Showing posts with label Arts and Cultural Heritage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Arts and Cultural Heritage. Show all posts

Sunday, January 3, 2021

New Year 2021: A New Hope

 

The year 2020 brought a lot of pain and suffering in our lives. It seems like the darkest era of our times. Something unexpected, but we've learned to accept and embrace.

If this is the preview of a new decade '20s, we could predict the future; that uncertainty is now part of our daily living. 

Things change instantaneously. It's like a blink of an eye, and our fate would change.


The year 2020 perhaps was the saddest and unpredictable moment we've experienced. It ruined our hopes and dreams and redirected our compass to a crossroads.

That was the end of the year 2020. Finally, we've all welcomed the new year 2021 with our greatest hopes ever. That after the long agony, we can blur the sad memories from the deepest of our consciousness.

A new world

Whatever earth changes we've been experiencing, one thing I'm sure of is that this is part of the Divine plan. We're not in control; hence we let things happen and make things happen in our human capacity.

If the world has to change this way, then there's a greater force that can move us and direct our path -- either to follow and have faith or to step back and have doubts.

So, in this new world order, some would-be victims of a sad reality, while others would be victorious survivors.

New opportunities

We've seen people who have lost a living; have missed some chances and opportunities for the past year.

Some may have struggled a lot in business, career, and life. It also caused our fears, frustrations, and anger. It made us express all kinds of emotions. It had caused inconvenience and a downgrade on the quality of living at some point.

This year 2021, is about new opportunities that await us. The missed one is just a moment of pause; to stop for a while; to re-calibrate, and be ready to stand up again.

This year 2021, is about an opportunity to be together as a family once again. To be reunited and to recall how we've started it all.

When we're somewhat lost, our family would always be there to guide and light our path. They're there on our knocked down and to cheer us on our way up.

Opportunities don't only knock once. We see opportunities everywhere. And if there seems none, we create it ourselves, and we even create opportunities for others.

A new dream

Yes, we've awakened on a deep slumber. It was somehow a nightmare! 

This year, we're hoping for a better night's sleep. We're hoping for a better dream. And so, as we wake up, we'll turn that dream into a reality.

And when we dream, we extend it to the special people in our lives. They are the source of our inspirations, our happiness, and a reason for living. Family is love, and family is forever. That's one thing I know for sure.

A night dream or a daydream, it's both a pleasant experience of hoping for brighter days ahead. 

A new hope

We're hopeful that no matter how life seems uncertain, we still believe that something good will happen.

Our hope will always keep us alive, to make us believe that miracles do happen every day. From the time we wake up until the time we go to sleep. 

A new hope is there to give us the energy required to live actively. A new hope gives us many chances to try again and never to give up but to keep on hoping when things seem to be falling.

This year 2021, is about hope in all aspects of living. We hope for the best things to happen. We hope for the best wishes to come, and we hope for the best life ahead.

 ©️ 2021 Del Cusay 

Related Post:

👉 New Year 2020: A New Decade

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Sweet Smiles of the Negrense

The Negros Island in the Philippines. Home of the sweet smiling people; or we call them Negrense or Negrosanon.

Back in December 2014, after my Journey in the city of Dumaguete in Negros Oriental, I took almost 7 hours of land travel going to the city of Bacolod; the capital city of Negros Occidental. 

From the Eastern to Western Negros, I had a journey after a fulfilled short visit to the "City of Gentle People" in Dumaguete.

No doubt, I was in the land of the 'sweet and charming' people since I was at the sugar center of the Philippines... The Negros Island. 

From Dumaguete to Bacolod, you'll see the massive plantations of sugarcane on both sides of the road passing by several cities.

Yes, Negros Occidental is the province of the Philippines with the most number of cities, primarily due to its rich sugar industry

The sugar industry is so huge that they supply the entire Philippines and even export it to other countries.

Arriving in Bacolod after a long journey on a bus, I was greeted with a Negrense brand of hospitality; a sweet smile, and a pleasant melodious voice.

I'm in Bacolod! The City of Smile and the home of the famous "Maskara Festival."

That was my 5th time visiting Bacolod and I love to keep coming back to one of the highly urbanized cities and one of the most livable cities in the Philippines.

In Bacolod and the entire Negros, people are living a good life that no matter what challenges they may be going through, still they keep on surviving and never forget to give a smile.

My highlight of the visit to Negros Island was a day tour in "The Ruins" which is an Italian-inspired architectural mansion built in the early 1900s and was burned during world war 2.

Garden by the ruins

A mansion built with the love of a wealthy Sugar baron to his Portuguese wife. The love story is just as romantic as the heritage of "the ruins." 

Sweet as the Negrense, they really produce sweet products, and most of it is my favorite. The muscovado sugar is the healthiest of its kind and an ingredient in making sweet delicacy like "Piaya and Pinasugbo" which is two of the most popular and a-must try delicacy if you visit Bacolod and Negros Island. 

After the pandemic, I hope to come back and capture the sweet smiles again. When the world is losing its smiles, I believe the Negrense will always give their sweetest smiles to just anyone. During this time, that's all we need -- a sweet smile.

The people of Negros Island are some of the most refined and kind people I've met. Beyond their sweet smiles, they deserve a sweet life. A life that is full of hope, meaning, and inspiration.

©️ 2020 Del Cusay


You May Read:

👉Campus Tour at the Silliman University

👉The Ruins and the Love Story


Sunday, October 4, 2020

Campus Tour at the Silliman University

In Eastern Negros Island is where you can find the "City of gentle people" and it's the city of Dumaguete in the province of Negros Oriental, Philippines.

Back in December 2014, I've fulfilled my desire to visit Dumaguete and was able to see the first American learning Institution in the Philippines and in Asia -- the Silliman University.

Upon the invitation of the student government organization, I delivered a talk about "Balancing Life Strategies" and "Stress Management" to their officers and select staff.

That was a memorable talk with full attention and the desire to learn by the student leaders. If I had more time, I could have given another talk to some members of the faculty and staff. 

But a day visit to the Silliman University wouldn't be complete without a campus tour. From the entrance to the exit gates, the different departments, historical and iconic buildings, chapel, open grounds, and the library. The campus is truly an ideal and conducive place for higher learning.

At the Silliman University Library

At the Silliman Hall

I was impressed with the clean green campus. The tree-lined Acacia provides cool shade plus the windy breeze coming from the sea, truly they have the best campus in town and one of the best in the country.

Silliman University is facing the sea. With just a few minute walks, you can stroll at the baywalk along Rizal boulevard. That windy breeze makes a good place for walking along the boulevard. That's the place where I reminisced the time when I was a student in college. Those times when I had full of hope and dreams just like any student would do.

I hope one day to visit Dumaguete again and be able to step foot inside the famous Silliman University. To be able to experience the politeness and friendliness of the students and their genuine hospitality.

As I remember, it's on higher learning when we aspire for growth and have the burning desire to achieve our most cherished hopes and dreams. Those times when we have enough energy and passion for learning.

Those student leaders that I've met may now be achieving excellence in their chosen field. They may now be living their dreams and unleashing their untapped potentials. They may now be 'living their greatest life' and following their ultimate heart's desire.

Learning doesn't end after stepping out of College or University. It's a continuous process and a lifelong journey. We continue to learn along the way as we embark on challenges and achieve new milestones in our careers and in life.

©️ 2020 Del Cusay

Sunday, August 23, 2020

The Charming Town of Lucban

There are many old and rustic, but charming towns in the Philippines. The main Philippine island of Luzon, South of Manila is where you can see and experience the historical and cultural town of Lucban, Province of Quezon.

The place is cool and windy, with its best location at the foothill of mystical Mount Banahaw. Its coolness reminds me of Tagaytay Highlands which is also a weekend getaway mostly of people coming from Metro Manila.

At Kamay Ni Hesus Shrine

Sometime in the Summer of 2014, we had an awesome road trip from Manila going to this charming town of Lucban to celebrate the Holy week. A soulful week to remember.

I'm always fascinated with old Spanish towns, and Lucban has a pleasant vibe of a rich and preserved colonial past. 

Truly fascinating!

Ancestral houses, centuries-old churches, and plazas feel like time travel with ancient Kalesa or Horse-drawn carriage on a narrow street.

At Kamay Ni Hesus Shrine

Known for their "Pahiyas Festival," the town of Lucban celebrates its bountiful agricultural harvest every 15th of May. That's really a cultural and religious festival and truly incomparable.

What I also appreciate about Lucban is their nature-inspired resort and restaurant which is relaxing and a great place for family bonding.

A restaurant with a natural background overlooking the golden rice field is really wonderful. The water flowing on the swimming pool is flowing from nature's spring. Cool, clean and greenish-blue water, so refreshing.

At Kamayan Sa Palaisdaan

With the old town charm, delicious food, friendly people, natural landscape, and amazing ambiance; Lucban is just a small, but a charming town that has learned to appreciate and preserve its heritage and culture.

Living in the past meets living in the present. Living in peace with nature and be captivated by the culture.  

© 2020 Del Cusay

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Kalesa Tour in Intramuros

A horse-drawn carriage or 'Kalesa' in Filipino. That's one of the remaining symbols and part of the cultural heritage of the Philippines.

The old Manila was once a glorious Spanish fortress and settlement located in the oldest district of Manila, in Intramuros. It is where you can find Kalesa for a nostalgic tour inside the walled city.

And that was 333 years of Spanish colonization that ended in 1898. But then, we couldn't speak fluent Spanish except for the Spanish-creole language in the province of Zamboanga in Southern Philippines and in South Luzon, in the province of Cavite. 

The Main Entrance

Anyway, we do speak Spanish but, it's broken Spanish. We have tens of thousands of Spanish words in our Filipino language. It's just that Americans took over the Philippine Islands that had to change our identity again that the Spanish had built for more than three centuries.

And so, to have a glimpse of our Spanish colonial past, I should have experienced a Kalesa ride; a tour as old as time in Intramuros, Manila.

Colegio de San Juan de Letran

Are we a Latino? an Asian, or a Pacific Islander?

That's hard to explain since we're surely a mixed-race in the far east. That could be all of the above or we might be confused with our racial identity.

So, riding a Kalesa inside the walled city of Intramuros was fun and truly educational. As Filipinos, we must learn how to look back on our past to have a better understanding of our national identity.

Passing along the streets of Intramuros are the restored walls and Spanish architectural buildings that can bring consciousness back to the good old days. Schools, churches, Spanish government buildings, and old Spanish houses, they are all restored and brought back to life.

Foreign tourists in Intramuros may now have an idea of our Spanish colonial past and why we say "pero, para, mas, casa" and why some Filipinos may look like Spanish mestizo and not really brown Malay skin as we are known for.

Palacio del Gobernador
Passing through the Old Wall on a narrow street

That ends my cultural trip to downtown Manila. A Kalesa tour is a must-try not just for foreigners, but we Filipinos must explore and revisit, but not revise our history and our identity.

© 2020 Del Cusay

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Baywatch at Camp Rofelio


The west coast of the Philippines. That's one of my favorite summer destinations. And the place to go is the coast of San Felipe, in the province of Zambales. A peaceful town in the North.

The waves, the blue-green waters, and the greyish-powdery sand makes it a great getaway to rejuvenate and spend some pure thinking moment.

In May 2018, I've discovered a newly-built camping site on the coast of Liwliwa, a town of San Felipe.

A serene ambiance, with several cottages and tents for an overnight stay. At first glance, I knew that I would love the place and, and so I did.




Standing barefooted at the seaside gate of Camp Rofelio is a wonderful view of the horizon. The water is clear and the waves are relaxing. You can sit on the sand, meditate and capture the best view of the surrounding.

A great weekend retreat. Camping at the beach. A soulful moment to watch the sunset. Fresh-grilled seafood for dinner and a bonfire night to remember.

A memorable and fun moment at Camp Rofelio.

It's not a crowded weekend destination. A solemn place where you can be at peace and one with nature. When you hear the waves inside the tent at night, you'll have the most relaxing and deep sleep ever.

But, hey! I'm supposed to be bay watching!


A Baywatch, not only to appreciate the area and the surrounding waters, but this place facing the West Philippine Sea has been a controversy from unwanted intruders.

The pirates of the sea had been inside our Philippine waters and caused tension and threat to the fishing livelihood of the locals.

That's supposed to be protected by the Philippine government. To defend our territorial waters. To protect what is ours, and our own people.

Questionable dredging foreign vessels were spotted in territorial waters of Zambales and truly a threat not only to our territorial rights but also to the fishing rights of several fishermen on our own territory.

We are standing as a Baywatch. Someone who sees intruders from afar.


But our local fishermen are powerless and even the local and national government seem not powerful enough to defend the territory.

I love Zambales and I would love to come back for the next summer season, but the best Baywatch is to see happy people, and not stories of intrusion -- like thieves of the sea.

Camp Rofelio is a good place for bay watching, but be mindful and have a telescopic eye for the pirates of the sea.


We dream of having great and safe tourist destinations, and so we have to be aware of issues affecting our rights and our dreams not to be taken away from us, which is likely to happen if we are silent and don't care.

San Felipe; a place of kind and peaceful people. Protect your place, make it a heaven on earth experience. Make it a paradise. And together, we can protect and become a good Baywatch. A good Filipino.

© 2020 Del Cusay


Sunday, July 19, 2020

The Highlands of Baguio



An American town in the Philippines. That's the Baguio city in the Cordilleran region. A hill station in the North.

The "Little America" also known as the City of Pines attracts tourists from all over the country and foreigners who would want to explore the rich culture and heritage of this highly urbanized city in the Cordillera region -- literally means a mountainous region.

But the tag of American town is not its present-day description. That was just how it was called back then in the 1900s during American colonization in the Philippines.

Baguio is one of the coolest hill stations in the Philippines and good thing that the Americans during their occupation of the country have developed this place to be their mountain resort to escape from the lowland heat, most especially during the summer season. 


And why do Filipinos love Baguio City? No doubt, it's the cool climate almost all year round due to its higher elevation. When summertime comes, more people would pack up for an adventure. It's not just during the summer season, but it has become a weekend getaway of people from the nearby provinces and all the way from Metro Manila -- the National capital region.

In the present day, Filipinos are in full control of the former US military base; the Camp John Hay, not after they have given back our independence in 1946, but it was just a not so distant past in the year 1991 -- almost 3 decades ago.

That's just a little piece of history, and yes the Igorots of the Cordilleras have a colorful and vibrant culture, which even Americans were not able to change or took away their identity.


I have lived and worked in Baguio City in the summer of 2015 and have witnessed its natural wonders, but this place is slowly losing its balance due to commercialization. It's a number one enemy for people who are into environmental protection and preservation.

Housing projects, malls, big infrastructure projects are just on the rise and it cost thousands of century-old pine trees to be cut down to give way to these projects.

Baguio City is now crowded and you can see the hillside full of houses and even far away mountains almost full of houses. That was not what I've witnessed back in 2004 when the first time I visit Baguio.


Development on this mountain resort was so fast in just a decade time, and so developers are eager to exploit more and make the City miserable.

Yes, the development would have made Baguio be a highly livable Philippine city, but over development for the sake of business profit will slowly kill its natural charm and beauty.

One thing I admire most about Igorots (the local name for the Cordilleran people) is their hospitality and friendliness. They are also kind and honest people. I hope that they will be able to preserve its rich culture and pass it on to the next generations. And yes, I hope that they will fight for their land and not be taken away from them.


The Burnham Park, Wright Park, Bell House, and Kennon Road, and Brent School. These places of interest were named from the Americans who have made a great contribution to what Baguio city has become.

And so Americans showed us how to build a highly master-planned city on a mountain top. Originally, they have built it for not more than 30,000 people, but after more than a century the population has become 10 times larger at more than 300,000 people.

The highlands of Baguio is truly captivating to any tourist. Its history and culture are the souls of the place and of the local people. 

After the Pandemic, more people will again be stuck in a traffic jam on its zig-zag road and all the way up just to feel its mountain breeze again and the warmth of the Igorot people.

Baguio City, in the Highlands of Benguet Province, Philippines is a cultural gem and a hub of the great people deserving of recognition and reverence.

Baguio City; home of charming people.

© 2020 Del Cusay

Related Post:

Sunday, June 14, 2020

A Journey of A Thousand Miles


Life brings us to the place of our dreams. That's the beginning of a wonderful journey ahead. We dream it, we believe it and we live it.

We manifest and hold on to that dream, we bring our intentions to life, and it starts with a single with— a single step.

Life may bring us to several places in our lifetime. Some destinations may haven't been planned, but opportunities and destiny take us there.

In 2016 after a thousand miles journey abroad, life brought me to a lovely place; known as the city of love Iloilo City, Philippines.


The place is special to me since I lived there for about a year back in mid-2002 until mid-2003. It is where I studied my first year in college; being the center of higher education in the Region. Back then, the city has its charm with century-old churches and old ancestral houses that are preserved and restoredsuch a timeless beauty.

The city has to live up to the expectation dubbed as the 'City of Love' and true to its name, it is the loving nature and the lovable character of the people that captivates the soul.

13 years since I left, I came back to live and practice my profession to work in a medical center located near the esplanade where I used to spend some morning stroll and sunset viewing. I have seen the growth of the city as it embraced modern development in infrastructure while preserving its old heritage. Now the city is a fusion of the old and modern world. It has a more charming vibe among the developing cities in the Philippines.


That journey to the 'City of Love' brought memories to cherish for a lifetime, until one day another journey begins to another place; to the country's capital region of Metro Manila. Back to the place where I started to work and discover places and the world.

Today, our world may have stopped. Life may have led me back to the place of my greater comfort and security; to the place of my birth and to be with my family  my loved ones.

The thousand miles journey brought meaning to life, but away from my family. But now, I believe that a journey of a thousand miles includes a 'home sweet home' closer to my family.

Life is good to be back in their loving and warm embrace during this time of crisis; where uncertainty unfolds. I was far away from them for years searching for a living, but now I am living with them searching for meaning.


Now, I believe that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Wherever we are in this world, no matter how far the distance we've been, still we'll always come back to the most special place in our hearts. 

Life will always protect and comfort us, and life will always lead us back even after a thousand miles journey and beyond. 

© 2020 Del Cusay



Monday, August 12, 2019

Eid'l Adha: Its Interfaith Significance

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 festival 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 for 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 to. It could be an 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 don't 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 brothers 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 do 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




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 creed, 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 café 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



Wednesday, May 1, 2019

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

For today, my petition is for our good health and healing, that God will protect us from sickness and illnesses and heal our physical, mental, and emotional discomforts. And for my greatest desire is to have found the one who will complete me and live a better life together.

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

© 2019 Del Cusay

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Celebrating Chinese New Year 2019: Luck, Prosperity and Faith

Lion and Dragon Dance 
Chinese new year has been part of the Philippine culture for centuries and is celebrated by Filipinos from all walks of life most especially of Chinese descent we call Tsinoy or Intsik.

In Binondo, a district in Manila, a vibrant and colorful celebration happens every Chinese New year to welcome prosperity and abundance in businesses established by the Tsinoys with a majority of the community came from Fujian and Guangdong province in China.

Grand Parade at Ongpin St. in Binondo
Centuries have passed, they have endured the challenges of wars and conflicts in their little community we call Chinatown in Binondo as well as communities established in other places in the Philippine archipelago. But today their businesses thrive in Binondo and they have conquered almost all commerce and industries becoming business leaders.

Our Philippine culture is greatly influenced by the Tsinoys as evidenced by the food that we serve during holidays, beliefs on luck through Chinese astrology or horoscope, Chinese martial arts, Chinese feng shui, and Chinese arts, and architectural designs and structures. Today, all of these influences are alive in Binondo particularly in the famous street of Ongpin - - the center of the Chinese New year celebration in the country.

Fruits and lucky charms 

Even in politics and governance, Tsinoys have been elected to serve the country. Beyond their business interests, they have proven to be an effective public servant becoming truly Filipino by heart. From their ancestors as Chinese immigrants to the Philippines, they now have a massive influence in Philippine politics and Filipinos patronize their brand of leadership.

My journey in Binondo started back in 2013. Celebrating the Chinese New Year 2013: A New Beginning was meaningful and a joyful experience. That was the beginning of a Chinese-Filipino culture immersion for a greater understanding of the deeply-rooted Chinese culture and influence in the country.


Five years after, Celebrating Chinese New Year 2018: Prosperity and Abundance was a celebration of success and thanksgiving for a greater year that has passed and a greater optimism for the current year. That's the essence; becoming better and bolder every year.


This year of the Pig according to Chinese culture brings wealth and prosperity through beliefs and symbols that one must possess. This has been adopted by most Filipinos and every year we strive to become a better version of ourselves and free ourselves from obsolete beliefs. Every new year is a renewal and a vow through the lists of resolutions. We may believe in luck, but it is also our faith and personal devotion to a higher source that brings success and prosperity in life.

May our dreams and hopes become higher and brighter as we celebrate a new year with optimism and grace, this year and beyond.


© 2019 Del Cusay