Thursday, February 11, 2016

Love, the Strongest Feeling

Love as defined in the Webster Dictionary means “(1) Strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties,( 2) attraction based on sexual desire: affection and tenderness felt by lovers, (3.)affection based on admiration, benevolence or common interest.” That definition of love is in the context of affectionate relationship between one person to another which is interpersonal love. A love that is directed other than a person is impersonal love.  A person may also love an inanimate object, goal or endeavor and other things for his own gratification. Interpersonal love may be a mutual feeling between persons, but a feeling of one person may not be reciprocated by another person. This is unrequited love.

Ancient Greeks categorized love into four types which are eros, philios, estorge and agape. Eros is a romantic relationship between a man and a woman. Philios is a dispassionate love such as loyalty to a friend, family or community. Estorge is natural affection such as that felt by parents to offspring, and Agape is a divine love or love of the soul.

Erotic or romantic love is the most widely talked about type of love because it concerns about the relationship between two persons of opposite sex. There are instances though that a romance may involve same sex persons. A situation may arise when a man is instantly attracted to a woman or he feels in love at her at first sight. And there is love that develops overtime through interaction or communication between two persons. A feeling of attraction or affection may diminish or lost because of several reasons or intervening factors. A relationship that just starts with friendship may develop into a full blown romance in the long run.
A man’s carnal desire to a woman that is not accompanied with an intention to commit to her is not love but lust. Love is a positive feeling while lust is not. But lust can also be a component of love. A man might just be sexually attracted with a woman at first, but a frequent exposure to her might later evolve into a genuine feeling of affection and commitment for both of them. 
Since time immemorial, people have recognized love’s contribution to our societies. Love is an instrument for the perpetuation of life in this world. In connection with it, societies have come up with the institution of marriage to cement the bond of relationship between a man and a woman, to give that relationship a legal or religious recognition and to protect it under existing laws.                                                                                                                     
Love has many forms and extends beyond romantic relationship. Philios is a dispassionate love to a friend, family or community. It requires virtue, equality and familiarity. The act of charity is an example of an expression of this love. People driven by their benevolent desire unselfishly use their own resources to help other people in need. Other people help still others because it delights them to see their fellowmen or friends become successful and happy.

Parents and their offspring have natural instinct to feel affection and attachment to each other. A mother’s love to her child drives her to protect it from disease, hunger and danger that may imperil its life. Love is the mutual feeling of parents and children to motivate them in the building of a better and a harmonious family.                                                                                                                                                                    
It is a fact of life that all living creatures to include humans will die. Since ancient times people have created the notion that life continues even after death. They also created the belief in a god to complement such an idea. The love of god or agape is a feeling or act that would cleanse one’s soul in this world and the hereafter. Christians believe that agape is mutual feeling of love between God and man. God loves his people and, therefore, they should also love Him in return.

Christian theologians said that God is the source of love and that God is love. This statement is supported by Bible verse John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believed in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

Jesus said in Mathew 5:43-44: “You have heard that it was said ‘Love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you.”  In that statement Jesus told us to even go beyond the frailties of our human nature to do good to other people whether they are our friends or not.

In the Bible, a certain lawyer in order to tempt Jesus asked what he should do to inherit an eternal life. Jesus has this answer in Luke 10:27:”Love the Lord thy God with all of your heart and with all of your soul, with all of your strength and with all of your mind, and, Love your neighbor as yourself.” So the key to an eternal life according to Jesus is LOVE.                                                                                                                                                                 
Some people believe in God others do not because they think that believing in an unseen, imaginary all-powerful being is absurd. But in our short stay as temporary resident of this world, what would we lose if we believe in Him?

Saturday, February 6, 2016

History's Great Love Story: Dr. Jose Rizal and Josephine Bracken

Dr. Jose Rizal
Jose Rizal was born on June 19, 1861 to a landed family of Chinese ancestry in Calamba, Laguna. Motivated with the desire to cure his mother of her eye disease, he studied medicine specializing in ophthalmology in University of Santo Tomas in Manila. In 1882 he went to Spain to further his study of medicine at the Universidad de Central Madrid. There, he finished his studies with flying colors, and visited several European cities to include London and Berlin. He completed his specialization in ophthalmology in 1887 at Heidelberg at age 25 under the renowned Otto Becker. To support himself, he practiced his profession and was able to develop a circle of friends such as Ferdinand Blumentritt and others. While in Europe, he wrote his first novel entitled Noli Mi Tangere.

The novel which was published in 1887 in Berlin was highly critical to the abuses of the Spanish friars who were a very powerful and influential group during the Spanish colonial period in the Philippines. Although a fiction, the novel’s characters were drawn from real life persons and episodes that represented events in lives of Filipinos in typical Philippine society during Rizal’s time. Its story served as an inspiration to those who aspired for reformed or an independent Philippines either through peaceful means or armed struggle. The novel angered the friars, the elites and the educated Filipinos because of its symbolism. Rizal’s writings and his association with Filipino nationalists caused for him a blacklist as a subversive by the Spanish authorities. 

Leonor Rivera
The works of Jose Rizal did not bring him in good standing with some people. Others wanted to distance themselves from him to avoid trouble with the authorities. In his return to the Philippines in 1887, Jose’s own father, Francisco, even advised him not to see or visit his long time girlfriend Leonor Rivera whose family had moved from Manila to Pangasinan because it might endanger her family considering his status with the authorities. It was believed that Leonor was the inspiration behind Jose’s portrayal of Maria Clara, one of the main characters in Noli Mi Tangere. While Jose was in Manila, he and Leonor were constantly communicating with each other through letters. But later, he did not receive letters from her anymore although he always sent his to her. Rizal found out later that Leonor was engaged to be married to a British railway engineer Henry Kipping who was the one favored by her parents to be her husband.

Greatly devastated with the loss of his beloved Leonor to another man, Rizal returned to Europe in 1890 and visited several cities such as Madrid, Paris and Brussels in the furtherance of his career. In 1891 he published his second novel “El Filibusterismo” in Ghent. It was a sequel to the “Noli Mi Tangere”. In December 1891, he moved to Hong Kong and lived with his family. He established a clinic at D’Aguilar Street, Central District and worked from 2 pm to 6 pm. In Hong Kong he had a fling with several ladies such as Gertrude Becket, Nelly Boustead and O-Sei-San. It was also there where he first met Josephine Bracken who was then a 16 year old woman. She and her adoptive father George Taufer was in his clinic to have the failing eyesight of her father checked up.

In 1892 Rizal returned to the Philippines and formed La Liga Filipina which was quickly disbanded by the government because it saw it a seditious organization and that Rizal was considered an enemy of the Spanish authorities. Rizal was also implicated in the nascent rebellion waged by the group called Katipunan. For that reason Rizal was deported to Dapitan in Mindanao in July 1892. 

In Dapitan, Rizal won a lottery together with Spanish Provincial Governor Ricardo Carnicero and a Spaniard from nearby Dipolog. Rizal used his winnings to buy several hectares of land. To make use of his time in Dapitan he practiced his profession as an ophthalmologist and did other activities such as teaching children Spanish and other subjects. He also engaged in construction projects such as the building of school, hospital and water system. These small infrastructures helped the local community during Rizal’s stay in Dapitan.
Rizal’s reputation as a respected ophthalmologist was already widely known even outside the Philippines. Josephine Bracken recommended to her adopted father Mr. George Taufer to have an appointment with Dr. Jose Rizal in Dapitan for the treatment of his deteriorating eyesight. Josephine, Mr. Taufer and a certain Manuela Orlac, who was said to be a mistress of a friar set sail for Dapitan, and arrived in late February 1895.

Josephine Bracken
Josephine Leopoldine Bracken who was born on October 3, 1876 in Hong Kong was the daughter of a British infantry corporal. Her mother died shortly after her birth so that she was given up for adoption to George Taufer, an American engineer. But shortly thereafter, Mr. Taufer’s wife died. He married a Portuguese woman as his second wife whom he had a daughter.  But then again his second wife died in 1891, and he married for the third time. Josephine found the third Mrs. Taufer difficult to get along with so that she had to run away to Canossan sisters’convent where she had attended her early studies.  She returned to Taufer’s house only after he begged her to be with him again. 

In Dapitan, Rizal was attracted to Josephine and courted her. She was petite, and her blue eyes and brown hair indicated her Irish ancestry. She was not a woman of remarkable beauty, but her charm nevertheless captivated him. She also fell for him. And the romance between Rizal who was 34 and Josephine who was just 18 started.

When Taufer knew of the relationship, he was vehemently furious so that he tried to slash his wrist with a blade. However, Rizal and Josephine were able to stop him. After being calmed down by Rizal, Taufer listened to reason and finally accepted the relationship between her and the doctor although it upset him. Taufer’s eye condition was beyond treatment. This reason plus his daughter’s relationship with Rizal prompted him to go back to Hong Kong.

Josephine accompanied her father back to Hong Kong. While in Manila Josephine brought with her Rizal’s letter to his family, and she introduced herself to them. His parents and his siblings however were not viewing her with favor. In Manila, Josephine had to stay in the house of Rizal’s sister Narcisa, who was the one closest to her in the Rizal family. After a while Josephine returned to Dapitan to continue her life with Rizal.

In Talisay, Dapitan Rizal and Josephine’s love had grown as days went by so that they decided to cement their relationship in ecclesiastical marriage. But being an excommunicated Catholic, Rizal was advised by Fr. Obach, the would-be officiating priest, that he should first get the approval of the bishop of Cebu. However, there was no positive reply of his request from the bishop. Nevertheless, Rizal and Josephine continued to live as man and wife.

Living with Rizal, Josephine learned how to sew, cook food, and do other tasks to help him in their household routines. She attended to him. The octagonal bamboo and nipa house that they occupied was a love nest, and in time she became pregnant. While he played prank with her, she got startled and she fell to an iron stand. The accident resulted to the premature birth of a son. Rizal was deeply saddened with the incident. He named the still born child Francisco in honor of his father and buried it.

At the height of the revolution in Cuba Rizal volunteered his services as doctor to attend to the victims of yellow fever. Philippine Spanish Governor General Ramon Blanco, who was sympathetic to his plight granted his leave to that country. On July 3, 1896, Rizal and Josephine together with Narcisa  left Dapitan and boarded the “Espana” for Manila. While in Manila he was not allowed to disembark from the ship that would take him to his next destination. Josephine was however allowed to visit him in the ship. In Manila she stayed in Narcisa’s house. 

The political situation that was brewing meanwhile would somehow affect Rizal’s final destiny. Governor General Ramon Blanco who was sympathetic to Rizal was disliked by the friars because of his soft and reconciliatory stance towards the Filipino dissidents. Friars led by Archbishop of Manila Bernardo Nozaleda had worked for Blanco’s removal to Spain’s regent Queen Maria Cristina. They succeeded in their effort and on December 13, 1896 Blanco was replaced by Governor-General Camilo Polavieja who had a hardline stand against dissidents. The situation did not bode well for Rizal since he had angered the friars who wielded much political clout and that the new Governor General had an uncompromising attitude to those who were considered enemies of the state.

On August 1, 1896, the ship that Rizal boarded left the port of Manila. In route to Spain, there was an order for his arrest, and in October 6, 1896, he was detained in Barcelona, he was interrogated, and was inspected of his belongings. There were masonry papers confiscated from his possession. Implicated in the rebellion through his association with the Katipunan, Rizal was sent back to Manila to face trial.

Rizal faced a five-day preliminary investigation on November 26, 1896. Two days before his replacement as governor general on December 13, 1896, Blanco endorsed Rizal’s case to Polavieja who decided that it would be finally settled by a court martial. On December 26, 1896, Rizal faced a court martial in the building Cuartel de EspaƱa in Fort Santiago. He was charged with rebellion, sedition and illegal association. Despite the dedicated and selfless effort of defense counsel Lt. Luis Taviel de Andrade to present convincing refutation on charges against Rizal, the court found the accused guilty of all the charges, and Rizal was sentenced to die by firing squad.   
A day before his execution Rizal gave a stove to his sister Trinidad and whispered to her that there was something in it. He also summoned Josephine and the two had their last time together. It was said that before his execution Rizal renounced masonry and reverted to Catholicism. It was also reported that two or one hour before the execution, he and Josephine Bracken were married in a Catholic ceremony officiated by Fr. Vicente Balaguer.  

Mi Ultimo Adios
The cooking stove given by Rizal to Trinidad was later found out to contain a piece of paper with a poem entitled “Mi Ultimo Adios” or “My Last Farewell”. On the last line of the poem were the words “Adios mi dulce stranjera, mi amiga, mi alegria” or “Farewell my sweet stranger, my darling, my delight”. That line is believed to be dedicated to Josephine Bracken.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
On December 30, 1896, Rizal was escorted by the guards to the execution site in Bagumbayan. Filipino squad backed up by Spanish squad behind it had to do the shooting. Before the shots, a military doctor checked Rizal’s pulse and was amazed to find it to be normal. At about 7 am an order to fire accompanied with beats of the drums was then given to the executioners. As he fell to the ground Rizal uttered his last words “consumatum est” or “it is completed!”. He also mustered his last remaining strength to turn his body around so that he would die facing the sky. Rizal was only 35 years old when he died.

Dr. Jose Rizal's execution
On that day a martyr shed his blood on his country’s soil. It was a blood that would later nurture the seed of his countrymen’s aspirations for an independent country and a better tomorrow. In his Noli Mi Tangere Rizal wrote foretelling words said by the dying Elias to the child Basilio who are two of his characters in that novel: “I shall die without the dawn breaking upon my homeland. You shall see it, salute it! Do not forget those who have fallen before the night.” Jose Rizal was later buried in an unmarked grave in a cemetery in Paco, Manila. 
After the death of Rizal, Josephine joined the revolutionaries. She was reported to have witnessed the Tejeros Convention. For her activities she was summoned by Governor General Polavieja who ordered her to leave the Philippines. But she being the daughter of an American citizen could not be forcibly deported from the country. But after receiving advises from the American consul, she voluntarily left for Hong Kong to join her father who died shortly after their reunion.

In Hong Kong Josephine met Vicente Abad, a Filipino-Spanish mestizo. He married her on December 15, 1898. They later went to Cebu where he set up a bicycle store while she spent her spare time tutoring English. On April 17, 1900, she gave birth to a daughter which the couple named Dolores. After a few years Josephine returned to Hong-Kong where she died of tuberculosis on March 15, 1902. She was only 25 years old.

Monday, February 1, 2016

History's Great Love Story: Cleopatra and Mark Antony

Alexander the Great (356 BC-323 BC) king of Macedonia conquered the Persian Empire. His victorious military campaigns created the biggest empire known to the ancient world. His untimely death in 323 BC made his generals fight among themselves for the piece of the empire that he had left behind. Ptolemy (367 BC-283 BC) one of his generals whom he made governor of Egypt, secured for himself Egypt and made himself its king or Pharaoh.

Ptolemy made Alexandria, a city founded by Alexander, as his capital. He and his descendants created a dynasty of Macedonian/Greek kings and queens that ruled Egypt for about three centuries. Under the Ptolemaic dynasty Alexandria was a cosmopolitan city that had Greek, Jewish and indigenous Egyptian population with Greek as the lingua franca. In its heyday the city rivaled Athens as the intellectual and cultural capital of the ancient world.

Like Alexander the Great, the Macedonian Ptolemaic kings adopted the native Egyptian costume, traditions and observation of religious holidays to gain the native Egyptians’ loyalty. They also followed Egyptian royal practices such as marriage between siblings to confine power within the ruling family. Although the Ptolemies attained a measure of success in dealing with their native Egyptian subjects, rebellion was not uncommon. During the Hellenistic Ptolemaic era a growing power, the Roman, loomed in the horizon and was set to replace the Hellenistic kingdoms as the leading power of the ancient world.

Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in a movie
Cleopatra VII (69 BC-30 BC), a queen from the Ptolemaic dynasty, was the daughter of Ptolemy XI I (112 BC-51 BC). When he died in 51 BC she became a queen or pharaoh of Egypt. But following Egyptian royal tradition she would co-rule with her younger brother Ptolemy XIII. Also in line with royal tradition Cleopatra should marry him.

The shaky arrangement of sharing power with another member of a family created problem in unity of leadership since Ptolemy XIII wanted to exercise power all by himself and drove his sister into exile in Syria. She gathered an army of men to reclaim her share of the Egyptian throne, but her effort and her strength were not enough to overcome Ptolemy XIII.

Roman consul Julius Caesar, who was in a military campaign, and Cleopatra came across each other in Syria. Eventually, they became lovers. Caesar sympathized with her cause and pledged to help her. In 47 BC Caesar launched a campaign in Egypt against Ptolemy XIII and killed him in battle. Caesar then reinstated Cleopatra as the queen or pharaoh of Egypt.

Again, following tradition, Cleopatra had to marry another younger brother Ptolemy XIV (59 BC-44 BC) as her co-ruler. After stabilizing the situation in Egypt she went to Rome to live as mistress of Caesar. She then bore him a child named Caesarion who would later become Ptolemy XV.

Mark Antony
In 44 BC Julius Caesar was assassinated. The vacancy in leadership and power had to be filled up with the three of the most powerful personalities in the Roman world namely Mark Antony (83 BC-30 BC), Gaius Octavius or Octavian (67 BC-14 AD) and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus (89 BC-12 BC); thus, the second triumvirate emerged. Mark Antony used the assassination of Caesar to turn the Romans against the conspirators which gave him a time for power in Rome. His greatest rival was Octavian, the grand nephew of Caesar and his designated heir. In 42 BC the triumvirate crushed the forces led by two assassins of Caesar, the Roman statesman Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus, who sought the restoration of the Roman republic. 

After defeating the assassins of Caesar, the triumvirate met in Italy in 40 BC to arrange for the division of the Roman territories that they would control and govern and to avoid conflict with each other. Antony was given the Eastern portion which extended from the Adriatic Sea to the Euphrates River.

In the midst of the turmoil in Rome Cleopatra returned to Egypt with her child Caesarion. She did not involve herself in the war to help the triumvirate. To have a sole power in Egypt she caused the poisoning of Ptolemy XIV. 
Mark Antony who now controlled the Eastern part of the Roman territories summoned Cleopatra to Tarsus in Cilicia to explain her conduct during the civil war. However, in their meeting Mark Antony was captivated with her charm and beauty so that he felt in love with her. And they become lovers. His love absolved her of the shortcomings that she had made. He later accompanied her in her return to Egypt.

To secure his position in the east, Mark Antony must have goodwill with his strongest rival in the triumvirate, Octavian, the heir designate of Julius Caesar. Lepidus, the other triumvir was the weakest and the most submissive. To cement his political relation with Octavian, Mark Antony married the latter’s sister Octavia. After his marriage Mark Antony returned to Egypt to continue his life with Cleopatra. She gave birth to two children by him.

Mark Antony’s affairs with Cleopatra came to Octavian’s notice. This together with the former’s defeat in his campaign against the Parthians in 36 BC was used by him to excite the Romans against Mark Antony. Octavian’s rhetoric against his arch rival deepened Romans’ dissatisfaction to Mark Anthony. And it’s only a matter of time that the forces of the two triumvirs would clash for supremacy and another civil war would ensue. A victory against Mark Antony would give Octavian the opportunity to eliminate his closest and strongest rival. Octavian declared a war against Mark Antony in 32 BC. Upon knowing it, Mark Antony divorced Octavia.

The battle line was drawn. Octavian’s forces were pitted against those of Mark Antony and the Egyptian queen Cleopatra. They finally met in 31 BC in Actium. Mark Antony fared badly against the forces of Octavian in the naval battle. Cleopatra, realizing the futility of further engagement withdrew her Egyptian fleet. Mark Antony followed her, and they fled to Alexandria.

The death of Cleopatra
The following year, as the troops of Octavian was marching toward Alexandria, Antony was deceived with a false report that Cleopatra had died. The information devastated Mark Antony. He reacted by killing himself with his sword. The unfortunate turn of events was a big blow to the Egyptian queen. This was aggravated by rumors that Octavian would display her body in Rome. Realizing that her end was now inevitable Cleopatra decided to end her life by poisoning herself. Traditions had it that she had her hand bitten by an asp.  

Caesarion or Ptolemy XV the son of Cleopatra by Julius Caesar and the last king of the Ptolemaic dynasty was put to death by Octavian. That act effectively put an end to Egypt’s Ptolemaic dynasty.  Octavian later became first Roman Emperor Augustus Caesar. He annexed Egypt as a Roman Province.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

A Tribute to Carlos Loyzaga, the Greatest Filipino Basketball Player Ever

Carlos Loyzaga was born on August 26, 1930 in Manila. He first played basketball at his neighborhood in Santa Mesa, Manila in Teresa Valenzuela Athletic Club (TERVALAC).Gabby Fajardo, another Filipino basketball great took notice of Loyzaga’s playing skill and height. He later helped him hone his skill in the game.

In college Loyzaga tried to play at Collegio de San Juan Letran, but the coach gave him the cold shoulder. He eventually suited up with San Beda College where he was instrumental in giving the school three titles for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in 1951, 1952 and 1955. It was in San Beda where Loyzaga earned the sobriquet “the Big Difference” because his presence on the court was a factor in the winning of the game.

After college, he joined the famed YCO team in 1954 which was owned by businessman Manolo Elizalde. With him as one of the team’s key players, YCO was able to win 8 consecutive National Open Championships from 1954 to 1960 and five MICAA Championships.

Loyzaga’s stint with YCO was the time of a fierce rivalry with another equally fabled team named Ysmael Steel for basketball supremacy starting in 1958.Both were the dominant teams in the MICAA tournaments, and the championship trophy went to either team. Other teams could hardly snatch a title with YCO and Ysmael Steel around. Basketball fans and generally Filipinos loved to see both teams play against each other. The team’s rivalry in the late 1950’s and the 1960’s furthered Filipinos love for basketball and star players were celebrities. With good players playing either for YCO or Ysmael Steel it followed then that most players who played for the country in international competition mostly came from both teams.

Loyzaga had an imposing presence on the court. The Spanish Basque mestizo was unusually tall at 6’3” for the average Filipino during his time. His size, good look and playing skill made him stand out from other players, and he was one of the fans’ favorites. Loyzaga was also the most valuable player of the painters, the name which the basketball players of YCO were called.

The decades of the early 50’s and the 60’s were the golden era of Philippine basketball when the country dominated almost all of the tournaments in Asia. With Loyzaga as one of the country’s key player, the Philippines won four consecutive gold medals in 1951, 1954, 1958 and 1962 in the Asian Games. With Loyzaga in the team, the Philippines won the1960 and the 1963 Asian Basketball Conference which is now called FIBA Asia.

Philippine’s great moment in basketball came in 1954 during the Second World Basketball Games (now called FIBA World) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Powered by Carlos Loyzaga and Lauro Mumar, the country garnered the bronze medal or third place. That ranking is the highest ever for an Asian country in that competition. Adding flavor to the Philippine team accomplishment was the inclusion of Loyzaga in the game’s Mythical Five players. Loyzaga averaged 16.4 points per game in the tournament. The Philippines was not as fortunate in the 1959 Fiba World in Santiago de Chile, Chile where it placed only 8th..

RP team to the 1959 FIBA World. Loyzaga is the no. 3
Loyzaga on the floor
Philippine’s basketball contingent always included Carlos Loyzaga in its team. Loyzaga played for the country’s basketball team for the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki where the Philippines placed 9th. He played again for the country in the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne where the team placed 7th. He could have made it again to the 1960 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. However, he broke his wrist while playing softball and for his injury he had to beg off from the Olympics.

Age caught up with him, and Loyzaga retired from active competition in 1964. But he continued to be in basketball as head coach of YCO. He also coached for the UST varsity team as well as the national team in international competitions. The mid 60’s saw the rise of other countries in Asia which bested the Philippines in basketball. Loyzaga now as a coach brought the Philippines back to glory when he steered his team to the championship by defeating arch rival South Korea in the 1967 ABC or FIBA Asia. The victory so much delighted the basketball loving Filipinos so that coach Loyzaga and the players were treated with a parade in the streets of Manila, and an audience with President Ferdinand Marcos at Malacanang Palace. In the 1968 Loyzaga coached the Philippine Basketball Team in Summer Olympic Games in Mexico. The team placed only 13th in a field of 16 participating countries.

The professional Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) opened in 1975, and most of YCO’s key players were moved to its sister team Tanduay in the new league. In the PBA Loyzaga coached U/TEX and Tanduay teams.

Carlos Loyzaga, died at Cardinal Santos Medical Center on January 27, 2016 at age 85.  His children are former basketball players Chito and Joaquin and movie actresses Bing and Teresa. Loyzaga is one of the greatest players who played basketball in the Philippines. He has given the Philippines a great service by representing the country in various international competitions on which the Philippines garnered several medals or got a respectable finish.  The honor that he gave his country as an athlete had made the Filipinos proud of their country. Loyzaga was inducted to the Philippine National Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999 and was conferred the Philippine Sportswriters Association Athlete of the Century Award in 2000.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

St. Joseph's Golden Home Foundation, Inc. of Cagayan de Oro

The Catholic Church of Cagayan de Oro City in the Philippines has been of help in the enhancement of the residents’ spiritual, moral, educational and cultural developments. It also involves itself in charitable activities to help poor and underprivileged people. The Saint Joseph Golden Home Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit charitable institution that is established by the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro to help poor elderly men and women who are no longer capable of supporting themselves of their basic daily needs. Its premises are located at Clemente Fernandez Ext., 18th Street, Nazareth, Cagayan de Oro.

Services to the elderly in the foundation are provided by nuns and volunteers. These include recreational, spiritual and health services as well as value formation and adult education.  

To be admitted to the home of the elderly, a male or female person should be 65 years old or over. He or she should be a resident of Cagayan de Oro or Malaybalay Cities. He or she should be indigent and totally abandoned by his or her family or relatives. And that he or she is not suffering from psychological or mental disorder or afflicted with a communicable disease.

Saint Joseph’s Golden Home Foundation relies mainly on donations to support its activities. Despite this situation, it has somehow, with the grace of God, able to manage its operations because of the generosity of its kind-hearted donors.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

New Year Celebration in the Philippines

Although New Year is a distinct occasion, most Filipinos consider its celebration as a part of observing the long Christmas season. The New Year’s Eve is a moment when people welcome the arrival of another year as the clock strikes at midnight. New Year is supposed to be merrier than Christmas because it is more of a secular occasion. Christmas has a religious significance because the day is identified with the birth of Christ while New Year is a day to start another Gregorian calendar year. Despite the fact that Filipinos put more meaning on Christmas than the New Year, both occasions are given grandiose celebrations.

New Year's Eve is also an occasion for gift giving

Above pictures are favorite foods on New Year's Eve
beer, a favorite New Year's Eve drink
Like Christmas, fiesta, wedding, birthday and other occasions, New Year Eve is the time when members of the family, relatives and friends gather to be with the company of each other. Parties and parlor games are held, music is played for a dance or a listening, videoke or guitar or in some cases a band accompanies a song, gifts are exchanged and foods are served to people. The extent and quality of foods available and activities done are determined by the financial status or capability of a family. People who are more religious attend a mass before waiting for the arrival of the New Year.                                                                                                                    
The many activities that people are doing keep them up all through the night. As a result, they sleep late in the following morning, the New Year’s Day which is an official public holiday. In contrast to the lively atmosphere that characterized the celebration of the previous evening, the following day is usually almost devoid of people’s activities. People are in their home resting or sleeping. Government offices and private shops and businesses are closed. And many vehicles are off the street resulting in a significantly lighter traffic.

round shaped fruits on the table
Some superstitious practices that are probably of Chinese origins and not rooted on Christian belief influence the observance and welcoming of the New Year. Said practices are believed to bring forth good luck and ward off bad luck and evil spirits. Although many people do not subscribe to the ideas, other people observe the practice anyway for the sake of social tradition. Making loud sounds, putting 12 kinds of round fruits on the table, wearing polka dot dress, and spreading coins around the house are said to bring in good luck. Jumping 12 times on New Year’s Eve is said to make children become taller. When the New Year’s noise has died down, the sound of an animal that is heard first is a sign of a good or a bad fortune. A crow of a roster or a bark of a dog is a bad sign while the moo of a cow or a water buffalo or a bleat of a goat is a good sign for the coming year. Those are some of the many Filipino superstitious beliefs that are related to the celebration of New Year.

fireworks display
It is the practice of the Filipinos to make loud sound when the clock strikes midnight to bring in good luck and drive away evil spirits. People make noise by blowing horns, blowing the horns of cars, playing music loud, and banging cans and kitchen utensils among other actions. But the most popular and effective way of making noise is the use of firecrackers and fireworks. In relation to it, some people, before the New Year’s Eve, set aside money to buy those stuffs. The varied explosions, shapes, light colors, sparks and smokes caused by the exploding fireworks in the ground or in the sky are for some people a brilliant spectacle in the night sky. But for other people including the animals the burst of explosives can scare them out of their wits. There is inherent risk in exploding fireworks because people might get injured or properties might be burned. For this reason, the sale and use of fireworks and firecracker are strictly regulated or in some instances discouraged by the government.

The western influenced making of resolutions for the New Year is a practice that is adapted by the Filipinos. People hope to change their character or behavior for a better life in the coming year. Some put their resolutions into writings while others just commit them to their memory. And still other people do not make New Year’s resolutions at all, because for them, if there is something to be changed or corrected, they should do it right there and then without waiting for the year end to come to do it.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Renovated Fountain of Cagayan de Oro

Gaston Park is a historic and major Landmark of Cagayan de Oro, and one of its main fixtures is the fountain. Locals who visited the park and those who went to the mass at Saint Augustine Cathedral relished the view of the park with its decorative fountain and people had their picture taken with the fountain, the church and the old water reservoir now converted into museum as the background. However, the operation of the fountain was temporarily stopped so that it can be improved and renovated.

In December 2015, with the renovation done, the fountain was reactivated. Now, when the fountain’s electric pump is turned on people can see the water jets into the air which is accompanied with lights and music. The fountain retains its old original basin that is surrounded by railings. In the middle is a new smaller and higher elevated basin where the nozzles of the main spring are located. Outside and below this smaller basin in the pond are nozzles that create smaller springs around the main spring in the middle.  

The reactivation of the fountain with its colored lights and music is indeed a beautiful sight not only to the local residents but also to other people who will visit the city.