Archive for the ‘generosity’ Category

In 2009, when typhoon Ondoy devastated cities and towns (including mine) with unprecedented number of deaths in Metro Manila, I thought I already saw the worst—and then came typhoon Yolanda.

Super typhoon Yolanda (International Name: Haiyan) was declared as an “Extremely Catastrophic Super Typhoon” by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) a few days before it made its landfall in Central Philippines on November 8, 2013. At its peak wind gusting up to 380kph (235mph), it registered as a Category 5 Hurricane in the Saffir-Simpson Scale and was declared the fourth most intense tropical storm ever recorded and the strongest to ever hit land.

As we watched from a distance here in Manila how the affected families rose above the situation—with an estimated death toll of 5,632 (as of this writing and climbing), damage to properties and agriculture amounting to PHP 30.8 billion, many missing members of families, children’s education standing at a halt, people sleeping on the streets after losing their homes with no food and water for many days—we cannot help but reach out to find ways on where we can extend assistance and provide support and comfort, even from afar.

I had the privilege of volunteering for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in their effort to donate 10,000 personal hygiene kits and 10,000 food kits from Manila to the survivors of the calamity a couple of days after the typhoon hit.  A total of 1,500 volunteers from different ages, races, and backgrounds came to the Aurora and Quirino meetinghouses to repack goods which were afterward picked up by Alagang Kapatid Foundation and the Philippine Navy for distribution to different parts of Leyte.

I also had the opportunity to assist in the interview of the first batch of missionary survivors who were evacuated from Tacloban to Manila and to listen in as they shared their individual stories that helped increase my faith in God and in the goodness of the human race.

Despite the bitter pain and trauma that most of the survivors experienced, they were extremely grateful that they survived the ordeal and that their lives were miraculously spared. Most of them lost all of their material possessions, but they were still very thankful that the most important of all their possessions were still with them—their families.

In this season of Thanksgiving, may we remember the things that matter most in our lives and have the heart to share some of ourselves—be it our time or material possessions—to those who are in need. Many lives have been lost and even more lives have been changed by this recent calamity. We are in a position to help lift heads that hang down and provide comfort to those who are in need of comfort. May we find time to reach out and offer a helping hand. As we do so, I know we will find joy in our hearts that no amount of money can buy and appropriately express our thanksgiving for all the blessings that we have.


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The Coat is a children’s story that depicts a young boy giving selflessly to another child in need.

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Photograph by Reddie J.

This morning I read in the news that the husband of an old lady that has been missing was finally found. The old lady put a paper sign on her clothes, front and back, with the photo of her beloved missing husband and sat for many days around the area where he was last found, hoping someone would recognize him. I was moved by the gesture and thought it was such an adorable way to show how much she really loves him. Someone posted that photo on a popular network site and somehow paved the way for them to find each other again. I’m glad they are back together in each other’s arms. They deserve to be happy.

Similarly, on my drive to work, I always see a homeless man sitting or sometimes lying down on the pavement of a certain street of a posh subdivision. He seems like a tall guy to me with a good posture. I know that some people driving by give him food and clothing, and today it made me smile to see him wearing a decent haircut!! Such a wonderful way to show love and kindness towards a fellow human being. This time I could see his face and I had to take a second look to view it. May the generous person who did it for him be abundantly blessed.

While waiting for my daughter to arrive for our movie date on Monday, I asked my son how his day was. He said nothing much happened in school. Same old, same old. Then I asked if he had done any good to anyone that day. He paused. I guess he was surprised that I deviated from the drill—and I suppose I was surprised too. But it got me thinking.

It’s a shame that sometimes a day passes by and we miss the chance to do something good to anybody. Sometimes we get too caught up with our own world and activities that we forget there are people around us whom we can serve in many little ways. Yet I know that it is when we go outside our comfort zones and make others happy that we experience true happiness.

May we open up our hearts and hands to those who need some type of comfort or help. May we learn to give more of our time, talents, and resources liberally that we may experience the real meaning of being happy.

Have a great week everybody! Let’s try reaching out to others and experience the joy and happiness that it brings! 🙂

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(Photograph by Melanie Gapiz)

After three years of planning, preparation, and thousands of cumulative hours of participant rehearsals, the Jubilee celebration of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has finally come!!! 🙂

As I sat on the edge of my seat watching the festivity and cheering the other participants, I was extremely grateful and my heart was overcome with emotions for having had the privilege of being part of the momentous occasion! 🙂

Throughout the course of the rehearsals, I witnessed how the opposition worked his way through various means, using different people and their weaknesses, to try to stop this effort from progressing.  I have seen many frustrated faces, and people quitting in the midst of all the preparations due to disappointments and discouragement. Some left simply because they got exhausted and did not see the grand outcome that was meant to be. Many cynics doubted and some begrudgingly supported the event.

Yet a great majority withstood the test and endured to the very end. These are the ones who enjoyed their journey and learned the sweetness of its value as they looked forward to their destination. These are they who, despite their mortal differences, learned to exercise the virtue of patience, long-suffering, forgiveness, and humility. They are the ones who experienced the joy of service, unconditional love, and found among themselves new and lasting friendships.  

At the end of the celebration, I realized that all the grand preparations made were befitting the occasion. It was a token of gratitude from the Filipino people to our God and King, for all the blessings we received on this land since the preaching of the gospel 50 years ago. It was worth all the hard work putting everything together—our talents, our time—to come up with the best that we could offer Him. Hence, I was moved and most grateful to hear, by the mouth of one of His servants, that our offerings had been accepted.

I think that life in general will be like this Jubilee celebration. The preparations will not be easy for the glorious end. Many will fall and lose their way. Yet those who will endure to the end will receive their sweetest reward—much more than they have ever imagined.

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Happy New Year everybody!!! 🙂 It’s the first Monday of the year and I’m very excited about the pretty cool resolutions we’ve written down at our Family Home Evening tonight! 🙂

Of course I am bound by the undeclared pact of secrecy that surrounds these things, hence, I won’t be able to share with you what we wrote, but suffice it to say that they involve goals that will improve not only our lives as individuals and as a family, but others’ as well—and so I am extremely pleased! 🙂

I think that the New Year can offer us a clean slate, a new beginning, a time to focus on creating a brighter future and a chance to correct the mistakes of the past. In fact, I believe that in order for us to progress and reach our potentials, it is oftentimes best to look forward and hope for the wonderful things, rather than looking back and dwelling on the bad things that happened in our lives.   

In the coming year, I wish that we would all be able to continue doing the things that we are doing well, and get better at things that we need to improve on. As I always say: Let us all keep on keeping on!! 🙂

Here’s a fun video I found about moving forward and not looking behind us.

Have a great and fabulous year everybody!!! 🙂

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(Photograph by Franco Advincula)

At the temple last night, I was reminded by an old acquaintance to do a “write up” for my blog this week. I promised her I would and I am keeping my promise.

Oh, how I miss writing! I’ve been pre-occupied with a lot of things that I’ve been procrastinating doing some of the things that are equally important and those that I truly love. Some of the things I’ve been postponing to do are mundane and do not have any major impact in my life, such as seeing that one good movie that I’ve always looked forward to and missed, and failing to book that dream out-of-town vacation flight that was offered for a promotional price! Argh! But some are essential and have caused me pain (literally!), such as seeing my dentist for a regular check-up and changing my worn-out spare tire for a more reliable one.

Simple and trivial as it may seem, I know that it is important to see our dentist at least every six months for a regular check-up. I’ve always been good at doing it except this year. I rationalized that I regularly brushed my teeth anyway and that my schedule was so full that I just didn’t have time for even a prophylaxis. So I pushed out the schedule for a dental appointment month after month until one day I was surprised to wake up with an uncomfortable toothache. Still my full schedule prevailed that I didn’t set the dental appointment and had let it become sore and swollen. 😦 Needless to say, I endured the pain and suffered all the discomfort that could’ve been avoided had I only done what I was supposed to do at the right time. I painfully learned that the old adage is true—prevention is always better than cure.

Many of us easily fall into the temptation of procrastination. It’s as easy as taking a deep breath of air. Although some things we procrastinate are small and insignificant, there are those that we need to address right away before it becomes too late and we run out of time.

In the scriptures we read: “But behold, your days of probation are past; ye have procrastinated the day of your salvation until it is everlastingly too late, and your destruction is made sure; yea, for ye have sought all the days of your lives for that which ye could not obtain; and ye have sought for happiness in doing iniquity, which thing is contrary to the nature of the righteousness which is in our great and Eternal Head” (Helaman 13:38).

I know it is wise to heed this advice not to procrastinate and waste the days of our probation. It is a temporary life and tomorrow may never come to some of us. We do not have to suffer the consequences of our inaction in order to learn the lesson.

May we have the wisdom to make correct choices and set our priorities straight so that we don’t miss out on the essential things in life. Let’s think about the important things that we’ve been meaning to do but have been setting aside for so long. Let’s get up and get them done NOW—before it’s everlastingly too late.

Enjoy the rest of the week everybody and let’s strive to avoid procrastinating things that are truly important in our lives!! 🙂

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(Photograph by Franco Advincula)

On our way home from Church on Sunday, our conversation drifted from one topic to another. We passed by some colleges and it made me ask my 14-yr-old son the traditional question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

I guess I was expecting to hear a response on what career he would like to pursue; more in the line of doctor, engineer, pilot, computer wiz, or even a fireman! Instead I heard him say: “I want to be rich.”

It made me chuckle, but I followed up with a question: “And how are you planning to do that?” He replied: “I’m going to be famous through my music.”

He then enumerated the things he’d like to do in order to make it happen. I was impressed that at his tender age he already had a plan!

How many of us have planned to become rich in this life? It’s very common for people to aim for the best and that includes being financially comfortable. It is a fact of life. I think that there is nothing wrong with wanting to elevate ourselves in a position where we would have the means and resources to purchase what we need, but more importantly we have to want it in order for us to be in the position to help lighten the burden of our less fortunate fellowmen and not just for our own selfish motives.

It is written in the scriptures that: “…before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God. And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good—to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted” (Jacob 2:18-19).

As we all know, it is nice to have money, but it is not the most important thing. We can’t bring it with us where we are all going. It isn’t wise to accumulate too much if we lose our souls in the process. I think it’s good to have enough of it for our needs and a little more for a rainy day and to help other people. It is very temporary and a lot of the things that really matter cannot be bought by it—not health, not friendship, not happiness, not peace, and as the Beatles say, not love.

So let us strive to keep our perspective in focus. Let us work hard for the riches of this world, but keep in mind to work harder for the wealth that really lasts—the riches of eternity. 

Have a fabulous week everybody!!! 🙂

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