Four Years in the Making

In the metropolis, traffic has worsened especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of motorcycles significantly increased when public transportation (like bus, jeepney, taxi, etc.) stopped its operations. Many have to find alternative solutions to continue earning a living. The Big Four  motorcycle manufacturers (Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki) made  people's commute to their work places convenient. 

It is not a surprise that road accidents are frequent. Many motorists do not have sufficient knowledge when it comes to road safety. Road rage truly exists and discipline is essential, more so if you are in charge of the steering wheel.

Coincidentally, I drive for my parents these days! Despite being a person with disability (PWD), I am now a non-professional license holder and went through the rigors of getting one.  I waited for four long years while I prayed about it. God also allowed me to meet the right individuals (although not instantly) to make this endeavor a reality. Indeed, there were disappointments in between. However, my faith is much stronger than any of those. And the best part is, to be able to go to places without the need to wait for someone to be free nor hire a driver because I can now do it myself, even in the midst of a hundred or so motorcycles! 


February 17-22, 2024: Laura and Aunty Ruth's Visit to the Philippines

Laura Rajaratnam Manuel, my cousin, who hails from Malaysia, first visited the Philippines when she was 18 or 19 years old together with her granny Flora (my Lola Lucy's older sister). Since then, she continued corresponding with me and the rest of our relatives. We regularly sent letters to each other via snail mail then. She also never failed to send Christmas cards during the holiday season. 

Even when Lola Flora passed away, she continued connecting with us and is updated with almost everyone here via Facebook. She would come over with her cousins or with her family multiple times throughout the years. She was here too to celebrate my great grandmother's 100th birthday in 2000.

It was also during this trip of theirs that I learned why some of my grandmother's siblings live permanently in Malaysia (three of them) while the rest went back to the Philippines (six). It was also interesting to know the lineage of her husband's mother - Thai and Scottish, and his father, an Indian. 

I'm a year younger than her. Because we are more mature this time, we bonded by sharing personal things ladies our age experience. We talked about our love for food, the importance of staying healthy, and everything under the sun in between giggles and laughter. She too misses writing because everything is digital now. Admittedly, I am a person who is comfortable being alone. There are 101 things I can do at home. I have a job and the many interests that preoccupies me. Her exemplary ways of staying in touch is something I will try to emulate. May God bless her heart! 



Pahiyas Festival 2023


Pahiyas Festival in Lucban, Quezon was once again celebrated after a three year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic last May 15, 2023. It was also our second time to witness this festivity and was my first out-of-town drive this year. (My first Pahiyas festival experience here).

Admittedly, I love everything about nature. I was exhilarated to see the rice fields, the lush trees from the mountains and the lake. We took the Marilaque Hiway route which consisted of many uphill, downhill, and zigzag roads. There were interesting shops along the thoroughfare that promoted the various towns' products. Fresh fruits, a native delicacy called "bibingka," wood crafts, barong tagalog, to name a few were sold. We also passed through some restaurants that were known for their food.

I was happy to witness the various tourists - young, young-at-heart, locals, foreigners and those in-between. Like us, they too were eager to view the intricately decorated houses with crops. To encourage the residents to join and "dress" their homes, monetary rewards were given by the sponsors. It was a good way to boost tourism and the town's economy. We managed to bring home some of their delicacies like the longganiza and cookies from Pavino's.  

The drive was a refreshment to my parents. My father had three procedures for his posterior cataract removal recently. His medical journey lasted for seven months. The doctors' clinic (opthalmologist and internist) were the places he frequented then. 


The Harsh Reality of Life

Our lives here on earth is momentary. Three family members of the people we know passed away this month.

The world dictates - accumulate material things, work hard for your aspirations, or do whatever you love. As a Christian, I am reminded to set my affections on things above, to prioritize God's mandates, and to please Him at all times.


Touched By Their Lives

It's been more than 10 years since I started working from home. Surprisingly, I am loving it. I need not wake up so early to prepare for work nor beat the horrendous traffic daily. I can also save more by eating the home cooked meals my mother prepares which is nutritious, too. 

The downside is, my network has become very small. I am also not so keen at keeping in touch with my former colleagues nor classmates. 

At church, however, there is a handful of people I regularly have interactions with. Through their life stories, I have become more grateful; perhaps, even emerged as a better person. Their stories I am sharing below to inspire.

J, now 23 years old was only 16 when she was forced to live independently after her father drove her out of their house. Her religious convictions to be faithful to God was the reason, which the latter abhorred. To date, God continues to sustain her needs - she has a stable job and was recently promoted. Her determination to finish college is one of her priorities and manages to complete two or three subjects  quarterly. As the eldest in their family, she takes the responsibility of sending her siblings to school and supports them financially!

D's faith was tried after his father, a pastor, was involved in a scandal. Despite the embarrassment and anxiety she faced, she overcame the past with godly associations and heeded their counsel. She too is self-supporting. Her commitment to serve is admirable. She allots her Saturdays at the newest mission site to help. She is part of two ministries and her zest for life is contagious!

JT was a member of a tribal group and dreamed of having tertiary education. He also yearned to be a missionary at a very young age. To date, he is a professional teacher (license holder) and is one of the trusted men who delivers the word of God whenever our pastor has speaking engagements elsewhere. 

Their  backgrounds were tough, choices were right and present circumstances praiseworthy. I am blessed to have witnessed their growth as an individual,  have seen their careers blossom, more so, their journey towards spiritual maturity. They have touched my life and I pray yours, too.