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Posts Tagged ‘determination’

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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Two days ago, I was requested to participate in a series of corporate training called the “Fearless Leadership Program.” At first I thought it was a waste of my time. I was already being pulled in many different directions and I thought that one more training—with many succeeding sessions—was too much for me to bear. I thought I had more important things to do, but I was wrong.


I didn’t know what to expect from the training. The title itself sparked my curiosity. Fearless Leadership. Will they be providing a lecture on how to become fierce in implementing mandates from executive management? Or teach us how to be tougher or more strict towards our team members? I couldn’t wait to attend and find out.


All my qualms were quenched after the first session. To my surprise, it wasn’t at all what I thought it would be. The initial session focused on understanding our entire lives—from childhood to present—and analyzing situations that happened in the past that influence the kind of persons we are today. I was very uncomfortable at first. I didn’t want to reveal some things about the past—my childhood, my family, my experiences—that I’ve always kept hidden, even from myself. But as I saw how the other participants opened themselves up and shared their experiences freely, I allowed myself to open up and share my experiences as well. By doing so, I was able to understand myself a little bit more—why my priorities are such; what motivates me; why I react to certain situations the way I do. It was, I should say, a liberating experience.


As I listened to the stories that were shared that afternoon, I learned that people have common experiences—albeit different scenarios—that either make them or break them. In most instances, seemingly negative experiences that each participant overcame brought about success beyond what they expected or imagined. Those who thrived during the trying moments came out victorious as they looked at their previous challenges as stepping stones instead of stumbling blocks.


Some of us may be in a similar situation today. Some may be struggling to overcome certain challenges that may appear to be too negative at the moment. Let us keep in mind that these circumstances are temporary and if we gather the courage to overcome, we can look forward to that day when we could look back and stand, having a better perspective that these things will be for our own good.

Enjoy the rest of the week everybody! And remember, there’s always a rainbow after the rain! 🙂

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Happy New Year!!! This almost didn’t make the first month of the year, but I’m glad it did!!! I should renew my commitment to write more often. It’s something that I truly enjoy doing, so I need to manage my schedule a lot better and find more time for it.

As we welcome the New Year, it’s a wonderful time to reflect upon the things that we did well in the past year, and plan for what we could do better in the coming one.  In retrospect, we look back and savor the moments we spent with our loved ones, the successes we made in our individual lives, our moments of sadness and frustration, things we should’ve been doing but were not able to, the new additions in our families, our laughter, simple joys, and defining moments.

It is also a good time to evaluate significant decisions we made, important actions we need to take, changes we might have to implement, and to bring our focus back on things we might’ve neglected the entire year.

Each of us will have our own unique situation, but just the same it is good to be reminded that it is a great time for new beginnings. That we can start with a clean slate and direct our lives to the path where we want to be going. The first step is always the most difficult to make, but when we finally get the courage to lift ourselves up it will always be much easier.

I’d like to wish everyone all the best this coming year!! May we all be blessed with everything that we need—food on our tables, roof over our heads, and clothing on our backs. But above all, may we have abundance of those that are truly essential in our lives—love, peace, and harmony in our homes.

Have a wonderful year ahead!!!  🙂

 

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I have truly missed writing.


Lately, I have been preoccupied with my profession that I didn’t get a chance to write anymore. I realized that if it’s something that I really love, then I’d better make time for it. And so here I am. 🙂


It had been a remarkable weekend. I spent some quality time with my dearest sister planning and preparing for her daughter’s upcoming birthday. We see each other every weekend, together with the rest of our brothers and their families, but it has been awhile since we spent that much time alone. I kinda miss her.


But I recognize that love is eternal and it’s something we feel even if we haven’t seen those who are dear to us for a long time or even if they’ve already gone beyond the veil. Our hearts just never forget.


Hence I was touched to hear the words spoken by President Diether F. Uchtdorf during his address to the largest women organization on the earth. He spoke about a tiny flower called forget-me-not and used it as a metaphor to remind his audience to consider five things he would want them never to forget.


He said: “Forget not to be patient with yourself… Forget not the difference between a good sacrifice and a foolish sacrifice… Forget not to be happy now… Forget not the ‘why’ of the gospel… [and] Forget not that the Lord loves you.”


It was a very inspiring talk. I was reminded of a lot of things that I have almost forgotten.  Just like President Uchtdorf when he was a young boy, I sometimes feel small and insignificant in this vast world we live in. It was good to be reminded that we are “known and remembered by the most majestic, powerful, and glorious Being in the universe!” That “He who created and knows the stars knows [us] and [our] name.” That our ‘Heavenly Father knows, loves, and cherishes [us].” It was a humbling thought and it gave me such a reverent feeling.


I’ve posted President Uchtdorf’s talk here for those of you who haven’t heard it. And to those who have, it wouldn’t hurt to listen to it again! 🙂


Enjoy the rest of the week everybody!!  🙂 Take care!!! 🙂

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I was once enjoying late lunch with a friend when out of the blue a large fly swirled around us trying to get its share of our exotic meal! The waitress at the restaurant was embarrassed yet attentive enough to see our situation and immediately brought a medium-sized candle on our table –apparently to help shoo away our uninvited guest.

But instead of avoiding the clear sign of danger, the impulsive insect dove straight into the candle light as if toying with its fate. It naturally burned its wings and within a blink of an eye dropped onto the plate of my horrified friend. We couldn’t believe how fast things happened. We found ourselves trying to get the fly off the table while its body wiggled and struggled to get out of its predicament. It dropped onto the floor and while my friend told me to step on it, I only watched it literally “walk” its way out of our presence, limping and squirming with pain. It must’ve been terrified by the thought of its imminent death as well. We never knew if it made its way back home, or if its wings ever healed again, but it certainly suffered the excruciating consequence of its action.

We paused for awhile and thought how foolish that fly was for going straight into the candle light without thinking of the consequences. Yet between the long pauses, all my friend could utter was this: “Temptation.”

How many times in our lives have we acted like this foolish fly? We recognize danger and yet we sometimes think we are strong enough to withstand it so we head straight towards it and eventually burn our “wings.” Hopefully when this happens we won’t be placed in a situation where it’s too late to turn back and like the foolish fly suffer the consequences of our actions. I pray that in our dealings with our weaknesses and temptations we can gather the essential courage to mend our ways, get back on the right path, and be given enough time to eventually make amends and set things right.

Enjoy the weekend everybody and keep these thoughts in mind the next time you see a fly swirling around a candle light.

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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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My daughter is graduating from college today and I think I’m feeling a little nostalgic. 🙂

It’s a wonderful privilege to be a parent and to be given responsibility to help shape the life of a human being on this earth. I have witnessed many unforgettable miracles in the course of this amazing experience. I remember the day she was born as if it happened only yesterday—and now she is about to embark on her adult role in the society. This tells me that I am now really getting old, but more importantly, it shows me how much Divine support I have received from our Heavenly Father all these years. 


I have a testimony that, as parents, we are given the task to watch over His children here on earth and in a lot of instances we are entitled to receive various promptings for the sake of their well-being.  Our Father loved these children even before we even had them and He cares for their success and happiness as much as we do.


I am extremely grateful for the chance given me to be a mother of two wonderful souls. They have taught me so much and the best moments I’ve spent in my life were those I spent with them.  Each phase of their individual lives gave me an opportunity to live them as well, and because of that I consider mine as such an abundant life with numerous colorful and exciting experiences! I am, indeed, blessed!!


Here’s to the graduating students out there, most especially my daughter.  I wish you all the best in life and I pray that in time you would find your special place under the sun. I hope that in all your endeavors you would remember to look up for support, and to get down on your knees as often as you can. Remember to give thanks for everything you will be blessed with and to share those blessings with the rest of our Father’s children in any way you can. Keep in mind to always be meek no matter how much success you will one day achieve. Life will be harsh at times, but try not to lose track of your eternal perspective. Enjoy life and remember to always make time for those things that matter most. Congratulations on your graduation!!!


I’d also like to extend my congratulations to all the parents who continually support and now so proudly walk behind their graduates. Cheers!! 🙂


To Jessica, my daughter: I love you and I am so very proud of you!!! Here’s lots of tight hugs and my warmest kisses. 🙂

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