My Country’s 119th Independence Day

The Philippine’s 119th Independence Day was celebrated with tears. For this year, unfortunately, we cannot say that the Philippines is fully independent as war still goes on in Marawi City. A lot of lives had been sacrificed. Filipino people shout enough!

My heart shatters as I watch the news. The locals in Marawi were crying in the raising of the Philippine flag this morning. Right then, there were no religion. They were united. They were all Filipinos. They all strongly desire to see the last of the war and to have their normal, peaceful lives back.

My heart goes out to everyone who has lost their loved ones. I was touched by the pride families of decreased soldiers and policemen gained in the midst of this tragedy. I’m certain that they’ll be carrying that pride for the rest of their lives. Salute to all 58 soldiers and policemen who dedicated their lives for the country! They died carrying a great honor. I also pray that the deceased civilians will gain peace and I’ll pray the same for their families.

In this trying moment, especially to people in Mindanao, I’ll be praying that God will give all Filipinos hope, hope so great it will ease the pains and anxieties. May all wounded hearts be healed. May all wounded souls be restored. Be strong, Marawi. Be strong, Filipinos. Be strong, our beloved Philippines.

I wish I can hug you.

I wish I can hug you.

So that you may stop trembling.

I wish I can whisper into your ears,

“It’s okay.”

I wish I can comfort you.

Though I may not understand it fully,

I know that you are in pain.

Dear Earth, I know you’re stressed. Like us, people living around you, you also experience difficult circumstances. You experience abrupt changes in temperature ever so often; you’re probably experiencing things that you haven’t known before. Sorry. Sorry for I understand that it could be our fault. We destroy you.

I can almost hear your cries.

I can almost feel how exhausted you are…

How you’d like to collapse…

How you simply want to release all the weight…

How you wanted to give up.

But please, do not.

I love you. Many of us love you. Although it’s true that a lot of us chooses to hurt you, rather than take care of you. I know you’re tired of taking care of us, of looking after us despite us, not being able to do the same. I’m sorry. I’m sorry we cause you a lot of troubles and a lot of damages. I’m sorry that you’re beyond repair. I’m sorry that you’ve lost most of your beauty.

Will it be too much to ask you

To be strong…

To remain strong

For all of us?

We get scared when you shake, Earth. I know it means a lot of us may get gurt. It also means that we’re about to lose our precious possessions. You’ve been protecting us for so long, I do know that. But, we have nothing else to cling onto but you. So please, please be strong…for us.

I wish I could hug you.

I wish I could stop you from trembling.

I wish I could promise you that everything will be better soon.

I wish I could caress you and wipe your tears.

I wish I could convince you to be strong…

And to stop shaking.

I wish that you won’t ever give up on us…

And for us.

Sulat at Dasal

Kung isa kang Katoliko at nagsimba ka ngayon (Feb. 5, 2017), marahil at binasa ng pari sa inyo ang sulat mula sa mga arsobispo ng Pilipinas. Itong sulat na ito ay isang apela para sa lahat ng Pilipinong Katoliko o Kristiyano na makialam. Huwag raw nating ipagsawalang bahala ang pagdami ng mga napapatay na mahihirap (na hindi rin naman napatunayang may sala) sa kampanya ng gobyerno kontra droga.

Naiwan sa akin ang mga panghuling salita sa sulat na iyon. Ang sabi, dapat nating pahalagahan ang buhay-ang buhay natin at ang buhay ng iba. Pahalagahan natin ang buhay natin sa pamamagitan ng pag-iwas sa mga bagay na makakasama sa atin gaya ng ipinagbabawal na gamot at ano pa mang masamang bisyo. Pahalagahan natin ang buhay ng iba, huwag nating isipin na porket masama sila o may nagawa silang masama, nararapat na silang mawala.

Pahalagahan natin ang buhay sapagkat ito ay bigay ng Diyos, mula ito sa kaniyang pagmamahal sa atin. Dapat nating gamitin ang buhay na ibinigay sa atin sa tamang paraan. At dapat tayong magpasalamat sa buhay na ito.

Bilang tugon sa apela ng mga pari at matatataas na tagapalingkod ng simbahan, nais kong magsulat ng isang dasal dito. Ito ay dasal na mula sa akin puso, dasal na puno ng pag-asa.

Panginoon,

Salamat po sa aming buhay. Salamat sa bawat araw na ipinagkakaloob ninyo sa amin, mga araw na puno ng oportunidad-oportunidad na maging masaya, makatulong sa kapwa, magmahal, magsilbing liwanag sa madidilim na bahagi ng mundo, at maging alagad mo, Panginoon, sa kung anumang misyon na italaga mo para sa amin. Salamat po sa lahat ng mga biyaya at inyong pagpapapala lalo na po sa inyong walang hanggang pagmamahal.

Kami po ngayo’y nagdarasal upang hilingin din na sana po’y bigyang lunas ninyo ang bawat sakit na dinaranas ng aming bayang Pilipinas. Gamutin po ninyo ang kriminalidad, ang katiwalian, ang hindi pagkakaisa, at ang kahirapan. Panginoon, hagkan ninyo po ang puso ng bawat isa sa amin. Nawa’y humupa ang aming mga masasakit na nadarama, na sanhi o bunga ng mga karamdaman ng aming bayan.

Sana po’y wala nang buhay ang mawala. Sana po’y matuto kaming mas pahalagahan ang aming buhay. Kasama ng pag-asa namin ng mas magandang buhay, nawa’y huwag kaming makakalimot na tumingala sa inyo at magpasalamat para sa lahat ng bagay na pinagkakaloob ninyo sa amin. Nawa’y palagi po naming makita kung gaano kami kapalad kahit sa pamamagitan ng mga simpleng bagay lamang. Nawa’y palagi naming maramdaman ang pagmamahal mo, Panginoon.

Gabayan ninyo rin po sana kami sa araw-araw. Panatilihin ninyo po sanang busilak ang aming mga puso. Ilayo n’yo po kami sa tukso at bigyan n’yo rin po kami ng kalakasan at katatagan upang manatili sa mabuting landas kahit marami na sa amin ang mga naliligaw, oh, Panginoon. Ituwid n’yo po sana itong mga naliligaw naming kababayan. Nawa’y makita naming lahat ang liwanag tungo sa kabutihan, sa tunay na pagbabago.

Panginoon, salamat po. Dinggin n’yo po sana ang mga hiling ng aming mga puso.

Amen.

She tried.

First of all, I am a Filipino. Second of all, of course, I’d like our candidate to win again. Yes, I am talking about the 65th Miss Universe, which was held here in the Philippines. I’d like to talk about Ms. Maxine Medina, our candidate further, specifically about her Q&A moment.

The pressure was definitely on, and it became greater I believe when the judges mentioned that the Q&A or the Question and Answer portion will really determine who will wear the crown. For Maxine, the pressure was greatest as she was the first to answer one of those difficult questions that were raised, I believe.

Now, the interpreter. For the entire month, it has been a huge issue here in the Philippines. It just so happened that a lot of Filipinos suddenly became grammarians when it comes to Maxine-on her social media posts, interview answers, etc. Many believed, strongly may I just add, that our candidate will fail with her usage of English and they assumed that she can perform better if she’ll just use our native language. Well, nothing’s wrong with that anyway. Filipino, like every other language and dialect around the world, is beautiful. And I think that’s exactly why a Filipino-English interpreter was present in the stage.

I, like a lot of Filipinos, cannot just understand the need for bashing, hating, bullying from Filipinos to a fellow Filipino. It may-“may”-have an effect on Maxine’s choice in the end to answer in English, to prove her haters that she can.

So, yes, that’s what she did. Even with the present of an interpreter, Miss Philippines answered in English. Is it flawless? No. Does it have any relevance to the question? Yes, if you’d look at the thought of her answer, rather than how she was able to deliver it. Did she do a great job? No, because she wasn’t able to articulate her thoughts very well. Why do I think so? Pressure, distrust, and nerves.

Despite everything, I am proud of Maxine. I think she’s truly an inspiration. She stood there confidently, her smile’s never fading. And most of all, she tried. She went outside of her comfort zone by not answering a difficult question in her native tongue. Even though she wasn’t able to deliver a winning answer, she proved that she can, with poise, answer in the language many people called her weakness. She must be proud of herself. She’s definitely a strong woman.

As for Miss France, the new reigning Miss Universe, I believe she won because she was herself the entire time. It was evident how she loves cooking and she’s very proud of her country. She put herself out there but still she was able to represent France beautifully. Congratulations to her and to the rest of the 86 Miss Universe candidates! Ah, so many beautiful women in the universe. ❤