Monday, September 28, 2009

A Lashing

Everyone thought it was just one of those usual typhoons which regularly visited these islands. Today, three days after typhoon Ondoy ravaged the Philippines, the horrors just keep unfolding:

Shanties shattered just like fragile matchsticks. Houses with their occupants on rooftops as fast-rising floodwaters chased them there. A battered refrigerator and unimaginable debris upended on electric wires as if someone hang them there to dry like laundry. Upturned and piled up cars, scenes from a demolition derby, though in this case, the players were unwilling.

Most harrowing of course were snapshots of grieving families still looking for the missing, or finding theirs but already lifeless in muddy graves.

We haven’t seen the rest of it. As clouds turn inky black again and the wind starts howling, we start groaning within, “No more Lord, we can’t bear another one.”

Let’s be confident the Lord has heard. He always does. This we can hang on to: “When you pass through the waters I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you…. Do not be afraid for I am with you” (Isaiah 43:2a&5a).

We ask why but we may never know why. This we know: The God who enabled Moses and the Israelites to cross through the Red Sea to distance them from the pursuing Egyptians, is the same God who saves today.

I heard my pastor say, “Life sucks. That’s why we need Jesus, because apart from Him we can do nothing. He alone is the way, the truth and the life, giving us peace in the middle of chaos, our only comfort in time of need--- and refining our character in the process.”

Even at the height of, the storm, rescuers, volunteers and donors started mobilizing, giving and calling for more aid. God indeed heard!

Tomorrow, the sun will shine bright.

Friday, September 25, 2009


My grandson Joaqui is quite perceptive.

While having dinner one day, my sister Dulce tried to explain to him, "What you're eating is pumpkin. It's colored yellow so it is good for your eyes." Two-and-a-half year old Joaqui seemed stunned but recovered his poise and replied, “No, that’s not good for my eyes. That’s good for my mouth!”

My daughter’s family lives in Australia and came home for a visit early last year. Joaqui was already five years old then. My husband Jack asked him one day, "Do you have classmates who are white, black, brown and yellow?" As the conversation progressed, Joaqui almost tearfully argued that skin color could neither be black nor white nor yellow nor brown, but only dark or bright.

“You’re embarrassing me,” he blurted out to his Lolo Jack, as if the latter’s insistence to refer to people in terms of color is a sin. Well, I guess he learned that in his prep school in a country which emphasizes political correctness because of its multi-racial and ethnic mix.

We were all young once and have formed our own world view as we matured. As a youngster, I thought I knew it all. Now that I’m almost 58, I realize more and more that I’m clueless about so many things. I now recognize too that it’s not what we know but whom we know that matters.

Let me explain. Before I accepted Jesus as my Savior, I knew of no other lord but me—my plans, my agenda, my opinions. As I got to KNOW him day after day by reading the bible, He became bigger and bigger as I got smaller and smaller in my eyes. “Apart from Me, you can do nothing,” Jesus said. He is really all the wisdom we need. Now, I depend on Him for everything, including my thoughts and actions for everyday victorious living.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 1:7), sums up God’s offer of success for everyone who FEARS Him. I’m pretty certain a bright future awaits Joaqui. His parents are making sure, applying this wise proverb from Solomon:

“Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Prov. 22:6).

Monday, September 7, 2009


It was that time of year again.

We clasped hands, so tight ligaments could have fallen off; held our breath as our hearts pulled on heaven for His promise of a win. The third place winner was announced. Not us! Then the second placer. Not us again! Then the screen glowed, “Champion,” followed by a flash of that oh so familiar insignia. That’s our school’s! Then the loudspeaker boomed, “and the champion, Southville Foreign Colleges!”

Shouting and jumping and clapping, we---faculty members, our president Dr. Rudy Ibañez and our students---momentarily lost our poise to revel in that victory. Who cares! This is our second straight win as champion. Southville Foreign University bested close to 30 educational institutions nationwide in the Strategic Marketing Competition sponsored by the Philippine Marketing Association (PMA). The announcement highlighted the recent PMA students’ “Stratmark 7 What’s Hot? What’s Cool?” conference at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay.

This was our fourth straight time to make it to the finals of this prestigious competition.

To Leizl Yambao and the rest of the team, great work! More than the trophy and the title, know that LEARNING is the greater trophy. Competitions do not only measure ability. They are the grinding stones through which character is tested and molded, and faith strengthened. And I’ve seen all of you grow a bit more in both. “You have the mind of Christ!” could not have been demonstrated more clearly.

Thanks, Dr. Ibañez, Dr. Alfred Milevoi, Misses Carol Mediodia and Ampy Baviera for your all-out support; Ms. Evelyn Aguilar and Mr. David Masindo, for your precious guidance; and Mr. Roland Quirong, for your spiritual wisdom and encouragement. And of course, the rest of the SFU faculty and staff who smiled and sighed through it all while the team occasionally fumbled with forgotten forms and notices, and missed classes.

To God be the glory!