Archive for January 2010

50 couples for change

January 21, 2010

how to grow in a marriage : 50 couples for change

this is the year to express  my gratitude, to make my future  bigger than my past. so this week, i started listing 33 woman friends who i value. i want to thank  many women and men friends  for bringing colour and aroma to  my life .

today,  i continue the process and thought of  ” bonded couples” whose marriages and passion mirror what ed and i see as lifetime growth lessons.  it matters that i begin acknowledging their importance in our  marriage.  they provide the various strands that make the community  to which we express our love . it will be a bonus if they join us in sharing their own lessons  in their marriage.  the blog’s title is  an invitation for them to share  “how  to grow in a marriage.”

my first growth area is the community to whom we acknowledge our love –  where we locate  family, friends and people who know us and value our love. when we got married, ed and i did not just marry each other. we married each other’s family and  its culture and  history . charles handy,  ed and my favorite  modern philosopher , said to his son who was contemplating marriage ” beware, it wont be just the love of your life that you will be marrying, but a whole new family.”    this was also the gist of  what my mother told ed when he went to ask for my parents’ blessings. i have a big family, twelve siblings plus members of our  extended . ed willingly, with his eyes open wide, told my parents, he knew what he was going into and answered with a big smile  ” Alam ko na po“.” my parents welcomed ed with all my siblings cheering because, finally, there was a priest in the family,  even if he were officially  laicized by  vatican – with  permission to leave the church but under obligation,  in times of emergency, to give the sacraments when needed.  my parents had prayed for a son -priest but none of my brothers  entered the seminary. with my marriage, the family had gotten what it wanted, on the principle that ” a priest is a priest forever ” and that was a gift from heaven for  my parents.

the second growth area, where all my bonded friends  matter, is the work we are passionate about. charles handy said ” passionate people move mountains where missionaries can only preach.”  in all the martial law years we spent in the country and  overseas, many passionate couples provided  not just safe refuge but a truly national and  international perspective on work and love.  our life is better because we have all these couples in our work.

we thank you for the opportunities you  provided. we thank you  for all the work you did  and  continue to work with us for our country. we thank you  for helping us grow into who we are now –  moving  mountains with a passion  .

to all our  friends, which we call ” couples for change” , maraming salamat for the ripening and colouring of our marriage : jane maestro and cliff scherer,  dolf and hanneke hautfast, francesco and dixie alessi, brida brennan and nonoi hacbang, malu and evert de boer, lulu and ton van der meer, arnold and norma vandenbroek, chato basa  and massimo, muirrean  and colm o’ brien, osang and byron bocar, edna and alex aquino, john and edith clancey, minda and dick groeneveld, maya and carlo butalid , princess and dodong nemenzo, bm and belle morales, gani serrano and lisa dacanay, sally and gerry bulatso, larainne and rene sarmiento, lorna and wingie villamil, iting and mon isberto, oca and edna francisco, lito and oyie de dios, boyet and luz martinez,  eric gutierrez and petra, chuchi and cha cala, beth and tony de castro, corinne and rene canlas,buddy and shinette garbazos, joel and merci paredes, salie and bong mendoza, eddie and joy concepcion, bel calaguas and richard bennett, monette and darwin flores, eddie and oyen dorotan, delia unson and chuck, joel rocamora and hanneka, deng cordero and benny tan, belle and ayi hernandez, mc and emely canlas, mariet mulders and nonoy ty, fe buenaventure and roger mangahas, juliet aganon and june virtusio, lan and gerry mercado,baby chionglo and danny franco,vhangie and ben juco, marilou and bunny, robin broad and john cavanaugh, marivic and fidel nemenzo, pancho and intay lara. When i turn 60 in december , i will add 10 more couples whose  love inspires  and,to add salt, still lusts for life.


How to start 10 million solutions for climate change with two solutions

January 17, 2010

Ed blogged about Earthday’s campaign for ten million solutions. “Girlie, let’s list small and big actions to get the ball rolling for climate change.”Ed said as his first task one  morning. “Well, we are already doing it in our house and in the  E4 Resource Center in marunong street.” I replied.  So for everyone, we will share  our   small and easy solutions.

First, cultivate three plants :  mother-in-law-tongue plants, areca palms and money plants  in your house and office. These three plants are  effective in cleaning the air toxins inside the house and office. The scientist Kamal Meattle explained that it you have all three in shoulder length heights, it will convert carbon dioxide to oxygen and  also rid the air of nitrogen oxide and formaldehyde.   If  you dont know what these plants  looks like,  go to and find Kamal Meattle as  speaker on cleaning the air .

Second, start learning bodytalk.  It simply means, ask your mind what needs to  prioritize and do it with the whole body in balance . To understand how to do it , visualize your whole self as a growing universe  of  websites, bigger than Facebook and Google  subscribers . Go and imagine yourself as a   living computer, with a superb operating system and a search engine that can go anywhere, inside other operating systems, living or nonliving.  Each day, whether you are awake or asleep, your bodyweb operating system  is at work, sensing, asking  and communicating, working with millions of  your neurons, cells, nerves, bones, muscles and ideas and dreams . Every second, messages are sent by the brain to the heart to  monitor what needs to grow, glow and go.  With our lives becoming enriched by so many messages inside and outside our bodies, we select what we need or want to do. It’s fine  we are healthy and in tune with all that we are. But when we get ill and dont heal easily, then it means our body system is not able to work as it should. There may be a virus wrecking havoc on our codes and deleting vital signals. When we cannot make sense of what is happening and  health professionals tell us we have a serious  incurable disease like ALS , then it means  we failed  to listen to all the signals our brain was serving us.

But we dont have to wait  for a death sentence . We can  learn in one hour or one day  how the brain and heart balances  its  health act. Bodytalk is based on this discovery of our body universe and its innate wisdom . It  combines Western and  Eastern medicine to provide us a portable health operating system. It’s features are easy and even young children from ages one to five can do it.  It is a system that allows all living things and non-living things to contribute, like a universe in synchrony. Hence , a vital contribution to changing our lives and  environment for the better.

Bodytalk has many health programs and one of the better systems is that of the International BodyTalk Association . Please visit its website and learn what,why and how it serves our need for effective healthcare.

Now with these two solutions, my day is complete. I can breath better and get my bodyweb growing, mother-in-law tongue plantglowing and going well into my 60th birthday.

smelling apples on a xmas pine tree

January 11, 2010

Yesterday evening , i smelled  apples on a pine tree. ayen and i were at an evening mass and i was suddenly filled with the image and aroma of apples and pine. then i  remembered Anke Reese, a dear German friend I met in the early  80s  in Polch , Germany. i closed my eyes and my mind was transported back to the potato  fields where Anke and i used to walk in search of potatoes for dinner.  as i knelt on the pew, i saw Anke and i scooping up the dirt and picking  small potatoes.” Here are good potatoes that the machine did not harvest.” Anke was telling me. She told me that  German farmers have specific sizes for their potato machine to harvest and so many potatoes are left to rot. “It will be a waste not to take them home,”Anke told me and so I was happy to fill my basket with all kinds of small  potatoes. I can still see Anke picking the smallest potatoes and handing them to me. The sun was already setting and we hurried to get as much potatoes we could carry. “Tomorrow we will have enough food .”Anke smiled.

The next day, Anke brought me to the apple orchards and we picked apples . “These apples are no longer popular for the market,  their variety are considered only for making juice but they are really delicious.”Anke  told me that we would store them in the basement for the xmas season. Around December, I saw Anke hanging  them on a pine tree and lighting candles on the branches. It was the most aromatic xmas tree I ever enjoyed  and the whole house was filled with apple scent. i sang xmas carols with the Reese family and wished our kababayan a good xmas . thenw e hugged each other.

The evening  mass that Ayen and I were attending was about to end , and I hurriedly whispered a prayer for Anke and her husband Gunther, who both worked as german  devt volunteers for more than two decades to restore democracy to our country. when we got home, i told Ed that i remembered Anke. “I must contact Niklaus, her son, to find out if today is her  birthday or her death anniversary. It is my experience that when I  remember someone so vividly, there must be something she wants me to do for her.”

Amore, big and small

January 5, 2010

Yesterday, many friends, from Edna Aquino in HK,  Maya Butalid in  NL to  Chato Basa in IT  wrote on my Facebook wall that they will join me in writing stories of friends who kept us alive and safe during those years of turmoil. I suggested we blog in WordPress to start the writeshop and storytelling. I also asked Ed to help out jog our memories of life and  friends in Europe.

Tonite, Ed is telling me about Clare Booth Luce’s advise to use a sentence to describe a life. That got me going back to my computer to write this blog. What sentence will I choose to begin our story of  life in Rome ?

Will it be freedom is the most important goal of our life ? After five years in political detention and  many solidarity campaigns all over the world for his freedom, Marcos agreed to release  Ed in April 1980  on the condition that he be exiled to Rome. Ed flew to Rome accompanied by Inay and  he stayed with the SVDs until September 1980. Then the  Italians agreed to host a  Permanent People’ s Tribunal for the Philippines so cases against the Marcos dictatorship could be filed and heard. Ed was asked to help prepare the cases and he wrote me to join him in Rome. Visas for Europe were easy  then and all I needed was a reason to enter Rome. I packed my bags in October and said goodbye to my teaching job at Miriam. Wearing a furry coat and hat, I arrived at Da Vinci airport early in the morning. I  already smelled  the aroma of capuccino and  saw many people lining up to pass the immigration control.  The passport control officers were  tall and  macho.  I chose the line towards a handsome officer, dressed in sartorial elegance . He asked me ” Why are you here ?”  I  smiled and looked up in his eyes, then slowly  enunciated my reply  as a  woman  in the throes of love      “A M O R E “. The officer laughed and with a gesture, repeated the word “Amore”.  I went straight to Ed’s welcoming  hug and boarded the bus to Rome  where I noticed couples were already kissing passionately.

“Amore” became my lens  to the work  of the  Italians in the tribunal.  Ed introduced me to the Italians who   started  a solidarity campaign to restore democracy to our country during the martial law period. I met Francesco Alessi and  Gigi Ricciarelli, two ex-priests who worked in ZOTO before they were deported by Marcos. Ed was staying with the Alessis in Eur and Ed brought me to stay with them. The next morning, Ed left for Belgium and Francesco and Dixie, his wife, took care of me. Eur city , I learned from Francesco, was the suburb for fascists.

Francesco became my mentor in Italian language and culture.Every morning, Francesco would cook and simmer tomatoes for the sauces . His sauces smelled of fresh basil. After breakfast,  he  would accompany me to Rome and while driving, he would curse other drivers who swerve and cut him out with ” Cretino, salametto!” wagging a dirty finger. Sometimes, Francesco would shout ” Salamacho” at other drivers and raise his fist. I asked him what all the cursing meant. ‘Salametto means small dick and salamacho is a big one.”  Images of small and big became part of my education in Rome. For the Italians, Francesco and Gigi, big is the norm and they did everything in a big way especially  in holding the tribunal. I have never been to a tribunal, much less participated in an international court. The Permanent People’s Tribunal was held in Antwerp, Belgium and was a successful event for both the Filipino  national democrats and the Bangsa Moro warriors. The event introduced me to many nationalities from various countries, from Europe to North America, and opened many doors of friendship. It was a solidarity platform that  got Ed and me started on a long journey of amore.

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