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Quitinday and Quituinan: New Quests for the Curious

There is truth in the tenet that we should promote our own. Who else could be the best guide but the very people who live in the new place you are exploring. In fact, there is a scripture passage that supports this. Jesus said, “I am the Way.” It means that the best way to get to your destination is a companion who knows the way. The person himself is your very map! Not Waze, Trip Advisor or Google — these are secondary to the very person who is from there!

So, let a local propose to you some places in Camalig, Albay, my very own hometown. These are new spots you would not want to miss. I am so proud that our once sleepy town has many new things to offer, aside from the perfect view of Mayon Volcano especially during eruption, or the iconic Hoyop-Hoyopan Cave.

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But coupled with this rightful pride is the lingering fear that many government officials will not protect and preserve these beautiful spots, but will move to acquire them for themselves. I heard that present officials have been buying large tracts of land where these spots are. Or that they would welcome industries that threaten the environment like the existing cement factory that quarries some part of the Quitinday Greenhills.

Train your eyes further down to the horizon and you will see a white slice of a hill, like half of Starbuck’s Dome Cake. There are still no legal regulations in terms of the protection of these natural reserves in Camalig. Development to me is a two-edged sword. Despite its positive connotation, it could also mean its negative, the unscrupulous destruction of nature and the greedy acquisition of real estates.

One Instagram caption says it all: “Better go there before it disappears.”

Anyways, if you desire to go to these places, you can just rent a tricycle from downtown. There is a tricycle terminal along the LCC Supermarket or the 7-11 store at the local palengke. Negotiate with the drivers. Only the heavy duty ones can take some stony roads and so long a trip.

The outline of this post follows the itinerary I followed to these beautiful spots. And please carry a bag for your garbage.

***

Quitinday, Camalig, Albay

The trip to Quitinday is usually a half-day affair, so rent is pegged at Php 500.00. The driver will wait for you as you take your time enjoying each stop. I was with my cousin, Willy, who has been to these new places long before I knew about them.

  1. Quitinday River.

We left the town proper at around 1 PM and arrived at this river after 45 minutes. We crossed this river before we got into Quintinday’s cave and canyon. This river flowed on numerous shallow pools of clear water where children — and you — could swim.

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You could of course take a dip, but it would be better if you just take a photo like what I did. Reserve your swim to the next stop.

  1. Quitinday Underground River, Falls and Canyon.

There were preliminaries before we were allowed to go to the cave, canyon and waterfalls. We first registered and paid an entrance fee. The government trained locals who were available at the registration hut if you needed a guide. The guides — mostly young adults — claimed they could not charge a fixed rate. So, just give according to your right judgment and most especially from your generous heart. We did.

 

Quitinday River

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The underground river was a surprise. I never knew there was a small river that entered a cave, would drop to two cascading levels into the dark interior, and then flow smoothly underground and exit into a canyon. It would then fall again to a magnificent waterfall called Sigpit Falls.

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To get there, we descended a canyon, the steps marked by bamboo rails. There were two bamboo rafts that took us to the cave. The trip into the cave to the waterfall was around 15 to 20 minutes. The guide would then ask everyone to climb the waterfalls to an opening where you could spend time to swim.

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When done, you can either return to the rafts or you can climb up to the top of the cave to enjoy a sprawling rice field. We took the latter and then followed the trail that took us to Sigpit Waterfalls.

 

  1. Sigpit Falls, Quitinday.

A short walk from the cave area was Sigpit Falls. We enjoyed the stream before it cascaded down two tiers below. But that’s where I stayed put. I had no intention to descend to the basin.

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Though my cousin wanted me to go a little further onto the rock for a great photo, I was afraid to do so. So this was the closest I could get to show you the water’s drop to a clear blue basin. But I did not dare jump into it: my fear got ahead of me rather than my daring nature. Our guide said that you could, because he had done it several times.

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We left this area at around 4:30 PM. My cousin said that the late afternoon is perfect for Quitinday Green Hills. The trip to the hills was around 30 minutes because the route skirts between the hills until it reaches the registration area. I was worried that it was getting dark at around 5:15 PM, but my cousin assured me that the hilltops would bask in the afternoon sun.

  1. Quitinday Green Hills.

Among the new things to explore in my hometown, this was definitely my SHOULD. I found the hills breathtaking. It was awesome to see mounds of earth like that of the famous Chocolate Hills of Bohol, but in my town, the hills were covered with yellow and green with a hue of red from the blades of fine grass.

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After registering and paying the maintenance fee, we climbed the uphill trail that led us to a certain vantage point where I saw Mayon Volcano at the horizon. It was indeed a must-see for Instagrammers and travel enthusiasts.

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A word of advice: please do stay until sundown. These photos would tell you why dusk is the best time to be there.

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Quituinan Hills, Brgy. Tinago, Camalig, Albay

The next day, I headed for Quituinan Hills. Brgy. Tinago was very near the town’s market, so a tricycle ride was around Php 120.00 for a round trip.

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I initially heard about Quituinan Hills from Jesse, my youngest brother, and Yuyu, my cousin. They shared the route of their run every time I was home. But I never imagined the view was panoramic. Just check these pictures.

 

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***

If you only have a day and you are commuting like a solo backpacker, may I suggest this itinerary:

8 AM: Quituinan Hills and Hoyop-Hoyopan Cave

1 PM: Quitinday

You’ll be back at around 630PM.

***

After exploring Camalig, I would recommend the best pinangat ever (we are famous for this dish). Pinangat is made from taro leaves and cooked in thick coconut milk. Like many local fares, the best are in smaller stores. Look for “Kamalignon Pinangat” in Barangay 1. It is along the main street. If you are traveling towards Legazpi City, note the row of pinangat vendors just a few meters from Let’s Pinangat. This row is to your left, so keep your eyes open when you pass by the Municipal Hall and Let’s Pinangat. If to your right, you see Camalig North Central School, you have missed the place.

But the best is again, a local. If you have been in a tricycle touring Camalig’s sights, ask the tricycle driver to bring you to Kamalignon Pinangat, instead of dropping you off at the center of the town.

By the way, Kamalignon is not a restaurant, so it is advisable to enjoy Kamalignon’s Pinangat upon your return to your hotel. If frozen, microwave for around 5 minutes or you can just use the rice cooker to steam it. For us locals, we just put it on top of newly cooked rice — except that your rice will have the juice of taro leaves. But that is perfect for us.

Note:

1) More on Camalig’s pinangat in a future post.

2) You might want to check my previous post about my hometown.

Here is the link:

a. Discover Camalig: a 16th c. town, a lake and food as fiery as its volcano.

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Finding Ourselves

“We travel initially to lose ourselves. We travel, next, to find ourselves.”

– Pico Iyer

It took 31 years for most of us to come home to Legazpi. We graduated in 1985, when our school was still called, “Science Oriented High School” of Aquinas University. We were less than a hundred as a batch; two classes only per year level. The idea of the Dominicans was to form students in the ‘sciences’ – not just in the hard sciences as Biology, Chemistry or Physics.

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According to Fr. Orlando Aceron OP, our beloved principal, we were also to be educated in the ‘other sciences’ as Logic and Philosophy. We were just two classes, indeed an experiment, with college professors as members of the faculty.

Photo: Our beloved principal, Fr. Orlando Aceron OP.

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After graduation, we all dispersed. Most have traveled far from our home base. Some have explored other possibilities and professions. Some have discovered their true vocations.

Here is a photo of Fr. Ricky Bermas and Fr. Orlando Aceron OP. Our batch also produced a dominican, Fr. Stephen Redillas OP, but he was in Australia.

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Pico Iyer has a sense: it has been true to many of us that we “lost ourselves” first. And the process of “losing ourselves” was necessary to arrive at who we are today. Like young saplings, we have to branch out in great abandon, often reckless and experimental.

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I remembered the day I left home for college. I was both sad and excited on the new adventure ahead of me. The freedom that goodbyes bring initially has “loosened up” many of adolescent issues and hang-ups, but that “scattering” will soon find its own shape, that is, a re-fashioning that is uniquely ours as we age and mature.

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The return then is a rediscovery of our roots. We have revisited Aquinas University, our old school, appreciating both its oldness and its newness.

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We toured some spots in Albay like the new Kawa-Kawa in Ligao City, and the old Mayon Resthouse, now called the Mayon Skyline. And we have appreciated many new things to explore.

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Here are the two sights we visited.

  1. Kawa-Kawa, Ligao, Albay.

People visit Kawa-Kawa for two reasons. Kawa-Kawa is named after the recessed area on the plateau of the hill in Ligao, Albay. Kawa is the Bicol word for the cooking implement called the “wok.” Kawa-Kawa means like a wok. This area also reminds me of the University of the Philippines’ Sunken Garden in Diliman, Quezon City, except that Kawa-Kawa is scenic, it is on a mountain overlooking the valley with Mayon Volcano on the horizon.

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People go to Kawa-Kawa for two reasons: one is religious; the other is leisure. One can do the Stations of the Cross to the top and around the “wok” area. This makes the nature park a haven for devotees especially during the Holy Week. A Catholic church dedicated to the Divine Mercy is being constructed at its base.

 

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And for many, especially young people who boisterously climb with great laughter, they just enjoy the nature park.

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On the base of the Kawa is a sunflower garden.

 

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For solo backpackers:

From Legazpi City, you can take jeepneys plying the northern route to Polangui, Albay. Request the driver to drop you off at the junction to Kawa-Kawa in Ligao City. From there, tricycles can bring you to your destination.

  1. Mayon Skyline.

Although this is to me a major disappointment, it is still worth going if you want to see half of the Province of Albay. It is a disappointment because the area is unkempt; mounds of garbage are within view. The planetarium has been abandoned, and certain areas need to be renovated. The government should put this on their priority list, not just to boost tourism, but to care for the environment as well. So I would suggest this the least of the places to visit.

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I think it would be best to rent a van from the hotel you are billeted. If you have a van, it can take you to Kawa-Kawa and other places since you are renting them for a day.

***

This a group photo of Batch 1985 of Science Oriented High School, Aquinas University, after 31 years.

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The Islands of Gigantes Live Up To Its Name

It was a trip devoid of a single regret.

I heard about the group of islands across the town of Estancia in Iloilo from Bok Pioquid, a faculty member of the Ateneo High School’s Christian Service Involvement Program. He and his wife would go on a “couple” backpacking tour every now and then. Until today, their unwavering passion is exploring the Philippines. They have gone to many places, and they travel on the cheap — and this is what I love about their stories. You can go on an adventure without breaking the bank.

I told Bok about Fr. Ruben Orbeta SJ’s invitation for me to help out at Sta. Maria Parish in Iloilo City for the Holy Week. I would fly in on Palm Sunday and fly out on Easter Sunday. My work was to give a recollection talk for an hour each day of the Triduum and hear confessions on Good Friday. So I had three days free: Holy Monday to Wednesday. Bok suggested the Gigantes trip because I was already there. He gave me the number of Ms. Rolin Barba (0929-3949708) of Paon Beach Club Inc,*** and off I went.

GigantesJboySJ I took the Ceres Bus to Estancia from the Jaro Terminal on a very humid Monday. It took around 2 hours to the town. From Panian Crossing, I took a tricycle to Paon. GigantesJboySJ

I woke up early the next morning for the boat ride to Gigantes Islands. It was a 2-hour trip to the islands. I learned that Gigantes did not belong to the Municipality of Estancia, but the town of Carles. So if you prefer to take off from Carles, it would be an hour to the islands.

Rey Ambito, our guide,** said that the group of islands was named after an ancient skeleton, discovered in one of the isles. The height of the human bones was taller than many natives, hence, a higante, a giant. I also heard you could go caving if you preferred that adventure, but the caves were in Gigantes del Norte. Unfortunately, I explored only Gigantes del Sur where many islands with white sand beaches were, and whose views were “Instagramable” and picturesque.

Below are great reasons why you should visit the islands. Believe me, I was in awe all the time I was there! It was indeed a gigantic experience!

  1. Cabugao Gamay Island

From a vantage point is the iconic view of the whole island. The famous photos of Gigantes are taken from here (see featured photo above). Below is the eastern side of the island. The sun was rising when I took this photo.

 

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    1. Bantigue Island’s white sand bar.

It is a long island, but the tip of the island is perfect for a photo shoot. From a certain point, you have many islands as your backdrop. But do take a dip. The water is pure and perfect as you can see.

 

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    1. Antonia Island’s beach.

This is the usual stop-over for lunch. Fishermen would sell scallops and wasay-wasay shellfish. You can’t imagine how cheap the scallops are: Php 1.00/per piece. When I was there, Rey and I feasted on a hundred pieces with spiced native vinegar and lots of rice. Rolin made sure that I would bring more than enough cooked rice, water and vinegar. I was so grateful for her thoughtfulness.

 

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    1. Cabugao Dako Island’s rock formation.

The rock formation is like the backdrop from the movie, “The Lord of the Rings.” Simply, the rocks are surreal. Let the photos speak for the islands.

 

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    1. Tangke Island’s Lagoon.

The boats will dock at a certain opening between towering rocks. These high-rise rocks protect a beautiful sanctuary of a white sand lagoon where you can swim. But be sure to be there before 2 PM: the water begins to drain during low tide.

 

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    1. Cheap seafood.

In Punot Restaurant and Grill in Estancia, I ordered a bowl of Imbao (shellfish) Sinigang (sour soup) and grilled squid. I loved imbao; the flavor just bursted in my mouth. I thought the servings were just enough for me. I was surprised that the servings were good for four. Each order was just Php 100.00. (Shout out to Engr. Carlito Centeno for my dinners!)

 

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  1. Estancia’s Dried Fish.

The town of Estancia is famous for its dried fishes. I tell you, your trip will never be complete without a sampling of their dried fish especially for breakfast. Paon serves them.

 

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***

 

You might wonder why I write about these trips. Going out from my usual work in school enriches me. The world is far greater and bigger than Ateneo. And this is what I like to do: go and explore the richness of the very home God has given me.

When you get to see how beautiful this world is, this home of ours, then you will do everything to protect it. You will become a real steward of creation, just as God has appointed us to become. This is the premise of Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si. The encyclical’s dream is for every single human person to be at home in the very planet we live in.

In a few months, I will bring my students to Iloilo. Last November 2015, I explored Iloilo accompanied by Bok and some parents. We saw what this province could offer us: a pilgrimage of churches, a food trip, an ecological adventure and a cultural experience.

We hope that our students will truly love our country because they have seen how beautiful the Philippines is. We also have a greater hope: that they would be angry enough to act when unscrupulous people would dare corrupt its beauty.

Just like falling in love, you will always protect that which matters to you — or whom you deeply care about.

 

***

Some notes:

*We call these visits to Jesuit schools, “Eco-Spiritual Pilgrimages” instead of the usual “field trips” because there is a spiritual angle to the tour. We do an “ecological examen” and end our day with a mass. And as part of Ignatian prayer, we ask God the specific grace to “Find Him In All Things” — in creation, in the people we encounter, in the experience. This program is part of the Jesuit Youth Ministry of the Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus.

It also includes an interaction with students from the place where we visit. This August 2016, the Iloilo Pilgrimage will include an interaction between students, parents and faculty of Ateneo de Iloilo to share our common experiences of being in a Jesuit school. In other words, the program is always in partnership with other Jesuit schools, and one of our goals is the appreciation of our common Ignatian spirituality.

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** To the left of this photo is Rey Ambito, waiter and tour guide of Paon Beach Club. He accompanied me on the boat to the islands. I highly recommend him because he is both knowledgeable and trustworthy. You can call or text him at 0930-5859104. If you can’t reach him, Rolin can help you find your guides.

 

*** Call Paon Beach Club Inc. at (033) 397-0444 or 0929-394-9708. And oh, you can also enjoy this sunset from Estancia.

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Two girls walk towards their school carrying flower garlands used for a Philippine cultural dance. Photo: Fr. JBoy Gonzales SJ

Bantayan ang Bawat Niluklok Natin

Tapos na ang eleksyon. Marahil, alam na natin kung sino-sino ang pinagkakatiwalaan ng maraming Pilipino sa kanilang kinabukasan. At bagaman marami sa atin ang hindi masaya sa resulta ng karamihang nanalo sa halalan, wala na tayong magagawa pa.

Nagsalita na ang buong masa, kahit hindi tayo sang-ayon sa lahat ng kanilang nagustuhan. Ganito ang proseso ng demokrasya.

Nabigyan na ng pagkakataong lahat makapagsalita at bumoto, at hindi sa lahat ng bagay, ang atin lamang ang maririnig at masusunod. Ito na ang oras ng pagtanggap at pagpapaubaya. Ito na rin ang pagkakataong magtanong kung ano pa ang maaari nating maitutulong sa ating pamahalaan. Hindi na ito panahon para makipagtuligsa o makipag-away. Ito na ang panahon ng pagkakaisa. Ito na ang panahon upang sumama sa pagsulong ng Pilipinas sa ating hinaharap.

Meron tayong maitutulong: huwag natin silang pabayaang mag-isa sa kanilang tungkulin. Bantayan ang bawat iniluklok natin.

Sundin ang kanilang mga ginagawa at huwag hahayaang mapunta sa ikasasama ng ating bansa. Pagdasal natin sila na laging isa-alang-alang ang mabuting kapakanan ng buong bansa.

Manalangin tayo.

“Loobin mo, makapangyarihang Dios, na lagi naming pagnilay-nilayan ang mga bagay na matuwid at nakalulugod sa Iyo. Hinihiling namin, tulungan mo kaming maisagawa ang mga ito, alang-alang kay Kristo aming Panginoon. Amen.”

Image taken from http://qnexitsolutions.blogspot.com. Thank you for this image.

Santacruzan: Pagpapahalaga sa mga Babae ng Pananampalataya

Habang hinihintay natin ang resulta ng nakaraang halalan, ibaling muna natin ang ating mga puso’t isipan sa isang tradisyong kinagigiliwan ng nakararami sa atin: ang Santacruzan. Ituon natin ang ating isipan, hindi sa mga nagagandahang sagala, kundi sa tunay na kahulugan nito.

Isang pagpaparangal sa mga babaeng sumulong ng pananampalataya ang santacruzan.

Makikita natin sina Ruth, Reyna Ester, Reyna Sheba, Infanta Judith ng Lumang Tipan. Makikita din natin sina Veronica, Maria Magdalena, Maria Jacobe at Maria Salome ng Bagong Tipan.

At higit sa lahat, ang Emperatriz Elena sa pinakadulo ng prusisyon — siya ang naghanap ng tunay na krus ni Kristo. Ang kanyang anak na si Constantino, ang siyang nagpalaganap ng pananampalatayang Kristiyano sa buong Imperyong Romano noong siya ang naging Emperador nito.

Binibigyang diin mismo ng Santacruzan ang kahalagahan ng mga babae sa kasaysayan ng pananampalataya.

Samakatuwid, balikan natin ang mga babaeng tumulong sa paglalim ng ating pananampalataya sa Diyos.

Manalangin tayo.

O Dios, binabahaginan mo ang iyong bayan ng mga bunga ng katubusang ginawa ng iyong Anak na makikita din namin sa santacruzan. Tulungan mo kaming makaiwas sa kasalanan upang ang aming buhay ay maging palagiang handog sa Iyo tulad ng mga babaeng inaalala namin sa buwan na ito. Amen.

Staff and Maintenance of the Ateneo HS at the Community Spiritual Hour (CSH). Together with the faculty, they pray, reflect and share on certain topics about their life in school. In this photo, Mrs. Letty Coronado opens her heart to her colleagues, facilitated by Paulo (checkered shirt) a Jesuit pre-novice. 3 July 2015 This is part of their formation.

Halalan: Paghahanda Bago Pumunta sa Presinto

Marahil naghahanda na po kayong pumunta sa iyong mga sariling presinto sa araw ng halalan. Bago tayo pumaroon, higit na mahalaga ang tunay na paghahanda bago pumaroon. Kailangang huwag padalos-dalos sa pagdedesisyon kung sino ang iboboto sa eleksyon. Sa ngayon ay pawang mga pangako pa lamang ang maririnig sa lahat ng mga kandidato sa eleksyon. Maririnig natin ito sa kanilang nakaraang mga debate, kampanya atpb.

Mahalagang maging mapanuri at laging makinig sa mga pahayag ng mga kandidato at limiin kung sinsero ang mga ito.

Sa ating mga botante, lagi nating pag-aralan ang mga sinasabi ng mga kandidato. Bago tayo pumunta doon, mas maganda kung mayroon na tayong listahan sa ating mga piling-piling kandidato.

Pagdasalan din natin ang mga ito; sila ba ang pipiliin din ng Diyos upang mamuno sa atin?

Sana, tayo’y bumoboto hindi dahil sa popular ang kandidato kundi naniniwala tayo na may magagawa siya para sa ating bansa. Tandaan natin na kapag tayo’y bumoto, hindi lang tayo bumoboto para sa sarili lang natin.

Manalangin tayo upang hingin ang Espiritu Santo na liwanagan ang ating mga puso’t isipan sa halalang ito.

“Pagpalain mo kami, O Panginoon, sa aming pagninilay-nilay sa araw ng eleksiyon. Idinadalangin namin, na ang aming pamumuhay ay maging saksi sa katotohanang kami’y iyong mga anak, alang-alang kay Cristong aming Panginoon. Amen.”

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Ang Halaga ng Kandidatong May Tunay Na Pakialam sa Komunidad

Kapag naririnig ninyo ang salitang, “komunidad” o “sambahayanan,” ano ang sumasagi sa iyong isip? Marahil tinutukoy natin ang pagkakaisa ng bawat miyembro ng komunidad; maaari ding isipin ang isang mas malawakang pamilya sa ilalim ng iisang bahay. Ito din ang nasasaisip ni Hesus nang banggitin niya ang Espiritu Santo.

Ang sambayanan ay ang kapatiran ng mga nakakikilala kay Jesus sa pamamagitan ng Espiritu Santo.

Mahalaga ang salitang “komunidad” o “sambahayan” sa darating na eleksiyon. Sino sa mga kandidato ang maaaring magbigay daan sa tunay na pagkakaisa at pagkakapatiran na labis na kailangan sa kaunlaran ng buong bansa? Sino sa kanila ang maaaring tipunin ang lahat ng pinuno ng bansa, upang sama-samang solusyunan ang mga isyu ng ating lipunan? At dahil dito, sino sa kanila ang may tugon sa mga isyu ng sambahayang Pilipino saka-sakaling sila ang mapupunta sa luklukan ng lingkod-bayan?

Samakatuwid, bilang iisang bayang Pilipino, huwag tayong magpapadala sa anumang siraang nagaganap. Kundi ibaling natin ang ating pagdedesisyon hindi sa personalidad ng mga kandidato, kundi sa kanilang tugon sa tunay na isyung pambayan.

Manalangin tayo.

O Dios na makapangyarihan, tanggapin mo ang aming mga panalangin at alay ng sarili para sa isang mapayapa, malinis at makatotohanang eleksiyon. Kami sana’y maging saksi ng Muling Pagkabuhay ng Panginoong Hesus sa aming isip at damdamin. Amen.

Bok Pioquid to the Pine Forest. PHoto: Fr. Jboy Gonzales SJ

Alagaan Ang Sangnilikha

Kape't PandasalTag-init o tag-araw, nais nating gumala nang gumala, kasama ang pamilya o kaya ang barkada. May iba namang gustong diskubrehin ang Pilipinas nang mag-isa o tinatawag nilang solo backpacking. Hindi kailangan mahal ang pinupuntahan, may mga kalikasang libre at walang bayad. May umaakyat ng bundok, may nagkakagustong sisirin ang dagat. Sa anumang gawaing masaya, meron tayong dapat tandaan.

Iwasan sana nating mag-iwan ng tanda maliban na lamang sa mga litratong alaala ng pagbisita.

Anong ibig kong sabihin? Mga mga naba-vandalize, sinusulatan ng “I was here” o kaya nag-iiwan ng basura sa paligid. Kapag sinisira natin ang kagandahan ng kapaligiran, hindi natin binibigyan ng pagkakataon ang mga kabataang magustuhan rin ang mga tanawin. Iniwan natin sa kanila ang pangit at dumi, kaysa ang kagandahan ng sangnilikha.

Kasama sa mga nagmamakaawang pakinggan ang mga dalubhasa sa climate change, sa pagaalaga ng kapaligiran, at higit sa lahat, kay Pope Francis na sumulat ng Laudato Si, inaanyayahan tayong pahalagahan at palaguin ang kalikasan nagbibigay ng saya sa ating lahat.

Manalangin tayo:

“O Dios tinatanglawan mo ng iyong katotohanan ang mga naliligaw upang manumbalik sa landas ng kaligtasan. Itulot mong ang lahat ng may pananampalatayang Cristiano ay mabuhay nang nararapat sa ganitong taguri at iwasan ang di nababagay bilang mga anak ng Diyos. Alang-alang kay Kristo. Amen.”

Mist from Tumalog Falls. Oslob, Cebu. 23 August 2015 Photo: Fr. Jboy Gonzales SJ

Saan Ka Magbabakasyon?

Kape't PandasalKasama sa panibagong hangad sa Jubileo ng Habag at Malasakit ang pagbabalik-loob sa tamang ugnayan natin sa kalikasan. Sa unang libro ng biblia, sinabi ng Diyos sa Genesis na ang tungkulin ng tao ay alagaan ang kalikasan. Kaya kasama sa pagbabagong isip at ugali nating mga Kristiyano ang pagpapahalaga sa ating mundo bilang bahay ng sansinukob.

Paano ba nating mamahalin ang kalikasan? Nagsisimula ang pag-ibig sa karanasan ng kagandahan.

Naakit ka sa kanya unang-una, bago tuluyan mo siyang niligawan. Ganito rin ang ukol sa kalikasan: kailangan muna nating ma-in-love sa kapaligiran, at sa gayon, bubusilak sa ating puso ang lakas upang ipaglaban ang sinumang sumisira nito. Sa panahon ng tag-init, maaari nating dalawin ang mga magagandang tanawin ng ating bayan.

Kung madiskubre natin ang mga likha ng Panginoon na ubod ng ganda, mas madali nating mahalin ang kalikasan. Ang kagandahan ng mga likha ng Diyos ay sumasalamin sa naglikha nito.

Manalangin tayo:

“O Ama, magalak sanang lagi ang iyong bayang taglay ang panibagong isip at damdamin. Yayamang inampon mo kami at kinupkop, loobin mong matamo namin ang buhay na walang hanggan. Alang- alang sa Anak mo, si Jesucristong Panginoon namin, nabubuhay at naghahari magpasawalang-hanggan. Amen.”

Photo: Red Rafts

May Apoy Ka Bang Tulad ng Atleta o Musikero?

Kape't PandasalAng panahon ng tag-araw o summer ay panahon din nating bigyang-pansin ang ating mga hilig sa buhay. May mga gustong matutong lumangoy, sumayaw, magsulat, magluto atpb.

Kadalasan, isinasantabi natin ito dahil binibigyan natin ng puwang ang mga araling pang-akademiko. Dahil tapos na ang semestre at nagsimula na ang bakasyon, maaari natin habulin ang nagbibigay sigla sa atin.

Ngunit may mga hilig na sadyang hindi natin napag-iiwanan. Hindi tayo pumapayag hanggang maging perpekto ang anumang gusto natin makamtan. Hindi tumitigil sa pag-eensayo ang mga sumasayaw ng hip-hop hangga’t sabay-sabay na silang gumalaw. Hindi tumitigil ang isang musikero hangga’t di niya nakukuha ang kanyang matagal na niyang pina-praktis. May parang gasulinang taglay ang tunay na atleta, musikero, mananayaw na nagbibigay apoy sa anumang gusto nilang gawin.

Ganito din sana tayong mga Kristiyano. May apoy ba tayo upang matutunang mabuti ang ating pananampalataya? May gasulina ba tayo na nagpapatindi sa ating hangaring isabuhay ang pagpapakabuti?

Hihilingin natin ito sa panalangin:

“O Dios na makapangyarihan at walang hanggan, lingapin mo nang buong giliw ang bayang pinagkalooban mo ng bagong buhay. Bahaginan mo kami ng hilig sa pagpapakabuti at pagpapakabanal, sa kaluwalhatian ng Muling Pagkabuhay ni Kristong Panginoon namin. Amen.”

PHoto: Fr. Jboy Gonzales SJ

Huwag Maniwalang Wala Kang Kakayahan

Kape't PandasalMayroon ka bang pangarap para sa iyong sarili, ngunit nagdududa ka kung maaabot mo o makakayang isakatuparan ito? O mas mainam kung ang pangarap mo ay maging inspirasyon sa iba.

Maraming mga atleta o kaya’y mga artista sa iba’t ibang larangan ng sining ang dumating sa punto ng buhay kung saan pinanghihinaan sila ng loob. Kadalasan nangagaling ang panghihina ng loob sa mga sinasabi ng iba’t ibang tao sa kanila.

Ngunit ang Easter o muling pagkabuhay ni Kristo ang nagtuturo na huwag magpapatalo sa anumang balakid, dahil ano man ang hirap mo, aabot din iyan sa kaluwalhatian.

Huwag kakalimutan ito: Hindi dapat tayo maniniwala sa mga taong nagsasabi sa atin na wala tayong kakayahan; that we do not have talent. Lahat tayo may kakayahang gagamitin ng Dios upang abutin ang ating pangarap.

Huwag sana tayong patatalo bago pa man ang laban ng buhay. Dahil minsan, umaatras tayo kung kelan isang hakbang na lamang ang kakailanganin upang magtagumpay.

Manalangin tayo:

“O Dios, binabahaginan mo ang iyong bayan ng mga bunga ng katubusang ginawa ng iyong anak. Nawa’y kupkupin mong lagi ang mga iniligtas mo. Tulungan mo kaming makaiwas sa kasalanan upang ang aming buhay ay maging palaging handog sa iyo. Magalak sana kami sa muling pagkabuhay ni Kristo. Amen.”