Davao Blast: What I saw was our country’s nightmare


The view from the plane’s window at 5:45 AM. 31 August 2016

At four in the morning on the 31st of August 2016, I flew out of Manila; at a quarter before six, we were hovering over the mountains of Mindanao. When a sliver of morning light illumined the serene landscape of Davao, welcoming me to my new mission, I said to myself, “This is gonna be exciting!” Across from my residence two days later, a bomb exploded.


I was horrified. It was around 10:30 in the evening. The sound of the blast reverberated at every nook and cranny of Ateneo de Davao University. It came from a portion of Roxas Avenue, the massage area of the Night Market that opened at 6:00 PM and closed at 11:00 PM.


On a Friday night, the long rows of food stalls with makeshift tables and monoblock chairs were always full of people. The food was very cheap: a glass of lemonade was at Php 10.00; a stick of barbecue with rice is around Php 20.00. For people on a budget, the Roxas Night Market was heaven. Except on that Friday night on the 2nd of September: that street was hell.


From my room on the top floor, I heard screaming and saw frenzied movements on the street below. I took photos of the AFTERMATH: people were running in every direction; some froze in shock; bodies where strewn all over the place. Tables and chairs were overturned, and I could see some blood on the street where a few minutes ago massages were offered to the weary.

(WARNING: Some photos are graphic!)

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For a moment, time stood still. Then I heard the sirens from police cars and ambulances. A fire truck skidded on the parallel side of Roxas Avenue. The street had an island of trees at its center. Some civilians with cars helped bring those wounded to the hospitals. Later, ambulances would field bloodied survivors to other hospitals, while those who sustained minor wounds were admitted to the Ateneo’s clinic.


But those who did not make it remained where they were. The scene had to be examined untouched. In less than an hour, the area was cordoned off. It seemed that those who were valuable witnesses but were not wounded, were asked to stay. Those outside of the crime scene were asked to leave.


Ateneo de Davao locked down the whole campus immediately. No one was allowed to go out of the buildings or to go into the cordoned area. I was, at this time, on the ground floor taking these photos that you can see below, which I also uploaded on Twitter (@jboygonzalessj).

At around 11:30 PM, all we knew were unconfirmed numbers: 30 or more people were being loaded into ambulances; the dead count at this time was nine. But I knew the numbers would increase in due time. People were shocked and traumatized. One student asked me in disbelief, “How could this happen? This is a peaceful city!” I was (and still is) a priest, and I had no answer.

It took some hours before I saw government officials on the scene. The fault was mine: I was new to the place, so I could not identify officials who could have been there before this first photo I took of an obvious public leader. What gave him away was this: media practitioners rushed to interview him. He was, I learned, Vice Mayor Paolo Z. Duterte of Davao City.


Vice Mayor Paolo Zimmerman Duterte being interviewed by the media. 2 September 2016

Sad and disillusioned, I retired to my room at 2 AM, a few minutes before the President came to visit. I knew he was in Davao then. But I wasn’t interested: the night was cold and quiet. The body bags had already been brought to wherever they should be. Only the media, police and other forces particularly concerned about what had happened remained. But the quiet was not peace. It was the eerie quiet of those traumatized and in shock.


The Philippine police, army and the SWAT team at the crime scene. The featured photo above was in the Philippine Star on 3 September 2016.



It would take time for people to re-imagine Davao now. What seems to be immune to violence under the President’s protective arm has been infiltrated under his nose. The Davao blast then challenges his promise of peace to his people. Will he be able to keep his word?


But what concerns me now is not about his leadership. The most important thing is how to allay a people’s waning confidence in the present government’s ability to protect innocent lives amidst the President’s all-out war on drugs and the peace negotiations being carried out with militants in the South.


Taken during the memorial mass held at the site of the bombing. The mass was presided by Bishop Romulo Valles DD of Davao City. Mayor Sara Duterte was present, as well as of other government officials, priests, religious, and civilians. 3 September 2016


Chasing mangroves in Palawan: Why we have to conserve and protect mangrove forests.

I began falling in love with mangroves when I visited the mangrove forests being protected in Culion, Palawan. It was holy week and we were at the end of the Good Friday procession which ended at the Jesuit Retreat House. I could see the patch of green trees below the place where we had the prayer at the end of the Via Crucis. Since then, I started to research on mangroves.


A study on the Mesoamerican reef, for example, showed that there are as many as 25 times more fish of some species on reefs close to mangrove areas than in areas where mangroves have been cut down. This makes mangrove forests vitally important to coral reefs and commercial fisheries as well.

Puerto Princesa


Why do I advocate for the protection of mangrove forests?


  1. Mangrove forests protect the land from the sea.

With rising sea levels due to climate change, mangroves function as a buffer zone, a natural shield against ecological disasters (eg. erosion) and storm surges (eg. Yolanda), therefore protecting the shoreline and coastal areas and those living there (eg. fishing communities).

Puerto Princesa


  1. Mangrove forests are very important for estuarine and marine life.

It is the breeding ground and nursery for a variety of marine animals such as fish, invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. When I explore mangroves, I check on fish, shrimps and crabs, the main sources of income for shoreline communities like fishing villages. It has been proven that those with a large population of mangroves also have a large population of fishes and an increase in marine diversity.


Puerto Princesa


  1. Many of us do not know that mangroves are also good for timber, fuel and fodder.

Mangroves are used to build houses, furniture, or even electrical posts. And because of the density of the wood, they are also excellent as firewood. In some countries where pastures are nearly scarce, mangroves are used to feed cattle.

Puerto Princesa


  1. The barks of many species of mangroves produce tannin.

Many fishermen use bark extracts to make their fishing nets durable. In one of my skin diving experiences, snorkelers and divers who use the flower of the mangroves to clean goggles fascinated me.

Puerto Princesa


  1. Like many trees and plants, mangroves help purify the air and water.

Mangroves absorb pollutants and heavy metals in the water and in the air. Thus, you can be assured that you are breathing fresh air if you are in a mangrove forest.

Puerto Princesa



Puerto Princesa

What can we do?


  • Plant mangroves.

Know what species of mangroves in the area. Those are the types of mangrove trees that you should plant. The introduction of a new specie will affect the ecosystem. Remember that mangrove forests have many species of mangrove trees and plants. For example, some areas have nipa palms; some do not.

Puerto Princesa


  • Organize groups to protect it.

I would highly encourage church groups to participate in government efforts as part of their living out Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si.

Puerto Princesa


  • Be vigilant.

Report to authorities destruction of these forests. Some local governments have mangrove and reef conservation efforts and programs. It is good to participate in their efforts to protect these crucial ecosystems.

Puerto Princesa


  • Create appreciation and awareness.

Since we are all on social media, we might want to post photos and articles about mangroves and reef conservation efforts, such as clean up drives, mangrove planting, etc. At the very least, post photos of mangroves when you find yourself in an island or in a place with mangrove forests. Photos of these forests posted on Instagram or Facebook make people appreciate its beauty and its importance.

Puerto Princesa

Puerto Princesa

Puerto Princesa



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.



    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.




    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.



GigantesJboySJ GigantesJboySJ


    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.


Gigantes Gigantes



    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.




    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!)



  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.





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.


** 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.


On Mercy: Sino ang Karapatdapat na Pumasok sa Simbahan?

Mas malaki ang utang na loob ng isang taong matindi ang nagawang kasalanan kaysa ang taong hindi mabigat ang pagkukulang. Kailangan ito ng paglilinaw: hindi ibig sabihin kailangan nating gumawa ng kahangalan para maramdaman natin ang tindi ng pagmamahal ng Diyos.


Pinapahiwatig nito na mali ang akala na ang mga banal at malinis lamang ang nararapat na lumapit sa Diyos.

Maraming piniling makasalanan ang Diyos upang maging pinuno ng sambayanang Kristiyano. Isang mamamatay-tao si Moises, Dabid, at San Pablo. May lamat ang buhay nina San Agustin at San Ignacio. Ang pinakadakilang banal ang siya ring dating dakilang makasalanan. Ngunit dahil labis ang kanilang pasasalamat na pinatawad sila ng Diyos sa kabila ng kanilang nagawang karumaldumal, ibinuwis nila ang kanilang buhay para sa Maykapal.


Kadalasan hinihintay natin ang panahong ganap na malinis ang ating budhi. Saka na tayo magkakalakas-loob na lumapit sa Diyos. Ngunit hindi nagkakatotoo ito; laging nababahiran tayo ng dumi.

Manalangin tayo: O Dios, patawarin ang aming mga sala, at gawin mong lagi naming matapat na sundin ang loob mo upang kami’y wagas na makapaglingkod sa iyo magpasawalang-hanggan. Amen.

On Empathy: Pakikiramay

Tila hindi natatapos ang mga pagsubok na dumarating sa ating buhay. Marami ang napinsala ng lindol sa Italy at Burma; maraming namatay sa digmaan sa Syria at Africa, at sa mga kasabwat sa mga gumagamit ng droga. At sa ating personal na buhay, iba’t ibang klaseng unos ang nasa sa atin.


Hindi magkasing-tulad ang pagtanggap natin sa mga pangyayari sa ating buhay. Magkaiba ang tindi ng tama nito sa bawat tao. May mga kapamilya tayong kayang-kayang dalhin ang sakuna; may iba namang paralisado sa harap ng unos sa kanilang buhay.

Ano ang maaari nating gawin sa ating mga kaibigang hindi pa nakakalabas sa kanilang shock o pagkabigla sa anumang pangyayari?


Nakakatulong na may nakakausap tayong tunay na nakikinig sa atin. Halimbawa, kapag may yumao kadalasang tinatanong natin kung ano ang sanhi ng pagkamatay at kinukumusta natin sila. Sa mga oras na ito, hindi kailangan ang anumang advice; mas kailangan nila ang ating pagkalinga at pakikiramay.

Manalangin tayo: O Dios na makapangyarihan, ang pananampalataya, pag-asa at pag-ibig namin sa kapwa ay Iyong dagdagan upang makatulong ng higit sa mga kapatid naming may dinadaanan. Amen.

On Building a Community: Pagbubuklod ng Isang Pamilyang-Pantao

May kaugnayan ang nagbabahagi sa isang tinapay sa hapag-kainan. Isang pamilyang magkasalo sa inihandang almusal. Isang barkadang magkasamang naghahati-hati sa pananghalian. Isang magkasintahang nagsasalo sa inorder na pagkain. Magkakaugnay ang nagsasalo-salo sa iisang handaan. At nagbubuklod sa kanila ang pagibig sa isa’t isa o sa taong sanhi ng kanilang pagdiriwang.

Dahil dito, isang komunidad ang nagbabahagi ng katawan at dugo ni Kristo sa misa. Magkakapatid tayong lahat dahil iisa lamang ang ating Ama.


Ganito din ang pinakamimithi ng Panginoon. Bagaman tayong lahat ay magkakaiba sa kulay, pananampalataya, at kultura, pinapangarap ng Diyos ang panahong hindi ang ating pagkakaiba ang mas mahalaga, kundi ang ating pagiging isang pamilyang sakop sa iisang pagmamahal sa Diyos, tulad ng mga taong nagkakaisa sa iisang handaan.

Maaaring pagnilayan natin ngayon ang ating mga pag-uugali ukol sa pagbibigkis. Sa panahon na may mga paguusig sa sumasampalataya sa Muslim at Kristiyano, may mga ginagawa na rin ba tayong nakakatulong sa pagpapanday ng komunidad ng Pilipino tulad ng pagkilala sa kahusayan din ng iba?

Manalangin tayo: O Dios, ang iyo nawang kagandahang-loob ay sumubaybay sa aming pagbubuklod ngayon at araw-araw. Amen.

On Boredom: Ang “Nakatagong” Buhay ni Hesus


Dahil nasa kalagitnaan tayo ng semestre, madaling dapuan tayo ng boredom at pagod. Wala na ang excitement ng pasukan, ngunit malayo pa tayo ang katapusan. Madali tayong mawalan ng pasensya at malimit tayong naiinis at nababagot. Higit sa lahat, nawawalan tayo ng gana. Humahaba ang bawat araw.

Tila ganito ang paglalakbay ng mga Israelita tungo sa lupang pangako. Tulad natin, nawalan sila ng gana at pagtitiwala sa Diyos. Tapos na ang mabonggang paglisan sa Ehipto, at wala pa sa kanilang abot-tanaw ang kanilang patutunguhan.

Ganito din ang nangyari sa buhay ni Hesus. Alam natin ang kakaibang kuwento ng kanyang pagkabata hanggang taong-labing-dalawa; at ang sunod na kuwento ukol sa kanya, tatlumpong taon na siya. Ano ang nangyari sa laktaw na panahong ito? Hindi natin alam.

Tinatawag ang mga taong 13-29 years old ni Hesus bilang mga nakatagong taon ng paghahanda sa misyon Niya sa buhay.

Manalangin tayo na tanggapin at pagtiisan ang mga sandali ng pagkabagot dahil alam nating inihahanda tayo para sa ating kinabukasan. Tanggapin mo, Panginoon, nang buong awa ang aming buong araw, upang ang mga may pananalig sa iyo ay makatanggap ng iyong mga pagpapalang makalangit. Amen.

Learning From Mistakes: Ang Kuwento Ni Thomas Edison


Kilala mo ba si Thomas Edison? Kung hindi, siya ang nag-imbento ng electric pen at copier, ang phonograph na ninuno ng mga music players, ang kinetoscope na ninuno ng kamerang pampelikula, at higit sa lahat, ang imbentor ng electric bulb.

Isang araw manghang-mangha ang kanyang assistant sa higit na 50,000 na maling eksperimento niya bago na-imbento ang storage battery.

Sabi ni Thomas Edison, na mas higit pa sa kanyang mga na-imbento ang natutunan niya sa kanyang pagkakamali – 50,000 ang mga bagay na hindi dapat niyang gawin!

Ilang beses na ba tayong nagkakamali sa ating buhay? Siguro hihigit pa sa 50,000 ang bilang ng ating mga pagkakamali. At dahil dito, naiisip natin na hindi tayo karapat-dapat na maging isang mabuting halimbawa sa lahat.

Maaari bang maging ilaw ang may maraming pagkakamali?


Hinahamon tayong lahat na matuto kay Thomas Edison. Maaaring maging gabay sa ating pagpapakabuti at paglilingkod ang ating mga pagkakamali.

Manalangin tayo: Tunghayan mo kami, O Dios, na may likha at namamahala sa lahat ng bagay. Ipadama sa amin ang bunga ng iyong pagmamahal nang makapaglingkod kami sa iyo ng buong katapatan. Sa oras ng aming pagkakamali, liwanagan po ninyo ang aming mga puso. Amen.

On Envy: Ang Kuwento ni Helen Ulap


Isang maliit na ulap si Helen Ulap. Para lamang siyang isang bulak kung titingala ka sa langit. Ngunit masaya si Helen, dahil siya lamang ang ulap sa bayan na iyon. Hanggang dumating ang araw na may nakasama siyang isang malaking ulap na sumakop sa halos lahat ng kanyang bayan. Hindi nagtagal binuhos ng bagong ulap ang kanyang sarili bilang malakas na ulan, at pinuri ito ng mga magsasakang nagdiwang! Na-inggit si Helen.

Sa kanyang inggit, pinuno niya ang kanyang sarili ng tubig. At hindi siya nagpaulan ng ilang araw. Lumipas ang panahon. Naging isang disyerto ang kanyang bayan. Sa tagtuyot, maraming namatay na hayop at tanim. Maraming apektadong mga magsasaka.

Ngunit dahil sa sobrang init, naging manipis na rin si Helen Ulap, hanggang naging parang bulak na lamang siya sa langit. Labis ang kaniyang pagsisisi. Magiging sanhi ng kanyang kamatayan ang kanyang inggit.

Isang araw, dinala siya ng hangin sa mga isla at lumago uli si Helen Ulap. Nagpaulan siya ng mas marami kaysa sa kanyang makakaya, at dahil dito, natuklasan niya ang kasiyahang pumawi sa kanyang inggit: ang labis na pagbibigay.

Manalangin tayo: O Dios, magiliw mong ipagkaloob sa amin ang pusong mapagbigay upang makasamba kami nang nararapat sa iyong dakilang pag-ibig. Amen.

On Teamwork: Ang Kuwento ni Trevor Tubig


Pangalagaan ang kabutihan ng bayanihan at huwag kaming pabayaang manghinawa sa pakikipagtulungan sa kapwa. 

Si Trevor Tubig ay isa lamang na butil ng tubig na may malaking pangarap: ang balutin ang buong bundok at bukid ng niyebe o snow. Nang sumikat ang araw, umakyat siya sa isang manipis na ulap. Ngunit hindi nagtagal, bumaba uli siya sa lupa bilang ulan.

Ilang beses itong nangyari at tila nawalan na ng pag-asa si Trevor Tubig na maabot ang kanyang pangarap.


Isang araw, nakasali siya sa isang makapal na ulap. Ngunit hindi niya nagustuhan ang pangyayari doon. May ibang mga butil na mautos: “Ang mga maliit na butil sa itaas; ang mga malalaking butil sa ibaba. Magsiksikan at huwag hihiwalay sa lahat!” Naisipan ni Trevor Tubig na huwag sumali at hayaan na lamang siyang bumaba sa lupa bilang ulan.

Nguni’t may kumausap sa kaniya: “Marami kaming pumunta dito sa ulap dahil sa gagawin nating sabay-sabay. Binubuo natin ang ulap ng niyebe. Bababa tayo sa lupa at babalutin natin ang mga bundok at bukid ng yelo!”


At nagkatotoo ang pangarap ni Trevor Tubig. Natutupad pala ang pangarap kapag nagtutulungan!

Mga kapamilya, magtulungan tayo upang matupad natin ang ating pangarap, na siya ring pangarap ng ating bansa: ang kaunlaran at kapayapaan!

Manalangin tayo: O Dios, simula ng lahat ng kabutihan, itanim sa aming mga puso ang pangarap Mo sa amin. Pangalagaan ang kabutihan ng bayanihan at huwag kaming pabayaang manghinawa sa pakikipagtulungan sa kapwa. Amen.

On Trustworthiness and Honesty: Ikaw ba ay Mapagkakatiwalaan?


Kilala natin ang mga “lady bugs,” “ladybirds,” o “ladybeetles” dahil sa polka dots sa kanilang pulang pakpak. Noong mga panahon, wala pa ang mga polka dots sa kanilang pakpak. Sa katunayan, iilan lamang ang natira sa kanila nung dumating ang isang malaking delubyo at sinagip ang kanilang lider.

Isang araw, nagusap sila na maglakbay patungo sa isang malaking lawang narinig lamang nila sa kanilang mga ninuno. Dahil dito, ang mga kandidatong gustong maging pinuno ang mauuna doon upang sa kanilang pagbalik, sila ang magiging guia nila.

Marami ang bumalik na nagkuwento kung gaano kaganda ang lawa. Malinaw ang tubig; malago ang mga dahon ng mga tanim; makukulay ang mga bulaklak. Maliban na lamang kay Lita Ladybird. Ilang araw ang nagdaan bago ito nakabalik. At iba ang kanyang kuwento.

Kabaliktaran ng lahat ng kuwento: putikan ang tubig; binaha ang mga tanim; walang bulaklak sa paligid. Natural, hindi naniwala ang buong tropa. Nang nakarating sila sa lawa, natuklasan nila na totoo pala ang kuwento ni Lita Ladybird!

At dahil dito, hinirang nila bilang Dakilang Pinuno si Lita dahil siya ay mapagkakatiwalaan. At ang mga sinunggaling? Pinintahan nila ng bilog na itim ang kanilang mga mga pakpak! Mga kapamilya, panatilihin nawa nating malinis ang ating budhi’t karangalan, upang pagkatiwalaan tayo!

Manalangin tayo: O Panginoon, ipagkaloob mo na pakundangan sa panalangin ng aming mahal na Ina, linisin mo ang aming mga puso upang matamo namin ang kaligtasan at kaluwalhatian ng iyong Anak na si Hesus. Amen.

A whale sharks moves graciously away. Oslob, Cebu. 23 August 2015 Photo: Fr. JBoy Ginzales SJ

Si Gina, Amy at mga Sirena

Kape't PandasalPagpapahalaga o value: harapin ang takot


Matakutin ka ba? May mga takot ka bang pumipigil sa iyo na gawin ang gusto mong gawin? Halimbawa, takot na tanggihan ka sa alok mo ng pag-ibig; o takot na i-friend zone ka na lang?

May kuwento ako ukol sa takot. Magkaibigan si Gina at Amy at pinagtatalunan nila kung tunay nga bang may mga sirena sa dagat. Kaya upang malaman kung tunay nga ang sirena, pumalao’t sila upang sumisid sa dagat.

Iba’t ibang klaseng isda ang una nilang nakita. Sa maliwanag, may mga maliliit at malalaki rin. Habang lumalalim sila, dumidilim ang kanilang nararating. Sa pinakamalalim, wala na silang makita. Nang tinamaan sila ng takot, bumalik sila sa ibabaw ng dagat.

Ngunit, hindi sila mapakali, dahil hindi nasasagot ang kanilang tanong ukol sa mga sirena. Kinabukasan, nagpasiya sila na sumisid muli. Sa pinakailalim, binuksan nila ang kanilang dalang ilaw at nakita nila ang isang tropa ng mga sirena.

Lumapit ang mga sirena sa kanila. Gusto sana nilang makipagkaibigan kay Gina at Amy sa una nilang pagsisid; ngunit nag-akala silang ayaw nilang makipagkaibigan dahil umalis sila kaagad.

Mga kapamilya, lumalampas sa atin ang mga mabubuting pagkakataon dahil sa ating mga takot.

Manalangin tayo upang harapin ang mga ito:

O Dios na makapangyarihan tulungan mo kaming laging maisip ang mga bagay sa langit upang maging marapat kami sa pakikibahagi ng Iyong kaluwalhatian. Nawa’y pagningasin ng aming Inang Maria ang aming mga puso, sa gitna ng aming mga takot. Amen.