Social Spark

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Not For The Single Blessedness

When my family went to church last Sunday, in the entrance I noticed this poster of the Redemptorist congregation inviting people to join them.  In the poster was a life-size image of a priest's body and one can actually stand at it's back and place his head in the face portion (just like in some theme parks or photo booth).  Curious of what I would look like, I said to my self that I'm going to take photos with it.

We were too early for church that day (about 3 hours before the first afternoon mass), so in silence we said our very own prayers.  It was good though, since there were very few people which made it very conducive for having a personal conversation with the Lord.  We were not able to wait for the mass, so we left the church after we finished praying.

But before we could leave, I took the opportunity to ask my wife a favor to take a pic of me with the poster.  I handed to her my cellphone and positioned myself at the back of the poster.  When she showed me my pic, and I told her that I looked great being a priest (jokingly praising myself).  She did not comment at first and just smiled with a familiar grin on her face.  So I asked her directly, why not?  She just answered me, that aside from the obvious reason that you're married, you definitely can not be a priest nor a brother... and showing me that grin again... Owww!!!  Don't get me wrong, but I just love it when she does that.  LOL.

Well, honestly, it never came to me entering priesthood even in my younger years.  But you see, even the disciples of Jesus, were not also prepared when they were called to be with Him.  So no one really knows what our Heavenly Father prepared for each one of us.  There will always be those chosen to live the life of single blessedness, more being a priest or a brother... even if it is not in their wildest dream of becoming one, they'll just find out they're already embracing their calling with all their heart.  For me, my calling would be, to be a good and responsible father and husband, and I'm happy with it.  Yahweh bless.


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Birthday Alert!!!

As humans, we are prone to being forgetful whether we like it or not.  There is no one in this world that can say, he remembers everything he encountered in his life.  And so as birthdays... So we should be thankful to Facebook and other social networks for keeping us updated and informed.

So, what did I do during my birthday?  I lighted some candles in the church and gave thanks for another pleasant year the Lord had given me.  And for the wonderful family that I have.  I prayed for good health, protection and guidance for another year in my life... that I may always be at the right path, the path in my life that had been prepared for me... His reason, why I was born in this world.

Then, we bought a gift for my niece, and attended her birthday celebration at Zoofari, a local children playhouse.   Well, that's the good thing about having someone in the family being born on a date the same as yours.  It seemed that I had a free children's party on my birthday (speaking of not having one when I was a child... LOL.)  Well, maybe it wasn't common back in our days, as there were lesser fastfood chains back then and almost none of them where offering packages for birthdays... The agony of being born in the 70's... hahaha.
With my birthdaymate, Jhia Kyle...

My birthday "trip"... letting the kid in me takeover... LOL!!!

Whether just being reminded by Facebook or just having a good memory for friends birthday (hehehe), the mere fact that someone took time to write warm greetings on your day, was enough to melt my heart and put a smile on my face.  To the warm hugs and kisses from my wife and kids... and to the personal greetings received from some relatives and friends... I thank the Lord for making this day worth celebrating... my deepest appreciation to all.  Yahweh bless.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Friends You Can Depend On

I really thank the Lord for giving us friends.  My buddy, with his family, let us stay in their condo unit in Mandaluyong City.  It was really a very big help since lodging costs a lot in the metro.  We were able to use the savings instead for our other important expenditures.

The couple, Stoi and Berna, had been really good to us.  Not only did they welcome us to their home, they also accompanied us around Metro Manila. Considering that Berna was 7 months pregnant, It was so sweet of her to be so accommodating and hospitable, to the extent of showing us the route, the hows and wheres of MRT/LRT from our place to our destination.  It became easier for us to go places with them being our guides. And my buddy Stoi, who had to delay working on his project just to be with us during our visits to the malls there.

Our trip to Manila  was overall a fun experience , though there were really hectic days (which i wouldn't want to go through!).  We enjoyed the rides and fireworks in Mall of Asia (MOA), first time to attend mass inside a mall, kids being amazed by cosplayers or those impersonating anime (cartoon) characters and most of all, my kids fave, hours in the clubhouse's swimming pool.

We were also thankful that they were the ones who took care of preparing for the birthday of our daughter.  Since my wife and I accompanied our son to get his medical result and had his needed vaccines.  We won't be able to push through with the celebration if not for Stoi and Bern.  They made it possible for our daughter to have a simple yet memorable celebration.With all these, we couldn't thank you enough guys...we really appreciate what you did for us. I hope we could return the favor someday..

Another person to thank was my cousin, Franz, for making our trip to Cavite hassle free.  Though we can handle the 3 kids, the trip could had been much longer and difficult for us.  Even if it would mean waking up very early just to cover a 3 hour drive back to Manila, he arranged everything just to give us a free and much comfortable travel... we really appreciate it, bro.  It was our grandma's birthday and more, we wanted her to see our youngest... that's how much we value our family ties.

We returned to Manila in the break of dawn.  Very early yet convenient.  When we reached Stoi and Bern's place, we rested for a while then we had to bid our farewells.  We arrived safely home but the goodness of friends will forever remain in our hearts.  Yahweh bless.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Physically, Emotionally and Financially Stressed

Traveling to Manila or to any other places could had been much easier in a perfect world.  But let's face it, life's not like that, more if you have 3 kids traveling with you.  Just when we thought we had everything figured out and arranged, there were just unexpected turn of events.

We were booked in a late flight, more it was delayed by 30 minutes.  It was almost midnight when we arrived in Manila.  It was most favorable to us, since the traffic during that time was very light.  The only "but" there was we were scheduled in an appointment early the following day.  So, we didn't have enough time to rest.  Good thing we were already booked in advance for a place to stay for the night.  That was what we knew before we arrived in the place...

The receptionist told us that we didn't have a reservation in our name... wow.  It was almost 1 a.m. with no place to stay.  Good thing the place had a lot of hotels around it.  The problem was finding an affordable place to stay.  The guard of the hotel where we should have stayed suggested a place but the cost was too much, so I left the kids with my wife in the lobby to look for other options.  It's late and it's no longer safe, knowing Manila especially during wee hours... Praise God, we easily found a place.

That much!!!
We woke up early the following day to prepare the kids for our appointment at St. Luke's Extension Clinic (SLEC).  With not much sleep, we were glad that the kids still had the energy to stay awake during the day.  Upon arrival, though I was told of the cost, I still can't help but think of the amount we were letting go.  Let us just say, that it wasn't easy to save that much considering our daily expenses and with our earnings.  And it was just part of what we are going to spend.  But, I kept on thinking that everything's for a good cause.

The process and examinations lasted the whole day.  It wasn't easy since we had a baby and two kids with us.  Good thing that the SLEC guard let my mom inside for the baby and I was able to help my wife with the requirements and needed processing.  And since we were scheduled after a holiday, SLEC was congested that day, which made every step took many hours.

After one exhausting and stressful day, at last all examinations were done.  We returned to the hotel where we were staying for the much needed rest.  And I can't remember a thing by the time we hit the bed.  The next thing I knew was my mom was inviting us to accompany her in meeting a friend.  We didn't expect that they will be paying for the dinner.  But knowing Filipino hospitality, we were just grateful.

At last, we accomplished our first step.  To Yahweh be the glory.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

My PMA Cadet Years (Yearling) - Surviving Academics

February 1997

My yearling pic.
2 to 3- Our yearling framed picture were given this day to each member of our class.  It may be an advance gift/ congratulations for successfully conquering our second year in PMA or a parting gift as a remembrance that once we've became cadets in the academy.  There's no telling really for it was weeks before our final academic exams.  This just meant that soon our dress coat's chevrons will be raised to its shoulders and a second stripe will be gained.  The second class or 3rd year  (also known to cadet's as "cow year") was fast approaching.  I sent the plebe (1st year) pic home the following day.

4- Our company won "Major A" (first place) in the cross country run competition.  A lot of our players landed on top.  Me, I finished part of the 20's, far from my rank in the previous year.  Maybe because as a plebe you run faster especially when an upperclassman in your back tells you, "the worse, plebo (plebe)... dash and dash... you'll be reporting to me when I finish ahead of you".  Speaking of military intimidation, I mean encouragement... hahaha.

5- I joined the camera club.  Like any other universities, we also had membership on extracurricular activities like clubs and associations.  Here, we were just taught of the basics in handling and operating the camera.  There were no formal photography lessons, just passing and sharing experiences from a cadet to another cadet.  More, members of the camera club were excused in our foundation day parade, so it was what cadets called as "talent"... hehehe.

8- Me and a former squad mate were tasked to be on official business in Baguio to buy some flowers for our religious services.  We were in luck to see the city preparing for the start of their flower festival.  Though the streets were becoming crowded as local and foreign tourists came to witness the event, there was still a jolly atmosphere.

10 and 11- Running events.  I was a contender in a 400m dash and ranked 3rd in my group.  The following day, our company was 3rd place in the overall track & field.  Where's the nearest lotto outlet? LOL. 

15- Foundation Day parade... I'm with my camera... camera club... it was a different experience as you see your fellow cadets' actual parade.  A thing not everyone had a chance to see or do, witnessing the event in the grandstand and capturing moments in the camera I was using then.

16- Alumni Homecoming parade.  I was not exempted anymore... it would already be "shabbiness" on my part.  And one won't like to be termed as "shabby", as for cadets it means "taking due advantage in a not so nice manner".  Nevertheless, it was a great event, as PMA alumni march in front of us within their respective classes... snappy.

A pose before the parade proper.
18 to 20- The moment of truth,  Final exams in academics.  Got Physics, Government, Differential Calculus, History, Philosophy and Computer.  They say, yearlings had the hardest subjects which normally are the main reason of cadets being discharged or turned-back (repeating the year level).  Well, I couldn't agree more, I was actually crossing my fingers and continuously praying... and studying like there's no tomorrow, during those times.

22- For a moment I thought my life as a cadet would already end.  I didn't find any class schedule for the next semester that day.  Maybe I looked so down that my room mates couldn't bear to give me a hint, so there it was... hidden inside my study table.  Just couldn't contain my gladness that I finally passed math's differential calculus.  I thanked Yahweh for it.

But not all mistah(s) were able to make it through, in our company alone, there were 6 being discharged that day.  Simply saying that academics inside the academy was a serious matter and not to be taken for granted, as that of the other universities and colleges. 

23 to 27- Just when I was about to breath, academics started already... but there's no room for complaints, the Filipino people were paying for us to study and do good.  And that's part of our duty.  Yahweh bless.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Spending Easter With Kids

It's Easter Sunday.  After visiting the church yesterday, we passed by the nearby mall to meet up the kids with their cousins.  We were actually thinking of just roaming around and have some snacks with the kids, good thing the mall prepared a free film viewing in their activity center.  The kids enjoyed watching "Shrek" and "Rugrats", while we enjoyed the relaxing moments.

While inside, there were those selling items related to Easter.  There were bunnies and foods resembling eggs.  As it was a good marketing strategy, it was also perfect for parents as they need not go far to have something to keep their children busy while having fun, aside from watching the movie. 

Cozy mat for the guests.
Ate decorating her chocolate Easter egg.
Just making things clear, not all kids are mine... LOL.

More from having fun and free entertainment, we had a great bonding moment as a family.  I think that's the best part of the event provided for each and every family that was there.   With this, I commend the management of Abreeza Mall, hoping that this simple generosity will continue for the years to come.

And before I forget, happy 5 months to our dear Jacob.  To Yahweh be the glory... as always.