Sunday, November 10, 2019

41st Year of Devotion to the Miraculous Medal

For us Christians, we have all prayed for the intersession of the Blessed Mary. We pray the "Hail Mary" to give Honor to the Mother of Christ. Our prayers are heard. We got healed. We are blessed and we live by the promises of Mary.

For our Family, we celebrate the 41st year of this annual devotion. It started in November of 1978 as initiated by my parents on their early years of marriage.
Since then their life has been blessed and for the intentions that are granted through Mother Mary.

Growing up on the 80's, I have witnessed our yearly devotion to the Miraculous Medal. Our relatives, mostly the elderly would lead the Novena and the singing of praises. We have been touched by the songs and Hyhm. We believed that as we pray together, our prayers become stronger and heard.

That is the power of prayers and intentions. Our heart's desires are granted if we strongly believe that God is in us and hears us.

Ask - Believe -Receive, this philosophy is what I believe in for years and this has been the foundation of our call for the Miraculous Medal. We ask for our intentions. We believe that it will be granted. Then we receive the miracles, healings and blessings.

Our devotion to the Miraculous Medal will be celebrated through the years to come and will be witnessed by the next generations in the family. The continue to pray to the blessed Mary and may we pass on this devotion to the young ones and the entire family.

© 2019 Del Cusay

Sunday, November 3, 2019

The Insider's View: Opening of SIDC One Stop Shop in the Visayas

The largest Cooperative in the Philippines, The Sorosoro Ibaba Development Cooperative (SIDC) have opened its first ever One Stop Shop in the Visayas, and they have chosen our hometown of Jamindan, Capiz.

On October 30, hundreds of Jamindanganons have attended the grand opening and blessing of the SIDC One Stop Shop located at National Road, Poblacion, Jamindan, Capiz. It was also attended by our Local Government Unit officials whom have welcomed this great opportunity that supports the livelihood and uplifts the economic development of the people and the entire community.

The blessing ceremony was officiated by Reverend Father Jeffrey Estrella and Reverend Father Krys Señeres from the Our Lady of  Perpetual Help Lomboy Parish and was was followed by Ribbon-cutting ceremony headed by AGAP Congressman Rico Geron, Dr. Angelito Bagui, SIDC Chairperson, SIDC Board of Directors including the LGU officials of Jamindan headed by Mayor Mac Valdemar, Vice Mayor Ildy Cusay, SB Members and Barangay Chairmen.

The people were inspired from the messages of SIDC officials and LGU Jamindan officials and they have warmly welcomed this newest development in town and grateful about the infrastructure project that was given by SIDC thru AGAP Partylist; the Farmer's training center located at Poblacion, Jamindan, Capiz. We also welcome future programs and projects that will be given by SIDC and AGAP that has economic benefit and social impact thru Barangay Development Fund.

The biggest grocery store in town, the COOP MART, offers modern and convenient shopping experience and  lowest price for groceries and other merchandise. Its meat shop also offers modern, fresh and highest quality meat products that is of highest sanitary standards.

On the opening day hundreds of SIDC members had their first grocery experience at COOPMART. They benefit from the lowest price and the patronage refund. It is open to serve from Monday to Sunday, 7 days a week from as early as 6 AM until 7 PM and the friendly and helpful staff is ready to serve the members and consumers. These are the reasons more people and families will love the COOPMART.

SIDC Feeds offers highest quality products for pig raising and other animal livelihood farming. They also have veterinary products for a quality produce. More families will benefit from this livelihood opportunity with technical assistance of SIDC.

Another service is the SIDC Koopinoy Savings and Loans. For only 100 pesos, a member can open a passbook savings account and they can apply for different kind of loans depending on their needs. There's also a Young Savers Club for those below 18 years of age to start their saving experience. Koopinoy Savings and Loans is open from Monday to Saturday from 8 AM to 5 PM.

SIDC One Stop Shop opens various opportunities and benefits for members and for the whole municipality of Jamindan. May it continue to grow in the years to come and improve the quality of living of members and the people thru its various quality products and services. SIDC is our partner for local development as we work together to achieve our vision of a Shining Jamindan.

© 2019 Del Cusay

Sunday, October 27, 2019

The Insider's View: A Better Living Through Cooperative

Life is easier, lighter and brighter when people work together for a common goal and interests; when people aspire to uplift and improve their lives. That's the essence of a Cooperative a group of like-minded people working towards sustainable economic development.

In our hometown in Jamindan, Province of Capiz, we have welcomed the establishment of the largest Agri-based Cooperative in the Philippines. It is the Sorosoro Ibaba Development Cooperative or SIDC that was founded and first established in the Province of Batangas in 1969.

In celebration of the 50th year of SIDC, we have warmly welcomed their partnership for local economic development and put up the first ever SIDC One Stop Shop in the Visayas; that is in our hometown of Jamindan.

I am fortunate to have applied for a regular membership before its grand opening on October 30 and I was able to have a glimpse of their products and services to the people and community.

As an Agricultural-based Cooperative, SIDC will have products and services for its members which include Organic fertilizer, veterinary products,  feeds, meat shop and provide assistance and partnership for Hog raising or pig farming. 

SIDC also have koopinoy Savings and Loans service to its active members to support their financial needs and growth. Members will have an opportunity for a loan to start up their farm business. They also provide other loan services like vehicle loan, motorcycle/tricycle loan, micro and enterprise loan for entrepreneurs with no collateral requirement for members.

For member Savers, Koopinoy provides passbook savings account and time deposit with higher interest per annum. Even children below 18 years old can open a savings account to secure their future.

SIDC has a modern look grocery/convenience store which offers the lowest price in town. This is another savings for the members and consumers
aside from the Loyalty rewards as a member.

SIDC will also accept bills payment for various utility bills and also has a money remittance service in partnership with Truemoney padala. Consumers will experience convenience on these financial services.

SIDC One Stop Shop in Jamindan will open its door to everyone and may it bring progress in the lives of the people who patronize its products, services and programs. This way we will achieve a better local economy leading to a better community.

© 2019 Del Cusay

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Sunday's Best at Lilia's Sky Garden

It's Sunday and the best time to have a soulful conversations with the people who matters in our lives. Sunday makes us feeling thankful for the blessings we receive and for the serenity that gives us peace of mind. It's the perfect time to unwind and to rejuvenate to make us fully alive as we start our week right.

This Sunday we chose to spend it in our little Skygarden. This is a place where we plant, grow and appreciate the beautiful and colorful flowers that gives us joyful mood. There is something with the garden and the flowers that makes us smile and brightens up our day.

Since we have a limited space for gardening, we decided to have a skygarden where we could spend time with a piece of nature right in our home. This is a little sanctuary that attracts butterflies and some chirping birds to shelter.

This is one of my favorite spot for some meditation and reflection. A good place to have a morning cup of coffee and get some sunlight for energy. There are times in afternoon where I would lie down or swing through a hammock while gazing at the blue skies until sunset to dusk. 

My mother would share about how she started to have her little garden back in the 70s and she relate it to some level of success through blessings that has come. It may not literally be the garden and flowers, but it is the positive energy that brings happiness and joy leading to health, wellness and fulfillment.

Then I must believe with my Mother since it is also on this garden where great plans have been imagined and conceptualized. As I lie down on the hammock, I think of the present moment and visualize the future. This is somewhat a thoughtform building and where thoughts become a reality  thoughts become things. 

We were influenced by our Mother to have interest in gardening and I have been in love doing it to be attached to nature and to experience its grounding effect. So as a little Thanksgiving and appreciation to our Mother, we named it Lilia's Sky Garden. It is her passion and the source of joy and inspiration and so together we continue to develop and make things possible and beautiful.

© 2019 Del Cusay

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Soulful Conversation: Spiritual Guidance from a Priest

There are times when we have met people by chance, then became friends or acquaintance. Oftentimes, we have met someone so special to bring the enlightenment and guide our way our spiritual path.

With that special person, I am referring to a Priest who is our Religious leader and with a higher level of holiness. Someone who guides us on our moral actions and the one we seek for blessings as God's chosen messenger.

That was a sunny day at the beachfront restaurant few weeks ago; September 17 when I had a pleasant conversation with our Parish Priest of   Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish Lomboy,  Reverend Father Jeffrey Estrella. He has been serving the Parish since July 2018 and will continue his Religious mission for a total of 6 years. A great mission and service to the Parish and the faithful community. 

I was with my parents and we have shared a meal with Fr. Estrella and his companion. It was a lunch at our favorite restaurant overlooking the horizon; where the blue sky meets the sea. The gentle waves and the sea breeze was relaxing and the conversation has got a deeper meaning. 

I have some Aha! Moments before, but this time it came from our Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Estrella. And whenever I have Aha! Moment, I cherish it and live through its meaning and significance. 

What was that conversation about? It's about the present and future living. It's about following our dreams and desires and making it come true. What strucked me most is when he said that the reason why sometimes we don't get what we want in life is because we have too much belief on our human capacity and that we don't back it up with Divine intervention through our deepest faith and prayer. 

Yes we pray, but how come some of our wishes are not granted. We might think that it is on the process. It may just be a delayed answer, or our intention may not be the best for us and not in accordance with God's will.

He then revealed that when other people who are so dear to us are praying for us, then God may hear it out loud. God always hears our heart's desire and intentions. For instance, we may be the recipient of the good deeds of our parents. That's like a spiritual merit. When our parents pray for us, God truly listens. Our parent's deepest love always saves us.

From that moment, I have thought of the sacrifices of my parents and all the things I have achieved because I believe that they have prayed for me.

That was a soulful conversation. The message was simple, but may be challenging thing to do; that is to keep on doing good things and good things will come to you. We plant seeds of goodness, nurture it and cultivate it until such time we reap a fruitful reward.

Our community is blessed to have Rev. Fr. Estrella. He touches the lives of the faithful
and deserves utmost reverence. He is a Divine gift to us and we pay highest gratitude for his love and compassion to one and all.

© 2019 Del Cusay

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

International Coffee Day: Wake Up and Smell the Coffee

Coffee is one of the topmost consumed beverages in the world and in the Philippines it has almost become a staple drink perhaps due to its caffeine addictive substance that people can't live without. Who wouldn't resist the aroma of a freshly brewed coffee served in your favorite café or at home. Globally, it is best served with the ever favorite cakes and pastries; donuts and croissant, while in the Philippines all over the archipelago, it is best served with local breads and delicacies like freshly baked pandesal, puto and bibingka. 

Regionally like in Western Visayas, people drink coffee partnered with suman, biko and the most popular biscocho which is the pride of the region. Other regions would have their local delicacy that is best served with a hot coffee to start the day right and to get energized any time of the day. Whether for breakfast, snacks or post-dinner, we just love to have a cup of coffee at any hour and any place.

Filipinos have adapted to global flavors of gourmet coffee. From purely black coffee Americano to the frothy cup of cappucino and latté, we surely blend with the rest of the world. Now, we have a choice beyond the traditional hot black coffee, we also have a choice whether to be served as cold or iced and also blended. Espresso coffee has been our favorite beverage no matter how pricey it is because we are now after for the experience. 

When we go to our favorite cafés we are greeted warmly by the baristas and they prepare and serve our coffee heartily. Cafés have been part of our lives through the years. It is our go to place not only for a delicious coffee, but also to enjoy conversation with friends, for business meetings or for a freelance task; certainly we have a place that gives a wonderful ambiance and a delightful experience.

As we enjoy a sip of our favorite coffee, we have to remember the coffee farmers who sweat out to carefully plant, harvest and roast the good quality coffee beans. From farm to cup; it is truly a journey of the farmers to give us the most delicious beverage we will enjoy. From Tagum City in the South to Lipa City in Batangas and going up in the mountains of the Cordillera, we have our hardworking coffee farmers who are coffee entrepreneur. For every cup of freshly brewed local coffee beans, we help support our local coffee farmers in their livelihood.

It is also proven by scientific research that coffee consumption has a lot of health benefits due to higher level of antioxidant that prevents certain types of cancers leading to healthier cells and longevity. For health and wellness, a cup of coffee a day gives us energy and protection from free-radicals. Others would consume not just 1 cup but even up to 4 cups or more in a day and they are certainly well -- just enough amount of caffeine for daily consumption.

Today, the world is celebrating the International Coffee Day. It is not just a simple beverage, but it's now a lifestyle. We help promote coffee and the wonderful benefits we can gain from it. Wherever we are in the world, no matter what language we can utter; koffi, kopi, kape and cafe, we just mean one thing; and that is our craving and the need for a daily dose of coffee. It has been our trusted health partner and and part of our success and life's journey.

© 2019 Del Cusay

Sunday, September 29, 2019

When September Ends: Timeless Memories

Here comes September: the beginning of the Merriest season in the Philippines. The start of Autumn season or Fall in the West. The beginning of the many wonderful things and the end of not so glorious days.

So many memorable events happend on this month. Another year added on my life: the beginning of a great life cycle.    Birthday Special: Love and Gratitude  is about blessings received and wishes that came true and now making things work out of the blue.

What makes September special is the birthday of the Mother of Christ. It was on September 8 when the universe conspired for what my heart desires. I prayed to our Divine Mother and so I have made this day special. She listens and pray for us all.   Heart's Desire: An Answered Prayer    is a testimony of the intercession of the Holy Mother; the Blessed Mary. This day will forever be memorable and to be celebrated.

Before September ends, we have  Birthday Special: Celebrating our Mother's 66th Birthday  on the 24th. A simple family gathering over dinner made it special and meaningful.

What else made this September memorable is the soulful conversation with Reverend Father Jeffrey Estrellla while having a lunch at the beachfront restaurant on September 17. He is the Parish Priest of the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Lomboy Parish. 

We also had family weekend getaway at the beach together with my grandfather on Sunday, September 22nd. That was like an extended summer fun. The waves on the shore is so calming and the view of the sea on the hilltop is breathtaking.

On the road to summit, we visited our favorite place, Bato Arobo on September 23rd. The natural scenery of the mountains is a pure bliss. This is where we spend time with natural wonders while taking a deep breath, be in a meditative state and enjoying the serenity. 

When September ends, my heart is filled with love because I have the best people in my life who is there to protect, to care and support for me for whatever things I do and to whoever I may become. September will always be memorable and the joy it brings is so meaningful.

© 2019 Del Cusay

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Birthday Special: Celebrating our Mother's 66th Birthday

We are blessed with a gift of life when we were born in this world. This is something to be grateful for we are bound to a journey of knowing our life purpose. 

Since we were born, our Mother is there to guide and raise us well. She nurture and protects us until we live our own lives. She made a lot of sacrifices for us to have a brighter future. She loves us her family and life to her is about having a family to love and care and guiding us her children to know our life purpose and follow our path.

As we grow to adulthood, our Mother is still there to give her support and to share life lessons and wisdom. Her years of life experiences made her stronger and wiser. She is always there to listen and she will always be the best counselor in times of need.

Today, we give honor to our Mother as she celebrates her 66th birthday. She deserves the best in life for her selfless love not only to our family but also to the community that she had chosen to serve religiously. 

Her love has grown beyond self and that created a ripple of good will to us her children. She will be our guiding light and our strength. As we get older, we get to understand her selfless sacrifices and her fight for a better life.

We wish our Mother the best of life so she can follow her own dreams and made it come true. Her goals and visions of the future seem so bright and we hope to catch a glimpse of that light as we grow and move further for a meaningful life.

© 2019 Del Cusay

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Living the Best Life From Metropolitan to the Countryside

Life in the rural areas may seem unexciting or boring to some people just like my fellow millennials; and at some point having a feeling of lower energy due to lack of greater and better opportunities offered to them.

That's exactly how I felt a little more than a decade ago after I finished my college and got my license as a professional. Back then, I see myself working in an urban area; a bigger city which is vibrant and more alive.

That dream became a reality. I lived and worked in Metro Manila. That is the city of dreams for many people especially of my generation. It is a place where we can enjoy the best of the corporate world. Working in a great and big company. Wearing a corporate attire. Earning a better compensation. Living the best life. Those are the great things of urban living; we seem to have the best of everything.

Despite some levels of success and career fulfillment, there comes a time of self realization about what success really means, and what do we have to sacrifice in order to achieve to achieve our most coveted dreams.

I have experienced the city life that is highly livable in the Philippines. In Metro Manila, from the former Capital - Quezon City of the north, down to the finest Business District of Bonifacio Global City in Taguig. The cool Mountain resort of Baguio City in the Cordilleras and the Finest culture of Iloilo City in the Visayas. Those place I have lived and worked offers the best life with highest National livability index. Rural areas or towns are not even considered to be livable due to lack of economic development and other factors.

After more than a decade of living and working in topmost livable cities in the Philippines, I see an economic development and opportunities in the countryside which is an emerging local economy through good governance and better planning. 

Despite of the economic development and prosperity in greater cities like Metro Manila, people living and working in those cities are experiencing the downside of urban living.

For years, Metro Manila is having a difficulty in solving issues on livability. For several years I have experienced difficulty in public transport as a commuter. I have suffered the consequence of falling in a long line in a metro rail due to glitches and lack of train coaches. I have endured hours spent on the bus on the way homen after work due to traffic congestion. We have suffered from days of rotational water interruption. Those are part ofnthe basic needs we have endured and the cycle seems to go on year after year. We have endured, but that became our worst reality.

There are more things we have sacrificed. Our health has been at risk due to stress those problems have caused. More people are getting sick maybe not due to the nature of work, but due to stress, anxiety and fatigue caused by air pollution and travel time on the road; from home to workplace and vice versa. I myself endured almost 5 hours of travel time in a day when I have worked in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig while living in Caloocan City. That is from North to South bound and vice versa. I was not alone. I am one of the thousands of people who share the same fate in the Metro. That's the sacrifices we have to endure for a living. But that may have cone to an ending.

Living in the Metro is great, but may not be the best after all. There's more to life than living in the city that is no longer healthy but only for survival's sake.

There's life in the countryside; in the Rural area we used to live. We may have temporarily left Rural living, but it will always be in our hearts. While others make endearing sacrifices just to live their dreams in the Metro, we are fortunate to have a countryside we can come back to.

In the countryside we enjoy vast land and greenery. We have the best of natural landscape and scenery. We breathe a cleaner air and drink a spring water. We are awaken and greeted by the chirping of the birds at dawn. We can see the wonderful sunrise while having a cup of coffee. We have a bright sunny day and look up above the blue skies. We see the mountains, the hills and the valleys. We can swim on a river or waterfalls. We can witness a beautiful sunset. At night we can go on stargazing. We go to bed and fall asleep early. We have a goodnight sleep. These are not our vacation escape or fantasy. This is not a dream, but our living reality and this is what best describes the place we love to be.

That's a quality life! Not much extravagance, but only a natural living that a rural life has to offer.

In the city people can build a fortune amidst chaos and sufferings, while in the countryside we can live a life of simplicity and serenity. In the city, we define success by the number of wealth, while in the countryside we feel successful when we are in perfect health.

No wonder in today's time more people invests in a  real estate property in emerging Provincial areas even though they are already established in the cities. Some would acquire a townhouse property. Others would buy a lot for future house construction. More families spend their vacation in an ecofarm. More people patronize farm tourism activities to escape from the hustle and bustle of a city life.

With Divine's grace, we develop our family country farm and build our dream farm house. This family real estate would be where we partly live a quality life together. We build our dreams and we start to build a better life... and sooner a better community of Divine love and light.

© 2019 Del Cusay

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

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