Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas in Our Hearts 2016: Breakthrough to Success

"The achievement of my cherished goals and dreams is always a 'breakthrough to success' that I must cultivate. The year will always end with a brighter hope and aspirations in our hearts for a great year and the year ahead."

This is the season of loving and caring. The time when we are full of emotions; the time when we are more compassionate to each and everyone who matters in our lives. We give and receive something and we feel good about it. We feel the spirit of Christmas-- the most wonderful time of the year. Whenever the Christmas season comes, it excites us and makes us fully alive. There's greater energy everywhere and there's a feeling of abundance. These feelings create a wonderful memory that lasts for a lifetime.

Christmas is a wonderful season and it gives us a magical experience that's completely different from the ordinary months that have passed. I remember memories whenever I play and listen to Christmas instrumentals; the relaxing music of the piano and the romantic sound of the saxophone. Christmas is truly in the air. It gives a flashback of wonderful past and gives hope to the unknown future. As I quietly lay down on the bed, I close my eyes and reminisce the wonderful time that I've experienced. From the past and up to the present time, I recall the ups and downs that brought laughter and tears. The memories that wouldn't just fade away, but remain in my heart forever.

Christmas is a joyful season that brings hope for those who are empty; those who are lacking and abandoned. When this time comes, we hear the children singing Christmas carols. They may not be feeling empty, but they are hopeful to be given a part of what we have. We give them a part of our success. Though not that much, still it remains memorable to them and they take gratitude for that simple way of giving. Singing Christmas carols in the neighborhood was truly a memorable experience when we were kids. 

Aside from exercising our vocal powers, we enjoy the little money that we receive. The happiness is real and the excitement is unstoppable. I know how these kids feel when they receive something from every house that they sing a carol. That's an early practice of the virtue of gratitude. It's something that we must learn to value and practice. It brings more blessings and abundance. The more grateful we are, the more fulfilled we'll become. We don't feel empty, but we feel that we always have enough.

Christmas is a time of spiritual reflection. The year is about to end and we affirm our goals; our desires that we have accomplished; the directions we have taken and the destination we have finally arrived at. A successful year doesn't mean being a winner in everything and all throughout. There are times we feel defeated, unsure and misguided. However, those emotions are just part of winning. To lose for a moment doesn't define the year-end success; it doesn't predict the success of the next year and it doesn't lead to demotivation and lack of meaning. Hence, it reminds us to renew our lives and make a greater sacrifice for goals to achieve beyond the limits. This Christmas is to celebrate success; achievements that contribute to personal development. Whenever I reflect on what I've fully achieved, it gives a sense of fulfillment -- a blissful spirit.

The Past year has been a meaningful celebration. Christmas in Our Hearts 2015 brought us together with joy in our hearts. Since 2011, I've written Christmas in Our Hearts to reflect on the joyous season together with my family. When we're bonded together, we anticipate a better year ahead of us. We are together in our hopes and aspirations for a bountiful new year; full of blessings and mercy from God. This year 2016 is another milestone of a wonderful journey. I've been taken to a place closer to home. A journey on the road full of hopes and plans for personal development. A destination where everything ends happily; feeling love and compassion.

Christmas 2016 is a simple yet meaningful celebration. The weather may not be favorable, but the rhythm goes on an unstoppable; music in a Christmas melody, and kids enjoy dancing in a Zumba beat. Celebrating "Misa de Gallo" commemorates the birth of Christ; the source of our Divine inspiration and power. This is followed by the traditional "Noche Buena" as thanksgiving.

Christmas is always in our hearts and we hope for the best thing to come. More blessings and abundance and everlasting grace and loving mercy of God. This year 2016 gave me a great life lesson. To live a life full of gratitude and a more positive spirit. These lessons I hope will be carried on the next year 2017. I am hoping for the best to come for myself, my family, and everyone who truly matters. The achievement of my cherished goals and dreams is always a 'breakthrough to success' that I must cultivate. The year will always end with a brighter hope and aspirations in our hearts for a great year and the year ahead.

© 2016 Del Cusay

Sunday, October 16, 2016

A Day to Remember

To celebrate another year of life is one of the most pleasant memories that we can cherish. It is when we show our gratitude for all the blessings we received and looking forward to another year full of challenges and surprises. We may continue to be challenged along the way and be surprised by something unimaginable --when dreams and desires do come true.

As we journey onward, we give happiness to those who are dear to us. Happiness leaves an imprint on their hearts and minds. Those things that they haven't thought of would come true. A surprise that would uplift joyful spirit out of the blue. 

The days when we have planned for a surprise to someone so special were so exciting. Our mother is about to celebrate her 63rd birthday, and she deserves some treats. What special surprise could we give that is truly memorable? Aha! a trip abroad! a wonderful surprise. My parents have never been out of the country yet and it would have been their first time to set foot in a not-so-distant place in the east.

It was on September 23, 2016, when we're about to go to Palawan. Voted as the most beautiful island in the world for 2015 and 2016. I am also excited to visit that magnificent island as they say but then, we're really bound for Hongkong. And that's the surprise. Though it was a funny story at the airport, with such clueless faces on their real destination, finally it was revealed that they are bound to travel abroad. 

The excitement is real and when we set foot at the Hongkong airport, we're all eager to explore wonderful places. Though we siblings have been to Hongkong before, we couldn't wait to show places to our parents. A bit lost at some point, walking along the promenade in Tsim Shan Tsui was fantastic. Spending some time overlooking the Hongkong islands' famous skyscrapers is wonderful. As one of the best places to see and experience, truly the victoria harbor is impressive. A romantic feel in the east. Though a bit tired of walking, crossing the island of Kowloon to Hongkong aboard the star ferry offers a magnificent view of the harbor and the skyline and it awakens the senses. The skyline is one of the world's best and it's just in the east blending with the west. 

The day that came, September 24, was a special day for my mother, and spending it at the happiest place on earth is a truly magical experience. We enjoyed ourselves so much with all scenes. The festival of the lion king is such a feast to senses showing just like a broadway show, the 4D theater experience, the jungle of Tarzan, and the Disney in the stars as the highlight. 

The third day was still full of energy. The picture-perfect ocean park giving a breathtaking view of the island and the sea is memorable. A roller coaster ride gave an adrenaline rush that would never be repeated again. I did it, but so scary. The entire resort was a good place to appreciate the animal kingdom and their habitat and it's about time to protect their kingdom and class before they're gone. Before the sunset, we're able to meet "kababayans" or townmate and hear their stories. I know how it feels to be homesick since I have the experience of being away for some time in the past, so a loud laugh would help to release some form of sadness. 

On the fourth day, we're all excited about our next destination. Heading to Macau: once a Portuguese colony in the east. Another memory that would uplift our spirits and look forward to a memorable stay in a glittering city of light. 

That was a great journey in Hongkong and this story will remain in our hearts. We still have many places to explore. It a small world and we all deserve to be happy once in a while. And a little surprise could change our perspective and the way we the world we live in. 

© 2016 Del Cusay

Sunday, June 12, 2016

118th Philippine Independence Day: I Am a Filipino

Once popularly known as the "Pearl of the Orient Seas," the Philippines may have reached the summit of success in terms of political and economic growth and prosperity before it celebrated its 100th anniversary of independence in 1998. However, it took several successions of brilliant and brave leaders that made the Philippines to be at the political map and enjoyed being the center of attention not only in Asia but the whole world.

I always admire the greatest heroes the Philippines has ever produced. Rizal, considered as one of the greatest man of the Malayan race has touched the minds and souls of  the Filipinos and other foreign nationalities through his works and writings that are bold and extraordinary.

As a kid, I've been keen about Rizal as a hero and on my higher level of study I've deeply understood his life and his sacrifices for the common good of the Filipino people. During the time when the Philippines is under the rule of Spanish authorities, we have been suppressed of our freedom; to express and to defend our rights as a Filipino People. However, learning about his personality makes me emulate his ways; becoming keen observant and inquisitive about the current events that's taking place in our political, economic and social atmosphere. During Rizal's time when liberty has been invaded to keep in silence and follow the mighty tyrants; actions to defend the sovereignty failed numerous times; people fighting for freedom died with thorns in their hearts.

What could be the result of the massive war against giant oppressors versus the sharp bolos, stained rifles and the power of writing of our heroes? Could literary works of our geniuses made a significant impact to our freedom?

Today after hundred years of Philippine independence - 118th to be exact, we are looking back to the sacrifices fought by our heroes. We pay tribute to their greatness and valor as they died for the country without them having glimpse of the real freedom they have aspired. Rizal's teachings has been part of educational curriculum for young Filipinos to imbibe his greatness and turn weaknesses into strength. We now have the freedom of expression and no one could take it away from us; this is the result of the battle our heroes have fought centuries back

Now we have been invaded by a colonial mentality where we almost copy and adopt technological advances; communications have improved and delivers instantly and real time and anyone is free to express their thoughts and views about political affairs with conviction. These changes are exactly opposite to what heroes from the past have experienced just to express their thoughts and criticism against leaders and the government.

Today, 12th day of June 2016 is another year of celebrating success achieved by the Filipinos. We are now reaping what our heroes have sown. We might constantly encounter challenges and never-ending problems, but we have proven our resilience. We continue to fight the battle and show inherent traits of bravery and valor inherited from valiant heroes. Our heroes of today may not exhibit boldness and strong sense of nationalism, however our national heroes have done enough and now we are living in a nation that was built with blood and tears. What could be their thoughts and emotions if they have also experience what we are enjoying at the present time?

Now that I have grown up as an adult, I will continue to fight for freedom and have full expression of my views and insights to protect and uphold our rights. We have a long way to go and we are still living in an uncertain world where others show signs of personal advances and taking away our absolute freedom. I am a Filipino, born of the Malayan race and I will show patriotism, kindness and heroic deeds if necessary. I am a Filipino, I will show greatness in my work; delivering excellence and prestige. I am a Filipino, I will show dedication and loyalty to our country and be part of nation-building. I am a Filipino and I will do my best in words, in deeds and thoughts.

© 2016 Del Cusay

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Philippine Election 2016: Better Leaders for A Better Nation

What is the state of the Philippine government? What can you say about our politicians? Whom are you going to vote for President on the May 2016 election? These are some of the questions I would normally ask my students and colleagues. They may seem to be not keen on the political topics, yet they are challenge by their beliefs and philosophies that guides them on their political stand.The fact that the upcoming election is a showcase of influence and power, still they judge and make a final choice on their candidates based on several factors. The same situation for our fellow Filipinos who wanted to exercise their rights and responsibility to vote. They may be clueless and undecided and their thoughts remain unanswered, however in the end they will make up their minds and choose the ones that are capable and responsible.

Despite of the call for change in our government, there are still challenges that we keep on facing during the election time. We still have issues on graft and corruption which is undoubtedly the number one problem that can't be easily eradicated. Also, political dynasty is rampant across the archipelago since it is allowed by the constitution and no one can't beat those families that are already well established in their respective areas where they have massive influence. In every election period, we keep on hearing about bad practices in political campaign; there is the use of guns, goons and gold which is synonymous to violence and cheating. Other related issues like premature campaigning, mudslinging and black propaganda is also common and people are becoming used to it already  to accept or to refute. 

The state of Philippine governance is still unstable due to several factors. We can't solve or eradicate problems such as corruption, poverty and crime. Although, everything is being done by our leaders to address those issues, still we have a long way to go to finally reach our ultimate goal of progress for all, not just the elite but also the underserved . Through the years, we are bombarded with issues that affects our nation and degrades our pride being a Filipino. News regarding heinous crimes across the country has not been given immediate justice they deserved; death sentence execution of overseas Filipino worker could be rooted on ignorance and poverty; inefficiency in public transport causes stress and unproductiveness; and our fight for territorial seas is weakened due to lack of will-power by our leaders. 

This 2016 Philippine national and local election is a test of our faith to our electoral system and the candidates who are aspiring to run our government. As a Filipino we do not only exercise our right to vote, but we must also actively involve in political affairs through voting of the right leaders and being vigilant of electoral fraud and violence. We are also looking for an effective, loyal, compassionate and true leaders who will uplift the standards of statesmanship  to lead the real change that the Filipino people deserves. 

Our political system may have some flaws and it will take some time to achieve ultimate perfection, however if we elect the right leaders who have political will, brilliant mind and a good heart, then we will achieve peace, stability and progress as a nation and it would be the best gift that we could offer to the next generation of Filipinos. 

The challenge is not easy, but we can conquer hindrances towards the path of righteousness and progress. We deserve a peaceful community free from chaos and crimes; a government that will uplift the dignity and integrity of the masses; and a stronger nation that will protect and preserve the sovereignty. If we can regain the discipline and the will-power, we can achieve the change that we wanted. We do not wait for our leaders and see what they can do for us since we have a role to play in nation-building. We are a single unit of a greater whole; without our participation it will create a ripple of irresponsible citizenry. As we take this journey onward, we are looking for a brighter future ahead and we express gratitude to our Divine guides for watching over us -- our thoughts and intentions. I am a Filipino and I believe that we can do great things possible as long as we open our hearts and minds to the reality and work together for the greater good and for humanity's sake. 

© 2016 Del Cusay

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Heart's Desire: Living A Fantastic Life

There are times when life gives us a sweet taste of beautiful experiences. Oftentimes, life may also give a bitter taste of painful memories. 

However, we reminisce both the sweetness and bitterness that haunts us; our thoughts and emotions that will either make or break us.

When a tough time comes, we challenge ourselves to overcome it. We are creating an emotional shield as a protective defense not to become broken, but to shed the light of love to ourselves and others. We activate the internal light to guide us when we are lost and to be redirected towards the path of righteousness.

Our memories are a collection of beautiful experiences that will uplift us when things aren't right. Whereas, our miseries can teach us to become tough when we are halfway through... but a fading light. We are crafted by our imagination and desires that can spark a greater force of illumined self for the greater good and a better life.

Today, we are directing ourselves based on the principles we inherit. We go on when we are certain and without hesitation; we pause for a while and ponder when it seems to be doubtful. We continue to seek validation despite fully knowing ourselves, "are we good enough or is it just enough?"

As we continue the journey, we are "Following Our Heart's Desire" and we are molded through life's hopelessness and challenges; turning miseries into bliss. The peak of temporary happiness is when we surpass the valley of tears; a cycle of life that is never-ending; always temporary but has a joyous end.

Our destiny is always unknown to us. However, a Divinely-inspired being will arise in us, sharing a light of hope to some and enlightenment to many... only then it is rightful to live in comfort and live the charming life we deserve to be.

 © 2016 Del Cusay

Monday, February 1, 2016

Stars of the Galaxy: Reliving the Magical Moments

Sometimes in our lives, we reminisce wonderful moments that once have made us feel good about ourselves. We enjoyed those moments that have captivated our imaginations and desires. 

We cherished the times when we feel ignited by our passion and aspirations. We feel great about ourselves and we strive to show our best self.

Today, we live and create our own reality; our version of life that guides our destiny. It's not just a dream, but to rekindle moments that will launch us to our destination -- our future success. We create a roadmap to guide us along the way; not to be overwhelmed by circumstances, but to regain ourselves when we brave the stormy seas.

Our journey to success would always depend on how much power we unleash in ourselves. Once the untapped energy is activated, it will be ever-ready to launch us to something unimaginable. You may not believe it at first, but those dreams and desires are becoming closer to reality -- your magical journey.

Oftentimes, we meet uncontrollable circumstances to challenge us; to make or break; to test... Our unwavering faith would build a solid rock; to strengthen the core. And when the rough time comes, our best defense would be on hand; fierce and mighty, ready to knock out and bounce back to reality.

On the way to the peak are hills and valleys that often get unnoticed to many; with disregard to the hidden struggles and dreaded misery. 

Others see the hollowness that breaks easily, though the barrier is still unbreakable to set you free -- you become a winner and will always be.

Our commitment to excellence is like a bow and arrow. It will uplift our standards and eventually prove our worth, not to others, but to ourselves. Whereas, our goal to hit the target is like a compass. It will guide us towards the right path. We might get lost, but we can be sure to regain our life and follow the guiding light.

© 2016 Del Cusay

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Celebrating the Feast of Sto. Niño 2016

On this day we celebrate the feast of the Child Jesus all over the Philippines. It has been part of our culture and tradition that we venerate on the holy image since it was brought over by Spaniards in our country. Since then, Filipinos would embrace Christianity and become our way of life.

The feast of Santo Niño is one of the most celebrated event in the Philippines and millions of devotees all over the archipelago would join activities in honor of Him. From the oldest city of Cebu and the busy streets of Manila, the festivity is alive; it is vibrant, colorful and full of energy.

Today I was able to witness how we celebrate this famous religious event. Thousands of people participated on the parade as they march to the beat of the drums. The long procession was full of energy as they carry the holy image while waving it on the air. Some holy images are uniquely dressed to portray different occupations like policeman, nurse, doctor and others. This concept has been a tradition among the faithful who believes that it will bring blessings to them and guide their living.

The feast of Santo Niño de Tondo 2013 was memorable to me as I personally experienced a crowd of devotees as they celebrate the mass and have their holy image blessed with a holy water. I made a sacrifice of falling in line to reach the top of the church in Tondo, Manila where the holy image of Santo Niño is placed. To touch the holy image and say a prayer is  a symbol of faith and devotion -- faith that is unique among us and would forever be observed with our grateful heart. 

The Holy Child Jesus in his image we call as Santo Niño reminds us of innocence and vigor. When we were young, we have full of wonders and we have  genuine happiness; we are robust and truly present. We don't mind about negativity and we feel that we are being guided. Just like Santo Niño, it reflects the child within us. Our humility, graciousness and innocence leads us to live a positive life despite the struggles and challenges we are going through.

It is with our faith that we learn to be strong and keep on moving forward. The strong Divine force -- our God is there to watch over and guide us. When we are fearful, we turn to become fearless. When we are weak, we develop strength; and when we are about to quit, we suddenly hold on and keep the faith. 

© 2016 Del Cusay

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Nazareno 2016: Celebrating The Feast of The Black Nazarene

The feast of the Black Nazarene or in Filipino called "Pista ng Poong Nazareno" has been a significant religious event in the Philippines. It is more than a culture, but a symbol of courage and faith to God Almighty. Through the years and for several centuries, Filipino devotees venerate and show piety through the holy image of the Black Nazarene at the Quiapo Church in Manila.

It was 3 years back when I first celebrated the grand feast of the Black Nazarene. It was a solemn event in the vicinity of the church where devotees flock to celebrate the mass and have their religious items blessed with holy water. Although the weather is quite rainy, still people consider it as a blessing. I have even experienced to shower in the drizzle and doesn't mind to get wet. It is a sacrifice and a show of perseverance despite of a little obstacle.

As I remember Nazareno 2013, the crowd around Quiapo church is more peaceful and orderly as compared to the "traslacion" or the transfer of the image from its original place in Luneta (now Rizal park) going to its current home in Quiapo church. During the traslacion, millions of devotees brave the massive crowd along the the streets where the procession passes by. Others would have the endurance and courage to hold the piece of long rope attached to the image which they believe brings miracle to their lives. Some would have their hankies wiped over the image and believe that it can bring healing power.

Numerous stories have been shared already by devotees who could testify with the miraculous power of the holy image of the Black Nazarene. Even famous Filipino celebrities would also share the blessings they received from their devotion. However, the event is for everyone regardless of societal status; rich or poor, healthy or sick, young or old could show their faith and devotion.

On this day, 9th of January 2016, I've experienced once again the religiosity of the Filipino devotees to the Black Nazarene. The vicinity of the Quiapo church is crowded with the faithful who celebrated the mass and novena. For bout 2 hours, I didn't mind to stand as I hear the holy sacrament and at the same time praying for my personal intentions. There are individuals and families praying together. Some parents would even bring their little child despite of the crowd. While some people who are physically sick would endure as an act of sacrifice for their intentions.

Those who did not go to traslacion or procession have just visited Quiapo church to celebrate the mass. There are a crowd of volunteers and devotees who go barefoot which symbolizes humility. For several years they have been serving the Black Nazarene to show their faith and deeper sense of personal devotion.

I am not an active devotee of the Black Nazarene, but I believe that God hears our prayers and intentions if we come with all our hearts and with humility. I am one with the millions of people who experienced the Divine blessings and interventions. It is truly a spiritual journey and along the way are hardships and struggles that are fulfilling in the end.

The feast of the Black Nazarene is not about  religiosity. It is also a test of faith as we endure and sacrifice on this event. When we are weak and giving up, God is there to save us and make us strong and complete. Moreover, it would take courage and humility to be with the massive gathering of the faithful to give thanks, ask forgiveness, and pray for personal intentions. It is a spiritual journey not just today, but a lifetime and eternal life.

 © 2016 Del Cusay

Friday, January 1, 2016

New Year 2016: A New Beginning

What the wonderful year 2015. This might be the simplest statement of what I've been through for the previous year. There were ups and downs, but still able to conquer challenges and reach another milestone in life. The year 2015 brought me to another chapter of extraordinary living where I stretch myself beyond the limits.

It was a fascinating journey when I've been to places where my thoughts have brought me. It was indeed a law of attraction that's working whenever I need it. Years ago when I started to believe that we become what we think, then I learned to practice and incorporate it regularly to achieve whatever goals that I desire. 

If I have done it before, then I believe that I could attract things that will surely work for me. This year I have accomplished several goals while others are in the process and turning them into a reality. Life has never become as magical as it may seem, but with creativity and passion, there has been an unimaginable turning point. 

Some tough decisions would have changed circumstances, yet it was something fulfilling. For a long time in service, now is the time for a new adventure with awesome people full of energy and confidence in reaching a certain level of success. 

The previous chapter has never been easy, hence full of challenges that made me a better person. I've been polished like a gem -- a precious one that illuminates and sparkles. It is a product of enlightenment to a certain level and my deepest gratitude to the master of life that once I've known. 

Everything that was learned will always be carried over to the next chapter and then it goes on. Everything has its own significance and it will be of merit when it's done with honor and dignity. Being grateful to past success will help create more abundance and blessings and this is what I know for sure. 

However, it's not always about the peak of happiness and success. There may have been untoward circumstances that are beyond our control and that teaches us a lesson to be resilient and by learning to move forward. Life may throw a hard rock but it can become a polished and more refined stone thereafter depending on how we deal with things and accepting the challenges. 

It's truly wonderful to face obstacles towards success. It takes passion, courage, and desire to be able to make it. Along the way are rough roads and intersections that will eventually lead to the right direction. It may seem a very challenging year take, but with perseverance, I surpass the trials that will launch a newer version; a better and extraordinary one. 

© 2015 Del Cusay