Monday, November 30, 2009

Never lost, always found (19): Go, get set, ready


Amidst all the talk of uncertainty, of dangers and perils that awaits us due to climate change or in the upcoming national and local elections; in spite of the seeming victory of the wicked and the vile; in the face of personal struggles and communal sorrow, I remain confident and put my faith in the Lord, defer to His wisdom, and embrace His kindness.

The days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will fulfill the promise
I made to the house of Israel and Judah.
In those days, in that time,
I will raise up for David a just shoot ;
he shall do what is right and just in the land.
In those days Judah shall be safe
and Jerusalem shall dwell secure;
this is what they shall call her:
“The LORD our justice.”
Jeremiah 13:14-16

Monday, November 23, 2009

Never lost, always found (18): Inconceivable... and yet possible

We watched the World Pyro Olympics yesterday at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig. Despite the rain, thousands came to witness what was touted to be the ultimate face-off of pyrotechnic masters. And the two countries who dueled last night- Germany and China- did not disappoint!



I tried my best to capture the fantastic works of art in the sky with my trusty camera; but for some reason, the pics I got did not quite measure up against how grand the effects were as captured by the naked eye and recorded by my brain.

I just can't help marvel at the wonder of the human body. I remember having the same thoughts as we were working with a cadaver during our Anatomy class in medical school: how the seemingly fragile assortment of fibers and skin and layers can make a person walk, talk, feel... In spite humanity's best efforts, we can only attempt to approximate the power of God made manifest through the workings of the human body.

And so we place our trust not in human frailty but in God's strength, mercy, wisdom, peace, and love. When all else fails, He won't.

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has ever conceived the glorious things He has prepared for those who love Him. (1Cor2:9)

--==+==--

Another example of God's overwhelming grace:

Congratulations to Efren Penaflorida from the province of Cavite in the Philippines! He has been chosen as the CNN Hero of the Year!

Here's to true heroism we can all emulate and be truly proud of!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

World Pyro Olympics begins on Nov 21 at the Bonifacio Global City




Take a break from the political fireworks and witness the real masters of the craft at work!

For 2009, the World Pyro Olympics has a new home at the Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City- not more than half an hour from where we live =] The WPO also takes on a new format: the visual spectacle in the sky will now have matching music to boot =]

Save the dates: November 21 and 28, December 5, 12, and 19. The venue for viewing the pyromusical event is just across the MC Home Depot inside BGC- for which you will be needing tickets. Gates open at 2.30pm.




For inquiries, you can call 509-4922, 568-6908, 384-0239, 904-1100 or 0906-366-9488. You can also visit the World Pyro Olympics 2009 website- WorldPyroOlympics.com.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Last three days to vote for Efren Penaflorida to be CNN Hero of the Year!

True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.
- Arthur Ashe, pioneer African-American tennis player and social activist

Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism -how passionately I hate them!
- Albert Einstein, physicist and Nobel Prize winner



For taking the path of peace through education (rather than propagating inane violence masquerading as a "sport");

For working towards improving the health of street children (rather than willfully bashing the face of an opponent in the guise of uplifting "national pride");

For not attracting attention to oneself but working to draw attention to inequities persisting in society (rather than ostentatious display of wealth and machismo);

For emphasizing that hope can and should be put into action collectively, as a community (rather than taking on the fight solo);

I choose Efren Penaflorida to be my hero (rather than you know who).

Vote for Efren as CNN Hero of the Year by clicking here. Know more about his Dynamic Teen Company's work with the street children of Cavite by clicking here and find out there how you can be a hero, too.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

November 14th of every year is World Diabetes Day



As a physician and having had very close family members currently surviving the challenge of this disease, I have seen first hand the personal, social, and economic cost of diabetes. To put things in a bigger perspective, the campaigners of the international celebration of World Diabetes Day put together this set of key messages regarding this burgeoning global health burden:

Diabetes currently affects more than 285 million people worldwide.

A further 344 million are at high risk of developing diabetes.

The International Diabetes Federation predicts that by 2030, over 435 million people will live with diabetes worldwide.

Over the past 30 years the global figures for the number of people living with diabetes have skyrocketed, with severe consequences for healthcare budgets worldwide.

Diabetes is one of several non-communicable diseases that threaten to overwhelm healthcare systems and are emerging as a serious barrier to economic development.

Every 10 seconds a person dies from diabetes-related causes.

Every 10 seconds two people develop diabetes.

Each year a further 7 million people develop diabetes

Diabetes is the fourth leading cause of global death by disease.

Each year 4 million deaths are attributable to diabetes.

All diabetes is on the rise.

Diabetes affects people of all ages.

Care for people with diabetes is best when a multidisciplinary approach is adopted involving
health professionals from all areas.

Access to appropriate medication and care should be a right not a privilege.

Diabetes costs more than money.

Up to 60% of type 2 diabetes can be prevented.

Diabetes brings different challenges at different ages.

Diabetes hits the poorest hardest.

SO HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU SHOULD ALREADY BE WORRIED THAT YOU MAY HAVE DIABETES? Watch this short, 2-minute video below to know more about diabetes. You can also visit the Diabetes Atlas for a more comprehensive look into this disease.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pinoy Shoppers, Unite: the Global Pinoy Bazaar 2009




Pinoy shoppers, unite! Here's a way to spend our hard-earned cash wisely in support of local entrepreneurs and artists as we promote Pride in the Pinoy!

(Reposting the email from the Yabang Pinoy team.)

Yabang Pinoy, the pioneering Filipino Pride movement behind shouting proud Filipinos, entrepreneurs and consumers alike, is also behind the success of Global Pinoy Bazaar, an annual assembly of individuals passionate about being Filipino and the potential of Filipino products. On its third year, Yabang Pinoy promises the biggest and best yet, at the Global Pinoy Bazaar 2009.

On November 14 and 15, 2009, just a hop and a skip away from Christmas, that most important season in any Filipino’s year, Yabang Pinoy invites its advocates and volunteers to once again demonstrate a true Consumer Revolution with Global Pinoy Bazaar 2009 at the Rockwell Tent, Makati City. It is time once more to champion quality Filipino products made with pride, and as citizens, take part in nation-building, so that the Philippines may take its place among the world’s biggest and greatest economies. Much like two years ago, Filipino entrepreneurs, sporting Filipino concepts and ideas and promising to maximize local materials and labor, will again launch limited edition products revolving around the theme of Indigenous Pop designs inspired by local icons, stories, materials, cultures, and traditions. Do something different for your Christmas shopping list this year: Support Pinoy, Shop Pinoy! Bazaar is open from 9am to 9pm.

To know more about the Global Pinoy Bazaar 2009 and the Yabang Pinoy movement and be a part of this Filipino Consumer Revolution, visit http://www.yabangpinoy.com.



Monday, November 09, 2009

Never lost, always found (17): Tongue in check

Moses, however, said to the LORD, "If you please, LORD, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past, nor recently, nor now that you have spoken to your servant; but I am slow of speech and tongue."

The LORD said to him, "Who gives one man speech and makes another deaf and dumb? Or who gives sight to one and makes another blind? Is it not I, the LORD?

Go, then! It is I who will assist you in speaking and will teach you what you are to say."


Exodus 4:10-12

I had a major presentation last week in the huge ballroom of a top Manila hotel. In it were dozens of physician colleagues, past and present teachers, and many kindred souls who took time out (and shelled out serious money) to listen to updates in the field of Family and Community Medicine. The latter's presence ought to have made the presentation a comfortable ride. However, a couple of hours before my scheduled talk, I was so nervous I thought I would pass out.

At the height of my anxiety and self-doubt, I requested a colleague to pray with me. We found a quiet spot at the back of the hall and he began to pray with me in earnest. And as expected, as soon as he uttered "Amen" a great wave of peace began to quiet my troubled heart. While awaiting my turn to speak, I quit fiddling with my slides, I stopped surfing for answers to any and all possible questions, I closed the ten or so web browser tabs I was nervously juggling and jotting notes from.

Soon after, I was called to the stage and I began my presentation. I did my best to convey the message I was assigned to deliver- Preparing for Outbreaks and Epidemics- in the time alloted. I struggled a bit during the open forum part but I would like to believe that I was able to more than just "wing it." Then, before I knew it, I already had to descend from the stage to give way to the next speaker.

In my confusion, God is my clarity. In my anxiety, God is my peace. In my folly, God is my way forward.



(A bonus after the presentation, seeing this amazing sunset over Manila Bay just across the hotel's parking lot =])

Thursday, November 05, 2009

A 50-days-to-go-before-Christmas reminder: the 2009 ABS-CBN Christmas Station ID

For those among us who feel there's no more reason to celebrate Christmas because of personal tragedies or national disasters, here's a very timely reminder and encouragement. Christmas is not about us but about the tremendous love of God for us, channeled through His Son Jesus.

And that is the central theme of the Christmas 2009 Station ID of the biggest television network in the Philippines- ABS-CBN. The video features some 200 artists associated with the network, shot over a period of one week. The song in the video- Star ng Pasko (Star of Christmas)- has lyrics written by Robert Labayen, set to music by Marcus and Amber Davis. The entire Christmas campaign of ABS-CBN is focused on "Bro" - a term of endearment given to Christ by a boy in a local TV show who has conversations with Jesus- and the hope He brings to His people in need through each one of us.

I freely translated the song from its original Filipino text- apologies to the artist for this. It doesn't come out as beautiful or as eloquent but I do hope the message is conveyed nonetheless to non-Filipinos =]

Feel the love! Be the love! This Christmas and always =]

(The Station ID begins at the 3:25 mark.)





Kung kailan pinakamadilim
Mga tala ay mas nagniningning
Gaano man kakapal ang ulap
Sa likod nito ay may liwanag

When the night is darkest/ Then the stars shine the brightest
No matter how thick the clouds/ Behind it lies the light

Ang liwanag na ito’y nasa ‘ting lahat
May sinag ang bawat pusong bukas
Sa init ng mga yakap
Maghihilom ang lahat ng sugat

This light is within all of us/ There’s a ray in all our hearts
Because of the warmth of our hugs/ All wounds will be healed

Ang nagsindi nitong ilaw
Walang iba kundi Ikaw
Salamat sa liwanag Mo
Muling magkakakulay ang Pasko
Salamat sa liwanag Mo
Muling magkakakulay ang Pasko

This light is lit / By no one but You
Thanks to Your light / Christmas will once again be colorful
Thanks to Your light / Christmas will once again be colorful

Tayo ang ilaw sa madilim na daan
Pagkakapit-bisig lalong higpitan
Dumaan man sa malakas na alon
Lahat tayo’y makakaahon

We are the light on this dark road/ We need to tighten our support to each other
Strong waves we have to endure/ At the end of which we will all survive

Ang liwanag na ito’y nasa ‘ting lahat
May sinag ang bawat pusong bukas
Sa init ng mga yakap
Maghihilom ang lahat ng sugat

This light is within all of us/ There’s a ray in all our hearts
Because of the warmth of our hugs/ All wounds will be healed

Ang nagsindi nitong ilaw
Walang iba kundi Ikaw
Salamat sa liwanag Mo
Muling magkakakulay ang Pasko
Salamat sa liwanag Mo
Muling magkakakulay ang Pasko

This light is lit / By no one but You
Thanks to Your light / Christmas will once again be colorful
Thanks to Your light / Christmas will once again be colorful

Kikislap ang pag-asa
Kahit kanino man
Dahil Ikaw Bro
Dahil Ikaw Bro
Ang Star ng Pasko

Hope will sparkle / For everyone
Because You, Bro / Because You, Bro
Are the Star of Christmas

Salamat sa liwanag Mo
Muling magkakakulay ang Pasko
Salamat sa liwanag Mo
Muling magkakakulay ang Pasko

Thanks to Your light / Christmas will once again be colorful
Thanks to Your light / Christmas will once again be colorful

Ang nagsindi nitong ilaw
Walang iba kundi Ikaw
Salamat sa liwanag Mo
Muling magkakakulay ang Pasko

This light is lit / By no one but You
Thanks to Your light / Christmas will once again be colorful
Thanks to Your light / Christmas will once again be colorful

Dahil Ikaw Bro
Dahil Ikaw Bro
Ang Star ng Pasko

Because You, Bro / Because You, Bro
Are the Star of Christmas

Monday, November 02, 2009

Never lost, always found (16): Beyond death




If God is for us, who can be against us?

He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him?

Who will bring a charge against God's chosen ones? It is God who acquits us.

Who will condemn? It is Christ (Jesus) who died, rather, was raised, who also is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.

What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword?

As it is written: "For your sake we are being slain all the day; we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered."

No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us.

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:31-39

--==+==--

In the depth of winter I finally learned that there within me lay
an invincible summer.

(Albert Camus)


Thank you, Father, for the blessing of fond memories and happy moments with our departed loved ones while they were still with us. Thank you for comforting us in our time of grief then when they passed on, and now, when our hearts intermittently ache for them. Thank you for taking them home to a much, much, much better place. Thank you for the promise of seeing them again, soon =]