Fr. Benny Castañeda

We went home to my mother’s hometown in Colong, Kabayan Benguet. It was an abrupt decision last Sat. I was surprised to learn that Fr. Benny is the current parish priest of Sayangan. What a small world we really have. He was our regular priest before at St. Martin. He was the officiating priest on our First Holy Communion and our graduation. He has been with us in almost all of the occasions in our school. He was one of our favorite priests and we love him. He was also our parish priest before in St. Paul Tuba. The folks in Colong also love him because of his maka-masa ways. He goes to the most remote areas to evangelize. For this, he will surely be missed when he will be transferred to Cathedral at the end of this month.

The Good Manong Taxi Driver

I had a good chat with Manong Taxi Driver on the way home. He talked about his passengers for the day. He has a list of his passengers and their destinations. In his list, I am the 19th passenger. He shared about those passengers who are generous enough to give him a tip. Others even give him food for pasalubong. I asked him how his income is with the current gasoline rate. He said it’s not a huge amount but enough for his family to eat at least 3 times a day. I was particularly touched when he shared that he can’t resist passengers who have babies and kids with them. Every time he sees such passengers, he remembers the safety of his own grandchildren, that’s why he lets them ride even though it’s already the end of his shift. It’s his own way of doing something good for other people. It’s comforting to know that there are still trustworthy people around despite all the crises around.

Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday and fortunately for us, we were able to attend mass at Divine Mercy, the church near the office. The priest’s sermon was about the things that we usually do during fasting and abstinence. Since its Lenten season, I was thinking of one or more things to abstain from. On the way home, I decided to refrain from saying bad words. Francis and I actually made this as our resolution around July last year but with the nature of our job, we really can’t avoid it sometimes (Am I making excuses here? J). Anyway, this time, I’d like to bring back that resolution.

Waking up to a cool Antipolo morning

We spent the night at Loreland Resort to celebrate Raquel’s birthday. We ate, swam, had some wine, and sang to our heart’s content. At around 4 AM, we decided to sleep for a few hours. We woke up at around 6:30 am and were greeted by the cool breeze of Antipolo. It was just great. It felt like I woke up in Baguio but then of course, upon seeing my surroundings, I knew I was not at home. We had breakfast, toured the surroundings, stayed at the swing for a few minutes exchanging stories about people we know. It was indeed bonding time with my friend and cousin plus a break from the hectic days in the office. At around 8:30 am, we had to leave coz the night package that we availed has officially ended at 8:00 am.

Being grateful

I read somewhere that it is a good practice to write down the things that we are grateful for so that we could appreciate life more. So today, I start with my own list.

Today, I am grateful for:

  • The opportunity to go to a new place and have a break from my hectic work
  • Being able to buy a stored value MRT card thus, there’s no need to fall in line for single journey tickets
  • The 100 peso gift certificate courtesy of Sykes
  • Jen’s invitation to an overnight swimming at Antipolo ü

Daddy’s Letter

(This was my Dad’s letter in response to the letter I gave them. It’s one of our requirements in our English subject. I guess it has something to do with the different sentence constructions. The letter is dated November 15, 1992.)

My Dear Mylene,

A pleasant day to you too.

I am so grateful that you appreciate very much our way of disciplining all of you our dear children. It is because your mom and I would not want our children to be misled in life. Much more that you are still too young to understand the different factors affecting is in this world we live in. you see, there are two directions of our life as we grow. These are the negative and positive directions. Should you be thinking that you know better than what other people do, you are absolutely wrong. You might be following the negative direction of life.

On the other hand, if you would be thinking that you will be careful to follow the right path of life, you cannot be so sure about it. Why? Because you are young and as you grow older, you will be more exposed to society and encounter a lot of temptations that might lead you to the wrong direction. It is in this kind of life situation that we, as parents, come in to give you the proper guidance as much as we can, although there are instances that we do not give you the precise advice because of some problems that we also encounter. We hope that you will understand and forgive us too whenever we are in such kind of attitude. Anyway, our main intention is to help you develop yourselves to become a worthy member of a good society.

And now, asking the favor of our Almighty Lord, to grant us his blessings and that I may bestow also such blessings on all of you my dear, dear children.

With love from your dad,

Farewell 2005, Hola 2006!

I have ended 2005 and welcomed 2006 in the office. I had to go to work for the year end conversion. This is my first time to be spending New Year here in Manila and I don’t like it that much. I don’t feel safe because of the firecrackers you hear all around and there’s thick smoke! I miss Baguio. It’s much peaceful there. I hope this year I won’t have to do year end conversion again.

I am happy with how my 2005 went. There were no serious problems that I wasn’t able to handle. I got to learn new things, I got promoted, I got my MCP certification, was able to save a little, I bought my PC and there’s SM too :=). I made friends with new officemates, still friends with my ICOF, was able to visit a new place (Romblon, courtesy of Fides and Weng :=) ). For all of these and for all the other blessings, I am forever grateful to our Almighty Father and to all the people, who in one way or the other have touched my life.
I wish that 2006 would be a better year still. I hope that whatever challenges that come along, I can handle it with grace and confidence.

Letters of Yesteryears

Last weekend, I was checking the files in my cabinet in Baguio when I came across some of the letters from family and friends that I received over the years. One letter that I read came from my cousin Riza. She was just done with her college enrolment at that time but she can’t understand the schedule so she wrote me a note asking me to help her understand those. She also told me her experiences during the enrolment…that she did not know what she was doing, and that it was only her mom who accompanied her. She asked me not to laugh at her ignorance about how everything goes in college haha! (And of course I did not. I know how it feels) She was apologetic for disturbing me because of her letter but at the same time demanding that I answer ASAP. I am happy that she survived college. Now, she is a full pledged teacher!

Another is a birthday card from Jen, one of my friends since elementary. In addition to the usual birthday greeting, she also wrote a thank you note for all the advices that I gave her and for being a great friend daw. Now I can’t even remember what she was talking about haha. I am just glad that I made someone’s day better through my simple words of wisdom (naks!).

In high school, when summer break comes, it is a practice of most of the students to ask for parting notes from our classmates and teachers. One note that I received in 4th year high school was from my adviser, Mrs. Lily Ferrer. She was wishing me good luck in whatever course I wish to pursue in college. She also advised me to apply for scholarships, which of course I did. I guess she knew then that money was an issue and maybe a reason for me not to continue my studies. But the Lord has always been good and He provides!

Now I remember another letter that I treasure until these days. When I was in 1st year high school, our English teacher required us to write a letter to our parents and have them reply. Yes, this is graded. So I made one and gave it to my dad telling him that it was an assignment and we are required to submit a reply from our parents the following day. I did that just before I went to sleep because I did not want to see his reaction and I did not want us to talk about it. You see, my family is not expressive of how much we value each other hehe. Anyway, the next morning, I saw his reply in our study table. I was expecting a short note but he wrote a long one and I really cried when I read it. Good thing I was the only one awake that time so my siblings nor my parents did not see me. When I went to school, I saw that my classmates’ parents’ replies were just short messages just to comply with the assignment. Deep inside, I felt blessed and I was proud of my parents. Of course I am, until today. I shall be posting that letter here.

As I end this journal entry, I would just like to thank all the people who have become a part of my existence. I wish you all well.

Lessons for the day

  • God is good…all the time!
  • When you’re mad, frustrated, or irritated, take a deep breath and if possible, take a short break. Don’t do anything, just stay put.
  • Speak up.
  • Think positive.
  • God answers prayers in His own ways.
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