Update: Last February , 2018 the City of Cebu honored the composer, Vicente Rubi for his Contribution to Music. Ludivina Rubi Najarro, his lone surviving child received the award.

Tita Luding Rubi Pleños with Ka Bino Guerrero

Kasadya Ning Takna-a (“How Joyful Is This Season”) is a classic Christmas Carol and my favorite Filipino Christmas Carol. I still remember the lyrics by heart because I used to sing this upbeat Christmas song as a little girl while caroling with my friends in Cebu.



Listen to Kasadya ni Takna-a on Spotify.

classic Filipino carol


Kasadya ning taknaa
Dapit sa kahimayaan
Mao’y atong makita
Ang panagway’ng masanglagon
Bulahan ug bulahan
Ang tagbalay nga giawitan
Awit nga halangdonon ug sa tanang Pasko

Repeat Preface
Bag-ong tuig
Bag-ong kinabuhi
Duyogan ‘ta sa atong gebati
Atong awiton aron sa kalipay
kita makaangkon!

Awit nga halangdonon ug sa tanang Pasko magmalipayon

I am sure the song is more familiar to you if sang as Ang Pasko ay Sumapit, a popular Filipino Christmas Carol and the Tagalog adaptation of the 1933 Cebuano carol. Ang Pasko ay Sumapit first hit the airwaves when I was a teenager but I was horrified to hear my favorite carol sang in a different accent and beat. It’s not the same., I cried inside. I don’t hear the rondalla introduction of the song. It sounds horrible. I thought. The heavy (maragsa) accent that added vigor and festiveness was just not there in the Tagalog version. I’m sure if you heard the Tagalog version, you would appreciate Ang Pasko ay Sumapit but I first heard it sung in Visayan!

Listen to this:

For me, Ang Pasko ay Sumapit is NOTHING compared to the joyfulness of the carol if sang in Visayan. The closest Tagalog version that follows true to the original version is the one sang by the Mabuhay Singers. Even the meaning of the lyrics are different.

But what makes the song even pathetic is the composer was paid a measly price for the Tagalog version. Here is the story of the Cebuano composer, Vicente Rubi.

A gentle Cebuano composer Vicente Rubi jotted down the notes of this daygon (carol) for a Christmas festival that year. Mariano Vestil, another Cebuano, wrote the lyrics. Forgotten Today, carolers in Cebu still sing the lilting beat and lyrics that the now-barely-remembered Rubi and Vestil blended 70 years ago. Bulahan ang tagbalay nga giawitan (“Blessed the homes that carolers sing to”). ….”It’s the supremest of ironies in a country that boasts of the longest celebration of Christmas,” Jullie Yap Daza wrote in the Times Journal in 1978. “But not a trace of effort has been made to attribute the beloved carol Ang Pasko Ay Sumapit to its author, Vicente D. Rubi.” By then, Rubi was an old impoverished widower, confined in a Cebu hospital. His carol had been hijacked by a recording company for 150 pesos.

Cebuanos recall the frail old man would shuffle to teach carolers, at his gate, how to sing his carol right. “Nong Inting” died in 1980, denied “what is due him in royalties,” now Manila Standard editor Yap-Daza wrote. This is raw exploitation. Today’s jargon calls that “Intellectual Property Rights” theft.

I heard Kasadya Ning Takna-a sang a few years ago and nearly choked in tears at the thought of Vicente Rubi never being paid royalties by that greedy recording company. Whenever I listen to Ang Pasko ay Sumapit, not only do I feel strange hearing it sung in a different tone but I feel history should give more credit to Vicente Rubi.

Bagong tuig, bagong kinabuhi, the Cebuano original, and its Tagalog adaptation, proclaim. It echoes the Advent cry of Isaiah: “Break the fetters of injustice … and break every yoke/ Then, will your light break forth as the morning.”

Where is the justice due Vicente Rubi?

Though more than 70 years have lapsed and royalties are way past the 50 year mark, I will honor Vicente Rubi in this blog for all the world to know him as the composer of Ang Pasko ay Sumapit, the Tagalog version of Kasadya Ning Takna-a.

One day, I hope a music producer will come out with the Kasadya Ning Takna-a , the original daygon version. Hopefully, this forgotten Cebuano Carol will once again claim its rightful place in Philippine music.

How joyful is this season if we remember Vicente Rubi.

What is your favorite Christmas song?

Wow, the kilig factor is still alive a year after. The AlDub phenomena is a year old. Two factors strike me on why ALDUB, this “Kilig Pa More” KalyeSerye is a hit : the kilig factor, of course and the timeout experience. I am not surprised ALDub phenomenal romance is celebrating its first year anniversary.

Starting 12:00PM today, July 16, AlDub fans can join the conversation on Twitter to mark the first year anniversary of supercouple Alden Richards @aldenrichards02 and Maine Mendoza @mainedcm by Tweeting with #AlDub1stAnniversary hashtag to unlock a special heart emoji. This Twitter emoji pays tribute to the global AlDub phenomenon and celebrates the romance that has taken the Philippines and the world like a perfect storm.

emoji heart

By including #AlDub1stAnniversary hashtag when composing a Tweet, a special Twitter heart emoji will appear after the hashtag in the sent Tweet. This is the first time that Twitter has created a customized emoji for a TV show in Southeast Asia.

“As a partner of Eat Bulaga, Twitter has witnessed the rise of AlDub from a local sensation on Philippine television to a global social TV phenomenon. It is powered by the love of fans all over the world, and the creativity of the show producers. The recent launch of the emoji for AlDub’s first year anniversary celebrates the show, the AlDub love story, and most importantly the fans who have flocked to Twitter to express their love and support over the past year,” said Pratiksha Rao, Twitter’s Head of Media Partnerships in Southeast Asia.

Looking back, the AlDub love team debuted on July 2015 in the ‘Kalyeserye’ segment of the popular noon-time TV show Eat Bulaga before they became one of the most well-known personalities on Twitter. Eat Bulaga’s Twitter account (@EatBulaga), which constantly keeps fans updated on the show by live-Tweeting each telecast and sharing behind-the-scenes images and videos, has added over 1.8 million followers in the past 12 months (over 200% growth) from 880,000 to 2.72 million followers today.

The record breaking 41M Tweets for #AlDubEBTamangPanahon concert on October 24, 2015 placed the Philippines in the Guinness World Records, making #AlDubEBTamangPanahon the most used hashtag in a 24-hour period.

On October 25, 2015, Maine’s Tweet thanked the Dabarkads and AlDub nation for their love and support, accumulating over 76,000 ReTweets and 133,000 Likes, which made it the 2015 Golden Tweet for the Philippines.

The love team’s road to stardom continued as AlDub’s Valentine’s day campaign #AlDubIsLove amassed over 4.1 million Tweets from February 12 to 14, 2016. This marked an iconic moment for AlDub fans as they received personalized autographed posters from Alden and Maine on Twitter.

The recent release of the first movie starring the AlDub couple, Imagine You and Me, on 13th July also generated mass conversation on Twitter with over 7.9 Million Tweets about the movie in the one week leading up to its release. Set in Italy, the movie was discussed on Twitter by fans globally with the top five countries that generated the most conversation about the movie being the Philippines, United States, Canada, UAE and Australia.

Finally, Eat Bulaga and the AlDub couple have used Twitter to innovate and create special moments for their fans globally. Recently, they surprised a few lucky fans by Tweeting personal video answers to their questions.

Fans should follow @EatBulaga (Eat Bulaga), @mainedcm (Maine Mendoza), and @aldenrichards02 (Alden Richards) on Twitter to get real-time updates on the AlDub love story, participate in the conversation, and get behind-the-scene moments first on Twitter.


Two factors strike me on why ALDUB, this “Kilig Pa More” KalyeSerye is a hit : the kilig factor, of course and the timeout experience. If you read Our love story: 30 years married. 37 years with my college sweetheart, I wrote about how my husband and I nearly separated . There is no “happily ever after” . My  husband and I tried to make it work and we did. In my blog post, I added that “the secret in the renewal of our marriage was actually reliving that first time we fell madly in love with each other.”

And that is how I believe the “kilig factor” helped jumpstart our marriage. The thing going for me is I wrote a diary that detailed those early years with my ex-boyfriend…I wrote about the giddiness and romantic moments and why we fell in love, in the first place. I remember those early days. No wonder ALDUB is such a hit for the young and young at heart .

Image via gmanetwork.com. Some rights reserved.

Image via gmanetwork.com. Some rights reserved.

It is not only the kilig factor that couples can benefit. A priest even said that couples in trouble can learn perseverance and sacrifice from the Aldub segment.

“When [husbands and wives] encounter the hardships of married life, their tendency is to turn their backs or separate,” added Mamaril, parish priest of St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Calendola Village, San Pedro City for the past two years.

Watch the first time Alden Richards and Maine “Yaya Dub” Mendoza met each other. You can see Yaya Dub’s eyes light up as she spotted Alden on the split screen.

While this is a fictional love team, Yaya Dub did have a crush on Alden. Direk Mike Tuviera said that “it was born from the moment that the staff found out that in real life, Yaya Dub had a crush on Alden. No one knew that.”

There are so many reason why many Filipinos love #AlDub  but the one that strikes me as the number one reason is the “kilig” factor .  

It has kilig factor. Every time Alden and Yaya Dub exchange dubsmash, pabebe wave, and pinky promise, the crowd goes wild with kilig. Same also happens when Alden flashes those cute smiles showing his dimples. Another kilig factor in this “Kilig Pa More” KalyeSerye is that Alden is doing all sorts of challenges that Lola Nidora had been throwing at him just to see Yaya Dub.

Next to the kilig factor is the timeout experience. I am sure each one of us have our own guilty pleasure. I turn to coloring books to destress. Others play online games or watch a movie marathon. Then, ALDUB came to the lives of the Filipino viewers and netizens. I never paid attention to the ALDUB phenomena until the day before their first date. That Friday evening, I watched the first and current series with my husband. We had a good laugh about it. I told my husband “kilig eh”. Not only kilig , but it was my moment to zone out at the end of a long day.

ALDUB is a timeout experience..to just be and relax, and laugh.

What is a timeout experience?

Image via Medill on Media Engagement; Abe Peck and Edward C. Malthouse; Hampton Press November 2010

Image via Medill on Media Engagement; Abe Peck and Edward C. Malthouse; Hampton Press November 2010

It’s a quiet time.

It’s my reward for doing other things.

It’s an escape.

It’s takes my mind off other things that are going on.

I feel less stress…

I like going to this site when I am eating or taking a break.

Each one of us has a  timeout experience. Most homemakers relate to this and turn to noontime shows to take a break. What is important is to  put a balance in our lives: time to zone out and a time to work. What I really hope is that the love of  the #ALDUB kalyeserye, overflows to rekindling of relationships. Yes, even  love of country  by using that feel-good hashtag for social change. I read an ALDUB fan tweet both #juanvote and #ALDUB hashtag.

I have hope.

Yes, enjoy the show and laugh out loud.

Dolphy’s critical condition suddenly brought me back to memory lane when John and Marsha aired weekly on RPN Channel 9 in 1973. In the early seventies, there were not many TV channels and interesting shows. Nothing much to distract a 15 year old teener. The cast always have me in stitches with their antics and funny quips.

Puruntong-Jones family(clockwise from top left Matutina, Doña Delilah G. Jones, Rolly J. Puruntong, Marsha J. Puruntong,John H. Puruntong and Shirley J. Puruntong. Photo via wikia.com)

John and Marsha TV show “starred Dolphy,Nida Blanca, Dely Atay-Atayan and Maricel Soriano with a cast of include John Purúntong (Dolphy), his wife Marsha (Nida Blanca), their children Rolly (Rolly Quizon), Shirley (Maricel Soriano). Later episodes show John-John, and the nagging mother-in-law Doña Delilah (Dely Atay-atayan). It ran every week for 17 years until 1990. ”

Growing up with Puruntong-Jones family until I had my own babies is quite a long time.

So what makes it so funny? For those who have never seen the series, wikipedia gives this short description.

Marsha Jones marries the impoverished John Purúntong much to the dismay of her wealthy mother, Doña Delilah. Although her daughter married the unemployed John, Doña Delilah often paid a visit to their house along with her maid, Matutína. When money was required, she would tell her maid Matutína to go sweep peso bills off the floor. Despite this, John rejects all the financial help Doña Delilah offers his family, the result of which is a hilarious exchange of insults between the two. The show ends with Doña Delilah’s loud catchphrase “Kayà ikáw, John, magsumíkap ka!” (“Therefore you, John, have to work hard!”) to insult John’s capability as the father of the household. They end up making amends, giving each other abrupt hugs with Doña Delilah exclaiming, “Peace man!” to proclaim peace. (Source: wikipedia)

In my teens, I could not imagine marrying someone who had no job. I found the whole show quite shallow but still fun to watch. I guess it was meant to be a satire type of entertainment. Lessons learned back then was that marriage is not simply just loving each other. One needed a stable source of income to meet daily needs of a family. Another lesson learned is laughing can be quite a stress reliever.

There are now calls to bestow Dolphy with the National Artist Award considering his outstanding contribution in the entertainment industry for decades. Dolphy played other memorable roles outside of John and Marsha.

Dolphy deserves this award. Millions of us appreciated his work for many years. Growing up with the Puruntong-Jones family was very much a part of our lives. Though technical reasons will prevent the National Commission on the Culture and Arts from giving him the award this year, things can still be fast-tracked.

““we should give it to the man who made us laugh for decades.”

““It’s not about the music, but about being yourself!” – Lady Gaga

Celebrating love, life and experience in the midst of protest against Lady Gaga concert.

“Tonight is all about togetherness. In our differences, we are all the same.”- Lady Gaga

I half-expected her to show up in a semi-naked attire or something but more than 50 percent of the time , she was in a long dress or short skirt. In fact, I spotted two attires that were Filipiniana-inspired because of the sleeves. This Filipiana in yellow color makes her want to be one with the Filipinos.

The most controversial among her songs is “Judas” but she explained it this way.

““Judas is a metaphor and an analogy about forgiveness and betrayal, and things that haunt you in your life, and how I believe that it’s the darkness in your life that ultimately shines and illuminates the greater light that you have upon you.”

I read the lyrics and they are indeed provocative but you have to read it deeper to understand the metaphors. I don’t believe it is anti-Christian. Here are some photos I took last night with some of her quotable quotes:

“Some people say I stand for things that are bad, the truth is, I want the best for every single one of you” -Lady Gaga

Jane and I carpooled together and arrived at SM Arena at about 7:00 PM. Strangely there was no traffic on the way there . No hassle at all.

I actually expected the worst from Lady Gaga considering how the protesters trashed her but she was fun, entertaining that I even danced, and jumped around. I can also see the expression in her face as she sang the songs with slower tempo.

The set reminds me of a Cathedral-Palace with Crosses all around.

Before she sang Judas she called out “I am not an alien. I am not a woman. I am not a man. I am not a creature of your government, Manila”

Mother Monster says, “I want the best for you. I love all of you guys!

Singing and playing the piano in a motorbike with the Philippine flag at the back is the most provocative of all.

Spreading her legs brought cheers from the crowd. I didn’t hear any lewd remarks.

Then @ladygaga asks “I hope you guys are having fun tonight.” *crowd cheers* “But if you’re not, I don’t give a fuck.” *even louder cheers*

Listening to “Judas” didn’t turn me to a demon as much as Listening to “Ave Maria” will make me a saint.

“You guys taught me to never give up on myself.” Lady Gaga chimes in as she begins Marry the Night.

So what was that fuss all about? I never had so much fun in a concert that would make me dance along with the music. For the first time in my life, I didn’t suffer ear problems or my heart beating like crazy because of the loud amplifier .

Lady Gaga is an artist and music is her way of expressing it. What seems anti-Christian is not what Christians think it is. I admit it is provocative and full of metaphors. If you are a parent of young kids or teens, it is important to discuss the metaphors Lady Gaga use (or similar artists) and the music lyrics. As @jingdalagan , a Twitter follower told me ” any person has a sense of right and wrong, even children – it’s just that if they don’t understand something, you need to be there to explain things to them. and as parents, we need to explain to them the things they see, Lady Gaga included.”

It is a fact that there are some who have problems with their faith. Each of us protest something be it the Lady Gaga concert, some religious doctrines, the government or our family . She admits she is a rebel and and it shows in her music. It is how you use that protest for something good. As Adolfo Mortera , a facebook friend adds ” The anti-Lady Gaga sentiment to me is a fad, for people who ride on causes they know little about. I like best what writer Ben Lumbera said, that Lady Gaga songs are her own cultural belief which she should be allowed to express freely. If one doesn’t like her and her songs, then don’t listen to it.”

She sheds tears as she played the piano . “You guys taught me to never give up on myself.”

Find ways to celebrate your life, love and experience.

Here are some reactions of the crowd. They had as much fun as I had

“What if?” “If only…” and “Why Me?” are words that ring true when faced with unimaginable loss.

A traumatic death shatters the world. It is often a loss that does not make sense. Life is not always fair and that sometimes bad things happen to good people. The sudden death leaves us feeling shaken, unsure and vulnerable. Losing someone you love is not an easy journey. Each one will surely face its own grief journey in their own unique way.

My husband and I watched “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” yesterday because we know it deals about death. Anyone that is faced with devastating loss can relate to lost souls who are in a process of traumatic recovery. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close tells the unflinching story of a boy trying to make sense of the world after his father perishes in 9/11.

After a year of his father’s death from 9/11, eleven year old Oskar ventures to his father’s closet and finds a key in a small brown envelope labeled “Black” within the blue vase. The boy, who shakes a tambourine to calm himself embarks on a “reconnaissance expedition” in which he contacts every single person named Black in New York’s five boroughs. It is not mere trivia Oskar yearns to conquer but inside, it is the quest to find the meaning of life (and death) itself. He goes on a relentless quest to open a lock that he believes will reveal a message from his father that will help him make sense of a senseless world.

While this story is about the unimaginable loss as 9/11, it made me think about my own loss in life…the death of my mother, my two brothers, my precious 6 year old son, then my father. All five family members.

How does one make sense about the death of a loved one? In the process of seeking the answers, the search for meaning of the loss can challenge a survivor’s religious and spiritual beliefs. Survivors are forced to look at and re-evaluate life priorities. I feel the pain of Oskar’s frustration in trying to reconnect with his dead father.

Trying to make sense of or understand sudden losses can be difficult. Survivors are left asking “Why?” “Why did this happen?” Yet events such as the September 11, 2001 tragedy were beyond anyone’s control; they are a sudden, unexplainable loss.

It is human nature to want to answer the question “Why?” yet it may be difficult if not impossible to find an answer. Instead the question “Why?” is more of a plea for meaning and understanding. The thoughts of Rabbi Earl Grollman provide a useful perspective for coping with this difficult question:

Now death has shaken your faith, “Why?” “Why must life be one of sorrow?” “Why?” There are no pat answers. No one completely understands the mystery of death. Even if the question were answered, Would your pain be eased, your loneliness less terrible?

“Why” may be more than a question. It may be an agonizing cry for a heart-breaking loss, an expression of distress, disappointment, bewilderment, alienation, and betrayal. There is no answer that bridges the chasm of irreparable separation. There is no satisfactory response for an unresolvable dilemma. Not all questions have complete answers. Unanswered “Why’s” are part of life. The search may continue but the real question might be “How [do I] pick up the pieces and go on living as meaningful as possible?”

One day, we find out there is no use making sense of death but there is hope in making sense of our life. It is best ask to “What can I do about it now?” “How can I help?” or “How do I pick up the pieces and go on living as meaningful as possible?”

All of these thoughts came back to me as I watched this film. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, the movie is a wonderful and moving story about coping the death of a loved one.

“A lot of it just has to do with luck, serendipity.” Emanuel Ax

Yesterday, HBO asia launched its new original series Luck that premieres February 20 at 10 PM. Media was treated to the pilot episode starring Oscar® winner Dustin Hoffman and Oscar® nominee Nick Nolte. I am not into gambling or horse racing so the terms used were alien to me. The thought occurred to me: could the racing be fixed ? or is it luck?

I was brought up to be prepared, work hard, and hope for a little luck. I do recognize that the harder one works and the better prepared I am, the more luck I might have. That is one reason I never mess around with gambling. I don’t like taking risks like that. In fact, I have never played Lotto.

The HBO Luck launch was a exception when the PR had this game “Pick two” where I had to list down the color (red, blue or green) in two sheets of paper. I thought of the Corona Impeachment Trial to decide the color. Red is associated with the Supreme Court protest. I scribbled RED on two sheets of paper. Mind you , this was before I even saw the horses.

Well, as luck would have it, seven of us WON. RED was the lucky color of the day. The only sure thing about luck is that it will change.

Go and wake up your luck.

Yes I am one of over 50 million people all around the world who have fallen in love with the characters, the story and the music that make MAMMA MIA such a hit! It is (to me) the ultimate feel-good show. Cast members of the hit musical ““Mamma Mia!” will deliver a ““great” performance every single night of its four-week run in Manila which started January 24. I was lucky to get three tickets to the Partierre box for the Opening night at the Cultural Arts Center of the Philippines. (Thanks Tim Yap and Concertus) Good thing my husband and daughter were eager to watch it with me.

I was 19 years old at the time Dancing Queen became a hit in the seventies and I remember twirling around and around to the music. I loved the music!

This time around , writer Catherine Johnson’s creates a sunny, funny tale that unfolds on a Greek island paradise. On the eve of her wedding, a daughter’s quest to discover the identity of her father brings 3 men from her mother’s past back to the island they last visited 20 years ago. Since I knew the story from the Mama Mia movie in 2008 already, I found the musical a bit boring except when the ABBA songs were sung. There’s also something striking about watching a live musical that cannot be captured in film.

The show is definitely a feel-good story, a nostalgic trip to my free-spirited and dancing years.

The best part of the musical is the finale where all the cast members dance and sang. It felt like a mini- concert. The audience stood up and even danced along with the cast. That was so much fun. I wanted my husband to dance with me but he was too shy. My daughter wouldn’t let me either and I didn’t want to be a source of embarrassment. I looked around me and spotted much older women swaying their arms and shuffling their feet to the beat of the “Dancing Queen”.

Holding my husband’s hand, I pretended to sashay to and fro on an imaginary dance floor.

Mamma Mia evokes those warm and feel-good feeling that makes you want to jump up from your seat and dance along with the cast.

Expect a great night with a lot of glitter, a lot of glamour, and a lot of beautiful ABBA songs. When I left CCP , I felt like singing (and dancing) “Dancing Queen”, the theme song of my life…Having the time of my life.

You can dance
You can jive
Having the time of your life
See that girl
Watch that scene
Dig in the dancing queen

Check out ticket and show information of Mama Mia in Manila.

Some photos from Mama Mia website

When I was a little girl, I loved reading books about saints. It must have been their courage and faith which struck me the most. There was even a time I imagined the Virgin Mother Mary to appear in front of me. Sitting on a rock at the back of our house, I prayed, clutching on to the rosary beads and waited for the Blessed Mother …and waited. I may never be a saint but I can try to be good to others and do service to my country.

St. Josemaria Escriva, known as “the saint of the ordinary” is a one saint that most of us can relate to. He believed that we need not do ‘great’ things in order to become saints but rather we must find God in the simplest and most ordinary events in our lives.“There be dragons” is a movie inspired by the life of Escriva. It deals with the inner dragons one must face while making tough decisions in life. The movie centers on Josemaria Escriva and Manolo Torres, two childhood friends who took different paths in their lives due to several reasons. One chose the path of peace and becomes a priest while the other chose the life of a soldier driven by jealousy and revenge. Each struggled to find the power of forgiveness over the forces that tore their lives and friendship apart.

The movie tells the story of London-based investigative journalist Roberto Torres (Dougray Scott), who visits Spain to research a book about Josemaría Escrivá (Charlie Cox), the controversial founder of Opus Dei. A New York Times article cited Heriberto Schoeffer, an independent film producer in Los Angeles and a member of Opus Dei when he first conceived of a film dramatizing the life of Escrivá. ““All I wanted is for people to see a good side of him, because so many bad things are said about him and Opus Dei.” Schoeffer mentioned.

I will not be a spoilsport so I will end there and leave the review to a certified movie critic and others at the Review section dragons.ph.

However, let me share a few reflections on my life as I watched the movie.

Loving God in times of grief

A death in the family especially that of a child is impossible to describe in words. The young Escriva asked her mother “do you hate God now?” when his sibling died. The mother tearfully replied that she loved God. Not everyone will react the same manner as Escriva’s mother. Some will question “Why God? Why me? why my child?” in anger. Others will accept their loss as God’s will. How should a believer in Jesus, a follower of Christ react when they are in deep grief? It is so easy for others to say not to question God’s will when they have never lost a child. This is a process that bereaved parents have to go through in order to reach the next stage.

The answers were never clear to me for the first five years after my son’s death. The reason ““Why?” unfolded when I earnestly prayed and sought God’s will. I have written about this before that it happened when I sat down on Luijoe’s favorite chair and just like that, I felt God’s presence.

Faith is shown by Escriva in many ways.

Faith is a gift, Escriva tells his disheartened companions, “and God has called us to manifest it in love here on earth. Unwavering love for every child of God no matter who it is, no matter what side, no matter what circumstances.”

There is another scene where a woman catches Escriva praying. She goads him “He doesn’t hear you does he? All this pain and he stays silent. I don’t know how he can allow such thing.” The woman even referred to God as a monster.

Yet the woman said that she loved God which Escriva found odd. “Even though he is a monster?”

She replied. “A woman can love a monster. I fight him with love”.

Just like her, my faith was shaken but in the end, I turned to Him for comfort. I can say the same thing as Escriva did when he uttered, “You were there tonight, Lord. I felt you there.”

God’s world is so full of goodness

“God’s world is so full of goodness,” Escriva says to the Archbishop as he opens a window to showcase the beautiful scenery outside.

There is so much to be grateful and be joyful about.

Did I really think the world is full of goodness? It took some time to realize that and in the end it was a matter of choice. The road from mourning to joy was not easy. Pain is my greatest teacher. Regardless of where the pain comes from, there are always lessons to be learned. Pain from losing my loved ones moved me towards finding the joy. Grief is inevitable but misery is optional. Joy over misery is the path I chose. I tried to find the good in this world, finding the joy in myself, from my husband, friends and family.

Finding joy was tantamount to finding myself.

God’s work

“½Escriva referred to his work as God’s work. Opus Dei — the name is Latin for work of God — “teaches that ordinary work can be a path to sanctity if the believer maintains a demanding regimen of religious practices intended to achieve holiness.” I may not belong to the “Opus Dei” but I believe God’s work lies in each one of us.

When my son died, I wondered why God took my precious boy away when he was so young and full of promise. Why didn’t he just take me away? For a couple of years, I just wanted to waste away and die of natural causes. After a couple of health issues, I found myself, still alive…and wondering ” so why am I still alive?”

There must be some work I have to accomplish.

Bobit Avila in his article, Evil dragons still live within our midst , clarifies the message of God’s work. “Indeed, in the past, the clergy taught the idea that we can only find Jesus Christ inside the church. But St. Josemaria Escriva preached the idea that we are all called to a life of holiness even in our most ordinary work.”

I don’t know enough of the “Opus dei” to write an objective look into it . All I know is the Opus Dei is violently opposed to the Reproductive Health Bill. I have no information whether or not Illuminati shares the views of Opus Dei on the subject of reproductive health interpreted by the Catholic Church as an abortion proposal.

As you might all know, I am pro-life and pro-RH which is part of my work as an advocate for children’s rights and women’s health. It is ordinary work that I took upon myself out of deep concern for women’s health and the quality of life of their families. (more on Why I support the Reproductive Health Bill)

Learning to forgive

The dramatic point of the movie reveals Manolo and his son Roberto in a touching scene where one hopes for a last opportunity of forgiveness.

“½”So many wrong turns in my life,” the dying Manolo told his son. The journalist muses: “When you forgive, you set someone free: yourself!”

How many wrong turns have I made in my life?

A few maybe. Some of these wrong turns were beyond my control. It is not the number of wrong turns that matter now. It is about getting up and moving forward to pick up the pieces. Part of this involved learning to forgive. In learning to forgive and keeping a clean slate, the person I am really freeing is myself.

The capacity of every human being for sainthood

Oscar Wilde once said ““Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future.”

Even good people have a past. They’ve done things before which were bad. Every one who’s led a bad life still has a chance to do right. Maybe my childhood dream to be a saint is all gone but I can always strive to do good and not commit the same mistakes in the past.

My childhood dream to become a saint may not qualify me anymore but a dear friend reminded me that “the only difference between a sinner and a saint is that the saint stands uo and tries again when he/she falls”.

Nothing can change the past, but forgiveness can change the future.

The director of the movie says this is a story for “every human being” — who feels, who thinks, who has a family, who feels angry, feels the need for revenge, who feels love, wants love or needs love.” Who hasn’t grappled with these emotions? The movie is “100% about humanity” that will surely touch your hearts.

Here are the complete details of ‘There Be Dragons’ Cinemas and Showtimes (MTRCB Rating PG-13).

Spoiler Alert ….

Most weekends, my husband and I watch the movies. Today, he felt like watching “Priest” and he says it is a movie about a priest who is for the RH Bill.

I knew he was kidding “Aww really?” I quickly searched for a synopsis.

Apparently, the movie is an adaptation of a Tokyopop graphic novel, Bettany’s Priest with a cross emblazoned on his forehead. The priest tries to rescue his kidnapped niece with the help of her boyfriend (Cam Gigandet), a warrior priestess (Maggie Q, ““Nikita”) and a sheriff (Stephen Moyer, ““True Blood”).

I love thriller movies but I wasn’t sure if I wanted the horror part of the movie- the vampires. Still, we went to watch it in 3D at Eastwood Cinema 6.

As the movie unfolded with my eyes closed at times, I thought my husband was probably right when he kidded me that the movie is about a priest who is pro-RH bill.

Though the Catholic Church does not say this quote , “To go against the church is to go against God” , I feel sometimes it is implied when the RH Bill is being debated.

In the movie, the protagonist is a good and tough priest and a warrior in an alternative universe. The priest is a metaphor for the fight between good and evil. Even good guys can be corrupted or destroyed by the dark side like Black Hat, the head of the vampires (who used to be a priest).

The good versus evil is also seen in the institution such as the Church in the movie.

The Church was initially good. The Church unleashes ““the Priests,” humans with super-human-like reflexes, who drive the vampires into exile. They protected them from the vampires but later on, got corrupted by their own power by invoking their infallibility, “To go against the church is to go against God” .

The head of the church (in the movie) insisted there were no more vampires but the priest didn’t think so. The Priest breaks his sacred vows to venture out on an obsessive quest to find her niece, Lucy before they turn her into one of the vampires. I will leave it at that so there are no more spoilers.

The movie got me thinking that there are probably many Catholics that are conflicted and/or have left their faith because of disagreement with certain teachings such as Humanae Vitae (Latin “Of Human Life”) , an encyclical written by Pope Paul VI and re-affirms the traditional teaching of the Catholic Church regarding married love, responsible parenthood, and lawful and unlawful ways of regulating birth.

The Catholic Church in the Philippines are still in denial when it comes to the need for the RH Bill. It has always been referred to as “evil” during the homily by some priests.

Priest , the movie just struck me as having so many similarities with the way some bishops of the Philippine Catholic Church particularly the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) are exerting authority over its faithful.

Let me give you just one example out of many. Last April 27, San Pablo (Laguna) Vicar General Msgr. Melchor Barcenas said RH bill advocates are using “tactics of Satan.”

“In this fight against RH Bill, our true enemies are not the people (who proposed it) but Satan. It is the evil that is manipulating the minds of all (pro RH Bill Congressmen) or those higher ups in the world. This is the reason why it is difficult to fight this enemy,” he said in an article posted on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines news site last April.

There goes Satan again.

Just watch the movie.