Sunday, June 30, 2019

A Beautiful Sunrise

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

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

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

© 2019 Del Cusay

Thursday, June 27, 2019

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

In July of 2012, a Catholic Mission Station named after a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Our Lady of Perpetual Help was founded in a peaceful Sitio of Lomboy in Barangay Linambasan, Jamindan, Capiz upon the order of the Archdiocese of Capiz through Reverend Father Rowelyn Langurayan who was the outgoing Parish Priest of San Sebastian Parish during that time. 

It was Reverend Father John Denosta who was the first-ever Priest assigned to celebrate masses and to look after the spiritual needs of the faithful.

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

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

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

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

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

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

We give the highest honor to the Mother of God in her blessed Title, the Our Lady of Perpetual Help. 
Today and in the years to come, the Parish will continue to accommodate and serve the ever-growing faithful community and even beyond our generation. 

We will protect and preserve this spiritual sanctuary so that the next generations will be able to witness its glory and miraculous powers to live in their hearts forever.

© 2019 Del Cusay

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Sunday, June 23, 2019

The Pathway to Kindness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2019 Del Cusay

Thursday, June 20, 2019

World Refugee Day: In Memory of President Quezon

Photo courtesy of America Public Television 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2019 Del Cusay

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Sunday, June 16, 2019

Father's Day Special: Greatest Life Lesson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2019 Del Cusay

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2019 Del Cusay

Descrip Among 

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Eid'l Fitr: A Moment of Peace and Harmony

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2019 Del Cusay

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Beyond the Horizon: A Euphoric Summer Escapade

It's not officially the end of summer or dry season in the Philippines and that people can feel hotter and humid weather that has started on the first day of June. Also, few days left before the start of the rainy season, and for sure many will be missing the hot summer days that brought fun and holiday bliss; while others still catch up before it finally ends.

I love summer no matter how hot the weather is. That's our reality and we can't escape it anyway. During this season my body can tolerate intense heat and even get sunburned while at the beach. Why is summer more fun in the Philippines? because this is the time that most people get to enjoy the blue waters, the gentle waves, and the footprints in the sand.

I am in a joyful state of being during summer unlike during the monsoon season when it rains heavily which brings a depressing mood. That explains why most people would love to go and have fun at the beach, at the waterfalls, rivers, and lakes because of the natural healing it brings. Certainly, that would mean that a bright and sunny day makes us fully alive.

I enjoyed my beach hopping before the end of May in the peaceful coastal town of Zambales. Memories of Summer 2019 brought not only a euphoric experience but a rejuvenated body, mind, and spirit.

The cool breeze of the ocean, the relaxing sound of the waves, and the chirping of the birds are a natural wonder and are part of our self-care; for our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

During my precious time at the beach, I would take the chance to do some meditation and that brought stress relief, a lighter mood, and a greater feeling of happiness; that's true bliss!

For just a few minutes while sitting on a beachfront I got to breathe out my own negativities that are considered as blockages to my wellbeing. It has wonderful results and it truly heals.

Being mindful of our breathing is an essential step for meditation. It is when we inhale deeply that we prepare to get rid of what is supposed to flush out from our system; the stale energy that blocks our path to success and fulfillment that we deserve.

I learned the Power of Meditation from a world-renowned expert, Master Del Pe. He taught us how to be in stillness, to quiet our mind, and expel toxicity from energy fields through meditation and powerful physical exercises, and martial arts. I will forever be grateful for the Lessons From Master Del Pe and the powerful life tools and techniques that will be shared with others who may need them most. Anyone can start to learn and practice the ancient science and art of meditation. It doesn't cost a fortune but it requires openness, patience, and discipline to get the desired results.

The summer season is truly fun and exciting and wherever the road may have taken us whether on the mountain or at the beach, still we get to see the boundaries and we can always accomplish things beyond the horizon; beyond our wildest dreams.

© 2019 Del Cusay

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Memories of Summer 2019

That was endless summer fun! Starting from March during the Holy week until the blooming flowers of May; a season in the sun that is hotta fun. For about 3 months we have experienced and collected another memory that we will cherish for a lifetime.

Summertime in the Philippines is a celebration of vibrant life. We enjoy the waves on the beach with fewer worries of getting tanned or sunburned skin. Anyway, it comes once a year and so we want it to be more fun and the most memorable experience ever. That's the kind of summer I want... get burned and just be alive!

I've spent 2 weeks in our hometown to support the candidacy of my father as a Municipal councilor in the midterm election last May 13. We celebrated Thanksgiving for a Victorious Journey along with the Christening of my nephew, J. Frenz Matthew. That was a joyous occasion and indeed a celebration of a new life.

A day after the winning moment, we visited the birthplace of my mother in the highlands of Bato-Arobo in barangay Pasol-o. That was about 2 decades ago since my last visit. Memories of Mount Bato-Arobo reminded me of a hiking experience to reach the place with an awesome mountain view and a place that offers serenity and peace of mind.

We live in a landlocked town and what we only have are natural wonders like rivers, natural parks, and waterfalls. No sea and beaches. Malinamon falls is one of the best that we could offer for the tourist and nature lovers. It is located inside military conservation known as Camp Peralta in Jaena Norte. We had an excursion with my family and that was a respite from the summer heat. We love the natural environment and we had a great adventure; surely worth reminiscing.

Back in Manila after a 2-week vacation, I knew that my summer isn't complete without a visit to the beach. I traveled to the coastal town of Zambales to enjoy the remaining hot summer days.

The Crystal Beach in San Narciso is one of the finest beach destinations offering the best in scenery and accommodation. On a mid-day sun, I was seated on a modern beach-type nipa hut while watching the seashore and doing some meditation. That was a stress-relief; to be at the beachfront and in a meditative state. Truly a blissful experience!

A day at the beach is too short so I had to beach hop at the nearby town of San Felipe. That was my beach destination for the previous year. Memories of Summer 2018 at Camp Rofelio were the beginning of my fascination with this peaceful and uncrowded beach of Liwliwa.

On the second time around, a new accommodation, El Zamba resort in Liwliwa may be at the farthest end of the group of resorts, but it offers the best view of the sunrise and the sunset. The water is greenish-blue and the waves are perfect for surfing.

That was my summer adventure. Truly captivating and soul-searching. I left the place with a smile on my face and the distance traveled is worth a million bucks of pure bliss. I am feeling good. I feel blessed and I am feeling grateful because life has been so wonderful.

© 2019 Del Cusay