Simplifying Life with Love, tempered by Respect

Simplifying Life with Love, Tempered by Respect

By Apolinario Villalobos

A positive life or rather, way of life should be ruled only by love and respect. Basically, we should love God, love life that He gave, and love others, be they within our family or strangers, as well as the so-called lesser creatures. And, with love, comes respect, and with respect comes endurance. That is how life should be lived…supposedly.

But because of selfishness, life has been polarized. At one end are those who are exploited by others and at the other end, are those who exploit others. Life has become complicated because of the emergence of the mentioned evil desire.

If only we can simplify life with love tempered by respect, then, there will no longer be a desire for anything that is more than what we need. Selfishness is the reason why man is never satisfied. Man covets those that are not his. He even covets those that are not yet on hand.

However, because life today is ruled by strength and money, man can no longer say that in order to survive, he can just run to the wilderness and harvest food, just like they do in the days of old. Today, living is simply a choice between simplicity but entails a lot of physical sacrifice, and complexity which calls for a lot of spiritual sacrifice. Simply put, it is either to live with hunger and needs, then die peacefully, or live in luxury, and die with a reluctant and heavy heart due to the amassed wealth that will be left behind.

But, since God gave man intelligence and free will, the choice is his. One encouraging fact, however, is about the seeping in of a need among many men and women, to reach out to Him, as they approach the threshold of their life. Unconsciously, there is a transformation in the way they live, leading to one of simplicity. Many are surprised about their loss of interest for socials, but veer their interest, instead, toward religious congregations. Some even start donating their wealth to worthy causes. If ever there is a need for socials, simple “ballroom dances” in multi-purpose halls are enough.

One only needs to look around to see this phenomenon – senior citizens smiling their way to their respective Church, with some donning work clothes on weekends to render volunteer service for community outreach projects, while others protect themselves with umbrellas on their way to depressed areas to conduct Bible studies. They all seem to shout to the world that they can still do something for the love of God and others despite their age. With their simple acts of living, indeed, they are oozing with love and respect for others, and though, without being solicited, earn some of these for themselves.

A Brief Visit to Hospicio de San Jose

A Brief Visit to Hospicio de San Jose

By Apolinario Villalobos

On November 11, I made an urgent trip from Cavite to Quiapo for a visit to the Hospicio de San Jose, the entrance of which is at the southern end of Ayala Bridge. I intended to personally talk to the people in charge of the orphanage which opened its doors to the needy in 1810. What caught my attention was a small window on the left wall through which, perhaps, infants can be turned over discreetly by mothers. Noticeable too, were the courteous staff and cleanliness of the compound.

I was hoping to gather first-hand information about the orphanage for a kind-hearted Filipina who lives in the US whose advocacy is donating books to schools and libraries. As she was thinking of “expanding” her acts of charity, I suggested the hospicio to her. The orphanage administrator, Sr. Maria Socorro Pilar G. Evidente, or just plain Sister Socorro, was not around during the time of my visit. I was entertained, instead, by the two secretaries, Ammie Visitacion and Anne de la Cruz. Our short meeting was fruitful, as I gained more information than I expected, and which elaborated the ones that are printed in the brochure and flyer of the hospicio’s needs that they gave me.

During our meeting, a group of six children whose age ranged from 3-4 years in the care of a house-mother, peeped first, but eventually made their way inside. Anne was prepared for such visit, as she immediately went inside a room to quickly pop a small pack of popcorn in a microwave oven. The contents went around the children who delightfully nibbled them, one by one, with care yet, and in seemingly solemn silence . The scene pinched my heart…they were all smiling.

I was told by Anne and Ammie that they ran out of biscuits, referring to the inexpensive broken kind that come in tin cans, the ones served during wakes, and also popular “pasalubong”, and which they give to the children to stave off their hunger between meals. The wards were all evidently well -scrubbed and wearing neat clothes. I was hesitant to ask if the children were found in unlikely places abandoned by their mothers or were intentionally left in their care . I told myself to just find out more about the wards later. It was enough that I was told by the two secretaries that they also have wards who are attending high school and college outside the orphanage.

Interestingly, the orphanage is not limited to assisting infants, children, and youth but elderlies, as well. There are more than a hundred normal children in its care and about 56 special children. Despite its limited resources, the orphanage also shares its blessings with street children, as shown by a tarpaulin displayed at the entrance of the compound, announcing a scheduled outreach program for them. What I saw during the brief visit gave me another reason to visit Quiapo.

As mentioned earlier, the hospicio is prominently located at the southern end of Ayala Bridge, and overlooks the Pasig River. The commuting visitors can take the LRT train going to Monumento, and get off at Central Station, from where they can stroll leisurely to the bridge, along the way to which, is the SM City-Manila, and behind which is the City Hall of Manila.

Two tin cans of broken biscuits may not be too cumbersome to carry to the smiling kids and bedridden elderlies, or some packs of diapers – any size, including large and extra large for the adults, or some packs of band aids, etc. For those who may have no time to buy any of the basic needs, a few pesos can be left behind, after a brief visit. Don’t forget to ask for their brochure and flyer on which is printed the list of needs. But, if your plan is just to visit for curiosity’s sake or gather information as basis for future visits and charitable acts, please do not hesitate to go ahead. The receptionist at the lobby will refer you to the office of the Administrator where answers to your queries can be had.

I am calling on friends from the provinces, and those who live in Manila and nearby areas, who plan to splurge their bonuses in Divisoria and Baclaran, and those from abroad who plan to come home for the holidays, to please, drop by the hospicio…in the name of Jesus. Your shared blessings will go a long way, even as far as the sidewalks of Manila, as they will surely be shared by the orphanage with children not in their care, as well.

Please take note of the following useful information:

Address:          Ayala Bridge,1099

Quiapo, Manila

Emails :


Phones            :          +632 7342367 – 68

Telefax :          +6327342366