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.


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.


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. 

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



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