Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dear reader,

Yes, YOU.

If you are living on this world, then you're probably like most people I know.
Skeptics, cynics, jaded by life on earth.
You probably think that if something's too good to be true, then it most likely is.

And if you've lived long enough, then you're probably part of the millions who experience the pain of living each day, or even of just surviving, barely.

You ask yourself, is this all there is to life?

Am I supposed to just go through each day as if being tortured, from birth to death, and then, nothingness?


Like others, you might have, at some point in your life, contemplated death.. of what it would be like to die and leave all these behind--the pain, the neglect, the past...everything.


It is unfortunately the life story of most of us. Why do you think so?

There seems to be something lacking from life that you can't quite pinpoint what.

Some may have strived and strived to reach that something you think will finally make you happy, but when you obtain it, it seems devoid of all joy.

True, you may feel happy, proud, and maybe even accomplished;
but at the end of the day, you crawl under the covers and no matter how much you deny it, you can't fool yourself--no amount of fame, wealth, power, honor, or even all of it combined will be able to take away the emptiness you feel.

It may mask it for a while, yes, but after the masquerade, there lies the undeniable fact staring you back at the face.


You may think, what gives me the right, in my 21 years of living on earth, to write about these?

Simply this, tonight I met a person who once again reminded me what has been staring me in the face and in this day and time is so commonplace to us all--skepticism, unbelief, doubt, faithlessness.. call it whatever you want, it's still the same.

This person said that she can't believe all that stuff about God being loving and that He cares for each one of us when all she sees in the world, the news, and everything around her says otherwise. She thought God is up there in heaven, we are down here. What's the connection? True, He created us, but we are like playthings for Him. We are none the more valuable than, say, the next accident of creation. She said she can't believe in the Bible, which is a mere book written by men, not any more believable than the fiction next to it on the shelf.

I simply couldn't help it, I shook my head. Her view of God is so skewed, so wrong. How can she let all these affect her view of God's character? The Lord is so full of love for the world that He would willingly send His only Son to die for us (John 3:16). He couldn't bear it that because of men's sins, we are separated from Him and now live this miserable life without any assurance of hope for the future, heck, without any future at all. How can anyone's heart not melt at the grace that was given us? The suffering that was supposed to be ours because of our sins have been placed upon Him, which was why He bled drop after drop of blood. Because of this, my sins have been forgiven and from the moment I accepted Him into my life, I am saved.

Saved by grace. That's what I love to call myself. I now have full assurance of heaven when I die, and even more so, of never being alone in the walk of life as long as I live. God's love leaves me speechless.

I used to be on the same path, bent on destruction, but God's love made a way for me to be whole. I used to be on the same road, chasing after the wind, running and running mirage after mirage in the desert; believing on the lie that if I do this and do that, and if I gain this and gain that, I will be satisfied. His love found me and pursued me when I was still running away, it was unconditional. He didn't wait for me to be a better person, He accepted me JUST AS I AM and loved me when I was still a sinner (Romans 5:8).

Now, I can't say I'm perfect but I want to be changed daily into His image, I want to be able to manifest Him more in my life, and to be able to glorify Him by how I live. I'm not surprised, and you shouldn't be if after you've turned to Him and accepted Him to be your Lord and Savior, your way seems brighter and your burdens seem lighter. Know this, He is carrying you.

~~~~Cast all your cares/anxieties upon Him, for He cares for you.~~~~

I think this has been long enough, if you've managed to keep awake and to read up until this point, then I commend you. It was such a joy to write this, and I wrote with tears streaming down my eyes and with a fervent prayer that this entry move you to run back into the everlasting arms of Your Father. He is waiting for YOU.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Don't Quit

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,

When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,

When the funds are low and the debts are high,

And when you want to smile, but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit-

Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twist and turns,

As everyone of us sometimes learns,

And many a failure turns about

When we might have won, had we stuck it out.

Don’t give up, though the pace seems slow-

You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than

It seems to a faint and faltering man,

Often the struggler has given up

When he might have captured the victor’s cup.

And he learned too late, when the night came down,

How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out

The silver tint of the clouds of doubt

And you never can tell how close you are,

It may be near when it seems afar;

So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit

It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.

*someone emailed this to me, and I think it is fitting to keep in mind especially while running the race of life

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Letters of Ninoy Aquino to his son Noynoy and daughter Ballsy

Warning: prepare ur hanky...

August 25, 1973
Fort Bonifacio

Mr. Benigno S. Aquino III

My dearest Son:

One of these days , when you have completed your studies I am sure you will have the opportunity to visit many countries. And in your travels you will witness a bullfight.In Spanish bullfighting as you know, a man – the matador – is pitted against an angry bull.

The man goads the bull to extreme anger and madness. Then a moment comes when the bull, maddened, bleeding and covered with darts, feeling his last moment has come, stops rushing about and grimly turns his face on the man with the scarlet "muleta" and sword. The Spaniards call this "the moment of truth." This is the climax of the bullfight.

This afternoon, I have arrived at my own moment of truth. After a lengthy conference with my lawyers, Senators Jovito R. Salonga and Lorenzo M. Tanada I made a very crucial and vital decision that will surely affect all our lives: mommie's, your sisters', yours and all our loved ones as well as mine.I have decided not to participate in the proceedings of the Military Commission assigned to try the charges filed against me by the army prosecution staff. As you know, I've been charged with illegal possession of firearms, violation of RA 1700 otherwise known as the "Anti-Subversion Act" and murder.

You are still too young to grasp the full impact of my decision. Briefly: by not participating in the proceedings, I will not be represented by counsel, the prosecution will present its witnesses without any cross examinations, I will not put up any defense, I will remain passive and quiet through the entire trial and I will merely await the verdict. Inasmuch as it will be a completely one-sided affair, I suppose it is reasonable to expect the maximum penalty will be given to me. I expect to be sentenced to imprisonment the rest of my natural life, or possibly be sent to stand before a firing squad. By adopting the course of action I decided upon this afternoon, I have literally decided to walk into the very jaws of death.You may ask: why did you do it?

Son, my decision is an act of conscience. It is an act of protest against the structures of injustice that have been imposed upon our hapless countrymen. Futile and puny, as it will surely appear to many, it is my last act of defiance against tyranny and dictatorship.

You are my only son. You carry my name and the name of my father. I have no material wealth to leave you. I never had time to make money while I was in the hire of our people.For this I am very sorry. I had hopes of building a little nest egg for you. I bought a ranch in Masbate in the hope that after ten or fifteen years, the coconut trees I planted there would be yielding enough to assure you a modest but comfortable existence.

Unfortunately, I had to sell all our properties as I fought battle after political battle as a beleaguered member of the opposition. And after the last battle, I had more obligations than assets.

The only valuable asset I can bequeath to you now is the name you carry. I have tried my best during my years of public service to keep that name untarnished and respected, unmarked by sorry compromises for expediency. I now pass it on to you, as good, I pray, as when my father, your grandfather passed it on to me.

I prepared a statement which I intend to read before the military commission on Monday at the opening of my trial. I hope the commission members will be understanding and kind enough to allow me to read my statement into the record. This may well be my first and only participation in the entire proceedings.

In this statement, I said: Some people suggested that I beg for mercy from the present powers that be. Son, this I cannot do in conscience. I would rather die on my feet with honor, than live on bended knees in shame.

Your great grandfather, Gen. Servilliano Aquino was twice condemned to death by both the Spaniards and the American colonizers. Fortunately, he survived both by a twist of fate.Your grandfather, my father was also imprisoned by the Americans because he loved his people more than the Americans who colonized us. He was finally vindicated. Our ancestors have shared the pains, the sorrows and the anguish of Mother Filipinas when she was in bondage.

It is a rare privilege for me to join the Motherland in the dark dungeon where she was led back by one of her own sons whom she lavished with love and glory.

I ended my statement thus: I have chosen to follow my conscience and accept the tyrant's revenge.

It takes little effort to stop a tyrant. I have no doubt in the ultimate victory of right over wrong, of evil over good, in the awakening of the Filipino.

Forgive me for passing unto your young shoulders the great responsibility for our family. I trust you will love your mother and your sisters and lavish them with the care and protection I would have given them.

I was barely fifteen years old when my father died. His death was my most traumatic experience. I loved and hero-worshipped him so much, I wanted to join him in his grave when he passed away. But as in all sorrows, eventually they are washed away by the rains of time.

In the coming years, I hope you will study very hard so that you will have a solid foundation on which to build your future. I may no longer be around to give you my fatherly advice. I have asked many of your uncles to help you along should the need arise and I pray you will have the humility to drink from their fountain of experiences.

Look after your two younger sisters with understanding and affection. Viel and Krissy will need your umbrella of protection for a long time. Krissy is still very young and fate has been most unkind to both of us. Our parting came too soon. Please make up for me. Take care of her as I would have taken care of her with patience and warm affection.

Finally, stand by your mother as she stood beside me through the buffeting winds of crisis and uncertainties firm and resolute and uncowed. I pray to God, you inherit her indomitable spirit and her rare brand of silent courage.

I had hopes of introducing you to my friends, showing you the world and guide you through the maze of survival. I am afraid, you will now have to go it alone without your guide.

The only advice I can give you: Live with honor and follow your conscience.

There is no greater nation on earth than our Motherland. No greater people than our own. Serve them with all your heart, with all your might and with all your strength.

Son, the ball is now in your hands.



August 18, 1973
Makati, Rizal

Ms. Maria Elena C. Aquino
25 Times St. Quezon City

My dearest Ballsy,

I write you this letter with tears in my eyes and as if steel fingers are crushing my heart because I wanted so much to be with you as you celebrate your legal emancipation. Now that you have come of age, my love, a voice tells me that I am no longer young and suddenly, I feel old.

An old poet gave this advice very long ago “when you are sad, remember the roses will bloom in December.” I want to send you bouquet of roses, big red roses from my dreamland garden. Unfortunately for the present, my roses are not in bloom, in fact they have dropped all their petals and only the thorns are left to keep me company. I do think it is fitting to send you a thicket of thorns on this memorable day!

I am very proud of you because you have inherited all the best traits of your mother. You are sensible, responsible, even-tempered and sincere with the least pretenses and affection which vehemently detest in a woman. I am sure like your mother, you will possess that rare brand of silent courage and that combination of fidelity and fortitude that will be the life vest of your man in the tragic moments of his life.

During my lonely hours of solitary confinement in FortMagsaysay, Laur, Nueva Ecija last March and April with nothing else to do but pray and daydream, with only my fond memories to keep me company, I planned a weekend barrio fiesta for you in Tarlac for your 18th birthday. I fooled myself into believing that my ordeal would end with the fiscal year. I planned to invite all your classmates and friends and their families for the weekends.

The schedule called for an early departure by bus from Manila and the first stop will be Concepcion , where lunch will be served by the pool. And after lunch, you were to visit the SantaRitaElementary School to distribute cookies and ice cream to the children of that public school where you were first enrolled.

I guess sheer nostalgia prompted me to include Santa Rita. We were only three then: Mommie, you and I. Those were the days of happy memories little responsibilities, tremendous freedom, a great future ahead and capped by a fulfillment of love.. You are the first fruit of our union, the first proof of our love and the first seal of our affections.

From Concepcion we were to proceed to Luisita for the barrio fiesta. I intended to invite a friend who could roast an entire cow succulently. Swimming, pelota, dancing and eating would have been the order of the day.

Sunday morning was reserved for a trip around the Hacienda and the mill and maybe golf for some of the parents and later a picnic-lunch on Uncle Tony’s Island . Return to Manila after lunch. I am afraid this will have to remain as one of the many dreams I had in Laur.

Our future has suddenly become uncertain and our fate unknown. I am even now beginning to doubt whether I’ll ever be able to return to you and the family. Hence, I would like to ask you these special favors.

Love your mother, whose love for you, you will never be able to match. She is not the greatest mother in the world, she is your sincerest friend.

Take care of your younger sisters and brother and lavish them with the love and care I would like to continue giving them but am unable to do so.

Help Noy-noy along and pray hard that he will grow to be a real, responsible man who in later years will protect you all.

You are the model for your three younger sisters. Your responsibility is therefore great. Please endeavor to live up to our highest expectations. Be more tolerant to Pinky, more accessible to Viel, our little genius-princess, and more charitable to Krissy, our baby doll, and make up for my neglect.

Finally, forgive me, my love, for not having been an ideal, good and thoughtful father to you all as I pursued public office. I had hopes and high resolve of making up, but I am afraid my destiny will not oblige.

I seal this letter with a drop of tear and a prayer in my heart, that somehow, somewhere we shall meet again and I will finally be able to make up for all my lapses, in the kingdom where justice reigns supreme and love is eternal.

I love you,

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Officially OTRP!

I passed the Occupational therapy board exams last july 25-26, 2009. Results came out July 29, 2009 at about 8pm. When I saw my name there, I was ecstatic! All glory be to God!!! The next day, I had a job. It was so surreal. It's all You, Lord, it's all You. September 6, 2009 is our oathtaking at Manila Hotel. By that time, I'll be officially a licensed Occupational Therapist, Registered or Joy Ann Yu, OTRP. From start to end, it was the Lord who guided me thus far, and I have no doubt He'll continue to guide me all my life. Thank You, Lord, for Your faithfulness. You never give up on me.