Tag Archives: Mrs. Guinolbay

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!

Strange things happen during Halloween

Unfaithful to what I pledged last year, I had a bit of Halloween celebration. That is, by dressing up. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a far cry from my decade long style of celebrating this pagan custom. And as the old saying goes, old habits die hard.  Right or wrong, my kids and I always treated this occasion as a photo opportunity. Thus,

 

You must agree with me that Miguel’s eyes, reminiscent of the Village of the Damned, added to the creepiness of the photo.

My sons’ pictures above were regular; nothing special nor spectacular. However, when it was my turn, this happened.

The  second picture below, using an I phone, was taken by the lady whose head was mysteriously included in the photo. Don’t ask me what app was used because we did not use any. In fact, the photographer, the owner of the floating head, freaked out.

Strange things do happen during Halloween.

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.

 

Growing Old

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My parents

When I was 5, I wanted to grow up. So many rides, too many height requirements. I  was impatient about growing old.

When I was 10, I wanted to be 15 because I had a crush who was 18.

When I turned 18, I felt like an adult, but  not yet capable of paying my bills.

When I turned 22, someone broke my heart and I wished I was 18 again.

When I turned 29, I fell in love again, only to have my heart broken again and again and again.

When I reached 35,  I worried about the additional pounds gained.

When I reached 40, worried some more about getting old or dying young.

Talked to my father who is 82 years old, who never thought he would reach 80.

He drank too many beers and smoked too much cigars, survived Vietnam war and crashed on a post when he was 53.

He said,”You see, too many familiar names in the obituary. I don’t think I would be happy to live a few more years until I reach a point that you have to wipe me with a tissue.”

“Life is short Anak, let go of the hurt and remember only the love and good times.”

He said his life is filled with regret that he did not meet up with his friends only to find out that they already died.

He always said that if only he could apologize for the wrong things said or wrong things done to his kids when they were young he would do so. He was also busy growing up during that time.

Nobody could have said it better than a man who drank a lot of beers, smoked a lot and crashed on a post.

So enjoy the little things with your kids, because when you grow up, the little things turn out to be the big things.

Be wise, make your own evidence

I presume that most most lawyers know this. But these tips are for non-lawyers.  Yesterday, my younger brother was worried about an account which was recently assigned to him. His problem was, the period to collect from the debtor was about to prescribe/expire.You see, most transactions, debts, death claims, right to collect amounts and other benefits, like it or not, contain periods to observe; otherwise, you may lose your right to recover. How does one prevent or hold the period from expiring? Better yet, how do you win in an ordinary case without solid evidence? Solution, make your own.

The following tips are proven effective:

  1. If you get  hurt,  threatened, be it a death threat or an ordinary threat, report it. Not just verbally, have it blottered/registered in your local police then get a certified or photocopy.
  2. If someone slaps you or inflicts injuries on you, don’t forget to do a SELFIE. You don’t have to post it on Facebook. Further, go to the nearest hospital and consult a medico-legal practitioner so that should you decide to file a complaint, you have evidence.
  3. If somebody borrows money from you, make him sign a letter acknowledging receipt of the money. Photocopy it  a lot of times. Putting a date is optional. A date could work for or against you. Should you decide to put a date, use the same pen and ink color.
  4. Bringing a friend to witness the borrowing is helpful too.  You could even ask the witness to take pictures while talking with the debtor or as he is  signing the promissory note.
  5. If you neglected to follow up in writing an account or debt, call the person concerned; if no action,  write a letter: “This is a follow up on your outstanding debt..” To make it make it appear that you’ve followed up several times.
  6. If someone owes you money and you don’t have evidence,  write him or her a letter saying: This is pursuant to our agreement that you will pay $ 10,000 upon signing….
  7.  Please buy a clear book. I have proven that record keeping is easier with a clear book. If you bought something, say an appliance or furniture,  or after you’ve consulted a doctor who prescribed you medicine, before you decide to clear your wallet and desks, put all your receipts and prescription in your clear book. You never know when you will need proof.
  8. If someone slanders you or maligns you in Facebook or cellphone text message,  print screen it ASAP because that will serve as evidence.
  9. One warning though, before you click the send button on your email or text, review it first. Omit words which might be used as documentary evidence against you. Chances are, a potential litigant might have consulted a lawyer or read this blog.
  10. Lastly, are you aware that Facebook posts may be used as evidence?

The bottom line is, written evidence is better than verbal evidence because writing has more staying power. God bless!

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Be wise, like an owl.

Artwork

I have yet to meet somebody who is not pleased with a piece of art. Human beings naturally prefer beautiful things.

On September 30, 2016, my sons and I went to our usual favorite hang out at Gudsilog only to be confronted with the sad news that it was their last day of operation.

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Gudsilog Restaurant

Well, there is really nothing special about this place unless you are a human being who likes eating Filipino breakfast all day long.  The meal prices are reasonable-  ranging from Php70-99 pesos.In dollars, a meal costs about a dollar and a half. Not bad, right?  But for me and my boys not only do we enjoy the food for hours, we pass time by enjoying the artwork which hangs on its walls. See these:

Notice the artwork in our background. A closer look :

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Well,  it’s nothing compared to Mona Lisa or Spoliarium but I must admit the artist put in a lot of hard work considering the details.

This  particular Gudsilog branch where my boys and I usually go already closed down because of its inability to compete with the very famous  and likewise reasonable restaurant beside it. So what’s the point? Well, there are plenty of places to go to admire art. One such place is the Art Island Cubao in Quezon City. In Art Island, you can actually be a part of the artwork. To do this, you  must be armed with a camera or your mobile phone with camera. Here are our chosen artworks:

However, in my case when I barely have the money to go to museums, I amuse myself by  making my own art with whatever materials available.

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Angry Suha

 

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Twitter grapes

Creative Lawyering

Being a lawyer allows you extensive use of your mental capabilities which are often reflected in your pleadings. The problem lies however if you don’t write as well you talk. You see, legal problems are solved more than half of the time through writing; from a simple demand letter to a well researched, well written petition for certiorari.

What  now if you don’t write well? In my case, I have a continuing struggle with my writing style. Different senior lawyers/reviewers call for different styles. Well, if half of the time a case is solved through creative writing, 40 to 49 percent of the time, I win cases because of my acting. Yes, you heard it right, acting.  You see, lawyers  know how to act too. We are almost theatrical. We memorize our lines well once  we are inside the court. Good for you if you are pretty and you dress well. Judges cannot help it if they listen to lawyers who are very articulate and well, charming.  So if you ask me how does a lawyer become charming? I have a handful of suggestions below:

  1. In our department, we love to dress up and trade ideas.

Colors of the Rainbow

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Purple Day. We never intended to come to the office wearing the same  shade. But hey, great minds think alike.

2. We even throw costume parties just to be able to pick an idea or two. Parties are a perfect avenue for observing the most successful lawyers.

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Pardon the grimacing faces of my sons. My boys were eating  corn dogs when the camera  snapped.

3. Of course preparation is always the key. In my case, I have a secret folder where I list down all the objections I could possibly think of. Further, to impress my audience, I include the actual citations i.e, OBJECTION! Leading based on Section 10 Rule 132.

4. lastly, we PLAY.

In the series of pictures below, the author of the crime (clue: he is wearing stripes) surreptitiously and  obviously without notice to the owner, snatched a jar of candies. The lady lawyer who refused to be identified, witnessed the unlawful gain but did not want to be involved. The victim, likewise a lady lawyer with a sweet tooth, desperately cried for justice. The white outline, well, that is supposed to represent the body of the crime.

Lawyers should know how to imagine. Most successful persons tend to be extremely creative thinkers and imagination plays a huge part of that thinking process.  First we should imagine, then next, we engineer. Imagineering is actually a term coined by Walt Disney, the great pioneer of American animation.

In my fifteen years of legal practice, the best lawyers are those who  come to Court not only prepared, but  also know how to play around by applying some of the wackier possibilities to see what might actually work for their case. Surprisingly, those wacky things solve the case.