Si Hesus at ang Palm Sunday


Ni Apolinario Villalobos


Kinilala si Hesus dahil sa kanyang mga pagtuturo noong kapanahunan niya at dahil may propesiya o prophesy na may darating na manunubos, inakala ng mga naniniwala sa kanya na siya ang tinutukoy. Nang pumasok siyang nakasakay sa bisero o donkey sa Herusalem noong araw na kung gunitain ngayon ay Palm Sunday, sinalubong siya ng mga taong nagwagayway ng palaspas o palm fronds bilang tanda ng pang pag-welcome sa kanya. Naghiyawan sa tuwa ang mga taong naniniwala sa kanya dahil dumating na raw ang manunubos.


Nang siya ay litisin dahil sa pang-uudyok ng mga religious groups nang panahong yon at pinapili pa ang mga tao kung sino ang ililigtas…siya o ang kriminal na katabi niya, ang pinili ng mga taong mailigtas sa hatol na kamatayan ay ang kriminal. Nang siya ay nagpasan ng krus papunta sa burol kung saan siya at ang iba pang kriminal na nahatulang mamatay ay ipapako sa krus, ANG MGA TAONG NAGWAGAYWAY NG MGA PALASPAS NANG SIYA AY DUMATING, AY SILA RING MGA DUMURA, NAG-ALIPUSTA AT SUMIPA SA KANYA!






Personal Views on Three Filipino Issues….Education, School Activities, Christmas

Personal Views on Three Filipino Issues

…Education, School Activities, Christmas

By Apolinario Villalobos


I have nothing against the education, the requirements and activities, and the celebration of “traditions”, but it seems that the practices have gone overboard. Instead of helping, they have created more problems – FINANCIALLY to the impoverished.


EDUCATION is very necessary, no question about that. Unfortunately, the K-12 system has added misery to the parents who can hardly send their children to the former 4-year high school as the new system has stretched their financial agony by two more years. Due to the haphazard implementation of the system, many schools have been caught without the necessary facilities for effective implementation. Before, a high school graduate may already have the chance to work as a store attendant or a security guard so that he or she can earn and save for his or her college education. Today, the parents must spend for the education of their children beyond the Grade 10 up to 12 so that the “high school” education has been attained for a diploma needed for a job as sales lady, security guard, messenger, etc. Why the need for the extra 2 years, then, when the graduates shall land on the same kind of job? I have not yet mentioned here the corrupted printing of text books which have been converted into workbooks that are discarded every end of the school year as  this long-time issue may just ruin the day of viewers.


SCHOOLS COMPETE WITH EACH OTHER IN IMPLEMENTING REQUIREMENTS AND HOLDING OF ACTIVITIES. In first year high school, there is already a requirement for a “thesis” which many students do not even understand. To be able to complete a requirement, they practically “copy/paste” materials from the internet. Some schools right at the early opening of classes are already requiring students to join “educational tours” supposedly as part of a certain “module”. Those who cannot afford the expensive trip are required to submit a report that require them to go to the internet where they spend long hours of browsing and copy/pasting, printing and collating of materials that they stole from the different sites. Where is the connection of the educational trip to the supposedly research?


Here is a classic story of a young mother who sells pastil as a livelihood to help her husband who drives a tricycle with a “boundary” of Php150 a day….to send their 3 children to high school. Since October this year, she has incurred a total loaned amount of Php8,000.00 that she used for the “school requirements” and lately for the “family day” and “Christmas party”. I need not elaborate on the “school requirements”. But the “family day” and “Christmas party” are two activities that should be thought of…as regards their necessity. For practical reasons due to the financial difficulty of the time, are they really necessary when so many families can hardly afford to give their children decent school allowance? After the family day that is supposed to bond the family, the impertinent children are back to their cellfones while the poor mothers are back to their laundry, cooking and cleaning of the house. Unfortunately, as I am writing this, the poor mother and her husband have yet to pay, Php3,000 as balance of their loan…and the year is already ending!


CHRISTMASTIME IS GIVING, NOT ASKING FOR GIFTS….IT IS ALSO SUPPOSEDLY, THE “BIRTHDAY (?)” OF JESUS  CHRIST. Unfortunately, the parents should be faulted on why children have the wrong notion about the season. In this regard, children are sad if they have no new clothes, toys, no expensive food on the table. Also, instead of thinking about the impoverished as the recipients of material gifts intended for Jesus, they want to have them for their own gratification.


On the other hand, lest I be misunderstood, I like the unifying intention for the celebration of Christmas, but there is a need for its utmost understanding. Many Christians already know how the pagan-based celebration has started. For the sake of unity, there has to be a reason for getting together. Feasts have to be celebrated as man by nature loves festivities and rich food….the way pagans of long ago wanted them. THE PROBLEM IS, MANY OF THOSE WHO OBSERVE THE TRADITION TODAY ARE OBSERVING IT WITH ARROGANCE…THEY FLAUNT TO THE WORLD THEIR EXCESSSES IN LIFE…WITHOUT THROWING A CRUMB TO THOSE WITH THE LEAST IN LIFE.

The Evangelizing Family of Pastor Allan and Sister Mayette Guerrero

The Evangelizing Family of Pastor Allan

and Sister Mayette Guerrero

by Apolinario Villalobos


The first time I took notice of the Christian church in an unpretentious ground floor room of an old wooden building, and that could have seen better days as a commercial stall along F. Torres St. was when I heard the song that the congregation was singing with the officiating pastor. I retraced my steps to take a look at the name of the congregation – “Jesus Christ Majesty Ministry” simply printed on a tarpaulin and attached to the wall above the elevated area that served as the pulpit. And, from where I stood in the middle of the street, I discerned the minister to be boyish, so I thought the congregation was akin to what volunteer young evangelists organize for a weekend, as it was a Sunday. I was expecting that after the service, the organizers would pack up and go to another place.


The following weekend, another Sunday, when I passed by the same building I was surprised the worship hall prepared for a service, though still empty of members. I was tempted to linger and gawk at the musical equipment in front of eclectic rows of plastic chairs. Just then, I heard somebody greet me and was surprised to learn that he was the minister I saw the weekend before. He was changing into a proper attire befitting a pastor. He introduced himself as Pastor Allan Guerrero and the lady who approached us, he introduced as his wife, Sister Mayette who was in-charge of the Sunday school which again caught me by surprise as I could not discern any trace of such, until I was told that it was situated just behind the worship hall.


The couple led me through a short corridor until we came out into a small “patio” surrounded with doors, one of which was that of the school’s. They showed me the well-kept school, very neat, with linoleum-covered floor, and walls pasted with patiently- cut teaching aids. Three layers of shelves served as the “library” stacked with a few books. The tough effort to make the small room become an effective breeding venue for Christian learning was very obvious. Sister Mayette told me that some of those who attend the Sunday school are children of sidewalk and pushcart-dwelling families around the area….real people who need the graceful touch of the Guerrero family.


The Sunday school has been in operation for twelve years and six months and depended solely on donations – books, school materials and trickles of cash for the rent which is five thousand pesos per month. A little more than two years ago, when the big room facing the street and through which Sister Mayette and the children wormed  their way to the school was vacated, Pastor Allan immediately did all possible to have it for his congregation’s use. From then, on every Sunday even the couples’ children:  Aillene Marie, who finished Music Technology; Katleen Mae, who finished Journalism; Heaven Leigh who finished BS-HRM; and Dan Joshua who is in Grade 10, join them in their spiritual crusade.  The whole family has to wake up early as they live in Meycauayan, Bulacan and must muster the traffic on their way to the church on F. Torres St. in Sta. Cruz district of Manila.


Pastor Allan and Sister Mayette confided that they started with a simple keyboard to provide accompaniment to their songs until friends who refused to be named started donating musical equipment. Donors also send Bibles, books and materials for the Sunday school. They glow with gladness as they related to me how their congregation that they continuously propagate with dedication, patience and hard work has grown.


The evangelizing Guerrero family showed that sharing the Words of God does not always need a grandiose edifice or impressive structure with heavenward pinnacles. All one needs is dedication tempered with unconditional love for fellowmen to become an effective mouthpiece of God on earth. In other words, all that such dedication needs is a big heart that throbs with LOVE.


I did not tie the couple up with a lengthy conversation as they had yet, to prepare the church for the ten o’clock worship…but I told myself that it won’t be the last of my visit.


Never Put to Test the Faith of a Person

Never Put to Test the Faith of a Person

By Apolinario Villalobos


Some people have the habit of putting to test the faith of others. They should take extra care as regards this kind of attitude due to the rise of so many groups that used to be part of the Roman Catholic Church, for instance, and whose primary reason for leaving is the realization that the ceremonious Mass is not for them, though their exit does not necessarily mean the erosion of their faith in God.


Not only are some of the Roman Catholic adherents have this kind of attitude but others who belong to other churches and the various congregations that mushroomed around, assuming different names – all in the name of Jesus. For them, those who “deprive” themselves of the “words of God” will not be saved. But then, what can these “holy” words do when they are not put into action or practiced? A fanatic person may eat the whole Bible, page by page every day, but it will not do him any good if he or she cannot even say “Hi!” to a neighbor.


The best test of faith founded on what Jesus really wanted done, is the test of one’s own. If one can honestly sacrifice for others, share with others, and be consistent in doing them, there is no need to look around and see what others are doing. By then, others will instead emulate what he does. That is what I call faith by practice…that everyone should do, instead of testing that of someone else’s. Do not give somebody the opportunity to put you to shame by sarcastically asking, “…how about you?”

Ang Pako (Tagalog version)

Ang Pakộ (Tagalog version)
Ni Apolinario Villalobos

Isang simpleng kapirasong bakal na may ulo, at ang dulo ay nakakatakot ang pagkatulis. May iba’t ibang sukat ito. Ang iba ay kasingliit ng palito ng posporo, ang iba ay kasinglaki ng barbecue stick, at mayroon ding halos kasinglaki ng daliring hinlalaki sa kamay. Noon, ang pakộ ay gawa lamang sa bakal, kalaunan ito ay hinulma na rin gamit ang tanso, at bandang huli, ay sa stainless steel, upang magamit sa mga maseselang materyales gaya ng manipis na plywood.

Noong unang panahon ay gumagamit ng balat ng kahoy at matitibay na baging bilang pantali sa paggawa ng bahay na yari sa magagaan na materyales tulad ng sanga at dayami. Subali’t ngayon, dahil sa kabigatan ng mga materyales na ginagamit, kinailangan na ang pakộ sa pagbuo ng bubong, dingding, sahig at hagdan, upang maging bahay.

Sa kasalukuyang, nakakalungkot na pakộ ang isa sa mga sangkap sa paggawa ng mapaminsalang bomba na ginagamit ng mga terorista at ekstursiyunista o mangingikil sa paghasik ng lagim sa buong mundo. Sa Pilipinas, ito ay ginagamit bilang palaso ng “Indian pana” (Indian arrow) na ginagawa ng mga siga sa Tondo laban sa isa’t isa. Ang isa pang gamit ng pakộ ay sa pangkukulam na hindi naman kapani-paniwala. Ito daw ay inilalagay ng mangkukulam sa bituka ng mga biktima at maaaring mailabas sa pagdumi subalit magsasanhi ng sugat at pagdurugo.

Ang pakộ ay isa ring bahagi ng pagsakripisyo ni Hesus sa krus. Ipinako si Hesus sa krus, na nagdulot sa kanya ng matinding pasakit. Dahil dito, hindi ba marapat lamang na isiping kaya natupad ang nakatakda niyang misyon na pagtubos ng sangkatauhan mula sa kasalanan ay dahil din sa pakộ? Bakit hindi idagdag ang pakộ sa krus bilang simbolo ng sakripisyo ni Hesus? Kung ang krus ay kanyang pinasan, ang sakit naman ng pagtusok ng pakộ ang kanyang tiniis hanggang siya ay namatay. Kung ang krus ay bigat ng kasalanan, ang pako naman ay kayabangan ng sangkatauhan na tumitiim sa bawa’t himaymay ng Kanyang kalamnan!

Ang Panggagaya ng Pilipino…nasobrahan, kaya naging magsagwa

Ang Panggagaya ng Pilipino
…nasobrahan, kaya naging masagwa
Ni Apolinario Villalobos

Nakakapagpayaman sa isang kultura ang makibahagi ng mga banyagang kultura, subalit ang kalabisan ay hindi na nakakatuwa, nagiging masagwa. Ganyan ang nagyari sa mga Pilipino na walang pinalalampas na impluwensiya ng ibang lahi pati sa panggagaya kay Kristo.

Ang isang halimbawa ay ang paggaya sa Haloween, kaya pagsapit ng araw na pagdaos nito, naglipana na rin ang mga pekeng “pumpkin” na may mga butas para sa mga mata, ilong at bunganga, may mga “witches” costume at “broomstick” din. May “zombies” pa! Nagkalat din ang mga binebentang nakakatakot na maskara, at costumes. Inaakit ng mga ito ang mga bata na nagpapatalbugan sa pinakanakakatakot na costume na may kaakibat na pagkamahal-mahal na halaga! Pati, mga bags kunwari ng goodies para sa trick or treat ay kalat na kalat sa mga mall. Kaylan nagkaroon ng Haloween ang Pilipinas? Ang meron sa Pilipinas ay paggunita ng Araw ng Patay – ang pinakanakakatakot nating araw sa kalendaryo….at hindi ginagawa ang pananakot kung gunitain ito. Nagsisindi ang mga Pilipino ng kandila sa puntod ng mga namayapang mahal nila sa buhay…at pag-uwi ay nagsasalu-salo sa nilutong simpleng kakanin o kalamay…yon lang!

Kung Banal na Linggo, okey lang gunitain ang Easter Sunday o Pasko ng Pagkabuhay, pero, bakit may egg hunting pa? Ang mga hotel, at mall ay nagpapaligsahan sa pagdaos ng ganitong activity upang makaakit ng mga customer. Alam kasi nila na kapag mga bata na ang nagpumilit, walang magagawa ang mga magulang kaya sugod na lang sila sa mga venue at magrehistro na may kasamang mahal na bayad. Subalit may mga magulang na ring pasimuno, na mismong nagtatanim ng ganitong okasyon sa isip ng kanilang anak upang maging “in” daw sa uso!

Kung pasko, may mga Christimas tree na pilit binabalot ng nilamukos na puting papel de hapon na kunwari ay nyebe o “snow, o di kaya ay ng binating sabon na mas mukhang “snow”. Kaylan nagkaroon ng snow sa PIlipinas? Ang paggamit ng evergreen na puno ay ugaling pagano, pati ang paggamit ng garland na mistletoe. Kung ang ginugunita ay kapanganakan ni Hesus, kabaligtaran ang mga ginagawa ng mga Kristiyano. Si Hesus ay ipinanganak sa isang hamak at simpleng lugar na kung hindi sa kuweba ay sa kuwadra ng mga hayop, kaya kadalasan ay ipinapakita ang imahe niya na nakahiga sa sabsaban. Walang Christmas tree sa tabi niya at wala ding snow. Ayon pa sa mga mananaliksik, nang ipinanganak siya ay tag-init, buwan ng Abril, hindi tag-lamig na buwan ng Disyembre.

Ang mga angkop na angkop lang sa paggunita ng kapanganakan ni Hesus ay ang bituin na kung tawagin ay “Star of Bethlehem”, mga tupa at mga pastol. Pati ang mga sinasabing “tatlong hari” ay hindi rin talagang mga hari ayon sa mga mananaliksik at pinatunayan ito ng mga nadiskubreng ebidensiya. Sila ang mga tinatawag na mga “magi” (singular ay “magus”) at sa Ingles ay “magician” at miyembro ng isang tribu na kilala sa panghuhula at pagbasa ng mga palatandaan sa kalawakan, lalo na ang mga bagay tungkol sa mga bituin, at ang tawag ngayon sa trabahong yan ay fortune telling. Kaya nila pinilit na tuntunin ang lugar na “itinuturo” ng bituin na siyang palatandaan ng pagsilang ng isang hari, hanggang makarating sila sa Bethlehem, ay upang magbigay pugay dito. Bakit hindi ito ang ituro sa mga Kristiyano? Kaya tuloy, sa kagagaya ng mga Pilipino, pati mali ay nagagaya na rin!

Sa aking pananaw ay hindi naman masama ang panggagaya. Subalit, sa halip na gayahin ang mga walang kuwentang nakagawian ng ibang bansa na kailangang gastusan upang maidaos lang, bakit hindi gayahin ang disiplina na maayos nilang pinapatupad? Ang mga Pilipinong nakarating sa Singapore, halimbawa, ay manghang-mangha sa kalinisan ng paligid nito at disiplina ng mga tao…bakit hanggang paghanga lang?…bakit hindi gayahin? bakit hindi ipatupad ng gobyerno ng Pilipinas?

Yong ibang magulang naman, sa kagustuhan na magaya ng mga anak nila ang pag-English ng mga Amerikano, pinipilit ang mga ito na pati sa bahay ay mag-English, bawal ang sariling salita. Nabulol tuloy ang mga ito kung magsalita na ng sariling wikang Pilipino at naging katawa-tawa! Kaya pagdating ng panahong mag-aaplay sa trabaho, talo ng ibang aplikante na magaling na sa English ay magaling pa rin sa Pilipino at ibang salita na gamit sa ibang probinsiya.

Ang pinakamasagwang panggagaya ay ang pagiging Kristo daw kaya may namimigay ng pagkain, damit, etc. na may nakatutok na kamera at may nakaabang na reporter na mag-iinterbyu. At, ang pinaka-super na ginagaya kay Kristo na sobra-sobra ang pagkasagwa ay ang pagpapako sa krus. Hindi nagpapako si Kristo…siya ay ipinako ng mga kalaban niyang kapwa Hudyo! Ang mga Pilipino naman, magpapapako lang pala sa krus ay bakit hindi pa gawin na lang sa loob ng bakuran nila? Bakit kailangang i-broadcast pa, ganoong iilang pirasong tao lang naman ang nakakakilala sa kanila na talamak ang kasalanan na paulit-ulit ginagawa kahit siguro matadtad na ng tusok ng pako ang mga palad. Gusto lang ng mga hangal na mga huwad na Kristiyanong ito ang makunan ng retrato upang mailagay sa facebook o magazine o diyaryo! Ano kaya kung tamaan sila ng kidlat sa oras na sila ay maipako na? Siguradong maraming pagpapa-convert sa Kristiyanismo dahil ituturing itong himala!

Kaylan kaya mabubuksan ang ating mga mata sa katotohanang ang lahi natin ay may sariling kultura na mayaman at kayang ipagmalaki sa buong mundo? At, sa pagiging Kristiyano ang kailangan ay mga gawaing makatotohanan at walang bahid ng pagkukunwari?

Ang pagmamalabis sa anumang bagay ay masama, gaya ng labis na paggamit ng asukal na nagreresulta sa diabetes – isang sakit na walang gamot! Ang bansa natin ay ganyan…naturuan ng mga Amerikano ng demokrasya, subalit nasobrahan sa paggamit kaya inabuso…ngayon, ang korapsyon sa Pilipinas ay animo kanser na hindi na yata gagaling! At, sa ibang Kristiyano, malabo na rin yatang matanggal ang makapal na nakulapol na pagkukunwari sa kanilang pagkatao…sila, na ang “pagbabago” ay inaasa na lang sa taunang tradisyon na paggunita…ibig sabihin ang “pagbabago” nila ay RENEWABLE!

The Lesson from the Consistent Humility of Jesus…that man never ever learns!

The Lesson from the Consistent Humility of Jesus
….that man never ever learns!
By Apolinario Villalobos

The birth of Jesus is the greatest manifestation of his humility. Unfortunately, instead of emulating such virtue, Christians celebrate his questionable birthday every December with so much pomp and unrestrained festivity. To justify the scandalous celebration, “Christians” reason out that they are just “happily celebrating”. Can’t happiness be celebrated in simple ways? Why spend the whole year savings for just a few days of spending all “in the name of Jesus”? Also, it is during such seemingly paganistic manifestation for the “love” of Christ that the hurting difference between the rich and the poor is very much defined…still, we pay no heed to such scandalously unchristian practice.

Bible readers come across parables about Christ’s humility, but instead of emulating them, what they read remain just that – stories from the pages of a book. And yet, they even unabashedly boast that they have read the Bible…and that, they are Christians, too!

When Jesus entered the place of his prophesied judgment and death, he was on a donkey. Today, many church dignitaries cannot go to a certain place without taking a chauffeured luxury car. While some priests are furnished with expensive car by their rich parents, why can’t they refuse such for the sake of their vow of poverty? However, for convenience of mobility when they do their “job”, perhaps, they can opt for a less expensive one so as not to trigger curiosity. Pope Francis has always been calling on his fellow priests to observe utmost humility and simplicity while shepherding their flocks. Unfortunately, only few seemed to have answered his incessant call. Some bishops and priests still drive around in Benzes and cars whose prices are enough to feed a thousand children in one month.

Jesus showed his paramount humility by washing the feet of his disciples. On the other hand, some avowed Christians squirm at the sight of street children and beggars clothed in rags. One morning, while waiting for a ride in front of a big mall, I saw a lady in white churchly dress give a sandwich to a beggar using her fully extended hand to keep her distance, while covering her nose with a handkerchief. When I approached the beggar, I did not smell any revolting odor at all, although he was grimy. The lady obviously attended a morning Mass in the mall as it was a Sunday, and giving a sandwich to a grimy beggar with an fully extended hand while covering her nose, after attending a Mass, was perhaps her “way” to show her being a Christian!

While dying on the cross, Jesus invoked his Father with full humility by asking why he was forsaken. Today, government officials and politicians who are being tried for robbing the government coffer of people’s money, swear to God that they are honest…adding that, they be struck by lightning where they stand if they are telling a lie!…humble, indeed!

Jesus was consistently humble since birth until the time of his death, but we refuse to acknowledge this manifestation….and, today we are paying for such arrogance…by suffering from the onslaught of natural calamities and man-made hostilities!…we just never learn!

Si Hesukristo…

Si Hesukristo…

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

Kapayakan ng buhay ang kanyang ipinamalas

Sa sabsaban pa lang kung saan siya’y inihimlay ni Maria

Walang trumpetang hinipan upang ihudyat ang pagdating niya

Bagkus, isang nakasisilaw na bituin ang nakita – liwanag ng pag-asa.

Sa murang gulang ay nagpakita ng katalinuhan

Sa templo kung saan siya’y di nagpatalo sa mga Pariseyo

Maraming namangha’t nagulat sa ipinamalas na angking talino

Ang hindi nila alam, siya’y anak ng Diyos, Tagapagligtas, isang Sugo.

Buong pagpakumbabang nagpabasbas kay Juan

Santong itinuring, isinugo rin upang tumulong sa paghanda

Paghanda na kay Kristo ay nakalaan sa pagtubos ng sangkatauhan –

Na ayon sa Bibliya… pagtubos mula sa batik at bigat ng unang kasalanan.

Sakay ng buriko, hindi kamelyo, kabayo o karwahe

Sinalubong ng isinigaw na pagbati at wagayway ng palmera

Ganyan kababaang loob ang sa sambayanan ay kanyang ipinakita

Kahit na turing sa kanya ay magiting na manunubos kaya dinadakila!

Payak na hapunang tinapay, tubig, matamis na alak

Pinagsaluhan upang ipahiwatig, sa mundo’y natirang sandali

Naghugas din ng paa ng mga disipulo niya, pati kanilang mga binti

Pinakadakilang pagpakumbaba ni Kristo, na dapat gayahin nating gawi!

Sa Getsemani kung saan siya ay pinawisan ng dugo

Nakipag-usap siya sa Amang nagbigay ng mabigat na pasanin

Dito, sa tatlumpong pilak siya’y isinuplong ni Hudas na disipulo rin

Pagpapakita na minsan, nabubulag ang kaibigan ng masamang hangarin!

Hindi inalintana ang baku-bako at mabatong landas

Ilang beses na nagkandaluhod, bumagsak, mukha ay duguan

Nilibak at kinutya, hinagupit ng latigo, at walang sawang dinuraan

Subali’t di niya inalintana, dahil buong pusong tinanggap ang kamatayan!

At sa ibabaw ng Kalbaryo’y nasaksihan ang pagtubos

Isang magiting na pagtupad ng mabigat at banal na misyon

Ng isang Hesukristo, na ang pagkilala’y walang hinihinging panahon…

Ng isang Hesukristo, takbuhan at hinihingan ng tulong hanggang ngayon!


Christlike People Around Us

Christlike People Around Us

by Apolinario Villalobos

Without their knowing it, some people around us are Christlike – they who act like Christ but do not belong to the Christian fold. Some do not even belong to any religion. The Christlike way is my own gauge in measuring the extent of kindness one extends to others, while being Christian is belonging to the group that is supposed to advocate the teachings of Christ. Unfortunately, some or most members are only Christian in name but not in action.

When the typhoon Yolanda devastated Leyte and its neighboring Visayan provinces, some Aeta tribes in Zambales went down with bunches of bananas and sweet potatoes in answer to the call for donations. A girl donated her month’s savings that amounted to a little more than a hundred pesos. Two cigarette vendors I met in Sta. Cruz, Manila, donated the money each of them saved. While one vendor’s savings was supposed to be for his wife who was to give birth within the month, the other one’s savings was supposed to be for the purchase of tarpaulin for the pushcart which he considered as his family’s home.

In our neighborhood, “Ester”, a housewife who operates a beauty parlor sponsors free haircut at least once a month in depressed areas. A retired couple in a nearby neighborhood, “Gene” and “Maggie”, crams their old van with goodies for deserving street children who they would encounter every time they hit the road, aside from doing weekend visit to depressed areas with a small group. Still, a couple in another neighborhood, “Sam” and “Ness”, regularly visit on weekends a shelter for elderlies where they spend their whole day as volunteers. A retired couple in their 80’s, “Lando” and “Cora” are foster parents to a former child prostitute who will graduate from high school next year.

Even distance does not hinder others to act like Christ. “Perla” who lives in the United States regularly calls friends, schools, and stores for books to be discarded, even tarpaulins and emergency home tools which she patiently packs to be sent to the Philippines for street children. “Doring”, brought out her carefully saved money, an extra amount during her last visit to the Philippines, and which she sent to be spent for a needy person and street children.

There are more of these Christlike people around us, who do not even know that they are manifesting the image of Christ through their acts. Some do not even know how to pray the Rosary and Novena. Some do not kneel in front of the altar and implore God for blessings. Some have not tried joining a religious procession. Some do not say repetitive prayers akin to pagan chanting. Some do not offer flowers and candles to the images of saints. But these Christlike people, do what are supposed to be done right away for others, acts which are along what Christ said: “what you do to others, you do to me”, and “love they neighbor”…which could mean, who they may be.

Ang Pagninilay-nilay Tuwing Semana Santa

Ang Pagninilay-nilay Tuwing
Semana Santa
Ni Apolinario Villalobos

Uumpisahan ko ang share na ito sa pagpuna tungkol sa ilang bagay tungkol sa ginugunita ng mga Katoliko. Tulad halimbawa ang “semana santa” na sa Ingles ay “holy week”, at kung tagalugin ay “banal na linggo” pero hindi ganoon ang nangyayari dahil ang ginagamit ay “mahal na araw” na tumutukoy sa “isang araw” lang…anong araw ito? Biyernes santo ba? Sa dasal na “Hail Mary…” kung sa Tagalog, ito ay “Aba Ginoong Maria…”. Bakit naging “ginoo” ang birheng Maria? Ang “ginoo” ay pantukoy sa lalaki. Bakit hindi, “Binibining Maria” o “Ginang Maria” at lalong sana ay “Birheng Maria” dahil siya ay babae? Sigurado kong marami ang magtataas ng mga kilay sa pagpuna kong ito.

Kaya ko inunahan ng mga pagpuna ang isinulat kong ito ay upang ipakita na karamihan sa mga gumugunita sa Semana Santa, ang pananampalataya ay ampaw…walang laman. Ang mga dasal, minimemorays, hindi pini-feel sa puso. Kung susunod sa mga panuntunan ng simbahan, parang wala sa sarili kung gawin ito, hindi iniisip. Kaya sa binanggit ko sa unang paragraph, maaaring kung hindi ko nasabi ay hindi rin mapapansin, dahil sa ugali ng karamihan na kung i-describe ay “parang wala lang”.

Maraming paraan ang pagtitika at pagninilay-nilay sa paggunita ng Semana Santa tulad ng pagbisita Iglesia…paramihan ng pinupuntahang simbahan, subalit ang nakakalungkot ay hindi nila pagpalampas sa pag-selfie sa harap mismo ng altar! Pagkatapos ng mga pasyalang ginawa ay magpo-post sa facebook ng mga selfie, pati ng mga pagkaing nabili sa paligid o harap ng simbahan. Isa pa ring paraan ay ang tinatawag na “staycation”…ang hindi pag-alis ng bahay o bayan o lunsod kung saan nakatira, dahil marami rin namang magagawa maski hindi na lumabas pa. Sa ganitong paraan, nakatipid na ay nakapag-bonding pa sa mga mahal sa buhay, subalit karamihan pala ay nanonood lang ng mga DVD ng na-miss na mga pelikula!

Ang mga may perang magagastos, dumadayo pa sa mga bayang nakakaakit din ng mga dayuhang turista. At ang iba naman ay pinipili ang mga resort, swimming pool man o dagat upang mas maganda daw ang ambience ng pagninilay o pagmi-meditate….sana. Yong iba kasi, ang pinagninilay-nilayan ay ang mga naka-bikining nagsi-swimming. Pero, ang matindi ay ang mga astig, na ang pagninilay ay ginagawa sa harap ng mga bote na ang etikitang nakadikit ay may imahe ng demonyo at ni San Miguel Arkanghel!

Ang mga pilosopo naman ay nagsasabi na taunan naman ang pagninilay-nilay at paghingi ng tawad o paglinis ng ispiritwal na aspeto ng pagkatao, kaya huwag mag-alala kung nakaligtaang magbisita Iglesia, magpinetensiya, o sumali sa pagbasa ng pasyon sa kasalukuyang taon dahil marami pang mga taon na susunod, at upang idiin ang pagkapilosopo, may dagdag pa na: “habang buhay…may pag-asa”.

Ngayon, magtataka pa ba tayo kung bakit ang mundo ay tila niyuyugyog ng mga sunud-sunod na kalamidad? Idagdag pa diyan ang mga giyera sa pagitan ng magkakapitbahay na mga bansa at pagkalat ng mga terorista sa iba’t ibang bansa upang maghasik ng karahasan? At huwag ding kalimutan ang gutom at mga sakit na ang iba ay wala pang lunas.

Dahil sa labis na talino at pagkagahaman ng tao, nawalan na siya ng katinuan at kinalimutan na ang Manlilikha, kaya hindi lang simpeng pitik ang nararapat kundi mararahas na pambukas ng kanyang mga mata at kaisipan!