Contentment in Life

Contentment in Life
By Apolinario Villalobos

Even what is good becomes bad when it is excessive. Food is good but could give us dyspepsia when we have taken much more than what our guts can take. Medicine when taken in overdose can be fatal. Even being overly religious can give us imbalance in sanity, making us believe that we have already become another God, even another Jesus.

Moderation is necessary. To be healthy, we must watch out for the calories of the food that we eat. We must read the direction on every label of medicine that we take, and follow the doctor’s prescription. We should not even oversleep even if this ultimate rest is necessary for the regeneration of some cells in our body. Even too much love to the point of being too passionate can tip the balance of our emotional lucidity and could be fatal.

To be reasonably moderate, it is necessary that we control our desire. To do these, we should let our mind prevail over our excessive emotion that is expressed in embarrassing actions that we fail to notice, putting us in unlikely situations most often. We become hysterical and unreasonable. All we know is that we have to let out what we feel. A typical manifestation of such this kind of uncontrolled emotion can be observed in concerts of bands where fans shout and gesticulate to show their “love” to their performing idols. Also, in confrontations, during which we let our pride prevail over reason.

During break ups of engaged couples or married ones, some of those who are greatly affected and could not just accept the unfortunate reality either cry their heart out, indulge in food trip binges, drown their sorrow in shots of alcoholic beverage, commit suicide, or kill their partner who brought them such pain. Blame too much love! The same thing happens when a dear love dies. Some of those who are left behind and who could not accept the departure, lose control of their senses even for years, forgetting that they still have other loved ones to be cared for.

For us to be reasonably moderate, we should accept the reality that every thing in ourselves and in this world has limitations. For the physical limitations, no two persons are exactly of the same make up, not even twins. One could perhaps take 3 cups of coffee and not feel dizzy, but another may be good for just 1 cup. One may comfortably gobble up 5 cups of rice, but another is comfortable with just 2 cups. One may consume one whole cake with a smile, but another one could be running to the toilet after finishing 3 slices of the sweet confection. All limitations are part of God’s design when He created the universe and every thing in it including us. That is why there is harmony.

Every thing has its use for the sake of harmony. Some of the creations that may be harmful to us people, are useful to other creatures. In a coral colony for instance, some of the corals are poisonous to humans but provide protection to small fishes. Animals in the jungle that we find dangerous such as lions and tigers are there to help check the overpopulation of their kind by making use of some of the wild creatures as food. As for the criminals that roam the dark streets, they become such to represent what is bad, to open the minds of others, hence, not emulate their acts. But these criminals have the chance to change their ways, that is why, man put up the correctional institutions.

Among God’s creatures, only man has the discipline because of his intelligence. As God’s design, this discipline is supposed to check his acts, tell him what is good and what is bad as his rational attribute is activated. That is why the head which encases the brains is on top of his body while the emotional heart is way down below but above the guts.
Discipline cannot be had if there is no contentment, the hidden force in ourselves that could spell harmonious life.

There are many things that we should be contented about. One is achievement in life. Some are not happy despite their having earned a degree. They still aspire to earn a master’s degree or a doctorate. But because of financial incapacity, this is impossible. This results to grumblings and self-pity. Some are not happy despite their having a loving wife and healthy children. They want more just like their neighbors who have cars and who go on regular out-of-the country vacations. But this is not possible because their salaries are just enough for the rent, food and education of the children. Some are not happy despite their having successfully guided their children to raise families of their own. At an advanced age, they still grumble.

For the blessings that God gave us, we must be thankful. If these blessings prosper, we should share them with others without expecting any payback. We must feel contented for these blessings, not ask for more because there are many out there who are waiting to be blessed, too. For anything that we do for the good of the community, we must do our best. By doing our best as street sweepers we are doing an important role for the cleanliness of our community. By doing our best as tricycle drivers, hence, careful in bringing our passengers to their desired destinations, we are ensuring safety on the street. By doing our job as cooks in restaurants, we satisfy our customers and make them happy. The execution of our role to the best we can is a manifestation of contentment.

The desire for more than what God gave us transforms us into demonic creatures. Those who desire for more money at all cost commit robbery and in case they work in the government, become corrupt. Those who desire for more power make use of bribery as a means. Those who desire for more honors and adulation, commit plagiarism. Those who desire for more aesthetic appearance than others ruin their body with excessive cosmetic surgeries and drugs.

Each role in life is a blessing from God. We should be contented with what we are, what we have and what we can do best for others. We should free our minds from the “should have been” qualms. What achievements others have but we failed to earn should not make us unhappy. Instead, we should be happy for them. We should learn how to be happy for others. There are reasons for every thing that happens in our life. Instead of asking God “why” every time we stumble on trials, we should be mumbling “ thank you, Lord!”. God will not let us face trials that we cannot overcome. He knows our limitations. We must remove the “self” from our mind and change it with His light so that we are assured of clarity in our decisions and actions as we live day by day. We should never let envy and pride hold us back. We should let the force of contentment push us on!

Walang Landas na Hindi Kayang Tahakin

Walang Landas na Hindi Kayang Tahakin
(para kay Josephine Cosca- Taylor)
Ni Apolinario Villalobos

Anumang landas ang ating hinaharap
Ito man ay baku-bako, matinik o paahon
Makakaya natin itong tahakin
Kung sa dako doo’y ating tanawin
Ang pag-asa na siyang dahilan ng pagsisikap
Humahatak sa atin, tungo sa mga pangarap.

Huwag lang tayong mawalan ng pag-asa
Ang loob ay lakasan sa lahat ng pagkakataon
Pananalig sa Kanya ang pairalin
Mga agam-agam ay huwag pansinin
Upang lakas ay lalo pang sa atin ay lumukob
At bigat sa balikat, sa atin ay hindi magpasubsob!

Si Josephine…para kay Josephine Lim-Songco

Si Josephine…
(para kay Josephine Lim-Songco)
Ni Apolinario Villalobos

Hindi nalalayo sa iba
ang kuwento ng buhay niya-
maraming anyo,
meron ding ligaya’t siphayo.

Katulad pa rin ng iba
mga pagsubok ay dinanas nya-
halos siya’y sumuko
subali’t hindi siya nagpagupo.

Sa tibay ng pananalig
ang buhay niya ay nakahilig –
Diyos, wala nang iba
ang nagbigay ng lakas sa kanya.

Ang kanyang pagtiyaga
kapalit, lubos namang ligaya –
sa piling ng mga mahal
na sagot sa marubdob niyang dasal!

Politeness Can Go A Distance…at no cost

Politeness Can Go A Distance
At No Cost
By Apolinario Villalobos

Many idealistic people find it hard to be polite most of the time. These are the people with high standards when it comes to attitude. In their desire to let other people act like them, they become brutally frank and rude. I am one of them.

I admit my fault of being impolite sometimes, otherwise, I will not be truthful in this shared view. I cannot share what I do not know or practice or experience. And, I admit that rudeness has been part of my character as a person. A close friend told me about this and I believed him, so I had been trying to change my ways, ever since. Before, I had been enthusiastically desirous that others do what is “universally” accepted as the right thing to do. In the process, I forgot what I preached sometimes that no two persons are alike, even twins. And that, expectations then, differ on the kind of a person being dealt with. Perhaps, that could be the reason why Mr. Webster came up with the words, “good”, “better”, and “best” in his dictionary.

The only way to recognize and acknowledge the fact on personal differences is by being polite which takes a lot of practice for some people to assimilate in their system. One nice thing about having finally assimilated politeness, is the development of tolerance in our person. And by being tolerant, we avoid becoming judgmental. Politeness triggers so many goodness that a person can ask for. It can go a distance at no cost at all. I tried and proved it to be just right, that is why I am sharing it with viewers who I hope…can tolerate my insistence.

On Conquering Oneself

On Conquering Oneself
By Apolinario Villalobos

In every person, there is always the good and the bad sides. No man is free from having a bad side, not even saints, or even Jesus when he was still on earth, as shown by his cursing a fig tree that did not bear fruits…and, everybody knows that cursing is bad.

It takes much effort in telling ourselves on the mirror, how bad we are, as pride always gets in the way. And, most often, we justify our bad acts by telling ourselves that we did them for defense or that others are even worse than us.

If we want to change our ways, we should not compare ourselves with others on how they fare in acting badly which may be worse than us. We should amend our wicked ways first before we exert at least a bit of influence to change those of others. Also, we should open our minds and eyes on the inspiring ways of others that we could emulate.

In conquering ourselves, we should not let pride get in the way. Most importantly, while we have the noble intention to change our ways for the better, there is still a need that our spiritual foundation is strong enough to withstand the pressure of resistance which is innate in us. And, this is only possible by having an unwavering faith in Him.

Kinabuhi/ Life

Inspired by Bogz Jamorabon…

with his comment “KINABUHI” to an earlier blog about NDTC.

Kinabuhi/ Life

(Hiligaynon and English and versions)

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

Ang kinabuhi, daw sapa, nagailig

Kon padulhog gani, ini madasig

Ang katinong, ginabuka sang bato

Kag labusaw sang mga isda kag tawo.

Amo man ina ang tawo sa kalibutan

Nagalakat sa dalan nga indi matapan

Damo matapakan, mga buho kag tunok

May mga hilit-hilit pa nga makahaladlok!

Life is like a stream that flows –

Fast, if the terrain tilts or slopes

Boulders break its tranquil course

But not easing a bit its resolute force.

Man, a mere dot in the universe

Treads potholed paths – all diverse

Some are thorny, some yet, are stony

With dark corners, foreboding and dreary!

Do Not Worry About a Stained Past…the future is still stainless

Do not worry about a stained past

…the future is still stainless

By Apolinario Villalobos

Many people find it hard to move on, as they are held back by a not so encouraging past. For this, my counsel is: the past is just a third part of our life, and there are still two parts that we have to live – the present and the future. The reason why God gave us the three phases of life, is perhaps to give us the opportunity to recover whatever has been lost in the past, and strive for what lies ahead. Our present is the phase where we can make amends for a better future. We should seize that opportunity and utilize it to the fullest.

If we have to be positive about whatever happened in our past, all we do is just declare that, good or bad, it is still part of life. Others use past failures as inspirations, and some even just make a joke out of them, which psychologically, is the best attitude, because the fear of their being discovered is eliminated from their mind. What is important is the sincere desire to amend the past mistakes.

I have shared the story of the girl who became a prostitute in Avenida in order to help her family and continue her secondary studies. She was eventually adopted by a retired couple, my friends, who are now spending for her education. When I met her last month, she was transformed greatly, that I almost failed to recognize her. She told me that her classmates and teachers knew about her past, and because of such openness, she gained much respect. She is now among the campus leaders and is maintaining her fourth berth in the top ten academic ranking of her class. She is also a member of their school choir and gymnastics team.

The desire to change should emanate from the person’s consciousness. No amount of financial or psychiatric help can make transformations in a person who refuses to change. On the other hand, we must look back for inspirations and guidance on what to change. At the present time, we should do more for the better or make amends to past mistakes, if there are…so that tomorrow, we can wake up to a new day that throbs with a better life.

Walang Silbi and CCTV…kung walang nakatutok

Walang Silbi ang CCTV

Kung Walang Nakatutok

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

Mahusay na panakot ag CCTV. Subalit hanggang doon na lang, dahil hangga’t walang nakatutok dito, hindi rin natutupad ang inaasahang kabuluhan. Sa isang banda, kung may nakatutok man, ay sa iilang establisemento lamang tulad ng opisina at hotel. Karaniwang nang ang mga nasa bahay at maliliit na tindahan o grocery ay hindi tinututukan, kaya ang gamit nila ay mag-record na lamang ng mga pangyayari, at hindi nakakatulong sa agarang pangagailangan.

Maraming bahay na walang tao subalit may CCTV pero napagnanakawan pa rin at ang masaklap pati CCTV at recorder nito ay tangay. Sa iba namang lugar na meron nito, nagkaroon na ng patayan, pero hanggang pag-record lang ng CCTV ang nangyari, at kung minsan dahil mumurahin lang, ang mga kuhang imahe ay sabog kaya ang gumawa ng krimen ay nakakaligtas.

May mga CCTV na nakakonekta sa computer na nasa ibang lugar o cellphone ng may-ari ng bahay o establisemyento. Subalit kung hindi pa rin natututukan ang mga kuha, limitado ang magandang epekto nito sa may-ari.

Sana ay may makaimbento ng CCTV camera na may programang marunong bumasa ng mga kilos, ng tao, robot man o hayop, na kapag nabasa na masama, ang monitor naman nito ay magpadala ng signal sa isang warning device na gagawa ng ingay upang makapag-alerto. Kung sa cellphone o computer man ito naka-konekta, ang mga ito ay dapat may katumbas ding programa upang makapagbigay ng alerto sa pamamagitan ng recorded warning. Sa ganitong paraan, hindi man natututukan ang monitor ay may aasahan namang warning kung sakaling may ma-detect ang camera na masama sa mga kuha nito.

The Prayer….

The Prayer…

By Apolinario Villalobos

The prayer should be said with heartfelt sincerity,

not only to ask for favor but also, thank Him with alacrity.

The prayer is a spiritual instrument for communication,

with Him in mind, it should be made with sincere intention.

The prayer need not be said loud as for others to hear,

as it is enough that we bow our head and say it in whisper.

The prayer may be short oozing with love and humility,

the better for it to be heard and appreciated by the Almighty.

Ermita (historic district of Manila)

Ermita

(Historic District of Manila)

By Apolinario Villalobos

Once the elite’s enclave

of Manila’s Hispanics,

crumbled to the ground

during the World War II,

it metamorphosed into

a lively district that

would come to life

at the strike of two.

At three, made up women

would lend color

to its drab surroundings,

at four, customers of

different shades

would peek through doors

if what’s inside was

for their taking,

and at five, with blaring

jukeboxes and enticing neon lights

Ermita would become fully awake

to begin another nocturnal life.

In this side of Manila by the bay,

while the sun slips sleepily

down the horizon yonder for the day,

Ermita would come to life –

a made-up face of the city.

The last days of ’94 however saw

Ermita’s lights fade;

No longer were there

made up women and sailors

who would tease each other

along corridors.

No longer were there

blaring music and

dancing neon lights

that made gay life beat

through seemingly endless nights.

Drab buildings became more stoic

to their surroundings,

robbed of life and earthly pleasure

that for years made Ermita

a temporal delight…