‘Sweetest Thing’

The sweetest thing I heard today was when Pops said, “I am happy that you’re happy.”, randomly, at suppertime.

He looked me straight in the eye and smiled.

“Thank you, Papa.” Then, I was dazed to discover how my father could fathom the real feeling I have inside.

💌,

SAM

Softly Indulged ❤️

I like the notion of having a “childlike tastebud.” A person ages, but the memory of sugar melting inside his mouth does not.

So today, I am grateful for a soft pleasure – to indulge myself with a cone of ice cream from a convenient store.

Maybe life is all about small-sized indulgence. You’re biting, slowly, until you realized you’re full.

💌,

SAM

One Sunny Afternoon

I was holding a pair of crinkled hands – they were white. These exquisite bougainvilleas were pale in comparison to the beauty that these hands witnessed for almost a decade.

“Why are you holding me all the time?”, she asked.

“‘Cause I don’t want to let you fall, Gran.” I answered.

💌,

SAM

Summer Fun at Pangasinan XPo Part I☀️🌊

Hello there! It’s official: summer in PH is here! And when the heat is blazing, you know what it means, too: the Province of Pangasinan has to celebrate the annual Pista’y Dayat (Feast of the Sea). Ha-Ha! Pardon me for my translation.

Pangasinan Tourism and Trade Expo is a part of the annual Pista’y Dayat celebration, situated near beachfront, Lingayen, Pangasinan – the capital of the province.

Colorful food carts and landscape entries align the hallways; banners and light bulbs complement the theme; and bougainvilleas in mixed tones complete this set.

If you are looking for a copacetic place to dine in or just stop-by, consider ‘Pangasinan Expo’ as one of your choices. You can find lots of mementos here, I am telling you.

Anyway, I’ll be posting the second set of photos on my next blog. Stay posted! 🌈

Thanks for dropping by!

💌,
SAM

‘Jez’ Got Real 👩‍❤️‍👩

Back in the year 2014, right after my college graduation, I was called to be one of Pangasinan’s delegates for the 10th National Youth Parliament under the supervision of the National Youth Commission. Four representatives from Pangasinan were selected (three from University of Luzon, and one from University of Pangasinan-PHINMA).

“The Parliament of Youth Leaders, also known as the National Youth Parliament, is a gathering of at least 200 youth leaders and youth sector representatives from all over the country who engage in a simulated legislative process where they present, discuss, and craft policy recommendations that will address pressing issues that directly affect them.

Consistent with Republic Act 8044, otherwise known as the Youth in Nation-Building Act, the Youth Parliament meets at the call of the National Youth Commission every two years.” – National Youth Commission

Our main agenda, then, was the reformation of the Sangguniang Kabataan, which, honestly, on my video resume, I didn’t adhere to it at first. If I remember it right, I mentioned this in my previous blog post entitled, “Welcome to the Days of Future Past.”
This was the set up: Youths were divided into committees: Committee on Health (where I belong), Committtee on Employment, Committee on Education, and Committee on Participation.

When Kim, Ate Dawn, and I arrived at the Manila Grand Opera Hotel, we stayed in the hotel room before we head on to the Ambassadors’ Hall for the Preliminaries. By the way, this hotel played huge roles in Philippines’ history [the location of the inauguration of the members of the First Philippine Assembly in 1907], and I believe, since May is Heritage Month, the National Youth Commission decided to convene the youth there. And this is where Jez and I met, in the most unexpected and awkward situation.

Okay. Let’s go back to when we had just arrived. Later that night, after the Preliminaries, somebody’s knocking on our door. I opened it and to my surprise, a man and a lady with backpacks, said “Hi”. Then, the lady asked if there’s a space for her. Before answering, I looked at Ate Dawn and Kim who were, also, astonished by the fact that we’d not be, exclusively, using the room as we need to share it with a fellow. Later on, I opened the door for her. She asked the crew to provide her with an extra bed. And so the story starts there, but it doesn’t end…little did I know, when I opened the door, I was coined by her and her boyfriend as “ang babaeng galit sa mundo” because of my facial expression, then. 😂✌🏻

This lady was named as Jezrel Olaer, a delegate from Davao City, part of the Committee on Employment, and now a licensed Customs Broker. We had built an amazing friendship in the most extraordinary ways. Thanks to technology. This friendship was made possible despite our geographical distance. For three years, we shared each other’s lives and with and through God’s grace, we, finally, saw each other, again.
Truth be told, I had a planned trip in Davao but it didn’t push through because of an unforeseeable event. But God’s timing and ways are perfect! If I wasn’t able to go to Davao, Jez was scheduled for a Pangasinan trip. So, here we are. Tea sesh with her after she met my parents. *Butterflies all around my stomach* I had to admit I almost cried when I hugged her. It’s been three long years!

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This woman is, extremely, humble, sweet, and generous! Whenever I asked her questions answerable by “YES” or “NO”, she would answer me, “Opo” even if we are of the same age. Also, she had spoiled me with an abundant amount Davao delights (Durian candy, Durian Yema, Durian Pastillas, Durian Piaya because the real fruit is prohibited in airports, Mangosteen Candy, and Ube Candy). Aren’t they all sweet? She, also, included Taiwanese teas and key chain. As a support to my studying Law, she gave me a cute notebook, pens, and coloring book from Miniso. “I have to do some de-stressing,” she said. Oh, how sweet and supportive you are to my Law schooling, Jez! Thank you.

I have proven how disciplined people from Davao are. While she was ordering our teas, she, unconsciously, put her one thousand peso bill on top of the table just beside us. So I said, “Wow, Jez! Dyan mo lang talaga ilalagay?” Then, she said, “Sorry.” That’s not just it. Even after my instruction that Pangasinan is different from Davao, that in the former, you have to hold your wallet or even grocery bags all the time, she, used to put her wallet beside her where others could sit. When I noticed it, she laughed and said, “Sorry.” You see how normal it is for Davaoeños to leave their stuffs without fear of being robbed? It’s a lesson for me, for us, for every city in Philippines!

Thanks be to God because I found such a rare opportunity to meet good people. National Youth Commission, I commend you, too, for bringing youths to participate in policy-making as a tool to national development, and for making youths from across the archipelago friends for life! 🙂

Like I said, I’ll see you, soon, Jez. XOXOXO

💌,
SAM

Who Controls the World

Is “GOD”, “human” or “Satan” in control of everything in this world? Let me share you this slippery-slope-kind-of-questioning-we-encountered today.

Along our usual afternoon track, we stopped at a nearby bench at the beachfront to quench our thirst and eat quail’s eggs. Suddenly, two young adults holding familiar pamphlets approached us (Of course, this idea of Christian Protestants is no longer new to my sister and I because some of our acquaintances do the same kind of mission).

“Do you mind if we get a short hold of your time?” The young man asked. A young woman was beside him, smiling, sweetly.

I was thinking of a tactful way to answer them “NO” so as not to offend them. As a speaker, I can feel the same pang of hurt when rejected.

“No, of course, not.” My sister, always, hospitable, answered.

NO! I didn’t even have the chance to say that. Truth be told, I don’t want to immerse myself, again, with vague interpretations of Bible verses. I’ve had enough. That’s why I committed myself to carefully picking the right references to deepen my faith while holding on to what is true. Our charismatic community speaker advised us to refrain those kinds of short conversations, if possible, because they detract us from the true faith – the Catholic faith. These kind of evangelization can’t attain its purpose because interpreting the Bible by portion, just like any other law, is not right. The Bible must be interpreted as a whole. However, our archbishop said it’s okay to entertain them if we are strong enough to make wise comparisons in order for us to stay faithful to our Catholic faith. Yet, since my sister already acceded, then, I had no other choice than to be polite and welcoming, too.

“Well, you can. We will not mind.” Then, I smiled.

“There’s this question I want you to think about and answer: WHO IS IN CONTROL OF EVERYTHING IN THIS WORLD?” He handed me a pamphlet while he asked this question.

“Hmmmn…”

It took me a long pause because I was trying to collate everything I’ve learned in my every day Bible-reading, Church teaching, prayer meetings, and conversation over the dinner table regarding God’s provision no matter how imperfect the world is. On the array of choices, only “GOD”, “human”, and “etc.” were included. Satan wasn’t included. So, I trimmed down my number of choices into those provided.

“Uh…I think, both God and human. Because…ah, sorry. I was supposed to answer a single question.”

“No, you can. You can explain why you chose those.”

“I answered them because I believe God created everything – the heavens and the earth so He is in control. However, part of what God provided humans was free will – to choose what is right or wrong.”

“That’s right. Free will. You can find that in the Bible. But can you reconsider this: If God is in control, then, why are there crises, crimes, imperfection in this world? Maybe, it is not God. It’s…”

Satan. This thought lingered my mind due to the slippery slope I was put onto. And because somehow, Satan is the father of all lies, I partly and temporarily believed.

“Right! I thought of that, too. Because it was also said, ‘To be friends with the world is to be God’s enemy (James 4:4).’ If we look closely to this kind of argument, we can see loopholes:

First, if Satan is in control of the entire world, then, we are succumbing to the final conclusion that we cannot do anything anymore. “Control” connotes “power”. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, control is to have power over. Hence, are we saying that we are slaves over Satan’s power?

Remember Job. God “allowed” Satan to test him (Job 1:12). It was said, “God allowed…” That meant, it was, still, God who took control over the testing of Job. Not the devil himself because the devil hadn’t and will never overpower God (Luke 4:5-8).

Second, the increasing evil attacks in the world even bolster God’s unending power. Why? Satan had to maximize all his efforts, work restlessly all day and night only to deceive both the faithful and the unfaithful – his ultimate job. When God’s voice and power become stronger, that’s when he deafens the world with his tempting and empty promises. When he does this, that means, God’s power is, really working (Job 9:4).

Third, this evangelizer’s reference, “We all know that we belong to God, while the whole world lies in evil (1 John 5:19)” could be right, but it doesn’t coincide with the question they posed.

According to Christian Community Bible Commentaries on 1 John 5: 19 (THE WHOLE WORLD LIES IN EVIL), First Edition by Claretian Publications, “As has already been mentioned, this world belongs to God who made it good. Nevertheless, this world is not simply a building site wherein we work. It is first the place where the evil one competes with God. The evil side does not side with any group, atheist or materialist or whatever else, but everywhere transforms the best things into destroying idols – even among those looking for a more perfect life life: keep yourself from idols (v. 21).” Hence, the devil, always, competes with God. He is the source of all that envy and jealousy, putting into human’s mind the urgency to win out of vain. Let us all remember that Satan wanted more than what God gave him. He wanted to be like God (Isaiah 14: 12-15).

Lastly, upon Jesus’ resurrection, it does not only mean “to return to life” but to begin a new and transformed life (Christian Community Bible Commentaries on John 5:19 and John 6:60). To say that Satan, is, still, in control of the world, makes it pointless Jesus’ passion, death, and RESURRECTION. When he was raised from the dead, he has proven that sin and even death had no power over him. Hence, we, as members of Christ’s body, can conquer anything with him – even the stings of sin and the horrors of death. There is nothing that we cannot do because our hope, Jesus Christ, is alive! He is alive! Death as a consequence of sin had no authority over him because he himself was not subject to sin. Satan, then, is now overpowered by Jesus, our only hope.

“Thanks for your time, Samantha and Ming,” said the young man who also happened to be a government employee. The young woman, again, smiled.

“No problem.” Then, we vanished.

As we rode our way home, I kept thinking about this incident. Since I’ve already undergone few confusions in the past regarding false ideas, I prayed before for God’s discernment and wisdom to know what is true or false not only through Bible verses, but through God’s communication in a language that we know and through the circumstances that surround His people. After all, God does not only communicate with us through Bible verses. He does it in human experiences. Furthermore, it is not apt to base our interpretation from verses of the Bible. It must be interpreted according to passages. You can download this Bible guide for the year 2017 – it was made by Bible scholars all throughout the world through thorough research and study of what transgresses time. It can be seen that our Bible readings are uniform; the 1st reading, 2nd reading and Gospel in Philippines are the same in all countries because the Catholic Church is ONE, holy, and catholic. Plus, the passages were well-chosen and they correlate with each other.

To conclude this post, I just want to make it clear that I am not against any religion or sect. I am just striving to protect the one true faith. 🙂

Thank you for stopping by! I’ve got more to share to you.

💌,
SAM

A Humble Confidence

Do you have that inner passion to try something new? Come on. Ask for God’s guidance. He will give it!

Dahil naniniwala ako na ang lahat ng bagay ay natututunan. At lahat ng bagay ay nagmula sa Panginoon, walang bagay ang hindi ko kayang gawin.” 😊


Here’s my second attempt to pencil-sketch a portrait. Truth be told, I thought sketching was not for me. As a child and until I reach the age of maturity, sketching has never crossed my mind. For I had conclusive presumption that this a NATURAL-BORN SKILL. Artists seem to stroke, effortlessly, and maybe, I couldn’t do it.

Summer 2016 🎸. I asked God to teach me guitar. After a boon if giving me one, I learned the basics. So I can now play and sing songs. Honestly, I made a promise that I would dare not try guitar because as they say, “Masakit sa kamay ang gitara. Nakaka-kalyo (Playing guitar is painful to the hand. You can grow calluses).” But I dismissed these comments and tried.

Early 2017 🎨. I became interested with watercolor painting. When I started mixing colors and applied them on the canvas, I just couldn’t stop to taste the goodness of the Lord!

The thing is, all the impossible things I once believed I could not do, I can now. And all these things came from Him. 🙂 It’s just a balance between confidence and humility. As Peter Chin wrote, “I CAN BE CONFIDENT BECAUSE GOD HAS QUALIFIED ME, BUT I REMAIN HUMBLE BECAUSE I KNOW THAT THE WORK FOR HE’S QUALIFIED ME IS NOT MY OWN. IT’S HIS!”

Let us discover more of the talents and skills we can learn!

💌,
SAM