Monday, October 11, 2010

Karadjawan nan Surigao

Jaon nay Night café sa Surigao kada biernes sanan sabado nan duyom didto sa Boulevard. Bagan an City government man an nagpasiugda nan ini na karadjawan. Sa ako tan-aw, maradjaw man sab na jaoy kapanawan nan mga tawo pagkahuman nan isa ka semana na pag-trabaho, dakan sab na jaoy  panahon na mag-suroy-suroy sanan makig-iban sa pamilya nan maglulinghayaw kaysa puro ra sab trabaho na waya nay panahon sa pamilya. Arang gajod ka gana an night café nan Surigao City kay jaon ra sa kilid nan dagat, (an problema kun mabayod, bagan pisik man, inday unhon jaon?!?) an ija ka presko sanan kahayay na imu mabati samtang kaw nag lingkoray sa kilid di gajod ikabaylo. Isa na ako ganahan kay arang ka hamuk mga police ug Civil security unit nan syudad jaon gajod kanunay nagbantay sa mga tawo. Bagan makasiguro kay na wayay mga problema na mahitabo (ajaw sab lamang pag-kumpiansya!) Magana isab na mukaon sa mga pagkaon kay karagjaw man na mga catering services owner an tag imbetar na mutukod nan ila pwesto dakan kon ganahan kaw mukaon jaon dajon imu makan-an… Kuyang lamang nan mga kalingawan kinta. Mas magana siguro kon jaoy sab mga banda na magtukar o di ba kaha amateur singing contest o bisan unu rakan na makalingaw sab sa ato. An ako lamang panghinaut na magpabilin gihapon an kalinaw, kahapsay sanan kalimpyo nan syudad nan surigao. Tana mulambo sanan bibo pa an surigao, ini mahimu lamang kun kita isab na mga lumad na taga surigao mukooperar ug mutabang sa mga programa nan nagdaya nan ato syudad.

Jari na, Iswag SURIGAO!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tempus Fugit

I was chosen to be the chaperon for the 3 day retreat for the graduating accountancy and education students of Christ the King College – Gingoog City, where I am presently assign for my one year ministry year. On the first day of the of said retreat, the retreat master Rev. Fr. Cian Marquez, SSP opted to show us a film entitled “IF ONLY” – a heartwarming love story of Wynelhaw (Paul Nicholls) and Samantha (Jennifer Love Hewitt) who have been given a chance to relive the day all over again in the hope of changing the events of their lives, to rectify the past, to fix what has been damaged, to bring out what has been lost, to express heartily what was not spoken and to cherish together each moment that has been wasted in the past – all in the name of LOVE.

“You all have the choice” – a touching life form the movie. Life indeed is always a matter of choice and that every choice creates a story of our personal life. These series of choices are always bounded by the precious moment of time. Time is a phenomenon that cannot be altered. When it happens, it would form part of the reality of yesterday. Tempus fugit! (time flies) – Time is fast, time is short, no rewind, and no replay. Every second, minute, hour pass is already part of history. Present moment is too elusive that we could not hold back time. Though how elusive it may seem, it is always a GIFT. We are all given equal time to live, 24 hours a day, No more extra minute, no more extension. With such realization, I came to think of it that LIFE IS NEVER UNFAIR. WHAT MAKES IT UNFAIR IS OUR PERSONAL USE OF THE GIFTEDNESS OF TIME. It is truly our choice that is bounded in time that makes life seemingly unfair. We hear in songs, “…why the good times never last for long?”; “…why couldn’t we keep time form moving on?” We normally tend to hold earth’s axis when we are in the midst of too much pleasure, joy and serenity. Why is this so? Perhaps we need to keenly evaluate the choices we made in time. A choice that eventually alters the course of our life and that we might not say IF ONLY……

In a nutshell:
What I have (time) is a gift from GOD, what I would be (choices) is my gift to GOD.

I don’t know what lies ahead, but I know I’m on my way.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Sacrament Of Waiting

Waiting is a mystery - a natural sacrament of life.
there is a meaning hidden in all the times we have to wait.
It must be an important mystery because there is so much waiting in our lives.
Everyday is filled with those little moments of waiting;
testing our patience and our nerves, schooling us in self-control.

We wait for meals to be served, for a letter to arrive, for a friend to call or show up for a date.
We wait in line at cinemas and theaters, concerts and circuses.
Our airline terminals, railway stations and bus depots are
great temples of waiting filled with men and women who
wait in joy for the arrival of a loved one - or wait
in sadness to say goodbye and give the last wave of hand.

And we wait for ourselves to grow from childhood to maturity.
We wait for those inner voices that tell us when we are ready for the next stop.
We wait for graduation, for our first job, our first promotion.
We wait for success and recognition. We wait to grow up - to reach the stage where we make our own decisions. We cannot remove this waiting from our lives. It is a part of the tapestry of living.

Most of all waiting means waiting for someone else.
It is a mystery, brushing by our face everyday like a stray wind of leaf falling from a tree.
Anyone who has loved knows how much waiting goes into it.
How much waiting is important for love to grow, to flourish through a lifetime.
Why is this? Why can we not have it right now what we
so desperately want and need?

Why must we wait – two years, three years - and seemingly waste so much time?
You might as well ask why a tree should take so long
to bear fruit - the seed to flower - carbon to changeto diamond.
There is no simple answer - no more than there is to
life’s other demands - having to say goodbye to someone
you love because either you or they have made other
commitments; or because they have to grow and find the
meaning of their own lives - having yourself to leave
home and loved ones to find your own path - good-byes,
like waiting, are also sacraments of our lives.

All we know is that growth - the budding, the flowering of love needs patient waiting.
We have to give each other a time to grow. There is no way we can
make someone else truly love us or we them, except through time.
So we give each other that mysterious gift of waiting;
of being present without asking demands and rewards.
There is nothing harder to do than this. It truly tests the depth and sincerity of our love.

Waiting is a good thing only if something is worthwaiting for.
How will you know if it’s worth it? Gut feel.
What if you don’t trust your gut? Pray. You will been lightened. Trust me!
Is it wrong to expect while waiting? It’s not wrong,
but it will increase your chances of heartbreak and
disappointment if things don’t work out in the end.
Is it good to expect while waiting? It is better to HOPE.

What’s the difference between hoping and expecting?
HOPING means you’re open to either side of the coin
landing though you’re more inclined to believe that
things will turn out well. EXPECTING means you’re
thinking single-track…which won’t do you much good at all.

What’s the difference between waiting and expecting?
EXPECTING is waiting for something TO DEFINITELY
HAPPEN. WAITING is staying where you are, but not
necessarily expecting something to happen definitely.
Do you need assurance from someone you’re waiting for
while you’re waiting? Ideally, yes. But realistically,
do you really want assurance from this person? It’s so
easy to just point at something and make that the
reason why you’re waiting (”Because she said…”
“Because he told me that…”). With WAITING, all you
really can rely on are 3 things: your gut feel, your
heart and mind. Just YOURSELF, not anyone else.

So should you wait? What does your gut say? How does
your heart feel? What does your mind think?
If they’re saying different things, keep asking yourself these 3 questions;
And PRAY, until you get a solid answer.
THEN you’ll know if he or she is worth waiting for

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ministry or Job

Some people have a job in the church
Others invite themselves in a ministry
What’s the difference?

If you are doing it just because no one else will, it’s a job
If you are doing it to serve the LORD, it’s a ministry

If you quit because somebody criticized you, it’s a job
If you keep on serving, it’s a ministry

If you’ll do it only as long as it does not interfere with your other activities, it’s a job
If you are commited to staying with it even if it means of letting of other things, it’s a ministry

If you quit because no one praised you or thanked you, it’s a job
If you stay with it even though nobody recognized your efforts, it’s a ministry

It’s hard to get excited about job
If our concern is faithfulness, it’s ministry

An average church is filled with people doing jobs
A great and growing church is filled with people involved in ministry

Where do we fit in? What about us?
If God calls you to a ministry, don’t treat it like a job
If you have a job, give it up and find a ministry

God doesn’t want us to feel bored and go stuck with a job.
But be excited and faithful to HIM in a ministry

Author: Anna Sandberg

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Nicene Creed

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, 
and of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, 
eternally begotten of the Father, 
God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, 
begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father. 
Through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation, 
he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary,
and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered, died, and was buried. On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures; 
he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. 
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified. 
He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.

For RS- 3 (CHRISTOLOGY) students. Bring a hard copy of the Creed during our class schedule. Thank you!!! Deo Gratias!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Feast of St. James the Great, July 25

St. James the Great was the son of Zebedee, a fisherman from Galilee, and Salome, a pious woman. His younger brother was John the Evangelist.

St. James the Great and his brother John were fishing with their father Zebedee when Jesus invited them to follow Him on His ministry (Matthew 4:19). Right there and then, they left their father and followed Jesus.

They were called Boanerges (son of thunder) by Jesus because of their impulsiveness. When a Samaritan town did not receive Jesus, the brothers suggested that He should call down fire from heaven to consume it. Jesus reprimanded them for vengeful attitude.

St. James the Great witnessed Jesus teaching with authority in the synagogue and the cure of Simon’s mother-in-law. He was present, together with John and Peter, when Jesus raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead. He was chosen to be among the apostles to accompany Jesus up to Mt. Tabor to pray. It was there that he witnessed the Transfiguration, with Jesus speaking to Moses and Elijah, as God spoke from a cloud. He also accompanied Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemani before He was arrested.

St. James the Great believed that he had power and authority over the other apostles and asked that Jesus have him and his brother sit on His right and left hand when He came into His glory. Jesus loved them so much that He did not castigate them; He just told them they did not know what they were asking. They only saw Jesus earthly throne but not the Cross that He had to carry.

The request of St. James the Great angered the other apostles but Jesus used the opportunity to teach all of them that in order to be great one must be a servant.

St. James the Great was the first apostle to die as a martyr. During the persecution under King Herod Agrippa I in the year 44, St. James was captured and condemned to death. It was said that the man who arrested James was so impressed by his courage that he became a convert. He spoke at his trial and was executed with him.

As we celebrate the Feast of St. James the Great, let us remember his courage. Let us also pray that we may be privileged to be special friends of Jesus and be willing to abandon everything to follow Him.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

KAMAYAN: A Modern Interpretation of the Kingdom of God

(A tribute to a Great painter, Mr. Joey Velasco)
A typical Pilipino family will only use ordinary utensils during meal time. Others would perhaps be contented using their hands in eating, that is why, “kamayan” is very much popular in some other restaurants. We simply set aside and keep our elegant utensils in our cabinets and use these things during fiestas, birthdays, weddings and some other celebrations in the family. Others make use of this as decorations. This is what I observe even in my family. My mom used to keep all these and use it occasionally. But we cannot escape from the reality that sometimes we find ourselves in a formal gathering. Fragile and glittering utensils arrayed in various shapes and sizes in front of us and it seems that we are not comfortable in using all these things simply because we are not accustomed with these. We seemingly become alien, an outsider and perhaps think that we don’t belong to this kind of gathering. When people seem to notice us, they might think that we are not part of the group. Perhaps, they would secretly mock for we don’t know how to use these simple things.
            This was also the impression of the Pharisees seeing Jesus eating with the tax collectors and sinners during his time. They do not belong and should not even mingle with these people who were considered outcast in the Jewish community but then Jesus break the prevalent notion that time to concretize the content and meaning of the Reign of God. He does not proclaim the Kingdom verbally but he translates it into a way of life. This would mean that his preaching and his ministry are inseparable. In the gospel, Jesus portrayed as always coming from, going to and talking about banquet, feast and meals that is why those people who were against him branded him as glutton and drunkard and friend of tax collectors and sinners.   He is seen as companions at table with the condemned citizens of his time but he chose this medium to proclaim and celebrate God’s inclusive love.
            In the Jewish culture, dining together signals an intimate expression of friendship and communion. It is a manifestation of a deep companionship, belongingness and acceptance. This is what Jesus did; he broke bread together with the low class citizens of his time. “He accepts everyone no matter what their background and social standing. Social distinction, stratification and cultural taboos have been cut of in the presence of Jesus. He accepted people as they are, reached out to them as fellow human beings and in this way he created a new kind of friendship among peoples.”(Bredin, pp115). There is no outsider in the kingdom of God for there is no restriction in the heavenly banquets.
            Another way to make the kingdom concrete is through Jesus’ healing, exorcism and miracles. These are the vivid evidence that the power of God is active to save. Though there are debates existing concerning the authenticity of narrative account about nature miracles. Other authors suggest that these narratives were just a creation of the early Christians. Whatever it may be, what is certain was that it is not a mere display of power but rather an enfleshment of the Reign of God. It is the action that translate the meaning of the word and that is why miracles and exorcism plays an important role in making real the meaning of salvation. Jesus’ actions are actually re-building of broken relationships and communication both with God and his people. But these renovations would always be in the context of faith. This magnificent ministry of Jesus does not only calls for communion but an invitation to the unconditional faith in God; faith that leads to conversion.
As I was pondering, I came to realize the importance of belongingness. We are all incline to associate with others. Perhaps this is also what makes life more meaningful, the feeling that you are accepted and loved by others. I could hardly imagine how they live, those people who were alienated and perhaps even chose to deprive themselves of human relation because of social standard. But here is this man named Jesus who also chose to deviate with what is conventional to revitalize this essential aspect of human existence. The famous “Hapag ng Pag-asa” painted by Joey Velasco is a modern way of bringing into relevance the teachings of Jesus into this modern epoch. “Kamayan” together with these less privilege individuals is a concrete response to the inclusive membership of the kingdom of God.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


“To glorify God by being faithful stewards of all that is entrusted to us;To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with us”

It has been almost a year when I first stepped into the pedestal of that golden – yellow building called STARJED Micro-financing Corporation, bringing a big question mark in my mind what a seminarian do in a financing institution. Yet, as time quickly flies, God has blessed me more than the things I prayed for. It was so rich and memorable that I could not afford to keep it unshared.

On this month of July, the time of my entrance to Starjed, I would just like to thank all of you for accepting me as I am and for believing in my potentiality. In my short span of stay, I could describe Starjed in one simple word: “COMMUNITAS”, that is, community within a community. Starjed is operating not only as a lending firm but with great involvement in religious activities. “We”, (just allow myself to be included huh!) creates a miniature world within the greater and bigger community. Starjed builds its communitas in the context of table fellowship, kaon diri. . . kaon didto. . . murag usa lang ka tawo ang walay effect ang kaon para niya, si Mam Madel (peace!). We form new relationships with our new employees and staffs by dining together sipping “sabaw sa libuo” that dedicatedly prepared by Nang Norma and Sir Dodong. I have many things to share yet, just allow me to keep things in private, I suspect I could not describe it fully.

Indeed, relationship adds color in life and it’s quite amazing how the word “relationship” came to be. First, it is simply a mere desire to “relate” and later on creates “relation” that eventually builds up a certain circle of friends. Figuratively, our natural tendency to relate with others suggests that somehow it is a moment of making our “SHIPS”. That group of friends who accompany us in our struggles to life is part of the “SHIP” within us that affirms the passé that LIFE is a JOURNEY. 

In closing, I am very much happy that I became part of Starjed’s blissful journey. My simple yet colorful vignette at starjed has been carved deep in my heart and it will perpetually be cherished.

Semper Deo Gratias et Mariae

Sunday, March 28, 2010

What do the letters “INRI” on the crucifix mean?

The letters “INRI” are initials for the Latin title that Pontius Pilate had written over the head of Jesus Christ on the cross (John 19:19). Latin was the official language of the Roman Empire.

The words were "Iesvs Nazarenvs Rex Ivdaeorvm." Latin uses “I” instead of the English “J”, and “V” instead of “U” (i.e., Jesus Nazarenus Rex Judaeorum). The English translation is "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews."

The Early Church adopted the first letters of each word of this inscription “INRI” as a symbol. Throughout the centuries INRI has appeared in many paintings of the crucifixion.

Although John’s gospel refers to the writing as a “title,” Mark and Matthew both refer to it as an “accusation.” It was customary to set up over the heads of persons crucified the crime for which they suffered, and the name of the sufferer. The accusation on which Jesus had been condemned by Pilate was his claiming to be the King of the Jews. Ironically, the “crime” for which Jesus was crucified is not a crime at all, but an absolutely true statement. Not only is Jesus King of the Jews, He is the King of all – the King of kings and the Lord of lords (Revelation 17:14 and 19:16). He is King over the entire universe and all its inhabitants. And it was not any crime of His own that was nailed to the cross; it was the crimes (sins) of everyone who would ever put his or her faith in Him for salvation. He has “blotted out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and has taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross” (Colossians 2:14)

By the way, Pilate's title for Christ was actually written in three languages(Hebrew, Greek and Latin) .

Loving Remembrance

“We REMEMBER how you loved us to Your DEATH
And still we CELBRATE for You are with us here
And we BELIEVE that we will see You when You come
In Your glory Lord, we remember
We celebrate, We believe”

For so long a time that I have been observing my own dynamics I could not deny that fact that I always find myself so affected and moved by mere lyrics of a song, regardless of its genre. I have been hearing and singing this song many times but it is only this time that I come to appreciate it more.
This is what HOLY WEEK is all about. It is not just a religious and cultural “observance” but more importantly a “loving remembrance” of Jesus’ unqualified love for all His wayward and unfaithful FRIENDS (No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends…Jn.15:13). We commemorate on this shameful and bloody event in the history of humanity not to perpetuate such act and the pain that it caused but an opportunity to “recollect” our acts of unfaithfulness to a Friend who is ever faithful to his promise even at the point of losing His own self and, at the same time, to “celebrate” the victory of our salvation of which we experience here and now, and yet a continuous hope that in the eyes of faith, we “believe” that we will see Him again, in His glory, in the fullness of time.
We are never too old to change... Never too good for change. May we have a life-giving journey with the Lord in His passion, death and resurrection.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Starjed Music Ministry goes to VIANNEY

As part of our formation and education for all Starjed Music Ministry members. We trudge the long road reaching the "City of Golden Friendship" to visit the solemn place of Formation - St. John Vianney Theological Seminary. "Come, follow Me" - a motto that deeply inspires the rest of the singers to continue serving Him with dedication and love by accompanying the Holy Eucharist with liturgical music.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

LOVE: An Abstract Concept?

Love is any of a number of emotions related to a sense of strong affections and attachments. The word love can refer to a variety of different feelings, states, and attitudes, ranging from generic pleasure ("I loved that meal") to intense interpersonal attraction ("I love my husband"). This diversity of uses and meanings, combined with the complexity of the feelings involved, makes love unusually difficult to consistently define, even compared to other emotional states.

Defining love is perhaps as difficult as understanding the journey of life. It is an intensely emotional state of mind which is hard to put in concrete words. It is something which is widely perceived as indefinable and hence, a number of interpretations of love have been made by scientists and philosophers since ages. The search might be too long, and perhaps it is just but appropriate to humbly say PERHAPS LOVE?!?...

Try to read each line of the song. It really amazed me how the songwriter keenly tried to delve into the richness of ambiguity of LOVE yet caused the world to exist. “AND SOME THEY DON’T KNOW” – a line from the song that enveloped my whole being and eventually realized that love cannot be deduce with such an ordinary and mere human language.

John Denver
Perhaps love is like a resting place
A shelter from the storm
It exists to give you comfort
It is there to keep you warm
And in those times of trouble
When you are most alone
The memory of love will bring you home

Perhaps love is like a window
Perhaps an open door
It invites you to come closer
It wants to show you more
And even if you lose yourself
And don't know what to do
The memory of love will see you through

Oh, Love to some is like a cloud
To some as strong as steel

For some a way of living
For some a way to feel

And some say love is holding on
And some say letting go
And some say love is everything
And some say they don't know

Perhaps love is like the ocean
Full of conflict, full of pain
Like a fire when it's cold outside
Thunder when it rains
If I should live forever
And all my dreams come true
My memories of love will be of you

And some say love is holding on
And some say letting go

And some say love is everything
Some say they don't know

Perhaps love is like the ocean
Full of conflict, full of pain
Like a fire when it's cold outside
Or thunder when it rains
If I should live forever
And all my dreams come true
My memories of love will be of you

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


St. Paul's Own Words:

"For I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel that was proclaimed by me is not of human origin; for I did not receive it from a human source, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. You have heard, no doubt, of my earlier life in Judaism. I was violently persecuting the church of God and was trying to destroy it. I advanced in Judaism beyond many among my people of the same age, for I was far more zealous for the traditions of my ancestors. But when God, who had set me apart before I was born and called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, so that I might proclaim him among the Gentiles, I did not confer with any human being, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were already apostles before me, but I went away at once into Arabia, and afterwards I returned to Damascus. Then after three years I did go up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days; but I did not see any other apostle except James the Lord's brother."(Gal 1:11-19)

"Last of all, as to one untimely born, he [Jesus] appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me."
(1 Cor 15:8-10)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


It was not my first time to visit the place where people have been lawfully deprive exercising their basic rights for freedom because of some acts committed which is contrary to the norms set by human standard. They are individuals who hunger in exercising thier innate freedom, which can be liked to a bird flying willfully in the serene cloudy sky after escaping from the small and lonely cage. They are our brothers and sisters in the detention cell who happened to be detained for a grave cause in search for authentic truth and justice. Criticism might be their surname but they are not as notorious as we perceive them. They have been detained because of their deviant behaviors but some of them are just victims of inequality as an effect of human fragility and therefore need our heartfelt concern.

Starjed Micro-Financing Corporation with its corporate officers and staffs headed by the Human Formation and Evangelization Department visited the two jails in the province of Surigao namely: Surigao Norte Provincial Jail and Surigao City Jail to greet each inmate a meaningful Christmas as our deepest way of showing our concerns to them and to make them feel the joyful and bountiful spirit of Christmas by giving something with great generosity. It might not be too expensive but what matters most is the purity of our intentions. We did not confine ourselves in our own comfort zones and spend pleasurably the little things that we have but rather, we reach out and extend our wide open arms to share the things that the world is valuing for the sake of our beloved brethren whom we most value. By so doing, we become ambassadors of Jesus’ unfathomable generosity for the salvation of the whole humanity. This is our way of responding the call to “kenosis”, to let go and emptied oneself of the things which we value for a greater purpose. Such may somehow be a reflection of the ultimate and mysterious “kenosis” of Jesus whom we devotedly follow.

“Meri Krismas na lang, sa akong mga minahal, sa akong mga kahigalaan sa malipayong puluy-anan, ako may nag-antos wa magpaabot nga kaloy-an i-ampo lamang ninyo kami ug meri krismas na lang…” a popular lyrics of the song I personally heard in the jail that kept on lingering my ears. It really manifested Jesus’ influence in their lives. I don’t know who made the lyrics of the song but it would openly suggest how lonely it would be to celebrate Christmas in the jail. It pained me a lot as if my heart is pierced with a lance having the thought in my mind that they would only celebrate their Christmas in the very little corner of the prison cell while others have been jumping and enjoying all out loud. They seemed to be the loneliest people living amidst of the jubilant environment. It is as if they were in a concert standing in the middle, so idle and lonely while others are shouting and dancing with oozing energy. I might be too emotional but with all honesty, I almost shed tears watching over them singing and dancing inside their prison cell trying to convince themselves that Christmas would still be the same even inside the jail. I could really sense the glow of their hopeless faces and the gladness in their hearts being visited by a family not by blood but a family united in the mercy of the Lord. They might be deprived of seeing the bright and crystallized Christmas lights and décor yet Starjed stands by her name, that is, to be a star that gives direction, a star that gives hope, a star that gives illumination to the lives that is clouded with so much darkness. Starjed, moved by the mercy of the Lord, brought her light to the dark corners of the prison cell so that the light of Jesus would shine so brightly in the hearts of every inmate. Hearts have been burning with so much happiness both the inmates and the Starjed family despite the cold bars that desperately separate us apart. It adds to their confidence and hope for a brighter tomorrow by just manifesting our sincere sympathy to them instead of putting them in a box of prejudices. They badly need us; they hunger for our presence, to make them feel that they still belong to a community where they came from. Ultimately, they need our prayers for the reparation of what has been damage, for what has been lost and to help them become courageous to hope for a new world that awaits them soon.

The opportunity to learn starts with a simple experience. It was just an ordinary visit but a rare chance of a heartwarming encounter with the least expected persons. I could not contain the feeling of amazement having been moved with such experience that somehow broadens the horizon of my learning not from the academe or any other center of education but in the isolated site of a prison cell. It was just an accidental discovery of something that is so pleasant, fortunate and valuable. A grace-filled encounter that we call serendipity