Archive for April 2008

Yen and the gift of lifelong caring

April 28, 2008

this weekend ed, ayen and i went to naujan,oriental mindoro to celebrate yen’s birthday. yen dela torre, ed’s only sister is a nurse who runs a US Federal program for training institutes of midwifery in puerto rico. yen came home last week to care for Inay who has been ill since her foot developed gangrene in february. yen and ed are both in their senior years. ed is going 65 while yen turned 63.

for people who want to learn what it takes to have the gift of lifelong caring, the best teacher is yen. yen is the quintessential OFW who has provided family, not just ed and inay but various clans with lifelong care. she has been an OFW nurse  and migrated to the US in the 1970’s. she helped inay develop the community farm and piggery in Naujan with her earnings. in the years of ed’s detention, 1974 to 1986, yen campaigned for his release and made sure that  ed was supplied with  books, peaches and chocolates. in the early 80’s when ed was arrested the second time, i went to meet yen in illinois. i saw her work on two jobs – teaching in a college and doing marketing work for phlkraft dinnerware.  she would carry boxes of cookware from the garage to her attic even when she just had flu. i asked her why she worked that hard. “actually, this second job is really to  help the dela luna cousins in their cookware business”, explained yen “since they are still trying to build a market here in the US.” she went back briefly to the philippines in the late 80s to develop the philkraft market in the country.when it was already stable in the 1990s, yen returned to her first love- assisting mothers to have babies born the natural way.

 in 1997, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. she invited ed, ayen and me. she had earlier brought inay with her siblings to stay with her in chicago.  ayen, ed and i applied for  US visas. ayen and i got our visas ahead of ed and  so  we went to visit yen.  ayen and i were amazed at how yen took care of all of us in the US even when she herself was challenged by illness. she organized various tours for inay and her siblings, and separately for ayen and me from west to east coast. she would fetch ayen and me from the airport to  various destinations in between chemotherapy sessions. when ayen and i were in a hotel near disneyland, ayen noticed some thing in the bathtub after yen took her shower. “nanay, there is a lot of hair in the bathtub”said ayen. “Oh, that is the effect of treating tita yen’s cancer” i explained to ayen. “why does she not rest and stay in the hospital?” ayen wanted to know. ‘because yen wants to give us a good time here in disneyland. remember she gave you a lot of shopping time right after arriving from the philippines?” i reminded her,” yen feels that her time with us is more important than staying in the hospital.”  ayen and i never forgot this incident in disneyland. ed never got his US visa and couldnt fly to join us for the xmas holidays.  fortunately, yen survived the cancer and she has been taking annual check-ups.

 the one thing i appreciate is not just yen’s generosity but her drive to make people’s  lifelong wellbeing her priority. yen  helps people  across borders move higher in life. i have met many girls finish their education with yen and inay’s help. i have seen families thrive, both filipinos and americans because she provided them a lifeline.  her skill in birthing takes various forms, from physical assistance to financial care to learning opportunities. my friend luz martinez told me that yen offered to help her mother stay with yen whenever she feels lonely.” your sister yen is really lovely,”‘luz  was telling me” my mother who lost her husband recently was offered by yen to go and visit her in the other part of san juan and that is one of the best places in puerto rico.” “yes, yen is really that caring and she will take care of your mother like her own mother, too.”i agreed with luz.

i told ayen that she is lucky to have  yen ” you are secure for life when you have a tita yen. she  will care for you from womb to womb.” “look at all the women and men who got her as a godmother in baptism and weddings. they will also get her as a ninang to their children.” i told ayen. ” she will also make sure that yeyi and minette give birth to healthy twinboys.”i predicted, ” so love your tita yen  and make her lifegoals yours, too.” i advised ayen.

God bless and happy birthday Yen dela Torre. we wish our leaders, especially those in the three branches would be like her and serve us with lifelongcare  then we would be happy living from womb to womb.



Our Mothers Adang and Nene

April 21, 2008

i woke feeling the energies of my two mothers, Adang and Nene . i slowly saw the sun showering me with light and i looked at the clock – 5:30 am. it is already warm with the whole room bathed in morning light. i rose and sat on my prayer chair. what do my mothers feel now? last night ed said that inay adang may go home today or tomorrow once Yen can organize the home care set up in naujan. i say a prayer of thanks that inay survived sepsis last tuesday. then i reflected on the energies that mothers give birth to, from inay adang, nanay nene to minette and other mothers whom i know.

inay adang was 54 when ed was arrested in december 1974. she took care of all his needs and those of the political detainees from that year onwards. it took a campaign of five years to get ed released from detention.  inay navigated all the camps, traveling on public transportation and taking on the military ironfist rule on rebels. ed was released in 1980 on the condition that he would be exiled in rome. inay flew with him to rome and saw to it that his congregation SVD would take good care of him.

i imagine myself at 54 ( i am turning 58 this year ) working myself to the bone for ayen. i feel overwhelmed. if ed had stayed in europe and did not return home in 1981, inay’s life would have been focused on her farm. but ed returned from exile in 1981and got re-arrested in 1982. inay was 62 years old then and another decade of her life was dedicated to political campaigns. then ed was finally released by people power in 1986. inay praised heaven and went with him to japan to thank all those who helped ed. but there were the military coups and ed was on the hit list. so ed had to go on another exile in london in 1988. inay went back to her farm in naujan. she was 68 years old and got involved with development work in mindoro.

i went to live with ed in london and asked him to build a less stressful life in 1989. that was the time we wanted a baby since i was turning 40. when ayen was born, ed and i asked the ramos government to give us the green light to come home. ayen met her grandmother adang in 1991. inay was 71 years old and was very happy to take ayen into her care. we celebrated inay’s 75th birthday with all the clans, ed’s and mine in pansol where his cousin benny dela luna has a resort. then inay turned 80 , we celebrated it with the friends and families of the human rights and development networks. inay’s grandest celebration was when she turned 85 and we all turned it into a legacy feast. yen, ed’s sister, brought everyone to a week long celebration, from naujan to metro-manila. that was the party where inay wished she has a little more time to live.

my mother nene  villariba is 78 years old. she has 13 children and we are all married and with children except the youngest, paul. when i and my three brothers became active in the anti-dictatorship movement during martial law, my mother had to muster enough energies to help us four rebels and see that the whole family did not break with the conflict. my father was a government official and was serving during the Marcos regime. when three of us were detained ( obie,sonny and i) in different camps, nanay nene cried but did what inay adang  went to the camps and brought food and supplies. nene was 43 years old then and braved the same iron fist of the military. obie was detained the longest in camp vicente lim in canlubang laguna while i was detained in camp crame,cubao, quezon city. i imagine myself at 43 traveling to two separate detention camps in different provinces to visit ayen and yeyi. that would be like detention with hard labor.

i am a mother myself , 57 turning 58 summers. nene villariba  is a mother,78 seasons. adang dela torre is a mother, 88 seasons. i dream of ayen, 17 turning 18, becoming a mother. minette dela torre , yeyi’s wife, is a mother in progress with twin babies in her womb. we are all mothers and the energies we have flow from our mothers. thank God for the mothers we have. thank you inay and nanay. your love is a bottomless ocean of energy, with waves of work flowing endlessly to get us to the shore.

healing love and busy heaven

April 20, 2008

i have a friend who keeps missing her beloved. she has been talking to her beloved daily. sometimes she feels her presence and sometimes she doesnt. lets call this friend liwanag and her beloved carissa.

flash back: i met liwanag some years back when she was a rising star in the feminist women’s network. she is very articulate and has taken on public health advocacy as her mission. she met carissa while working in the UN and they fell in love. after living in the West, carissa had cancer and she died last year. liwanag went into mourning and still is grieving. i saw liwanag this year and had a conversation with liwanag. this conversation elicited a response from carissa, or shall i say a series of responses from the afterlife.

i dont know how people beyond this life choose who to talk with and how. i presume their choices are guided by what they need. when i found myself being in conversation with carissa, i felt a joy that i could sense her. since i never knew her in the usual sense, my meeting her fills me with ginhawa. liwanag was very happy that there is a person like me to link up with. i had a long date with liwanag and carissa came.

after a month of being quiet, carissa whispered to check on liwanag. so i called liwanag. “wow, i just finished working and wanted to call carissa” responded liwanag. she had been missing carissa but didnt want to call me. “am a bit hesitant to bother you” liwanag told me. “oh you dont need to feel that because it’s a joy for me to help” i assured liwanag. liwanag wanted to find out why carissa has not been responding to her calls. i smiled and offered her an explanation ” people beyond this life have busy lives ,too, and carissa must be working on something she loves.” liwanag laughed “talaga ?, does that mean she is not ignoring me?” she continued. “my dear, what i hear is that they even go to learn and study in universities” i elaborated. this conversations continued and i turned my other sense to check if carissa would affirm my explanations. did she? liwanag requested me to send a message to carissa . i did if she will give me a flower’s name to link the conversation.

flowers are a favorite love offering. i asked carissa to respond with a flower and i texted liwanag to buy tulips for carissa. ” carissa loves tulips but where will i get them ?” moaned liwanag. ” there are many flowershops like holland tulips that carry tulips”i laughed. “i had bought her everlasting flowers from baguio” offered liwanag “but a nephew said that is soo cheap”. ‘yes’, carissa didnt like those everlasting flowers even if you wanted it to last.” i said. “i will do anything just to get her to talk to me” promised liwanag. ‘well then, get the tulip even if you can find only one” i persuaded her.

why am i engaging liwanag? am i helping her, knowing she is in mourning ? i hope so and i believe healing love is what i tap into when sensing people in the afterlife. i also believe that heaven is as busy as we can imagine. whenever i get images from beyond , i offer healing love and request affirmations. ed sometimes would ask how i get the messages ” do you hear their voices?” ” i get images and words like sms while awake ” i shared,”” and they become coherent when i listen carefully.” sometimes, i dream of the people who passed onwards and the dreams are easy to recall.

is heaven really busy ? i hope so because whenever i get messages, they describe activities like reading, making music, travelling and give me a feeling of something happening. just the other night, i had a dream that tita daisy unson, delia unson’s mother, was telling me about the books she has been reading.

if our life on this earth is full of meaningful work, maybe the next life will build on the good things we started. isnt that what heaven can be? buddha was said to describe heaven as inside us. ginhawa is a term synonymous to inner bliss. perhaps my receiving affirmations from beyond is due to active imagination but i feel the kalooban that we all have allows us to receive what God provides, pinagkakaloob ng Diyos. the filipino kalooban can include mysteries. i believe that this is where our deepest spiritual energies develop.

eating and TMG

April 16, 2008

many times i wonder why i get spiritual messages from my body. this sunday, i developed TMG – temporamandibularjoint syndrome. i couldnt chew in my left jaw and even yawning is difficult. i tried rotating my tongue and opening my mouth. it is so hard that i have to help my jaw manually to open and close. my mind started tracing what could be the cause of TMG. ed googled TMG and found many causes, from wrong posture to stress. since i could not chew and grind food, i got the blender ready and pureed my meals. ohh, i felt as if i am a baby again. then i started enjoying the pureed fruits, combining papayas and bananas with lemon and honey. blended food does taste good and ed offered to puree chicken and rice. “Would that taste good?” i asked. “You wait and i will serve it. Inay likes it very much when i feed her this mashed chicken and rice.” ed replied. well, it is a good meal and it satisfied my craving.

now what is my body telling me with this TMG ? i even asked a friend nivah who had TMG. nivah said she talked to her jaw and listened to what it told her- that it was in pain because she has not been mindful of her health. ” how did you get it”,i wanted to know. “grinding my teeth while asleep” nivah explained. nivah t said her dentist had to make her wear a splint so that she could stopped the TMG from becoming severe. i spent two days being mindful of my TMG and even stopped eating solid food. i requested a therapist,hilda, to massage my face and get my neck relaxed. she used 6 heated stones to align my energies. she massaged my face with the stones. i told her the heat from the stones were soothing and she kindly lent me two stones for my care.

now whenever i sit in the dinner table and watch Ayen,  Ed  and other people eat, i am thankful that they are healthy and that there is good food to be shared. i think of Inay eating well despite her diabetes and painful foot. i think of all my siblings and nieces, nephews and cousins feasting and enjoying good meals together. i think of everyone in the country eating. i think of overseas friends feasting.  eating is  an enjoyable spiritual rite – especially it is done at least three times a day.  that is why communion is the time everyone, especially the young and old, want to participate and be part of during  spiritual masses.

thank God for all the food we get. thank God in our jaws and in our enzymes for moving  the energy in our muscles and bones. thank God we can receive daily communion. food is spirit.

spirituality and sexuality

April 10, 2008

two weeks ago my urduja friends brought me to la union for a forum on spirituality and sexuality. i asked my friend virginia ” Why are we talking about spirituality and sexuality?” “We want to open the topic so we can change certain attitudes of OWWA people.” “What are these attitudes?” i queried. “That spirituality is divorced from sexuality, that the two are separate, that one is good and the other is bad.” “Oh that would be fun!” i replied.

Spiritus is Latin for breath. Spirit,translated to Tagalog is hininga. Various cultures have a word for breath. The Chinese word is qi, the Indian word is prana, the Indonesian is nafas, the Japanese is ki. All look at spirit as the life force, the energy that gives us life.

I ask Ed ” What is spirituality?” “The whole, not just the inner or outer but everything.” Is spirituality more in the realm of ideas that seek to understand life ? Ed offers Thomas Aquinas, the foremost theologian of the Middle Ages. Thomas Aquinas had written volumes of theology in Summa Theologica where he tried explaining faith. He had a mystical experience at the end of his life and realized that everything he had written was like straw.

So if mystical experiences have led saints to realize that they could not even come close to describing a part of their vision, how then could we people understand spirituality? does this mean we will have to rely on faith and wait for mystical revelations? what is the role of sexuality in all these mysteries?

st. augustine was the saint who developed the theory of original sin, where the baby inherits the sin during the sexual act. original sin is interpreted as the sin of the world and so all babies need to be baptized to be saved. many catholics and christians look at sex as a source of sin in the dark ages . with this view, sexuality and spirituality become two opposing poles.

in the feminist debates, the control of women’s bodies and their minds is a major struggle. pro-choice battles with pro-life, opposing each other with views as to who has the primordial right to life. organized religions imposed the rules and deviance merits punitive action.

we still carry this view up to the modern ages. even our parents will not talk about the sexual act nor will allow daughters and sons to explore the link between spirituality and sexuality. i together with a circle of friends in the women’s movement, have decided to advocate open learning .after all, we are already in the 21st century and our human race is reaching 6 billion. that’s a lot of people to learn and share with!

personally i have met a lot of people who have asked me to share what i know. when i went with ed to cebu to meet fr. paking silva of cebeco, the nea administrator, edith bueno, told me that i would talked about sexuality. i thought she was kidding until fr.silva called me to join the first session with the mainly  male engineers of the electric coops .out of 144, only 3 are females.  i was delightfully surprised and took the challenge. ohh it was fun ! i introduced the body signals that women get but men miss because they have no wombs and dont menstruate. i talked about our breasts and breastfeeding as the first human machine for food security. i must have brought the men to near peaking when i talked about multiple orgasms….hahaha, not a single man walked away and you could hear their hearts thumping as i talked. that is why it is important to open the gates to sexuality and what we,as part of the loving human race need to appreciate.

lifetime growth mentor dan sullivan said: ‘make our learning bigger than our experience.”  ‘make your enjoyment greater than your effort. “this should be our motto in approaching the gate towards  sexuality and spirituality. enjoy life. mabuhay tayo!

reading the body and ginhawa

April 10, 2008

our bodies tell us many things. it always carries many messages. this blog is a part of the series on ginhawa and will focus on body reading. i call this bodywork, part of  lifelong ginhawa advocacy.

yesterday my childhood friend celia carlos invited me to a habhab session in her house. i came early with the people who would cook the lucban noodles. i thought we would eat lucban pancit called habhab and tamales. it turned out she wanted me to meet her friends in psi and the drugstore association of the philippines. anyway, the people who came were mostly young and eager to share.  i sat beside a feminist ,sannah is her name, through the first introductions. since there were around 40 people, i began quietly to prepare my hands and fingers for learning about the people in the room. i discover that my sense of touch help me listen better. i did learn several things about the people celia invited. but they need to pay attention to their bodies  more than ever.

i have been experimenting on TKM, the Ki method and have been energizing my hands. as i listened, i asked sannah if i could read her pulse quietly. as i went around feeling the energy in her elbow, i gave her my reading. then i went through every finger and checked the yin yang energies. sannah seemed to be enjoying the process and so i went into diagnostics, reading her hands and  touching her left shoulder until i got to her nape. i told her what i read and gave her the hagud treatment that i learned from raul nava. sannah gave me feedback ” am relaxing now , can i learn how to do it?”  “see me one of these days, i will help you to remember to read your body .” i replied. in the following weeks, i plan to accelerate  practicing the mode of of  ginhawa and kalooban.

there are healers in our midst who can help you remember. your mother who touches you whenever you see her. your sisters who know how you feel and can give you a lot of comfort. the people whom you care for just need to touch you and they know where you ache. your husband will need to have these kalooban sessions.

the himas and hagud you used to get as a baby are the healing touches that our bodies remember and rely on to remain healthy.  use your own healing energies, touch yourself and read every inch of your body. follow the pulse and get the energy flowing. you carry a whole switch to ginhawa. use every finger to know every part of your anatomy. you will be surprise at what you will rememberring, you will be able to  renew the source of ginhawa – the kalooban where we have everything there is to be. use  the keywords :pinagkaloob ng Diyos sa atin ang lahat –  to wholistic living and loving.

lucena commencement rites:a babaylan’s moment

April 1, 2008

my loved ones and friends, let us have a babaylan’s moment for these are the times that test our spirit’s robustness. these are the seasons of hope and peril. am blogging and scanning what the season will bring to our families here and overseas. the trigger for this insight is my babaylan’s moment of discernment.

let me commence on how i arrived at a babaylan’s moment. last march 28,2008, i participated in 61st commencement rites of Manuel S.Enverga University Foundation. 248 students from high school and elementary would commence their journey to lifelong learning. i was invited to give the graduation speech. it was my first commencement rite invitation from Enverga U.. naturally, i asked bigger questions : what will these students’s future be in Lucena ? how will they dream and how will these dreams be realized?

a day earlier, i lost my voice due to working nonstop from energizing an OFW forum in la union on monday to helping ed in an accident in wednesday in guisguis, sariaya and monitoring a family’s crisis the whole month of march. everyone in the family came to my aid – my mother Nene offered to read my speech. my daughter Ayen suggested she could take my place. my aunt Fedy cooked a whole pot of salabat so i could recover my voice. my sister Jojie said she could help with audio-visuals. Ed told me to rest the whole day but i told everyone, i would honor the students and give them a good speech. i told them that it is the first time my alma mater has invited me to be the commencement speaker. the lst time i gave a speech in MSEUF HS was as valedictorian 42 years ago. having lost my voice, i prepared a powerpoint presentation. i made notes on lifelong learning and what lifetime growth laws the students should embrace. i observed a whole day of silence and used gestures to communicate. i went to bed early.

around 1 am on the day of commencement, i woke up. i looked at my alarm clock and it wasn’t ringing. someone was talking to me and i decided to listen. then words came like sms in my was a babaylan’s moment. after an hour of listening, i tested my voice. a nasal sound came and i could form words without my voice splintering. i realized the babaylan’s voice was forming even if my own vocal chords were still quiet… so i went back to sleep.

on graduation morning, i put on my filipiniana dress and did my meditation. i was excited and everyone came to accompany me – my parents Cesar & Nene, Ayen, Jojie and her daughters plus our brightest grandchild, two year old Andrea in a red dress. my daughter Ayen told me not to give a long speech. i smiled because she tells her father the same when she tags along when ed give his talks.

i opened my talk by greeting the people as datu, panday,kawal and babaylan. instead of addressing eminent people as deans or principals, i used babaylan and datus, including my father who sat in the line of honor. i spoke in tagalog and introduced my greetings as that of the babaylan. i brought the whole community to the time of the babaylans and datus. gave them images with which they could imagine what it was like to be governed by babaylan and datus, to be served by panday and to protected by kawal. i lightened up the narrative with a rephrased aphorism ” those who dont looked back to their roots had stiff necks” and cannot see the future.

i asked everyone – students, parents and teachers who they knew as babaylans and pandays. some raised their hands that they know Hermano Pule as a hero but not as a babaylan. most said yes when i mentioned fernando poe’s iconic role as panday. having established that our people came from a long line of datu, panday, kawal and babaylan, i segueway into declaring the times and age as one of complexity. that women and men, parents and children have to develop the courage to be deeply human – to have a mahusay na pagkatao and learn well the art of pakikipagkapwa-tao. i asked how many of the graduates dream of becoming doctors ? very few hands. teachers? very few hands. make money and become rich ? all raised their hands.

make your purpose bigger than your money…i described the world as very challenging and demanding. – the babaylan’s agimat or mutya of kalooban, malawak na pakikipagkapwa-tao, and matibay na pananampalataya sa Diyos. these three would insure that the students and their parents will realize a meaningful life in a complex world. being pinoy and marunong makiramdam at makipagkapwa-tao would take care of lifelong learning. having a deep faith in God would help them develop the babaylan’s gift of vision.

as closing, i taught everyone to feel their energy and charge their bio- batteries by using the hand and finger energy spheres .i taught them the rain clap and as the sounds of two finger clapping began to rise, i did my yin yang nafas so that the energy would embrace everyone. everyone had the energy to go through the five hour rites in the midst of a very hot summer’s day.

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