Blessed.

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He never fails to surprise me.

I guess it now depends whether I get the scholarship or not. But even if I do not get it, I am still thankful for all the blessings I am currently receiving. Thank You — for always keeping doors open. I know I haven’t been the best daughter and my record is far from being clean, but You always remind me to keep my chin up, have faith, and take courage because You’ve got it all figured out. Thank You — for showering me with so much love and grace. Despite my shortcomings and my stubbornness, You always make me feel I am worthy of Your forgiveness and sacrifice. Thank You — for never giving up on me.

And even if I sing for eternity a song of thanks and praise, I know it would never be enough. But knowing You, I am sure that the effort would not go unnoticed. And so, allow me to say another thank You — for everything that has happened and for everything that has yet to come. 

I love You. <3

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The End

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2 Timothy 4:7
“I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.”

Four years. Four wonderful years inside the protective arms of the Ateneo.

Thank You, for filling my cup with so much love and blessings that I am greatly and deeply moved to empty it out to others. I entered Ateneo with big dreams, but You proved to me that You have plans far better than what I could ever imagine. The “last blow” was heartbreaking and humbling and the view downhill is still hazy and unclear, but I will let Your guiding hands lead me from here on.

Thank you, Ma and Pa, for standing by my decisions whole-heartedly and for believing in me. Thank you for supporting me when I decided to go on JTA student exchange program which proved to be one of the best experiences in my life. You have realized my potential even before I did and I thank you for always keeping your minds, hearts, and hands open. I do hope I really made you proud.

Thank you to my family, Enzo, Ate, Ninang, Yayay, and everyone else, for the encouraging words whenever I break down because of school works. You have showered me with so much love, patience, and understanding and I hope to give it all back to you. “Salamat sa pagsalo sa lahat ng kasungitan, sa paghahanda ng baon at grocery, sa paghahatid-sundo, sa pag-aalaga, at sa pagpaparamdam na kahit na isang buwan na akong hindi umuuwi ng bahay, palagi akong may uuwiang pamilya.”

Blockmates, friends, professors, Jesuits, and non-teaching staffs — thank you for being part of this journey. It was not a smooth-sailing-walk-in-the-park experience but knowing that we have each other gives me strength every single day.

And thank you, Ateneo, for the gift of Jesuit liberal education and for opening my eyes to a lot of realities. I can honestly say that I never regretted choosing you over the other universities. You have molded me into a person I never thought I could and will be. You genuinely taught us how to be of great service to others through your liberal arts, integrated programs, and Ignatian spirituality. More importantly, you instilled in us the mindset of doing everything for the greater glory of God. Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam.
“Magis”, “Cura Personalis”, “Agere Contra”, “Man for Others” – you have equipped me well and I am now ready to go out and be an instrument of change.

Sabi nga ni Bobby Guev, kaakibat ng kasarapan ng pagiging Atenista ang masaktan dahil ikaw ay isang Atenista.

Lubos Mo akong minahal at pinaglingkuran. Hayaan Mong ako naman ang maglingkod para sa Iyo at para sa kanila. :)

Effie Fielle Montes Ignacio
BS Management, major in Communications Technology Management
minor in German Studies

Honorable Mention

Prayer for My Brethren

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O thou,

Who art the God no less of those who know thee not than of those who love thee well, be present with us at the times of choosing when time stands still and all that lies behind and all that lies ahead are caught up in the mystery of a moment. Be present especially with the young who must choose between many voices. Help them to know how much an old world needs their youth and gladness. Help them to know that there are words of truth and healing that will never be spoken unless they speak them, and deeds of compassion and courage that will never be done unless they do them. Help them never to mistake success for victory or failure for defeat. Grant that they may never be entirely content with whatever bounty the world may bestow upon them, but that they may know at last that they were created not for happiness but for joy, and that joy is to him alone who, sometimes with tears in his eyes, commits himself in love to thee and to his brothers. Lead them and all thy world ever deeper into the knowledge that finally all men are one and that there can never really be joy for any until there is joy for all. In Christ’s name we ask it and for his sake.

Amen.

L-R: Amber, Tolits, Janray, Tata, Sarahmae, Oman, Babylyn, Jessamae, Rhianna. Ate misses you guys so much.

Source:

Frederick Buechner. The Hungering Dark. New York: Harper Collins, 1985.

Philosophy of Religion | Of Love and Faith

2. Kailangan ba mahalin ang Diyos upang manampalataya sa Kanya?

            Maraming tanong ang mahihinuha kung ang pag-uusapan ay ang pananampalataya sa Diyos tulad ng mga: Ano nga ba ang pananampalataya? Paano ba mapananinindigan ang pananampalataya sa Kanya sa mga panahong niyayanig ang iyong buong pagkatao at tila ba walang kabuluhan ang mga nangyayari sa kasalukuyan? At higit sa lahat, maaari bang manampalataya ang tao nang hindi niya minamahal ang Diyos? Susubukan nating sagutin ang mga ito gamit ang kaalaman ni Kierkegaard bilang primaryang batis, ang ilang babasahin na natalakay sa klase, at ang sariling paghihinuha at pagtataya.

            Sa libro ni Søren Kierkegaard na Fear and Trembling, inilahad kung paano nahigitan ni Abraham ang unibersal at etikal upang maipakita ang pananampalataya sa Diyos. Ayon sa Bibliya, inutusan ng Diyos si Abraham na ialay ang kaisa-isang anak na si Isaac sa bundok ng Moriah. Walang pag-aalinlangan na sinunod ni Abraham ang utos ng Diyos datapwat pinakamamahal si Isaac at itinuturing na biyaya at milagro ng matandang mag-asawa. Ngunit tulad nang nabanggit sa kwento, hindi natuloy ang pag-aalay na ito sapagkat isang anghel ang bumaba sa langit at pinigilan si Abraham sa kanyang gagawin. Sinabi ng anghel na isa lamang itong pagsubok ng Diyos kay Abraham upang sukatin ang tibay ng kanyang pananampalataya at gaano siya kahandang ibalik sa Panginoon ang anumang hilingin Niya sa kanya. Ang pagsasaibayo sa unibersal at etikal na tinutukoy ni Kierkegaard dito ay yaong pagpili ni Abraham na talikdan ang itinuturing na batas sa mundong ibabaw at gawin ang iniutos ng Diyos nang hindi iniisip kung mabuti ba ang pagsunod na ito sa paningin ng ibang tao.

            Mayroong interesentang punto na inilahad si Kierkegaard sa kanyang akda: “Why then did Abraham do it? For God’s sake and (in complete identitiy with this) for his own sake” (Kierkegaard, p.4). Isang pagtataya ang nangyari; ang pananampalataya ni Abraham ang nagtulak sa kanya upang isantabi muna ang sa tingin niya ay tama o makatuwiran at gawin ang tila ba ay hindi makatarungang pagpatay kay Isaac na may buong pagtitiwala at pananampalataya na ito ay magdudulot ng higit na kabutihan sa huli. Kung gayon, masasabing ang pananamapalataya ni Abraham ay isang sariling pagpapasya na may pagsasaalang-alang sa ikasasaya ng Diyos at ikasasaya ng sarili. Bago patotohanan ang mga ito, makabubuting suriin muna kung ano nga ba ang ibig sabihin ng pananampalataya.

            Marami sa atin ay ipinanganak na may relihiyon. Kadalasan, kung hindi palagi, ay namamana ito mula sa ating mga magulang at tila ba nakatakda na ring mapabilang sa anumang relihiyon na mayroon sila. Ngunit, hindi ibig sabihin na bininyagan ang tao ay mayroon na kaagad siyang pananampalataya sa Diyos. Ang mapabilang sa isang grupo ng mga taong mayroong iisang layunin lalo pa at itinakda lamang ito ay hindi nangangahulugang mayroon na ring siyang iisang kaisipan sa kanila. Maaaring mamulat sa isang pamilya na “kilala” ang Diyos – “kilala” sa paraang naniniwala sila sa pag-iral Niya at sa Kanyang mga salita – ngunit hindi ito sapat upang masabi na rin sa iyong sarili na nananampalataya ka sa Kanya. Kung walang pagtataya, kung walang paglundag, at kung puro katuwiran ng ibang tao ang kaya lamang ilahad sakaling tanungin kung bakit kumakapit sa Diyos, mayroong kapahamakan na baka pagdating ng araw na may sumubok sa mga katuwiran na ito at sabihing pawang kasinungalingan lamang ang lahat, bigla ka na lamang mapapabitaw sa iyong mga pinaniniwalaan. Sapagkat binigo ka na ng iyong mga katuwiran, ano pa ang silbi na maniwala ka? Tulad na lamang sa paniniwala ng mga sinaunang Griyego na ang mundo ang sentro ng uniberso. Nang mapatunayan ni Copernicus na mali ang teorya ni Ptolemy na ang mundo ay nasa sentro, nayanig ang lahat. Unti-unting nagbago ang pananaw sa mundo at ang teoryang pinaniwalaan ng ilang daang taon ay nabaon na sa limot. At iyon ang malaking kaibahan sa paniniwala sa sariling kaalaman at sa pananampalataya sa mga bagay na hindi kayang maatim ng  kaisipan. Maaaring maniwala ang tao sa mga bagay na sakop ng katuwiran tulad na lamang ng mga teorya, siyensiya, at mga batas. At maaari ring tumigil sa paniniwala sakaling mapabulaan ang mga ito. Ngunit ang pananampalataya, lalo na sa Diyos, ay hindi limitado sa katuwiran. Bagkus, ito ay lumalagpas, sumasaibayo, at kumakapit sa kung anong hindi na kayang maipaliwanag ng tao. Hindi dahil naharap ang tao sa isang matinding balakid ay agad-agad nang babawiin “pananampalataya” sa Diyos. Sa ganitong sitwasyon, masasabing hindi pa siya “nananampalataya” – sapagkat umiiral pa rin ang kanyang katuwiran. Iniisip pa rin niya ang sarili at kung ano ang maaaring mangyari sa kanya. Ang pananampalataya ay pinagpapasiyahan, nilulundag, at tinatayaan. Ang ganitong karanasan ay hindi itinatakda at hindi namamana. Kailangan itong pagsikapang hanapin ng bawat isa upang magkaroon ng sariling karanasan sa Diyos. Sapagkat sa ganitong paraan mayroon kang panghahawakan na iyong-iyo at hindi iyon kailanman maaaring pawalang-bisa ng mga taong hindi nakaranas ng iyong naranasan.

Sa pagsubok na magkaroon ng sariling karanasan ng Diyos, gumagawa ang tao ng sarili niyang tulay tungo sa pagpapatibay ng kanyang pananampalataya. Kung babalikan ang desisyon ni Abraham, hindi mauunawaan ng buo ang nararamdaman ni Abraham noong mga panahong iyon dahil binabagtas niya ang sarili niyang tulay. Posibleng may maunawaan kahit kaunti sa absolutong relasyon nila ng Diyos – dahil para saan pa ang Bibliya kung wala rin namang makauunawa ng mga testimonya? Ngunit hindi ito maikakahon nang buong-buo, tulad na lamang ng nararanasan ng dalawang nagmamahalan. Sa mga susunod na talata, sisikaping intindihin ang relasyon sa pagitan ng pagmamahal sa Diyos at pananampalataya sa Kanya.

Tulad ng pananampalataya, ang pag-ibig sa isang tao ay hindi itinatakda. Maraming katuwiran kung bakit bigla-biglang nagugustuhan ang isang tao; maaaring mabait siya, maaalalahanin, mapagtimpi, at kung anu-ano pa. Ngunit hindi sa lahat ng panahon ay ganito ang napakikita ng minamahal. Sa mga panahong hindi niya napupunan ang mga bagay na nagustuhan, ang totoong nagmamahal ay pinipili pa ring manatili at magmahal. Lalo pa sa mga mag-asawa, dumadating sa punto na nawawala na ang dating tamis ng pagmamahalan. Ngunit nananaig pa rin ang desisyon nilang magsama at mahalin ang kung anong mayroon ang isa’t isa. Sa pananaw ng iba, mahirap intindihin ang ganitong sitwasyon at kung minsan, mababansagan pang tanga o bulag-bulagan ang mga nagmamahalan. Ngunit sabi nga ni Nietszche sa kanyang librong Beyond Good and Evil, “What is done out of love always takes place beyond good and evil”. Ang mga desisyong nagagawa dahil at para sa pag-ibig, lalo pa at yung walang hinihinging kapalit, ay hindi mahuhusgahan o mauuri. Minsan, kailangang ilagay sa isang tabi kung ano ang tama o mali para sa ikasasaya ng kabiyak. Minsan, kailangang kalimutan kung ano ang etikal at unibersal para masunod ang nais ng Diyos na minamahal. At dito sasagutin ang tanong na, “Kailangan bang mahalin ang Diyos upang manampalataya sa Kanya?”

Ang sagot dito ay oo. Kung saan mayroong pananampalataya sa Diyos, mayroong pagmamahal na sumasaibayo at hindi humihingi ng kapalit na nagsisilbing pwersang tumutulak upang lalo pang maatim ang anumang naisin ng Maykapal. Nasabi noon sa isang diskusyon  na mahirap manampalataya kung di iniibig ang isang tao. Mahirap lumundag, o kahit pa kumilos, kung hindi ito para sa iyong minamahal. Bakit? Sapagkat kung hindi minamahal ng tao ang Diyos, maghahanap ito ng katuwiran para manampalataya sa Kanya; mga katuwiran na may kondisyon at maaaring mapawalang-bisa sa oras na hindi sagutin ng Diyos ang kanyang mga dasal. Kumpara sa taong nananampalataya sa Kanya na ang ginawang katuwiran para manatiling nananampalataya ay ang mismong pagmamahal na nararamdaman niya. Dito, hindi maaaring kontrahin ang katuwiran sapagkat ito ay isang pag-uusig ng damdamin, isang karanasan na likas sa nagmamahal, at yaong hindi kailanman pabulaan ng siyensiya o ng katuwiran.

Kung tatanungin naman ang kabaliktaran, “Kailangan bang manampalataya sa Diyos upang mahalin Siya?” Ang sagot pa rin ay oo. Sapagkat ang pagmamahal na tinutukoy rito ay ang uri ng pagmamahal na walang hinihintay na kapalit. Iba ito sa pagmamahal na nararamdaman mo para sa iyong mga alaga o sa mga bagay na iyong pinapahalagahan. Bagaman at nakararamdam ng pagmamahal para sa mga iyon, palagi pa rin itong bumabalik sa sarili. “Mahal” mo ang mga alaga sapagkat napapasaya ka nila sa tuwing ikaw ay umuuwi at maaaring “mahal” mo ang iyong mga koleksyon sapagkat naaalala mo ang iyong kabataan tuwing nakikita ang mga ito. Ngunit sa huli, kapag nawalan na ng silbi at napagsawaan na, nawawalan na rin ng saysay para itago pa ang mga ito.

Di tulad sa pagmamahal na walang hinihinging kapalit, nagmamahal ang tao sa kadahilanang mahal niya lang talaga. Isang magandang halimbawa nito ang pagmamahal ng ina sa isang anak na naligaw ng landas na patuloy pa rin sa paghihintay sa pagbalik sa kabila ng mga nagawang kasalanan. Nawawalan ng saysay ang “Bakit?” at ang tanging naisasagot ay “Kasi mahal ko”.  Datapwat, hindi ito madali dahil likas sa atin ang magdasal at umasa sa Kanya, na kung minsan pa ay nagagalit tayo kapag hindi nasagot ang dasal. Ngunit sa kabila ng kakulangan bilang tao, nagsusumikap at sumusubok pa rin ang iilan. Ang pagsisikap ng tao na kumapit sa pananampalataya kahit na mahirap at maraming pagsubok ay isang manipesto ng pagsusumikap rin nilang mapantayan – o kahit na masubukan man lamang na pantayan– ang walang hanggang pagmamahal ng Diyos. At sa aking palagay, iyon ang importante sa lahat.

 

Isaac and Abraham | source

Effie Fielle M. Ignacio | 091835 | September 28, 2012 | Sir Michael Aurelio

 Ikalawang Mahabang Pagsusulit

Philosophy of Religion | On God’s Silence

Bakit pa kailangang maniwala sa isang tahimik at di nakikitang Diyos?

Isa sa pinakamalalaking hamon na kailangang harapin ng tao ay ang paninindigan sa kanyang pananampalataya sa isang Diyos na tahimik at di nakikita. Paano nga ba maipaglalaban ang paniniwala kung mismong ang naniniwala ay nahihirapang humagilap ng konkretong katibayan ng pag-iral ng Diyos? Ano ang pinagkaiba nito sa isang Diyos na hindi umiiral? At higit pa rito, may halaga ba ang paniniwala sa isang Diyos na walang imik?

Sa nobela ni Shusaku Endo na Silence, ipinakita ang labis na paghihirap na dinanas ng mga taong nananampalataya sa Diyos at kung paanong tiniis nila ang lahat upang maipakita ang katatagan ng kanilang paniniwala. Naritong igapos sila sa kahoy at buhusan ng kumukulong tubig, ibitin patiwarik at hiwaan ang gilid ng tainga upang unti-unting ubusin ang dugo, o di kaya ay itali sa kahoy na poste at iwanang mag-isa sa harap ng dagat habang hinahampas ng malalakas na alon. Naging matagal at mabagal ang proseso ng kanilang paghihirap.  Ngunit sa kabila ng kanilang pagtitiis at pagtangging talikdan ang Diyos, naramdaman nila na tila ang Diyos na kanilang ipinaglalaban ay walang pakialam sa kanila. Hindi nila (lalo na ang pangunahing tauhan na si Rodrigues) maiwasang isipin na ang Diyos na kanilang sinasamba at minamahal ay patuloy na bulag sa kanilang mga hinagpis at bingi sa pagsasamo na iligtas sila sa kamay ng mga mapang-api.

Sinabi ni Rodrigues ang linyang, “I cannot bear the monotonous sound of the dark sea gnawing at the shore. Behind the depressing silence of this sea, the silence of God…the feeling that while men raise their voices in anguish, God remains with folded arms, silent” (Endo, p.61) noong nakita niyang unti-unting namamatay sina Mokichi at Ichizo dahil sa kanilang desisyon na kumapit sa kanilang pananampalataya. Kalakip ng katahimikan na iyon ng Diyos sa oras ng pangangailangan nang kanyang mga kaibigan ay ang pagkakatanto niya na ang mundo ay patuloy na umiikot at hindi nagbabago sa kabila nang pagkamatay ng mga naniniwala sa Kanya.

Ngunit bago bigyang kahulugan ang pangyayaring ito, makabubuting suriin muna kung bakit nga ba nagiging tahimik ang isang tao.

Maraming dahilan kung bakit nananahimik ang isang tao. Maaaring tahimik ito dahil hindi niya nagugustuhan ang nangyayari o di kaya ay nakararamdam siya ng matinding emosyon na hindi kayang ipaliwanag ng mga salita. Maaaring tahimik ang isang tao dahil nag-iisip pa ito ng sasabihin o di kaya ay maaaring tahimik ito dahil tapos na siyang magsalita. Anuman ang dahilan sa likod ng katahimikang ito, maaaring itong magdulot ng kawalan ng kapanatagan sa taong kinakausap. Tulad nang sa tao, ang dahilan ng Diyos upang maging tahimik ay di kailanman mauunawaan nang buo. Mayroon Siyang sariling rason kung bakit pinili niyang manahimik sa panahon ng paghihinagpis ng mga tao. Kadalasan, ang katahimikang ito ay nakabibingi at nakakapagpabagabag. Lalo pa at ang Diyos ang kausap, hindi maiiwasan na humiling ng mabilis at eksaktong kasagutan o tulong ang tao mula sa Kanya. Samakatuwid, ang katahimikang tinutukoy rito ay ang tila nakabibingi at walang katapusang pagitan sa oras nang paghiling ng tao at sa oras nang pagsagot ng Diyos. Kung minsan ay nagiging desperado ang tao dahil sa tagal Niyang sumagot – dumadating sa punto na kinukwestyon kung tunay bang nakikinig at may pakialam ang Diyos sa kanyang mga hinaing. Hindi maiiwasang tanungin bakit sa dinami-rami ng mga taong nasasaktan at umiiyak, bakit walang ginagawa ang Diyos upang hilumin ang kanilang mga sugat. Ngunit, kakatwang isipin na sa kabila nito, patuloy pa ring nangungusap ang iilan, umaasa na marahil balang-araw, kung hindi man bukas, ay sasagutin na ng Diyos ang kanilang mga dasal. Kung susundin ang ganitong argumento, maaaring tanungin, “Ano pa nga ba ang silbi ng pagkapit sa isang Diyos na nananahimik?”

Marahil ito.

Sa kabila ng kanyang katahimikan, mayroong kasiguraduhang pinanghahawakan ang mga nananampalataya na Siya ay nakikinig. Walang imik ngunit nakikinig. Ang katiyakang ito na Siya ay nariyan at nakikinig ay mahihinuha sa mga panahon na pinili Niyang mangusap, magparamdam, at sumagot. Tulad ng nalaman ni Rodrigues sa katapusan ng Silence, ang Diyos, bagama’t naging tahimik sa kanya, ay kumibo at isinalba ang buhay ng nakararami.

Iba ito sa pakiramdam na wala talagang kinakausap. Sa katunayan, isang kabalintunaan ang sabihin na hindi umiiral ang Diyos dahil hindi Siya umiimik. Kung ibababa ang lebel ng lohikang ito, maihahalintulad ito sa kung paanong naniniwala ang taong nariyan lamang ang araw sa kabila ng bagyo at dilim. Hindi ito nakikita, ni hindi ito nadarama, ngunit alam at sigurado siya na nandiyan lamang ang araw – naghihintay mapawi ang ulan upang magdulot ulit ng init at liwanag. At kung sakaling sa kinabukasan ay magkukubli muli ang araw sa likod ng mga ulap, maghihintay ulit ang tao, aasa at tataya na sana sa susunod, masisilayan niyang muli ang ganda ng araw.

Ganito ang pakiramdam ng isang taong nananampalataya sa isang tahimik at di nagpapakitang Diyos. Sa mismong katahimikan ng Diyos napagtatanto ng tao ang pag-iiral Niya. Sa katahimikan, nararamdaman ng tao ang matinding sakit at pagnanais na madama ang realidad ng Kanyang pag-iiral sa kanyang buhay. Umiigting ang pag-asa na marinig ang Diyos, na malaman ang Kanyang mga saloobin, na madama ang Kanyang pagmamahal at nagkakaroon ng isang paghahangad na malampasan ang kung anong masamang nararanasan sa kasalukuyan. Isang pangungulila sa presensya ng Diyos ang nararanasan ng tao kapag napagtatanto niyang ang Diyos ay nananahimik. At kung susundan iyon, hindi mangungulila ang tao sa isang bagay na hindi niya pa nararanasan o nakakamtan sa kanyang buhay. Dito sa pangungulilang dulot ng katahimikan ng Diyos napaiigting ang realidad na mayroong Diyos at mayroong nakikinig sa kabila ng katahimikan. Kaalinsunod din dito ang pagpapatibay na hindi kinakailangang makita ang pisikal na anyo ng Diyos upang maniwala. Tulad na lamang ng dalawang magkalayong nag-iibigan, hindi kinakailangang makita nila ang isa’t isa bawat oras para masabing tunay ang nararamdaman ng bawat isa. Narito ang pagtataya, ang paglalagay ng tiwala, at pag-aalay ng damdamin sa taong alam mong minamahal mo. Kung magagawa iyon ng tao sa kanyang minamahal – sa isang kapwa tao na maaaring magkulang o magkamali, ano pa kaya sa Diyos na bukas-palad, handing tumanggap, at walang hanggang ang pagmamahal sa lahat?

At importante iyon – ang pagkapit sa Diyos sa kabila ng katahimikan at di pagpapakita. Dahil kung hindi magagawang kumapit sa Kanya sa kabila ng pagkakatanto sa Kanyang realidad, saan pa nga ba maaaring umasa ang tao? Kung ang lahat ng bagay sa mundo ay lumilipas at nawawala, saan pa nga ba mas mabuting “i-angkla” ang buhay kundi sa Diyos na hindi nagbabago at walang hanggan?

Kung titingnan naman sa kabilang banda, masasabing maaaring mabuhay nang hindi naniniwala o nananampalataya sa Kanya. Hindi makakaila na ang pananampalataya sa Kanya ay di tulad ng pagkain o hangin na kapag nawala, mamamatay ang tao. Dito pumapasok ang kalayaan ng tao na pumili kung maniniwala o hindi sa Diyos. Ngunit, kaakibat ng pagpili na “hindi maniwala” ay ang paglimot o pagtanggi rin sa “liwanag” na unang nakita at naranasan. Kung nakaranas na ang tao ng sobrang pagmamahal noon, hindi ba at sisikapin rin niyang maatim ito sa panahon na siya ay walang-wala? Hindi basta-basta nalilimutan ang ganoong pakiramdam. Sa parehong paraan, mahirap talikdan ang Diyos kung naipakilala at naipadama na Siya sa iyo noon. Nagkakaroon ng ibang pagtingin sa mundo ang taong naniniwala. Nakikita niya kung ano ang sumasaibayo at nagiging kampante siya na mayroong mas malalim na kahulugan ang buhay.

Masasabing absurdo naman ang buhay ng isang taong nagpapadala na lamang sa agos ng problema at pasakit (na tila bang inaamin ng mga ito na nabubuhay ang tao upang mamatay lamang sa huli) kumpara sa taong lumalaban sa alon at umaasang darating din ang saklolong hinihintay. Masusubok ang katatagan at tiyaga sa paghihintay ng pagdating ng saklolo. May mga pagkakataong maaaring mapagod, magalit, at maghinagpis sa sakit. Ngunit, hindi katulad ng mga taong nagpapadausdos sa alon (bagama’t mas madaling gawin ito) na bumabagsak na lamang sa kawalan, patuloy na kumakapit ang mga nananampalataya sa kaalamang mayroong nakakakita sa pagpupursigi nila; na sa kabila ng pagdurusa, hindi sila kailanman nag-iisa. Kaya at gaano man kahirap, nagpupumilit silang makabalik ng pampang. Gaano man kahaba ang kanyang katahimikan at ang oras ng paghihintay sa Kanyang sagot, naroon ang tiyak na kaalaman na nanonood Siya at maaaring (maaari – sapagkat hindi kailanman lubos na mauunawaan ng tao ang Kanyang mga magiging desisyon) sumaklolo Siya. Ang katiyakang ito ay sapat na upang kumapit at umasa sa kabila ng kanyang walang imik at di pagpapakita sa kasalukuyan.

 

Währing Cemetery in Vienna

Effie Fielle M. Ignacio | 091835 | August 2, 2012 | Sir Michael Aurelio

Unang Mahabang Pagsusulit (at unang papel na masaya rin ako sa resulta)

Keeping the Bonfire Tradition Burning

October 11, 2012

Right after the win, a thanksgiving mass was held at the Church of Gesu inside the Ateneo. All the players in the seniors basketball team, their parents, families, students, faculty and non-faculty members of the Loyola schools attended the mass. Of course, it was presided by our president, Fr. Jett Villarin. And as always, the Fr. Jett’s homily was interesting and goes straight to the heart. There really is something about the way Jesuits preach that captures my attention and my interest. He talked about the usual — Ateneans being “people for others” and how the Jesuit community really looks up to “Our Lady”. You see, Ateneo’s color isn’t blue and white for no reason.

He also talked about the issues Ateneo are facing right now. RH bill, the “lemons” issue, racism, etc. MVP’s name was also mentioned a lot of times. Not to comment on the severed ties between him and the Ateneo community but to thank him for everything that he has done for the betterment of the Ateneo. I really don’t know the reason why MVP decided to withdraw his helping hand from the Ateneo and divert his attention to UP. It’s sad. And his absence in that special event resonates inside the Gesu.

After the mass, the graduating players were allowed to give their impromptu speeches. There were five of them – Chua, Salva, Gonzaga, Slaughter (still in his 3rd year but he has already exhausted his eligibility to play in college basketball), and Sumalinog – plus Coach Norman Black. It was their time to extend their warmest thanks to their families, friends, the Ateneo community, their girlfriends (yep, special mentions), and of course to MVP as well. I felt sad hearing their speeches because I know, in 5 months time, we’ll have to say our own goodbyes too. Guh. Too much attachment to this school. I don’t wanna leave yet!

Fr. Ben Nebres – the former president of the Ateneo and the cutest, most adorable Jesuit priest I’ve ever met!

Carissa with the 7-foot tall Greg Slaughter. Haha! This was a super sneaky picture of her with him. I can never forget the funny “what did you just do?” look he gave her when he realized what she was doing. Haha!

October 13, 2012: Bonfire!

The stage at the grade school area! I love how Nike re-designed the Blue Eagle. I think they’ve printed the design in shirts too. Mhmm. I shall be grabbing one of those!

As always, the event started with a mass. Then followed by the recognition of the winning teams. the Ateneo High School swimming team is now on its 8-peat title while the Ateneo senior swimming team and the Ateneo Badminton team also won their championships. And of course, the bida of the event – the Ateneo senior basketball team. A lot of videos were shown to show appreciation for Coach Norman Black’s excellence in spearheading the team. He surely left a legacy in the school. I think his successor would have to double his effort in order to meet the high standards Coach Black has set. I tried searching the videos in Youtube but I can’t find them. Sayang.  There was one where the players were dancing Men in Black and they were wearing shades. The other was about a documentary of the championships Ateneo has won in the UAAP basketball games. The other video was a karaoke-like performance of the players, singing their own rendition (and lyrics) of the Beatles’ song, “Hey Jude”.

Highlights of the bonfire:

Me and my bonfire mate, Mai. Hi girl! :)

The bonfire. It was lighted up by the team captains of the winning teams.

MY HAIR’S ON FIRE!

The crowd gathered in preparation for the “Song for Mary”. There was a fireworks display after but I didn’t bother taking pictures of it. I think no one can beat UST in that department. Haha!

Of course, pictures with the players :”> Okay, excuse my face. I was just really happy I saw them down the stage after the program. Trisha and I were originally planning to go to the autograph signing event held earlier that afternoon. But then stuff happened and I decided not to go anymore. But teehee. Thanks to Miguel Escueta – who was the performer during this time – I got the chance to go on a bathroom break and walk away from the stage for a while. Hahaha!

With my crush, Juami Tiongson #5 and Von Pessumal #19 . Ahhh. Juami <3 <3 <3

With Trisha’s crush, Tonino Gonzaga #7. Okay this does look like a couple shot. Yes? And okaaay just to make things clear, I got shocked when he did this pose. Hahahaha. Aaand haha to be honest, this picture gives an unsolicited kilig whenever I see it. Sorry, Trisha. =))

SO MUCH FOR THOSE FANGIRL PICTURES!

On to the next attraction: the performers/Ateneo alumni of the night!

Spongecola

Rico Blanco – the most awesome performer of the night!

Chicosci

Miguel Escueta and Itchyworms performed too! Well I don’t really care about the former but I kinda regret I didn’t watch Itchyworms perform. It was already 1:30am that time and they were the last to perform. We decided to just skip them because we were already tired and we still have to talk about our thesis.

Some of my blockmates! From left to right: Gianna, Trisha, Mike, Mai, and Sarah! Thank you for cheering and singing and screaming with me during the bonfire! Here’s to our last bonfire as undergrads!  Cheers!

Ending my night with a smile…

…and a dash of spontaneity. <3 (c/o Marlo Francisco)

c/o Marlo Francisco

School Spirit

One of the many things that I will sorely miss in the Ateneo once I graduate is the hype and intensity of the crowd every UAAP season. I think it is pretty much obvious that our school is a big basketball fanatic and we put more attention to it and its players more than the other sports. It is a bit biased, yes. But coming from a country whose most popular sport is basketball, it is not much of a wonder anymore.

Ateneo vs La Salle: semi-finals (September 29, 2012)

Given my workload for this semester, I have totally given up my hopes on watching a live basketball game , let alone watch an Ateneo-La Salle game, which is a must if you are an Atenean (and you kinda won’t get why if you don’t study in either university). To prove how tough the rivalry is, my LS professor, who is a true-blue Atenean and basketball afficionado, said that there was a time where scalpers sold Patron tickets for an Ateneo-La Salle finals game for 75,000 php. Each. And people actually bought them. Talk about being dirty rich.

Well I was actually ready to scratch it off my bucket list and forget that I ever wrote it down when my friend, who has his means of getting tickets without lining up early, offered us tickets to the ADMU-DLSU game in upper B seats at the big dome. I was shocked and thankful at the same time. And heck, I was ready to put one Saturday off despite the threatening signs of a hell week next week. It was an answered prayer.

This was the only shot that I was able to take because my phone went dead during the third quarter. The Blue Babble Battalion just spelled BLUE amidst the sea of green. I think I will forever regret not being able to fulfill my cheerleading dream. Hay. In another life, maybe?

My forever game buddy! Hi Sarah! :) Too bad Gabby wasn’t here. He was the one who gave us tickets. Thanks Gab! Anyway, Ateneo won over La Salle and the Ateneo crowd’s roar, jeers, and cheers dominated the Araneta Coliseum. It was a nice and well-played game and I screamed my lungs out and heart out all through out. We almost lost. Good thing Ravena managed to turn the game upside down by scoring 12 points straight for the team. Someone said that he didn’t want to have a Game 2 anymore because he has Econ long test next week. Hah. I wonder if that’s true.

Then came the Song for Mary. I’m a bit ashamed that I haven’t memorized it by heart and I was just guessing half of the lyrics of our Alma Mater song. It sounded nice and solemn and I couldn’t be more willing to raise my fist in the air in honor of our university and of Mary (whom the Jesuit community extremely looks up to). I remember waking up with a sore throat but meh, I regret nothing. The Ateneo-La Salle rivalry, especially in basketball, is really something to look forward to. And I’m thankful that I was able to witness such a heart-stopping event despite the upcoming hell weeks!

Ateneo vs UST: Finals Game 1 (October 6, 2012)

When my friend told me that the first game of the finals will be held in MOA, I signed up for an account in smtickets.com. They usually sell tickets online whenever games are held there and there is no limit as to the number of tickets you can buy. But for some unlucky reason, they decided to put on hold the online ticket selling and followed the “traditional” way of getting tickets – waking up REALLY early and lining up for your life.

But then the gods and goddesses of luck have favored me again because Gabby was able to get tickets for us (again). On top of that, I accidentally found additional two upper B tickets under the table of a diner. Haha! That all happened on a Friday night, the day before the game, while I was having a couple of beers with my high school girl friends.

 

I remembered Bianca’s face when I showed her the tickets I found. I wasn’t sure that time if they were legit tickets since I was already in a happy place that time. I shoved them up to her face and asked, “tickets ba to o nahihilo lang ako?” And then she said they really were tickets to the game. Lucky, eh? So there I was, holding three precious tickets, while the others who bothered waking up early and lining up in MOA or in school only got (at most) two.

First person I thought of giving the first ticket is Trisha. Since Mai and Sarah already have their own, I decided to give her one to complete the gang. The other ticket, I planned on giving to my sister.

But she refused; she said she had to review. Meh. So I went after the second person I have in mind, Miguel. But he wasn’t replying to my texts, nor was he answering my calls.  The news that I have a spare ticket have already reached the ears (and eyes) of my blockmates and Atenean friends and they were calling and texting and asking me if they could bid for it. But I held on to it because I wasn’t really sure if Miguel would get it or not. Plus, I didn’t want to sell it to them since I got it for free. When he finally picked up the phone at 12pm, he sounded really sleepy. It turned out he had a terrible hangover from last night’s session with his cousins and said he couldn’t come.

Now I have a spare ticket in my hand and I don’t have any idea to whom I should give it to. And sakto, a Thomasian friend (whom I liked before) texted me and said he doesn’t have duty in the afternoon. We were just talking weeks ago about watching the game live if ever UST and Ateneo make it to the finals round. I told him I have a spare ticket but it’s on the blue side. I wasn’t really expecting him to get it because 1. it’s been ages since I last (and first) saw him, 2. it’s on the blue side, 3. aside from a girl friend, our other common connection (who is also the person who introduced me to him) is my ex. But then he said he’s cool with it and that he’d still be able to watch the game even if it’s on the blue side. I jokingly told him that he’d better wear blue.

 Aaaaand he did. Haha. Hi Wes!

My other game buddy, Trisha! :D Hehz. Happy to have helped you watch a live game! I know we both needed this break. Fangirling with you is one of the highlights of the game!

The view from the Upper B. It’s like the Gen Ad of the big dome already. It was like watching a quidditch game. It was also a bit scary to stand up and cheer because the elevation is kinda steep and I felt like I’m gonna fall if I wave my hands too violently or if I jump up and down on my seat (which I did in the Ateneo-La Salle game). Good thing I’m not scared of heights. But some of the people in the crowd are and it would be stupid if I were the only one cheering like a crazy monkey in the crowd. In my opinion Araneta, despite being old and tattered, is still better than MOA Arena.

This was also taken before the game started. Notice the empty seats? They got filled up by the second quarter. Also, I love the solidness of UST’s color. Their crowd even had balloon clappers. It was an intense fight and by the fourth quarter, the coaches of both teams too were already heated up and they were contesting the referees’ calls. We still won, though. Thanks to Salva who scored 30 big points in the game. :)

 Up by only 5 points! It was a hard win and I was scared for game 2. UST was very competitive and their team is a shooting team. I just wished my sister was there with me. It could have been more fun and more exciting if we were sitting side by side with each other, cheering for our respective Alma Maters.

What I did not appreciate though is how the UST crowd kept on booing until the end, even after our Alma Mater song started playing. I didn’t even realize that the Song for Mary was already halfway through because it got drowned in the jeers and boos of those in yellow. Good thing my seatmate didn’t join them, else I would have pushed him out of his seat. Haha! I kid. A bit.

And then issues about the game surfaced and mean articles from an esteemed student publication in the other school were released. And to make things worse, issues about racism also got into the news. But those are other stories. And I guess, the sudden appearance of such news only goes to show how tight and intense the rivalry was between the Ateneo and UST. Even more intense than the rivalry between the green and the blue this season.

Ateneo vs UST: Finals Game 2 (Oct 11, 2012)

This time, luck didn’t side on me.

I had test at exactly the time of the game was held and I couldn’t rush it because it was really hard and it only consisted of four essay questions — which means to say that each number is worth 20 to 30 points. We tried asking our professor (who looked like she does not have a tiny bit of a care about basketball) to move the time of our test for the “convenience” of everyone. But she refused. She even came in 10 minutes late. Guh. So we started the test at 3:40 and my heart sank when I read the first question. I had a feeling that I won’t be able to watch the 2nd game.

It was 5pm when the people outside our room started to scream and cheer. Yes, I could hear screams from the outside because TVs were set up almost everywhere in the campus and students who just finished their tests and couldn’t make it to the big dome came together and watched the game in school. I knew right then that the game must be in the third quarter already. I was down to the last question and I couldn’t think of anything anymore. Everytime I come up with an idea, I immediately lose it because the audience outside would suddenly cheer and chant “One Big Fight!” So I did what I think is the “right” thing to do. I just wrote whatever it is that came into my mind and passed my paper without looking back — shotgun move right there. Again, no regrets.

I rushed to the Leong Auditorium where I’m sure the game was being shown on a white screen through a projector. My friends saved a seat for me at the front (even though they weren’t sure if I could come, huhu, such good friends I have!) but I couldn’t go to them because the auditorium was so full. I found a friend at the back and she had a spare chair beside her. I elbowed my way to her and finally settled myself HAH! I still had 6 minutes left in the game.

So this was what I had witnessed. Haha! It felt like I was in Araneta, too! People also raised their hands with their index fingers up signaling a point for the free throw shooter. Students, faculty members, and non-faculty members all gathered together to support our players. In this kind of situation, who couldn’t feel the school spirit? I remember seeing the same scene two years ago, when we were fighting for our third championship against FEU. We were also in Leong that time and we were all up on our seats when Buenafe shot that winning shot.

Ateneo up by 3 — 7 seconds remaining. Longest 7 seconds of my life.

Some students at the back were already shouting, “Tapusin niyo na yan! May Accounting test pa kami!” There were even a group that said, “40 minutes na kaming late sa Psych test namin! Bonfire na please!” Haha! Couldn’t blame them. OH, MESSED UP PRIORITIES. =))

AAAAND WE SEALED IT! :D

5 CHAMPIONSHIPS IN A ROW, BABY! It was a historical win. When Coach Norman Black first entered the Ateneo Basketball Team as a head coach, he got into the finals against UST. We lost that time. 6 years after, and also his final year as a head coach, he made a comeback and I couldn’t think of a more glorious way of stepping down. In the words of Boom Gonzalez, “Coach Norman Black will be walking away with his head held high and his 5 fingers all spread out.” The last scene shown on the television was him hugging Pido Jarencio despite the latter’s racist comments in the first game. Read the article, guys! Coach Norman’s reply moved me. Haha!

The Bonfire was scheduled on Saturday, October 12, 2012 and a mass at the Gesu was scheduled at 8:30pm. I attended both events. They deserve a separate post. :)

The Church of Gesu all lighted up for the welcoming of the athletes and the thanksgiving mass. :)

Well one might say, “Sus, basketball lang yan” and I couldn’t blame him or her if that’s what s/he thinks. I actually wonder if the other schools also have this kind of school spirit. Maybe. But believe me, it’s more than the game. It’s how the Ateneans are able to unite and show their passion and support for one another that truly amaze me. And I strongly think that these values do not only show up during basketball games; I have seen these too, even stronger and more passionate, during times of calamities and disasters. I don’t even know if I have established the connection properly. Haha. But you know, there’s an “unexplainable” warmth whenever we gather together and act as one towards a certain goal. It makes me feel worthy, accepted, and loved. It makes me feel important, that I’m not just simply a student in this school and that my being “Atenean” is both a privilege and a responsibility to change whatever it is that needs to be changed in my family, in my community, and eventually, in my country. One step at a time.

Eagles don’t usually come in groups. But when they do, they make an impact.

O Kay Sarap Maging Atenista.

We Meet Again

After a very memorable weekend, I am, again, burying myself with mountainous pile of school works and readings. I have three long tests this week and I’m thankful that 1) my German test got moved to next week and 2) our ASD team building tomorrow til Wednesday was postponed due to the inclement weather. And instead of staying at the condo reading a good book while munching some popcorn and eating a tub of ice cream, I am back at my favorite coffee shop. For some reason, I find it easier to study here — with the sight of other people doing their own businesses and the presence of white noise. I like it that way.

Too much silence is deafening. It makes me fall asleep.

As for last weekend, it was probably one of the best weekends for this year. I didn’t realize how much I missed acting until I was off in the stage doing my part. The three days went by so fast and I’m a bit sad that it would take some time til I get to see all of them again. But then, I still have a lot of things to look forward to and one of those includes the upcoming Ateneo Law School trip this Saturday.

Okay 15 minutes is up! Back to work.

Late Night Musings

I’m supposed to be doing our Deutsch Referat for Thursday but I got so distracted by the stuff people post in Facebook – mainly about the upcoming AEGIS photoshoot and graduation videos. Here are my batchmates, looking forward to our 2013 graduation while I’m here trying to think of ways how to get by day after day. I can’t even bring myself to look forward to the photoshoot, let alone graduation, given that I have a lot of deadlines to meet this week. Also, my friend told me that senior write-ups are due (also) this August and that they tweaked the topic a little bit. Instead of the usual “write something about yourself”, they’re going to ask us to “write about the most memorable experience you’ve had in your college life” and encapsulate it in 500 characters (I’m not sure though if spaces will be counted, too). Now, I know that the AEGIS team is trying its best to create the best yearbook; yet I can’t help but ask how is it possible for us to have a nice write-up when 1) it’s due on a hell month and 2) the year hasn’t ended yet – I mean, what if the best is yet to come? And usually, the most memorable are found at the end. So I guess I’m just going to write about JTA (like I always do) and if ever, through the course of my last year in Ateneo, another experience tops it off, then I guess I’ll have to relay it through other means just so I could give justice to it.

Just last week, my friends and I made a list of the things we want or need to do before we graduate. I know bucket lists are kinda overrated and I personally don’t like the idea of trying to compress everything that we should have done but didn’t do in the past three to four years. Why do people have to wait for the end in order to pluck up the courage and fulfill what their hearts desire? Risk aversion, I guess?

I really have no idea. And I won’t deny that I shared that trait, too.

Anyhow, our list contains meaningful and ridiculous things alike. From going to each and every restaurant in Katipunan (I personally don’t think we can do this – I’ve been a dormer for three years now and I can simply count with my fingers the number of restaurants that I’ve already visited), attending simbang gabi in Gesu (even if we’re not all Catholics), eating in LST cafeteria, wearing boots and scarfs in school, jumping into the Rizal fountain, to hugging a huggable professor (my personal recommendation haha!). Of of course, the list won’t end there. Those are just the preliminaries.

As for the photoshoot, well, I’m so NOT ready for it. I think it would require some magic in order to hide my bulging eye-bags.  Plus, I still haven’t figured out my hair’s zip code. Not to mention the awkward poses and projections. Ugh. I would really need a miracle to get through this one.

And lastly, the blue rose. They say it’s an Atenean tradition in which during the “graduation party”, you are to give a blue rose to the person who really inspired you in your college life. It would be better if that person is unsuspecting (but of course, if one has a girlfriend or a boyfriend, then it’s already a giveaway). It may be the guy in your first year Chemistry class whom you never talked to yet you always look out for in SecWalk or JSEC. Or that volleyball star player whom you always cheer for during UAAP games yet never actually got the courage to personally wish her a good luck. Or maybe your bestfriend whom you’re secretly in love with for the past four years. I don’t know when and how this crazy tradition started but I think it’s a pretty good idea; you know, leaving a legacy and stuff. It’s like saying that graduation is the symbol for our victory in overcoming all trials and hindrances – be it in academics or in expressing our emotions. But as of now, I still don’t have any who the recipient of my blue rose will be. I thought of one, but I doubt that he’ll attend.

Sigh. I didn’t know it could be this stressful.

Starting Anew: The First Of The Last.

This semester marks – hopefully (or not) – the last first semester of my college life. And even though it’s just the second week, I am already certain that this is going to be a memorable one. Not as memorable as my third year but really, this is one of the semesters that I will really look back on because of a series of events – fortunate and unfortunate alike. Well to start, I was not able to get a Theo subject this semester because I was “randomly” placed in third batch. Given that I’m taking 26 units this sem (which is over-overload), it’s hard for me to choose my subjects’ time slots without overlapping with one another. But thank God, everything still turned out well. Theo-less, but still well.

Second, I feel like I’m back to being a first year again – sans the awkwardness of walking or eating alone. Through my 4 years of stay in Ateneo, I have come to learn how to be comfortable being on my own. And by “on my own”, I don’t mean the “I’m-so-emo-and-the-world-hates-me” type of alone. It’s the type wherein I can go to places, do errands, and eat whenever and wherever because I know there are really times that everyone has to mind his or her own business. And believe it or not, I am actually not that comfortable dragging people around to places I need to go to. Though I really appreciate my friends’ company at times. And I do miss them so bad. Well actually, I became quite clingy given that we got stuck with each other like a superglue – literally and figuratively – for a whole year. But since I’m traveling a different path as of the moment (having taken up German as a minor and not business-related stuff like what some of my friends did), I’m finding it hard to find common breaks between my schedule and their schedule. And while I really do not mind eating, studying, or even going to the toilet alone, I cannot deny that I really do miss having them around. Selfish as it may sound, I hate the thought that they’re out there having fun and being stressed together in classes I’m not in. But I’m still thankful that I get to live in a condo with some of my friends for my last (again, hopefully!) school year. That’s really something I look forward at the end of the day.

The third thing that would make this semester memorable is that I intend to live by the Ateneo’s magic word, MAGIS. I know, I know, that’s supposed to be a given. But hey, I’m trying to double my efforts now. This is going to be my last year and I need good grades. Without my usual classmates and groupmates, I know some things need to change (especially my study habits). And since most of my classes do not require groupwork, my grades on those subjects would solely come from me. But I’ll get by. With God’s help, I know I always will.

Fourth, I’m beginning to learn about myself more. It’s something that I cannot describe vividly and put into words but in a nutshell, I recognize some things that I still want to do (or do again) whenever I am by myself. For instance, I want to re-learn how to play the piano. It’s been ages since I last touched the keys. I want to have my own bookshelf with glass doors because having a bookshelf with my sister’s med books on it does not do justice to my collection. I want to write more. I want to buy a canvass and get my hands dirty with paint. I want to design stuff. I want to do other things aside from the usual acads and (sometimes) org stuff. The more I do school-related things, the more I desire to do something different. Something outrageous yet fun. It’s like my creative side (believe it or not, I DO have one) is trying to push its way up and balance things out. My mom would often say I don’t have that much time in my hands to do everything I want to do. But I want to do more. I NEED to do more, else I’ll get burned out.

Talk about pushing yourself “beyond” the limit.