Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tis the season...

...for Christmas shopping? Sure, but, in times like these, it's easy to forget that it is the thought of giving and not the price of the gift that counts!

Budget-friendly tips for the season:
1. Set aside an amount to SAVE before beginning to shop. Remember, Expenses = INCOME - Savings!
2. Now that you have a budget, stick to it. Don't worry that the receiver will scoff at the price (should it be obvious). It's a gift, and gifts are always welcome!
3. Hold on to that credit card. As much as possible, don't swipe. You don't want to start the new year with a big credit card bill. Either pay in cash or debit, or buy that special person something more affordable but still nice and useful.
4. Personalize your gifts! Add a handwritten card with a dedication longer than "Merry Christmas" and you're sure to enhance the receiver's "gift opening experience," no matter how simple the actual gift is. It just makes people feel more special!
5. Remember that you don't have to give everyone a gift. It might sound cruel and selfish, but it really isn't if you think about it. The gift-giving tradition is a means for us to thank family and friends for making the year wonderful. If you can't give a gift, thank the person in a different way: do a favor, share something you have received (like a box of brownies), or write a helpful note or an email.
6. Forget yourself. There's enough time in a year to shop for yourself. Besides, January is sale month (hint).

This season, don't let the lights, the special offers, and the shopping high mar the true meaning of Christmas. Take some time each day away from the noise and the parties to contemplate the Baby in the manger. When all this is through, you'll see that what matters most is preparing the heart--and you'll be glad you didn't spend too much on the frivolous!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Saturday, November 5, 2011


If you’ve read the first Harry Potter book (okay, it should be in the movie too), you might remember that scene at the end in which Dumbledore grants Ron and Hermione 50 house points each and Harry 60 house points for doing their heroic deeds. Then after that, he gives 10 points to someone who had nothing to do with the night’s adventures: Neville.

Neville had no hand in the Quirrell quest, but Dumbledore knew he had enough punch in him to merit those 10 points: “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends.”

While it’s true that being a true friend means standing up for one’s pal no matter what, there will come occasions in which the person is meant to stand up against his friend—because if he really loved his buddy, he’d only want the best for him!

And this is what I liked the most in the movie There Be Dragons, directed by Roland Joffe. A story about friendship, the movie follows the lives of Josemaría Escriva (played by Charlie Cox) and his friend Manolo (Wes Bentley), as they separated ways during the Spanish civil war. While Manolo is fictional, Josemaría is not, and everything the character does in the movie is based on the latter’s idea of finding holiness in the ordinary things.

The movie is meaty in many aspects, but I’ll talk about just one scene: Josemaría visits Manolo at his house after Manolo’s father dies. They have a bit of an argument, but before Josemaría takes his leave, he hands his friend a rosary. You learn later on that Manolo can talk to his son about the priest’s life because Josemaría never ceased to write him, even after their last meeting.

(I’m gonna stop right here because if I don’t, I will end up spoiling it for those who haven’t watched.)

And this is what friendship is about. You see, sometimes, being a true friend means disagreeing with one’s friends, and when things go bad, it also means never giving up on them. It’s all right to be disappointed with a friend’s choices, but a true friend separates the choice from the person: while he knows the choice is wrong and speaks up against it, he understands that his friend is someone who needs more love than ever! Thus the persistence; and thus, the harsh words (when necessary!)—but always powered by love.

If you have a friend whom you know is making not-so-wise choices, treat him or her with love. Meet up for coffee, have a chat, always be available. And in a very natural way, remind him of the good options he can make. And never cease to pray for him!

PLUG: Watch There Be Dragons starting November 9 in local cinemas: SM Megamall, SM North, SM Southmall, Trimoma, Glorietta 4, Festival Mall. :-)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Long lines can get the better of even the most well-dressed ladies sometimes. Here's something I saw on TV as I waited in line this morning at the US Embassy. I already saw it before, but it's nice to be reminded!

I just love how the man holds it in and says "Hi" back. :-)

Monday, October 10, 2011


dol-drums. n. a state of inactivity or stagnation.

Right now, I am reading The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster which I borrowed from my book club friend Judie. Such a funny book... I can't believe I've never come across it before. Ah, the indignation hehe.

Here's an interesting conversation in it that I want to talk about:

"Well, if you can't laugh or think, what can you do?" asked Milo.
"Anything as long as it's nothing, and everything as long as it isn't anything," explained another [doldrum]. "There's lots to do; we have a very busy schedule--"
"At 8 o'clock we get up and we spend
"From 8 to 9 daydreaming.
"From 9 to 9:30 we take our early midmorning nap.
"From 9:30 to 10:30 we dawdle and delay.
"From 10:30 to 11:30 we take our late early morning nap.
"From 11:30 to 12:00 we bide our time and then eat lunch.
"From 1:00 to 2:00 we linger and loiter.
"From 2:00 to 2:30 we take our early afternoon nap.
"From 2:30 to 3:30 we put off for tomorrow what we could have done today.
"From 3:30 to 4:00 we take our early late afternoon nap.
"From 4:00 to 5:00 we loaf and lounge until dinner.
"From 6:00 to 7:00 we dillydally.
"From 7:00 to 8:00 we take our early evening nap, and then for an hour before we go to bed at 9:00 we waste time.
"As you can see, that leaves almost no time for brooding, lagging, plodding, or procrastinating, and if we stop to think or laugh, we'd never get nothing done."

Those are the Doldrums talking to Milo, the book's protagonist. It got me thinking about how it's so easy to waste time and still think you're so busy. (Of course, the doldrums here really aimed to get nothing done, but that's beside the point.) It happens when a person tries to go about the day without any particular plan in mind; instead of accomplishing things, one ends up with a list of half-done tasks (half-baked ideas?).

Distractions are a fact of life, and in the workplace, you can have more than a fair share. But the trick to accomplishing much is not to get rid of the distractions (because that's impossible), but to learn to prioritize. It's probably common sense, but here it goes: understand first which tasks are urgent, which are important, and which are both, and schedule your day accordingly. Master a good work ethic, and you'll bump into the doldrums less and less--or not at all!

Have a fruitful week, everyone!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Getting revved up for 'the daily grind'

It's Monday! First day of the week--shouldn't we all be up and about first thing in the morning? With energy! gumption! pizzaz! POWER!

Not all Mondays are so powered up. Actually, most Mondays are sluggish--people call the condition "Monday blues," which I presume gives rise to concepts like "weekend hangover" and cartoon characters like the Sourpuss in Patrick McDonnell's Mutts Comics.

But just because Mondays get bad rap from other people doesn't mean you should treat your Mondays the same way! Start the week right; get up on time and put on a smile--and this small thing determines the success of the week ahead. Here are things I find helpful in getting good work done during those first hours of the work week:
  1. Make a routine and stick to it. You know how some cars won't start and run well without a warm up? It's the same with people. So make a routine that acts as a warm up for you. Here's what I do: a) Do something to look fresh and awake--put on makeup! b) Clean the office desk by clearing away the things you don't need and wiping dust off computer. c) Make a to-do list and promise to accomplish everything in it that very day.
  2. No to "Just 5 minutes"! Sometimes, we feel we need a break. Maybe just a few games of Angry Birds, or 5 minutes on Facebook. Just posting one little thing on Twitter. But those five minutes can easily turn to 20 or 30! Next time you get the urge for a 5-minute break, do something that ends naturally like getting a drink of water, eating a banana, or picking out some easy thing to do from your to-do list (like calling somebody to set a meeting?) and accomplishing it first just to break the monotony. If you do this, you can be sure the "just 5 minutes" will really be just 5 minutes--and you can finish more things.
  3. Watch the clock. Counting the minutes may be a bad habit, especially if you're just waiting till the go-home bell rings and you're off the hook trying to look busy. But if you really make yourself busy, if you really set yourself to finish the tasks for the day, you'll need to watch the clock differently! Try to accomplish your list before 5pm or 5:30pm (or whatever time you're supposed to be finished) so that the few minutes you have left before the bell rings can be used to plan ahead.
  4. Don't forget to pray! Without this, your work will just be that: work. But if you pray and offer all the work you do for the people you love, then the work becomes something special. Plus, if you keep this in mind, you then won't be able to bear leaving that work poorly accomplished--after all, you don't give gifts that are second-rate! :-)
Happy Monday!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bag hag

My weekends lately have been filled with painting, painting and more painting! My mom and her friends put up a small business selling bags made from newspapers. Their name is CCLTJ Recycled Crafts (which means Cora, Cora, Ledy, Tessie, Julie). They are friends from way back in their school days. One day, two of them enrolled in a bag-making class. Then someone had a bright idea. They got the other friends on board and took a day to teach other women to weave. Now, our house is full of newspapers scattered everywhere. hehe!!

Here are some of their products:

Different weaving patterns, bag shapes, and painted designs! That brown one is my mom's "famous" Cat-Owl.

The black one on the left and the half colored one on the right are painted by my mom (one of the Coras), while the red one with the tiny hearts is painted by my artist ate, Tasha.

I made that chick one and the funny one with the "B" looking thing. That's a puncher, if you're wondering. The dog was painted by someone else. These are the cuter ones.

If you have any interesting ideas for a bag design, you can let me know! But be sure to ORDER something, too! :p I made one with a life-affirming slogan before but I don't have the picture with me right now. So, maybe in another post... Ciao!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Can I just say I love Pope Benedict XVI???

I was not there, but the World Youth Day in Madrid this year has strengthened my hope in the world. Two million young people, went off to Spain to... listen to an octogenarian? Believe it.

Here are excerpts from Pope Benedict XVI's WYD 2011 Message:

'In every period of history, including our own, many young people experience a deep desire for personal relationships marked by truth and solidarity. Many of them yearn to build authentic friendships, to know true love, to start a family that will remain united, to achieve personal fulfillment and real security, all of which are the guarantee of a serene and happy future. In thinking of my own youth, I realize that stability and security are not the questions that most occupy the minds of young people. True enough, it is important to have a job and thus to have firm ground beneath our feet, yet the years of our youth are also a time when we are seeking to get the most out of life. When I think back on that time, I remember above all that we were not willing to settle for a conventional middle-class life. We wanted something great, something new. We wanted to discover life itself, in all its grandeur and beauty. Naturally, part of that was due to the times we lived in. During the Nazi dictatorship and the war, we were, so to speak, "hemmed in" by the dominant power structure. So we wanted to break out into the open, to experience the whole range of human possibilities. I think that, to some extent, this urge to break out of the ordinary is present in every generation. Part of being young is desiring something beyond everyday life and a secure job, a yearning for something really truly greater. Is this simply an empty dream that fades away as we become older? No! Men and women were created for something great, for infinity. Nothing else will ever be enough. Saint Augustine was right when he said "our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you". The desire for a more meaningful life is a sign that God created us and that we bear his "imprint". God is life, and that is why every creature reaches out towards life. Because human beings are made in the image of God, we do this in a unique and special way. We reach out for love, joy and peace. So we can see how absurd it is to think that we can truly live by removing God from the picture! God is the source of life. To set God aside is to separate ourselves from that source and, inevitably, to deprive ourselves of fulfilment and joy: "without the Creator, the creature fades into nothingness" (Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes, 36). In some parts of the world, particularly in the West, today's culture tends to exclude God, and to consider faith a purely private issue with no relevance for the life of society. Even though the set of values underpinning society comes from the Gospel - values like the sense of the dignity of the person, of solidarity, of work and of the family -, we see a certain "eclipse of God" taking place, a kind of amnesia which, albeit not an outright rejection of Christianity, is nonetheless a denial of the treasure of our faith, a denial that could lead to the loss of our deepest identity.

'For this reason, dear friends, I encourage you to strengthen your faith in God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. You are the future of society and of the Church! As the Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians of Colossae, it is vital to have roots, a soli
d foundation! This is particularly true today. Many people have no stable points of reference on which to build their lives, and so they end up deeply insecure. There is a growing mentality of relativism, which holds that everything is equally valid, that truth and absolute points of reference do not exist. But this way of thinking does not lead to true freedom, but rather to instability, confusion and blind conformity to the fads of the moment. As young people, you are entitled to receive from previous generations solid points of reference to help you to make choices and on which to build your lives: like a young plant which needs solid support until it can sink deep roots and become a sturdy tree capable of bearing fruit...'

(Emphasis is mine. Read the whole thing here.)

Today, I notice so much anti-Catholicism. Media reporters quite easily quote a bishop on some issue and voila--you have an instant the-Church-is-ever-so-strict-and-unfair impression. There are people who proudly announce that they "think for themselves," as if having guidance from our teachers and our elders is something wrong and shameful; as if they need no guidance at all. A culture of accepting just any kind of opposition as "the smart thing to do" has worked into us Filipinos so deeply that the only political parties we have now are "Administration" and "Opposition."

Aren't people getting tired of all this aimless opposing and and all that feeling intellectually superior? They glorify the "freedom to do anything I want," but what is freedom without truth, respect, guidance and love?

The World Youth Day has strengthened my resolve to be a witness to a better way of living--the way that is firmly planted in Christ. Just a while ago, a friend told me she was called a "Christian writer" by one of her interviewees who read a piece she wrote--and she said she was "kilig to the bones"! I thought, what a compliment! Perhaps it's the best compliment a person striving to live the life of Christ could ever receive. :-)

Lastly, here's another thought I want to share which I read from Mercatornet, "7 Reasons for good cheer after Madrid" written by Michael Cook:

'The biggest stories are the hidden stories. Benedict XVI knows this. As he told journalists, “God's sowing is always silent; it does not appear in the statistics, and the seed that the Lord sows with World Youth Day is like the seed of which the Gospel speaks: part falls on the road and is lost; part falls on stone and is lost; part falls on thorns and is lost; but a part falls on good earth and gives much fruit.”

'Unnoticed by the media, 2 million young people have embarked upon a journey which will lead many of them to infuse their home countries with their deeply held Christian beliefs. Slowly the world is going to change. Thirty years from now, the media is going to have one hell of a surprise.'

Don't you see? We're the youth that will change this world!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Hello, Tintin

I will watch this movie.

It being Tintin trumps it looking like The Polar Express. I hope it's good.

I promise to make a meatier post next time. Meantime, here's Rupert Grint showing what 'love your enemy' means.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Solving Population?

I borrowed R's January 2011 issue of the National Geographic because the cover page is attention grabbing, not for its photo (which is the common assumption) but for the cover blurb. "Population 7 Billion: How your world will change." At first glance, the magazine screams, "Doomsday alert! Control the population or die." When you read what's inside, however, it's another story.

The article, penned by Robert Kunzig, points out that while the number is alarming, the fertility decline poses greater effects than the population itself:

The end of a baby boom can have two big economic effects on a country. The first is the “demographic dividend”—a blissful few decades when the boomers swell the labor force and the number of young and old dependents is relatively small, and there is thus a lot of money for other things. Then the second effect kicks in: The boomers start to retire. What had been considered the enduring demographic order is revealed to be a party that has to end. The sharpening American debate over Social Security and last year’s strikes in France over increasing the retirement age are responses to a problem that exists throughout the developed world: how to support an aging population. “In 2050 will there be enough people working to pay for pensions?” asks Frans Willekens, director of the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute in The Hague. “The answer is no.” (p.48)

It's a population implosion, not explosion, and it's happening in most developed countries in the world. Imagine, China's fertility rate went from 6 kids per woman in 1965 to a low of 1.5 per woman today. True, the Chinese people still make up a fifth of the world population, but has anyone paused to consider that their land is equally large too?

But let's forget the numbers--I bet this has been discussed over and over already. Truth is, it isn't the issue on implosion vs explosion that bothers me. It's the attitude most people have over the idea of accommodating more people in the planet that I find disturbing.

Kunzig writes that in India, people have been, for 60 years now, battling with overpopulation. Their weapon? Sterilizations. Can you tell me what's wrong with this picture?

The Indian government tried once before to push vasectomies, in the 1970s, when anxiety about the population bomb was at its height. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and her son Sanjay used state-of-emergency powers to force a dramatic increase in sterilizations. From 1976 to 1977 the number of operations tripled, to more than eight million. Over six million of those were vasectomies. Family planning workers were pressured to meet quotas; in a few states, sterilization became a condition for receiving new housing or other government benefits. In some cases the police simply rounded up poor people and hauled them to sterilization camps. (p.60)

In their fear of a number, I think many people forget that the number is made up of people like themselves. You don't round up and haul your fellow men or give them incentives to let you mutilate them (and pretend it's for their health when it's really just for your fear of a number). People deserve to be educated to be independent and productive citizens. I think much of the government money would be put in better use if it is invested in the field of training workers, educating kids and producing better livelihood than it would ever be in vasectomy/tubal ligation factories. Let's not forget the dignity of the individual person--just think: what if it was you?

Almas Ali of the Population Foundation says it better: “The goal should be to make the villages livable.... Whenever we talk of population in India, even today, what comes to our mind is the increasing numbers. And the numbers are looked at with fright. This phobia has penetrated the mind-set so much that all the focus is on reducing the number. The focus on people has been pushed to the background.” (p.61)

I bring up this point because the same fear seems to be creeping into our own shores. You read it in the papers, you see it on TV, you hear it over the radio. Have you heard that radio spiel from the Popcom in which a kid complains, "Ano? Mag-aaral ako pagkatapos pa ni Ate, ni Kuya at ni Junior? 'Nay naman!"

First of all, I agree that we should raise families with prudence; however, when, despite all efforts (even with artificial contraception, conception can happen), a baby is given, is it even logical NOT to try to earn more money to send all the kids to school? It's a misplaced kind of prudence at best; it's just a lazy attitude that is not heroic at all--giving only the minimum you have to give, and taking the easiest solution to a problem, never minding if it isn't the right solution.


We Filipinos have our hearts in the right place TODAY. Let's not allow any of that Western fear creep into them. Tomorrow I'll be at the State of the Soul of the Nation Address, dedicated to commemorating the 43rd Anniversary of the Humanae Vitae. It's also going to be an interfaith event, with people of other religions doing worship services nearby before marching in solidarity with other pro-lifers to Club Filipino. Catholic Mass will be at Sanctuario de San Jose Parish, Greenhills, at 9am.

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Money money money

Do you have a credit card? I do. I got one in the mail and activated it because I needed a laptop. And, because of a series of silly mistakes on my part, I ended up paying for the laptop in cash, which spared me from living with the knowledge that my first credit card bill amounted to almost 20k pesos. (To set the record straight, my first credit card bill amounted to a big bold zero because I was too shy to swipe. Mabait pa ako nyan. hehe!)

I got lucky last Friday when I stayed on to hear Sha Nacino's two cents on credit cards (in particular) and financial freedom (in general). Sha is a yuppie like me, but she knows more about these things, not only because she works in a bank and finished BS Business Economics in UP, but also (and more so) because, in her own words, she has "made a lot of mistakes." In the talk she gave her insights on assets, wealth, and of course, saving.

Here, some points that I found very helpful (which I hope you'll find very helpful too!):
  1. Live within your means. Ok, ok, this may seem a bit obvious, but let me explain. If you have a credit card, technically you aren't living within your means. A credit card is meant to bridge that gap between expenses and income, especially when the former exceeds the latter. This is not to say that credit cards are bad... it's how you use them that makes them either bad or good. Remember that the percent interest the bank collects from your unpaid balance is much more than it gives your savings account. Zero out the balance in your credit bill as often as possible.
  2. Wants and needs? Know which ones are good purchases. I'm not gonna say don't buy the wants, because I can't do that either. But here's something to help you decide whether it's a good buy or not: According to Robert Kiyosaki's Rich Dad, Poor Dad, an asset is anything that puts money in your pocket, while a liability is anything that takes money out of your pocket. Before you make a lifestyle-changing purchase (a car? a huge LCD TV? enrolling in a class? the newest gadget in the market?), think about how it will help you grow as a person (grow in skill/knowledge, hone a talent, instill virtues, bring you a step closer to your dreams) and how much you will spend on it (in terms of time, too, not just money)--and ask yourself: is it worth it?
  3. Develop a habit of saving. Sha points out that as your income grows, so do your expenses. Hence, it's not how much you earn, but how much you keep. This is why saving is so important. If you have a hard time saving, maybe you're using the wrong formula: Income - Expenses = Savings. Use this instead: Income - SAVINGS = Expenses. Set aside a certain amount every month that you absolutely will not touch on pain of [horrible punishment here]. Put it in a savings account so it's not handy when you want something. If you have enough money to set aside that you won't miss in a while, how about considering a time deposit? The interest is larger, and you really won't be able to touch that monies! (There's also the option of the stocks and mutual funds, but those are for people who understand the risks and know how to "play the game." If you're a beginner, take small steps first.)

Did you see that movie Confessions of a Shopaholic? While I wouldn't call my appreciation for shopping an addiction like Becky Bloomwood's, I learned something from the Girl in the Green Scarf: while making the credit card hard to reach (literally freezing it in a block of ice, for instance) will stop you from buying things on impulse, it is not the same as self-mastery.

Because it's sale season I am tempted to buy something for myself every time I wait around in the mall. I know I'm on my "lean months," so I really should think twice before I buy anything impulsively, whether it's on sale or not. Remember that scene in Confessions where Becky enters a sample sale even when she knew very well she didn't have the money to pay off her debts? She tells herself: "These cashmere gloves I need as it is winter and I have... hands." Don't make excuses or superficial reasons for buying something. Excuses only weaken your resolve to do anything, and you lose control again.

I think financial freedom goes hand in hand with self-mastery. That and the virtue of poverty. Now, how on earth did poverty become a virtue? Poverty here means you are not attached to material things, and you are not impressed by the glitter of a name or the cost of a piece of merchandise. You know what you need and want (and have placed these in a proper priority list), and you see how you can make the best use of the things you can afford. Only in living the virtue of poverty can a person see the real worth of things.

Happy saving!

Photos are stills from the movie Confessions of a Shopaholic, starring Isla Fisher.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Don't be ignorant!

"Ignorance is boring," so says a National Geographic shirt. A few months ago, I wrote a piece on why the RH bill is not good for Filipinos, and since that article came out already in The You, Inc. Chronicles, a newsletter for women young professionals, I can now share it here.

When ignorance becomes deadly

Ever heard of the term “reproductive rights”? It sounds very nice, doesn’t it? In fact, it is a very nice concept, on the condition that by “nice” you mean “foolish” as the word meant in Old English.

Why is that? “Reproductive rights” basically points to the right to do anything with one’s fertility and body because it is one’s own. A woman with reproductive rights can kill her unborn child without being called a murderer. A husband with reproductive rights can get a vasectomy without informing his wife. A teenager with reproductive rights can have an IUD inserted without telling her parents. The big deal is, it’s their body; let them do with it as they please.

The Reproductive Health Bill, now known as the “Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Act of 2011,” stems from this concept of reproductive rights. Don’t be fooled by the “Responsible Parenthood” in the title; if anything, this bill promotes irresponsible parenthood. Why?

1. It encourages married couples to forget how their body works and just use the contraceptives the government will give for free. “Modern” (read: artificial) family planning methods are to be considered “essential medicines” (Sec. 10) bought using taxpayer’s money, which will amount to about 3 billion pesos. Besides that, the bill provides a plan to integrate an artificial family planning component in the government’s “anti-poverty programs” (Sec. 12), so, after our country spends 3B, we can be sure we’ll have fewer folks under the poverty line. (How do you lessen poverty? The RH bill answer is: Cut down on poor people!)

2. It takes away the parent’s responsibility to teach their children about love, sex and marriage. Mandatory sex education programs (Sec. 16) as dictated by the government will be implemented in schools. If you disagree with any of the lessons in it, you cannot bring your children to another school because all schools will use the same government-issued sex ed manual. What could these lessons be? One list provided in the sex ed manual clumps “Relihiyon” and “Pakikialam ng Pamilya” under one heading: List of obstacles to rights.

3. It insists upon an ideal family size. The bill esteems two children to be the ideal family size. This number is “neither mandatory nor compulsory,” which makes one wonder what it’s doing in Sec. 20 in the first place.

Not only parents, but every citizen will be affected by the RH bill. Besides the fact that your income tax goes to condoms no one will put to good use, you (Sec. 28):

1. Shall be forced to provide access to the full range of reproductive health care services to your employees, if you are an employer. Never mind if you don’t believe in the use of artificial contraceptives (condoms, injectables, IUDs, patches, emergency contraception, etc.), or the need for surgical sterilization when there are better alternatives. What’s more, legislators are saying the bill is anti-abortion, but the term “reproductive health,” as feminist and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defines it, “includes contraception and family planning and access to legal, safe abortion.” If this bill gets passed, what’s to stop pro-abortion groups from getting “safe” abortion included in the law? After all, it is part of reproductive healthcare. Employers then will not only be providing rubber balloons, but will also be participating in the murder of innocent people.

2. Shall not be allowed to refuse a patient his reproductive healthcare services on account of religion, if you are a healthcare service provider. If a kid asks you for a gun, you don’t refer him to someone else if you don’t believe that guns are the solution. But this bill will make you refer someone to another healthcare service provider if you don’t provide reproductive healthcare. Whatever happened to helping people find better alternatives? Any healthcare service provider will know of more health-friendly and environment-friendly alternatives to stroke-inducing, breast cancer-causing, ecosystem-disrupting oral contraceptive pills.

3. Shall not be allowed to criticize the bill. It says “malicious disinformation” but that can easily mean “anything that rubs the bill the wrong way.” Whoever heard of getting jailed for protesting to something written on a piece of paper?

There are people who may say that the RH bill has some good provisions like maternity and good pre-natal care. Those provisions deserve to be in a bill of their own, not lumped together with provisions on birth control, which is—to say the least—ironic. How can a piece of legislation focus on providing good maternal healthcare when it’s already so bent on not having to handle cases of pregnancy in the first place?

Going back to reproductive rights—while rights are good and wonderful, they go hand in hand with responsibility. That means our freedom to do what we want with our fertility and body ends where the rights of others begin. What’s wrong with the so-called reproductive rights is it oversteps a child’s right to be born, a parent’s right to educate and guide the children, and a husband’s right to know about (and be involved in) his wife’s fertility concerns, and vice versa. What’s wrong with this particular RH bill, in addition to those three already mentioned, is that it also oversteps every citizen’s freedom to practice his religion, to speak up against something he believes is wrong, and to choose without having to hear all that hogwash about the convenience of contraceptives and the need for instant self-gratification.


Photos of the UP Against RH silent protest courtesy of Sunnyday. Isn't it nice to see the youth (even just a few of them!) standing up for the truth? :-)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

True freedom

Image from i write to believe.

"Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought."-Blessed John Paul II

Thursday, June 23, 2011


I've written a lot of articles about imagination, particularly those that go "encourage your child's imagination because...." But today, I'm going to play a different tune.

Our imagination is a rich source of ideas. For writers, it's a well of stories; for artists, inspiration. "Let your imagination run wild" is a common advice given to people suffering a creative block of a sort, and sure, there's really no harm in that! It can even be fun!

But letting the imagination run wild can have its bad consequences too; it's one way to completely lose your cool or change the way you see things without the benefit of verification. The imagination-run-wild can turn into poison, a potent mix that corrupts the mind and the heart!

No one wants to be poisoned. Be wise and consider all points, hear truths from the source, and never assume anything but the good in people. Here are five thoughts to be wary of and to avoid indulging at the expense of your serenity and peace of mind:

  1. Ideas that scare you. Fears make us worry to no end! What can you do about it? Somebody once said that worrying is like sitting in a rocking chair; you move so much but get nowhere. If something scares you (ex. what your boss will say about the big mess you made, or a pain in your arm that won't go away), do something to take that fear away (like go to the doctor) and then occupy yourself with something totally unrelated. You can only do so much; let others help!
  2. Ideas that make you hate/distrust somebody. So you think this friend hates you because you are KJ or something. It's easy to imagine what people think--but remember that putting words in other people's mouth does not equate to their actually thinking or saying it. Give people a break and assume the best in them.
  3. Ideas that are tinged with envy. It may seem harmless, "I wish I had her car," but more often than not, daydreams that begin this way can corrupt you little by little, and before you realize it, you're wishing "I hope she hits her car on a pole." Scary!
  4. Ideas that make you feel uncomfortable. If you've read not-so-decent books or seen not-so-decent movies, sometimes you find yourself imagining not-so-decent situations! Saying "Gross!" works, as an initial reaction. Then get rid of all those media that trash your sensibilities and waste your time. You need to help yourself build self-mastery; having these things around will only weaken any resolve you've made.
  5. Ideas that discourage you from doing the good. Fears again, but a different kind--these fears prevent you from doing the wise/good/just thing. For example, you catch a friend cheating at a test; find that the restaurant you ate in charged you too little; or put off paying the debt you owe. Sometimes, your imagination creates excuses that "justify" your inaction. Don't listen to it! Do the right thing, no matter how scary, and you'll see that you have the strength when you need it.
Good luck!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

How to be serene

A few tempers have exploded during my treks going home last week, and these tempers from ladies, no less. I suppose we can excuse them; it is the end of the day, we all just want to go home, and why do people keep pushing anyway?

This is why I thought I should come up with a serenity list. Who knows? maybe one of these days I could be the one screaming obscenities while breathing down on somebody's neck for lack of wiggle room (literally and/or figuratively). An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.

1. Stick to the truth. Whether you're talking about someone you know or explaining your own actions, it's always the best to stick to the truth. For one, it prevents you from having to make up one lie after another (because liars learn that they need to make up more lies to cover up their first), and if there's one thing that robs a person of serenity, it's over-thinking the useless things.

2. Think before you speak. This prevents you from getting stuck in the "lie trap" in the first place. If what you're about to say is not the truth because the truth sounds too boring/horrible/atrocious, just remember that anything you blurt out without prudence (without thinking of the consequences) comes out much worse in the end. And the lie trap snaps.

3. Understand where others are coming from. Sometimes, it's not all about you. Somebody loses his temper, or blames your for something, or picks a fight. Before you stress over that, just remember that if you've done everything honestly, properly and well, then you shouldn't worry! Just let the hothead cool off; and don't hit back. Your energy is better spent in productive work. Most of all, remember that you're called to love, esp. those who are most difficult to love.

4. Smile. And freshen up that tired face. Wear a nice shirt. While it's true that serenity comes from within, that's no reason to cultivate a chaotic appearance without. When you look good, you feel better, you treat others better, and you make more people serene, too--which is the ultimate effect of serenity.

5. Remember: It's not all up to you. A lot of us lose our cool when we think everything is up to us. What do you expect? We're only human, and huge responsibilities are daunting. But if you keep in mind that nothing is "all up to you" then you can rest better and worry less (besides, what does worry accomplish?). Your energy, your health, your reason, your resources... aren't they all gifts with which we can get up in the morning and achieve our goals? These things would not be ours to use if they weren't given; they're all up to Someone to give us. So take a few moments each day to thank Him for letting you do what you do. That's the surest way of gaining (and fortifying) serenity.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Rainy day etiquette

It's the season of commuting in the rain again! Get those rain-sturdy shoes out and practice those opening-and-closing-the-stubborn-foldable-umbrella skills, which come especially handy in boarding public vehicles driven by people who expect you to hop in and out Hollywood Action Movie style (albeit sans the background explosions).

While commuting to and from work in the rain gives everyone an excuse to just "get going already" and not care so much about how you get to point B from point A, I'd say it's possible to still be a lady in the worst kind of weather. No, I don't mean we have to be "maarte" or hold our umbrellas with our pinky finger sticking out; I mean that manners are called for in any situation as a sign of sensitivity to the needs of others.

An umbrella, for instance, is one of the most cumbersome contraptions ever invented by man. It helps us get somewhere without getting our head wet (yes, just "head") while constantly threatening to hit somebody in the eye. We all need an umbrella in the rain. We all have the right to use one, but along with that right, we have a responsibility to use it properly. For example, you don't hog the entire sidewalk with the bulk of your umbrella, and you don't walk with one without watching out for the heads (eyes, ears, noses, shoulders) of your co-pedestrians.

Here, some reminders about rainy day etiquette for commuters/pedestrians:

What do you do when there is heavy 2-way foot traffic in the sidewalk while it's raining?
Watch out for the heads and umbrellas of other people! To make things easy, make height your rule of thumb: if the person you are coming towards is shorter than you, raise your umbrella. If taller, lower yours.

What do you do when you're walking out of a building or shelter and into the rain? Let the people ahead of you open their umbrella and walk out first before you open yours and follow. It may seem like this takes longer, but if everyone had the patience to wait the few seconds it takes to do this, walking around becomes more efficient, if not more pleasant. It's also a good way to avoid leaving umbrella prints on the clothes of the person directly ahead, who, just like you, prefers to be dry, too.

What do you do when you board a runaway bus with a wet umbrella? While most conductors like to scream that you should step in first before closing that umbrella, there is no way to do that without getting pulled back out (by the open umbrella) and losing your balance just because bus drivers don't like brakes. No need to risk your life. The trick is to loosen the tautness of the umbrella first while keeping it over your head, then step in the bus, quickly closing the umbrella all the way, and hold on tight to stay balanced, keeping the wet umbrella close to the floor. This way, you don't drip all over the laps of the seated passengers, and if you accidentally wet someone's toes, at least it's the feet, which, in this weather, are probably wet already. If you have a plastic bag, put the wet umbrella in it, to help keep the bus as puddle-free as possible. If you don't, keep the umbrella between your feet when you're seated already so that it doesn't soak other people's pants.

How about a jeep? Because you enter a jeep head-first, you'll have to close the umbrella before boarding. Practice closing the foldable umbrella swiftly so you can close-and-board in one swoosh. (Watch out where you swoosh the umbrella though, someone might be standing close behind you.) Then, keep the umbrella down as you make your way to your seat. Again, a plastic bag to put it in comes in handy.

What do you do when you open the umbrella and find out it's snagged? Close it again, don't step out in the rain, but get out of the way of the foot traffic. Fix the snag first before lining up in the traffic again like a good citizen.

Pedestrians hate rainy days, but just because we don't like it doesn't mean we should go through our commuting route with a frown and ready to elbow everybody. Instead, we can offer up the difficulties for the people we love, and be thankful for the small mercies: that there's a home to get to (with soap and water!), that at least the sun is not too hot, and (if it's in your route) that the MRT platform has a roof. Can you just imagine what would happen if the yet-to-be-discovered football stars that appear at the MRT during rush hour were armed with wet umbrellas?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Yet still more discussions...

The Philippine Daily Inquirer last Thursday came out with a front page story that detailed the life of a poor woman and her husband struggling to raise their eight children in poverty. I'm not linking the article here because I believe it's one of the worst the Inquirer has ever done, and it puts their motto, "balance news..." in jeopardy. I didn't take up journalism but I recognize a title seeping in bias when I read one. And on the front page with a miserable photo, too.

The reason I brought this up is that it was the core of a discussion my mother and I had that day; she thinking that in cases such as those, the RH bill should be beneficial, and I--very inarticulately--insisting that that woman does not need a freebie ligation but help in the form of better livelihood and education. I learned one thing from Mama that day, too; I learned that for some people, the RH measure is acceptable because it is hard to believe that the poor will ever change.

One of the things we can easily forget is that a person is a person no matter how much he makes, where he lives, how many limbs he's got, or in what stage of life he is. He has a heart, he has a mind, and if you're Christian, you know he is a child of God, therefore that he possesses the same dignity as any of the "better" folks out there.

No one, not even a poor person struggling to raise eight children, deserves to be neutered/spayed, because that is only done to cats and dogs. You do that to cats and dogs because if you don't they just multiply and get galis and spread diseases. People are not like that. People are better than that. We people can be taught, and we have a will, and besides, all of us at some point in our genealogy, were once dirt poor, too.

RH is not a solution to help people in poverty. It is a license to solve poverty by eliminating the poor. Not convinced?

FVR: “I think the philosophy of RH bill is that we must learn to produce quality people in this world instead of producing people who only end up as, say, beggars on the streets, scavengers, or sellers of cheap or prohibited items. This, I think, is the real valid argument in favor of the RH bill.” (May 18, 2011, PDI

Makes you wonder what "quality people" are.


BTW, my mom is neither for nor against the bill. And I love her! She is made of win.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Don't forget about love

I felt dismayed last Sunday when I learned from sunnyday that Angsioco was encouraging pro-RH Catholics to go to mass wearing purple (good thing I wasn't in purple) and walk out if the priest mentions the RH bill. It's so sad! Whatever happened to sincerely fulfilling the Sunday obligation? How can you honestly receive Jesus (who loves you so much!) in the Eucharist when you go out there in hopes that the priest voices out something you disagree with... and then proudly step out if he does? Put yourself in Christ's shoes. Imagine you're celebrating your birthday and some people attend just so they can readily walk out when they catch you (or someone who vouches for you) saying something they disagree with. Hindi ba masakit?

Amidst all these RH debates (which I have become rather sick of to be honest) people are forgetting that we are all called to love. If you disagree with a friend about this issue, love him or her all the more. It's just an issue, but your friend is a soul. What's to stop you from trying to share with that friend the beautiful things you've learned? And, in turn, listen to that friend--if you both sincerely look for the Truth, it will make itself plain soon enough.

Have a love-filled week!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

From The Well and the Shallows

I love reading G.K. Chesterton. It is common knowledge that he is witty and has a great command of language. But more than those, I admire him for his understanding--his writing is steeped in a deep understanding of what it truly means to be a human being, a child of God, and how to live in a world where people would have you believe otherwise. I want to understand as he does. (And I wish I can write so beautifully, too.) He is a genius.

I'm re-posting an excerpt from an essay of his, which I have already posted way back in 2008. I think that we should constantly (and objectively) seek the Truth, especially now, when the media culture makes pollution/noise just as accessible as the brain/heart food we really need. In the excerpt below, GKC talks about why he despises birth control, and mindset that goes with it:

"...But there is a third reason for my contempt, much deeper and therefore more difficult to express; in which is rooted all my reasons for being anything I am or attempt to be; and above all, for being a Distributist. Perhaps the nearest to a description of it is to say this: that my contempt boils over into bad behaviour when I hear the common suggestion that a birth is avoided because people want to be 'free' to go to the cinema or buy a gramophone or a loud-speaker. What makes me want to walk over such people like doormats is that they use the word 'free.' By every act of that sort they chain themselves to the most servile and mechanical system yet tolerated by men. The cinema is a machine for unrolling certain regular patterns called pictures; expressing the most vulgar millionaires' notion of the taste of the most vulgar millions. The gramophone is a machine for recording such tunes as certain shops and other organisations choose to sell. The wireless is better; but even that is marked by the modern mark of all three; the impotence of the receptive party. The amateur cannot challenge the actor; the householder will find it vain to go and shout into the gramophone; the mob cannot pelt the modern speaker, especially when he is a loud-speaker. It is all a central mechanism giving out to men exactly what their masters think they should have.

"Now a child is the very sign and sacrament of personal freedom. He is a fresh free will added to the wills of the world; he is something that his parents have freely chosen to produce and which they freely agree to protect. They can feel that any amusement he gives (which is often considerable) really comes from him and from them and from nobody else. He has been born without the intervention of any master or lord. He is a creation and a contribution; he is their own creative contribution to creation. He is also a much more beautiful, wonderful, amusing and astonishing thing than any of the stale stories or jingling jazz tunes turned out by the machines. When men no longer feel that he is so, they have lost the appreciation of primary things, and therefore all sense of proportion about the world. People who prefer the mechanical pleasures, to such a miracle, are jaded and enslaved. They are preferring the very dregs of life to the first fountains of life. They are preferring the last, crooked, indirect, borrowed, repeated and exhausted things of our dying Capitalist civilisation, to the reality which is the only rejuvenation of all civilisation. It is they who are hugging the chains of their old slavery; it is the child who is ready for the new world.


Ang ganda, 'no?
Before I hibernate again to continue writing my assignments, here's a quote from GKC that perhaps we should take up as a challenge.... Let's prove it untrue! :-)

"The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting;
it has been found difficult and left untried."

Friday, April 22, 2011

'Hindi umaayaw'

If you listen to AM radio, you must've already heard the advertisement for vitamins that uses the title of this post as a tagline, and you know that their image model is no other than Robin Padilla. The whole point of the ad is to say that Robin can do all that he does (and even be locked up in jail) because he never backs out, or if you take the tagline literally, he doesn't say no. And he doesn't have to say no to anything because his vitamins give him the energy to do it all! Hooray!

I get the point of not wanting to back out of anything--especially when it comes to work. The ad is talking to people in blue collar jobs and appealing to their yearning to easily put in more hours at work so they can have more income to bring home. In that case, not backing out is a good thing.

I brought this up because I want to focus on something quite the opposite, which is being able to say No. It's ridiculous to go, I never say No. Sure, that's obvious when it comes to things that can get you in trouble, land you in jail, etc., however, there are also other less obvious things that merit saying no to; and because we are thinking people, we should know when these occasions are.

Have you ever heard anyone say: "You can afford it, why not?" or "It's your right to do what you want," and other phrases of the same line of thought? In this get-everything-you-want-NOW kind of world, that seems to be the dominant philosophy. Dominant, though, doesn't necessarily equate to "good for you," and no matter how much of a right you have to drown yourself in junk food, junk media, or junk philosophies, you realize sooner or later that you are not happy drowning in the same after a while. All this yes-ing can get tiring; worse, you come out of it not learning anything at all.

That's one of the things I find wanting in a contraceptive mindset. It's all yes-ing without stopping to think about what's good for anybody, let alone what's good for the self. People can go on harping about their rights as if there's such a thing as rights without responsibility, but it doesn't change the fact that each one of us needs to learn to say No, too.

I find it puzzling how some people applaud the Japanese for their great self-mastery and selflessness, and then trumpet their support for some bill that teaches the Filipinos to throw to the winds those very same virtues. My think: why is self-mastery considered noble when you're in a crisis of Ondoy proportions, but not very valuable in the bedroom?

It's the same virtue: if you can say No in the privacy of your home--say No to lazing around, say No to your vices (you know what those are), say No to putting off spring cleaning to another day, say No to comforts (chocolate?) once in a while--then you will be able to say No when you step outside: hold back that rage when an impudent taxi driver cuts you on the road, avoid succumbing to a BIG SALE that you don't need to be in, call a rain check when your friends are not being prudent about their time and yours....

You may be thinking: how KJ naman to have to say No to so many things! But keep in mind that every No to one thing is a Yes to something else, and something better for that matter. You say No to laziness, you say Yes to accomplishing things. A No to one more bar of chocolate is a Yes to good health, and perhaps to sharing that extra bar with someone else, too. No to the BIG SALE means Yes to saving up for a style piece that you'll get more wear out of later on.

And of course, every well-thought-out No is a brick in that house called character, which constantly needs fortifying, given the fickleness of our "open-minded" world. You gotta learn to say No conscientiously. You gotta think well and hard before you give your Yes to anything. That's good character. That's self-mastery.

...besides, whoever takes "hindi umaayaw" as a compliment better brush up on colloquial Filipino--isn't that the description right next to "Utu-uto"?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Words for the ladies, a tipsheet

I learned a new word the other week: Loquacious. It sounds attractive, even smart, but it really isn't a compliment, if ever you were described that way.

Loquacity means talking too much--not in the sense that you're talkative (because there are really those people with the gift of gab), but in the sense that you're talking without thinking about the implications of your words. Who cares how you come across, or whether what you said was a little exaggerated, or on whose reputation you sling the mud. You just gab away, and enjoy the attention!

How does a lady avoid the trap of loquacity? (I find that amusing--"trap of loquacity" haha!). Here, five tips.

1. Learn to hold that tongue. Think before you speak. Sure, if you've the gift of holding interesting conversations, it can be hard sometimes, and then there's the fear that you may end up looking like you don't have any ideas to share. But, a lady who doesn't think before she speaks can easily end up saying something offensive or untrue.

2. If something really needs to be said, correct don't criticize.
And give it in private. Don't say, "You're wrong!" but kindly suggest a way for your friend to do things better. For example, a friend is having a bad hair day (month, year?). You don't say, "Mahangin ba sa labas?" or "Ang pangit ng buhok mo," instead invite her to the salon or suggest a good haircut that you think will look good on her.

3. Think of how you will feel if something you said about someone is said about you, too.
We ladies love talking about other people, but a little restraint sets apart the ladies from the mere females. Always be kind when talking about people you know, and when something negative is mentioned about them, take it with a grain of salt. You don't have to believe it, unless there is hard proof that it's true. Even then, you must be kind to that person!

4. Assume the good in everyone.
It is every lady's duty to assume the good in other people, because it is everyone's right to claim a good name and reputation. (And of course, you want others to be careful with your good name too!)

5. Always speak the truth!
When you're in the middle of telling a really good story, it's probably tempting to add little details that would enhance the story, but make it a little untrue. While it may seem harmless, or may actually be harmless, you're teaching your mouth to be careless. Who knows what worse exaggerations (or would you console yourself calling it half truths?) you'll be capable of if you keep that up? Remember, big lies come from many little ones. Practice makes perfect--haha!


"Those who think it is permissible to tell white lies soon grow color-blind." -Austin O'Malley

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Letter to my blog

Dear Blog,

I'm sorry I haven't been writing. I have been missing weekends lately, something seems to be eating them. And I have been getting sick, and whenever I would sit in front of my computer it would only be to finish writing something else.

Rest assured that I do have many plans for you, and I have some post ideas in store (which just need to be disentangled somewhere in brain-land), and many pictures to share (if I finally have the time to transfer them to my computer). I just want to say that very soon, I will be churning out more great, wonderful, super-duper (?!) insights for the world to consume at their own leisure.

And this be very very soon.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Bitten by the love bug?

It's February! And how lucky! Jason Evert is coming to Manila! Yipee! I want to attend the talk on Feb 27, 1pm in SMX Convention Center--it's fifty pesos! So do come and attend if you have the time. Lots to learn about love! BTW, the event is called: Real Love Revolution 2011, Romance without Regret.

If you aren't familiar with Jason Evert, watch this video. I like how he starts with "Men need to be challenged to be gentlemen." Enjoy! :D

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Rules of the road--for pedestrians

Sure you know stop, look and listen. But these days you have to be extra careful because even cars don't follow rules of the road. In The Great Gatsby, one of the minor characters (Jordan) says she hates people who drive carelessly, but is not a careful driver herself. (Actually if you take to heart the "lessons" from Fitzgerald's novel, you'll probably go about believing the world is full of bad drivers, which may actually be a life-saving assumption, but it isn't very charitable, is it?)

So, here are some of the extra things that methinks should be added to Pedestrian Road Safety 101:

1. Wait a second or two after the light changes before crossing the street (this, of course, after stop look and listen). I was crossing the street a few weeks back when a taxi ran the red light. If I wasn't alert enough, or if I crossed the street too quickly, it could've made roadkill of me! And this was in Batangas Street, not a highway.
2. Earphones and the streets do not jibe. You need to hear everything. (For the record, I don't commute with earphones, but I see a lot of "plugged" people get honked at. And once I saw a runner wired to his iPod sprint across the street without even looking if there's a car coming!) I know earphones are probably there to help you beat the boredom, but they're so good at making you forget where you are.
3. Wear white or bright colors. At sea, people need to wear brights so if they accidentally fall overboard, they will be easier to spot and rescue. On the road, people in white or bright colors are easier to see as they cross the street.
4. Look at signal lights of cars. They're there to let other motorists know if and where they're turning; it's good for you, as a pedestrian, to make sure you can already cross safely. Some traffic lights don't apply to cars turning left or right at intersections.
5. If there is an overpass or underpass, take it, no matter how "out of the way" it is. That's why they are there. And the same rule applies when it comes to pedestrian lanes. The point is, you have to cross where motorists expect you to cross. You have to be predictable!

Lastly, as in the photo above, remember that only the Beatles could cross the street without having to keep these pedestrian road safety rules in mind. If you aren't one of them, better to simply stay alert!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Let there be...

I want to see this movie! It's set in the Spanish Civil War, and the lead is a Spanish soldier, Manolo, who falls in love with a Hungarian revolutionary, Ildiko, who loves this militia leader, Oriol... (Oh hey, isn't Oriol that guy from 300? haha!)

Okay, I really want to see this because it gives a peep into the early life of St. Josemaria Escriva, who, in the story, happens to be the friend of this said Spanish soldier. The genre is historical fiction, and Writing Class will tell you that historical fiction is based on real events or real people but the specific scenes, some characters, their words and actions are mostly imagined to make a story fit for a novel or a movie.

Despite its being fiction, the film seems to keep the soul of St. Josemaria's character intact, as well as that of the war itself. I hope they show it here!

The director, Roland Joffe, an English movie director, shares how he started working on the film in the movie's production blog:

“When I was first approached about doing a film about Josemaria Escriva I had, to be honest, grave doubts whether I was up for it in terms of my knowledge of religion. Religion is an immensely rich and extraordinary experience. I considered for quite a long time about whether I could bring something new to that experience, but I thought that probably I couldn’t. Then I had dinner with one of the producers, who gave me a DVD of Josemaria. Later that night, I sat down to compose a letter of, ‘thanks so much, it’s been very nice meeting you and I really admire what you want to do, but I don’t think it’s for me.’

"Instead, I put the DVD in and Josemaria was on it talking to a group of people in Chile or maybe Argentina. They were in a big tent of people, all these rapt faces looking at him. I saw a very likeable man, a man just like you and me, someone you might sit next to on a bus. Obviously a man who loved people—he had a real warmth that caught my eye. Then a young girl in the back of the audience put her hand up and said. ‘Excuse me father, but I have a question.’ He says, ‘Yes, what’s your question?’ She says, ‘Well, I would like to convert.’ Josemaria smiles and says, ‘Well of course. Please do.’ And she said, ‘The problem is, my parents are Jewish and they would be very upset.’ And Josemaria, said, without a pause. ‘The love of my life is Jewish.’ Then he said, ‘Oh, my dear, my dear, honoring your parents is very important to the Lord. He doesn’t want you to do anything that would upset your parents. If he is in your heart, he is in your heart. Welcome him there. And pray that one day they will support you in your desire.’

"I thought, ‘Actually, this is wonderful. This has got such respect and such love, for her parents, and for her and for her experience.’ I was so struck by it that I paused in writing my letter and thought, ‘I wouldn’t mind seeing that in a film.’ So I sat down and I wrote a scene where an older man who worked for Josemaria’s father is dying and Josemaria comes to him as a priest. He discovers on the death bed that this man is actually Jewish as he expresses doubts about his faith. It is a very, very touching moment. And they pray together.

"After I wrote the scene, I knew I had to write the rest! Now I was curious--how did the man get to that position and what did it mean? Particularly, I began to think about the period, when Spain was falling apart. This was their civil war. When you think about it, the only war America has known on its own territory is what? The Civil War! And, though it happened a hundred odd years ago, it is still etched, fixed in the American mind. Ask any American about it and they will have images of it, because it was so destructive. And that happened in Spain; in fact it happened in Spain over a number of years. The war created such a rich background for the story. Then I really wanted to write it and thought, ‘You know I could have a go at this!’”


Teehee! I always like reading about how people eventually change heart. :-)