Tag Archives: COL. Guinolbay’s wife

Pilgrimage

My soul yearns for the Lord; for  a number of reasons. My Dad died earlier this year and my Mom is very sick. Further, there are serious health issues which plague our family for which I seek  God’s presence.  This yearning for His presence took me to the Holy Land. I know Most Devout Catholics dream of reaching the Holy Land. This dream came sooner than expected for me and my sons. I go to church almost daily and I must admit places like Mount Sinai, Dead Sea, Bethlehem  and River Jordan are places which exist only in the Bible. I believe that God exists but like ordinary Catholics, it takes one big miracle for doubters like me to have a deeper faith in one Supreme Being who controls all events in our lives. This “Miracle” is yet to be but to walk the places He walked is in itself a big miracle.

Let’s begin where it all started.

The Manger

The manger. Do you ever wonder why we put stars on our Christmas trees? It is a popular Christmas decoration. There are research  which leads  to a German practice since 19th century.  And according to the Bible, it is  the star that led the Wise Men to His Majesty: “When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage’” (Mt 2:1-12).   But to my mind,  it is the probable reason why the Israelites / Queen Elena, marked the Lord’s birth place with a silver star.

In our Pilgrimage, my sons and I were brought to the Nativity Church, the place which is believed to be the location where Jesus was born. According to research which includes our local tour guide from Nazareth, the Nativity Church was built around the place where Jesus was born.

The silver star marks the spot where the manger was.

This is what the Nativity Church looks like from one side.

When we visited the Church, there was a big Christmas tree in the Churchyard.

According to the local tour guide, the Nativity Church was the only Church left undisturbed by the Moors/Muslims because they saw the images of the Three Kings at its window.  Sadly, I was not able to capture the mosaic picture of the three kings.

Baptism at Jordan River

For most Catholics,  after we are born,  baptism follow shortly. However, the Bible teaches us that  Jesus was baptized at the Jordan River when he was already a full grown man. My sons and I were  fortunate to  be  baptized in the very same River.  It’s actually a very small one.  A glimpse of the picture below would give you an idea how amazingly small  it is.

The water looks green but when I got some and placed it in a bottle, the water was surprisingly clear. When we were baptized it was so cold but my children, specially Miguel, did not mind.

Wedding feast at Cana

The second luminous mystery is the wedding feast in Cana. This was one of my favorite stops because I was fortunate to sing solo in a wedding. Actually 23 couples renewed their vows when I sang. The picture below shows the famous Church which stood in place of the house  where Jesus performed His first Miracle; the transformation of the water into wine.

You might think that the  wine containers are small or portable. Actually the water/wine containers are about this size:

According to the local tour guide, this cement like container is the original water container which held the special wine made by Jesus.

There a lot more of stories to tell.  But, actually  this blog is not intended to cover all aspects of the Pilgrimage.  This is all for now.

A Blessed Merry Christmas to All!

Feeding the Birds

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The last time I had a pet dog was during law school days. It was an afghan hound- very tall and very hairy. All law students would agree that if you are studying law, you spend hours and hours poring over the pages of your law books even during ordinary days to prepare for a possible graded recitation. Considering that my schooling usually ends at night, I didn’t have the time to bond with my dog until it died of a broken heart. Like humans, dogs have feelings too. My heart sank when I came home one night to find it lying down motionless. Fearing that another dog would suffer the same fate, I had to satisfy my “maternal instinct” by turning to turtles and birds instead of a furry friend. With dogs, there is the constant fear of outliving my pet again. Further, dogs have emotional needs. To my mind, birds and turtles are not as  emotional as  dogs. As  I write, my brother Ramon is grieving  the loss of his dog-Clotty. Clotty was ran over by a truck the other night. He died instantly.

Cloty when he was still alive.
Clotty when he was still alive.

In 1995, my older brother Luis gave me a female umbrella head cockatoo. My Family simply calls it Parrot but I named it Tak tak then my kids later on named it Nigel based from the evil cockatoo in the Disney movie RIO.  I bought it a mate in 2005 but its mate escaped.Its been twenty two years and for the third time, Nigel  escaped its cage. Nigel dashed out of its cage when my Mom opened the cage to feed it.

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Nigel  is currently on top of a tree in our backyard.

 

We feed Nigel by putting sunflower seeds and balingbing  (star fruit) in the basket.
Can you spot the bird? My blogger son, RG tries to bribe Nigel with sunflower seeds.

The nice thing about Nigel is it merely stays in the garden hopping from branch to branch. Occasionally it visits its cage but clearly, it has no intention of staying there.  My current predicament is feeding it because the trees are too high. Further, Nigel has developed the habit of walking on the grounds searching for fallen fruits  and scattered sunflowers- a potential meal for a lot of stray cats.  Studies have shown that  stray and feral cats have contributed to the decline of uncaged  birds. I decided to put a basket in a Bignay tree. So far it is working.

More on feeding the birds, my children just wasted one jar of birdseed to feed the neighbors’ pigeons which took up residence in our roof. The nice thing about feeding the uncaged birds  is  that you don’t have to worry about cleaning their surroundings. However, the danger lies in the spread of diseases.

 

In closing, I leave you with a quote made by Anatole France which goes: Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.

 

Being popular for a day

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I’m too shy and too slow to have my picture taken beside Senator Manny Pacquiao. My son Miguel (in red striped shirt) was sorely disappointed.

Today, the union officers in our office were  inaugurated by no less than  the very popular, eight time world boxing champion turned senator, Manny D. Pacquiao. Who does not know Manny  Pacquiao? Everyone dreams of becoming as rich and  as popular as he. Actually, for me,  I would settle for rich.However, the idea of being popular appeals to me also. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all be popular even just for a day? Actually, my dream came true sooner than expected; I did become popular for a day when this came out several years ago :

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I am not a topnotcher ; just lucky.

Imagine the delight of all my relatives and friends when my face appeared in the front page of one of the dailies. How did this happen? I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

Back to Manny. It is no secret that Senator Manny Pacquiao came from humble beginnings. During his speech at today’s inauguration, he confirmed that he used to live in the streets and would experience hunger from time to time.Gifted with strength and agility, he harnessed his boxing skills until he reached the peak of his career as an Eight-division Boxing World Champion. Everybody dreams of becoming rich and famous but I don’t think  anybody wants to experience what he has gone through prior to his superstardom.

Meeting a celebrity is always a dream which does not always end up positive.There are several horror stories which will put you off meeting celebrities for life.  The nice part of the brief encounter with Manny is he was always willing to accommodate anyone who wants to have a picture.My office mate and fellow lawyer Atty. Jasper Sales was fortunate to have a selfie with Manny.

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Sen. Manny Pacquiao, Atty. Jasper Sales and Mrs. Leonor Sales

So why didn’t I have a selfie/groupie with Manny? First, everything happened so fast. Most people in the crowd were armed with an advanced high tech cellphone. Next, they were tall. Thirdly, they were quick! The exact opposite happened to me because my cellphone conked out as the Pacman alighted from his car. Next, those who were successful in getting a selfie with Pacman were either tall or armed with a selfie stick. Neither of which, I possess. Thirdly, I was too slow because I was wearing high heeled shoes and had a small boy in tow.

The secret to being popular is simple in this day and age. There is the long and hard way.  Study hard to become a topnotcher. Or if you want instant fame, jump off from a building in a thickly populated area.  If you’re lucky enough to be alive after such a daring feat, you will find yourself immortalized in you tube and other social media. Lastly, you can do what I have done,  be in the right place at the right time.

Do you believe in luck?

To complete my to do list every advent season, I had my yearly confession. As I sat in the confessional box, the priest repeatedly uttered the words heretic, heresy and handler. We’re clear on the word heresy because heresy means  a practice/belief contrary to established norms or  what is generally accepted. A heretic is well, somebody who practices heresy. What caught my attention was the word  handler.  Even if you  google it, it does not have many hits.  The priest mentioned something about having a guardian angel and a “handler”.  A handler is the opposite of angel. Don’t get me wrong, as earlier professed, I am a devout Catholic and would surely die as  Catholic.  However, the idea that I have a handler is something I don’t like to agree with, much less imagine.  For those who are expert on the subject please by all means, educate me.  Father Joey also described  me as heretic.  Maybe I am. I’m trying to avoid being one; but, like any other person, I grew up in a family with existing beliefs and superstition. And much as I want to throw away those heretic beliefs, it is rather a long process which I am continuously struggling in.

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So, do you actually believe in good luck or bad luck? I am fond of wearing black because some people say it repels bad luck. Exorcism Society of the Philippines encourage me to wear black because it is said to repel bad spirits. It’s really a matter of perspective. In some cultures, black means mourning.

The picture above was taken during the Itchyworms concert held in our office. Itchyworms is a famous Filipino boy band. My office mates and I arrived late because of a seminar; but nonetheless, we got the best seat in the gym where we could actually get a good and closer view of the performers. Further, the official photographer took our picture which was published within the local  office paper and Facebook.

Before the year 2016 ended, I had money in my bank account thinking that if I have money in the bank at the start of the year, for the rest of the year I will not be as financially  drained. But before the week ended, my car refused to start and its aircon lost freon. When I  attempted to start the engine, it wont start.  When I finally succeeded in making it start, as I parked the car, the  rear lights became grounded which required the batteries to be removed. The bottom of the story is I need to spend money for car repairs AGAIN. So much for having money at the bank at the beginning of the year.

02 January 2017, I fired my maid for her repeated and over extended vacation. This maid has been with me for four years and her primary assets are her intellect and strength. What a way to start the year. However, two days later, on 04 January 2017, my cousin, Rolando Ramos gave me a 58 year old maid who drinks coffee a lot BUT cleans the house perfectly. I have never seen our house that clean for the longest time. The negative trait of this old lady was, while she cleans the house well, along with it the coins and spare change in our wallets.

Friday the 13th

On January 11, my son, Ruben,  reminded me that the coming Friday would be Friday the 13. Nothing could go wrong, right? It’s just superstition.  Come  January 13, I woke up late hence I cannot bring my car because of the color coding scheme. I thought,  I am obliged to take a taxi on my way to work.  However, when I reached for my phone, it refused to power on.  I charged it for half an hour but still it wont open. Fortunately, my maid lent me her charger and my cellphone finally powered on.  See, nothing could go wrong. Finally the whole day went by without anything irregular happening, until I accidentally dropped my 1000 pesos and didn’t have any money for my taxi fare. Great. Thank God for friends. My friend Atty Janell lent me 500 pesos.

Good Luck Bad Luck!

There is a Chinese story of a farmer who used an old horse to till his fields. One day, the horse escaped into the hills and when the farmer’s neighbors sympathized with the old man over his bad luck, the farmer replied, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?” A week later, the horse returned with a herd of horses from the hills and this time the neighbors congratulated the farmer on his good luck. His reply was, “Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?”

Then, when the farmer’s son was attempting to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off its back and broke his leg. Everyone thought this very bad luck. Not the farmer, whose only reaction was, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?”

Some weeks later, the army marched into the village and conscripted every able-bodied youth they found there. When they saw the farmer’s son with his broken leg, they let him off. Now was that good luck or bad luck?

Who knows?

Everything that seems on the surface to be an evil may be a good in disguise. And everything that seems good on the surface may really turn out evil. So we are wise when we leave it to God to decide what is good fortune and what misfortune, and thank him that all things turn out for good with those who love him.

So, do you actually believe in good luck? As a devout Catholic, I learned the principle that one must not rely on good luck charms nor superstitious beliefs in their daily activities. Instead of hanging on to these superstitious beliefs, hold on to God and the ability to see the positive side of everything. God bless.