Jess Robredo…To Die A Hero

by Apolinario B Villalobos

 

1

At a young age –

Showed the world

He’s that strong;

Used to the fullest

What God gave him

As the stairs of knowledge

He took one rung at a time-

Carefully, not to miss the steps…

2

Strong leader as a student –

Many tried to emulate his ways

Some did try but failed

To be Jess is not that easy

His friends proudly said

Simple ways he had

But hard to be copied

A really rare breed, that lad…

3

His intellectual thirst was such

That even three educational degrees

Seemed not enough to accomplish;

Took a wife, equally strong

And like him is intelligent;

The two  built a home

With a foundation of love

And pillars of determination…

4

Alas! Not long afterwards

The couple thanked the Lord

For the three beautiful girls He gave;

Their joy was such that they did their best

To mold the three into the same ways

Into which they grew –

Respect for others, and love, too

Respect for time, and money, too…

5

At the helm of Naga City, at twenty –nine

Jess showed that when called to serve others

Age is just a number, and skill matters;

Unfazed by responsibilities, he did his best

By just being him –

As he checked busted city street lights every night

As he scraped mud from streets after the floods

As he helped garbage collectors fill their trucks

A he patted the back of those who sought his counsel

As he handed coins to the destitute he met

As he smiled his way through days of problems

As he wore the same office uniform just like others

As he took the bus to Manila and tricycle to functions

And many more Jess ways…

Hence, the Magsaysay Award at so young an age!

6

Though unfortunate to see high brows

This was when chosen by P-Noy to head DILG

Many, as usual tried to block his way

But just as when he was in Naga,

He was unfazed, and just worked his best;

No meetings and official ceremonies

Stopped Jess from skipping at least one meal –

One meal with his family, his precious family

Not even that distant meeting in Cebu one day

That was the fateful 18th of August 2012

When he took a Cessna flight for home

But as nearing Masbate, was distressed…

7

For three days, people cried and hoped

That he was just carried by waves to nearby islets

Or that a fisherman took him home to recuperate;

Alarmed but praying to the Lord

People patiently waited ….

Until, finally on the 21st of August 2012

Jess has been brought to shore…

8

A hero?…more than a hero I say!

Politicians who gave him a hard time

In getting the more than deserved confirmation

Are now cringing in guilt… suddenly silent

Alibis are said, but no amount of such

Could make a cover up for their misdeed;

They refused to see what Jess had been doing

For us, his countrymen who for long

The dirty air of politics we were breathing;

Politicians whose schedules are filled with investigations

That did not give much result, but limelight grabbing

They who played “intelligent”, “hero of the people”

Are so eerily silent……………………………

Yes… so silent………….!

9

To be a hero is to die with a purpose

It is only at death

That others accept what he did for others

It is a sacrifice for the man and his loved ones

But what can he do?

It is God’s will and plan –

The only way to make others  acknowledge him

The only way to open their eyes to see him

And open their mind to finally make them think

That, indeed, he is unselfish, hardworking, etc…

10

To die a hero  should not be seen as late in coming

God has a way as to when this should happen

His acts are done at the right time

And we, His creatures, His instruments

Can just wait, most often caught unprepared

But Jess was not –

For even as a child, his ways

Led to his being that –

A hero, and he died for it….

Though for others, hard to accept.

(The wife of the pilot of the Cessna plane said that she and her husband were planning to go to their resort for the weekend, but that night of Friday, they received a call for the Secretary Robredo who wanted to be flown to Naga, the following day, Saturday, and that her husband was specially requested to fly the plane. Her husband consented. The following day, his wife already discouraged him from chartering a flight as he would not be able to catch up with the awarding ceremony anyway. Their youngest daughter was to receive a medal for swimming. Just the same, Secretary Robredo went on with his plan, so right after his commitment, he rushed to the hangar of the Cessna operator. In his haste, too, the pilot failed to kiss his wife as he used to do before he would fly. While inflight, the Secretary was still able to call his wife to say that he was on his way which prompted his wife to proceed to Naga airport to meet him. Unfortunately, the pilot tried to make an emergency landing in Masbate, but failed……

Jesse Robredo was the Philippines’ Secretary of the Department of the  Interior and Local Government.)

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Ever Worried About Aging?

by Apolinario B. Villalobos

 

Nowadays, not only the women are conscious about their age, but the men as well,especially, with the proliferation of personality enhancement and health improvement fads.  Everybody seems to want to look young, not necessarily beautiful or handsome. Just try observing how commercial ads that promote health and beauty products fight for attention in practically all kinds of venues and forms.

Also, we forgot that the calendar never kills nor maims, but just helps us monitor how we fare physically as we go on living.  What may happen to us physically is actually the result of our own doing. Our physical being is affected by damage or disease, thanks to our attitude, polluted environment, and factory- made foods laced with preservatives andsynthetic nutrients.  And, that is aging – living life in just a short time or enjoying it for a longer period.

Just in case we need to be reminded of things that we should have done or should do about this matter, here are some points to ponder:

Are we really serious about sweating it out in a gym or aerobics center?  I have friends who unabashedly claim that they go to the gym, just to be “in”, be part of the crowd, hence, just to be seen, or worse to gawk at others doing their routines.  To be seen with a duffel bag or backpack bulging with gym paraphernalia and wearing that familiar tank top is very “social”, so they go to the gym.  The same is also true with going to the aerobics center.  To be known in the community as an aerobics habitue adds to the social standing, so others believe. These people forgot that  physical routines must be complemented with rigid discipline on diet and way of life.  Worse,  from the gym or aerobics center, these same people go straight to burger joints or fastfood centers  to regain the lost calories, then indulge in sticks of cigarette to remove the taste of grease from their mouth.

Are we just playing dumb to the fact that excessive alcohol intake, junk foods, smoking, staying late often, can affect our health?  It does not need a college degree for one to know that smoking can cause the accumulation of nicotine in the lungs, and findings assert, too, that even passive smokers or those who do not smoke but get to inhale the smoke from smokers can suffer the same fate. Junk foods, hence junk, are not good for the health, but we keep on enjoying them.  What is worse is that even children who are just beginning to identify the taste of solid foods are taught how to enjoy these junk foods! As for the alcohol, while a little of it may be healthy, others cannot just help gorging too much, and the reason? Socialization!  And, woe to those, who before they know it, their livers are already diseased due to the damage caused by alcohol.

Are we getting enough sleep?  Dermatologists blame lack of sleep as one of the primary causes of premature aging due to the appearance of wrinkles and eye bags.  And, no amount of cream or facial packs can do something about them, although, a very minimal result may be noticed after constant applications. These wrinkles will always be there if one keeps on staying late and  the predicament worsens with the abuse of alcohol  intake due to drinking sprees.

Are we eating safe food? This century may just be the determining period as to who can survive up to the next one.  Denizens of the earth today, practically eat to death – literally.  We eat artificially- flavored food, vegetables sprayed with insect deterring chemicals, fish from contaminated oceans and rivers, and so forth. From time to time, organic foods find their way to the groceries and markets, but their supply is very irregular and seasonal.

Lastly, as an advice, never say you are growing old. Just think young and smile…age is just a number.

Tacurong, My Own…City of Goodwill

by Apolinario B Villalobos

 

Blessed with a fertile land

Greened by blades of rice and corn,

Undulated by the wind that

Over trees on rolling hills

Carpeted with grass

That seemed is daily shorn –

This is Tacurong, my own.

 

Pamansang as she was known

In the days when rivers

Gently flowed down

Her patches of marsh

Interspersed with paddies

Turning golden with swaying

Ripened rice in summer;

 

Indented with the hills of Kalandagan

Crowned with forests made alive

With monkeys’ calls and avian songs ,

She was a paradise, hidden as should be

But not for long when many came

And her sight, gave them such ecstacy –

A joy, a feeling filled with glory!

 

On once marshy lands were roads hewn

And marks  made for schools and houses

Of course, others were made, too

For town hall, market and the rest…

Alas! Progress was in sight –

For Buluan’s  once marshy village

Came to life brimming with promise.

 

Then came Visayans and those from the north

They brought with them a fervent desire

Deeply etched in their heart to start a new life –

In this they did not fail, instead, they succeed

As they joined hands with brother Muslims

And B’laans from the forested hills –

To lift beloved Tacurong to a height of bliss!

 

Tacurongnons believe that God is one –

The cross and the crescent moon

For a sturdy goodwill and unity

These symbols proudly stand

Beaming a radiant light on a people

Proud and shaded with talakudong

For which Tacurong was also known.

 

Pamansang… Talakudong… whatever name

In the shadow of Buluan  she was known

Now a crossroad in the avenues of progress

But most of all, home to melded cultures

United with fibers of trust, love and respect

She will always be a jewel in the sun –

A City of Goodwill that beckons to every one!

What To Do If You Have the Big “C”

By Apolinario B Villalobos

 

First of all, do not blame God. Do not ask Him such silly question as “why me?” If you do not believe in God, do not get angry at the world and other people or, most especially, your parents for bringing you into this world. It is an accepted fact that as we are growing in the womb or our mother, different types of diseases are being transferred in our blood due to heredity. We inherit whatever sicknesses that both our parents have been carrying in their genes. That is why the process of taking blood sample from newborn infants are now being done to determine what kind of sickness they will develop at a certain stage of their lives. It is a big consolation to parents if through this system the disease of their children can be cured, though, may not be totally, by taking the necessary medicines at the earliest possible time. Some are checked or held at bay through proper nutrition or diet.

If it is only at the later stage of your life that you came to know of having this disease, hold on to your senses. Do not panic or get emotional by crying floods of tears. They will not help you. Common sense dictates that you must accept the fact that you have the disease. Make researches about the kind of cancer you have. Check the internet for information and guidance. If you happen to know of people who have the same disease, talk to them and get as many information as you can. The effects of cancer differ, depending on what part of our body is affected. Some linger for as long as one year or more, the worst could be the quick effect,  most common of which  is to the colon.

The problem with some people who have the disease is that they are not disciplined enough to avoid activities and foods that are not good for them, despite the advise of their physicians. By the time the disease gets worse and requires chemotherapy or operation, they regret. But it is too late.

If there is still time to make use of your remaining days in this world, do not let your health deteriorate, staring at blank walls at the same time while losing hope and self-respect. Do things that you failed or refused to do, especially, things that could make your family and other people happy. Of course, you should not forget God in your effort, knowing very well that you forgot Him as you wallowed in sinful luxurious way of life.

Nothing could be done when you know that you have the disease, except prolonging your life through medication, unfortunately, when it is already late. It could never be totally eradicated from your system but can be temporarily “immobilized” to prevent it from spreading. But this needs rigid disciplinary and preventive effort. We are not blind to what we see on tv, read in newspapers and magazines, or deaf to stories told by friends about how and why some people died of cancer. But how many heeded the warnings? Dying prematurely of cancer due to lack of discipline may not happen if extra effort is exerted at the earliest possible time. The question is: can you do it?

Christmas, Jesus Christ and Christianity

CHRISTMAS, JESUS CHRIST AND CHRISTIANITY

by Apolinario B Villalobos

With the onset of every Christmas, the anniversary of the “birth” of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem on December 25, we cannot avoid recalling what we have learned in Catechism and later, Religion as a subject in high school and college, the phenomena that were correlated to that fateful night.  The most popular is the effort of the “three kings” to find His birthplace which they finally did with the help of a star that pinpointed the exact location.

While the birth anniversary is being celebrated by Christians throughout the world, most perhaps, do not know that until now, the December 25 as the date is still being disputed.  Some researchers contend that the date falls within March.  On the other hand, some researchers found murals in some archaeological sites in the Biblical land indicating not only “three kings” but more.  And, these personages were not even kings but “magi”, which according to The New Compact Bible Dictionary,  is “originally a religious caste among the Persians”.  Accordingly, they were so devoted to astrology, divination, interpretation of dreams, fortune telling and the like, making them exponents of esoteric religious cults throughout the Mediterranean.  They were popularly  referred to as the “wise men” and the term “magic” is derived from them and which the same dictionary defines as the “science or art of the Magi”.  The art includes necromancy, soothsaying, astrology, sorcery, inspecting entrails of animals, shaking of arrows, divining by rods, witchcraft and exorcism.

The “star” which is popularly known today as the “star of Bethlehem” was seen by them twice.  They took the first sighting as a prophetic sign that a “king” will be born, hence, their effort to find the place as the sign’s fulfillment.  The second sighting was made when they were within the vicinity of birth – Bethlehem.

And, that was how the story of Jesus started, later made colorful by his metamorphosis into a matured Jew who is fated to save mankind.  Jesus himself, as indicated in the Bible did not come from a “clean” lineage as if to symbolize that there is always a chance for one to be cleansed again.  He was short tempered, as well, as when he cursed a fig tree that had no fruits causing it to wilt, during the time when he was hungry and in dire need of something to fill his stomach and when  he confronted themerchants, money changers, prostitutes and other “sinners” who filled the temple yard.

Of course as we all know, the climactic and colorful life of Jesus Christ ended on Mt. Calvary. Unfortunately, the dispute as to his divine nature did not end there, especially, when his body was supposed to have “resurrected” which a group of Jews could not just accept.  It is this same group that refused to accept his ministry while he was still alive.  This group was literal in their acceptance of the Mosaic covenant withGod.  It came to a point that even some of the disciples were not allowed to enter the synagogue because of  their staunch upholding of the teachings of Jesus which sort of updated the Mosaic covenant.

The persistent teaching of the original followers who are popularly referred to as the twelve apostles became  the seed of Christianity that we know now.  It is unfortunate and proven time and again that the teachings of Jesus are not accepted in his native land.  The religion which started as a cultic movement was propagated and prospered in foreign lands, branching further into several sects that we know today as the protestant sects, with Catholicism retaining the main bulk of believers.

This simple dissertation is intended to remind ourselves about the real meaning of Christmas and Christianity.  It is sad to note that we look forward to Christmas as the time for cash bonuses, gifts, festive meals, family reunions, parties, carolings, lanterns, fairs, etc., and never as a symbol of God’s effort in giving mankind a chance to repent by sending forth His Son who eventually became the Sacrificial Lamb. Ironically, justbecause we take part in celebrating this occasion, we thought we are already Christians.

As if those are not enough, some radio and TV stations even make a countdown until the Christmas day itself, as well as, play Christmas carols as early as October. For the poor who cannot even afford a humble meal at least once a day, it is like salt being rubbed on their wound.

Honestly now, are we what we are professing to be just because we have the most beautiful Christmas tree and lantern, most expensive gift to our godchild, most festive food on the table, most colorful lights that flood our home, etc.?

Looking at Ourselves For the Second Time

by Apolinario B Villalobos

 

Have you ever woke up one morning and asked yourself, “What now? Where am I going? Can I make it?”. Or, have you ever been nagged by the thought that you will never make it –  have enough savings for your retirement,  pay off the mortgage of the house,  buy the plane tickets for your family for that needed reunion in your province, pass the exam, make your girlfriend give you a nod for long overdue marriage, etc.

Of course we know that the pangs of uncertainties and longing resulting from those thoughts are what we call depression.

Depression has got a lot to do with our being one with ourselves.  We can do away with it if we will just be honest with ourselves, by accepting the kind of a person we are, what we are capable of doing, and most especially by being who we are.

Simply put, if we do not achieve what we are longing for, we get disappointed and eventually depression sets in. But if we are convinced that we can do more because we know that we really can do more, then the feeling of being challenged will not give way to disappointment. Disappointment is the dead end of all our struggles. We should not let it block our aspirations.

We should be honest with ourselves. We should accept the kind of a person that we are. As we are Filipinos, let us accept that fact. Being a Filipino runs in our blood. We cannot put on another face permanently that will show the influence  of other cultures. Putting on a face of another culture is different from “using” the good influence. This is the mistake of those who have ventured to other countries.  They try very hard to be what they “have become” in other countries. Pretension will never give them peace.

It is ridiculous  to  note that most of Filipino balikbayans make it a point that their being such will show by  speaking in a “wursh wursh English” with so many punctuation of  “y’ know” to camouflage their lack of a word-stock of that foreign lingo.

I believe in the adage “when in Rome, act like a Roman”. But being a Roman should be left behind once one leaves Rome. It will not do you good,  if you insist on being still an “American” as you set foot on the Philippine soil, by insisting on American food, doing things the American way, etc. The best thing that you can do is apply what good influence you have absorbed – never the bad ones. Common sense shall tell you what those good influences are.

The culture of Rome is not “pure”. It is influenced by “good” cultures of other empires during the Golden Era. It has given Rome the advantage which made her flourish and dominate even those that influenced her. This is a lesson that we should learn. Lessons can also be learned from our fellow Asians – the Chinese, the Japanese, the Thais, the Indians. In other countries have you ever took notice what foods first class restaurants or simple food counters in malls serve and what kind of recipes international cookbooks contain? Seldom if ever can you find one that spells Filipino!

We feel pushed, edged out by being unlisted. It gives us that feeling of uneasiness and again – disappointment. And, whose fault is it now? Blame our pretensions! Those who have  breathed the American air for even just a year, already act like  Americans, those who have shivered in a few months of European winter, already think that they are Germans, Belgian, Dutch, etc. This pretension is never complete without a bleached skin and a “blondied” hair – the better for them to look more like an occidental.

If we can only maintain a strong feeling that we are Filipinos even while in other countries, then we are being one with ourselves, which then gives us a peace of mind. Take note of the dreaded thing called “unguarded moments”. No matter what, our being a Filipino will always show in any way. That is why, if you keep on covering it up because you are ashamed to be known as a Filipino, but it shows just the same during unguarded moments, it will only be you who should be blamed for such embarrassment that  will result to sleepless nights!

We should rejoice at the success of others. One who has become successful means reduction of the number of those needing help. We should not feel bad about their success. We should not be jealous. Their success should give us inspiration to strive more and harness our ability to the fullest. Jealousy is a negative feeling that eats up a good portion of our sensibilities. Such feeling affects our emotion and the beating of our heart. It gives us nightmares resulting to loss of good sleep, hence, dreary mornings. It makes us scowl at the thought of the successful one resulting to ugly lines in our face. The feeling removes the smile lines that should give us that sunshine look.

In school, jealousies cannot be avoided among students in their  effort to win friends and the attention of professors. This happens most especially among the achievers, the deans listers.  The affluent are waylaid by the comfort of steady financial flow from the pockets of their well-off parents. They are blinded by what they can do with their money – buy  passing marks. This feeling of security don’t give them a damn if they spend nights out scouring gay joints at night  and forget exams the next day. At the end of the course, diplomas are given, but has something been really learned by them? What shall they use as tools in the cutthroat competitive field of employment?  How can they possibly answer questions during interviews when they do not even grasped fully what the course they have finished is all about? Disappointments as expected result from years of unemployment. That is depression for them.

We should think of others’ sake. As much as possible, let us think of how we can help others. We should feel contented with what we already have. At the start of the day, we should count our blessings and thank Him for those. The rest of what we have, the excess, we should give or at least share with those needing help. Unfortunately, we always think of sharing in the form of material things. It is a wrong notion. We can also share sympathy and  time. A simple concern can put somebody with surmounting problems at ease. A sympathy in the form of a pat on the back can buoy up the spirit of a friend who just failed in a certain undertaking. An hour of your time spent beside the hospital bed of a sick friend who needs to talk to somebody could lessen his pain of loneliness. A few minutes shared with a friend who has just failed an exam, can give him that much needed consolation and encouragement.

The universe is vast – infinite. Each of us is just but an insignificant dot in it. Though how much we think of ourselves as just an insignificant dot in the universe, however,  the One who created us thinks otherwise. Each one of us is an important part of His infinite mechanism. Each one of us has a role to play. The universe is just like a clock that ticks and keep on running because of the well-functioning parts. We are those parts.

Also, we may put it this way. Each one of us is a peculiar shape in the universe. Each shape corresponds to a space in the universe which is some kind of a jigsaw puzzle. I could be a square, you could be rectangle, others could be a hexagon, a triangle, an oblong, etc. In other words, each one of us, with a role to play has a distinct shape. Each person is distinctly different from the rest. In other words, not everybody can be managers, mayors, electricians, teachers, etc, –   of the same caliber. The difference is in the “quality” of each of us that shows in how we do things. I may be a waiter, but there are so many waiters around. The distinction now comes in “how” I do my job as a waiter – making me a kind of person “distinctly different” from other waiters. The way I do my job is the kind of shape I am in this universe. That is the different “me” in the universe.

We can strengthen our world by fitting in rightly into the space assigned to us. Leaving a space by not being what we should be will make it crumbly.

Why not take a second look at yourself to know who you really are, for the sake of others, our world, our universe? Be one with yourself and have a peace of mind.

On Being At The Threshold of Our Lives

by Apolinario B Villalobos

 

Some of us may have gone through a near-death experience in which our past lives were flashed before our eyes, followed by a vision of blinding light at the end of the tunnel. I am among those who did when I fell down Mt. Hibok-hibok on the island of Camiguin during a Friday the 13th climb many years ago. I did not tell friends about it even my climbing buddies in PAL Mountaineering Club. I realized only now that it could be God’s way of telling me how I fared since the day I was born, how I dealt with others while growing up until that crucial near-death moment. It could have been His way of showing me portions of my life where I erred, hence, for me to realize that I need to take note and change my ways before I face Him.

The presumed God’s message is far from my mind while I had been exerting much effort to change my lifestyle for the better, that resulted to total eradication of my drinking habit. The changes came about spontaneously. I stopped drinking because I noticed palpitation of my heart even after just two bottles of beer. I minimized staying light despite so many writings to do because I noticed that loss of sleep causes my blood pressure to zoom up. I started counting from one to ten every time I am in a situation that I knew would irritate me and make me flare up. As for the diet, there is no problem because I had been a vegetarian for a long time. Today, I can proudly say that I have changed for the better.

As what I had been doing gave me good results, I tried to share them with friends, thinking that I would be doing them a favor. Some heeded me, some did not. Those who heeded me are thankful. Those who did not, told me that, as we will die anyway, we should enjoy life to the fullest.

I am at the threshold of my life and so are my friends with whom I am sharing useful tips on healthful living. It is alright if some of them do not take me seriously, for who am I to tell them, anyway. I am not a doctor, but my sharing is based on my experience. What I cannot comprehend is their adamant refusal to see the truth despite the expositions made by experts through the different media – tv, newspapers, internet, magazines. For me, there is nothing wrong in preparing oneself before we fall at the edge of life which in my case is just a few steps away. To die of sickness is a natural thing, but to suffer before death is another. Suffering could be lessened if we prepare ourselves.

Gasping for air until one dies because of emphysema is very much different from gasping for air as one dies naturally. The first one died while suffering, while the other one made the passage with a smooth sigh. The suffered death happens prematurely. Imagine young people dying of stroke, cancer, emphysema. These diseases may be prevented if only those who suffer from them are cautious in their lifetime. I need not emphasize that these are caused by unhealthy foods, smoking, heavy drinking, loss of sleep, drug abuse. Those concerned knew all the while that what they had been doing were not right, still they refuse to do what were supposed to be helpful to them

The ones with fatalistic attitude will say that cancer is in their blood, anyway, so they are bound to die of that disease. But there is such a thing as prevention which can be done even just to lessen the effect. The first step in this effort should come from them. Medication should come as a last resort. Nobody is exempted from having different diseases in their blood. But external factors aggravate them. Again, everybody knows that these external factors are summarized into just one – habit. We have the habit of smoking, uncontrolled drinking of alcoholic beverage, eating unhealthy foods, intentionally staying late at night making the rounds of night spots. Why not do something about those bad habits? We always forget that regrets always come at the end. Before, we know it, we may already be in the stage that require dialysis, chemo therapy, etc. Whatever strength left in us, may not even be  enough in drawing sighs to lessen our suffering.

While at the threshold of our lives, making the few more steps towards the edge, why not give ourselves  the chance to make up for our wrongdoings in the past? We are not saints as not to have offended others and God  somewhere in the past as we trudge on the path of life. If you have been snooty, why not put a smile on your face, once in a while? (this may take a lot of practice for some due to the permanent crease on their face that resulted from their former sour expression). If you did not care much for your neighbor before, why not start sharing with them your special viand that you cooked? If you have not been nice to your parents-in-law before, why not treat them to a lunch in a mall? Most especially, if you forgot how the chapel in your neighborhood looks like, why not start waking up early on Sundays to attend Mass? (this way, too, you renew your long-lost relationship with God).

Some of you just do not know that you have a knack for community service. I know you can feel it but do not know just how or where to start. Now is your chance as you have all the time, being retired. With so many calamities happening during most months of the year in our country, you may share your service by joining relief distribution groups. If you do not have that much energy, you can stay at relief center repacking and classifying donations. Former colleagues in PAL, Mrs. Tesi Ona and Mrs. Lency Roceles do this. While Mrs. Ona is with a volunteer social workers’ group at St. Luke’s Hospital, Mrs. Roceles is with a foundation, helping on the spot, needy people. I know that there are still others out there who do the same. They may not be with any group, but are happy enough to  do Samaritan works alone.

Each one of us has been given certain blessings in the form of skill by God. It is selfish for us not to share them with others. Some of you are shy to express them. Now is the time to do it. It is not late to join the choir group in your church or evangelists that roam around to share the words of God or religious groups that lead church activities in your communities. Also, you may not know that you have an artistic skill in the field of painting. Mrs. Corazon Aquino tried her best to bring out her artistic inclination just before she passed away. Or you may have the skill to write. Jot down poetic lines to be left behind as mementos to your loved ones.

There are so many things that we can do while we are at the threshold of our lives. Some of us may have already been doing them. But for those who have not yet opened their eyes to realities, by just spending precious times in malls playing bingo, sleeping it out the whole day and spending the rest of the time in the evening imbibing bottles of beer or shots of liquor, playing cards or mahjong at home with friends – think again…while there is still time.