Random thoughts... Happy Thoughts... Sad thoughts... Anything goes!!!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Culture shock

There has been a reorganization in our prayer community with some moving upward and some coming in from another group. There really is not much problem with those that move upward since it was sort of expected by the community but there seems to be some difficulties with the new group that joined.

Last week, I have seen some interactions between our new chapter head and the new unit head that came from another group and I immediately sensed some problems. I realize that both of them wants the best for the group but they have totally different ways of running a group and it was sort of sad to see them showing conflicts in front of the group.

Tonight, during our prayer meeting with our unit head, she voiced out her assessment of the new unit head. Even is she tried to sweet coat her assessment it still boils down to a negative assessment of the other head since she is different.

I guess on her part, she also feels frustration with her new group since to her we too are different!

Well, yes, she is different and we are different too.

She used to belong to a materially affluent prayer community. As my unit head says "lahat ng lider de kotse" (all the leaders have cars). They have resources so they also have to control the funds. Majority of our groups have no or very little resources, we have very meager funds and often time our chapter head (now our cluster head) would shell out from her own pocket just to be able to shoulder group expenses... so there was no fund to control!

Their prayer meetings are in comfortable places, away from the noise of the children running and shouting. Our prayer meetings are held in homes that are too small you wonder how you would fit and there's no one to take care of the children so they go running about while the prayer is going on. There were even some that had no homes since they were demolished or the typhoon snatched away part of their homes.

Their chapels are big and they have different function rooms to accomodate several groups. Our chapels are small and could accomodate only little functions.

In a way she is experiencing culture shock. To her, our ways are not the proper way to run a prayer community, and since wants so much to improve our community and she has an assertive personality, she wants to impose her set of ways which to her mind is the right way. But our leaders have also been used to different ways of running things... different ways of interacting, of expressing their views and they are shocked at the way she "puts her weight around" (that did not come from me but my unit head) and wonder if it would have been better is she was not transferred to our group.

I am a small voice in our organization but I couldn't really let each others notion persist. I have already gently expressed my views to my unit head.

It is fairly simple.

She is different because she got used to a different set of ways, that doesn't mean she is not good or that she is wrong, but that she's just used to different things. There's a reason for her being transferred to our group. Maybe she needs to fix somethings in her life as we do too and each of us would be an instrument for that change. So in a way her coming is a blessing for us and I'm sure being in our group would also be a blessing for her. For sometimes that's the way things go... you have to be moved... shaked from your comfort zone to grow! So I believe that the shocks on both sides would only be temporary. The current problems are just opportunities for growth especially since our community teaches LOVE...

so in the end with love being the center of all, what can go wrong?

Thursday, January 25, 2007


When I went home last night, I noted that the skies were clear and there were lots of stars twinkling! I was fascinated that I walked slowly while gazing at them to appreciate them better. Actually I was careful in walking too to prevent a fall since I tripped again last Sunday and still have a big bruise on my left knee!(clumsy me!!!) Don't want to add more bruises.

I was thinking that there might have been lots of other nights when the sky is clear with so many stars looking brightly over the earth but I just didn’t notice them since I don’t usually wear my glasses. So I was glad I wore my glasses last night.

Anyway, a nice feeling set in while walking that I wanted to it share too.

When I got home, I told my nieces and nephews of the stars and they were all excited to see them. They wanted to get out immediately but I told them that I had to take my supper first. They kept on asking when we are going to go out so I finished my supper quickly and brought them all outside to watch the skies. My mother protested at first saying it was already late but she was too absorbed watching her telenovela and didn't have time to argue that she gave in easy.

They were pointing at all the stars and I also pointed to the crescent moon on the other side telling them to watch closely and see it smiling at us! That other side had moving clouds so that the moon was covered from time to time that they preferred to watch the stars. i think they were not content to look at them just standing up and wanted to appreciate them further that one of my niece climb on top of the car and laid there. Immediately the other 3 followed…okay make that 4 since I joined them too. I had my back on one of the car and my legs extending on the other car. They were thrilled and asked a lot of questions.

Why don’t the stars fall?
How far are they?
Are there people in them?
Which is bigger, the moon or the sun?
Are there people in the moon? Are they looking at us?
Do the stars and the sun circle earth?...

I would answer their questions and the two older ones would give their answers too and share other information they got from their teachers. It was neat to see them awed and hear them discussing! This went on for quite a while until suddenly there were lights that were moving… and they were not as far as the other stars we have been gazing on! They were not just white lights but red and a little yellow lights as well… they were flickering!

Ahhh those were not stars but an airplane coming by! The kids shouted airplane and they all waved at it! It was also getting late so I asked the children to go back to the house. It was time to wave bye bye at all the stars. Maybe we’ll go stargazing again another time :-)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The chapel and the chaplain

I went to my old alma mater to get some requirements and I got there around 12:15 noon. The guards would not let me in the campus and said I had to wait till 1:00 pm. I knew that the offices there would resume work at 1:00 but there are a lot of places you could sit while waiting and besides I also wanted to visit the chapel. It has been a long while and I wanted to be in the chapel again. The male guard said "no" and I asked the lady guard if I could come and she too said "no". I noted her intonation and asked if she was Ybanag. She said yes and I said my mother is from Isabela and we talked a bit in the dialect while she was asking the place mama was from. I asked her again to let me in and she said “okay!”.

Ahh the magic password…

I got in! I walked slowly, checking out the places. The university is different. Well, almost the same buildings but more spaces now. There used to be thousands and thousands of people there during my time and it was crowded but now, there were a lot of spaces to breathe in. The office windows, I used to transact in, used to be in grills and now they are all glass windows… the stage in the quadrangle that used to cover one part of the building is gone and instead there is the statue of the lady that used to be in the second floor open area…

Finally I saw the small chapel. There was a mass going on, the priest has just started reading the gospel (hmmm, if they immediately let me in I could have started the mass from the beginning) and I felt nice being in that chapel and attending the service. It was really very small compared to the size of the campus but that small chapel and the chaplain then had a big impact on my life!

There seemed to be few people in the chapel compared to my time but I felt good knowing that there is still an active prayer community there. The choir and the mass servers were active and seemed to be fired up. I remembered how me and my 2 friends were also fired up during the masses. At one point the three of us were serving, one was the lector and 2 of us were the choir. We sang our hearts out and we listened to all the sermons of our Chaplain.

He was really the best chaplain. One of the best thing that happened to me in that university is knowing Fr. Esbroeck. He loved the university students so much!

I remember the first time, I listened to him, I was touched that I went to mass everyday! One time, I made my two friends a rosary each and I asked him to bless it and he immediately showed me to his office. Well It was not really his office, since his office was still in a separate room but a prayer area. There he introduced me to some ladies, they were Lilies of the Lord. He told them I was a nice girl (my ears went big!) and asked me to join the other Lilies. I asked my two friends too and we became Lilies! Father would sponsor us in retreats and he would give talks or make us listen to tapes of Fr. Fulton Sheen! He gave me so much and I am really thankful to him.

I went to a catholic high school and the nuns there taught me a lot too but Fr. Esbroeck really brought me closer to the Lord! He has been gone for 10 years now but I think he still watches the university chapel in heaven... praying for all those students going there.

I look at the chapel and i remember the love that Fr. Esbroeck shared with us. I don't know the new priest. He is also an old priest, heard his name is Fr. Martin and that he was there prior to Fr. Esbroeck and came back when he was gone. I think he is a good chaplain too since there is still a good prayer community there.

It was really good to be in that chapel again.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Airline souvenirs

I found a packet in my cabinet which was a Cathay Pacific Airline give-away during a trip to India a long time ago. Mama placed it in my cabinet after finding it stacked in another cabinet she was cleaning. It contains an eye pad, comfy socks, toothbrush and toothpaste.

I remember giving a lot of them to friends and families as a trip souvenir. The stewardess actually just gave one in each flight but each time I got off the plane, I got some of those left behind by some passengers in their seats and I was able to gather a lot!

Some announcer in the radio one time joked about Filipino travelers’ fondness of getting souvenirs from airlines (yikes, I’m guilty too!) and remembered one of papa’s stories on Mang Boy, his fellow contract worker. Ahh, I could still imagine papa’s nice smile and soft chuckle as he tells the story…

His friend was on his way back to Oman, it was a long flight and the airline served alcohol on such flight. He kept on asking for drinks and the stewardesses all obliged… Nope, papa did not mention him getting drunk but he did say that after that trip, Mang Boy accumulated a LOT of those small wine glasses.

Being the party person that he was, he immediately invited other Filipino friends and neighbors (they lived in a compound) for a get-together party! Unlike in Saudi Arabia, they could drink alcohol in Oman, so he too served alcohol using his collection.

He arranged his wine glass collection in the table and bragged about it. He was proud of his collection and many also told him how impressed they were!

The party went on and everybody had good time. Finally, most people left and there were just some that stayed on to help clear up including papa since they were just neighbors.

Lo and behold! There were no more wine glasses!

It wasn't just the wine that were gone but the glasses as well!

Many of the guests also got their souvenir! :-))

Mang Boy felt bad and even complained that he had to carry all of them and they were heavy and people just got them! Now, he had nothing!

Papa laughed at what happened but come to think of it, Mang Boy was able to give souvenirs to many friends even without buying any! It was just that he wasn’t really planning on giving. Anyway, he had more trips after that and maybe he was able to come up with a bigger airline wine glass collection eventually! :-)

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Power dance

I have been to a CFC leaders’ conference today where there were 4 talks and each presentation ended with a dance interpretation by the Powerdance, the Philippines' Premier DAnce company in jazz, modern and showdance.

I have seen some interpretative dance in the past but I have never seen such performance as what I saw this afternoon. It was simply beautiful! I can’t help myself from absorbing the intensity of their presentation! Imagine seeing the passion of Christ gracefully and fluidly portrayed with no props whatsoever except the dancers themselves. Some turn into rocks (where Jesus prayed in Gethsemani), a cross which Jesus carried on His shoulder to a big cross where Jesus died. They even depicted what went on inside Jesus’ body while He slowly died. Of course, the dance came alive more because of the music and the narratives (especially on the autopsy report on the cause of Jesus’ slow death).

Watching them made me wish I could dance… move the way they do! Their movement was so fluid and light that it seems so easy and natural, yet I know that it is soooo difficult! But that’s one of its beauty… you don’t feel the difficulty… all you see is the story being conveyed in those movements… No, you don’t just see them, you actually get to feel them!

I wish I had a video to capture all that went on but I don’t, all I have is the appreciation of that performance.

And now, while writing on it. I suddenly recalled dancing with my 2 nieces (aged 7 and 4) last night. My brother was singing-a-long with the videoke when I suddenly swayed along. He was singing Apo’s Magkayap sa dilim (embracing in the dark), am not really sure if that’s the title but I was swaying and one of them joined me. We were slow dancing when my younger niece wanted to join too and so we did. They were having a nice time dancing with me and trying to interpret some songs… even saw my younger niece closing her eyes while swaying which made me smile. My nieces and nephews are hyper active kids and to see them calmly and soft swaying with the music was a delight. Somehow, the movement had calming and "feel good" effect on all of us.

Yes, i think swaying with a soft music could have a "feel good" effect since it made me recall more feel good events. I took care of my maternal grandmother for almost two years. She was like in a semi-coma state then... with her eyes closed most of the time, not able to carry her body and no talk... just like sleeping. There were times when i would play a soft music and i will lift her from her wheelchair (she was small but she was pretty heavy then) and dance with her. All her weight was with me but i would embrace her and sway with her... and with her eyes still closed, there would actually be a smile on her face! Those were precious moment, for even if she couldn't talk i knew that somehow she could feel my love for her and she feels good! and I certainly felt good!

Writing this made me realize the power of dance. And though I could not dance as the Powerdance dancers could, I could certainly feel the joy from the movement and I think I'll be dancing more with the kids... they seem to enjoy it... not just the fluid movements but funny movements as well and dancing together certainly has the power to make us feel good and the power of bonding us. I think that's pretty cool!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Nuestro Padre Senor Nazareno

Last Tuesday, I was able to attend a mass at Quiapo Church for the feast of the Black Nazarene, the Nuestro Padre Senor Nazareno! Two prayer buddies and I arrived at the side plaza of Quiapo around 8:30 pm and the mood was really festive with the thick crowd of people inside and outside the church waving their handkerchiefs (mostly white) while joining in the singing or listening to the choir (or were those just taped songs?) that was booming loudly from the speakers. People in the plaza were also watching the big screens outside the church to see the progress of the procession and the minute they saw the Black Nazarene on screen coming near Plaza Miranda started screaming and clapping jubilantly! This went for a long while and there were even fireworks display, I think courtesy of some tenants in some buildings nearby! The church doors were open so that we could also see the people inside standing on the pews facing the entrance (instead of the altar) eagerly awaiting the arrival of the procession.

While all these were going on, we were also singing, watching the big screen and slowly inching our way to the church side entrance. The skies were clear, the weather was good and there was even a cool breeze that even if there were so many people, we weren’t bothered one bit. Of course, even if it was hot, people would still be happy but the weather cooperated and it was fantastic!

I got to feel some heat though when the devotees that joined the procession that got in the church to pay homage started coming out our way. They were barefoot and soaking wet from all their perspiration but I’m sure they were so happy to have completed the procession. Unlike in the past, where the procession was only around the vicinity of the church, this year, the procession started all the way from the Quirino grandstand in Luneta which is a farther distance. This year is more special than the others (actually each year is special for the devotees but this year is more special) since it is the 400th anniversary since the arrival of the statue from a galleon in Spain .

It took time for the Statue to get in and people in Plaza Miranda were the procession passed were trying to come near the statue and all through out there were shouts of joy and clapping! Finally the Senor got in the church and someone asked the people to sit down and prepare for the mass. We were able to get inside the church by that time since many started leaving also. Many of the people have attended the earlier masses (which was going on all throughout the day) and just wanted to see the procession come in. So though many were coming in there were also many leaving but the activity stopped when the mass started. I was standing but I could clearly see the altar and the dome. It was bright and the Christmas lights and decorations were still there so that it was beautiful!

Two words caught my attention during the priest’s homily. Faith and Love! He mentioned that it was the faith of the devotees that brought them to there and it was love that let them bear the heat and pain to join the procession or wait for the Senor’s arrival. It made me immediately remember an earlier commentary I read. Baudoin de Ford, a cisterian abbot asked “Is anything impossible for the one who believes? And is anything rigorous for the one who loves?”

Yes, nothing is impossible for someone who truly believes! And a lot of the people there believe that God will grant their request. So many of the people there have their prayers answered also so that they want to express their thanks to God... they want to hold on to their panata (promise) to the Black Nazarene who granted their request even if some required a miracle.

I am also amazed at the great love of many Filipinos on God particularly on the Black Nazarene! Year after year devotees go there, many join the procession, many even walk on barefoot braving the heat of the sun or any weather for that matter. No pain nor obstacle can keep them from joining the procession. That is how intense their love is for the Lord!

It has been 2 days since the feast and the joy of the event still lingers but more so the echo of those two words Faith and Love. I pray that my faith gets bigger (much much bigger thatn the mustard seed!), a belief that doesn't just get expressed verbally nor thought in the mind but felt from my inmost being. I also pray that my love goes deeper... deeper than just feeling but always moved to action... to do the right thing!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Manila waters

Last night, I had to pass by one of the alleys to visit a "sister" from our handmaids. It was dark and I was really having difficult time since I can't see very well in the dark. I stumbled into something and when I uttered "what's this?" the people around said Tubo (water pipes). I felt them with my feet and looked closer. Right, there were several pipes lined. The Manila Waters is once more setting up more pipes with meters. It is part of their effort to curb illegal connections and improve services.

I really like the service of Manila Waters in our neighborhood. Some people may take for granted their service but I don't. Why? Because, we had bad experience in our water system before. I mean really bad!!!

Not only were the waters that come out of your faucet dirty but there was too little water coming out! Not only that, you could see the pipes exposed in dirty canals!

During those times, when water was scarce, I have learned how to really maximize its use. I really should not complain when water is scarce but there was one time I talked with a lady from a nearby community in our place. She was telling me that water was just flowing freely from all their faucets and they did not even have to pay for it! I was really so angry and felt so bad!!!

During those times my brother-in-law lent us a water pump so we could be able to get some water. Water would only flow to the faucet in our garage (which was low, can't reach those in our sinks nor bathrooms) and papa and mama would wake up at around 3:00 am so they could get waters and fill our containers for use for the day. I did get up and help fetch at times but more often it would be papa and mama who'll do it. This went on for quite a while until they discovered that someone put a rock on a valve in the pipes leading to our community so that water was diverted to the upper community (the one that had too much water!), I heard that many people there worked for the government water utility company so that they know how to manipulate the pipes (but that's just hearsay, since I don't really know the people from there or who did that despicable thing!) Anyway, the government utility fixed it and we had water once again flowing in our faucets. Not really clean water but we had filter in our faucet so there was remedy.

After just a day, the people from the upper community complained that they had little water and immediately our Barangay (local government unit) did something to help them. They asked the utility company to reduce the flow to our pipes so there would be water for them. Imagine that? Just one day and our Barangay people acted on their complain and coordinated with the government utility, while we have been suffering for several months and there was no action... and we are the ones paying for the services!

But that changed when the water services was privatized and our community was serviced by the Manila Waters, good thing since those being serviced by the Maynilad are not that lucky! The pipes were changed! They used bigger pipes and buried them deep! They removed all those pipes exposed in canals and placed the pipes in different locations. Now we don't get sand nor dirt in the water in our faucets and it doesn't smell anymore. And we don't run out of water!!!
Of course, since I have experienced the lack of it before, I still hate waste and try to conserve but having a regular supply of water is really something that I am thankful for.

And I also don't get to see much water waste in our community anymore. There were times that there would be holes in the road and water would just be flowing from it and some people would get their lot there. Since they transferred the water meters in one location and placed bars in them and any illegal connection to the pipes attached to this would mean that they'll be tapping on a paying customer, the paying people themselves have become vigilant!

Now they are doing the same on that alley I passed to. It is a bit inconvenient now with all those pipes exposed but eventually everybody would benefit in a better water service. It wasn't really that fast that the water service improved in our place but now that it is okay, I really appreciate it!

Hope that the good service continue forever and ever! :-)

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Captivating smile!

“That’s it!” Michael uttered with anger and frustration as he packed his computer. He vowed never to go to dating sites again.

He just came from a date with the girl he has been chatting with for a while. He was so excited to finally meet her. She was nice, slim, single and doesn’t even smoke nor drink. Well that’s what she made him believe! He was shocked to meet a woman who was probably 300 pounds. But he still went on with the date and the moment she sat, she immediately asked for an ashtray and ordered alcohol. Michael doesn’t even smoke nor drink so that was a second frustration. Still he did not know how to get off of that date so they talked and he found out that she was still married but has been separated from her husband for a while already and that she has 2 kids but they are not staying with her. They are with the social welfare since she could not support them. It was so weird since she was a nurse but just doesn’t want to practice.

Ahh, he was already 30 but he was so gullible! He felt so bad… betrayed… he was traumatized!!!

But that was 3 years ago, somehow he wanted to try the dating sites again but he was real careful. He has been starting to talk with some women online but nothing seem to catch his fancy. Yes, there was one he has been constantly talking with but there was nothing more beyond that. He noted Yahoo Personal and tried it, he was looking into profiles of locals and someone caught his fancy and so did his mom. She passed him while he was browsing and noted her photo and said “she’s cute!” He mastered a one liner that says “I like your smile!”

Irene has been in Canada only for a little more than a year, she has just transferred to a new employer after having a bad experience with the previous one. The new employers are good people, unfortunately, she has been feeling sad lately since she has broken off with her boyfriend from her home in the Philippines. Her boss has been introducing her to some of her friends but she wasn’t really keen on dating “whites” and has turned off a lot of invites. That day she had nothing to do and decided to try the personals. She put her profile and a photo and got hundreds of replies. Some lines even said “Hi, hot babe!” Argh!!! Who would want to speak with someone who talks that way??? Michael’s one liner seemed a nice one but somehow she mistook him with another profile she looked into. When she replied to his message she asked him if she was from a certain place.

That really turned off Michael! She was supposed to have read his profile yet she doesn’t even know where he was from??? But there must have been something in that smile that really caught his heart for he kept on looking. Irene sent another note apologizing after she has noted her error…. Hmmm… maybe there was also something in Michael’s smile to deserve a second mail???

Michael was really thinking hard. He has already made a one liner. To answer her email and know her would mean he had to join the dating site and pay Can$30.00. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to go on. But his mom came again and told him he was cheap! She told him “Go pay the $30 and send her a message!” And so he did! And they finally talked online.

There was chemistry online yet there were fears on both sides too. Michael still remembers his date 3 years ago while Irene was still not comfortable dating a “white” guy! She didn’t know what to say when he finally asked her for a date but suddenly she uttered that she was going to church on Sunday. He said he’ll meet her there.

That’s the beginning of their love affair! Well thanks partly also to Michael’s mom who is now Irene’s mother-in-law!

Yup! They were married in the church in Canada last September and now they are here for a visit to Irene’s family. That includes me!!!

Irene is my younger cousin and I met her and Michael yesterday. They look so nice together and they are so sweet! And Michael seems a great guy (kind face too!!!) who is enjoying his adventure so far in our country. They just had a short 2-day stop in Manila and are now in the province. This time it will be his mom-in-law who’ll be looking him over and I wonder if his smile can capture Irene’s mom the way Irene’s smile captured his mom’s heart?

I think he’ll make it! And I wish that the smile (and the LOVE for that matter) remain in all their hearts all the days of their lives!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!!!

It is a NEW year already! 2007! Time sure flies!!!

Yesterday my brother and sister-in-law decided to have a last minute shopping and bought a videoke, a sing-a-long system and we have been singing our hearts out since last night! Oh, there was a short break at midnight though for our family get together wherein we went out of the house and opened our gates and watched the neighbors' fireworks while the kids sounded their torotots (trumpets) and jumped as high as they could to make sure they'll grow tall just like us! Hehehe actually it is a Filipino tradition that we still follow, doesn't work on other people (but definitely worked on us!!!) but most Filipinos do them nevertheless!

We decided not to have fireworks and firecrackers this year and just opted for the torotots for the kids. I never really liked firecrackers but I've enjoyed watching the fountains and others fireworks in the past so that we would be lighting some at midnight. But last year, we saw magnificent fireworks in the sky, courtesy of other neighbors ;-) our fountains were nothing compared to them so we thought we'd just watch again from a distance. It is safer and cheaper for us... hehehe... starting the year right by being cost conscious!!! And we were not disappointed for there were indeed pretty nice fireworks in sky! The kids had a nice time watching them.

So after viewing the fireworks amidst the sound of firecrackers, we had a get together. Oh, we had lots of fruits, 13 kinds. Mama wanted to the year to be lucky and joined in the luck traditions. There were lots of foods too including Fish. My Fil-chinese friends said serving fish and pork was lucky so that we included them too... ahhh we certainly want the new year to be a good one!!! For me though it is not really on the food but more on being together with the family that counts and we had a good together since all the kids were up to join us! They even joined in the singing!!!

So instead of noise, we started our year with beautiful music…. Hehehe. The singing was definitely loud but you can’t call beautiful happy voices, noise… they are definitely music! And our videoke certainly agrees, for it has been giving out pretty high scores! I even got a grade of 100% for my version of Queen’s “We are the champion!” hehehe… still haven’t figured out though how it scores. But then again all Filipinos CAN sing, it is just that some people have bad ears not to appreciate others’ voices.

I think music could ward off all negative elements better than the noise from firecrackers. And it was cool to start the year with the family singing and being together.

We started out the year with music and togetherness and I do believe it is going to be a good new year! I’m really looking forward to a great new year!

Friendship and kindness

My close friends and I had a get together before the year ended. We don’t really get together too often anymore but every time we are together, it feels nice.

We started the day by going to the grocery to buy items wholesale, that is by the boxes. Nothing really fancy, just powdered milk, noodles, sardines, biscuits, we also got fruits. Then we split the cost among the 4 of us and brought them to 3 charitable institutions. One is the Missionaries of Charity in Tayuman, then the Asilo de San Vicente de Paul and the Hospicio de San Jose.

Funny, you think you are doing some act of kindness by giving them some stuff but you don’t expect the joy that comes back in return.

The old people in the Missionaries of Charity are sick and frail but still you could see smiles in most of their faces and they sure know how to appreciate your visit! Sister Carissima who toured us around the place was also nice and so kind hearted that you feel positive energy despite the condition of the old people there.

Our trip to Asilo was not announced but we had a chance to mingle with some of the kids and teenagers there. They even did a song and dance to welcome us and thank us. It really feels nice to see street kids having direction in their life. You can see from their faces that there is a sense of accomplishment unlike the unfortunate other kids that still roam the streets. Somehow you wish they could accommodate all the street kids in their home. They can’t but still it is nice to see an institution helping out despite meager resources!

Somebody also volunteered to show us around Hospicio. Bedan was just too willing to tour us the place even if we didn’t ask for one. We got to see the home for the old men, then the old women (there were more women than men), we no longer looked at the children’s rooms since we had a chance to see them the previous years but Bedan also showed us the place for special children. Some of them are in pretty bad condition mentally but you’ll be amazed at the neatness of the place. All the places were clean and yes, the place was peaceful that somehow it rubs in on you. You feel at peace too!

It was dusk when we have finished our rounds and all of us felt good! We usually are noisy when we are together but that day, we are calm and at peace. We didn’t want to end the day yet so we decided to head to San Sebastian Church for an anticipated mass. There was a wedding going on when we arrived and there seems to be another one after, but we were lucky since there would be a mass before the next wedding. The mass for the Feast of the Holy family.

The people for the next wedding started coming in right after the mass and we were curious because they all seemed beautiful people. Most seem to be Castillian and of Castillian decent. They were in black tie and gown… a formal affair but despite the people there being regal they acted simply and naturally. You can’t feel anybody trying to outdress anybody.

So we both experienced being with people from two extreme status of society that day yet you appreciate them both. You see the goodness in them and somehow that felt like a blessing.

It was indeed a beautiful day but it was not over yet. We still had time to eat together, just the four of us. And now we are all back to our elements. We ate, we discussed, we laughed ahh yes… we were noisy once again. But I guess that will always be the case when the four of us are together… and it may seem noisy to other people but for me, it is the sound of Joy among friends. I’m lucky to have my friends. They are a treasure!

And we sure shared a day that we all treasured! The day was kind to us… we sure had a good time!