A lone mangrove looks like a sentinel of the long white rough sand bar. Eco-Spiritual Pilgrimage. Ateneo High School. Photo: Mr. Bok Pioquid, CSIP, AHS

Samal Island and the White Land Bridge To A Mini-Island

“Over there you will find a small island worth exploring,” the man said, hand darting towards the edge of a coast. “Right there,” he pressed on when I seemed confused. “You’ll find it near the beach, a land bridge will bring you there on high tide.”

From the drop off point in Davao City, we boarded the boat to Samal Island. Eco-Spiritual Pilgrimage. Ateneo High School. Photo: Mr. Bok Pioquid, CSIP, AHS

From the drop off point in Davao City, we boarded the boat to Samal Island. Eco-Spiritual Pilgrimage. Ateneo High School. Photo: Mr. Bok Pioquid, CSIP, AHS

When I followed his gaze that afternoon at Samal Island, Davao del Norte, I saw a smaller island at the tip of a white sand bar.

“Do you see it?” the man said excitedly. I did of course. My students saw it before me, and they already had put down their bags on a small shack where we would take our lunch, and headed to the white sand beach, the property of the Ateneo de Davao University.

To keep us safe, all donned their life jackets on our way to snorkelling off the coast of Samal Island. Eco-Spiritual Pilgrimage. Ateneo High School. Photo: Mr. Bok Pioquid, CSIP, AHS

To keep us safe, all donned their life jackets on our way to snorkelling off the coast of Samal Island. Eco-Spiritual Pilgrimage. Ateneo High School. Photo: Mr. Bok Pioquid, CSIP, AHS

Continue reading →

An old rose that I photographed in Mirador Jesuit Retreat House in 2008. Photo: Fr Jboy Gonzales SJ

Ang Alamat ng Bubuyog

Kape't PandasalMay alamat tayo ukol sa kauna-unahang pukyutan (honeybee). Isang araw, may isang bubuyog na nakagawa ng matamis na pulut-pukyutan (honey). Sa kanyang tuwa, dinalhan ng bubuyog si Bathala sa kanyang nagawa. Natuwa naman si Bathala, kaya nangako si Bathala na ibibigay sa pukyutan ang anumang hihingiin niya.

“Bigyan po ninyo ako ng isang kagat na nakamamatay sa tao upang hindi nila nakawin ang aking pulut-pukyutan,” wika ng bubuyog.

Labis na nalungkot si Bathala dahil mahal niya ang tao. Ngunit hindi na Niya mababawi ang kanyang pangako. Kaya’t sabi ni Bathala, “Sige, pagbibigyan kita. Ngunit may kondisyon. Ikamamatay mo rin ang iyong pangangagat bilang parusa sa iyong kasakiman.”

Itinuturo ni Hesus ang pagiging mapagbigay. Hindi para sa ating sarili ang ano mang nakamtan natin sa Diyos, maging ang ating kahusayan, kayamanan o kagamitan. Wika ng marami, kung ibinabahagi lang natin ang lahat ng pagkain, walang magugutom sa mundo. Ipagdasal natin ang pagpawi ng kasakiman na ikinamamatay ng marami, tulad ng maraming dukha.

Image from blog.vanillaforums.com

Book Review: Joseph C. Rost’s Leadership for the Twenty-First Century

Joseph C. Rost's book, Leadership in the 21st Century, is a recommended book for leadership enthusiasts. Good read.

Joseph C. Rost’s book, Leadership in the 21st Century, is a recommended book for leadership enthusiasts. Good read.

Joseph C. Rost, in his book, Leadership for the Twenty-First Century, proposes a new paradigm for leadership studies. He asserts that the old industrial paradigm of leadership prevalent in the 20th century should move forward to the post-industrial understanding of leadership in the 21st century to fit in the post-modern era. He asserts that akin to “scientific revolutions” (Thomas Kuhn), the industrial understanding of leadership as “good management” (Rost, p. 10) has yielded certain anomalies both intellectually and practically (p.9).

According to Rost, leadership practitioners need 1) to define the concept of leadership and 2) to develop a “new leadership narrative with revised myths and rituals that fit the post industrial paradigm” (p. 36). These intellectual and practical anomalies should lead to a paradigm shift that would change the rules of the game, provide a new structure for doing leadership and therefore, go beyond the old literature on leadership theories. The book therefore critiques the old paradigm by an extensive study of the old leadership literature (Chapters 2-4); presents a new definition of leadership (Chapter 5); and then explains certain issues that arise from the new paradigm such as the distinction between leadership and management (Chapter 6) and the ethical component of leadership (Chapter 7). In the final chapter, Rost then summarizes and provides suggestions to improve the study and practice of the new paradigm.

I have comments on the three main chunks of Rost’s book. First, his endeavor to change the old understanding of leadership by presenting his new definition of leadership as the post-industrial paradigm; second, a word about the distinction between leadership and management; and finally, a “feeling” while reading the chapter on ethics.

Continue reading →

Post-Christmas Outreach 2013 to children of Montalban, Rizal. Ateneo de Manila High School

The Need To Have An Experience of Real Change

At the dinner table, I have been fortunate to sit with Fr. Ben Nebres SJ, former President of the Ateneo de Manila University. He is currently working for those people who are “more open to a paradigm shift” in choosing communities for service learning. He said that it is important to identify changes in the community, not just about choosing a poverty-stricken area in a rural or urban setting. Experiencing what it means to be poor is good, but it is wanting. He said that a student’s experience of poverty should be coupled with the experience of change in that specific community where he or she spends time with.

Experiencing what it means to be poor is good, but it is wanting.

Fr. Ben illustrates his point with his experience in Gawad Kalinga. The immersees have seen a shift in the use of technology. Now, the nanays are using cellphones for the transfer of goods for their sari-sari stores.

The whole university has been sending students to different communities for exposure and immersion, but were there changes in that community as an impact of student immersions? Were there studies that assessed those impacts?

I have shared that in the high school, we have data from our community impact assessment studies. We are happy that there are areas with greater impact, and there are  areas that still need to be responded to.

I have shared to Fr. Ben how we are re-designing our Community Education programs which involve immersions, service-learning, and community program development in the K-12 curriculum.

For example, we have added a new program for Grade 8 called Danas, as an environmental immersion, and a service-learning program for Grade 12 where the movement is towards change leadership. The whole program is here.

I have been thinking about how to align basic education experiences with the Ateneo Loyola Schools, so that homegrown students do not repeat their experiences in high school (Junior and Senior HS). This has been a common feedback of our high school alumni.

I would like to propose that university programs give students opportunities to concretely  help a community in their development. These opportunities are according to the course they are taking. We believe that the college courses are not just career for their own personal aggrandisement, but their service niche in the world. It is about how they are to be persons-for-others where God specifically has called them to serve.

By experiencing the change in a community, the students are inspired to effect change because they have seen it with their very own eyes.

So Fr. Ben said this:

One crucial element in designing a program for service is to make sure that the student experiences transformation in a community. Unless they experience a history of right development, no matter how slow, the belief that they can change the world will not take root. Fr. Ben Nebres SJ

Los Gatos' tulips. Photo: Fr. Jboy Gonzales SJ

Hindi Hinihintay Ang Himala

Kape't PandasalNaghahanap ka ba ng himala sa iyong buhay, bago mo tuluyang masabi na may pananalig ka sa Diyos? Laman ba ng iyong panalangin ang maraming kondisyon bago ang iyong pangakong aanib sa Diyos habang-buhay? Halimbawa, namamanata ka sa Diyos na magsisimba tuwing Linggo, KUNG ipapasa ka Niya sa iyong board or bar exam? Nangangako ka sa Diyos na bumisita sa Manaoag KUNG bibigyan ka ng Diyos ng boyfriend o girlfriend na babagay sa iyo? Ibig sabihin, mananampalataya ka lang kapag may nakita kang pruweba.

Sa ganitong paraan ba natatagpuan ang Diyos? Ang pananampalataya ay hindi nakabatay sa anumang himala. Ito ay nakabatay sa mga saksi na sumampalataya at naranasan ang kabutihan ng pananalig sa kanilang buhay. Halimbawa, sa kabila ng mga unos sa buhay ng isa kong kaibigan, nakikita nila ang maraming mga biyayang ipinagkaloob ng Diyos sa kanila. O kaya sa pagkamatay ng aming magulang, nakita ko na lalo kaming naging malapit bilang magkakapid, o kaya’y mas lalong naging malakas ang aming loob sa pagharap namin sa anumang pagsubok.

Hindi hinihintay ang himala.

May himala na nangyayari na sa buhay. Kailangan lang nating makita ito. At makikita lamang ito sa mga mata ng nananampalataya. Naalala ko ang aking nanay. Sabi niya, hindi siya makapaniwala na napatapos niya kaming lahat. Naging instrumento siya ng Diyos upang kami ng aking mga kapatid ay nagkaroon ng magandang kinabukasan. Hilingin natin sa Diyos ang mga matang nakakakita ng himala sa araw-araw.

Avocado at the Ateneo High School grounds. Photo: Fr. Jboy Gonzales SJ

Avocados and Diabetes

Enjoying what you harvested from your backyard is rewarding. The avocados that are featured here (above) come from the avocado tree outside of the Immaculate Concepcion Chapel of the Ateneo High School. The tree stands within the grounds used for prayer and reflection, a sanctuary in the high school for those who would like to spend their downtime, or their deliberate time to commune with God in the midst of the hustle and bustle of school.

I love avocados and I eat them raw. I also love them prepared the probinsyano way: with condensed milk or as a fruit shake (yes, avocados are fruits, not vegetables). But I have to abandon anything with sugar because of my diabetes. Since I have been taking avocado as it is, I have loved its taste. You see, my taste buds miss a lot of flavor from the fruit when sugar and milk mask them.

This is the avocado tree outside of the Immaculate Concepcion Chapel, Ateneo High School. You can reflect in this spot. Photo: Fr. Jboy Gonzales SJ

This is the avocado tree outside of the Immaculate Concepcion Chapel, Ateneo High School. You can reflect in this spot. Photo: Fr. Jboy Gonzales SJ

Avocados are super foods. They are perfect for us whose blood sugar levels go up and down. These spikes destroy our internal organs. Medicine has it that we do not die of diabetes, but we die from the complications that arise from having one. Rich the Diabetic tells us of the health benefits of avocados in his website :

“So the benefits of avocados for diabetics are:  Low insulin needs, increases good cholesterol, and keeps electrolyte levels up.  Oh, and with that much fiber, it’ll make you poop the way you’re supposed to.”

Anyways, when you are able to enjoy nature — the way I enjoy raw avocados — it gives you reason to take care of it. Imagine if the avocado that’s healthy for diabetics suddenly becomes extinct? That would be a tragedy, a great loss! Many will be deprived of its benefits plus the other ways we enjoy the fruit. There will be no avocado shakes, no avocado for guacamole, no avocado for fiber, no avocado for healthy cholesterol, and so on and so forth.

If you don’t want something beautiful and healthy to vanish from the earth, the tendency is to preserve and cultivate it. If we haven’t experienced the beauty of God’s creation, we will not be able to palpably comprehend what Pope Francis urges us to do in his encyclical, Laudato Si.

When Pope Francis urges us to care for the environment, he reiterates that our lives depend on this earth. This planet is our home. It is God’s garden for everyone to enjoy.

So I eat avocado. I savor each spoonful knowing that eating it is God’s way of keeping me alive.

I am eating avocado now as I write. And there is a tug in my heart that urges me to plant more fruit trees. Not just for diabetics, but for all of us.

Buffaloes in conflict, Thailand. Photo © Ken Lindsay 2011.

Si Hesus Ang Sanhi ng Paghihiwalay?

Kape't PandasalNakakabagabag ang sinabi ni Hesus sa atin ngayong araw. Aniya siya ang magiging sanhi ng pagkakawatak-watak ng sanlibutan. Dahil sa Kanya, maghihiwalay ang mga anak at mga magulang. Mag-aaway ang mga magkakaibigan. Salungat ba ito sa unang pagpapakilala sa atin kay Hesus bilang tanda ng kapayapaan? Magkaiba ba ang ganitong pananaw?

Malinaw ang sinasabi ni Hesus. Kung papanig ka sa Kanya at isasabuhay mo ang Kanyang mga turo, makakamtan mo ang kapayapaan. Kung papanig ka sa demonyo, hindi mo ito makakamtan. Sa buhay, natural na kailangan nating pumili kung kanino tayo kampi. Hindi puwedeng mamangka sa dalawang ilog. Para kay Hesus ka ba, o para kay Satanas.

At dahil kailangan nating pumili, may mga taong hindi na natin magiging kasapi.

Halimbawa, kung kailangan natin pagsabihan ang ating kaibigan ukol sa kanyang hindi kanais-nais na pag-uugali, may posibilidad na masaktan siya at magtatampo sa iyo. Sa buhay ng mga martir ng Simbahan: ibinuwis nila ang kanilang buhay alang-alang kay Kristo. Kapag pinili nating umanib sa panig ng kabutihan, laging kasama nito ang krus. Ipagdasal natin na huwag tayong madadala sa panig ng kasamaan; ngunit tulad ng mga banal na martyr ng pananampalataya, paninindigan natin ang Diyos, kahit na mararatnan natin ang ating kamatayan.

Magnified illustration with the word Social Media on white background.

We Hate Selfies and Other Discoveries

Report on the Ateneo HS' reflection on our social media life. Photo: Fr. JBoy Gonzales SJ

Report on the Ateneo HS’ reflection on our social media life. Photo: Fr. JBoy Gonzales SJ

Have you ever unfriended some people because you do not like what they post? I have.

Have you ever wished to unfollow some people whom you cannot unfriend because you have to know what they post? I have.

Have you ever yearned for your timeline to be an aggregate of useful information than a feed of useless chatter? I have.

If we develop allergic reactions to these vexatious people, we have to likewise ask ourselves the question: Are we also annoying to them? It is more realistic to manage our own social media life, than to expect others to regulate themselves (but of course, we hope they read this!).

Discover how our Ateneo High School community reflected on our internet “persona” in view of changing what we do in cyberspace into a pleasant and professional activity on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms. We want to use our social media for social good.

Continue reading →

Chris Pratt

Naghihintay Ka Ba ng Himala?

Kape't PandasalKilalang kilala natin si Chris Pratt na gumanap bilang Owen sa “Jurassic World” na humakot ng higit sa isang bilyong dolyar sa takilya. Sa kanyang mga panayam, hindi kinakaila ni Chris Pratt ang paglalim ng kanyang pananampalataya noong premature ang panganganak ng kanyang asawa na si Anna Faris. Inuluwal si Jack, siyam na linggo bago ang kanyang kabuwanan at nanatili sila sa Intensive Care Unit ng ospital. Dahil nanganganib ang buhay ng kanyang anak, iniluhog nila sa Diyos ang kanyang kondisyon. Magdadalawang-taon na si Jack sa susunod na buwan ng Agosto.

Gayon din ang kuwento ng babaeng maysakit sa Ebanghelyo ngayong araw. Naniniwala ang babae na gagaling siya sa pamamagitan ng paghawak sa anumang bahagi ng damit ni Hesus. Para bagang sinasabi ng babae sa sarili, “Kung mahawakan ko man lang ang kanyang damit, gagaling ako!” At dahil sa kanyang pananampalataya, pinagaling siya ni Hesus.

Lumalago ang ating pananampalataya kapag naniniwala tayo sa mga bagay na hindi maipapaliwanag na kahit anong paraang-pisikal.

Ligtas sa kapahamakan ang anak ni Chris Pratt. Gumaling ang babae sa paghawak sa damit ni Hesus. Nagkakatotoo ang ating mga pangarap na idinulog natin sa Panginoon. Manalangin tayo mga kapamilya sa lalong paglalim ng ating pananalig sa Diyos. Dahil sa Panginoon, walang imposible.