The New Year’s Resolution…is it still relevant?

The New Year’s Resolution

…is it still relevant?

By Apolinario Villalobos

When I was young, the tradition of coming up with a list of promises that constitute the New Year’s resolution was not observed in our family. While growing up, it has become part of my consciousness because of my changing environment. My teachers in elementary and high school would ask us about our New Year’s resolution, as some kind of a theme requirement. I would then list down magnificently-sounding promises, complete with reasons why I made them. My objective was to get a good mark, which I did. I even remember working on the New Year’s resolution of my classmate in exchange for a new pad of intermediate paper, and as expected he got a good mark, too.

Today, coming up with a list of promises is still being done by others. They cannot be blamed because, such practice has become synonymous with the onset of New Year. It is actually part of the packaged season of Yule that includes Christmas. But, is it still relevant?

In my experience, nothing of my listed promises was ever fulfilled. In the past, sometimes I even forgot that I made one. It made me ponder why I should go on coming up with a list of promises that I can never fulfil. Also, I do not want to justify my act with another adage that says, promises are made to be broken. As I do not want to feel guilty, I have finally decided to just live by the day, although with set goals that could prod me on.

My observation is that, coming up with a New Year’s resolution, is like wishing to shed off unwanted fat, but still go on a fast food binge after workouts. A health expert came up with the word “moderate”, meaning, there is nothing wrong with going to a fast food joint after a couple of hour’s work- out but moderation must be observed.

Applying the “moderation” to the undying fad of coming up with New Year’s resolution, it could mean, being “realistic” in coming up with a list of promises. Most of us forgot that the list is some kind of a reminder to guide us in our daily life. So, with that, it may not be irrelevant after all.

But we should not wait for the onset of the New Year to be reminded of what we are supposed to do to improve our life. And most especially, we should not come up with a list that pertains to the life of others in our effort to copy their personality as others are inclined to do. Let us be ourselves…not like somebody else.

Olive’s Life…a story of Love and Compassion (for Olive Asong)

Olive’s Life…a story of love and compassion

(for Olive Asong)

By Apolinario Villalobos

Here’s a story that I hope will open the eyes and mind of those who claim to be Catholic but whose acts are wanting of its essence.

The first time I saw her was when she was just about four years old in the care of his father who diligently and lovingly attended to her needs as a growing child. Her mother left them to work abroad. She practically grew up till her teen-aged years with her father by her side, as her mother came home only when her “schedule would permit”, being a pianist in music lounges.

Loneliness drove her father to find intimate relationship with other women. Despite the “un-Christian” ways of her father in the eyes of the devoutly Catholic, she did not condemn him. This she did to reciprocate the honesty of her father who did not hide anything from her.

When her parents parted ways, she maintained her compassionate understanding of her father’s ways until the latter got sick beyond recuperation. She practically shed tears and humbly implored her mother to reconnect with her father. When finally, forgiveness was uttered by her mother, she unabashedly announced it to the world to let go of the overpowering emotion in her heart.

Not only did she reconnected her father to her mother, but she also gave recognition to her “other” siblings that they deserve. She lovingly refers to them as her “extended family”. In the company of her stepmother, she brought the remains of her father to his hometown for internment. In front of relatives, she announced her unconditional love to her stepmother and her half-sister. Her act was followed by the rest – relatives and friends who welcomed her “extended family”.

Unconsciously, Olive did what the people’s pope, Francis, has been asking for the whole Christian flock to do – be compassionate to others and love them unconditionally.

Olive is a baptized Catholic, the essence of which is Universal. In my simple understanding, one can only be one, if he takes down the walls of hypocrisy around him. To love like a Catholic means having no borders around…without laying down conditions. Questions should never be asked before a Catholic extends a hand of compassion to others. A Catholic should never ask a hungry stranger if he is also a Catholic before a few coins can be given to him. And, a Catholic should never ask somebody if he has sinned before he can become a friend!

What Olive did is more than what the people’s pope, Francis has been asking his flock to do….

Angelica…for Gelic Secades


(for Gelic Secades)

By Apolinario Villalobos

I can never get tired of writing stories of struggling people as I know that by doing so, they can inspire others. One of these is the story of Angelica or Gelic to friends and family. Growing up in a home that lacks even a thin swab of luxury, she did not experience a pampering love which her playmates experienced from their parents. But for her, to have loving parents and a younger sibling to play with was more than enough.

She had her dreams of working abroad but financial difficulties denied her such opportunity. After her unsuccessful marriage got shattered, she decided to bring her son up without help from her estranged husband. Just like other single moms, she did her best by making do with available jobs until she finally found one that fit her qualifications as a nurse. Fortunately, her son grew up with a responsible mind coupled with determined effort to be serious with his studies. Her son understood that her salary is barely enough to make both ends meet, so to speak. He therefore, endeavoured to study hard to earn credits for tuition discounts.

A lot of sacrifice was done by both the mother and son by scrimping on expenses for the unnecessary “luxuries” – things that a growing child needs. The best time for bonding for them was on weekends when Gelic’s son has no classes, and he would spend the whole day at her workplace, poring over textbooks and work on his assignments. From the office, the two would kill time by window shopping in a nearby mall followed by a shared cheap snack.

No words were uttered by Gelic to her son when she made a resolution that all her life, she will work for his sake. No word was also mumbled by her son as a promise that he will do his best to excel in his studies. Actions were enough for them to understand each other’s purpose. No conditions were asked by them from each other, in exchange for the unspoken promises. For more than ten years, this kind of unconditional love between mother and son went on. Gelic sacrificed her own love life by not entertaining suitors. Her son likewise did not squander precious time in the company of buddies, but instead, preferred to stay home to study.

Through high school, Gelic’s son did not complain when he was made to bring cooked food to school instead of pocket money for recess and lunch breaks. He rarely got hold of cold cash. Birthdays are celebrated with a home-cooked extra viand and Christmas present is limited to the most minimally-priced item from bargain counters. Their way of life is characterized by scrimping to the maximum to be able to survive decently.

Gelic’s son will be graduating from college in a year’s time. Looking ahead to the sweet fulfilment of her dream, she could only profusely thank the Lord that the constant guidance she always pray for, has been lighting their way as they struggled on. Gelic did not waver in showing her faith despite the emotionally devastating challenges that almost shattered her life. She has survived with her son, proving that strong faith can indeed, save us from utter misery.