5/13/2021

Lapu-Lapu LaughFest

 

Tony loves history and so do our sons. I don’t. But grace equips me to understand its significance in the context of Philippine independence from foreign rule. This post, then, tackles history—with hilarity.  

European history books celebrate the expedition of Ferdinand Magellan (a Portugese explorer) as the first Spanish voyage—with 270 men on five ships—to circumnavigate the Earth.

Filipino history books, on the other hand, celebrate the victory of Lapu-Lapu, hailed as our first Filipino hero, in ending Magellan’s life and his expedition on its third year. 

Background: Magellan reached our country in March 1521 and used both diplomacy and force to convert local leaders to Catholicism and submit to the authority of the Spanish king.

Rajah Humabon of Cebu and other local rulers formed an alliance with Magellan. To widen his territory, Magellan wanted to conquer the island of Mactan as well. But Lapu-Lapu, the island’s datu (head), refused to negotiate.

Magellan and his men joined forces with Humabon and attacked Mactan at dawn. Lapu-Lapu and his indigenous warriors met them on the beach. The fierce battle, which lasted within an hour, saw Magellan and most of his men killed. Only one ship and 18 survivors limped back to Seville. 

That was on April 27, 1521, 500 years ago. 

Every year, we commemorate this important day—The Battle of Mactan—when Filipinos resisted a foreign colonizer. In particular, we remember how Lapu-Lapu roused his band of warriors to trounce the Spanish threat to their independence. 

Early this year, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank of the Philippines)  unveiled the commemorative banknote and medal of Lapu-Lapu’s heroism. 

The 500th anniversary of the Battle of Mactan—organised by the National Quincentennial Committee—paid tribute to Lapu-Lapu’s unique bravery and leadership with a series of celebratory activities.   

Lapu-Lapu left quite a legacy. The Declaration of Philippine Independence refers to him, and at the center of the island of Mactan today is a statue of this great combatant who fought for our autonomy.  

Those are the historical facts.    

Then came the speech of Harry Roque, spokesperson of our president. He declared: “President Duterte is my modern-day Lapu-Lapu.”

Huh? 

Friends and foe often hear Duterte openly profess his love for China—and therefore tip-toes around its president, Xi Jinping. “We are a province of China,” he said in one speech, and allows Chinese ships freely fish (loot?) and roam the West Philippine Sea (a part of our exclusive economic zone).  

The collective response was 34,000+ Haha emojis! I have never seen an FB post with just one type of reaction clicked by everyone who read the post. 

Without meaning to disrespect Lapu-Lapu, I clicked the laughing emoji, too. 

Photo credits: Inquirer.net and Rappler

5/09/2021

Mouse, Mousse, and Moolah on Mom’s Day


A week before Mother’s Day, two of my three sons each decided to give me a gift. 

Son #3 had a mango mousse delivered because it was on special sale that day. He said, “That’s for Mother’s Day.”

My heart danced.  

Son #1 was going to have his computer serviced in the mall, and I requested him to buy me an extra mouse in case mine conked out. He gave me the mouse, and naturally I asked, “How much do I owe you?”

He replied, “None. It’s a Mother’s Day gift.” 

My heart danced again.  

Son #2, who lives abroad, sends me moolah for “expenses” any day of the year. I take that as another Mom’s Day gift—and another chance for my heart to dance whenever I receive it.  

It’s true what people say: boys are not into frills, fuss, and rituals. Neither are they effusive. I live without peripherals; Mother’s Day, for me, is all days of the year. 

Here they are celebrating their own birthdays, that special day when each was delivered, not by a stork, but by the Father of all. 
Ahhh, I am waxing nostalgic. Grace weaves in and around me during this pandemic. 

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.” (Psalm 127:3 NKJV)  

5/05/2021

At 14, No Doters Allowed

 

Our only grandson, Adrian, turns 14 today. 

At this age, according to psychologists, teenagers may feel embarrassed by their family—especially by those who dote on them in public. And yet, that is exactly what I am doing and risking. Gosh. 

A beloved grandchild turns 14 only once. His growth spurts and suddenly, he towers over the dwarfs in the family (me). 

Let me flex how handsome he looks in his latest photos.  

I am now singing the same tune I blogged about when he was a baby. Link here.  

His first photo was inside his mother's womb. 

Although he lives abroad and would come home for vacation only once a year before the pandemic, those short visits allowed us to dote on him as he was young, unaware, and wink, wink, bribable. I have tons of his photos, which I keep in an album of grace.   

To Adrian, Angkong and Amah (Chinese honorifics for father of your father and mother of your father) wish you a blessed 14th birthday! 

You’re probably cringing while reading this post, but hey, doddering grandparents are allowed some folly, right? 

"Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children." (Proverbs 17:6 NIV) 

Photo credits:  (Adrian's solo shots above) Gianina Chong

5/03/2021

Is Peace Possible?

 

“Elusive” was how Pastor Cole described peace in his virtual message one Sunday. 

Spot on, I thought. 

The whole world has always dreamed of peace, but there will never be a day without war. Man has invented symbols for peace, but none has paved the way for global peace. The world will always be in turmoil, until the Lord comes again. 

More than ever, that’s how it is today. 

Many of my friends, relatives of friends, and loved ones who tested positive for Covid-19 had lost the battle.  Daily, we read online about patients hopping from one hospital to another but couldn't be admitted because of full occupancy. Our frontliners are overworked and tired; many of them had joined the casualty statistics. Facebook now seems like an obituary. 

There aren’t enough vaccines, mass testing is not possible, and the lockdown in whatever level of “Q” is causing the uptick of mental health problems (among all ages). Our government operates on a day-to-day basis, depending on numbers. The economy is on its knees. Many of us have lost our jobs and closed our businesses. Book publishing has collapsed. 

We go to bed at night and wake up to a new day asking ourselves, What now? 

Is peace possible? 

What now? must have been the question in the minds of the disciples when the resurrected Jesus was bidding them goodbye on His way to back to heaven. Here they were with the Man, for whom they abandoned their homes, jobs, and all they had, about to leave them. They felt helpless, hopeless, bothered, bewildered—plus more adjectives describing anxiety, which we are similarly experiencing  today as we trudge through the pandemic. 

Peace is "elusive.” 

But Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27 NIV)  

"These words are both a promise and a command," our pastor added. Jesus bequeathed to them His peace, which is not how the world defines it. He promised them a personalized, inner, spiritual peace. Then he commanded them not to be individually anxious because His peace will never leave them. 

It is in the command that we need enabling grace. 

For and by ourselves, we cannot attain peace unless we seek it. And finding it depends on the depth of our personal relationship with Jesus. If we focus on Him, only Him (instead of where we are today and tomorrow), He will empower us to have peace.    

Yes, peace is "elusive.” It is possible ONLY if we fix our eyes upon the One who bestows it.