry her now?  Who would take care of the children?  During those days, fathers are the one who is a provider.  Enter my Father. 
It was a whirl wind romance.  Father married Mother and he adopted all four children.  Mother must have been an extra ordinary person for Father to fall in love head over hills with Mother. 
Investigating how my parents met, I’ve asked my Uncles.  They didn’t even know that Mother married again.  No wedding pictures to show off.  
Father is a beautiful man, a woman’s man.  He must have been a good provider to my Mother because he was a Civil Engineer.  He travelled to remote places to build roads and bridges.  Being away from home, there must have been so much activity in the bedroom because they procreate 9 times.  In total, there are 13 of us including my half-brother and three half-sisters. 
On top of that, I heard there are other siblings outside the marriage.  Mother went through extremes of getting to know this family.  She helped them.  Why on earth would Mother do such a thing when Father was philandering outside the marriage? 
Then Father died.  We are left with Mother’s love. 
The love of Mother does not end there. 
When there are children born out of wed lock in our family, Mother will search for them and bring the children to the family.  I heard that Mother bought (yes, paid for) one child from the mother in order to bring up the child properly. 
The house we lived was only a two bedroom apartment.  People come and go.  My siblings’ friends call her Mama Chuchi.  It was full of life and love even though we were poor. 
Mother helped young women  by teaching them how to sew.  Mother paid for their work even though they lived in our tiny apartment and received free board and lodging.  It was a symbiotic relationship.  One remained with us until to this date.  We managed to take her to Canada and she is my 14th sibling.  She and I grew up together. 
I don’t recall hearing Mother say to me: “I love you, Lady”.  No. 
Words are not important for Mother.  She laid her life not just for me but for everyone.  Mother’s love is based on her faith. 
If this is not love, then what is? 
“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
 
Related link: Weekly Writing Challenge:  Love in the 21st Century

Now I Know

How well do we really know a person even though we live with them for most of our lives?  Do you?  Well, I don’t, I must admit. 
Mother and I lived together for a long time yet I hardly know her.  We may live in the same roof but that doesn’t mean we share our thoughts.  Mother is excellent in giving us our autonomy.  It is very important to her that we are our own person. 
Here’s another question.  Do you know where you draw your strength from?  Strength could mean your physical, mental or spiritual being.  I’m sure that there are so many ways where you can gather your strength from. 
As for my Mother, this is a piece of her story.  To read, the story, please click on the image. 

 
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Mosaic of Cultures

The first thing that comes to mind about culture, I think of Mosaic.  
Being an immigrant, Mosaic is the place for new comers to Vancouver.  MOSAIC is a multilingual non-profit organization that helps immigrants and refugees settle and integrate into Canadian society. 
In Vancouver, diversity is important and has different kinds of festivals for different ethnic groups.  The City helps us understand and introduces the new Canadians.  There are various pictures with stories posted along the main areas of those people that share their stories. 
Walking around downtown, I saw this particular picture and I thought they look familiar. As I read their story, I said to myself: “Hey, just a minute now; that is my Grandmother and one of her daughters, my Aunt. Their story was selected as part of the new Canadians.
Lola, Tito & Tita, Cousins

Lola, Tito & Tita, Cousins

  This particular post, I see it every day on my way to work.

When people ask me what nationality I am, I proudly say, I am Canadian.  Strangely enough, my answer is questioned.  
“Really?” 
“I say really.” 
“Aren’t you a Filipino?” 
“Nope, I am Canadian.” 
Silence for a minute, thinking for another minute and finally they understand what I mean.  
“Ah, I see says the blind mice.  You came from the Philippines and now you are a Canadian.” 
“Precisely.”  That is my final answer.

Bells are ringing

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It’s wonderful to be woken up by the bells of Fatima first thing in the morning.  From the balcony of our hotel room, I could see the steeple of the Cathedral.  Every hour, the bell chimes the song of El … Continue reading

Gifts of Hope

A homeless 13-year-old Filipino won a very prestigious award for his commitment to improving the lives of fellow street kids. Cris “Kesz” Valdez, who lived off a trash dump and slept in an open tomb for the majority of his childhood, was awarded last year’s International Children’s Peace Prize in The Hague on September 19, 2012. 
 
Gifts of Hope
For his seventh birthday, Kesz didn’t want any presents for himself. Instead, he wanted to give something to other street children: Gifts of Hope. That same year, Kesz started his own organization, Championing Community Children, aimed at giving street children hope and showing them that they can take their future into their own hands. Every week, he and his friends go to underprivileged communities to teach children about hygiene, food and children’s rights. He even takes things a step further, by teaching children how to teach each other. He has so far helped more than 10,000 children in his local area.   Source:  International Childrens Peace Prize. 
Kesz was presented with the prize by Desmond Tutu.  According to Desmond Tutu, Kesz is a deserving and inspiring example of “a new voice for the voiceless”. 
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Funny Valentine

How time flies! Jim and I have been married now for 32 years. We are blessed with six wonderful children. 
Looking back, it baffles me how we got together against all the odds. He’s Protestant. I’m Catholic. He’s quiet, reserved and shy, and I am loud, cheerful and always laughing. He came to Canada from New Zealand in 1970, and I arrived from the Philippines in 1976. In 1978, our paths crossed in a disco club. I was there with my friends and sister. Jim was “window shopping” with his friends. 
He tells people that he “picked” me, but I tell them that I was the one that seduced him with my dancing. I like teasing him and bossing him, and he doesn’t mind being told what to do. I suppose our differences are what attracted us to each other! We got married four years after meeting. His siblings came for the wedding and were surprised when they met me. I wasn’t the submissive “Oriental” girl they had in mind! I laughed so hard. And I’m still laughing. –   Evelyn Logan 

Evelyn is a year older than me. 
The fact of the matter I met Jim first at the disco place.  There were four of us girls who just want to have fun, I was the youngest. Four men came in our circle.  The girls choose who they want to be that evening, and I was left with the left-over; ended up with Jim since nobody chose him.  Later that evening, Evelyn came telling me she likes Jim.  Translate that in a sibling way, I want what you have.  I said sure.  So, I told Jim, “Hey, my sister likes you.”  Jim was insulted as if I was brushing him off.  
Anyway, to make a long story short; they got married.  I was the bridesmaid, Godmother to their first-born and then some. 
Her second son posted this on CBC News.  And here I am, sharing the best love story for today.

 

First name basis

The Filipino way, most people’s first name is Maria.  There are so many Maria’s in our family, me included.  However, we don’t use our first name.  I use my second name.  My only wish is I wish I wasn’t named Maria. 
The trouble started not in my childhood.  It started when I came to Canada.  
The officers saw how long my name is, they started using Maria.  Employers did the same thing, Maria.  Well, I felt there is no use in contradicting them since they are having a hard time pronouncing the name.  
When I say my second name, the common response is, Huh?  How do you spell that?  P as in Peter, E as in Eve, R as in Richard, P as in Peter (again), E as in Eve (again), T as in Tom, U as in Uranus, A as in Apple.  Perpetua.  What? Petula?  Never mind, call me Maria.  The names that I just called out, they understand, but not my name. 
As for being Maria, oh the trouble I go.  Maria seems to be a troubled name.  People started singing “How do you solve a problem like Maria”.  Sound’s familiar? 
It was only in 2010 that I decided once and for all, I will use my name that I am accustomed to hearing.  Perpetua it is.  Again, my colleagues of 13 years, they kept on calling me Maria.  Sorry, folks, I am not responding to that! 
So here I am, as a Canadian Maria, signing and dancing to the Sound of Music. 
 This is in response to Daily Prompt: Childhood.  Come and join us, it will make you sing.

Morning Wake Up Call

I have a wonderful use for the phone, an alarm clock that plays beautiful melody. 
For most times, I let it ring and screen my calls.  There is a caller ID which is a very nice feature.  This is the one of gizmo that I might say a necessity in a household equipped with an answer machine pre-recorded voice. 
I had so much fun when I first installed this machine.  It was a surprise to my sisters that I finally starting to blend in.  Beings sisters, they are nosey, called me and left messages. 
Sister #4 – what is your name, you manly voice.  Who am I phoning here?  (laughter in the background) 
Sister #6 – You are hiding a man in your house (more laughter) 
Sister #5 – I like your answering machine.  It’s very nice. 
Back in the Philippines, we had party lines.  I used to entertain them on the phone just because I was being naughty.  One party line became so enamoured with my voice.  Pretty scary because he came all the way to my place and left me a gift at our door step. 
That was the end of my relationship with a phone pal when Mother found out.  Grounded, I am no longer to use the phone. 
This is in response to Daily Prompt: Phone.  Come and join us, it’s fun. 
A request to the readers:  No pingback please unless you have actually read, left a comment or liked this post.  Thank you for your consideration.

Hello my name is

FLANGIPROP – A bold, earthy, and aromatic flavour of new Starbucks blend.  Coffee beans that is ethically grown and in a fair trade market, grown by the indigenous Filipino hill tribes.
 
The coffee of the future.
February Coffee Blend: Source Starbucks

February Coffee Blend: Source Starbucks

 
This is in response to Daily Prompt: Flangiprop.  Come and join us, it’s fun.

Stormy weather

This brings up too many memories of “voyage of the seven days” from the island to mainland when I was growing up in the Philippines.  Back and forth, can’t remember how many times.  And the stormy weather is not good for your stomach, I must say.  As a little girl, it was fun to ride the waves. 
We lived in one of the 7001 islands, Davao City, and the mainland is Manila City.  In order for the older siblings to have higher education, they have to be shipped out to Mainland.  Sometimes, I go with them, sometimes I stayed with Mother in the Island. 
The rest is history.
Source: Cafepress.ca

Source: Cafepress.ca

 
May I be excused in reading Wikipedia.  I’d rather be with Rod Stewart. 
 
 
This is in response to Daily Prompt: Shipwrecked.  Come and join us, it’s fun.
 

DP: Teacher’s Pet – Don’t Call Me Stupid

My name is “Pet”, short for Perpetua.  And this is a story when I was in Elementary School studying at Ramon Magsaysay Cubao High School (RCMHS), a public school system. 
This must have happened when I was in sixth grade.  I was a very tiny person with BOOMING voice, similar to Owen Meany in the book written by John Irving “A Prayer for Owen Meany”.  Being small, I was always placed and seated at the front row.  But in this class, I was seated somewhere in the middle row.  I think the class was History and Geography. 
Teacher’s Pet?  I wasn’t called “Pet” by a teacher.  I was called “STUPID”.  I can’t remember what the question was raised by the Teacher nor can I remember what I said.  All I remember was I was called “STUPID”. 
I stood up and on the top of my voice I exclaimed  “DON’T YOU EVER CALL ME STUPID!”  Oh no, this is a No-no.  As a student, no one ever answers back to a Teacher; as a child, my role is to listen and obey. 
You could hear a pin drop in the classroom.  I wasn’t sent to the Principal’s office.  No response from the teacher nor there was a feedback from my scared classmates.  No note to take home for my Mother.  Class carried on. 
Report card: FAILED on History and Geography.  I love history and I know my Geography.  I can tell all the names of 50 states of United States and its capital.  I know Philippines has 7,001 islands on low tide; on high tide, one island is submerged, only 7,000 islands.  It’s a cinch to memorize when my brain cells are intact, at that time. 
Did I care if I failed?  Nah, who cares?  Nobody calls me stupid. 
“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.”
“The difference between genius and stupidity is; genius has its limits.”
“If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.”― Albert Einstein
 
Related Articles:
HuffingtonPost: After A Teacher Calls Your Child Stupid: by Karin Kasdin
Don’t Call Me Stupid: Ross Mountney’s Notebook – WordPress
Don’t Call Me Stupid: by Kara Tointon – BBC UK
My Teacher, Who Pets some and Tries All: by All Those Small Things WordPress
Teachers Pet, Teacher who had a real impact on your life: by myvividvisions WordPress

Love and Valor

Moises Gonzalez - Missing Person POW

Moises Gonzalez – Missing Person POW

A question:  Would you die …
–       For someone who needs your help?
–       For your country?
–       For your own belief and virtues?
Without a moment’s notice? Hesitation?

These are questions that came to mind when I was reading an article about “Brothers in Arms” written in a local newspaper Asian Pacific Post dated December 18, 2008.  That was four years ago.  I kept this newspaper because it’s a story of love and valor, of bittersweet reunion, of uncertain, of no closures. 

Just before the death of a former U.S. Marine officer, he was reunited with a man who saved his life 65 years ago during the war in the Philippines.  Japan invaded the Philippines during World War II in 1944. 

The reunion was bittersweet because the officer died 11 days after they met on December 7, 2008, just before Christmas.
Love is based on an intrinsic human quality that one has to help out in times of need.  Valor is the by-product of love; the love for humanity to help those who are in need. 
The man was only age 11, still a child, 65 years ago; when he met the officer, with his older brother, age 20.  This is what happened, and I quote from the newspaper: 
Please give me a ride!” the stranger blurted out to Jesus and his 20-year-old brother, Moises. 
“He looked at that time so tall,” Gonzalez recalled. “He was running fast, just running along the cart with us.” 
The brothers hid Carrington amid the hay. With a Japanese checkpoint just around the corner, the younger Gonzalez was terrified and burst into tears.
At each of two checkpoints, a Japanese soldier jabbed the hay with a bayonet, checking for a stowaway. One of the jabs lanced Carrington’s leg, but he remained undiscovered. 
Gonzalez couldn’t stop sobbing. 
“The Japanese soldier was asking me why I was crying, and I cried all the louder,” he recalled. “It was scary. If we had been discovered . . .” 
Carrington spent three days with Gonzalez family. He would later help lead guerrilla fighters who created havoc for the Japanese military before American forces retook The Philippines. 
Gonzalez older brother Moises – betrayed by a spurned woman – was later arrested by Japanese soldiers for his role in the episode and is believed to have been executed. No trace of him was ever found…” 
Why am I writing this?  The man Jesus Gonzalez happens to be my Uncle, I call him Tito Jess.  Tito Jess is married to Tita Baby.  Tita Baby is my Mother’s youngest baby sister.  Tita Baby’s family has been very good to us.  Without their loving concerns, we would still be in the Philippines.  They helped my family to bring us here in Canada.  The least thing I can do is to play detective and hope Moises be reunited with Tito Jess. 
For those who are reading this article, we need your help to find Moises Gonzalez.  
Valerie Gonzalez is also appealing to everyone and she wrote:
I am in search of any info re Filipino P.O.W named MOISES (MIKE) GONZALEZ Jr., (my uncle) who was imprisoned at Fort Santiago, Airport Studio, and possibly Muntinlupa, in Manila, Philippines, during World War II – between May 1944 to February 1945 (Liberation). My Lola (grandmother), Lucia Trullench Gonzalez, desperately searched for him but never found out what became of him after he was arrested by the Japanese. 
Moises Gonzalez rescued and harbored an American Marine, James Carrington, who had just escaped from Bilibid Prison (Manila) in April 1944. Jim Carrington eventually joined the Ramsay Guerrillas (ECLGA) and was decorated with a Distinguished Service Cross after the war. However, my uncle, Moises Gonzalez disappeared after his arrest and presumably died either at Airport Studio, Fort Santiago or Muntinlupa. He was also possibly a guerrilla courier for the MARKING GUERRILLAS. 
I am wondering how I might be able to track down any information about POW’s in Japanese prisons during WWII. If anybody has any information at all or could point me in the right direction, I would be so grateful if you could please Facebook me. Please send this to any Filipino Veterans you may know! Thank you! 
Should you have any information, please do not hesitate to contact me or Valerie Gonzalez on her FaceBook.  Forever Grateful, Seeker.
 
Related Article:
http://www.asianpacificpost.com/article/2139-brothers-arms.html  – Brothers in arms

DP: The Early Years – In my dreams

“Write page three of your autobiography” 
Chapter One – Where is Father? 
Page one:
Wednesday child is full of woe, so the saying goes, but life itself is full of woes. I was born on a Wednesday…. 
Page two:
What’s wrong with this baptismal picture?  Mother is carrying me, she is so beautiful…. Where is Father…? 
Page three:
The house I lived in Davao City, Philippines.  It’s a beautiful big house and darkness envelopes my little brain.  Dark and alone in the mezzanine, I was looking down at the wooden bars.  Can’t see what’s down below but I can see myself sitting on the wooden flooring.  A doll in my arm made of plastic and hairless.  One eye missing, the other eye closed as if it’s sleeping with long black lashes.  The arms are movable as well as the legs.  The head can turn 360 degrees around just like the head of the girl in horror show Exorcist.  It’s a hand me down doll from my other six sisters, I am the youngest amongst the girls.  Why am I alone in the dark?  Have I just woken up or am I sick?  Where is everybody, yet I silently sit in the dark, not a whimper came out from my innocent lips? 
Another image:  I was standing at the foot of the bed starring in excitement at this small baby lying in the middle of a humongous bed.  My youngest brother, he is Brother Number 6.  Brother 4 and Brother 5 were standing beside me.  I was suffering from a cold and mucous.  Being sick, I have to stay away from a newly born baby.  Mother does not want the baby to catch my colds.  A mucous started dripping from my nose.  I stuck my tongue out, curled it upwards and licked the slippery white substance to clean off the upper part of my lips.  It’s salty and thick. 
 Where is Father? 
  
  “Lady, I’m lonely.  Come and stay with me.”  Grandma asked.  I obeyed Grandma’s request for I was terrified of her.  I climbed into her coffin.  One of my legs is already in the coffin and Father showed up.  “Lady, go home.  Mother needs you.”  Then I woke up.  Father came to visit me, in my dream.

DP: Immortalized in Stone – Professional Day

“Your personal sculptor is carving a person, thing or event from the last year of your life. What’s the statue of and what makes it so significant?
Yeah, no school.  It’s Professional Development Day.  What can I do to take advantage of this day?  Teachers have so many options offered by their association.  Staffs have two courses course offered by their union:  Dealing with Difficult People and Assertive vs. Aggressive.  The venue is located at one of the schools.  Since I am a staff member, I registered for both. 
The school was empty when I arrived.  It’s strange to be at a school with no children running, playing, laughing. The hallway was so eerily quiet. The office was manned by administrative support staff.  The classroom where the seminar was held has a bulletin board with different articles posted.  Having an inquisitive mind, when there’s a bulletin posted, I read what is posted be at school or lamp-post.  
Two articles caught my attention: “Stop workplace drama” and “Myself and the world around me.”  One of my peers wanted a copy of “Myself…”  I offered to take a copy for him since I know where the photocopy machine is located.  I also wanted a copy, and I used my camera to take a picture of “Myself…”  The picture didn’t turn out properly.  Thank goodness my peer has a copy. 
Should I want to be immortalized, I want a plaque written according to “Me and My World” placed at school ground and head office.  This poem speaks volumes about my second life in another part of the world.  The flags which she drew happened to be the same country were I came from, Philippines, and we both now belong to Canada.  I am proud of this child and for the teacher who helped her shape her mind and for the parents as well.  I contacted the teacher at the school if she could ask the student to allow me to share her poem.  Request granted.  Sharing is the best way to learn, and I am sharing with you a brilliant child’s mind about Know, Belief, Wonder, Fear, and Dream.  
Janzen Camara is the Author of Myself and the world around me.  She is a Grade 10 student of Tupper Secondary School, one of 108 schools of Vancouver School Board.  Thank you, Ms. Janzen Camara. 
“Example isn’t another way to teach, it is the only way to teach.” – Albert Einstein

DP: Circle of Five – “Five Degrees of Separation?”

A writer once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” If this is true, which five people would you like to spend your time with? 
This prompt reminds of the movie “Six Degrees of Separation.” It also conjures a process of elimination on my part.  In order not to offend anyone in my circle that is still living on this earth, I will narrow this down to the people who have left the planet. 
Jose Rizal

Jose Rizal

Jose Rizal – During my high school days, I was smitten by this man. I fell in love with his words. Noli Me Tangere translated in English “Touch Me Not”. We were required to memorize and recite the verses in Spanish. Spanish is a romantic sounding language. If only I could touch him right now. He is the national Hero of the Philippines. He fought the Spaniards using just his pen. And his Pen is mightier than a sword. He founded a nonviolent-reform society. One day, I will return to the Philippines and visit the jail where he was imprisoned.
 
Chief Dan George

Chief Dan George

Chief Dan George – we are practically neighbours. He lived in Burrard Inlet, North Vancouver; a few minutes where I live here. A native of Canada of First Nations origin. I have the book he wrote “My Heart Soars” as part of my book collections which is not that many. Once in a while, I visit the church reserve to be with the First Nations elders and listen to their stories.

 

 

Richard Feynman

Richard Feynman

Ah, Richard Feynman. Doesn’t he look mischievous in this picture? I met him in Isla Mujeres in Mexico. This American couple introduced me to “Surely you’re joking, Mr. Feynman.” Ever since I became so curious in life because of his curiosity. He’s so contagious. I could easily “pick” him up anytime, that is, the book.

 

 

 

Maximilian Maria Kolbe

Maximilian Maria Kolbe

Maximilian Maria Kolbe – He’s a new guy in the block from Poland. We were supposed to visit the Nazi German concentration camp of Auschwitz, but due to flooding, we didn’t make it. This is a bit morbid, but I want to know what he thinks of Adolf Hitler. Definitely, I do not, I repeat, do not wish to spend time with Adolf!.

 

 

 

st. bernadette

Bernadette

Poor Bernadette. Somehow I really did not like her at first when I was at Lourdes in Oct 2012 pilgrimage. She’s a bit whinny for my taste. But, this is a big BUT, when I stayed overnight at her place at Espace Bernadette where she died, I had a change of heart.
 
To date, I still don’t know what it is. Yes, that’s the gravatar I am using. I am beginning to feel so fondly of her just having her presence as I write the Daily Prompt. My hope in the future is to spend more time in Espace Bernadette in Nevers.
And she can tell me her favourite massage “Every human being is precious in the eyes of God”.

DP: Childhood Revisited – Total Recall of the day’s gone by – not goodbye.

What is your earliest memory? Describe it in detail, and tell us why you think that experience was the one to stick with you.  

Total Recall of the day’s gone by – not goodbye.

There’s a song in my head: “Those were the days my friend, we thought we’ve never end, we’d sing and dance forever and day.”  Plenty of playing, praising and singing. Growing up in a family of 13, I am number 10, it takes its toll.  I have nine siblings to be obeyed and be respected because they are older than me; three younger brothers to play with and dominate them.  My turn, hah!  Aside from uncles, aunties, and cousins, we are a multitude of the stars.  As God said, “Go and build me a nation,” we did.  Actually, that’s just the way life was in the Philippines.  The more the merrier and plenty of love to give, receive and share.  Not like that “Godfather” movie, you’ll end up with a horse on your bed. Yikes.

The word to describe today’s post is hypermnesia \hye-perm-NEE-zhee-uh\

Noun: abnormally vivid or complete memory or recall of the past by according to http://www.merriam-webster.com/

I know it’s better to remember good times, good times but this one particular memory brought awareness in my little brain.  My sisters love to make collages, and they post them on the wall just above the bed we all share. This is one of the pictures.

Feed the Children, please

Feed the Children, please

This image thought me so much, and I did not learn this from kindergarten school.  From this collage, I learned to love and compassion as I grow up instilling in my heart and soul that we all have to help the children for we were children once before.

The greatest teacher for me, in my background, is Jesus Christ.  Let the little children come to me.  Pax Tecum,  Seeker.