Social Spark

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Road Safety

Here are some of the many tips to avoid accident and getting safely to our destination.  I know most of us are aware of these... but sometimes there is still a need to be reminded.  So please go through and read, it’ll help a lot.

Take the Necessary Precautions.  Before driving, see to it that you are fit to drive and your vehicle is in good condition.  Check the brakes, oil, lights, etc., wear your glasses and protective gears (i.e. helmet), take your medicines and do the things you needed to do to have a hassle free ride.

The Highway Isn’t a Racetrack.  Unlike the racetrack, the road doesn’t have a controlled environment.  It does not have an emergency medic group, standing by in case an accident happens, it does not have pedestrians walking on the tracks, it does not have an opposite lane for vehicles going the opposite direction.  Unlike in a highway, in a racetrack all the vehicles know they are racing.... I can cite a lot more difference but these are just to set a few examples.  Don’t be “very brave”... there are no winners in racing on a highway.

When You’re Late, You’re Late.  Always keep in mind, that driving really fast is not the solution in getting on time... the only way is to wake up and go to work or school early to avoid the rush hour.  Come to think of it, if all people do that then there won’t be a rush hour... but the world isn’t perfect (LOL).

Keep Your Eyes on the Road.  Focus on your driving and on the road, eyes in front and look at your side and rear view mirrors when only needed.  It’s not the proper time and place to flirt on girls or brag about your ride or read text messages on your phone.  If you need to do something urgently while driving... better stop and bring your vehicle in a safe zone.

Don’t Drink and Drive.  Self discipline, if you know you’re driving, don’t drink alcohol.  If you can’t resist or have no choice, better leave your car or motorcycle and take a taxi or jeepney.  Or better leave your vehicle at home in the first place... believe me, you’ll have a good party and you can drink all you want.

Obey Traffic Rules.  These rules aren't made to make your driving life miserable, it is made to keep you safe while driving.  Violating these rules will only create problems with the traffic enforcers.  And God forbid, might result to an accident.

Be Obvious.  Better exaggerate than regret.  Use your signal lights, your head and tail lights.  Use hand signals, you’ll never know if your lights are working properly. And use your horn, make noise if needed, it’s what they are made for.

Practice Humility. Keep your head cool.  We make things we regret if we decide while we are irritated or annoyed.  There’s no harm in forgiving, more it can get you out of trouble.

Pray.  Nothing is more powerful than a prayer to God.  You have no control over all things especially on other drivers and nature itself.  So have a prayer for guidance and protection.

Just remember to be always safe in driving.  We have that responsibility to our family and the family of everyone we meet along the road.  God bless.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Without Discrimination

The week’s Gospel was taken from John 4:5-42.  It’s quite a long one and having two children with you made it much difficult to focus and listen to the gospel and the priest’s homily.  But so far, this is what I digested and my personal views, backed-up by some readings.

The Gospel shows us that Jesus does not look at a person’s status to bear witness to Him.  Here, He shows us that even the people whom we looked down and we thought least important are significant for Him.  He sees us all without discrimination... like the Samaritan woman.

Jesus and the Samaritan Woman
picture taken from:
Just to show the barrier between Jesus and the Samaritan woman, Jesus is a Jew while she is a Samaritan.  Due to their inter-marriage with non-Jewish people, Samaritans lost their ethnic identity.  Thus, they were regarded with less respect and importance.  This is still a reality nowadays, I heard of these countries that offer privileges to those who would marry their own nationality or pure breed.  And those who do not, more especially women, will be stripped off of all rights and privileges they are enjoying.

More is that, Jesus is a man with high stature, a rabbi, most respected by His followers and disciples, is conversing with a woman, which is not considered proper in that time and place.  Further, the woman is a cast off by her own kind, considered misfit for she had five husbands.  But none of this matters to Jesus.  He accepts the woman and treats her with respect by conversing with her and answering her doubts and queries.
The woman asks Jesus, who’s right in worship and where is its rightful place?  Many, if not all of us have not yet resolve this issue... until now, we often fight for the answer.  Maybe we are not just listening to His answer, or we’re just too shut to accept it... Jesus tells us that it does not matter where we worship God, what is important is that we worship God in Spirit and in truth.

Jesus shares with us His deepest secret, that He is the living water Whom whoever takes It would never thirst again for the truth.  He is the Messiah and He shares this with us without any reservations... without any discrimination on what we are or who we are.  If we truly say who we are as believers of Christ, then we must not only say what He does... but also do what He says and do.  God bless.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Keep It Up, Girl... We're Proud of You

We are blessed with smart children, our daughter just finished grade 2 with a silver medal and ribbons of recognition.  She wasn't that studious, I seldom see her reading her books... more of seeing her watching cartoons on TV or playing with her friends.  She just opens her books and asks for our help during her long exams.  So I'm quite amazed she managed to land top 2 of her class.  However, what I observed about her is that she's a fast learner and she catch up with her lessons easily.  Even back then, I would sometimes reprimand her thinking she wasn't listening (because she does a lot of things while studying and makes you think her focus was not in what you're teaching her).  But if you ask her, you'll be surprised that she knows the answer.

By popular demand (LOL)

With pride...

Her academic recognitions...
To our Rael, keep up on what you are doing with your studies... we are proud of what you have accomplished.  Congratulations, anak.  May God bless you with the wisdom you need and guide you with a kind heart.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Thank You Manny Pacquiao

If there is something I'm proud of being a Filipino... one of them will be Manny Pacquiao.  He had not only made a spectacular and unmatched boxing career and changed the world boxing history of becoming an eight division world champion, winning 10 world titles below him... he had also put the Philippines in the world map.  Because of him, I heard a lot of Filipinos around the world now speaking of their being a Filipino or having Filipino blood.  The world watched every match he wins which brought honor to our country.  And  every match he made united us, making every Filipino stop for a while (even the crime rates in all parts of the country falls down and there were no encounters between the military and the anti-government forces).  I may conclude I'm not the only one proud. Truly worthy of being the "Pambansang Kamao".

Emmanuel "Manny" Dapidran Pacquiao
Because of him, people around the world are beginning to see us Filipinos... recognizing us in different fields... treating us with respect and high regards.  This is because Manny represented us all, very down to earth, God-fearing and shown true sportsmanship in his fights.  You seldom hear Manny bragging about himself nor throwing cruel or harsh words to his opponents.  That only shows a person with good breeding, he may not have good educational background during his childhood and adolescence but he's far better than those who might have master's or doctor's degree but have used it for their personal advantage and/or to favor/benefit a few corrupt, influential and power greedy persons. 

Before I again lose my focus on corruption, let me just thank the Pac-man.  It's a pride for us Filipinos having you and other great people who brings honor to our country.  You showed us, that if you just strive hard and put your focus in what you want, you can achieve anything... Pacquiao had made his way up to the boxing ladder... he earned his education... he reached what he dreamed of... he became an actor, a singer,  a true public servant (congressman)... most of all, the greatest boxer in history during his time... and he did these without stepping on anyone or at anyone's risk.  No matter what happens to your upcoming fights, we Filipinos will always be proud, what you did is already more than enough.  It just nice to think, that our country might have a hope after all.  May God bless our country with more people like Manny. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Happy Araw ng Dabaw Everyone

Our very own Davao City is celebrating it's 74th founding anniversary... and you know what the best part is, it's a special non-working holiday...   I know there are a lot of festivities today.  I've seen them  on tv. But  unfortunately I can't  go out today... My wife is working late shift and I need to take care of my children.  So it's bonding moments with the kids instead... Atleast I get to spend the whole day with them...  and that would be more than enough for me to say, I had a good day... 

Aside from the festivities in our city today, let me just tell you some of the things we Dabaweños are proud about our city:
  • We have the anti-smoking ordinance in Davao City that protects non-smokers in public places and enclosed establishments;
  • The anti-firecracker ordinance that prohibits firecrackers and other similar explosives within the territorial jurisdiction of the city.  It's been years since we had firecracker related accident or casualty especially during the celebration of Christmas and New Year;
  • We are using the 911 system, which is only used in US and Canada;
  • We don't usually have typhoons here;Thank God.
  • We are rich with variety of fruits (to name some: durian,pomelo, rambutan, lanzones, marang, and mangosteen)  and flowering and ornamental plants (Waling-waling, known as the queen of orchids);
  • Davao is also home to the majestic Philippine Eagle;
  • And the bad elements are afraid of our mayor and her father, our vice-mayor (LOL).
 I'm proud to be a Dabaweño... Happy Araw ng Dabaw to all and God bless.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Disaster in Japan, Don't Worsen It

I received a forwarded text message informing the 4:30 pm Fukumi nuclear power plant blast.  It was suggesting that we take necessary precaution of the possible effect of radiation brought by the winds coming from Japan.

Guys, this is a hoax.  We should not believe something especially if the source isn’t reliable.  This is just made up by people who cannot do anything with their lives.  The only beneficiaries of this are the cell phone network providers.

Foremost, there is no such thing as Fukumi nuclear plant, however there are the Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant, Fukushima-I, Fukushima-II and Tōkai nuclear power stations near the epicenter of the earthquake last March 11, 2011.  Yes there were blasts from Fukushima-I nuclear plant but even Japan only have a 20 kilometer evacuation radius from the blast site.  The Philippines is more or less 2,900 kilometers from Japan.  So there’s no reason to panic.

And please if you received the text message, don’t spread it and might as well tell the person who passed it to you that it wasn’t true.  In times of crisis, we Filipinos must learn from the Japanese... they were bombarded with calamities... first was the earthquake, then the tsunami and now the impending danger of radiation exposure due to damaged nuclear power plant... but they remained calm... they remained disciplined.  It was said in the news that they were waiting in line for their turn to receive relief goods and there were no reported robbing in shops and grocery stores.  All praises to them.

Instead of creating speculations and spreading rumors that would create a greater damage, we might as well offer a prayer for the fast recovery of the affected areas in Japan and peace in the Middle East.... May God give them the strength to stand up amidst the crisis they are facing right now and bless them with wisdom to rebuild their shattered countries.

For our Filipino brothers, friends, relatives and family currently in these countries... May God provide you what you needed most and keep you safe always... Our prayers are with you, guys... keep your faith in Him.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Visiting The Family Dentist

We are so proud of our children, we  recently had our annual visit with our family dentist... it was the first time for our Justin, but he's a pro... he never had a problem in having his teeth cleaned... he was so behaved and even participative to the dentist.  Rael also made us proud by facing her fear... we told her that  she won't feel a thing if she let the dentist pull her molars...There was really a need to do it coz a couple of teeth were already coming out.  She listened and she bravely let the dentist took care of the rest.

After our teeth were fixed and cleaned out... and for the bravery, came the reward... we gave them a treat...a snack at their favorite snack house... and everyone's happy... and we still have to tell the tooth fairy (LOL)... God bless.

Having no problem at all...
My daughter's turn...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What Matters Most

Jesus said to his disciples, Be careful not to make a show of your righteousness before people. If you do so, you do not gain anything from your Father in heaven. When you give something to the poor, do not have it trumpeted before you, as do those who want to be seen in the synagogues and in the streets in order to be praised by the people. I assure you, they have been already paid in full. If you give something to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your gift remains really secret. Your Father who sees what is kept secret, will reward you.
When you pray, do not be like those who want to be seen. They love to stand and pray in the synagogues or on street corners to be seen by everyone. I assure you, they have already been paid in full. When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father who is with you in secret; and your Father who sees what is kept secret will reward you. When you fast, do not put on a miserable face as do the hypocrites. They put on a gloomy face, so people can see they are fasting. I tell you this: they have been paid in full already. When you fast, wash your face and make yourself look cheerful, because you are not fasting for appearances or for people, but for your Father who sees beyond appearances. And your Father, who sees what is kept secret will reward you. (Mt 6:1-6.16-18)

It’s Ash Wednesday for us Catholics, the start of Lent towards Easter.  Today, I had seen a lot of people wearing crossed ashes on their foreheads.  I haven’t had one yet.  The ashes simply remind us of where we came from and where we’ll be going... that we are simply passing by in this earth.  We are again reminded that everything here is temporary and what is more important is the eternal life with God.

My personal understanding of the gospel is that, we are forbidden to use God or even His Name to show others how godly and what sacrifices we had made to honor and glorify Him.  We are not told that good deeds should be hidden, it can never be concealed specially to the person you’re doing it to, but what the gospel is emphasizing is that we should not think or expect that we should be praised by doing it.  Maybe, the question we must ask ourselves is who do we impress?  Isn’t it more important what God thinks of us rather than what others might think?  And we cannot deceive our God; He knows what we think and what we feel... He sees our hearts... He knows everything.  If we think, that by making an impact on others with the things we sacrificed for Him will impress our God... think again.

I believed that fasting is having to endure something that is hard for you to do without .  And it is not only limited to the abstinence in food and water consumption.  But this also includes our favorite activities, pastimes, and habits like playing computer games, drinking beverages, smoking, watching and listening to our favorite show and music icons, using our electronic devices and a lot more things we love to do.  The question is can you abstain from all these worldly things as an offering to God.  And if you do, can that only be between you and God alone.  That is not to brag or show others how much you suffer doing it, but how you truly mean doing it..Remember God sees our intentions inside out.

Also, in my point of view, it is better that you do goodness and be righteous even if no one sees you nor acknowledges your deed... than to put up a show in which you might fool others but not God.  What is important in helping is how you helped and what intentions did you have, it is noble if it’s heartily given and not expecting for any in return.  Events and symbols are mere reminders to all of us, because humans as we are, we tend to forget.  Remember that we will not be judged for the sacrifices we made or for the good things we did during the Lenten season or on particular events or on special days... rather we will be judged according to all our deeds during our lifetime.  It is not important as to when we did something to glorify God, every single thing we do in our lives matters to Him and He remembers it all.

It is not the ash in your forehead... nor is it the fasting you made.  What matters most is that the deed we do is in accordance to His will and we do it to glorify His name... and to impress Him and Him alone.  A HOLY DAY to us all.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Building Your House on Solid Rock

Listening to the priest’s homily, we were again reminded by Jesus about what’s important about our faith... it is our faith’s foundation.  Some were compared to a sensible man who builds his house deeply founded on solid rock.  And there were those compared to a stupid man who builds his house on sand.

The funny thing is many of us choose to build on sand.  We like things to be easier and we like shortcuts.  I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but not with our faith.  There are a lot of charismatic leaders, heads and persons with authority who we hear speak on the good things we must do in order to become a better student, son, employee, or spouse... a better person and a good follower of Jesus.  But their actions do not represent anything they speak of.  We see them, living abundantly while their members suffer in nothingness... We hear them telling us provisions and policies yet they eat their own words.  Good in words... but not in action.

I ain’t no saint... but clearly in His words... 

When the day comes many will say to me, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, drive out demons in your name, work many miracles in your name?" Then I shall tell them to their faces: I have never known you; away from me, all evil doers!

God does not like us to be like this.

Listening and sharing His words is easy... putting His words into action is the challenge to all of us.  Building a house on a rock... building our FAITH in JESUS... is not a simple thing to do.  Choosing the path according to the will of the Lord might be hard... but the rewards are everlasting and nothing beyond compare... God bless.

Using Our Common Sense... Makes Things Simplier

Sometimes, the problem with us is we think too much in solving a problem.  Instead of making it simpler for the common understanding, we make it a little bit more complicated.  And that defeats the purpose of problem solving... 1+1=2, plain and simple but others may look at it this way: 12+(1x1/1)=2.  

I remember a friend who shared this simple yet perfect illustration of using common sense:

An astronaut once brought a ballpen in space, due to gravity, the pen won't write.  So he send his problem to his country and due to the urgency of the situation, their scientists immediately created a pen that would not be affected by gravity...  that made them spend millions for research and development.  The rival country, however, had no problem with their space exploration... they used "PENCIL"  in writing.

We are studying and working for the purpose of making life easier for others and the coming generation.  But as I look at it, the subjects of students today are becoming more and more complicated that our children find it hard to digest and comprehend.  Even their teachers find it hard  to teach the young minds these complicated things.

Our working environment is not an exception, many of us delegate tasks that might be simpler if done by us alone.  Some also ask questions with easy answers .. I don't know if they just over analyze things... but this just makes them look like dull.  Let me give you an example:

In a known corporation, an inspector saw that the plants were wilted due to not being properly taken care of.  So he made a report out of it, and gave this to his head for review.  The head looking at his recommendations asked him to review the policies of the corporation if he can find something about bringing the plants outside and watering them.  It took the inspector couple of months scanning every policy of the corporation but he  did not find any.  So he brought this to the attention of his head, and another idea popped out.  The head asked him to ask all plant in-charge if they remembered watering the particular wilted plants the past few months ago.  It took him two weeks to get all their feedback and all the answers he had were  "No(s)" and "Maybes".  Not successful of getting any information, the inspector returned to his head empty handed.  Having no sufficient evidence and since the report was outdated, nothing happened.

Why do we make things too hard?  Isn't it the purpose of why we're studying and working  is to somehow make our lives and the lives of our future generation easier?  Or maybe we are just bombarded with too many knowledge that we are no longer sure of what is the right thing to do... Sometimes, the best thing to do is to go "back to basic"... THINK SIMPLE and use your COMMON SENSE. God bless.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Her First Baking Lesson

How time flies?  It’s just like yesterday when I was holding her in my arms... singing lullabies to her until she falls asleep.  And now she’s baking @ 7... I’m really amazed... it’s like watching the “junior master chef” (LOL).
"The Baker Princess"

We were visiting my in-laws when mamang asked Rael if she wanted to bake cake and muffins... being an avid fan of JMC, she agreed with delight.  Mamang guided her in doing some basic baking chores... and the rest was history... Then we ate while she eagerly waited for each of our reaction... and it was perfect... nicely baked and tasted heavenly, maybe because it was baked by our own daughter...
Patiently and eagerly waiting...

How amazing it is watching our children grow... it is a moment we will always treasure. God bless.
Goofing around...
A wonderful sight...