Monday, April 6, 2020

Palm Sunday.....

Few days before Palm Sunday, I was frantically looking for the right tv channel and church instructions on how to attend and participate the Palm Sunday mass on air.

Every Sunday, I usually follow the schedule of the Manila Cathedral mass at 10 o'clock in the morning which is done in Tagalog. But since it is the Palm Sunday, I am hoping to look for something that is in English instead. So far, my archdiocese and parish here in Cotabato are not able to live stream their masses yet. Sometimes they do, but they don’t have previous announcements and schedules to follow regularly.

So just then while browsing the net, our parish priest Father Simeon Samson sent feelers for those who wanted to have their palm leaves blessed, to forward them to the church. I had palm leaves at my lot, so I sent some to be blessed. But they could be retrieved back on Tuesday yet. In the mean time, what was I supposed to do while attending Palm Sunday mass on tv? Shouldn’t I have some palms with me as well? In anticipation though, I brought down three potted palmeras plants from my roof top garden to my living room. And then, thankfully, on the eve of Palm Sunday, our retired Cardinal Orlando Quevedo notified the faithful, that we can have palm leaves or any green leafy branches ready at hand while attending masses on air or online. The blessing of the palms accordingly is done during the reading of the gospel. We can hold them in our hands during the blessing which is done before the start of the mass. After learning about it, I went to the group chat of the MMLC ladies and other friends to help them out, (specially my sister Jeannette Yu) regarding the processes of the mass. For the Catholics, this Palm Sunday begins the observance of the Holy Week season, until Easter. So I happily cut the branches of my potted palmeras plants for this event, even distributed it among my house helps who joined us. Thankfully the mass at the Manila Cathedral that Sunday was in English.

The palm if you must know is a symbol of our joyous welcoming of Jesus Christ as our king. This time it is even made more meaningful, as we faithfully welcome Jesus to come into our homes and into our lives.

In preparation for my Palm Sunday mass.
 We joyfully welcome you Jesus to our homes.
 Martha’s palm leaves put together with the Lourdes’ mementos in Manila.
Marion’s palm leaves in New Zealand.
We attended the Manila Cathedral’s on air and on line mass at the same time.



Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Prayers....

In this time of fear, uncertainty and anxiety, I pray to the Lord to ease my nerves. Lord, do not let this fear consume me. I have to calm down. My children all dispersed in different places communicate with me through messenger. They told me, from the social media account of Father Sormani; whom they follow, that the phrase  “Do not fear” appears in the Bible 365 times. In short, the Lord is telling me to trust him everyday. How can I not trust him. For insignificant as I am, I can verily and utterly attest that He has performed plentiful of miracles on me and my family in the course of my life. Increase my faith O God. Yes! I will pray and continue to trust you Lord.

Every night I pray for mercy, for me and my family and the whole world. The next morning, ironically, I get more bad news from my city, from my country specially in Metro Manila, even from USA and all over the world. But I will continue with my prayers until the Lord shall hear us all. As a people, we need to be more persistent in asking God’s mercy for we have greatly offended him. I know he is a merciful God. He can easily do great miracles but he wants us maybe, each person to cooperate with him in our own small way. The best thing we can do right now is to listen and cooperate with our leaders by staying home. Staying home, I try my best to take care of myself, my husband and the people in my household. My househelps, they are my companions now. They are relying on us and watching over us too. We need each other so much now. Sometimes, I still continue to pray anxiously, other times I muse and think a little. Perhaps instead of desperation, I should look into the little miracles that happen everyday. For my Lord may at times show some little encouragement to us daily. Last night, I was elated to learn that Prince Charles was released from his quarantine and Angela Merkel was tested negative twice from covid. Thank you my Lord for protecting the leaders. I pray He continues to protect our Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte. Our country needs a strong and caring leader, specially in this time of crisis. Our medical health care system is not world class. How can we survive if you do not take care of us, O Lord.

May God protect our Pope. Pope Francis is currently heavily burdened by this disaster in Italy and all over the world. I try to follow him in prayers. I stayed up late at night on the Feast of the Annunciation at one o’clock in the morning to participate in his benediction. We need somebody to shepherd us. Lord, please lighten the burden of his yoke. Help him O God. Your miracles happen everyday. I will be on the look out for your great mercy. You will not abandon us your flock. As you once saved your apostles amid the turbulent waves of the sea, you will save us too. We hope and we trust in you.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Fear

Fear is engulfing us and all human kind because of this covid-19-virus. My husband is 80 years old and I am 68. We live in Cotabato, where the city is now in lock-down because of confirmed cases of people who went to Malaysia for religious meeting. Because of our age, my husband and I are one of the higher risks of this pandemic. My son Roy is currently in the Seattle area, Washington State, the epidemic center of USA. He is a severe asthmatic, he is also one of the high risks. My daughter-in-law Suiling has some kind of white blood cell ailment, she is at high risk too. My daughter Martha is right now in Manila which is the epicenter of the disease here in the Philippines. My family is dispersed in different places living by ourselves. Almost all the major cities are under lock-down. We have closed our store since yesterday because employees can not come to work and besides there is no business at hand either. Everybody is staying home. Everybody is afraid. The persons who are not frightened are the scariest contacts of all, because they are most careless in terms of social distancing.
My husband and I have been praying to God to stop this contagion. Last night we prayed the rosary with Pope Francis in Italy and our families here in the Philippines and all over the world, to ask God to stop the spread of this virus. I requested my house-helps to pray with us too. But I realized that they don’t know how to pray in English, so I printed out the English prayers for them to recite.They were shy to respond at first but they did so eventually. I am thankful to God for my helpers.

May the Lord God have mercy on us, protect us from the covid 19 virus, keep us safe and protect us from all harm and danger. Where-ever we are, whatever we do, where-ever we go; O Lord, keep this family whole and safe in your love.. Have mercy on us, O Lord, and have mercy on all humankind.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Surprising Kindness

Sometimes I get surprised by the kindness of people. For example this morning......

My husband Lucas and I went to the grocery after mass. I needed few things only so I got 2 packages of lumpia wrapper, 2 packages of green mongo, a bundle of lakatan banana, one pack of calamansi, one piece of ginger and three cans of spam. It was about ten in the morning but few check out counters were opened at the grocery and the queues were long. I was supposed to go to the senior priority lane but the the line over there was equally long and their carts were mostly filled to the brim. Then I saw a shorter line in between lanes, and quickly followed it. Alas the last cart at that shorter lane though had a sign that say “closed”. I smiled at the last person in line, took her “closed” sign and put it on my cart. I said I have only few items. She smiled back at me and said nothing.
But alas the counter girl on that short lane that was closing up would not agree to it. She said her last customer was the girl in front of me. That she was closing already besides she had already rejected other customers previously and they would be angry at her. So, okay okay, I was moving out. When I was leaving, some people on the other side of the long lane, advised me to go to the senior lane, but I said it was worse there. I did not even realized that those who were queueing on that long lane were sympathetic with me. Many said that the counter lady should have taken consideration since I had few items only, besides being a senior at that. I said it was okay, I will just look for another line. Then a young lady on that particular lane opened her line to let me cut in. I said “ Thank you, it’s all right. The people at the back will get angry.” But the people at her back which were mostly younger family men encouraged me to cut in. They all gave way to me. I hesitated but they all urged me to go ahead of them, including some other ladies in Muslim garbs agreed to let me in. I was extremely embarrassed but took their kind gesture. Thank you, thank you, thank you very much.

And to think, I have always been the kind of person, who would insist on following the rules and toeing the line. I am so much embarrassed that people has shown me kindness instead. Thank you.

Thank you Lord for the lesson I learn today.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Chinese Connections

My eyes alone be speak of my ancestry. Even though I have the biggest eyes among my siblings, haha, yet people in the Philippines identify me as Chinese despite this my brownish complexion.

My heritage is complicated:
A. On my mother’s side:
1. I am a 5th generation Chinese, descended from Yu Sui Fon (Sui Fon Sero) who married Latipa Sapi, a Muslim royalty princess from Cotabato City.
2. From this union sired Kadidong Sero who married a rich Chinese merchant named Lu Shio Khun.
3. My maternal female forebears since then had been marrying Chinese men down to my generation.

B. On my father side,
1. I am a natural born Filipino, begotten of Francisco Ledesma; who was an illegitimate child of Jose Uy (a Chinese) and Maria Ledesma from Jaro, Iloilo.
2. My father was born of a Filipina mother in the Philippines, but he was brought to China as an infant and raised by a Chinese mother.
3. He came back to the Philippines at the age of 17.
4. He left Iloilo for Cotabato and married my mother Mary Go near the end of World War II on April 4, 1944.

C. In Cotabato, I grew up in a Chinese community. I studied at the Chinese school. I speak Fujian language at home, specifically the Xiamen dialect from where my maternal grandfather came from.

D. The maternal side of my family was rich and landed. My grandmother was modern in her outlook. She sent my mother for better English education in public high school and my aunts to the Notre Dame School for Girls in Cotabato. My mom and her siblings all speak good English, fluent Chinese and Maguindanaoun and many other dialects.

E. Regarding Chinese philosophies and ideology, from my father and maternal side of the family, they were more loyally inclined to association with mainland China, than Taiwan. Yet our schooling taught us to hate communism in its entirely by the Koumintang.

F. But I am a baptized Catholic and I practice my religion faithfully.

G.  Yet there is no conflict there from all the above complex situations. We all live in harmony, together with our community despite affiliation, ideology, education and creed. Family members quarrel only when money is involved and gets really ugly into the picture. Hahaha.

H. How do I consider myself? I am a true, and blue, and red blooded Cotabateno.

Presently I live with my husband and the Tan’s family. My husband Lucas is a second generation Chinese in the Philippines. Both his parents came from Xiamen, China. He was a naturalized Filipino citizen under the new constitution during the Marcos time. He is a law abiding citizen and teaches all his children to be so. Our children went to the same Chinese school in Cotabato. But they speak more Tagalog than Chinese. They are also more fluent in English than Chinese. My eldest son Roy lives in USA and owes his allegiance to the United States. My second son Tom looks more Filipino than Chinese, even in complexion. Emil, my third son is married to a Mexican American who resides in the Philippines. My grandchildren are totally Chinese illiterate, non Chinese speaking and no Chinese schooling. Hopefully when they grow up, they will still remember their Chinese ancestry and be proud of it.

Meantime, whatever ancestry we belong to, let’s pray for China and its people. Let us pray for our own country too. May the Wuhan corona virus be contained as soon as possible. Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy.




Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Volcanic Eruptions.....

The recent Taal volcanic eruption last Sunday afternoon found me and my husband safe at home in Cotabato. My daughters Martha and Marion were however at my second home in Manila. They posted pictures taken by their friends from Tagaytay and other near by areas. The eruption was a big blast that ashes fell far and wide even reaching up to Manila and Quezon City. When ashes began to fall in Quezon City, I was of course concerned about my daughters over there. I told them to close all windows at home and not rely on the maids to do so. Tomas in Cebu was also concerned about his sisters. He told them not to go out, and to stay and eat at home that night. My daughters were prepared though, they were home. They also gave the security guard an N95 face mask to use. Pretty soon, authorities began to suspend classes for Monday, declared no work in government and advised people to stay at home and not exposed themselves to the toxic ash fall.

This recent incident, made me recalled that time when Mt. Pinatubo erupted in 1991. It caught us, my children and I, living at Balete Drive, Quezon City. (While Lucas stayed behind in Cotabato.) I had during that school year, enrolled all my children at Jubilee Christian Academy. (Except for Roy who was studying at Philippine Science High.) My father Francisco Ledesma just passed away on June 5. We were that very night commemorating his ninth and last day of rosary prayer at my brother Jun place which was just right behind my apartment, where my father used to live. After the prayers, we also ate dinner over there. After dinner, while walking back home, white ashes were already falling down from the sky. At home, my son Tom began to get frighten because of the smell of sulfur. He was afraid that we would all die from toxic suffocation. He asked for us to go back to my brother’s place and sleep the night over there, due to the fact that my brother Jun had air condition units in their rooms, and thus deemed safer. That evening, I too was also concerned about my asthmatic son Roy, afraid lest the ashes would trigger him an attack. But my 4 year old twin girls were already asleep. So I told them, that the three boys can go over and sleep at my brother’s place, while we girls, together with the maid Imelda stay home. Tom would not hear of it. He wanted everybody to go. If we would not go, he would stay too. To appease his fear, I closed all the windows of the house tightly that night. The next morning, ashes encompassed all homes. Our apartment got dusted too but not as much because of the tightly closed windows. It was a Sunday, we rode the jeep and went to Mt. Carmel Church to attend mass, covering our noses with handkerchiefs. The wind was blowing ashes all over the church. There were very few church goers. It felt like a movie doomsday scenario with the almost empty pews. I was thinking, “Where are the people? Aren’t we supposed to be here for we need God more now?” According to my children specially Emil, who also recalled the incident with me, said; they remembered the priest saying a hurried and short homily. I didn’t even noticed. I didn’t even know why I wasn’t even at all that frightened. (except my concern for that one asthmatic son.) Somehow I knew we would be all right.

Still, thinking about it now, I guess I must have been maybe naive then; yet still, I am glad I was brave maybe because I had faith? I do thank you Lord for protecting us, please continue to protect us everyday.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Christmas Trees and Decorations......

Before I take down my Christmas decorations, I like to post some pictures. Every Christmas, I put up the Christmas trees and lights and decorations at my two homes (both in Cotabato and Manila) by myself with help from the housemaids. My homes are adorned with my own personal touch. During the Yuletide season, I reminisce my Christmas pasts and enjoy my Christmas present. I am 68 years old, yet still very much a child at heart. My soul does not grow old......
I took this picture of the Christmas tree at the airport pre-departure area. This was the kind of Christmas tree I had when I was young. Except for the green foil, my maiden family tree was wrapped in green crepe paper. We also curled the leafy part of it. 
 My Cotabato home decor this 2019.
 Christmas is not complete without the crèche. I have several big and small crèches at my home in Cotabato City.
Spot the mini creche.
My porch entrance to my house. This is where I hold my parties and dancing activities.
Marion, Yuri, Martha and Angel beside the Christmas tree.
 Christmas decor at my second home in Manila.
Smaller Christmas tree at my second home.

Spot the creche decked with lights.
 
  Christmas table piece.

The children all came home to Cotabato except for Emil and Suiling who decided to visit Sue's mom in Singapore. We had a merry and hearty family filled activities. Everybody has also left this January 2020 for their respective work, home and places. All is well. God bless this family. Happy New Year! Lord, continue to keep us safe and healthy through out the year.