Monday, December 31, 2007

What Am I Doing New Year's Eve?

What am I doing New Year's Eve? No, I'm not sorting through the thousand invitations I've received. I'm doing the Resolutions List, and blogging about them. Either I'm being brave or I'm being stupid. Nevertheless, here goes:

1. Buy Filipino. I'm so guilty of colonial mentality, and easily tempted by the lures of shopping malls when I'm abroad, whereas there are so many local brands to be proud of. I resolve to exercise my shopping skills in local retailers and stock up on homemade products.

2. Invest wisely. Some people my age have finished paying off their insurance, health care, and pension. This is my backlog.

3. Use my talents, and throw my excuses to the wind.

4. Believe in myself. After all that God has accomplished in and through me, I should be less prone to stress and anxiety, and more relaxed and focused, especially on my job.

5. Give in to discipline. Having a time in/ time out schedule at work is strange for me, but it's for my own good and I should exert more effort in this area.

6. Express love more. I've always thought, "If I love you, what's that to you?" More and more I realize that expressing love increases love.

7. Seek growth, not just wait for it. When people offer to help with my healing process, I should cooperate and not obstinately refuse to open up.

8. Be a radical Christian in a new way. I keep saying this and I've tried to yield to where the Holy Spirit had guided me in the past. This year I'm excited at what's in store, what kind of service I'll give, and what kind of lessons I'll learn.

I posted this before my year-end review, which requires more introspection. But 2007 helped rebuild me in many ways so that I enter 2008 with more hope than there ever was in me.

I wish you all a very blessed, prosperous, and wonderful New Year. Cheers!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Promises Like Pie-Crust

It's poetry time again.

Promises Like Pie-Crust

by Christina Georgina Rossetti

Promise me no promises,
So will I not promise you:
Keep we both our liberties,
Never false and never true:
Let us hold the die uncast,
Free to come as free to go:
For I cannot know your past,
And of mine what can you know?

You, so warm, may once have been
Warmer towards another one:
I, so cold, may once have seen
Sunlight, once have felt the sun:
Who shall show us if it was
Thus indeed in time of old?
Fades the image from the glass,
And the fortune is not told.

If you promised, you might grieve
For lost liberty again:
If I promised, I believe
I should fret to break the chain.
Let us be the friends we were,
Nothing more but nothing less:
Many thrive on frugal fare
Who would perish of excess.

Tiguls at Metrowalk

About six or seven years ago, we were together almost everyday in Lingkod QC - serving God, growing in our prayer life, and enjoying one another's company as friends.

God had taken us to different paths since then but it's still a joy just to get together and laugh, to be silly and remember "Friends ", "Harry Potter", the Service Council, countless meetings and fellowships, heartaches, and victories.

We are aging together, the Tiguls and I. "Mga Tigulang", we are called, especially with new Lingkod QT's in their early 20's, who can also dance hiphop, hit the high notes, and love God in a radical way.

We tried last night to stay up longer, but at 11 p.m. those with children to go home to, and/or work to attend to the next day, could no longer keep their eyes open. We just remembered fondly those days when we would go home at 5 a.m. and be up and ready for a Lingkod activity by 9 a.m.

It's time for the new generation of QT's to keep the fire burning.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Secrets Christmas Party

We used to call ourselves Secrets and now we're stuck with the name. We are ninongs and ninangs of the Secrets children, although some are not in these photos. We had Tita Tess as special guest.

Thanks to BJ for the professional quality shots. I grabbed these from his Multiply site.

With Juan, Martha and BJ's handsome son.

Here I'm carrying Ava, my goddaughter by Arvin and Anj. In photo with me are Arvin and Martha, who were my classmates from grade IV to grade VI. Martha and I were also schoolmates in high school (Manila Science) and college (U.P. College of Business Ad).

Juan couldn't make it to this picture as the baby was fast asleep na. Ava gamely posed with ninangs, parents, and tita.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Greetings

We're scattered around the globe once more, but from my family to yours, Merry Christmas!

Hyde Park with Mama

Originally uploaded by galadriella2007
Mama and I at Hyde Park, with St. Mary's Cathedral in the background.

Papa with the Jacaranda

Originally uploaded by galadriella2007
Papa posed with his favorite lavender tree when we spent an afternoon at the park.

Ella's Dress

Originally uploaded by galadriella2007
I went with Ate to the bridal shop and found this one I liked. Too bad I don't have an occasion to wear it yet.


Originally uploaded by galadriella2007
Christmas is for family, but most of mine are far, far away. This photo was taken when we had wine tasting during our November trip to Australia.

To Ric and Celeste who are in Germany, Lani and Danny who are in Sydney, and Mel and Josh who are in Phoenix, Cheers! Maligayang Pasko!

Two Sisters and the Groom

sydneyNov_01 015
Originally uploaded by galadriella2007
On the Second Day of our Sydney trip, we went to see the Blue Mountains. In photo with me are the bride and groom, Danny and Lani.

Belated Happy Birthday, Ate Lani!

Blue Mountains

Blue Mountains
Originally uploaded by galadriella2007
Still have a bit of Sydney Hangover, two months later!

We loved that the mountains were blue and that we had Kuya Ric as a photographer. You could see the famous Three Sisters behind us.

Melbourne Cup

Melbourne Cup
Originally uploaded by galadriella2007
I was in Sydney for Melbourne Cup, and while everyone placed their bets, I simply enjoyed the meal and posed for my souvenir photo.

Youth Caroling

Pardon the Nokia E65 video quality. This is a fundraiser for the World Youth Day '08 delegates - caroling activity at the CDO residence.

If you're interested to sponsor youth for WYD in Sydney on July 2008, please get in touch with me. Visit the Youth Alive, Parish of St Benedict, and WYD Sydney websites for more details (links on the left panel of this blog). Or email me at

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

B&G with MOH and BM

Originally uploaded by bdelrosario

Wedding Party 111107'

Originally uploaded by bdelrosario

Always the Maid of Honor...

Originally uploaded by bdelrosario
It was my second time to be a maid of honor. In the past, I had been candle sponsor, veil, cord, bridesmaid, choir, lector, soloist, and guest. Thank God I've never been ninang or primary sponsor.

In limo - Ella, Danny and Lani.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Now Playing: Sing of Him

I can't get enough of the new CD launched by the Cenacle Sisters through the Jesuit Music Ministry. It's entitled "Sing of Him: More Prayers from the Upper Room". I attended the live concert-album launch last Sunday at the Cenacle Garden and was moved at how Sr Bubbles Bandojo, rc, Sr Susay Valdez, rc, and their Jesuit friends rendered "prayers wrapped in song".

You may read more about the CD and the launch here.

The songs "Sing of Him", "How Beautiful", "Song of Ruth", and "Naaalala Mo", are now part of my advent soundtrack. You may buy from the Cenacle Retreat House, or wait for the release at the Jesuit Music Ministry stores.

A Christmas Wish: Granted (Mine!)

There is a youth group I volunteer to care for that meets almost weekly in different chapels surrounding our parish.

The members are not the regular iPod- and PSP-toting kids who hang out at malls and live chauffer-driven lives. My kids, although mostly in school and living with their families, sometimes have to skip classes because they don't have enough money for their project, fare, or lunch. It breaks my heart every time I think about it, but such is life, and I, together with the core team of adult and youth leaders, try to help them as much as we can by supporting them in their Christian journey.

We had our last general assembly for the year in November, as we are taking a break this December, for most of the kids would be busy then with their respective church choir activities - Simbang Gabi masses, caroling, and Christmas parties. While we were saying goodbye, the kids asked me, "Ate, wala ba tayong Christmas party sa Youth Alive?"

I looked at the other core team members and we all sadly shook our heads. The Knights of the Altar, the Junior Choir, the BNP Choir, the OLA Choir, and the scholars would each have their own parties, we said. They said they wanted to be with the whole group (all 200 of them? I thought) and besides, "IT WAS CHRISTMAS!" I felt the same way, as if the last three words explained it all.

I approached Fr. Steve and he said the YA had been blessed already the past year, especially in the summer, so there was no real need for another big party, especially if we were not able to raise funds for it previously.

I texted my friends that if they were looking for a cause to support this Christmas, I had two suggestions - Youth Alive, and Noah's Ark (the charity my office is donating to this Saturday). One of my friends replied that she had tons of clothes and the kids could have a rummage sale to raise funds. I agreed to meet her to pick up the clothes, and we had a long-overdue lunch and coffee. We shared about our lives and what we were doing. In the middle of that late lunch, she blurted out that she was giving me money (a HUGE amount, by my standards) for the youth. She said she wanted a real party for them, not spaghetti with catsup, but real food, "something that you and I would eat". I was overwhelmed and cried on the spot!

Another friend of mine, let's call him Willie Wonka, sent me boxes of chocolate-covered pretzels for my two "charities" this Christmas. I could not believe how generous people could get. I was just thinking of a simple party at the back of the church - with sandwiches and juice. Now the kids were getting a Christmas party to remember. The core team immediately came up with plans on how to wisely spend the donation, and we're very excited about the ideas that now need a little bit of execution.

I know we should be doing something for them every day of the year, but with more reason, the coming of Jesus this Christmas just makes me want to have an extra special time with the kids - whether they be the kids on the street, at Noah's Ark, at He Cares Foundation, or at Youth Alive Manila.

As for the two kids closest to my heart - my nephews - I have a surprise for them as well. Wink. Wink. They might read this blog and get too excited.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Wish I Had This When I Was a Law Student

This Christmas, give the ultimate gift for the law student in your family! Click on the picture above to get the Order Form now!
This is my pet project. I think every law student must have this. Help me spread the word!

You may visit for more details and product updates.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Masci '91 Reloaded

Calling all my batchmates from Manila Science High School Batch '91, please join our new yahoogroup, "masci91reloaded". You may email or visit and sign up!

-- Laura del Rosario

Monday, December 03, 2007

The Advent of Advent

One early December Monday, when I was in second grade, our teacher asked us if we noticed something new at Church when we went to mass the day before.

I eagerly raised my hand and when signaled to stand up, I proudly said, "Isang malaking istatwa ng Sto Nino po!" (One huge statue of the Sto. Nino.). My teacher's face went blank and then she asked for another answer. As I sat down, I was clueless why she didn't affirm me for my brilliant answer.

Then one of my classmates stood up and said, "Ma'am, I saw an advent wreath."

So I was eight when I first learned what an Advent Wreath was.
Our Own Advent Wreath with Christ Candle

You can find s a simple explanation of the symbolism of the advent wreath here.

Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent, also the start of the liturgical year. A couple of days ago, I attended an Advent Recollection with Lingkod QC, facilitated by Bro. Francis Iturralde of the Servants of the Word. Mass was celebrated by Fr Steve Tynan, mgl, who incidentally marked his 42nd birthday yesterday and his 15th anniversary as a priest on Thursday.

It's been months since my last personal retreat. When I heard Francis say, "Every transition is painful", I knew I would hear God during that recollection. By the second talk, I was reduced to tears and could hardly write in my prayer journal. I was enveloped by God's love and assurance, that even if I had many struggles due to the many changes in my life, He was with me. Lingkod QT's asked if I was ok, and I said, "Don't mind me. I'm experiencing God's presence." The sharing within our discussion group was also life-giving for all of us. It was a Spirit-filled recollection.

Francis assured us that as pilgrims on this earth, we're not meant to live a comfortable life. We're not supposed to settle down and be content with our earthly possessions; not even our earthly relationships. We're meant to hunger and thirst and wait for our union with God.

He led us through the liturgical year to explain the significance of Advent, how it points to the end. I was able to recite significant dates in the Catholic faith and to express what Christmas was all about- the incarnation. Thankfully, I was not as clueless as when I was a grade schooler.

But I was not content with mere head knowledge of facts and dates. I was searching for the meaning of God's word in my life, at this stage of change and challenge. God did not disappoint. He spoke with understanding and compassion. He made me see that I was on the right path - that a lifetime of waiting was nothing compared to an eternity with Him; that the challenges and crosses of this world were nothing given the fact that His Son had already conquered the world.

I almost didn't attend that recollection as I was physically tired and emotionally burdened, but I'm glad I did. Sometimes clouds don't lift all at the same time, but there are significant moments when we gather enough strength to endure.

It is not yet Christmas, but the fact that it certainly leads to Christmas makes Advent so very special. Every day is a step of faith, closer to where real hope, faith, and love are waiting.

Lord, I am once again blinded from seeing Your Love for me. Please lead me to get rid of the scales from my eyes. I want to see You clearly, and to love others as You love me. Amen.