St. John the Baptist’s Day:  Is the Spirit of Celebrating Still Alive?

Happy St. John the Baptist’s Day!

Anybody got splashed with water yesterday while riding a public utility vehicle or even a private vehicle for that matter?

As every Catholic must know every 24th day of the month of June is the celebration of this feast.  It is not celebrated as a holiday if it falls on a working or regular school day, but what makes this day memorable is that there are still areas in various cities and municipalities, especially in the provinces, all over the world, that celebrates this day.

In the Philippines, we celebrate the Feast of St. John the Baptist by throwing water unto an unsuspecting passerby or unto vehicles plying the road, drenching as many people as they can with hopefully clean water out of the pumps or faucet, but in some cases water coming from foul-smelling canals or esteros.

In other countries, it is celebrated with customs varying from location to location. “Typical customs may include the gathering of the perennial herb St. John’s Wort for medicinal, religious, or spiritual use. The collection of flowers for floral wreaths is popular. The wreaths are dried and hung in the house all year until the next St. John’s Day.   Fires are still important to many commemorators, used to represent Christ’s one brilliant light. While communal bonfires were traditional, many resort to small fires in the home that burn past midnight” (http://aglobalworld.com/holidays-around-the-world/st-johns-day-world/).

St. John’s Day is one of the oldest religious festivals celebrated by Christians.  The day is also celebrated in many other countries as the midsummer festival.  Midsummer is the period centered on the summer solstice.  Summer solstice is the time when the day is longest in the northern hemisphere and shortest in the southern hemisphere.  Originally a pagan festival, celebrations for the midsummer festival date back to the pre-Christian era.

Hold On To That Dream (Poetry)

“Education”, they say,
   “is a never-ending process”

It’s a wealth if I may

   wish I can earn with great success

I thank the Lord each day

   for with a scholarship He bless

In answer as I pray

   For a chance to a life of bliss.

Nothing’s impossible

   For one with determination

All plans are doable

    For one with passion and vision

Things maybe hard, you deem

    But, dear, you should never quit

So hold on to that dream

      It’s not too late to achieve it!


    

My Kind of Hero

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there, especially to all my friends and love ones who deserve to be called a father!

Since this is an event celebrated all over the world, several posts will probably run along the same thoughts as mine.  So how do I make this post different and engaging I wonder?

But then, I thought, to whom is this post meant to be?  Am I not writing this because I want this to be a gift to a very special man?  And so, on this line of thought, let me introduce to you, My Dear Readers, a man I never thought I would have the luck to know, a man I call “my kind of hero”.

In my previous posts, I told about how I met him and many other things, but I wouldn’t  get tired of telling them over and over again.

So, I met this most wonderful man over twenty years ago when I was fresh out of college and started working in our local government unit in 1996.  We were celebrating the Civil Service Anniversary that month.  There are many other events in the city that followed thereafter that somewhat made our paths cross each other over and over again that on one of those days it suddenly struck me like a lightning out of nowhere and I said to myself, “it’s him!”  I knew right then and there that he is going to play an important role in my life, that he is going to be God’s answer to my prayers.

More than a year later, he indeed made a great change to my life by irrevocably becoming a part of it. 

Over the years, despite all the difficulties and problems we both had to face, with his wacky sense of humor, easy manners and selfless love for our family, he carved his way deep into the heart of each member of our family, from my mother, to my sister and her children, to my brothers and their family, to me and our children.  I could not have asked God for a much better partner in life, a more responsible father for my children, a well-liked son-in-law for my mother, my kind of hero, my husband.

The Promise (Poetry)


When I was young, my mother said,
The Virgin in her dream appeared,

“Do not harm your child, keep her safe,

She’ll be your light in aging life.”

  So I was born one sweet May morn,

  A lonely rose among the thorns,

  Or so my mother sweetly thought,

  Just as expected of a poet.

I grew up within her embrace,

Taught to be grateful of God’s grace,

Learned poetry at a young age,

Under her patient tutelage.

  Now I’m with children of my own,

  Even they have already grown,

  And now, though my mother is old

  She is still as fit as she should.

I’m not sure if I had fulfilled,

The promise I’m supposed to be,

I hope I’m what she expected,

That she’s happy to live with me.

Are We Really Free?

A happy Monday morning, everyone!

And to all my countrymen:  Happy 119th Philippine Independence Day!

My regular blog post should have been published yesterday but since today we will be celebrating the anniversary of Philippine Independence, I decided to postpone publishing and cover our own local celebration of the said event.

Before the program started, of course, people were still milling around in their gorgeous Filipiniana attires, the city officials and department heads of local offices posing for posterity while the various sectors in their uniforms waited for the program to start.

The program started at around 7:30 in the morning with the entrance of colors, which means the entrance of the Philippine flag and the banner of the city.  

This was followed by the offering of flower wreath at the center of the public plaza, in front of the flag pole, by the City Mayor, Vice Mayor together with the Filipino World War II Veteran President of the city.

The twelve Philippine revolutionary flags followed, escorted by the twelve Sanggunian Panlungsod Members, and paraded up the stage, their brilliant red color so vibrant to represent the bravery and boldness of the Filipino soldiers in their fight for freedom against the Spanish oppression of that time.

Wreaths, pots and bouquets of flowers were also offered under the monuments of the two Philippine heroes the city honors, Andres Bonifacio and Dr. Jose P. Rizal.

The city officials then marched up the city hall’s balcony to reenact the first-ever Independence Day Celebration held in Cawit, Cavite on June 12, 1898.

The program ended after a dance presentation by the city representatives to the Panaad Folk Dance competition and by a young maiden singing “Ako ay Filipino”.

Every year, every local government units, anywhere in the Philippines try to recreate the spirit of patriotism evoke by the first celebration of the Philippine Independence and try to enliven the occasion and impart the values of such event in the younger generations.

Yet, with or without the sad events still happening in Marawi, are we really free?

With all our talks about freedom, aren’t we still bounded by some ideas that limit us from experiencing it totally?  Or aren’t we limited by our inhibitions to embrace the changes that comes with the times?  Or aren’t we afraid to accept the consequences brought by grasping it with both hands for fighting for it might mean giving up our everything for it?

Fighting for our freedom does not always mean taking up arms and walking up and down the streets shouting for it.  

Our everyday thoughts and actions, our efforts and struggles, towards liberation from pangs of hunger and escape from the shackles of poverty, are also embodiments of our continuing fight for freedom.  

We might say we are already a Republic, a democratic country freed from dominion of other countries, but still, our existence is a continuous struggle not only from domination of powerful countries who continuously try to plunder our natural resources but also from the debilitating effects of corruption for the past several decades.

Freedom has its many faces.  And our struggle to keep it can also vary in many ways.

Even within our ownselves, an inner struggle continues.  We wish to fight our tendencies to bury ourselves underneath seemingly unimportant desires for lavish spendings and luxurious things but we often fail to discipline and curb them.


We wish to have more courage and determination to crawl out of our hand-to-mouth existence, but opportunities to do so is just so out of our reach that despite working eight hours a day, five days a week, earning supposedly thousands of pesos per month but what we bring home at the end of a pay day is barely enough to tide us over a few days.

We might always know deep in our hearts the value or importance of freedom but for us whose struggles towards liberty from poverty and harsh existence is ever-continuing, we might feel it or see a glimpse of it at times we receive our bonuses but we would always seem just dream of it and pray that manna will hopefully fall from heaven.

Surrender (Poetry)

How long must I wait

    For these things to come to pass

How much shall I suffer

    Before I can say I surpass

Is this really.my fate

    I am trying hard not to cuss

I pray I am stronger

    I say to myself, “buck up, lass.”

As long as your spirit

    Never fails you and keeps fighting

As long as your faith

    Is deep and ever persevering

Step up and hold on tight

    Ask for help, God is just waiting

With a single breath,

     Shout, “Lord, to you, I’m surrendering!”

(Note from the author:  My apologies for the late posting.)

Surrender (Poetry)

How long must I wait
    For these things to come to pass

How much shall I suffer

    Before I can say I surpass

Is this really.my fate

    I am trying hard not to cuss

I pray I am stronger

    I say to myself, “buck up, lass.”

As long as your spirit

    Never fails you and keeps fighting

As long as your faith

    Is deep and ever persevering

Step up and hold on tight

    Ask for help, God is just waiting

With a single breath,

     Shout, “Lord, to you, I’m surrendering!”

(Note from the author:  My apologies for the late posting.)