Thursday, December 17, 2009
Are there more Filipina women looking for a spouse overseas than local Filipino men wanting to marry them?
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
For our kids, we've found movies an effective way to introduce worldview. We teach our 5-year-old daughter the concept of “opposites” by showing her characters that are acceptable and unacceptable, and we're training her early to find messages behind what she sees onscreen. We had one of our best moments as parents of young children when our daughter said the other day, “Every time I see a bad person in a movie it reminds me of how good God is.”
How about you? How do you teach your children or teens Christian worldview?
(Originally posted on The Point blog)
Friday, December 11, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Primitivo Mijares. The former right-hand aid to Ferdinand Marcos turned star witness and whistleblower against the martial law regime. I always admire Mijares' bravery to speak out against a dictator and his mysterious disappearance has always intrigued me since I learned about it many years ago. Mijares, also a former journalist, withdrew his support from Marcos and testified at the US Congress exposing the Marcos' abuse of power during martial law. He also authored the book "The Conjugal Dictatorship of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos" that revealed more details of corruption and human rights violations of Mr. and Mrs. Marcos. As a result, Mijares' young son was abducted, tortured and killed allegedly as a form of revenge or a warning sign for his revelation. Primitivo Mijares later on also suddenly disappeared and was never to be found to this date. Marcos was suspected as the mastermind of his disappearance and the murder of his young son. Both cases were never brought to justice.
I got a big surprised last year when I ordered a used copy of Mijares' "Conjugal Dictatorship" from an independent book seller on Amazon. The book has been out of print for many years so the book was a rare find. When I got the book in the mail, I discovered the copy has a personal signed message from Mijares himself dated Nov. 27, 1976 addressed to the original owner of the book. Thought I'll post a photo of his message online - I think of it as a reminder of hope and prayer for the restoration of personal freedom and democracy to all affected by the Maguindanao Massacre and victims of all unresolved cases of political violence in the Philippines.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Most Filipinos around the world may be busy working and taking care of their families. A tragedy like this can easily escape our attention. But Filipinos should be made aware of the evils of human rights violations and the need to do something more than watching the news. Surely knowing about the massacre does not solve the human rights crisis in the Philippines, but it is certainly a first step.
Remember to pray for all who are affected by this tragedy.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
As Christians, we shouldn't shut away or lose ourselves in the art of cinema. Instead of criticizing Hollywood or all non-Christian themed films as evil or simply thinking "its just a movie" or "just for entertainment only" I believe we should be master and train our eyes to see movies in different perspective - as a new way of delivering beauty and truth found in scriptures to our world hungry for meaning and purpose.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Mabuti na lang at ang dapat malaman ng madami... only God offers the real solution. Christians know that true faith in Him cast out all anxieties dahil may kapayapaan at pananalig tayo na sya lang ang may hawak at may alam sa future natin at ng ating mundo. Sa halip na mag-focus sa end-of-times, mag-focus na lang sana tayo sa nag-iisang Creator of time.
Click here for further reading.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
I recommend Carlo Ople's blog post on Jalosjos to learn more about him and what the Arroyo administration did to his case.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Fortunately Christianity offer a better and stronger explanation. While all humans are born with the capacity to sin, we are also capable of caring for others because God created us in His image. Not only we compete with our neighbors for survival but we can care for them and even willing to sacrifice our lives for them.
(Click here for further reading)
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
In these times of economic instability and other multitudinous national problems, not a few Filipinos are wondering why the Philippines is poor. But someone else says that we can still reverse the path of economic decline and moral decadence through prayer.
I got two messages sent through the Internet, one from a Dr. Arsenio Martin of Fort Arthur, Texas, USA, who posed the intriguing question "Why is the Philippines Poor?", and the other from Jesuit Father James Reuter who offered prayer as "our only hope" for national salvation.
Here are excerpts from Dr. Martin's message: "The difference between the poor countries and the rich ones is not the age of the country. This can be shown by countries like India and Egypt that are more than 2000 years old, but are still poor. On the other hand, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, only 150 years old, are rich and highly developed countries.
"The difference between poor and rich countries does not reside in the available natural resources. Japan has a limited territory, mountainous, inadequate for agriculture and cattle raising, but it is the world's second economic power. It is like a floating factory, importing raw materials from all over the world and exporting manufactured products.
"Another example is Switzerland. It does not plant cocoa, and yet is has the best chocolates in the world. In its little territory, the people raise animals and plant the soil only during four months of a year. Not enough, and yet they produce dairy products of the best quality. It is a small country that transmits an image of security and order, and the world's strongest and safest place in the world.
"Executives from rich countries who communicate with their counterparts in poor countries show that there is no significant intellectual difference among them. Race or skin color is also not important. Immigrants labeled lazy in their countries of origin are the most productive in rich European counties.
"What is the difference then? The difference is in the attitude of the people, framed along the years by education and culture and flawed tradition.
"On analyzing the behavior of the people in rich and developed countries, we find that the great majority following these principles in their lives: Ethics, Integrity, Responsibility, Respect for laws and rules, Respect of the rights of other citizens, Work loving, Strive for savings and investment, Will of action, Punctuality and Discipline.
"In poor countries, only a minority follow these basic principles in their daily life. The Philippines is not poor because we lack natural resources or because Nature has been cruel to us. In fact, we are rich in natural resources. But we are poor because we lack the correct attitudes. We lack the will to comply with and teach these functional principles of rich and developed societies.
"If you love your country, let this message circulate so that many Filipinos could reflect about this and change their attitudes and ACT!"
Here are excerpts from Father Reuter's message of what he calls "the only hope" for the Philippines: "The signs are clear. Our nation is headed towards an irreversible path of economic decline and moral decadence.
"It is not the lack of effort. We have seen many men and women of integrity in and out of government, NGOs, church groups and people's organizations devote themselves to the task of nation-building, oftentimes against insurmountable odds.
"But not even two People Revolutions have made a dent in reversing this trend. At best, we have moved one step forward, but three steps backward.
"We need a force far greater than our collective efforts, as a people, can ever hope to muster. It is time to move the battle to the spiritual realm.
"It is time to claim God's promise of healing the land for His people. It is time to gather God's people on its knees to pray for the economic recovery and moral reformation of our nation.
"Is prayer really the answer?
"Before you dismiss this as just another rambling of a religious fanatic, I'd like you to consider some lessons we can glean from history.
"England's ascendancy to world power was preceded by the Reformation, a spiritual revival fuelled by intense prayers.
"The early American settlers built the foundation that would make it the most powerful nation today - a strong faith in God and a disciplined prayer life. Throughout its history, and especially at its major turning points, waves of revival and prayer movement swept across the land.
"In recent times, we see Korea as a nation experiencing revival and in the process producing the largest Christian church in the world today.. No wonder it has emerged as a strong nation when other economies around are faltering.
"Even from a purely secular viewpoint, it makes a lot of sense. For here there is genuine humbling and seeking of God through prayer, moral reformation necessarily follows. And this, in turn, will lead to general prosperity.
"Yes, we believe prayer can make a difference.
"It is our only hope!"
(Malaya.com.ph, June 7, 2008)
Monday, November 2, 2009
About three weeks ago our 5-year-old daughter started to complain about a red “bug bite” on the bottom of her foot. We didn’t give it too much attention because we thought it was just a simple mosquito bite that usually goes away. Until a few hours later she was in excruciating pain and her leg was swollen and almost covered with purple spots.
A rush to the ER revealed that Isabelle has Henoch-Schonlein purpura, or HSP. It’s a rare condition where the blood vessels get inflamed, usually after a viral infection, causing bruise-like spots to appear on the body and joints to swell. HSP could last for a few weeks or a few months, it usually attacks children, and there’s no known cause or cure for it. It’s not seriously life-threatening but it’s painful and could affect the internal organs -- children who had it showed signs of kidney problems later in life. So far, lab and blood results of my daughter showed everything is still within normal range. No medication was prescribed except lots of liquid, rest, and Ibuprofen for the daily pain.
This is what my family has been learning these past few weeks: As we care for Isabelle and watch her condition, we are also learning an important lesson on resilience. It’s true what many say, that children are resilient: They easily bounce back from pain. My daughter would cry every night because of the throbbing pain in her legs, but once the pain was gone, she was back to her fun, spirited self as if nothing had happened -- no “woe is me” nor dwelling on the past. There are many children who are in a worse or more painful condition than my daughter. My heart goes out to them and their families, but it’s comforting to know that these children possess the same resilience I saw in my daughter. I think God created all children this way . . . which means that all of us adults are capable of being resilient as well. For me or anyone else who tends to forget this innate human quality, Christ offers a word of advice: “. . . be like children” (Matthew 18:3)
(Originally posted on The Point blog)
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Recently, countries in Asia Pacific were hit with massive typhoons that caused widespread flooding and left thousands dead or homeless. I’m closely following this story because as some of you may already know, I am originally from the Philippines, which is one of the countries severely affected by the tropical storms. None of my immediate family was hurt by the devastation, and only a few friends and extended family members of mine reported home and property damage. But many are not so fortunate.
A situation report by the UN’s Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs revealed that almost 1 million Filipino families were affected and displaced by three consecutive strong typhoons, are faced with serious health and sanitation problems, and need immediate aid. If you’re interested in helping, please visit my personal blog, The Living Rice, and click the “Donate” link located on the top right side of the page to donate via PayPal. Your donations will be received and distributed by Pagasa Lambat Ministries, a Christian worldview ministry in the Philippines.
Donations will go toward the following:
1. Replenishing emergency food bags.
2. Helping local churches replace small equipment they lost in the flood, including guitars, chairs, teaching materials, and the like.
3. Helping relocated families by providing school uniforms, shoes and school supplies for their children.
4. Helping relocated families cope with social and economic pressures by conducting parenting and container gardening seminars.
5. Helping pastors and teachers who lost their capability to generate supplemental income due to the storm and flooding by providing small-scale financial assistance for a month.
Please visit the ministry’s website for photos of their relief efforts. And thank you for your help.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Lahat tayo, we put a lot of time and money to stay fit and slim. Ako nga sanay at habit na ang pag-woworkout para magkaroon ng konting muscles ang katawan at mamaintain ang proper cholesterol levels. I wake up early, mostly before sunrise to go to the gym, spend $10 per month for gym membership, subscribe to Men's Health magazine and stopped eating white rice on week days. This is important because we should treat our bodies as God's temple. But do I put the same discipline into maintaining my spiritual health? Im guilty na minsan di gaano.
To stay spiritually healthy, we must have spiritual disciplines. This means we study and pray over the Bible, share our faith, get involved in church, and fellowship with other believers. Gaya ng regular physical workouts para maging healthy, kailangan nating lahat ang spiritual workout so we can live out our personal relationship with Christ. When we fail to do this and draw near to Him, we’re the biggest losers.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
“I had been asked on many occasions why I have been in the Philippines for 71 years and my answer is, the Filipinos are the most lovable people on the whole face of the earth... I find the Filipinos I talk to are closer to God and it really touches me when people come to me. I am always wishing that I was so close to God as they are. I am far closer to God (through) the people here in the Philippines... I learned from actual experience here in the Philippines that if you truly give anything you will receive so much. So I would say it is a blessing to be here. And it is a blessing to help those who are in need,”
“For everyone in the Philippines, right now the test is to help those who are in need, to help those who need help. It is not enough that we are grateful for the gifts that God has given us but we have to reach out to others as far as we can.”
Any faithful servant of God nearing the end of his/her life reminds me of the verse below that best sums up Fr. Reuter's service to God through the Filipino people.
"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness ..." (2 Tim 4:7, 8)
After reading what Smartmatic’s international sales director had to say about the automated system that will be put in place to tally the upcoming election votes, I must say that I am more confident that we will get an accurate final result. Having said that, I still would insist on an audit report from a leading accounting firm that will certify to the fair presentation of tally reports to the Comelec.
Six months to go. I still say that this presidential election is between Senator Villar of the Nacionalista Party and Senator Aquino of the Liberal Party. I still say that we are going back to a two-party system. Most Filipino politicians are attracted to party resources and not to political platform or ideology. Therefore, the NP will get more of the balimbings. The LP, on the other hand, will get the progressives. I still say that Senator Aquino will win by a comfortable margin. 50% to Villar’s 40% with the remaining 10% divided among the standard bearers of the soon-to-be marginalized political parties.
Senator Escudero will find himself alone and abandoned by the people he thought will be there for him until the end. It will expose his lack of feel for the nation’s political reality show. His is a case of overconfidence. There is still time to back-out and salvage a possible Roxas-Escudero rivalry in 2016.
No one really believes in Senator Legarda anymore except political pundits. And no one really believes, either, that former President Estrada stands a chance of winning except for party loyalists.
Like Ramil, voters may change their minds a few times during survey season. At the end of the day, however, my prediction: Senator Aquino will prove that he is the better man, the one who can be trusted to work for the well-being of the Filipino. Our people will see both Ninoy and Cory in his personality.
A godly leader has certain qualities: wisdom, discernment, faith, loyalty, humility, integrity and courage. He also possesses certain abilities:
1. A godly leader has the ability to form a mental picture of a desired end. He sees what others may not, and his vision becomes his guiding light. He is a visionary.
2. A godly leader has the ability to perceive the different parts or details of a whole. He understands how something comes or holds together so that he can readily offer alternative solutions or corrective courses of action when problems come up. He is insightful.
3. A godly leader can communicate effectively. He has the ability to articulate and explain a vision, a concept, or an idea in such a way as to be clearly understood. He is a communicator.
4. A godly leader knows how to inspire his people so that they develop the attitude of performing to the best of their abilities. He helps them reach their full potential. He is a motivator.
5. A godly leader provides a sense of security. His commitment, competence, and confidence earn him the respect and trust of his people. They know that when the going gets tough, he will not quit on them or point his finger at them, but will keep on fighting for their well-being. He is an energizer.
6. A godly leader has the ability to rally his troops without having to make promises or resort to manipulation. His people sees him as someone who has no pretense. This kind of leader says what he means and means what he says. He provides his people with no false hopes. He is the real deal.
7. A godly leader leads by example and he is consistent. His people know just what they can expect of him. He is always at his best.
Friday, October 23, 2009
My initial reaction was "hindi naman siguro" then naging "huwag naman sana." This is a serious allegation and its best to follow this report faily and get both sides of the stories first before jumping into any conclusions.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
Now that Ondoy and Pepeng had left our shores and we are focused on rebuilding our national life, various government leaders say that it will take anywhere from hundreds of millions to billions of dollars to get our people back on their feet and repair the damages. As usual, our trusted public servants are getting ready to move us two steps forward and three steps back with their guess work ethic.
Now is the time to shout at the top of our voices, “Enough is enough!”
As I have said in previous blogs, I see a window of opportunity for us, Filipinos. I see the resurgence of a two-party system - latest surveys are proving me right - which will make it easier for the voting public to be able to judge who the better candidates are among those running for various offices. This will be good for us - - an opportunity to be able to cast an informed vote; an opportunity to be able to raise our spirit and say, “This vote is for you, Bayan Ko.”
Next year’s presidential elections will be between the Nacionalista Party and the Liberal Party. Politicians from the ruling party are beginning to abandon ship. Many have already decided they will become Nacionalistas. They are the opportunist-realists. Many more from the soon-to-be-marginalized political parties who tend to be practical idealists will join the Liberal Party. 80% of those who participated in recent surveys is telling us that this wind is blowing strong and the times, they are a-changing. So, at the end of the day, two political parties will remain standing.
What the electorate need to demand from both the Nacionalista Party and the Liberal Party is their platform. How will they address the pressing issues of the day?
- How will they stop corruption in governments?
- How will they reduce our national debt?
- How will they balance the national budget?
- How will they create jobs?
- How will they improve our justice systems?
- How will they address the problem of squatting?
- How will they address the problem of exploding population?
- What form of Federalism might be good for us?
Looking into the character of party key leaders is as important as sizing up their respective standard bearer. So, the electorate need to consider the leaders of both parties and ask, “What public good have they done?.” And how do Gilbert Remulla and Peter Cayetano measure up to Jovito Salonga and Franklin Drillon? Are they more knowledgeable, more innovative in the way they think, more politically skillful, or not?
Then, of course, the voting public need to zoom in on the character of Villar and his running mate as compared to Aquino and Roxas. Which tandem has the qualities of godly leadership that we need? Which combination possesses wisdom, discernment, faith, loyalty, humility, integrity and courage?
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
GMA's cry for help to other countries was commendable and I hope many will respond to her call. But I question her for pointing a finger at climate change. How can she back up her claim with scientific facts when the hysteria over global warming has been discredited by many in the scientific community (read related article here)?
Wish GMA could have been more real. Beside the naturally strong winds and rain, there's also deforestation and garbage pollution has that has been causing severe floods and tragic landslides in the Philippines almost every year, but who's pointing a finger at these possible man-made culprits?
We realize that the suffering many of our people recently experienced was initiated by the record-breaking rainfall poured out by Ondoy and the strong winds hurled by Pepeng. But it could be argued that it could have been meaningfully minimized if not for the incompetence of many of our government leaders with regards to disaster preparedness and response.
This appalling condition in our government many would say is due for the most part to corruption, abuse of power and insatiable greed on the part of those who are currently in leadership positions. Make no mistake about it, these are sins that just recently caused loss of life and property.
Our country is in desperate need of leaders who are truthful, good and righteous. In other words, we are in need of godly leaders. But how can we identify them? How do we measure godliness?
First, lets try character. In my book, a godly leader possesses certain qualities. Like:
1. Wisdom - The quality which enables a person to apply knowledge according to God’s will. A wise person is, of course, knowledgeable; but it does not necessarily follow that a knowledgeable person has acquired wisdom. One must learn how to apply knowledge in a way that is pleasing not to people, whether poor or rich, but to God.
2. Discernment - The quality which enables a person to distinguish between good and evil, between right and wrong. A discerning person applies testing before coming to a conclusion.
3. Faith - The quality which enables a person to live in the certainty of God's statutes, promises and directives. Faith believes God and acts upon His word.
4. Loyalty - The quality which enables a person to remain true and devoted to God, country and fellowmen.
5. Humility - The quality which enables a person to do what is pleasing to God, instead of what is self-pleasing or acceptable to other people. It is what makes a person able to regard others more deserving than him or herself.
6. Integrity - The quality of wholeness and of consistent uprightness. It is that which enables a person to deal with others in all honesty. It is the state in which a person could say, "I've got nothing to hide.” His or her life is characterized as being transparent and beyond reproach.
7. Courage - The quality which enables a person able to confront danger or difficulty without wavering. A courageous person never chooses the path of least resistance. The highest degree of courage is seen in the uncompromising person who stands alone but refuses to submit to the pressures of humiliation, pain or rejection.
In a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being of no character at all and 10 being the perfect godly leader, how would your guts rate the following presidential aspirants:
· Joseph Estrada
· Francis Escudero
· Gilberto Teodoro
· Manuel Villar
· Benigno Aquino III
· Eddie Villanueva
· Bayani Fernando
· Richard Gordon