From Crucifixion to Resurrection

The weeks leading to my birthday, I was a little depressed and feeling sad. Not because I wasn’t grateful that another year has passed but it was something else.

Jesus was around 33 when he was crucified and eventually died. In his 33 years of existence he has done so much for the world. He not only saved us from our sins but done a lot of good for a lot of people. Healing, teaching, preaching, etc. he changed the world.
I felt depressed because I am turning 33 and I asked myself, what do I have to show for it? If I died tom, would my life have mattered?

Now don’t get me wrong. I am not comparing myself to Jesus, far from it. I was just reflecting on how Jesus and a lot of other people have done so much with their lives in a short span of time.
I was feeling depressed and one night I was chatting with a dear friend of mine on Facebook and I told her how I felt. She gave me some advice as to how she looked at things when she turned 33. She said that instead of looking at it as a “crucifixion”, look at it as a “resurrection”. She said that she made a deliberate decision to be more positive and decisive with her life. She thought of it as a rebirth rather than the opposite. Going forward she would try to do things better and make wiser decisions.

It was a simple revelation; one that was always there. I needed reminding. I need to be more positive in how I look at things again. It was a great piece of advice from a very wise and good friend.
So starting today instead of feeling bad and being depressed because I think I haven’t done enough with my life, I will focus on today and the future and think of more ways to do more with my life.

There are something’s I know I can immediately do such as try to do something good for someone every day and there are some that will take years. Whatever it is as long as it’s trying to make this world a better place then that’s what I’d want to focus on.

I guess in life we should keep focus on our “resurrections”, our rebirth. This means that from every trial and tribulation we can experience a rebirth. This also means that we should always look at the good in our lives. The things we can build on. We should focus less on our crucifixions, our problems and the negativity that brings us down.

I promise myself that from today, I will do my best and focus on what is good; focus on the things that will make me a better person and things that will affect change in the world around me.

_Thank you Cha for pointing this out to me. You are a good friend and a very wise one at that. You are a person that I admire a lot. You show me everyday what it means to be a good Christian. I am honored to be your friend._

Thank God I am Blessed

I had the good fortune of being invited, together with my friend Carlo to talk during a workshop entitled “Design Matters”. It was held at the DLS-CSB School of Design and Arts. What made it special was the fact that I came from the School of Design and Arts and it was nice to be invited back to speak.

However much as I went there to impart some knowledge to the students, I also a recipient of a simple life lesson that we people often overlook and take for granted.

Before our talk, I had the chance to see a friend that I have not seen in a long time. I saw Robert while waiting for the sessions to begin. We exchanged pleasantries and I mentioned to him that I saw his pictures from his recent trip to Europe. I told him that I admired his pictures and told him how lucky he was to be able to do that.

His answer surprised me and struck me. It struck me because of its simplicity and how he said it. Robert said, yes, I am blessed and I am really thankful for it.

Normally when you complement people about their blessings whether it’s a new pair of shoes, a nice watch or a fancy car, they would often reply with a phrase that will downplay the blessing. People will, “no, it’s not nothing” or something to that effect. People often deflect or downplay their blessings.

Robert on the other hand said it simply. He affirmed his blessings and was thankful for it. He said when people ask me about the things he does, he would just reply that yes, he is blessed and he is very thankful. Not a lot of people are able to experience his blessings. That’s not something to look down upon.

I realize now that when we have blessings, we shouldn’t try to brush it aside. When people compliment us we should just simply thank their compliments and say that we are grateful that we are blessed by God. There’s nothing wrong about being blessed. In fact giving thanks to God for the blessings is good. It tells God that in good times we have not forgotten him. It tells him that we are grateful that he has chosen us as a recipient of his good graces.

Robert, thanks for reminding me that when people tell me I am blessed I should just acknowledge the kind words and thank God for the life, the family, the experiences he has blessed me with.

Thank you God for the blessings. I am truly lucky that you have looked favorably upon me and my family. I wish that the person reading this is blessed as well.

Responsible Reproductive Health

The current hot topic today is the RH bill. While I don’t agree with the bill 100% and there are parts of it that I think should be changed, as a whole I think it is time we put forth a law that will aide and protect our right to choose.

Now there are arguments against the bill and here are just some of them:

1. Our country is not overpopulated – We have 90 million people living in our country. True, our population may not be as dense as Singapore, Macau, etc but those are developed countries. Ours is not. They have an economy that can support their population. But even those countries have resorted to some sort of population control. The Singaporean government saw the rapid population rise as a threat to living standards. Population is a resource it has to be managed. We need to be able to not just support our population but provide an environment wherein it can thrive and thrive well.

Someone said that God’s gift to us is our population and that our biggest earners are the OFWs who go abroad and bring back dollars. Our OFWs are our modern day heroes but I would rather we have a country wherein our people are not forced to leave in order to support their families. OFWs leave our country precisely because they can’t find adequate jobs here that will support their needs. Do you really think that most of them would like to go abroad and leave their families behind? No! I would bet that most of them would rather stay here if they can find work that pays them well. A lot of families have been broken because of the distance that separates them. Spouses forced to find comfort with another person out of loneliness.

2. Having a lot of children is not bad – True! Having several children is good. In fact I think you should have as much children as you can comfortably support financially, emotionally as well as spiritually.

From my own personal experience, most of the people I know who are generally middle class, the average number of children they have is around 2 to 4. I barely know anyone from my generation who has more than 4 kids. Why? Because they know that their resources can only support as much. They have that understanding. They know that having kids does not only mean putting food on the table but also providing quality education, a good home, adequate healthcare, clothes on their back, etc.

Generally educated people have this understanding. Sadly our citizens who live below the poverty line are not blessed to have been educated this way. That’s not their fault. It was their circumstances that led to that. This is the segment of society that you see a lot of families with more kids. Why? Because they don’t know better. Also because they’ve been led to believe that having more kids increases their chances to get out of poverty because they will eventually have more family members that can work to help them out of poverty. That’s wrong. A lot of these children will be uneducated, left to fend for themselves on the streets.

So while it’s true having a lot of children is not bad. It should be based on how many children can you comfortably support.

3. RH Bill is promoting abortion – This is simply not true. In fact let me quote a section of the RH bill

“While nothing in this Act changes the law on abortion, as abortion remains a crime and is punishable, the government shall ensure that women seeking care for post-abortion complications shall be treated and counseled in a humane, non-judgmental and compassionate manner.”

The RH bill does not change the fact that abortion is illegal and that it remains a crime. However it states that if someone who had an abortion needs medical treatment post-abortion, that person should be given adequate healthcare.

In the same manner that when a person is shot while committing a crime, it does not mean that he should not be brought to the hospital and given proper medical treatment. He/she still deserves to be helped.

Some people also say that contraceptives are tantamount to abortion. This is an argument that I have trouble understanding. Is using a condom same as abortion? I don’t think so. A condom is a preventive device. How can you abort something that has not happened?

If this is the case then we can argue that natural family planning is also tantamount to abortion. Why? Because you’re choosing the days to have sex, with every intention not to conceive. So you’re still actively preventing the creation of life.

4. Sex Education in school is bad – This is one argument that honestly makes me shake my head. Some people even go as far as saying that sex education in classroom is tantamount to bringing pornography to kids.

Look when people buy stuff they get a users manual with it. In fact it is recommended that you go through the users manual and familiarize yourself with how that thing works. It’s the same with our bodies.

I think there comes a time wherein children should be taught about their bodies and how things work. This should be done in and educational manner with materials based on science and fact. Not in beliefs.

People giggle and laugh when you mention penis and vagina. Why? Because they were given the impression that saying these words are bad. When in fact these are the scientific terms used to describe a man and a woman’s reproductive organ. We were taught as kids that saying these words are taboo. We were made ignorant because of outdated views.

If you taught kids the proper parts and functions of their bodies this would lead to less experimentation and less questions and curiosity.

We can’t be a nation based on religion. I say this because I know that our country or world for that matter is a very diverse world. We have different beliefs and different ideas of God and spirituality. We cannot let religion define policies that will govern a nation that is so diverse. This is a recipe for disaster.

Laws and policies crafted and enacted by the government should be gender, race, and religion neutral. We can’t have laws or not have laws for that matter that will be biased or prejudicial to any of these factors. We should have laws that put the welfare of the entire country first.

Morals and values should always be taken into consideration and there are common values and morals that are intrinsic to all people regardless of race and religion. You shall not kill, steal, cheat, etc are common to all people regardless of religion. Those common values should be upheld and enforced.

From my own personal understanding, the current RH bill in no way promotes abortion or degrades the sanctity of life. In fact I feel that as a whole it helps promote a better quality of life by providing resources necessary in order to educate people about reproductive health.

I am a Catholic. I believe in God. I was also taught that God said we should be good stewards of the resources that he has blessed us with. People are also a resource and we should be good stewards of our population. We should know that at our current situation we couldn’t support a population as huge as ours. Therefore we should manage it.

Remembering Basti

I woke up today with some really sad news. I got a text message saying that Basti passed away. Basti is the son of Joey and Sheila Valiente. He also had Pompe disease.

I met Joey and Sheila years back. They got a hold of my name and contact details because I was listed as the contact person of the International Pompe Association (IPA) here in the Philippines. They had just found out that their son (then less than a year old) had Pompe disease. Like most parents faced with this life changing news, they were frantic in finding a way to help their son.

I found myself at our dinner table talking to them. They flew all the way to Manila from Cagayan De Oro in hopes of finding help for Basti.

Luckily that was also the time that clinical trials for infantile form of Pompe disease was being done. I know several people involved with this program so we talked about trying to get Basti in that program as well as see specialists that might be able to help him.

Long story short, Joey, Sheila and Basti found their way to the United States and eventually was put on a program that allowed Basti to receive Myozyme, the first Enzyme Replacement Therapy for Pompe disease. This allowed Basti to live several years more.

An infant diagnosed with Pompe disease usually has a mortality rate of up to around 1 to 2 years of age. With ERT this goes up dramatically depending on how soon the infant receives it.

Basti received ERT and as a result his life was extended a few more years. In fact he celebrated his 8th birthday last February.

I was told that Basti died peacefully in his sleep. He wasn’t sick prior to that. He just went to sleep and didn’t wake up. Maybe it was just God calling him home.

Basti lived a happy life despite his severe disability. He had parents who loved him and who did all that they could to ensure that.
We don’t know why these things happen. Why Basti was given a few more years only to be taken away suddenly. I’m sure God has his reasons. We only need to trust in that.

I pray for Basti’s soul. I’m sure he’s up in heaven enjoying himself there. Most of all I pray for Basti’s family, especially Joey and Sheila. Their is a loss that will be hard to get over. After years of fighting, it’s hard to suddenly wake up and not have Basti there. I pray that they are able to get through this tough time.

I didn’t get a chance to meet Basti personally because I only had the chance to meet with Joey and Sheila prior to their going to the United States. I have been always updated about Basti and his condition so I do feel like I know him well. He was also the first Pompe patient that I was able to help in my small way and he will forever be in my heart.

Rest in peace Basti.

Staying The Course

It’s been a little less than two weeks since I started my journey to finding my faith back. I’ve been diligent in the prayer time I set. It’s not been easy. Ever since I started, things have popped up that really distracts me from taking time to pray.

However I continued to persevere and managed to stick to the prayer time I set. There were days that the time was shorter than I would have wanted but at least I was able to stay the course and I hope that I continue to do so.

There are current struggles that I’m facing right now that are hard for me to try and keep faith that God will see me through these challenges.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed.


Prof. Randy Pausch said in his last lecture that there are 3 steps to a good apology. One, admit your mistake, two apologize and 3 ask how do you make things right.

In a way that’s what I realized today. For the things I did wrong, I should admit my mistake to God, apologize and ask him how can I make things right. An addition to that I realized that I also have to make sacrifices.

Right now while I’m at a crossroads in my life. I am praying to God to show me the way. Apart from praying I’m also making a sacrifice. It’s nothing big, something simple but it’s something I love to do. So I stopped playing Xbox 360 last Jan 7. I will not play for 30 days. I love my Xbox and when I get spare moments I do play. Especially now since I have a new game but that’s my sacrifice.

Honoring God

Today’s prayer time lead me to the book of Daniel, chapter 5. This chapter talks about King Belshazzar. He was having a banquet with noblemen from his kingdom and he had asked that they bring out gold and silver cups taken from the temple of God in Jerusalem. He, his noblemen and concubines drank from the cups.

During the party there appeared a hand which wrote down a message on the wall where the king could see it. No one could read it until the Queen Mother told the King of a man named Daniel.

Daniel read the writing and told the King about the message.

To cut a long story short, the gist of the message was that God was angry that the King disrespected him. The passage that stood out to me from the whole chapter is this:

bq. “But you did not honor the God who determines whether you live or die and who controls everything you do.”

Sometimes and I’m guilty of this as well, people tend to forget who the true God is. Instead we worship other things such as people, money, power, etc. While these things might be powerful in our Earthly world, they’re nothing compared to the awesome power of God.

Man to a certain extent controls his own destiny but God controls it completely.

People ask why certain things happen in the world, why God allows such events to happen. I’ve always believed that God gave man free will to do as he pleases. It’s sort of a test to see how well man responds to God’s teachings. The other things such as natural disasters, etc are events that happen as a result of the world God created for us.

Honoring God is important. We should never forget who has total control over our lives. I still find it a little hard to surrender completely. A big part of me still believes that my life is a result of what I make out of it. The actions I do, determine the outcome. Yet there are a lot of things that have happened which I knew were not of my doing but resulted in great things.

I am reminded today that all things I do and all things I accomplish is a result of God’s support. I should honor him for that.

Day : Two New Prayers and a Reading on Unfaithfulness

It’s been four days now since I went back to praying on a regular basis. I prayed before but it was sporadic at best. It’s only now after a long time that I really sat down and chose a regular schedule to pray. I know pray in the morning, just after my morning exercise. I’m also trying to make it a habit to blog about my reflections, not for anyone else but just to get my thoughts down.

Today, I opened a book, “Presence – Prayers for Busy People”. It was a birthday present from Grace, the regular nurse that assists in my infusions. I chose two prayers found in the book. One is a morning prayer and the other is for choosing God’s will. Allow me to share both of these to you.

h3. Morning Prayer

Dear Lord,
I thank you for having especially
called me to remind me to pray every day.
Being the busy person that I am, my
demanding schedule has often caused me to take
you for granted unintentionally.
But not I really want to devote you this
time because I love you and I need you in my life.
Thank you for granting me the privilege of
spending this time with you.
Please quiet my heart, take away whatever
burdens I now feel so I can abandon myself
completely to you. Cleanse my heart so my prayers
may be worthy of you.
Teach me how to pray so that my words will come from my heart.
Help me too, to learn how to listen so that
my mind and heart can hear your voice and
understand your will. Amen.

h3. For Choosing God’s Will
Dear Father,
You are the creative origin of all I am
and of all I am called to be.
With the talents and opportunities I have,
how may I serve you best?
Please guide my mind and heart,
open me to the needs of my country and of the world,
and help me choose wisely and practically
for your honor and glory
and for the good of all those
whose lives I touch. Amen

I also opened my bible randomly and the reading I got today was from the book of Jeremiah again. Specifically Jeremiah 2: 14:19 – The Result of Israels Unfaithfulness.

I guess today’s reading is a reminder to be by God that amidst all the trials I am going to through that I should remain faithful. The reading showed me what happens when you lose faith and stray from the path that God has laid out for you.

God Will Provide

Last night it was my mom’s birthday. We had a family dinner at home. It was a great dinner. Good food and wine. I sat there thinking that we’re indeed still luckier than most.

My mom had been wanting to have a family talk, just the four of us to plan out our year and hopefully more than that. So last night was a perfect opportunity about that.

One of the things that I shared with them was my concern of what to do in the future. I’m starting out the year with great challenges ahead. There will be some big changes and I have yet to figure out what to do. This is mostly related to work. So my main concern was what to do about that.

I told them that I had a goal that within my 30s I should have come up with a new and successful business that will sustain our life for the years to come. I still don’t know how to do it but that’s my plan. I have several things I want to do now but right now it’s still a plan.

Today I prayed and instead of randomly picking out a passage in the Bible, I decided to read the gospel for today. The gospel came from Mark 6: 34-44. It narrates the miracle of the 5 loaves and 2 fishes. It shows how Jesus was able to provide for 5,000 people with the simple resources available to them. More than that, after everyone ate, there were still an abundance of food.

I guess in a way, this reading assured me that God will provide. There was a reflection after the reading (I got the gospel through a daily email my uncle forwards to us), it talks about the fact that while God/Jesus provides he asks us to take the initiative. The Apostles provided the 5 loaves and 2 fishes and Jesus did the rest.

I don’t expect God to provide while I’m sitting on my butt and doing nothing. I need to start it and God will take it from there and guide me along the way.

I’d like to share the last paragraph or the reflection.

bq. We praise and thank You, Father God, for providing us with all the things we need in life, and for nourishing us with Your Word, and the Bread of Life, Whom we receive in the Holy Mass. Help us to share these blessings with others, we pray. Amen.


My second day of opening the bible brought me to the book of Psalms. Specifically chapters 51 onwards. These were prayers. Prayers for forgiveness, A prayer for protection from enemies, etc…

At first I couldn’t understand what the message was. The prayers were ok but the specific prayers I read did not speak to me. I continued to read and closed the bible after awhile. As I finished my prayer time it dawned on me what the message was, prayer!

I think God is telling me that you can’t have true faith without prayer and trying to understand what you believe in. It was that simple. I need to pray more.