Sunday, September 8, 2019

Heart's Desire: An Answered Prayer

If there is a tool that hears and grants our dreams and wishes, that would be the power of prayer to the Almighty one. God hears... God listens... God answers our heart's desires.

That spiritual tool is in the hearts of people who flock together in a Holy place for a  prayer, celebrate a mass or offer a thanksgiving. This is an act of affirmation to one's faith to the Divine no matter what religious affiliations they belong.

In the Philippines, people deeply believe in the powerful intersession of the Divine Mother; Mama Mary, the Mother of Christ.

At school, in our religious studies and in catechism, we were taught about the Holiness of Mama Mary for her obedience to God's revelation and plan. That virtue made her the greatest Mother we adore.

In the powerful intersession of the Blessed Mary, we visit the National Shrine of Mother of Perpetual Help which attracts several thousands of Devotees and faithful due to so many answered prayers and petitions. It is our deeper faith that our prayers are granted; just like our own dear Mother who grants the wishes of her child.

In our hometown where people and families flock in a peaceful sanctuary in her honor, the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish Lomboy has blessed many people who call her name in her intersession.

As we celebrate Mama Mary's birthday, we give her thanks and praises for all the answered prayers to God. Blessed Mother of God never fails to a child who kneel and pray. Her Divinity inspired and blesses our heart's intentions and desires.

At this moment, I am blessed for another answered prayer. I am forever grateful for the Divine Mother whom I praise and adore. Our love to our own dear Mother is a manifestation of our love to the Divine Mother, our Mama Mary who loves us and prays for us. 

© 2019 Del Cusay

Monday, September 2, 2019

Birthday Special: Love and Gratitude

Birthday marks a new beginning; a new cycle of life. It is one of the most pleasant day of remembering how the past year had been and how we fair in life's dealing; how we lived our best life and how we brave all the challenges that had arrived.

If life is a cycle of ups and downs; of good times and bad times, then I have gone through its roller coaster ride. Some cycles were good enough that it gave me more energy and will power to execute ideas and turn them into reality. Whereas some cycles triggered lower emotions that produces lower frequency or vibrations.

The life cycle just before birthday was truly a purification time of breaking negative thoughts and obsolete beliefs. Letting go of unpleasant emotions and moving forward  for a brighter side; a greater cycle of renewal and strong will. 

On this day, is when I was born in this world more than 3 decades ago and this day marks the first cycle of life that gives meaning and power. The strongest time of the year comes when we celebrate our precious birthdate. This is the time we give wishes to ourself and extend to our love ones. 

The gift of a good life is the fundamental source of gratitude and the goodness of life is shared with love and compassion to my family, friends and dear ones.

On this new birth year cycle, one of the best gift would be "a break" to take it slow, stop for a while, build enough energy to appreciate the things that I already have. To be able to express my deepest love and gratitude for my parents who gave me life and to enjoy God's natural wonders and live a simple and slow paced life. 

Today, it's just another simple celebration of the start of another life cycle. Another year has been added, but age certainly is just a number. As I grow old, I continue to live my greatest life and I aspire to be a reflection of Divine love and light for my family and those people I will meet along the road.

Another cycle of life will rock my world, but I am hoping to keep my faith and stay above circumstances beyond my control. I have conquered my weaknesses and this time is the beginning of making the best things possible though the Divine power, love and light. The cycle of life that is God's greatest delight. 

© 2019 Del Cusay

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Journey to Self-care and Personal Development

Some time in 2013 I met an old wise man in a home care in New Delhi. He is wise because of the great wisdom he had imparted me for about an hour of meaningful conversation. He is a sage; his intellect may be far beyond our consciousness, but one thing that makes him inferior at that particular time is that he was physically ill and not able to enjoy what a physically able-bodied person could do.

The volunteers together with the residents and Founder of Panchvati Elderly Care Home, Ms. Neelam Mohan in New Delhi on June 27, 2013.

From that precious conversation, what he offered me was his mental and spiritual consciousness and life experiences. That was one of the deepest conversations I ever had and I was so thankful that I have met someone like him. What an aha! moment and a blissful encounter.

So yes! Some people may have reached the level of "intelligentsia, a Saint or a Sage" that is a developed mental and spiritual level of consciousness, but some of them have failed in physical health. However some people may just be of average intelligence, but they are physically fit and enjoy what life can offer.

From that moment when I left the room of the wise man, I had a realization that it would be better to improve oneself and reached that level of consciousness just like him and at the same time physically well and so we can enjoy our greatest lives; living a fantastic life.

Just like those elderly residents that I have met on that home care, most of them had medicines for their health conditions. They used to become active in their younger years, but later on experienced some pains and sufferings on physical, mental and emotional levels of health.

On that day where I have given a health talk and some practical exercises to the elderly residents in the home care, I felt their desire to bring back their physical health where some of them perhaps have regrets.

So here comes the importance of self-care, that no matter how much success we have attained in life, some will be bound for physical suffering as we age when we neglect some levels of health. For instance, we may be mentally healthy, but stress, anxiety and fatigue led to illness and health imbalance.

Self-care is about doing some activities that promotes health and wellness; those things sometimes we do not have much time and effort because we think we only have a limited time and we have to work harder, aspire for more to live more comfortably and successfully.

Self-care is about healing our wellbeing after a stressful day. It could also be healing our emotions when we feel sad or depressed. It is also about clearing our mind when troubled. It is uplifting our soul when we are lost and in the dark. So everything in life is a balancing act to be able to soar high. We need to achieve a balance in physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health for a complete wellbeing.

Thinking that self-care is a selfish act and expensive? That weekend treat in a spa and wellness center could be expensive, but there are things in life that are worthwhile for just a little expense.

That weekend travel getaway with your family or friends could lead to rejuvenation. Spending some time at the beach, river or lake is like breathing out your inner toxicities making you feeling lighter and more calm. Barefoot walking in the sand or riverstones promotes earthing or grounding; feeling more attached to nature and earth. Nature is wonderful and spending some time on it cleanses our soul and revives our spirit.

In our travels there are some things we could do. We can have some meditation and breathing exercises to relax and heal our body, mind and soul. Have some pure thinking time while having your favorite cup of coffee or tea. A meaningful conversation with the family or friend. Do some strolling in the garden or nearby park. Appreciate historic sites, arts and Cultural heritage. Visit a church or chapel for a prayer or a mass.

Also, once in a while even little thing relaxes our senses and can have some positive effect. A body massage, aromatherapy, music therapy and journaling. You see? That completes a meaningful and soulful travel. That promotes balanced health in all levels: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. That is the essence of self-care! to bring back our holistic being.

As we get back to our home or at work, we feel renewed and whole again. However, self-care never ends. It is a lifestyle! It may be a struggle, but we need at least 8 hours of quality sleep. Eating foods with nutritional value. Having some "me time" to evaluate oneself. These self-care activities is essential towards personal development.

At work, self-care must be practiced as we need to protect ourselves from physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. It would be good to get away from toxic situations and from bad influences that can degrade our self-worth.

Self-care is doing little things that matters to keep us balance and in perfect health. We need to look into our own being first before we can extend our services to others. Greater service comes with a great self; love of beingness and our own holiness.

© 2019 Del Cusay

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Heaven in Our Hearts: Soaring High on Earth

Environmental protection and preservation is what the world needs. Nowadays, we hear about natural and man made disasters affecting our environment and ecosystem which greatly affects how we live. 

We may see or hear from the news about deforestation, illegal logging, forest wildfires and illegal mining. Some of these activities are a natural phenomenon while others may be a result of massive industrialization resulting from greed. We may not only hear about it, but we may actually have witnessed some of these in reality.

In the Philippines, we have several groups and personalities who are an environmental warrior; environmental activitists and Philanthropists who deeply show their love and concern about our environmental welfare. One of those personalities I truly admire and respect is Gina Lopez who advocated and founded several foundations supporting environmental protection.

I consider Gina Lopez as the Mother Teresa of the Philippines. As a missionary in Europe, Africa and India for 2 decades, she has developed a Divine consciousness by devoting her time and energy serving the marginalized people, those who are underprivileged and those who are poor in love and spirit.

With the higher consciousness she has attained in her mission abroad, she decided to return to her origin in the Philippines to spearhead a Foundation of one of the country's largest media company. She founded the Bantay Kalikasan which cause is to protect the environment and natural resources. She was also active in the rehabilitation effort of the Pasig River and one of the advocate for the La Mesa Ecopark which is considered as the last and remaining forest in Metro Manila.

Team building at the LA Mesa Ecopark in May 2011

Gina Lopez may not be able to witness how far her efforts may have gone since she already passed away, but her spirit as what she said will always be alive. She will remain to be a well loved personality since she has touched so many lives through her breakthrouh projects and various social development programs.

Gina Lopez was a visionary. She has a great love to Filipino people and once she uttered that if 'heaven is made from people's hearts, she think that we can build heaven in the Philippines' and she deeply believed that we can fly high and make things happen. This is her vision and together if we believe we can do it, then we will indeed experience a piece of heaven on earth; not a fantasy, but our shared reality.

Gina Lopez envisioned about natural environment that is sustainable through Ecological tourism or known as Farm tourism. She was one of those who believe that we can achieve prosperity through harmony with nature.

As an environmental advocate, I patronize the emerging rise of farm tourism industry in the country and I believe that it will become a living trend not only today but in the years to come.

Our love to our country can be shown through the kind of environment that we live in. We envision the next generations to breathe fresher air, to be under the shade of the tree, to see the forest and to benefit from the natural resources that we have protected and preserved.

We may have lost a strong leader and Environmental protector, but her legacy will remain in our hearts as she envisioned the kind of heaven we all deserve to live.

© 2019 Del Cusay

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Road to Summit: Unloading Our Emotional Baggages

There are times when we feel stucked at some point in our lives. There's heaviness in our hearts causing us to slow down or to quit; to end the game and breathe out the pain.

That heaviness on our being may be a result of past traumas, anxieties, guilt and toxicities from people and the environment. We call it "emotional baggage" which is unwanted and causes us to pay for the price.

Just like in our travels, we never wanted to pay for excess baggage at the airport counter which costs us more. It gives us inconvenience and stress and a bad experience. I remember some time in 2014 when I was at Kathmandu Airport in Nepal going back to New Delhi in India when the airport counter lady charged me more for my excess baggage. Without much cash on my wallet, I leaved for a while to withdraw from the ATM. From that moment I was uneasy, but luckily I was able to get my money to pay for the price of my excess baggage and I felt so bad.

From that horrible experience, I can relate it to the present reality of having to carry for more and paying for the price. Our lower emotions like anger, jealousy, pride and rage takes away the peace in our hearts. That heaviness from inside prevents us from moving fast forward since we are distracted from so many rumbling thoughts and roller coaster of emotions.

Perhaps one of the reasons we are stucked is because of the attachments we have on someone or something from somewhere. Or it could be the other way around when someone is so attached with us that we suddenly become mentally connected.

When this excess emotional baggages affects our wellbeing, there's a way out to escape before we become totally stucked. It is when we recall in details what went wrong that we start to be directed by a compass; the right direction towards the desired destination.

It is when we decide to escape from trouble that we start to experience emotional freedom as we travel on the road to Summit. From there, we take a deep breath, relive the present moment and capture what is pleasant and peaceful. Suddenly without us knowing, we unload the heaviness of emotions that caused us pain and sorrow. That is good for our mental health and overall wellbeing. 

At the summit, we breathe out what is unwanted; something that doesn't contribute much value to our being. And then, when we feel the lightness, we are now ready to take on the next adventure on our road to forever. We are ready to love again for this is the right thing to do and we have made the right choice. To live and laugh again, to love and be whole again.

© 2019 Del Cusay

Monday, August 12, 2019

Eid'l Adha: Its Interfaith Significance

On this day marks the Islamic celebration of the 'Festival of Sacrifice' known as Eid - al Adha. This festival was unknown to me for many years in spite of being declared a holiday and I haven't understood much about its religious significance until recently when I have made an Islamic and cultural immersion at the Manila Golden Mosque in celebration of the end of Ramadan or the  Eid'l Fitr: A Moment of Peace

Community Immersion at Manila Golden Mosque during the celebration of Eid'l Fitr on June 5, 2019

Eid'l Adha is the time when Muslims from around the world commemorates the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim or Abraham to sacrifice his son. What's interesting about this feestival is the similarity of the same story in Christianity found in the book of Genesis in the old testament.

In the Quran, God appeared to Abraham and was told to make a sacrifice of his son, Ishmael. In the Bible, the son of Abraham to be sacrificed was Isaac. Then, just before Abraham would end the life of his son, a lamb was replaced by God instead of his son. That was a test of faith given by God to Abraham and he passed it faithfully.

In a deeper sense and in today's significance, that son of Abraham may not be just a literal person, but would be something in us that is valuable; a part of us that we are most attached. It could be attachment to someone, to a worldly possession or obsolete thoughts.

These attachments take away our precious time with God due to divided attention. When God tested Abraham to sacrifice his son, it's like God's way of telling Abraham to pay attention to Him and obey His will and that Abraham will be able to follow wholeheartedly when his attention is undivided and to God alone.

In our reality today, God may be talking to us and commanding us of what to do, but we choose to ignore Him or simply we don't focus on listening to Him. We are preoccupied with our daily activities, our work or building relationships with our family and the community, but we dont give him much time and attention due to so many physical, mental and emotional distractions.

It's also a reality that God may take away something valuable or someone we love and that we have nothing to oppose, but to accept it  wholeheartedly because that is His will and that is the Divine plan. It is then we realize that God is in total control of everything, even the breath that we take and even our last breath on earth. 

Eid'l Adha is not just significant among our Muslim brother and sisters because all of us regardless of faith may have learned about the sacrifices that we have to take.

Today, we may be making sacrifices to save us and to uplift our soul. We may be sacrificing a relationship with someone, a friend or a group. This is where we let go of things that does not give much value to our being but just give us pain and sorrow.

When we let go of old habits and obsolete beliefs, we then take on a fresh idea, we accept a new relationship and we nurture what is ideal for God's glory and Divine love. That's an interfaith significance we all can learn from our Muslim brothers and sisters.

We do not hate, but we cultivate deeper understanding, acceptance and belonging. We do not fear, but we face the reality stronger and steady. We do not ignore, but we co-celebrate with humility and love to our Humanity. For we live to co-exist and we can live harmoniously, peacefully and happily.

© 2019 Del Cusay

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Year of The Youth 2019: The Pilgrim Youth Cross

The Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Lomboy, Linambasan, Capiz has been a home to a strong community of Youth Ministry since the time of Reverend Father John Denosta, the first ever designated Parish Priest. Today, it is even stronger and bigger as the Religious Community grows under the Parish Head, Reverend Father Jeffrey Estrella and co-Parish Priest, Reverend Father Chris Señeres.

Since the early years of the Mission Station; before it was elevated to a Parish status, I have witnessed the Religious presence and dedication of the youth in their Church service. The melodious and angelic voices of the youth choir touches the soul of the people during the regular Sunday mass and special occasions like Christmas. We see a growing Parish Youth Ministry to be the bearer of light and hope not only today, but in the years to come until they fully bloom in their Community and Religious service.

In celebration of Year of the Youth this 2019, The Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish welcomed the Pilgrim Youth Cross on August 3, 2019 facilitated by the leaders and members of the OPH Parish Youth Ministry. 

The Youth Cross was transfered by the Youth Ministry of San Vicente Ferrer Parish to be venerated at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish for about a week. The Youth Cross was brought to the neighboring barangay of Lucero and was welcomed by the youth at Lucero National High School. It was then brought to Macario Bermejo National High School in Jaena Norte where hundreds of youth have embraced the religious symbol of Catholic faith.

At the end of a week-long of Pilgrim Youth Cross it was the time to pass on to the the next Parish in the nearby town of Tapaz. On August 10, the Youth Cross together with the Youth Ministry members headed to San Nicolas De Myra Parish and was welcomed by their Youth Ministry.

The National Youth Cross was specially made for the Philippine Catholic Youth Ministry and is being circulated in different Parishes nationwide. It was inspired from the founder St. John Paul ll since it was introduced in 1985 and presented during the celebrations of Word Youth Day where thousands and even Millions of Youth Pilgrims came to celebrate and profess their faith. 

This year 2019 has been a memorable journey for the Pilgrim Youth Cross as it reached the Parish of  Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish . May the Youth Cross bring them closer to the Christ as it reminds them of the personal cross that they carry within.

When darkness invades the soul of the young ones, the cross comes to symbolize hope and faith that no matter how challenging life is, still they will come to defeat the darkness and unleash the light from within.

© 2019 Del Cusay

Sunday, August 4, 2019

The Resilience of The Filipino Spirit: The People of Guimaras Island

The Island-Province of Guimaras in Western Visayas, Philippines is blessed with natural ecosystem and the booming ecotourism. This tiny Island is peaceful and wonderful that many people are attracted with its natural splendor.

I have visited the Island of Guimaras for the first time in March 2014 and have met a Religious Community in the town of San Lorenzo. That was just about 2 hours of immersion but I have felt the warm welcome from the Religious leaders and the members. That was the Iglesia Filipina Independiente or Philippine Independent Church that I have served through a practical health talk as part of our WellLife Program delivered in key cities in the Philippines.

Apart from meeting with the Religious Community, I was able to enjoy swimming at the beach with its semi white sand and clear waters and so I promised to come back to explore the other side of the Island. In December of that same year in 2014, I came back and enjoyed a day in the islet called "Tatlong Pulo" in the town of Jordan and that was my first ever camping in a cove and my second and last visit on the Island that I call a paradise. 

WellLife Program in San Lorenzo, Guimaras in 2014

On August 3, Saturday, I was saddened by the news about the tragic incident of the 3 passenger boats that have capsized in Iloilo Straight; just in the middle of the waters of the province of Iloilo and the Island of Guimaras. This happened inspite of the absence of a typhoon signal, but the presence of strong wind and water currents. Of more than 50 passengers, there were reported survivors, but the sad part is the number of casualties and the missing passengers whose lives were not saved.

I feel their loss and empathize with the stories of some survivors and those who are mourning  for the loss of their love ones. Who could have imagined the sudden death from a tragedy that could have been prevented to happen.

I suddenly remember what I have learned from the AGOS forum about Disaster Relience back in July 2017 when they have discussed the possibility of zero casualty by following the 3 goals which is to Prepare, Respond and Recover. On this case about the boat incident, there might be lack of preparedness on the part of the authorities when they have not suspended the boat operations despite of inclement weather. They may not be prepared with higher anticipation and their right judgment that have caused the lives of innocent people. 
To have responded and recovered would be an essential goals, but there's always one goal that we tend to neglect and that is "preparation" and so this tragic event will keep on repeating itself until we learned our lesson on the essense of preparation. 

This would be one of the most tragic maritime incident in the Iloilo Straight and we can better prepare so that this will be prevented. I believe that accidents do happen no matter how careful we are, but there are things that we are of total control. Hence, we can improve on our right judgment, leadership and sense of responsibility and accountability.

On a personal level, one lesson would be a need for an enhanced survival skills like swimming to avoid drowning and this could be part of our preparation in a possible maritime incident. We can't always play a victim for something which we can do something. Nowadays, we can't predict or anticipate an accident to happen, but one thing is for sure that survival skills and techniques will go a long way if we value life and become a survivor. 

The people of Guimaras and Iloilo and those families affected may not be able to recover easily and may need our deepest sympathy and prayers. I have known them being a deeply spiritual people and they will remain to be strong and will always rise up again from this sad fate.

As a Filipino we will always rise up from tragedies... we can rise up from natural calamities. Our resilience remains amidst sorrows and pain. But one thing is certain that we may be able to recover, but not cover the pain. We can live our life again with the best learnings and wisdom we can gain.

© 2019 Del Cusay

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Reliving the Memories on The Road to Bato Arobo

It's been more than a decade since I have reached the mountain top of Bato Arobo. A place that brings pleasant memories of my childhood days. Back then, we used to hike for more than an hour just to reach if coming from Sitio Lomboy in Linambasan, province of Capiz; the landmark being the present day Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish 

I had great  Memories of Mount Bato Arobo  together with my family and I am eager to see it after a long time. A day after May 13, 2019 midterm election, we decided to have an adventure ride to see the ongoing road construction development from the Parish going to the road to Bato Arobo. This is a momentous moment to be back and see the mountain ranges from afar, to breathe in fresher air and to relive the old days.

The road to Bato Arobo is like a roller coaster ride, there are ups and downs and a wonderful scenery ahead with tall Coconut palms and greeneries. The less than 2-hour hike can now be reach by a vehicle in less than 15 minutes.

Two months after, on July 24 a day before the 89th birthday of my Grandfather we decided to bring him to visit again the Road to Bato Arobo when the roadside development is nearing its completion. Due to the hilly slope on both sides of the road, there is a need for a concrete hillside cover to protect from untoward soil erotions; the same thing we can see on the hilly streets of Baguio City.

Along the Road to Bato Arobo are farmlands planted with rice and coconuts which makes the surrounding cool and pleasant. There are few houses on the way and it is even a distance apart on the foothills of the mountain. In few years time perhaps over the next decade more houses will be built considering the accessibility of the road going to the town center.

What makes it beautiful is the natural landscape of the mountains with occasional fog when it rains and when the temperature drops. Bato Arobo has a higher elevation that makes it cool and windy that is perfect for unwinding over a cup of coffee and tea or a bowl of hot noodles or batchoy.

                      Video above; click the arrow to view

Nature has a healing wonders on our soul and the Bato Arobo mountain view gives an awesome appeal to the senses. This is quite similar to soul searching in the Highlands of Tagaytay and Baguio. Though the place is on its way to development, still it is pristine and naturally beautiful.

Bato Arobo will always have a place in my heart since I have conquered its summit when it was just a trail and now that we embrace its development there would be no barriers in reaching the mountain top and to relive its scenic mountain view. Bato Arobo is a natural wonder of all time and also a natural heritage in our time. We preserve, we protect and we recollect memories that will last for a lifetime. 

© 2019 Del Cusay

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Happiness in Our Hearts

What could be more important in life?
Biggest dream, achieved goals, a success...
A dream job, a dream house, a fancy car
A dream destination in a farthest nation

When success means a million dollar
Yes! having a lot, but not feeling enough
Giving it all, but no contentment at all
No happiness, no pure joy.. No bliss

Success is the presence of happiness...
When I get successful, I'll be happy... Nah!
When I am happy, I feel successful... Yeah!
Happiness is a positive psychology... Aha!

Happiness comes from a natural thing
Not so expensive and not an elusive thing
A glimpse of a dawn; a beautiful twilight...
A magnificent sunrise, a morning exercise

What else could make us truly happy?
A morning cup of milk, coffee or tea
A chirping sparrow... A Nightingale's song
A mist in the garden, a drizzle... A blessing!

Happiness is within us... Within our reach
Morning ritual of gratitude making us rich!
A good morning greeting... A morning hymn
Thanks God for the happiness... I am lovin'

© 2019 Del Cusay

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Highlands' Sunrise: A Heaven's Call

There's a certain energy that a sunrise would give. At dawn, just before it rises to awaken one's slumber, waking up gives a serenity of a peaceful morning with the natural sounds from chirping songbirds and a fresh morning mist.

To awaken as early as 4:30 in the morning and getting up in bed at 5 A. M. is a pure bliss of an awakened soul to start a brand new day that brings new hope of an awesome adventure and the opportunities that awaits.

In my beloved highland town is where I would experience a pleasant morning to awaken my senses. Watching the colorful hues of the sky from the terrace is like staring at a live painting; a natural masterpiece that showly turns into a bright light and ultraviolet rays that brightens my mood to last for the entire day.

Video above; click arrow to view

What makes me fully alive is the healing energy that the sunrise gives. It nourishes the physical body of the required Vitamin D for the absorbtion of Calcium giving a stronger and healthy bones and an energetic vibes for productivity.

Sunrise would give a positive emotion and expression of happiness and joy and not entertaining any negativity to ruin the day. It is when we leave our negativities behind that makes us feel grateful to life and to the Earth's natural wonders.

A deep breathing exercise absorbs the prana or chi; a life force for healing and  longevity. While a simple yoga-like and internal stamina exercises would loosen up a stiff body and shaken up the soul.

What compliments the sunrise is a cup of coffee; a black and a strong one to completely awaken the senses for daytime alertness.

The sunrise is God's gift for us to wake up each morning with a sense of gratitude to life and to endless energy for our survival. There's a natural wonder as we open our eyes and there's a natural healing as we open our hearts. The sunrise is a heaven's call; a hope for a better day and a hope for a better tomorrow.

© 2019 Del Cusay

Sunday, June 30, 2019

A Beautiful Sunrise

A magnificent dawn
Staring at the garden
Hearing the music
The nature's so fantastic
Is it real or is it magic

The birds are chirping
The flowers are blooming
Gentle wind is blowing
Thanks God I am awake
I have a beautiful morning

It's the bird that flies
It's the cloud on the sky
It's the sun on the rise
Giving energy so wise
Truly endearing sacrifice 

© 2019 Del Cusay

Thursday, June 27, 2019

The Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help: Our Love and Devotion

In July of 2012, a Catholic Mission Station named after a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Our Lady of Perpetual Help was founded in a peaceful Sitio of Lomboy in Barangay Linambasan, Jamindan, Capiz upon the order of the Archdiocese of Capiz through Reverend Father Rowelyn Langurayan who was the outgoing Parish Priest of San Sebastian Parish during that time. It was Reverend Father John Denosta who was the first ever Priest assigned to celebrate masses and to look after the Spiritual needs of the faithful.

Father Denosta served for 6 year until July of 2018. He is well loved by the people due to his sense of community and Spiritual leadership. For about 6 years, he was able to build and transform the Mission Station into a beautiful  Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish on June 27, 2018. Just few days before the end of his service, he was able to witness and celebrate his success together with the Parishioners, devotees and hundreds of Catholic Faithful.

Today, June 27, 2019 on the Feast Day of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, we have the successor of Father Denosta in the name of Reverend Father Jeffrey Estrella. It's been a year that he is in service to the faithful community not only of Barangay Linambasan, but also from people coming from different barangays of the town of Jamindan.

On this feast day, our Archbishop of Capiz, Most Reverend Jose Advincula officiated the mass together with our Parish Priest Father Estrella and other Priest from different Parishes.

Reverend Father Chris Señeres, co-Parish Priest commissioned a large size iconic portrait of the Our Mother of Perpetual Help through the contributions of the faithful. The icon is placed on the left side of the front wall facing the alter and was blessed by Most Reverend Father Advincula on this feast day. 

The icon was made popular all over the world by the Redemptorist Fathers and has attracted flocks of devotees due to her known miracles of healing and granted special intensions.

I am a living testimony of the miracles of the Our Lady of Perpetual Help and I am grateful for the blessings I've received. Wherever I visit a church in her name, the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Cubao and the National Shrine of our Mother of Perpetual Help in Baclaran  would never fail to grant my petitions.

In our town of Jamindan, we give highest honor to the Mother of God in her blessed Title, the Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Today and in the years to come the Parish will continue to accommodate and serve the ever growing faithful community and even beyond our generation. We will protect and preserve this spiritual sanctuary so that the next generations will be able to witness its glory and miraculous powers to live in their hearts forever.

© 2019 Del Cusay

Sunday, June 23, 2019

The Pathway to Kindness

In any unexpected moment and wherever we may go, we may meet people whom may either be a familiar face or totally a stranger to us. To travel far distances with less resources and feeling of emptiness, but relying on people's kindness.

Whether at home in the countryside or in the busy metropolis; the chilly mountain top or the ocean's summer breeze; in our homeland and even in the foreign land; we get to experience a different level of kindness from the people we meet on the road.

There are times when we feel the need for a soulful reflection in a different direction. Our desire to be alone, but lacks inspiration and motivation. There's a feeling of solitude and pity with some doubts and fears that nobody is there with us willing to sit and hear; to rescue and to care. 

Along the way, some may reach their helping hand while some may walk away. Others may listen while others doesn't even care. It takes a little act of kindness to open their arms, to listen and to embrace. The kind of person who is unknown to them in the beginning, may become someone with a heart as endless as it seem.

Some cultures totally different from ours makes us seek for kindness from their hearts. To be friends with them and to better know them. To plant a seed of kindness and to harvest a gratitude with gladness. 

In our travels some will challenge us, some will rob us, but there will always be someone who will teach us. To stand when we have fallen, to fight when we are frightened, to love and give hope from despair to gladness.

We take a different pathway on the road we choose. Sometimes we get lost but oftentimes have regained the cost. We may take a shortcut to reach the destination with ease and less stress. We may take the common and the known road. We may take the road less traveled and be the person who is most traveled.

All these experiences happen due to different people on the road, some that will hurt and some with a heart. We laugh, we cry, we jump and we try. A shoulder to lean on, a back to carry on, a cheek to kiss and the memories that will be missed.

Kindness in our hearts will always be the pathway to fulfill our desires. An open heart, a big heart and a great heart. That is you, not a stranger, but a lovely dear and a sweetheart.

© 2019 Del Cusay

Thursday, June 20, 2019

World Refugee Day: In Memory of President Quezon

Photo courtesy of America Public Television 

A striking and heartfelt stament was uttered by President Manuel L. Quezon during the Philippine Commonwealth Period in the early 40s . And he said, 

the people of the Philippines will have in the future every reason to be glad that when the time of need came, their country was willing to extend a hand of welcome.”

That statement was in response to the strong intent of Quezon to accept thousands of Refugees during the Nazi Germany Holocaust where millions of European Jews were persecuted under the powerful command of their leader, Aldolf Hitler.

Although physically weak and dying due to a pulmonary disease during that time, Quezon chose to be a humanitarian to give social justice to those who are persecuted. Of the potential 10,000 refugees that Quezon would want to accept, about 1,200 refugees were given a shelter. We have opened our doors and welcomed them wholeheartedly. They were given a piece of land and a livelihood for security and survival.

Quezon was right after all. Fast forward to that future which our present day.  In the year 2018, a film was produced in his honor entitled "Quezon's Game" which was shown to the world in the month of December and in the Philippines in May, 2019. The film was a showcase of our solidarity and compassion to others that we have an open-door policy in accepting refugees.

I have watched the film on this month and it gave me a sense of pride as a Filipino that we are indeed a Nation of kind-hearted people with a sense of humanity and social dignity.

When the world turned down those refugees, only one nation embraced them with open arms and those are the Filipinos. We gave them not only a shelter, but we have helped them regain their identity and sense of humanity and that goodwill was recognized by the Jews when a statue of Quezon was built in Tel Aviv, Israel in his memory and the goodwill of the entire Filipino nation.

When some of our present day leaders would utter words of killing his own people, President Quezon was different and indeed a gentleman with highest regard to human life by saving more than a thousand lives.

Today, we need a leader who is not only tough, but someone who values and upholds the sanctity of human life. There are currently hundreds of millions of stateless people in the world seeking refuge due to wars, armed conflicts, persecution and even economic downfall. They are sick, dying and unwanted by their own people. However, they are still hopeful for a miracle for a second life they deserve.

Today, June 20 is World Refugee Day and it is also a celebration for us Filipinos of our sense of dignity and pride. May our sense of humanity be upon us all for those who are abandoned, unwanted and persecuted. We are a Filipino and we are a life-saver from our past and until forever.

© 2019 Del Cusay

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Father's Day Special: Greatest Life Lesson

I have followed and learned from our world's best teachers and they are the source of inspiration and motivation on how to live well; living with dignity and sense of purpose. 

From the Dalai Lama to Deepak Chopra; both world-renowned teachers, have guided me on the path of spirituality through powerful knowledge and wisdom .

Master Del Pe, a modern Sage and life mentor have also made a significant impact in my life and led me on the path to higher consciousness and a balanced life.

But today, I give my highest honor and gratitude to the one who gave me life on this world and continue on leading my life through his words and actions. He is none other than my Father. My great teacher and life mentor. 

My Father is  Leading the Way when I am frightened; when I don't believe in myself. He gives enlightenment when the path seems dark. He pushed me when I don't feel life standing for myself. He saw my struggles, but he let me did it my way. He believed in my capability that I can always make it just the way he did. He taught me the greatest life lesson; to believe in myself when nobody else does.

For 3 decades of my existence I am grateful for the great life I have been given. I may not have the gift of a more comfortable and luxurious life when in my growing up years, but I know that I am filled with love and affection.

Today I feel so blessed that God has given us a responsible and a loving Father and I will forever be grateful for all the sacrifices he did to fulfill our needs and his continued guidance even up to this time.

© 2019 Del Cusay

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

121st Philippine Independence Day: Our Struggle for National Identity and Unity

The present day "Pearl of the Orient Seas" underwent a massive transformation in terms of Socio-cultural, political and economic factors, but since the beginning of the Philippine civilization we may have one of the greatest challenges of all time; to learn about our identity and to achieve national unity.

Las Islas Filipinas under the Spanish regime have made a great effort of mapping our thousands of islands, naming and renaming the places as well as trying to unify the Filipino people while imposing on their culture and religion.

Spanish influences as evidenced by our religion, festivals, food, music and dances have thrive through centuries. We have celebrated cultural and religious fiestas in honor of Patron Saints. We serve Spanish dishes like Adobo, Afritada, Caldereta, Menudo, Mechado, Arroz Caldo and Arroz a la Valenciana. We have Spanish influences on our folk dances like the Fandangos; we have the most popular Pandango sa Ilaw or Dance with light which originated in Mindoro province. Another is the Pandango Oasiwas (Wasiwas) which originated from the fishing town of Lingayen, Pangasinan. We have several La Jota dances like La Jota San Joaquiña which originated from San Joaquin, Iloilo. And we also have affectionate dance, CariñosaThese are some of the Philippine folk dances which I had the opportunity to be part of in High school until College and that made me appreciate our Philippine Arts and culture even more and up to date.

With the treaty of Paris in 1898, we were sold by Spain to the United States for 20 million dollars and that concluded the Spanish-American war. Then came the declaration of the first Philippine Independence on June 12, 1898 headed by Emilio Aguinaldo at Kawit, Cavite. We thought that Americans were on our side, but we suffered a great defeat under Philippine-American war from 1899 until 1902 and had been under their rule until they have granted us independence on July 4, 1946 ⁠—our real independence.

It was during the American rule that we started a modern way of living and we had our new identity being Americanized. We had a free education from the Thomasites and learned the English language. And the Filipinos had a religious freedom with the establishment of new religions founded by Filipinos. Today, there are several American influences on our culture; we eat hamburger, sandwiches and oatmeal. We dine at fast food restaurants like Mc Donald's, Burger King, Wendy's and KFC. We wear polo shirts, belts, tennis shoes, baseball caps, coat and tie. Filipinos love American culture as we continue to speak the English language that is also a great job opportunity for workers in the Business Process Outsourcing industry. We appreciate American music and dance and some Filipinos covet the American dream of living and working in the land of the free the land of Uncle Sam.

During the Word War 2, the Japanese occupation came in 1941 and invaded our Islands and have contributed not much cultural influence for about 3 years, but have left us with painful experiences for the struggles and deaths. For the shortest time of Japanese occupation, the greatest influence would be 'discipline' due to the imposition of curfew. Today, Japanese influence has been part of our culture as we have embraced their martial arts like Karate, Judo and the Filipino version, Karatedo. We have Japanese elements in our gardens. We eat sushi, sashimi and Ramen. And some Filipinos are now eager to visit Japan because it is an ultra modern nation with natural wonders and a better way of living as a first world country in the East.

Over 3 centuries of Spanish settlement, over 4 decades of American rule and over 3 years of Japanese occupation, we are left with painful memories of the past that haunts us even at the present time. We have embraced different cultures from foreign invasions, but we have struggled with our own identity of being a Filipino.

Today, foreign invasions have not ended yet. Trade wars are happening between economic giants from the East and the West. Religious wars are endless in different cities of the world. There is bullying of a bigger country over a dot in a map in the Pacific.

We Filipinos may have a world-class spirit, a globally competitive people, but with the current trend of globalization, the desire to be different, having a colonial mentality and being confused with our identity, then we might secretly be invaded by foreign entities already on this 21st century.

On this day, June 12, 2019 marks the 121st anniversary of the Philippine Independence. It is my first time to celebrate the momentous event in the historical place of Rizal Park. To have witnessed the flag raising ceremony on this day gave a glimpse of a nostalgic past and a vision of uncertain future. 

Today, it is a challenge to retain our real identity of being a Filipino and it is even more challenging to achieve unity for all of us Filipinos. From the Katolikos (Catholics) of the North down to the Moros of the South. The fight of the Manobos and the killing of the lumads. The struggles of the Aetas, Igorots and Mangyans. The differences of the Tagalog and the Bisaya. The war between Philippine armed forces and the local terrorist groups. Diverse groups and cultures striving to establish and secure their local and indigenous identity while striving for significance with national identity to be a Filipino and be proud to say that I Am a Filipino. 

The solemnity of the flag raising ceremony  on this day signifies our unity in diversity. We may come from different Philippine Islands, but we aspire to raise our voices even on silence, to raise our dignity and to raise our humanity. With Freedom in Our Hearts we can achieve lasting peace and unity by instilling a sense of national pride and distinctive identity.

© 2019 Del Cusay

Descrip Among 

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Eid'l Fitr: A Moment of Peace and Harmony

It has been a wish that one day I will be able to have a glimpse of an Islamic religious celebration and have a deeper understanding and experience about the faith of our Muslim brothers and sisters and for today finally that wish came true. 

I am a Christian, but I have celebrated and immersed on other Religious holidays particularly a Hindu festivals like Diwali and Holi; a major festival commemorating the triumph of good versus evil. That was few years back when I had the opportunity to work and travel in India— sometime in 2011 until 2014.

In this new world age we have started to have a greater understanding of different faith and slowly we have gained not only experience but also wisdom and enlightenment. We have started to embrace the world of secularism not because we have a wandering soul, but because we have the desire to stop interfaith conflicts and wars, prejudice, fanaticism and misunderstanding. We have one big desire on this world of numerous faiths and creed, and that is world peace that is achieved through acceptance, humility and love.

There is so much misconception about Islamic faith since some radical Muslims are tagged to be involved in terrorism activities mostly in Middle East and other countries in the world. The negative actions of a few that not define the character of a greater whole, so it is about time to discover more about Islam and to break the barriers in understanding their faith.

In India, I have met some Muslim brother but was not exposed to their major Religious celebration. So now as the world celebrates the end of the Holy month of Ramadan or Eid -al Fitr and declared as national non-working holiday in the Philippines, I have to take the opportunity to be one with our Muslim brothers and sisters as they celebrate their freedom and victory after a month-long of fasting and sacrifices.

My journey started as a simple walking tour heading towards the Golden Mosque found in the busy district of Quiapo in Manila; considered as the old downtown of colonial times. I have been to Quiapo several times to visit the Basilica of the Black Nazarene, but I haven't explored much on the other side where the biggest mosque in Metro Manila is found.

The Golden Mosque in Quiapo, Manila has a similar structure with those found in Middle Eastern countries like the big dome with a crescent moon, the pointed arches, the columns and the artistic carvings. This is also common in Muslim Mindanao where larger mosques in the countey can be found.

On this day as they celebrate Eid'l Fitr, they give their last best shot until they are fully back on regular activities and breaking the fasting ritual. This is purely a day of fun and happiness; a joyous moment.

Starting at dawn just before the sunrise, they would prepare their physical bodies, wear new clothes before heading to mosque for a prayer and sermon, after which they would do house visits to their relatives and neighbors with greetings like Eid Mubarak or Blessed Eid, have some gift giving or cash gift and sharing of foods and sweets.

Christians and Muslims shares the same creed and I have found some similarities which is also the center of our Christian faith. In Islam their teachings include alms giving to the poor and giving food to the needy and helping the poor to uplift their lives; an act of compulsory giving which is one of the pillars of Islam similar to the Corporal works of mercy among Christians.

Since it is a feast day for Muslims, I had my lunch at Pamanganan Malaysian Halal food just few steps from the mosque entrance. There are other Halal certified restaurants nearby like Junaira and Landap café offering Mindanaon cuisine.

We may have read the word "halal" on some some food labels in the supermarket and for Muslims it means 'food that is permitted or allowed according to Islamic law' and the term "haram" is the opposite and would mean 'food that is forbidden' and this shows how strict a Muslim diet could be for the sake of physical and spiritual health.

My day trip at the Manila Golden Mosque was a great experience about Islamic faith and culture. The Arabic architecture and culture makes me appreciate their faith even more. Forget about the radical groups involve in wars and terrorism because they would also condemn it since they do not represent the real Islam. What I know is that Islam is for peace and with great appreciation and understanding we can live harmoniously without instilling harm, hatred and fear, but instead a culture of love and respect with each other.

© 2019 Del Cusay

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