From Pain to Praises

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Let me start this one with a reference to one blog I did before, about my heroes.

My heroes aren’t in pedestals,
nor those etched in myths and legends.

Earlier I was able to have a chance to join a local prison ministry led by a friend and a fellow Kairos classmate, Krizzia Yuzon. The reason behind it is because I became curious with all of her posts about her being in this ministry. Just imagine being a woman in a crowd of almost all men, inmates with cases tied with their name. I wanted to first hand see how it is and break some mindsets I personally have.

Last time I was near a prison was in college when I had an assignment to cover a police station. I wasn’t even inside the cell but I could smell the stench, and feel the heat of a place packed with people. I could not imagine nor would I wish to go inside but that’s why I wanted to go with a ministry to at least have a glimpse, and also a bit inspired by this: Continue reading “From Pain to Praises”

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Bakit ako nagsusulat?

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Ngayon pa lamang, magpapaalam na ako. Ginoong Villanueva, pahiram po.

Ayoko talagang maging manunulat.

Ayon sa malinaw at matalas kong isipan, madami akong gustong maging noong ako’y musmos pa lamang. Mayroong panahong gusto kong maging piloto. Sa makalawa gusto kong maging doktor. May panahon na gusto kong maging pari. At sa susunod pang mga araw, magpapalit pa iyon, marahil ay depende sa mapapanood ko sa telebisyon. Alam ninyo, malaki ang impluwensiya ng mga palabas sa isipan ng isang bata. At dahil doon, nahubog ang aking desisyon na sa aking paglaki, hinding hindi ako magiging isang manunulat.

Sa naaapuhap ng aking gunita, ano nga ba ang hitsura ng isang manunulat noong ako’y bata pa lamang?

Tikatik. Tikatik. Tikatik. Ting!!!

Ang tunog ng makinilya na pinarurusahan ang papel ang madalas na pumapasok sa aking isipan. Isang lalaking nagpuumilit na makagawa ng ideya, at ‘pag hindi siya napasaya ng kanyang akda, magagalit at pupunitin ang kalunos-lunos na papel na walang kasalanan sa umpisa pa lamang.

Iyon ang laging ipinapakita ng mga palabas noon – ang imahe ng isang manunulat na naghihikahos sa buhay. Siya ay tila nagpapatiwakal nang marahan. Pinipigang maigi ang utak upang makagawa ng isang bagay mula sa kawalan. At matapos makagawa ng isang akda at ipapakita sa iba, hindi ito tatangkilikin. Sa huli, abunado pa siya. Mananatili siyang gutom sa pisikal, mental, at emosyonal na aspeto.

Ngunit, saan ako dinala ng kapalaran? Heto ako ngayon, ako naman ang nagpapakahirap na may maisulat. Buti na lamang at naimbento ang computer dahil kung makinilya pa rin ang gamit ko ngayon, malamang ay parurusahan ako ni Inang Kalikasan sa dami siguro ng mga papel na naaksaya ko sa paggawa pa lamang ng isang artikulong ito.

Ngunit, bakit nga ba ako nagpupursigi ngayon na maging isang manunulat – bagay na kinaayawang ko noon? At kung hindi talaga ako pinaglalaruan, ang kinuha ko pang kurso ay Broadcast Journalism, isang kurso na ang pangunahing katangian na dapat na mayroon ka ay hindi naman sa magaling ka sa pag-aanunsyo ng balita, kundi dapat ikaw ay magaling sa aspeto ng pagsusulat. Na dapat ay marunong kang magtagpi-tagpi ng mga salita, siguraduhing tama ang mga salitang ginamit sa paraang maiksi ngunit sakto.

Kailan nga ba ako nahilig sa pagsusulat?

Noong ako’y nasa huling taon ko sa hayskul, kinailangan kong magdesisyon na kung kung ano ang landas na tatahakin ko. Tinignan ko ang aking sarili. Saan nga ba ako magaling?

“To be an engineer.”

‘Yan ang nakalagay sa aking yearbook noong elementarya. Ngunit sa marka na nakuha ko sa mga subject ko na may kinalaman sa numero, hindi lamang ito nagpapahiwatig na huwag akong kumuha ng kahit na anong inhinyerong kurso, naghuhumiyaw pa na iwasan ko ang kurso na ganoon.

Hindi naman sa sobrang pulpol ko sa matematika; pumapasa naman ako sa subject na patungkol sa numero. Ngunit alam kong hindi ako magtatagumpay sa doon dahil aminado akong hindi ako magaling sa larangang iyon. Kaya ko naman naisulat noon ang “ambisyon” kong maging inhinyero ay dahil sa wala akong maisulat noong kailangan nang magpasa. Bilang bunso sa limang magkakapatid na may tatlong inhinyero, naisip ko na tumulad na lamang sa kanila. Ngunit sa totoo lamang, hindi ko pa talaga alam kung ano ang gusto kong maging.

Mapabalik sa aking ikaapat na taon sa hayskul, kailangan ko nang magkaroon ng pipiliing kurso na kukunin sa kolehiyo.  Nag-isip ako nang maigi kung ano nga ba ang aking kukunin.

Usong-uso ang Nursing. Madami sa mga kaklase at kakilala ko ang nagtangkang maging nars baling araw. In demand daw kasi ito at malaki ang kita kapag ikaw ay nagibang bansa. Oo, praktikal sa panahong ito; ‘di na mabilang ang kaso ng mga estudyanteng kumuha ng Nursing sa kadahilanang maghahanap sila ng ginhawa ng buhay sa ibang bansa. Hindi mo naman sila masisisi, maski ako marahil ay nag-nars kung napayagan ng aking ina. Ngunit alam ko din na hindi ako magiging masaya doon.

Ang gulo ko.

Hindi ako makapag-isip nang maigi. Ilan sa mga kaklase ko ay may mga kolehiyo nang papasukan samantalag ako, nangangapa pa.

Ang gulo-gulo talaga ng isip ko.

Kaya pinag-isipan kong maigi ito. Sabi ko, hindi maaaring mapunta ako sa isang bagay na hindi ko talaga gusto. Kailangan dun sa matutuwa ako at kahit na gaano kahirap ito ay ‘yung matutugunan ang hilig.

At sa huli, ano nga ba ang nakapagbibigay sa akin ng linaw sa landas na aking tatahakin? Nakakatawa at maaaring mababaw para sa ilan, ngunit isang maikling sanaysay lamang pala ang bibihag sa aking atensyon.

Isang gawaing-bahay na sanaysay iyon noong ako’y nasa ikatlong taon sa hayskul pa lamang. Ang pamagat ng katha na iyon ay “Resiliency,” na hinango ko ang ideya sa dating talumpati ni Pangulong Manuel Quezon na “Resilient like the Molave Tree.” Nagulat ako noon na 99% ang nakuha ko sa sanaysay na iyon. Hindi ko alam na “marunong” pala akong magsulat. Madami na kasi akong nagagawang sanaysay dati. Ilan na nga ba ang naisulat ko mula pa noon, ngunit hindi naman ako nabibigyan ng magandang komendasyon dito. Hindi ako inilalahok upang makipagtagisan ng galing sa panulat dati. Sabi ko, kapag maganda pa ang marka na makukuha ko sa susunod na sulatin, siguro ito ang kukunin kong daan pagtungtong ko sa kolehiyo.

At ang sumunod ngang grado na nakuha ko ay 95%. Bumaba ngunit hindi naman ganoon kalaki ang ibinaba. Ibig sabihin, marunong nga ako. Maaaring nagkakamali lamang ang aking guro sa pagbibigay ng mataas na grado noon, ngunit pinanghawakan koi to at ginawa kong inspirasyon. Sayang nga lamang at nawawala na ang mga kopya ng sanaysay na iyon. Akalain ninyo iyon, isang gawaing-bahay na nakapagtakda ng buhay ko ngayon!

Nabalikan ko na kung kalian ko naisipang magsulat, ngunit bakit nga ba ako nagsusulat?

Hanggang ngayon kasi, hindi ko alam kung saan ko nahuhugot ang kahiligang ito. Kung tutuusin, mahirap talagang magsulat, kaya bakit ko pinipilit ngayon na makisama pa sa mga sandamakmak na iba pang mga mahuhusay na manunulat? Iilan lamang ba ang mga sumisikat at talagang kumikita sa pagsusulat?  Madaming magagaling ngunit hindi naman tinatangkilik ng mga tao, kaya hindi talaga ganoong masustentuhan ng pagsusulat ang kabuhayan ng isang tao sa ngayon. Madami din ang hindi mahilig magbasa, kaya bakit ko pipilitin na magpursigi sa isang bagay na maliit ang tsansa na makarating sa  kanila ang aking mensahe?

Dito papasok ang nabasa kong libro, ang (Im)Personal ni Rene Villanueva. Siya ay ang dating punong scriptwriter ng Batibot. Marami akong nakuha sa kanya na kaisipan na sadyang tugma din sa akin. Ang sadyang kapangyarihan na ibinibigay sa’yo ng pagsusulat. Sa madaming nakakakilala sa akin, pabubulaanan pa nila ‘pag sinabi ko ngayon na mahiyain ako. Oo, sa mababaw na antas na pagkakakilala sa akin, makapal ang mukha ko, ngunit may katauhan din akong mahiyain at ayaw lumabas. Isang parte sa akin ang takot na magpakita. At lumalabas lamang siya, nagkakaroon alamang siya ng lakas ng loob sa pamamagitan ng aking pagsusulat.

Sa pagsusulat, nakalilikha ako ng mundo kung saan ako ang magtatadhanan sa kanilang mga buhay. Kung saan, ako ang bida. Isa din marahil ditto ang pamamahal sa salita. Ang kapangyarihan nito na makapagpabago ng pananaw ng tao, tulad na lamang ng nagawa sa akin ng panulat ni Ginoong Villanueva.

Sabi nga niya, malas dahil ang napili niyang dalawang propesyon, ang pagsusulat at pagiging guro, ay kapwa maliit ang kita. At bago ko pinasok ang daan na ito, oo, alam kong maliit nga ang kita ngunit hindi ko ininda ‘yun. Basta aang alam ko, gusto kong magsulat. At tama muli si “Rene,” maski ako ay “mahilab-hilab lamang ng kaunti sa pagiging pulubi.

This article was originally printed in Heraldo Filipino Volume 21/Issue 5 (March-April 2007), Staffer’s Corner section. This is why I still write aside being a full-time graphic designer. Reminds me of my inspiration too as a designer too.

Heroes.

My heroes aren’t in pedestals,
nor those etched in myths and legends.
Fighting skills they do not possess,
nor weaponry, artillery that strikes terror to the enemy.

For the great, worldly comforts already at hand,
or bright promises that await.
All abandoned, shunned, and tossed to the air.

But yes, my heroes are fighters.
They are engaged in battles, all bloodied and bruised.
Fighting an ancient war, one seemingly absurd and mundane.

Assess and possess.
The Nations as the mission, the goal.
Not for conquest or domination, no, not even close.
To bring the heavens, different set of operations,
not for an earthly master, but for the divine.

My heroes may never be counted,
not in dailies, or history books.
But lo and behold, they fight gallantly,
not for their glory, but for the Lamb to see.

This one is dedicated to all who’s doing missions now. Technically, every Christian is a missionary to each field we are called. But this one is specifically for the friends I have who are dying in and everyday to self, giving life to what Jesus said before He went back to heaven. People who are doing the role even when it entails not doing their ‘dreams’, but dreams of having heaven come down.

As for us, may we have our hearts beat for each field we are in. As the song “The Beat” says, may we have our hearts beat for the lost.

From where I stand (Pt.3): Integrity and Commitments

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We build relationships and trust through a person’s consistency and keeping his word, right?

I have had so much experience about delivering on promises and work, with me missing a lot of them in the past. Though that has lessened today (I hope!), I still miss some of them. This I try to keep to a minimum because even in this field of design, what I truly try and take care of is my name and reputation. It’s like if someone is asked on your name, what would their first response be? Jolly? Witty? Creative? Committed? As for me, I’d like to be known as someone who delivers and solves problems.

If there’s someone I personally know who really I can trust in terms of work, it’s my good friend Santa Bondesto. I have known her from 2011 and I know her work ethic. I always say to people, “If you want something done (events), ask Santa.” She goes above and beyond and ensures that things do get done, sometimes to a fault because she would sacrifice health and family time just to ensure items are in place.

But of course, she does have her share of shortcomings and broken promises but because of her reputation, I give her some leeway.

For our leaders, and for ourselves too as we lead, we want to have consistency in what we say and do. If we want to lead effectively, we’d want to have integrity as our solid foundation. That starts with being able to do what we say, and be consistent about it.

If there’s one man who said something so ridiculous but actually went over it, it was Jesus. Continue reading “From where I stand (Pt.3): Integrity and Commitments”

From where I stand (Pt.2): Cost of Leadership

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As we grow on our leadership, everything goes up, except for one: rights.

You read that correctly, rights. Sadly, when we see our leaders, especially what seems to be prevalent today, leaders get all the rights and privileges. Not saying all, but some. It’s visible not only in the positions in the government but also in our offices, families, and yes, even in the church.

Reading John Maxwell’s book, “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership”, one chapter there is dedicated on the Law of Sacrifice. In that chapter, one line struck me:

“As you rise in leadership, responsibilities increase and rights decrease.” (John Maxwell)

Continue reading “From where I stand (Pt.2): Cost of Leadership”

From where I stand (Pt.1): Care for some feet?

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Have you ever had that time wherein you had to wash someone’s feet? Or say, accidentally, you had to face someone else’s feet?

I know. Our feet, being a part of the body in close contact to the ground, tend to be really gross and stinky. Good thing we have shoes compared to people before, but still with it enclosed and after a long day, I doubt you’d like to hold and smell them, right?

This week, we commemorate the death and resurrection of Christ. It’s a story that unfolds dramatically,
Roads in Israel is filthy, and imagine yourself walking at those roads. With or without sandals, it will surely make your feet nasty too. And for ancient Israel, it is very important for people to be clean, especially before meals. As additional detail, people ate in low tables, thus feet can be seen at that point, which makes it important to wash the feet thoroughly.

We all know the Last Supper and what happened there, and Jesus has shown us leadership by washing His disciple’s feet. This was a work so filthy Jews do not allow other Jews, even as a servant, to do this that’s why they ask Gentile slaves to do it. Yet Jesus, who the disciples see as their Lord and Savior, did this stunning act. It was a work for the lowliest, and also timely because recently the disciples were arguing who’s the greatest among them all (Luke 22:24). Jesus was showing His disciples on how to lead—by serving in humility.

not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)

Oh how wonderful if only we’d have this kind of attitude of leadership, right? Just imagine our leaders today acting upon Jesus’ example of service and humility? Just imagine us acting upon this kind of leadership, acting to build one another in the light of humility and love? How would the world look like?

I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you” (John 13:15)

Would you have the same posture like how Jesus did it? Can you wash your neighbor’s feet? Would you have the heart to serve as leader like Jesus did?

 

There is no Plan B

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You are Plan A, and there is no plan B.

This was the key takeaway that I got from this year’s Discipleship 2017 held earlier at SM Mall of Asia Arena. This is a gathering of at least 12,000 Victory group leaders and interns to talk about engaging more people to know about Jesus.

This is my first time in this kind of gathering and attending as an intern for leading a group of my own (hopefully this Q2) and again, I didn’t prepare much into the details. I do this on purpose so that I come empty and just expecting for an encounter with God, as He has done to me in the past.

It was Victory’s founding pastor, Steve Murrell who shared to everyone this:

You are the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13)

I personally love how these five words packs a lot of punch in terms of explaining the role we have here on earth. Jesus explained the role of His followers as salt. Back in the day, salt’s use is vital in the Jewish community, with it being used as preservative for meats, fish since they didn’t have the technology we have now. That’s how important salt is.

The power of this message too lies in its context which starts with YOU.

Yes, you. The one reading this text. The one who’s broken, who’s life is a mess, who can’t plan well for the next week or even the next day. Yes, you.

Remember, the audience back then weren’t the most educated, the most sophisticated yet Jesus called them the salt of the earth. They knew how important salt is and to be called that is just… unbelievable.

Yes, you are plan A, and there is no plan B.

Was Jesus in His right mind when He went up to heaven and left the Great Commission to his disciples, with their staring at the heavens, guessing almost blankly? Really, to these disciples who just almost few days ago were scattered across towns afraid of their lives? These men who were called uneducated, with no regal background were entrusted to share the Gospel, a news so good it still resonates until today. See, Jesus gave us the command, regardless of background, but it is He who qualifies the called. There wasn’t any life stage requirement; He just called people. It wasn’t when you’ve achieved some status, have some money in the bank, or any category–He just needs the you now. The present you to move and share the Good News that one is saved by grace, through faith, not  by works so that no one can boast (Eph 2:8).

You are the salt that Jesus called to preserve this earth from rotting. You are important, and you are called to move. Jesus addressed this to every single one of His audience back then and He made sure it reaches us, thus we’re here, and we are to show who He is, even in our messy, broken lives.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  (2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV)

And it will never be our power. May this serve as a reminder, that is it by His Grace that we stand, and we are empowered. We are to engage people, much like how Jesus did it–with extreme compassion and doing it extremely personally, like to the soldier, a woman with multiple relationships, and even to a demon-possessed man. To places that no one dared to touch, Jesus went and changed situations. That is becoming salt.

And that’s leadership too–we move according to our call, and act upon it. We cannot abdicate our role; if we do, others will suffer.

May we be reminded, that there is no plan B. You are plan A and we better be working our role as salt of this earth.

I used a clear stage photo. Sure, with all the glamour of the event, lights, sounds, and even confetti, may we be reminded too that this is all for Jesus. No one else will and should be glorified. In the middle of all the wonderful songs, and powerful words spoken, if the core is not Jesus, all of that is in vain. Clear the stage for Jesus alone.

Now, how do we engage? By living out our role as salt of this earth, just as Jesus said and did it.

You are plan A and there is no plan B. 

With the end in mind.

Single-minded: /adj/ having or concentrating on only one aim or purpose.

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Last night I attended Victory Alabang‘s event, Single-Minded and I like how for me it has double meaning or purpose.

From the outside, it is indeed packaged as a “Singles” event, targeting single people, with raging questions on love life and what not. To make things better, the speaker is one of my favorite writers/bloggers, David Bonifacio.

I like David and his no non-sense, almost tactless style of speaking in his blog. From my perspective, he’s like that impatient boss yet he walks his talks, and he might be like that because all he wants is excellence. Last night I got to listen to him. One of the reasons why I also wanted to see him speak is I try to learn a lot from the speakers I listen to and apply what I can in my life, and to speaking engagements I do (which is mostly I Saw Design only, for now).

He started off with his disclaimer, and right there I got something already. He said he doesn’t like being idolized or being put in a pedestal and that the audience is very much welcome NOT TO take what he says word per word, that we are given a brain to countercheck with people, and most especially, the Bible.  Continue reading “With the end in mind.”

Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail

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I don’t usually start these blogs with quotes but I just think it’s very appropriate, and this one is very simple and beautiful; it’s an advice from an old carpenter to his apprentice:

“Measure twice and saw once.” (taken from Maxwell’s “Think of These Things” book)

It’s amazing how simple this quote is; it’s about building a house yet applicable in how we should go about life. Measuring twice is about planning, ensuring that we thoroughly think on what we do now as it is critical and if we don’t, the repercussions are more expensive when we don’t.

I am writing about this because I recently have an experience that showed the importance of planning ahead and planning well, or else it’s going to take toll on you. Though I have more experience before because I know I wasn’t a planner before, this one I took note because it’s just timely and expensive at the same time. Continue reading “Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail”