Sunday, May 19, 2019

Sunday Thanksgiving: A Victorious Journey

A milestone was achieved when we have worked together for a common cause; a strategic operation that is mission accomplished. A thousand miles, yet a fulfilled journey. 

It was in year 1998 since it all started when a Divine calling for public service was initiated. My Father was chosen and called to serve the people. At first there was a resistance; a protest due to fear. However in the end, we all agreed and listened to the Divine call. 

As a three-termer legislator, my Father showed courage and perseverance. He may had some fair share of struggles, yet he stood up and fought for the common good. 
He was never frightened to those in the higher authority with the values he uphold and the principles he instilled. 

In 2007, after his 3rd term of public service he went back to business and enjoyed farming as a hobby; a source of joy and serenity. 

In 2013, at the age of 61, he was back in public service and became the head of the Office of Senior Citizen Affairs in our town. 
He advocated for the rights and the benefits of the elderly in collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare and Development. 

On May 14, 2016, after 9 years since his last public service as a Municipal councilor, he decided to make a come back to answer the call of his constituents and on May 15, a day after the midterm election, he was declared for another seat. He actively serve for the interest of the public through local legislations and resolutions that will benefit the general public and uplift the lives of the people. 

On May 13, 2019 Midterm election, my father was declared a winner for his 2nd term. He will continue his public service and speak out and fight for the rights of his constituents. He will continue to be an advocate of our town's agricultural economy and livelihood and will stand up for the welfare of the public transportation sector - - his major committee chairmanship. 

My father is forever thankful to his constituents and to everyone who supported on his political journey. His love of public service remains even when he is not in the position. He speaks loudly on his advocacy and for general services in the community. He is leaving a legacy for his love of the society. He is forever grateful to God for his victory. 

© 2019 Del Cusay

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Mother's Day Special: A Sweet Embrace

A Mother, more than anyone else is always there to show her love and care to her children. A Mother shows compassion; a tender loving care that nourishes our soul and spirit.

Today as we celebrate Mother's day it reminds us of what we have become due to motherly love and care. As we reminisce our childhood days, our Mother was there to comfort us when we are afraid, to care for us when we are sick and in pain and to push us forward when we are frightened or timid.

Looking back at the past is all about struggles and sacrifices of our Mothers, but looking forward to the future is about higher hopes and positive spirits that we will still feel a sweet embrace a tight hug that symbolizes love.

Today and in the years to come, we may not be together everyday and will be miles away, but the soulful connection binds us together.

Our Mother, the love of our life is the one who let us experience the best life she could offer; the best life forever.

© 2019 Del Cusay

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Living in Faith: The Greatest CEO Alive

"Our greatest CEO doesn't fire people, but He is forgiving. He doesn't hate and curse, but He is kind and loving. He is the way the truth and the life. And so when life seems so dark, let us remember that there is one greatest CEO alive who is there  for a rescue. For His love is greater, for He is a true Master."

In our world today, more people are becoming obsessed and are a fan of a grandiose title just like the People magazine's "The sexiest man/woman alive" or the Time magazine's "Most influential People in the world" and the Forbes magazine's "World's Most Powerful CEO" which are quite popular and have a huge followers worldwide.

This obsession with great titles could mean greater power, fame, prestige and authority. It also evokes superiority that sets boundaries in social class and standing; being superior and powerful versus the ordinary and less privileged people.

In our society today, we may idolize someone based on merits that made him superior in many aspects. For instance, one may look up to his own father for being a good provider and leader for the family. Others may have a great admiration and support to their community or religious leaders. For the working people, they may have greatest respect to their CEO or the Chief Executive Officer.

I have worked with several CEOs in my corporate life. They are among the best and the brightest in their industries. They have gained my respect and admiration even though they may have their flaws and different personalities and values that makes them imperfect.

Today, I am working on following with the greatest power, love and light. I am working for the best and the brightest CEO of my life. His personality is beyond excellence. He is a Supreme power; a Divinity.

This ever powerful CEO has died and risen again. He is our Lord, our savior. He is Jesus Christ. He is the Greatest CEO alive. My God, our God.

Jesus works as the greatest CEO who directs us and guides us to the right path. He empowers us, uplifts us and inspires us with his great deeds and miracles.

Jesus our God is working on us, on our family and small community, our country and the world. It is only right that we must also work with Him and follow Him. Jesus is not dead, but He lives in us. His presence is in our hearts, in our mind and our soul.

Our greatest CEO doesn't fire people, but He is forgiving. He doesn't hate and curse, but He is kind and loving. He is the way the truth and the life. And so when life seems so dark, let us remember that there is one greatest CEO alive who is there for a rescue. For His love is greater, for He is our true Master.

© 2018 Del Cusay

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

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

In times of our difficult moments, we always seek for a Divine help; a spiritual intervention that will give us answers to our specific needs. We have our prayers; our personal petitions from God. With humily and faith, we come to the house of God, His church to kneel and offer a prayer.

Today, I chose to travel to a special place of the Mother of God. The National Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, also known as Baclaran church. I have visited the Shrine many times since mid 2000, just the beginning of the new millineum. 

What makes our devotion special is when our Mother took us to the Shrine to pray the novena and to celebrate the mass. Later I have realized that my Mother has a great devotion and faith to the Our Lady of Perpetual Help and with the intervention of Mama Mary, a mission station was built in our hometown in Jamindan, Capiz and was named from the same title of Mary - - Our Lady of Perpetual Help. 

Located in Barangay Linambasan, the mission station of Our Lady of Perpetual Help was elevated to a Parish in the year 2018 with Reverent Father John Denosta as the first ever priest assigned, few months before Reverent Father Jeffrey Estrella took over to continue the religious service to the people. 

Whenever I am in our hometown for a vacation, I visit this peaceful sanctuary to pray for the intervention of Mama Mary. My devotion started because it was our own Mother who led and guided us to come to the Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. My mother has testimonies of the blessings and miracles of the Our Lady of Perpetual Help and she would want us to get dovoted to Mama Mary as our Divine love and light. 

Since then, I have experience peace and serenity and answered prayers which I consider to be a miracle because it was answered at the right time when I almost feel hopeless and desperate. 

Today, the first day of May of 2019 was a blissful experience to be with thousands of devotees who recited the novena and celebrated the mass. There is a Divine presence that keeps us feel embraced and comforted. The solemnity of the eucharist makes us feel strongly connected and our communication feels being heard. 

It is during the silent moment when our hearts could feel and Mama Mary, the Mother of Christ is there for us like our very own Mother who protects and comforts us. 

For today, my petition is for our good health and healing, that God will protect us from sickness and illnesses and heal our physical, mental and emotional discomforts. I believe that we can accomplish whatever we can imagine, with all our energy, only if we are in a better state of health and away from illnesses. This without a doubt, I believe that God will grant though the intercession of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, our Divine Mother.

Today, I am with the Divine and I have prayed for whatever my heart desires. I am forever grateful to Mama Mary and may she always hear and intercede on our prayers to God for our love and devotion is never-ending and an eternal.

© 2019 Del Cusay

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Easter Sunday 2019: A Peaceful Journey

Holy Week 2019 at Antipolo Cathedral 

Holy week gives us time for contemplation about our faith in God. It renews our faith with Jesus Christ through his passion, death and resurrection. In commemoration with his painful sacrifices and journey to Calvary, we have walked through our own path and be with Him.

This year's Holy week gives a new level of enlightenment. Just few miles away from Manila is a pilgrimage city that is visited by millions of Christians most especially during the Holy week. The Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage or known as Antipolo Cathedral offers tranquility for devotees as they pray and renew their vows.

Holy Week 2019: Our Journey to Calvary is our own version of Christ's passion. We carry our own cross towards our own Calvary that is experienced perhaps in our lifetime on earth. Our sufferings give us hope and strengthen our faith that things are not in our control, but only God who is the source of our power and the giver of life.

Easter Sunday gives a new hope for Christians and the humanity as we celebrate the resurrection of Christ. It is a celebration for every family knowing that Christ is truly alive and with us always on our life's journey.

Easter Sunday is a moment of joy that we share among family members and friends. We see the joy glittering in the eyes. We hear the holiness in someone's voice. We feel the compassion in someone's action.

We are now truly living and we continue to follow the path that gives us pure bliss and enlightenment through God's loving mercy and glory forever.

© 2019 Del Cusay

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Holy Week 2019: Our Personal Journey to Calvary

Holy Week 2019 at the Parish of Immaculate Heart of Mary in Antipolo, Rizal

Calvary is a hilly place associated with the crucifixion and death of Jesus; a place we always remember to be the most painful event in His life. It's relevance in today's time goes beyond our catechism about his passion and death, but also our personal journey as we experience to carry our own cross our own journey to Calvary.

On this year's Holy Week celebration, we commemorate the passion, death and resurrection of the Christ our Lord. This is the time for personal reflection and devotion about the significance of Christ's suffering for the humanity that is not exclusive to a particular faith, culture and social status, but referring to Christ's love for all human beings.

We may be suffering endlessly in our lifetime even after death, but it is through pains and sorrows that we learn to grow spiritually and become stronger follower of Jesus and servant of God. If we can remember the stories of several saints that we venerate, they may have been the most sinful man who lived on earth, however God transformed them to be his living disciple until their last breath.

Just like us ordinary human being, we strive hard to become holy, but sins are inevitable on us. We commit sins with our thoughts, words and actions no matter how prayerful we are, yet we still follow the Christ and do not abandon our faith. It is the church that is our refuge in times of difficulties; we kneel to pray, we ask for forgiveness and repent for our sins even we we continue to commit sins in various degree.

We carry not just our own cross, but we have multiple crosses along the way. We carry the cross for our family, country and for the whole of humanity. From our own cross, we are now connected and interrelated. We have sinned personally, so does our families, our country and the humanity.

These crosses are the hardest and the most painful to carry. Everyday we struggle for something; from our thoughts and intentions and to our decisions and actions. Our daily suffering is a reminder that as we live on earth, we are bound to suffer just like Jesus and He taught us that through pains and struggles, we can be saved through His examples; for me that's how Jesus saved us from our sins through His unconditional love.

We have our personal journey of sufferings and we have our very own Calvary in our hearts and mind. When we become a prisoner of our negativity, we also become a prisoner of our faith.

In my hometown in Jamindan, a Parish was built by the people as they carry their cross. Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Linambasan, Jamindan, Capiz is a place for people who would call for the Divine Mother to help us ease the pain and comfort us in our difficulties as we carry our cross.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, Linambasan, Jamindan, Capiz

At these times, we even go beyond our personal cross as we help each other carry the cross of the community of the faithful so that we may be able to walk straight on the path and carry a lighter load we could bear. When we are able to bear the little discomfort as we carry our cross, we can help lighten up the heaviness on our society created by our negativity. We can then go beyond by our share to the country by being a responsible and a faithful citizen that our family and small community have produced.

Holy Week 2019 is to reflect beyond our personal desires for holiness. We may be a sinner, but we can grow spiritually becoming a better member of our family and our community and our beloved country. The Calvary in our time is not a final destination of suffering, but we always carry it and bear with it until our final moment and judgment.

© 2019 Del Cusay

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Lent 2019: God's Amazing Grace

The 40-day Lenten season may be a long spiritual journey among the faithful. This is quite a long time of sacrifice and to give up on things that are insignificant with our faith. Though this is a yearly commemoration of Christ's passion, death and resurrection, still we haven't forgotten it's meaning and we keep on following the Christ for His teachings on living a Christian way.

On this Lenten season, our sacrifices would mean to receive a Divine grace. It is when  we feel hopeless and defeated that God is on a rescue. When we are lost, tired and sick, God comforts us with His loving arms. We feel His presence and that grace means so much that is His amazing grace.

No matter how undeserving we are of God's blessings, still we receive it and we accept it. That kind of saving grace is God's love to us; His love for humanity.

As we celebrate Holy week 2019, we will be going through our personal struggles that signifies our limitations; that we are one with Christ's suffering. We will also be offering our prayers and petitions for ourselves, for our families, for our communities and our country. 

We may have different prayers and petitions, but the most common thing we ask for is our safety and security in times of crisis and at all times, to be spared from natural calamities, to achieve peace of mind and to experience soulful renewal.

God's grace is truly an amazing grace. We will forever be grateful for this Divine gift. A gift that uplifts our soul. A gift that makes us whole.

An amazing Lenten Journey 2019.

© 2019 Del Cusay

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Lent 2019: The Spiritual Works of Mercy in Our Time

In celebration of the lenten season, I have shared about the 'Acts of Mercy' which Jesus Christ taught us by example during his time as a living son of God on earth.

Corporal Works of Mercy in Our Time  is about showing compassion to those who may be suffering physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually in this modern times and how we can help them live a dignified life and feeling the love, care and support of fellow brothers in Christ. 

Corporal Works of Mercy is more on the physiological needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ, but there is another Acts of Mercy that we called to practice and that is the Spiritual Works of Mercy; to purify our soul and uplift our spirit.

To instruct the ignorant and counsel the doubtful 

As a Christian, we are being called to reach out to others to draw them closer to Jesus Christ. During our younger years we used to attend a catechism studies in our Parish. That was our first step in knowing and practicing the faith which was passed on to us by our parents and even our great grandparents as they have known the Christ before us.

In our society today, we may see a lot of street children, orphan and out of school youth who may not receive proper guidance and are the most vulnerable to exploitation and dangers. They may still be innocent and doesn't practice their spirituality since they may be abandoned and neglected by their elders. This may lead to doubts about their faith and the absence of Christ in their hearts.

At some point in our lives we may have doubts about our faith when a painful event happens to us. Why me my Lord? This conflict in our spirituality may result to a deeper understanding and relationship with God as we strive to know deeply the mystery of his love and mercy.

Even Mother Teresa of Koltata experienced a dark night of the soul when she express her doubts on her faith, however in the end she conquered this kind of spiritual conflict and continued her ways of serving and loving the poor who were abandoned and uncared. She left a legacy for us to overcome our doubts and remain to be faithful to Christ by letting people experience Divine love.

To Admonish the sinner

To give warning or reprimand someone of sinful acts may be a hard thing to do since we are all sinners and at some point have committed a sin and may be vulnerable to committing future sins in our lifetime. In short, who are we to judge?

But as a Christian we are called to protect our brothers and sisters whom may be are lost and against the direction of Divine light. Yes, we are all a sinner but that doesn't mean we can't lead others to correct their ways when they are fallen in the dark.

In today's time, we see children who are victims of peer pressure, lack of good parenting and curiosity which makes them vulnerable to sin. They ended up showing bad behavior, rebellious attitude and being indifferent. This may be quite different from the previous generations when kids show highest respect to the elders and are afraid to commit wrongful doings that are against family values. Parents just wanted to protect their children so that they will grow to have the right values and become a contributor in the society. Parents want their children to take the right path and to rescue them whenever they are on the crossroads of what is right and wrong.

To bear wrongs patiently and forgive offenses willingly

There may be times when we become impatient towards the wrongdoing of others and as a human nature it seems that taking revenge or hatred would justify our actions in return.

We may have been a victim of circumstances where our patience is being put to test; either we accept it or we fight for it. For instance, someone may have cut us in line. We may just let it happen and understand the person for whatever reasons he may have or we could confront and verbally reprimand and embarrass him. There are times we commit the same mistake without us knowing it, but others acted patiently on us without any harsh words received from them.

Also we may encounter road rage and both sides seem to be aggressive just to prove his right. It may happen that when someone offended us our reaction would be to hurt that person even more just to get even and to protect our ego. This happens many times on the road causing public scandal and physical injuries.

Patience is indeed a virtue that we have to cultivate and practice and forgiveness is something more significant for our peace of mind and purity of the heart. It may be very difficult to forgive those who have wronged us, but we have to remember that as human being we may have consciously or unconsciously hurt other people resulting to their emotional and mental suffering.

It is said that 'forgive and be forgiven' and this is a timeless wisdom that is relevant even in our time. We can forgive people, but how could we be forgiven by people whom we have wronged? I have learned that one of the steps in meditation is the forgiveness ritual on which we have to visualize that we are already forgiven by that someone. This two way process of forgiving someone and asking for forgiveness gives lightness on our heart and freedom from worries and fears.

To comfort the afflicted

There may be moments when we are put to test through sufferings and pains. We ask God, why me? Yet, we are not alone on this trials since Jesus even asked, Father why have you forsaken me?

We may have been victims of circumstances like natural calamities and death of love ones and heartaches resulting to loneliness, grief and apathy. We may be experiencing setbacks and discomfort to fully understand and be compassionate with the sufferings of other people. We go through the same path and we feel their pains and sorrows.

In difficult times one way of giving comfort to those who are suffering is to walk with them to find their inner peace, thinking of their fate and offering a prayer. Then when they regain strength, they will be able to live a peaceful life and comfort other people who are wounded within and lost.

To pray for the living and the dead

Oftentimes our religious leaders would ask us to pray for them and even Pope Francis did it several times when the church has been exposed to scandals and issues that would test his leadership and faith.

There are also times when we offer our prayer to someone to ease his suffering or for whatever intentions they would want to receive. It is said that whatever you ask, it will be given to you. This may be a universal law and it doesn't fail to give us whatever we ask for through prayer.

Prayer beyond personal intentions require humility and compassion when it is directed to others who are going through tough times. It is even a greater service
when we also pray for those who have passed away before us. Our dearly departed needs our prayer for them to be cleansed before entering their final resting place in heaven. We remember them on the month of November on the celebration of all souls day and our prayers is what they need for their salvation.

On this Lenten season we reflect on the teachings of Jesus Christ for us to have a deeper understanding and relationship with Him and to receive his glory. Through Acts of Mercy we develop Christ-consciousness that will serve as our guide towards Divinely-inspired living today and beyond life on earth in eternity.

© 2019 Del Cusay

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Lent 2019: The Road to Forever in Jamindan

Some roads we're taking may be rough, but it is our courage and determination that will take us to our destination no matter how challenging it is.

In my hometown in Jamindan, we are leaving away from our painful memories; the struggles we fought and the battles we've won. We've found a newest place to refresh our mind and body and uplift our spirit our soulful desire.

As we embrace development, we have finally closed the loop and be connected by covering the roughness and enjoying a smooth ride on the way to the road to forever a place like no other. 

This national highway from the town of Jamindan, Capiz connecting to the town of Altavas in Aklan offers the latest sensation among lovers, group of friends, bicycle riders and families as they take this journey to their destination and capture pleasant memories in this place they may call as paradise.

Located in Barangay Lucero in the town of Jamindan, this road with a higher elevation offers a breathtaking view of the mountains while enjoying a misty and cool wind during rainy season and be captivated by the clear blue skies and beautiful sunset during summer time.

As we go for an adventure the road to summit may now be refined, but what really makes us feel good is when we reach the highest peak, have a short break, take a deep breath, heal our broken hearts and leave all our worries behind. 

On this Lenten season, the road to forever may be a good place to unwind, feel relaxed, to meditate and be connected to the Divine. A peaceful sanctuary to relive our sense of purpose and fulfill our dreams and desires.

The road to forever in Jamindan is a destination for everyone who would want to express happiness, and also for those whom may be lost, wounded or broken. And so when the time comes that we have regained our strength, then we can collect each pieces; our incompleteness, and become whole and renewed again. 

© 2019 Del Cusay

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Lent 2019: Memories of Mount Bato-Arobo

I was born in an upland municipality which is blessed in natural resources and biodiversity that is away from the city; a mountainous town that is abundant in natural sceneries, lush forest, wildlife and considered as a peaceful sanctuary where cool mountain breeze and a morning dew uplifts the senses and the soul.

I  have lived in this peaceful town since mid '80s and during my younger years I have learned to appreciate the natural environment and have loved our culture and tradition.

Family picnic back in May 2016 at Sitio Lomboy in Linambasan  a gateway to Bato-Arobo 

I remember the time when I was about 6 years old when my parents brought us in  barangay Pasol-o in the town of Jamindan in Capiz (my mother's birthplace) together with my siblings. We hiked for about less than 2 hours to reach the place. That was a tiring journey, but a great adventure for all of us. That was my first ever hiking experience and perhaps the reason why I always love nature trekking and hiking.

Then almost every year thereafter and on a hot summer days, we used to come back when there is a Fiesta or a celebration in our relative's place. We knew it when we are approaching our destination when we have a glimpse of a huge mountain rock about less than or closer to 50 meters high, hence the place got its name, Bato-Arobo or literally would mean a giant rock formation.

During those years, a hike going to Bato - Arobo was challenging since some areas were rough road and muddy and some areas full of amorseko weeds that sticks to the clothes. The good thing about the hiking were the stories or urban legend about the origin of that giant rock which I am greatly fascinated as a kid. We were told that the giant rock houses a big golden horse which might be kept during the Japanese occupation. However, until now that story remains an urban legend since nobody was able to see it.

The last time I have visited Bato-Arobo was in high school together with my family and we were served with a natural and healthy drink; coconut juice with coco meat while having some wonderful stories and laughter. My last visit wasn't a hiking anymore since the road was passable to a jeepney where we are transported. It was like a roller coaster ride in a rocky road, and we really enjoyed the experience.

Now, 3 decades after, it was a great news when I heared from my father that the road going to Bato-Arobo is now undergoing a concrete road construction all the way going to the neighboring barangays of San Juan and Ganzon; both places I am eager to visit.

The road construction is part of the local Government's priority development that will benefit many families living in Barangay Pasol-o and especially those who are living in an upland sitio of Bato-Arobo.

Family picnic back in May 2016 at Sitio Lomboy in Linambasan — a gateway to Bato-Arobo 

I am eager to see the development of the place that I have loved since my childhood days. Bato-Arobo did not only give me a sense of adventure, but a lesson to have perseverance and endurance in life. No matter how difficult the road is, still we have to go further and take all obstacles as a challenge because it is when we reach the peak or the summit that we appreciate all our sacrifices and we feel joyful and successful on our journey. 

Bato-Arobo may not be known to many yet, but it will always be in my heart because it brings wonderful memories worth reminiscing. With the completion of the road development project, residents of Bato-Arobo will be able to enjoy better transportation and celebrate Sunday Thanksgiving: Graceful Service to The People as they express their faith and service to God. This spiritual sanctuary in sitio Lomboy of Barangay Linambasan is like the entry point or gateway going to Bato-Arobo.

As I reflect on this Lenten season, it is through gratitude and thanksgiving that we recognize and honor all the blessings that we received from the Divine. Our spiritual nature would bring us peace of mind and a grateful heart for us to leave a good legacy for the next generations to come and so they could also live and experience the natural wonders and a sustainable development that our generations have enjoyed; and may this will reign in our hearts today and forever.

© 2019 Del Cusay

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Lent 2019: Our Quest for Personal Transfiguration

"As our faith is always tested, we accept it until we experience our own transfiguration and renewal starting today and for a lifetime."

This day of the Lent marks the commemoration of the transfiguration of Jesus at Mount Tabor in Galilee, Israel when he mysteriously transformed to an illumined Divine being together with prophets Moses and Elijah before the eyes on his three chosen disciples; Peter, James and John.

Back in 2002 when I was on my first year in college at St. Paul in Iloilo, it was announced by our Religious Education teacher that a new set of mystery was added in the rosary as approved and declared by Pope John Paul II and now St. John Paul II, and that is called the Mystery of light or Luminous mystery. 

During those years as a freshman college student what I care most is on how to pass the quiz by memoring the 5 mysteries under the luminous mystery. Those years, I may not have fully understood deeply its meaning yet. 

Fast forward to today, as I contemplate on the Lenten season, I may not memorize the luminous mysteries and pray the rosary, but I want to understand its significance 
in our lives as Christian and how we can live it at the present time.

I may have learned some Biblical stories, but the transfiguration of Jesus at Mount Tabor is a transformative learning and one of the most significant mysteries worth reflecting.

When Jesus brought Peter, James and John to climb at the peak of Mount Tabor to pray, that was the time when God the Father and the Holy spirit have intervened upon the complete transfiguration of Jesus with light upon his face and a radiant illumination of his entire body with the same appearance as Moses and Elijah in front of him. Suddenly, the three disciples heard a voice from above the bright clouds saying "This is my son, with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him," and it brought fear in them as they lay and covered on the ground. Then Jesus comforted them saying not to be afraid. By the time they look upward and opened their eyes, they only saw Jesus while Moses and Elijah disappeared. As they get down from the mountain, Jesus told them not to tell anybody of what they saw until the Son of God will be raised from the dead.

The transfiguration is a manifestation of God's glory that Jesus is the living son of God and what that meant for his disciples was to strengthen their faith for the coming of the passion, death and resurrection of Christ.

In relation to that Biblical story, in this living world at the present, our biological Father is always there with us to guide and show us the light when we are misguided by outside influence and in trouble. If only we listen to him, we get to our own path of enlightenment and we bloom to become a radiant human being, and this will also become the light that will shield our love ones and others whom we have touched lives. 

As we carry our own cross, we experience endless human suffering through physical, emotional, mental and spiritual setbacks which is inherent of a human being. This is also our version of strengthening our faith in God whenever we are falsely accused, prosecuted and crucified by others in some ways.

Sometimes, it is when we walk a thousand miles and climb the highest hill until we reach the mountain's peak to feel solitude and have a heaven on earth experience. Like Jesus and his chosen disciples, they climbed at Mount Tabor to experience a Divine transfiguration. Here on earth, we experience our fullness of being and Divinity when we are away from too much noise to contemplate, meditate and pray in the presence of God, not just at the mountain's summit, but in anywhere we go and settle  in the church, community or at home. 

As our faith is always tested, we accept it until we experience our own transfiguration and renewal starting today and for a lifetime.

© 2019 Del Cusay

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Lent 2019: The Corporal Works of Mercy in Our Time

"We may just have enough resources, but sometimes we know how it feels when we have nothing, so we learn to give even a little out of gratitude for the blessings we received. On this lenten season, we strive to reflect on our Christian values and the teachings of the Christ to reign and live in our hearts forever."

As a Christian we are called to practice "Acts of Mercy" particularly the "Corporal Works of Mercy" as an act of penance and charity just like the merciful acts of Christ before his passion, death and resurrection.

It may be a thousand years practice since the time of Jesus, but the spirit is alive to be practiced in today's time  our time.

Corporal works of mercy concerns the physical needs of the vulnerable people to ease their discomfort and suffering and to uplift their condition when they are on their lowest moments of their lives. However, the modern world has become so advanced and complicated that the 'rule of men' is to be followed rather than the 'law of God' which to some may be an obsolete commandments.

Feed the hungry and give drink to the thirsty

On personal observation, there is a conflict between my religious beliefs against our governmental law on the practice of corporal works of mercy. For instance, whenever I walk on the street and see old people begging for money, I have to think twice whether to give them few bucks as an almsgiving or just ignore them and walk straight ahead. Our Philippine law says not to give alms to the beggars since we may never know who will truly benefit from the money that they have collected. That's the 'Anti-mendicancy law' which prohibits almsgiving to street beggars in the Philippines.

In my mind our lawmakers may have some point about the legislation, but in my heart I feel the need to extend my hand and give a little amount from the pocket for them to buy food and drinks since they are hungry and thirsty. I may have been in conflict with the law, but the act of giving gave me a good feeling that somehow I have helped someone to feed themselves. They asked for it and they shall receive. It may be a violation or a crime, but I give anyway.

Clothe the Naked

Few months back I've watched the Netflix series about Tidying up with Mari Kondo and I was amazed by her Konmari method of keeping valuable things that makes us feel good while throwing away those things that doesn't spark joy. However, there is something lacking. Will you just throw it away since it doesn't give joy to you? or will you give it to others who may need it?

Sometimes, what we think is garbage to us is already a gold to others. This is significant in today's time since we buy so many stuff like clothes to fill in our wardrobe and just keep it even if we don't feel like wearing it already; then comes the Konmari method of giving it away instead of thrashing it out. May not exactly be a street beggar, but even to a simple person who will appreciate it and need it most.

Shelter the homeless

Nowadays, we may have some trust issues for security reason that's why we scrutinize people's intention before we let them inside our home. However, to give shelter to homeless would also mean to give a temporary shelter to those who are displaced from natural calamities like typhoon and flooding which is a common phenomenon in our time. We may not be able to accommodate the many, but we can take care of a few for their survival.

To a greater extent, our government provides evacuation centers as a temporary shelter and in some instances also provide permanent housing for the victims of calamities to help rebuild their lives.

Visit the sick, the imprisoned and bury the dead

Other family whose relative have been in conflict with the law may have suffered from lawless violence and unjust killing due to absence of judicial process to prove their innocence is against the principle of 'innocence unless proven guilty' and now the reality seem to be the reverse which is 'guilty unless proven innocent' which is a violation of human rights.

If proven guilty under the judicial process, one has to suffer imprisonment and not to end one's life as if his life doesn't matter and has no right to correct himself, be renewed and become productive member of the society again.

How can you visit someone who is supposed to be imprisoned and is suffering from mental, emotional and spiritual sickness when your visit is now on his wake; on the coffin and to pay last respect as the dead body is burried. That is somewhat a harsh reality in the Philippine society nowadays.

I belive that  There is Holiness in You no matter how evil you have become and that is a human nature. We were born naturally good and somehow lost our holiness as we experience our life on earth, but that doesn't mean we can't bring back our old self and bring back the holiness from within.

The Corporal Works of Mercy may be an old Divine law, but its significance still reigns in our time. We give food to the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, visit the imprisoned and bury the dead. 

We may not practice all the corporal works of mercy which is a Christian obligation, but we can do our best to show love and compassion to our brothers and sisters who are in need. When we live in comfort, others may be living in extreme poverty and hunger. When we have the freedom, some may feel threatened for their life and feel defenseless. When we feel all the love and care, others may feel unwanted, abandoned and uncared. There may never be an equality, but we can work for a charity to help others achieve liberty.

We may just have enough resources, but sometimes we know how it feels when we have nothing, so we learn to give even a little out of gratitude for the blessings we received. On this lenten season, we strive to reflect on our Christian values and the teachings of the Christ to reign and live in our hearts forever.

© 2019 Del Cusay

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Lent 2019: The Road to Healing

Ash Wednesday Mass at St. Joseph Cathedral, Caloocan 

Today marks the beginning of our soulful journey as we celebrate Ash Wednesday the beginning of the lent. This has been observed as a religious tradition that symbolizes our impurity as a sinner, thus we come to Christ for repentance and prayer.

In this modern world, we are bound to be tempted of dwelling on the dark side; falling into sin and taking the road against the light. In the eyes of God and men, we are all sinners in some ways and at some point in our lives. It is through admission of sins after suffering from guilt that our journey to healing commence and our impurity to be washed out bringing back the holiness from within.

I have learned from a wisdom of my teacher back in college when she said that 'man is good in nature, but has been tempted to commit a sin through the influence of the environment' and that principle will remain in my heart to look at the good side of everyone no matter how bad that person is. There's A Certain Holiness in You no matter how evil you have become and it is God who will rightfully judge us at the end of our life as we join him in our life after death.

Our 40 days of celebrating the Lent is not to become holy, but for us to reflect on our misdeeds and overcoming challenges as we strive to live a holy life. This greatest challenge means to defeat evil in our daily life; through our thoughts, words and actions. This is never an easy challenge, but through personal reflection and devotion we can unleash the purity of our heart to do good and avoid evil.

Lent 2013: Embracing Christ in Our Lives
 is a reminder of reliving our holiness before Christ. We have sinned and may commit sins in our lifetime, but putting Christ at the center of our lives serves as a guidance on how to live a better life free from pain and sufferings.

As we grow spiritually, we are also called to give inspiration and hope to those who are sick in spirit, to get rid of negativity and shower Divine love and light for an everlasting journey on the road to healing and recovery.

A Blissful Lenten Journey!

© 2019 Del Cusay

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Farm Life: Young Farmer's Dream

The Phillipines is now taking the challenge on how it could revive the glorious days when it was once an Asian leader in Agriculture back in the 60s which was our parents or grandparents' generation.

It's hard to believe that the rice industry which is one of the Agricultural subsector  is dying in the Philippines when it was reported recently that the sector has a very little statistical contribution in our country's economy in 2018 report. This revelation seems an admission of failure not only to improve our Agricultural sector, but also a failure to uplift the lives of our farmers. This could be the reason why our younger generations do not see the future in farming and they do not accept the challenge to enherit this noble profession from their parents. 

Reviving interest in Agriculture

The reality is that farming takes a lot of effort, time and patience and these could be the reasons why our youth would choose to take non-agricultural studies to be their profession. Another reason could be the misconception that there are no better opportunities in agriculture and it is not highly profitable as compared to working as a corporate employee in a big company. 

I may belong in a Healthcare sector as my primary profession, but I have an interest in agriculture and looking forward to embracing a farm life. Back in 2008 just after my graduation in college, I was able to help my parents in their business of buying rice grains (unmilled) from our local rice farmers. I was a cashier back then and it gave me sense of joy to see them receiving their hard earned money out of their produce. I reminisce the time when I was just a young kid playing in a rice field during the harvest season, and as I grew up I have learned to appreciate and express my gratitude to our farmers. In my heart, I know that our local rice farmers had a big contribution in my college education and also the money they received out of their produce is to finance the education of their own children. 

The search for young farmers

It was just recently in February when I heard the news from my Father that there is a decline in the number of students who have shown interest to pursue Agricultural course in the newly established College of Agriculture (CAPSU) in our town in Jamindan, Capiz. 

My father, who is himself a farmer and the Committee Chairman on Agriculture in the Sangguniang Bayan is concerned of the possible closure of the college of Agriculture if there will be a very low number of enrollees for the school year 2019-2020. He has to do something together with our local officials and colleagues in public service to promote and revive the interest of the students in taking agricultural studies. They may be a son or daughter of a farmer of a less privileged family, but has the courage and the passion in Agriculture and strongly believe that there is a better future in Agriculture sector.

The future in Agriculture 

Nowadays, we see agricultural farms converted into shopping malls and subdivisions or townhouses which was acquired from our farmers. If this is now our present reality we have to be alarmed as we will soon be losing the farmland that gives us food to eat and finance our children's education. We can never control the future and its fast devopment, but we can do something if we learn to cultivate love in the soil that will give us a better future. 

Agripreneurship or Agribiz is now the trend in the hope to revive our love for Agriculture. We have heard some stories of former OFWs who started farming in their province and became wealthy. We have heard about former corporate employee who turned into farming and earned a better income. We also have people in the city who are now into urban farming despite of limited lot area and it is their source of organic food in the table. 

Farm tourism is the next Big thing

As we grow our love and passion in Agriculture, we also get to share it with people through farm tourism which is a great societal contribution. If there is a strawberry farm in La Trinidad, a grape farm in La Union and Garin Farm in Iloilo, then the newest farm destination could be owned by you and you can help promote our town and the province by attracting tourist to visit and patronize farm produce.

Support to our young farmers

Let us continue to support our Agricultural sector so that our younger generation will appreciate what their parents have started. Let us help revive our school of Agriculture to give students an opportunity to acquire quality education and become the next Agriculturist and Agripreneur who will bring quality and healthy food on our table. Let us continue to hear The Voice of The Filipino Farmers so that they will be more empowered.

Farming lifestyle may be challenging but it is gaining attention to the young ones and many people in rural and urban areas are still attracted to it. It's not hard to believe that the future is in Agriculture and there is future in Agriculture; and that future starts today.

© 2019 Del Cusay

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Social Commentary: Universal Healthcare for All Filipinos

It was in August 2018 that I fell in line to pay for the annual Philhealth contribution of my sister and her family and I was glad to see hundreds of people who were there to invest for health insurance in exchange for a good Healthcare benefits offered by the agency.  As a Healthcare worker, I have pledged not only for the healing of the sick people but also to become an advocate for health promotion and prevention. That time as I was seated on a chair to wait for my priority number to flash on the screen, I had a realization that people no matter their economic status are now becoming more aware of the advantages of having a healthy family that is free of illnesses and diseases and becoming a productive contributor in the society. 

But how about those individual or families who have no access to basic healthcare due to economic hardship? They may feel ineligible and intimidated for their Healthcare rights and they remain to be vulnerable to health crisis and health threat. 

I am glad to know that on February 20, 2019, finally the Universal Healthcare Act was enacted into law which grants all Filipinos to have access to affordable and better healthcare. This is a positive and perhaps the greatest measure towards a healthier citizens leading to productivity and wellness. 

Talking about the agency that has the mandate for its implementation, the Philippine Health Insurance Company or better known as Philhealth will have to ensure the automatic eligibility and membership of all Filipinos regardless of social and  economic standing; a greater service for our less privileged families and individual. 

The Fight for Universal Healthcare

This new law is not just an achievement of the legislative and executive body, but this is a great achievement of all Filipinos who have long been hoping for this initiative.

Just imagine how could Western countries able to give Universal Healthcare to its citizens that have started several years or decades back and why couldn't our country do the same? This has been a puzzle to me and perhaps to other Filipino who had a glimpse of the Healthcare status in a foreign country. 

Now our time has come, but the implementing rules and regulation of the new law is yet to be laid and we have to be aware of the Healthcare coverage, how we can truly benefit from it and when shall we start to benefit from it. 

Benefits of the Universal Healthcare Law

What the Philhealth can guarantee is the basic Healthcare services to existing premium contributors, indirect contributors or the indigents like our Senior Citizens and Persons with Disability and the non-indigent or non-premium contributor. That would mean free consultation, laborary tests and diagnostic tests are among the basic services covered to everyone. Almost all scope of health is covered including preventive, promotive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative care which gives holistic health and wellness to everyone. 

Sustainable Healthcare development 

Although we welcome the great Healthcare measures, we are yet to experience how it will be delivered. The funding source has been determined and the implementation of this new law will be gradual considering that the funding will be coming from a pool of different agency funds. 

The new law is very promising, however we would like also to see its greater success and development from now and in years to come and not to be exploited and mismanaged by our people in Healthcare authority. 

Issues in the Philippine Health Insurance

Our National Health Insurance Company, the Philhealth and private Health Management Organizations (HMO) has been delivering its healthcare services in partnership with our Healthcare institutions; hospitals, clinics, health centers nationwide. They have always been to the rescue whenever we seek medical help, however their insurance coverage is not comprehensive as they do not cover all health conditions and other health services and this has been a challenge for those who couldn't afford or having financial difficulty at the time of seeking medical attention. 

When I was working at The Medical City in Iloilo, I have already learned about issues like non-payment or delay of payment of Philhealth for hospital claims to several member hospitals in the country. This would also cause for delay in the hospitals to pay their medical providers and this has led to another issue that some medical providers would charge their clients an additional cash payment for professional fee which is already covered by Philhealth. This issue happened to my sister and she asserted her rights against the double charging of her provider.  This scenario would lose the confidence of other Philhealth members if such case happens to them which is against the primary goal of Philhealth on its mandate to lessen the financial burden of Filipinos upon seeking medical treatment. 

Continuous Healthcare reform 

The Universal Healthcare law is a good start in providing Healthcare access to All Filipinos; a measure that no one will be excluded and left behind in Healthcare services due to poor economic status. 

However, challenges in Government and corporate social service is still something that Filipinos must all fight to be able to achieve a better healthcare for all. 

For the Philhealth, may the agency uphold good governance and continue to update their policies and coverage to package benefits that are not selective to particular medical condition. This is a burden to the Filipino people because we do not choose the kind of disease once it strikes just to be covered by our insurance provider. We do not choose when to get sick and when to get treated. We do not choose the end of our physical suffering and the end of our life. 

We do not have control on our health crisis, but we can do something for its promotion and prevention so we will not suffer and pay for its consequence. We have to take good care of our health so we will be spared from illnesses and diseases. Though it is inevitable, we can help ourselves, our families and communities by choosing healthy lifestyle that is away from too much stress and vices so we can achieve health and longevity leading to a productive citizen that we can be.

As we continue to contribute towards nation-building, we have to be respectfully assertive of our healthcare bill of rights and at the same time be supportive of our Government's mandate in providing better healthcare to All Filipinos so we can achieve wellness and so we can live our greatest life.

© 2019 Del Cusay

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Social Commentary: The Voice of the Filipino Farmers

The Philippine Agriculture was once a very promising sector in its excellence in providing sufficient agricultural products to every Filipinos through active and strategic partnership between our farmers and the Government. We were an agricultural leader in Asia back then and our Agricultural Scientists used to share their expertise in rice farming to other Asian countries like Vietnam and Thailand.

I remember back in the late 80's when we used to play by throwing muds in the newly plowed rice field just after the harvest season; the time when rice farming was the major source of livelihood of most families in our town. Whenever we visit other barangays from the town center, we get to breathe in fresher air passing through the green field of newly planted rice during the planting season, while during dry season just before the harvest in March or April, the field turns into a beautiful golden brown grains of rice.

Those were the days when rice farming was a robust industry and highly profitable for both rice farmers and traders who are in the business of buying and selling rice. Those were also the busy days for my parents on making a living as a rice trader in our town that lasted for about 2 decades.

As a kid, it was hard to compete for attention with our parents on some busy days when they buy hundreds of sacks of rice from our local farmers, but that was also a good time for play whenever it is already stacked in our warehouse; the kind of play that some kids of today may not relate. Those were the past and one of the happiest moments worth remembering.

Challenges in the Agriculture 

Starting the new millennium several challenges emerged in our Agricultural sector most especially in the rice industry. There were corruption issues with the Agriculture Department and the National Food Authority; a Government agency that regulates and maintains sufficient rice supplies for the staple food of Filipinos. Other issues include lack of government support for farming machineries like pre and post harvest facilities, conversion of agricultural land to residential or industrial, and the low trade price of rice produce from the farmers due to the proliferation of rice cartels.

Just in the recent years our Government faced even more challenges like increasing price of commercial rice due to artificial low supply against its high demand to feed millions of Filipinos. With the lack of agricultural facilities, we are not able to produce the best quality and quantity of rice leading to lesser productivity and profitability of our rice farmers

The Rice Tarrification Law

Fast forward in 2019, just recently on February 15 when Rice Tarrification Bill was enacted into law with a measure to deregulate rice importation of private businessmen and individuals from countries like Thailand and Vietnam. The law also made some restrictions on the power of NFA for regulation and importation of rice, and they will just maintain enough stocks of rice for calamities. One of the best promises included on the revised law is the annual 10 billion peso Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund for a 6-year period and will be assessed whether to continue or revise the measure. The RCEF is a common fund that will come from the rice import taxes that is said to be given to farmers in order to address the existing challenges in rice production like the purchase of farm machineries, to provide credit or loan service to farmers and for skills development in farming.

The effect to our rice farmers

This new law seems a short term goal to address the current inflation when our poor families couldn't even afford to buy expensive rice. However, this could also affect our local rice farmers when they could not sell their produce at a good price making them helpless and leaving no choice but to continue rice farming as a means of livelihood.

The flooding of cheaper commercial rice in the market will be beneficial for the Filipino consumers in general, however the promises on the newly enacted law would not be as promising as it seems. We could not forget the alleged agricultural scams like the fertilizer fund scam, diversion of agricultural funds to fake NGOs and the present day 'bukbok' rice or the insect infested imported rice despite of its lower price. Hopefully, this RCEF would not be another corruption in the making.

If there's an existing curruption in the Agricultural sector which remain to be a culture, the new law shouldn't be at the expense of our local farmers. Although we can give the new law a chance for the benefits it could give, still I feel for the unheard voices of our farmers. I am a son of a rice farmer and I have seen the hardship of our farmers who sweat it out under the sun and even through the rain to give us a staple food to eat on our table. Our farmers deserve to have a better life through the full support of our government from laws and programs that would help improve their greatest source of livelihood.

We do not want to see one day that our farmlands that are previously owned by an ordinary farmers will become a gated community or townhouse owned by an oligarch. We do not want to see our country losing agricultural scientists who preferred to work abroad for a greener pasteur. We do not want to see our future children losing interest in agricultural studies and activities. And we do not want to see our farmers dying because even them don't have something to eat because the government killed the rice farming industry.

As I go back home in our hometown, another townhouse that is previously a farmland might be rising and another hectare for private houses along the road are built. This happens when farmers sell their land to real estate developers for residential or industrial development.

In few years time our next generation might not be able to enjoy the greenfield and the golden brown rice harvest that we used to enjoy. Those years of pure happiness away from modernity and technology that the present time have embraced. In few years time, we will gradually be shifting from agricultural to industrial and the vast farmland and lush greeneries will just be a thing of the past.

Let us help save our Agricultural sector by hearing the voices of our farmers who are the source and major producer of our food on the table. Let us patronize local produce and learn to appreciate and embrace agriculture in our modern way of living and so we can help our farmers thrive and live a decent and comfortable life they deserve.

© 2019 Del Cusay

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