John Awatin Walks 1 Kilometer to Serve as Lay Minister

John Awatin Walks 1 kilometer

to Serve as Lay Minister

by Apolinario Villalobos


John Awatin lives one kilometer away from the parish church of the Saint Martin de Porres located at Panapaan, Bacoor, and he walks to and from the said church as a Lay Minister. He has been doing the said sacrifice when he was taken in as such in June 6, 2014. But before that, he has been jobless for one year. He did not pursue his seafaring career that gave him ample monthly wage for eight years, due to seizures. Until today, he suffers from ticking of left eye. Fortunately, his seizures are already under control.


He was a hardworking guy since he was young, helping their mother do household chores and even going to the market on weekends. He learned how to cook and took charge of the laundry, too…all these he did, being the eldest among the brood of four. Unfortunately, both their parents left them while they were still young.


His parents were from Camiguin Island in Mindanao. Both of them were hardworking, a trait which he and his siblings inherited. At a young age, he settled down with Sheena who is now working with the YMCA-Manila. They are happy today with their four “angels” – Sheen, Sean, Nash, and Hans.


When John was rejected by manning agencies for seafarers due to his ailment, he was, as expected, so downhearted that he became reclusive. His seizures worsened so that there were times that he would just fall during attacks, despite which he persisted in attending Sunday Mass with his wife. The drugs he took did not help much as he was also emotionally affected. It was at this instance that Jun Kamatoy, a Lay Minister serving at the Saint Martin de Porres parish, thought of convincing him to become a Lay Minister to keep his mind busy.


Neighbors were sort of curious how such a guy who suffers from seizures and with a very minimal “exposure” to religious activities could possibly assist the priest during Mass. Practically, Jun Kamatoy risked his credibility when he assured the parish priest that John would be a good Lay Minister. True enough, after passing his orientations with flying colors, he proved his worth for such a religious obligation.


As he had no “decent” clothes to wear, Jun Kamatoy also gave him several pairs of pants and undershirts, as well as, a pair of shoes, while Emma Duragos, a crusader of the Holy Face, gave him white long-sleeved shirts, courtesy of her son. A neighbor also gave him another pair of shoes and two more pairs of pants.


Since the first day of his service as a Lay Minister, nobody among his neighbors knew that he was walking his way to the church, as well as, in going back home, except when the weather is so bad that he had to take a jeepney. The distance he covers both ways are two kilometers. I found this out myself when I saw him trekking one early morning to the church, while I was on a jeepney on my way to Baclaran. One time, too, I saw him walking under the sun still in his white long sleeved shirt on his way home.


When I had the chance to talk to him, I asked about his seizures and he told me that his condition has been fast improving and he feels that he would finally overcome it, although, I have observed that the ticking of his left eye is still very evident. He also keeps himself busy by attending to the needs of their children, humbly accepting his role as a “houseband”. He cooks for them and does the rest of the chores at home. We never mention God or Jesus in our conversations, although, deep in my mind and heart, I know that John is a manifestation of another miracle. At 43, John is a picture of contentment and happiness….

 Awatin Family John Sheena


Volunteerism is in the Heart of my Neighbors, Angie and Hector Garcia

Volunteerism is in the Heart of my Neighbors,

Angie and Hector Garcia

By Apolinario Villalobos


Just like the rest of the pioneers in our subdivision, the couple, Angie and Hector Garcia went through the expected hardship of living in an unfamiliar new-found home, which in our case is Cavite, used to be known for notoriety – unsafe as many alleged. Add to that the difficulty of commuting to Manila because the only way was via the Aguinaldo highway that passes through buzzling public market of Zapote. The Coastal Road during the time was not yet even in the drawing board of the Department of Public Highways. That was during the early part of the 80’s.


A “short cut” to our subdivision from the Aguinaldo highway is traversed by a creek, deep and wide enough to be classified as a river. Several bamboo poles that were laid across the creek served as the early bridge, that was later “upgraded” to a safer one made of two electric poles floored with planks. During the early years the creek did not overflow, however, the constant reclamation of both banks constricted the flow of water that resulted to flash floods which did not spare our subdivision. These instances brought out the innate character of our neighbors that hinged on volunteerism.


As the home of Angie and Hector Garcia is situated right at the western entrance of the subdivision where the creek is situated, the homeowners’ association’s heavy duty rope was used to be left in their custody. They would bring it out when flood occurred so that those who would like to take the risk of crossing the bridge would have something to hold on to as they gingered their way through waist-deep flood. A heavy rain for three to four hours would put every homeowner on the alert as the heavy downpour usually triggered a flood. Angie and Hector would miss precious sleeping hours as they waited for the right moment to bring out the long heavy rope, one end of which would be tied to the post of the bridge while the other end would be entwined around the iron grill of their fence or gate. If the flood occurred at night till dawn, we would wake up in the morning with the rope already in place to serve as our “life line” to the other side of the overflowing creek.


The couple also took pains in cleaning the vacant area behind the subdivision’s Multi-purpose Hall and planted it to medicinal plants and mango tree which also provided shade. Vegetables were planted, too, aside from medicinal herbs for everybody’s taking in time of their need. The early morning as the sun rises would also see them sweeping the street in front of their house.


The leadership qualities of the couple, made their neighbors trust them. Hector had a stint as the president of the Homeowners’ Association, while Angie kept in her custody whatever meager earnings of the association from renting out the Multi-purpose Hall and monthly dues, aside from the collected Mass offerings, until clear-cut procedures were finally established during which she turned over the responsibility to the Homeowners’ Association’s Treasurer.


Angie is a cancer survivor having had a mastectomy, but despite her situation, she patiently endured the rigorous travel to Naujan, Mindoro with Hector to regularly check their “farm” which they planted to fruit-bearing trees. When I asked them one time why they take pains in maintaining such far-off farm instead of purchasing another either in Silang or Alfonso, both in Cavite, they confided that they have already “fallen in love” with their investment. Their love for the farm truly shows in their robust physique despite their age of sixtyish. I just imagine that perhaps, if they stop commuting to and from Naujan, Mindoro, weed their farm, and take care of the growing saplings,  their health would deteriorate as usually happens to people who cannot stand being idle.


The couple has three daughters, all successful in their chosen fields of endeavor. And, one of them is serving the Homeowners’ Association as Treasurer.


Ang Imahen ng “Lady of Guadalupe” ng Barangay Real 2 (Bacoor City, Cavite)…simbolo ng matibay na pananampalataya at pagkakaisa

Ang Imahen ng “Lady of Guadalupe”

ng Barangay Real 2 (Bacoor City, Cavite)

…simbolo ng matibay na pananampalataya at pagkakaisa

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

Ang imahen ng Birhen ng Guadalupe ang itinuturing na isa sa maraming naipamalas na milagro sa mga mananampalatayang Kristiyano.  Ang imahen ay unang nakilala sa Guadalupe, Mexico dahil sa mga milagrong ipinamalas niya sa mga katutubo kaya ang mga Mehikanong kasama sa mga paglayag ng mga galleon mula noong 1400s ay nagdadala nito upang maging “tagapagligtas” nila kung magkaroon sila ng sakuna sa karagatan.

Sa Pilipinas, ang unang nakilalang imahen ng Guadalupe ay ang nakaluklok sa Guadalupe Church, sa Guadalupe Nuevo, Makati City. Itinuturing din itong mapaghimala kaya maraming debotong dumadayo sa nasabing simbahan upang ito ay hingan ng tulong. Ang piyesta ng “Lady of Guadalupe” ay tuwing ika-12 ng Disyembre.

Sa Cavite, may imahen ng nasabing Birhen sa Barangay Real Dos, Bacoor City, sa maliit na subdivision ng Perpetual Village 5 at nakaluklok sa Multi-purpose Hall nito, na itinuturing nang “chapel” dahil dito rin nakaluklok ang iba pang imahen ng Birheng Maria at Hesus. Ang imahen ay donasyon ng mag-asawang Glo at Ed de Leon noong 2013 nang italaga ng parukyang San Martin de Porres ang nasabing birhen bilang patron ng nabanggit na barangay. Bukod sa imahen ng nasabing Birhen, ang mag-asawa ay nag-donate din ng imahen ng Itim na Nazareno, Christ the King, at mga gamit pang-Misa ng pari. Ang mag-asawa din ang nagpa-ayos ng mga sirang bahagi ng “chapel” at nagpalit ng pintura nito noong huling bahagi ng 2012. Payak ang nasabing “chapel”, may kaliitan din subalit hindi hadlang ang mga kapintasang  ito upang umigting ang pananampalataya ng mga taong taga-barangay at mga karatig lugar na dumadalo sa Misa tuwing Linggo.

Mula nang mailuklok ang birhen sa nasabing barangay, kapansin-pansin ang pagkaroon ng dagdag sa bilang ng mga dumadalo sa Misa tuwing Linggo. Nagkaroon din ng dagdag- inspirasyon kaya lalong sumigla ang pagkilos ng mga religious crusaders ng Holy Face of Jesus na namamahala sa imahen. Ang grupong ito ang nagbubuklod sa mga mananampalatayang Katoliko na taga- loob at labas ng barangay dahil sa pinapakita ng mga miyembro na walang kapagurang pagdasal sa mga lamay sa pakiusap ng namatayan, pamumuno sa pagdasal ng novena at rosaryo sa kapilya tuwing Huwebes ng dapithapon, at pakikiisa sa mga pagtitipong ispiritwal sa parukya ng San Martin de Porres tulad ng paghahatid ng imahen ng Birheng Maria sa mga bahay na gustong magpabisita sa kanya. Ang lahat ng mga nabanggit ay ginagawa ng grupo sa ngalan ng sakripisyo dahil lahat sila ay nagkakanya-kanyang gastos kung may lakad o  tuwing may prusisyon sa parukya. Ang grupo ay pinangungunahan ngayon ni Lydia Libed, bilang Presidente. Nakikipag-ugnayan si Gng. Libed sa namumuno ng Pastoral Council ng Real Dos na si Emma Duragos, na nagsisilbi namang kinatawan ng parukya sa barangay.

Nakadagdag ng lakas na ispiritwal ng barangay ang chorale group ng mga kabataan at young adults na kumakanta tuwing may okasyon para sa patron at tuwing Linggo na araw ng Misa. Ang grupong ito na pinamumunuan ni Arianne Lorenzana ay madalas ding maimbita sa mga Misang idinadaos sa labas ng barangay. Ang tumatayo namang mother/adviser nila ay si Norma Besa na bukod sa nagpapakain sa mga miyembro tuwing may practice ay takbuhan din nila upang hingan ng payo. Hindi rin nagpapabaya si Norma sa pagkukusa ng tulong sa pagpalit ng mga bulaklak na alay sa patron at iba pang pangangailangan nito.

Umaagapay sa mga grupong nabanggit si Louie Eguia, presidente ng Perpetual Village 5 Homeowners Association, na ang pinagkakaabalahan sa kasalukuyan ay ang proyektong pagpapasemento ng harapan ng kapilya dahil sa dumadaming maninimba tuwing Linggo na umaapaw hanggang sa labas, bukod pa sa pagpapaayos ng bubong nito. Ayon kay ginoong Eguia, ang donasyon sa pagpasemento ng harapan ng kapilya ay manggagaling sa gobernador ng Cavite na si Jonvic Remulla, at ang pagpapaayos ng bubong ay manggagaling naman sa gaganaping “bingo social” na proyekto ng PV5 Homeowners Association. At tulad ng dapat asahan, ang maybahay niyang si Edna naman ang nagbibigay ng hindi matawarang suporta sa kanya sa lahat ng kanyang mga ginagawa, kasama na ang pag-follow up ng mga dokumento sa iba’t ibang opisina, para sa mga proyekto.

At sa abot naman ng makakaya ng Barangay Real Dos, ang Chairman nitong si ginoong BJ Aganus ay nakaalalay, mula sa pagbigay ng marshall tuwing magdaraos ng prosesyon at seguridad naman para sa iba pang mga kahalintulad na okasyon. Ang iba pang sakop ng patrong Lady of Guadalupe ng Real Dos ay ang Luzville subdivision, Silver Homes 1 and 2, at ang Arevalo Compound.

Ang nais kong ipakita rito ay ang maaliwalas na pakikipag-ugnayan sa isa’t isa ng mga grupo at opisyal sa Real Dos sa ngalan ng patron na “Lady of Guadalupe”. Ito ay patunay na nagkakaroon ng pagkakaisa kung ang mga tao ay may matibay na pananampalataya na nagpapaigting ng respeto sa isa’t isa.