Posts Tagged ‘opposition’

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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(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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People all around the world were moved by the recent catastrophe that hit Japan. I watched in the news a rescued man speaking about his survival experience and although he spoke in Japanese, I could feel and understand the sadness and trauma that he underwent after his ordeal. An old woman clung to a tree the entire evening for dear life and was rescued the following day. Buildings and homes were destroyed beyond anything anyone has ever imagined. The wrath and power of nature was only to be endured with utmost acquiescence and without question.

Through my years of existence, I learned that no matter what race we come from, whatever language we speak, whosoever we worship, we have similar innate characteristics that prove to me that we all come from the same source and are undeniably all connected as an entire human race.

In the midst of this calamity, tensions had been set aside for a moment among countries. Nations sent all they could to support and assist Japan in their current needs. The resilience of people was remarkable and it was touching to see the overflow of human kindness during this time of grief and loss.

Yet no matter how negative this experience was for many people, a lot of us also learned numerous positive things that will remain in our hearts for a long time. This experience taught me that even strong nations and seemingly independent, affluent countries still appreciate offers of assistance coming from their neighbors in times of trials and adversity. Similarly, our fellowmen who seem strong and independent will appreciate our support and encouragement in times of trials in their lives.

It was also admirable to see how the Japanese people remained calm and focused in spite of the overwhelming devastation that gripped their country. Collectively, they had the determination to rebuild their homes and individually extended help to those who needed it. Survivors orderly lined up and waited for whatever basic relief commodities were distributed to them. A spirit of unity was prevalent across the land.

In our times of trial, we can learn from their example by being still and enduring the tribulation with patience and faith and being grateful for the moral support of our friends and family and the Divine help that is always extended to those who seek it.

It may take a few months or a few years before Japan can get its nation back to where it was before the earthquake, but the lessons we’ve learned should very well not be forgotten.

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(Photograph by Franco Advincula)

A great country is now in turmoil. As the whole world watches the chaos unfold in Egypt, I cannot help sharing my thoughts about it.

In ancient times we read in the Old Testament of the many events that transpired in this great land—both wonderful and challenging. Even if you have never read the scriptures and have only watched the movie “The Prince of Egypt,” you will still have an idea of how prosperous this land was under the reign of the Pharaohs. We also learn that it was where Moses (that great prophet of old who parted the Red Sea and was helped by God to lead his people out of bondage) was raised by the Pharaoh’s daughter.

I met an Egyptian woman in Canada and I remember how fascinated I was by the stories that she told. She spoke of frequently visiting historical places that I’ve only read in the scriptures, such as Mount Sinai, where Moses received the Ten Commandments. I listened intently as she related many stories depicting how rich the culture of her homeland was.

Today, it is heartbreaking to see the violence that is going on in that land. There is so much hatred and anger on the streets. Constant disrespect for the lives and rights of many people is displayed day after day. One thing is certain though; human beings cannot tolerate oppression for long. It is inherent for them to seek freedom wherever they are, whatever they believe in.

As street demonstrations and demands of the Egyptian people for change continue, I pray that violence may finally be brought to an end; that peaceful negotiations may prevail; that those who are oppressed may once again reach out to Him who once did and still has the capacity to help His people escape all kinds of bondage—be it physical, spiritual and even political. For He is King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, and in my mind is the rightful owner of the title “Prince of Egypt.”

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(Photograph by Edwin Redrino)

I don’t watch a lot of TV so I was oblivious to the heartbreaking tragedy that took many innocent lives on Monday until a co-worker pointed it out to me when I arrived at work later that day.  Just a couple of weeks prior to the incident, I was at the exact location where the hostage-taking unfolded, sight seeing and touring the area with a foreign friend. 

In retrospect, I thought how desperate a measure it was that the man took hostages in an attempt to bring back whatever dignity was left of him. I wonder if he had a chance to ponder about the serious repercussions of his plan. Was he able to think about the numerous lives that might have been lost? The many hearts that will be broken? I wonder if he had a chance to get down on his knees to pray for guidance and comfort. I wonder if he received enough support from his family and friends before he committed his fatal act. Clearly, he wasn’t in his proper frame of mind when he did what he did. It was an unfortunate tragedy that left many people saddened, angry, and some scarred for a lifetime.   

In a similar scenario this week, I witnessed how an act of unselfish service blessed the lives of two women who had been through a recent traumatic shooting incident themselves involving loved ones and friends. Someone in a position to help quietly went out of their way to offer comfort and lift the trauma off these women’s distressed minds. I witnessed the real meaning of charity come to life and was deeply touched by what I saw. It was the gospel in action. I wish the hostage-taker had someone like this person reach out to him during his contemplative moments so he didn’t end up doing what he did. But then now it’s too late.        

I sympathize with the families of those whose lives have been lost in such a senseless manner. I wish that those who have passed on have already lived their lives to the fullest and have already accomplished what they came here on earth to do.

In the darkest moments of our lives, it is good to remember that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. That we will not be given anything we won’t be able to bear. That there is help if we but seek it. Heavenly Father is there for us. He is the Father of our spirits and He loves us beyond our comprehension. He will help us when all else fails and we’ve done all that we could. Despite our many challenges and trials, our lives don’t have to end in any kind of tragedy. We can rise above the blues. Our Father wants us to succeed in all aspects of our lives. And He is there watching…and waiting. We just have to reach out to Him.  


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(Photograph by Gary Erickson)

Summer vacation is almost over for most students in the country. My daughter spent some of her vacation time doing on-the-job training to satisfy her school requirement. I saw how she has grown much from this relatively short experience. She has gained a personal knowledge of how it is like to work in the corporate world and consequently broadened her horizon in terms of some temporal aspects in life.

There are things that we can only learn first-hand. We cannot comprehend the kind of love a mother or a father has for their child, unless we become a parent. We’ll never know the happiness that comes from being selfless until we serve or give something without expecting anything in return. We cannot describe the grandeur of a sunrise or the serenity of a sunset if we don’t make time to watch them. We will not know the thrill of success and the strength we can gain from failure if we do not even attempt to try. 

Each of us is in the middle of our “on-the-job training” here on earth. We learn things by experiencing them. Some opt to learn every single detail by being diligent, while some choose to sit back and simply watch as life passes them by. It’s always good to remember that this will also be a relatively short experience and we need to learn everything we can so that when our “summer vacation” is over we may have enough knowledge to bring with us back to our heavenly home. No moment should be wasted, every minute counts.  

As we do so, may we be grateful and strong in the face of life’s many surprises; keeping in mind that when we get a downpour during our summer, it is a welcome break from the scorching heat, a time to walk under the rain, enjoy the sound of the trickling raindrops, and take pleasure in the cool breeze on our face.

Here’s wishing you the best that the summer brings! 🙂


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(Photograph by Charisse Paculanang-Guymon)

My parking space is located in the middle of the fourth floor of a multi-storey car park where I have a good view of the city skyline and the Manila Philippines Temple on the right hand side, and the thick green landscape of the rural mountains on the left hand side. It’s such a complete contrast.

I find myself in awe at the sight of it everyday. I look forward to the car’s ascent to the fourth floor when I approach the parking building—always anticipating this remarkable view—and it never fails me.

Sitting in the middle of these two contrasting backgrounds reminds me of the importance of balance in life. One offers serenity and peace, a close call to nature; while the other offers opportunities for growth in terms of personal skills and experience. I believe that both are important and must be nourished and nurtured in our lives. It’s interesting to note that in the midst of the skyscrapers stands a beacon of light and truth—the temple—a refreshing ensign to those who look to it for strength and inspiration.

Every single day we find ourselves sitting in the middle of things, weighing the better of opposing choices. It may be as simple as picking whether to drink pineapple or orange juice; or as complex as deciding between being selfish and being selfless. But the options are always there.

Once I was told that I would be hated for the rest of someone’s life if I chose to do the right thing. Although it wasn’t the easiest and most convenient thing to do, I did choose the right thing and I never regretted it. There is peace that comes from doing what is right no matter what the consequence is.

Elder Dallin H.Oaks said, “As we consider various choices, we should remember that it is not enough that something is good. Other choices are better, and still others are best. Even though a particular choice is more costly, its far greater value may make it the best choice of all (Dallin H. Oaks, “Good, Better, Best,” Ensign, Nov 2007, 104–8).”

As we make our daily choices, may we be guided by this divine principle and may we have the wisdom and courage to choose the best among all the choices presented our way.

Have a fabulous week everybody and good luck on making those choices!!! 🙂

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