First Christmas Without Her

When we go to church every Sunday, I always notice a couple who I think are on their 80’s. Although they’re very old, I can definitely still see and feel their love for each other. They look very happy.

I remember in July 2016, they had to sit close to us because the church was packed. I could hear the old man singing so beautifully. Before leaving, the old man handed us a prayer pamphlet. It was a devotion to St. Joseph. The old lady had a very sweet smile.

Sometime in October 2016, the church recognized all the couples who celebrated their wedding anniversary. This couple was one of them. I heard they celebrated their 57 years together. So after the mass, I came up to them to congratulate them. I told them that they are an inspiration to young married couples like us. I saw the old lady’s face beaming and they proudly talked about their kids, grand kids, and great grand children. I gave them a hug and said bye.

In November 2016, I noticed that the old man was alone. For a few weeks, I wanted to come up to him to ask how he was but never got the chance. I had a feeling and I hope I was wrong.

Last night, my eyes were fixed on the old man. It is a week before Christmas and I decided to greet him a Merry Christmas in advance after the service. His name is Raul. It is the first Christmas without her after 57 years. He said he always sees her in spirit.

We talked for a while. I mentioned about my Dad who passed away last year. Somehow when I see Raul he reminds me of him. Same age. Both wearing their favorite beige/khaki jacket. After mentioning about my Dad, Raul said at age 82. I was so shocked how he knew that my Dad was 82 when he died. He said it just came to his mind and that the spirit works in mysterious ways. I gave him a hug and told him that I’ll pray for his  beautiful and sweet wife.

I know I will be seeing Raul by himself every church time, and I pray that I will see him for a very long time. I can’t help but think again about the bitter reality of growing old, death, dying, and being left alone. And for us who are left behind, we have to live and keep going.

I also remember my Tatay (Dad) and Mommy who were together for 53 years. This January 2017 is supposed to be their 55th Anniversary. Here is a photo of them taken by my sister that year  before he passed away. One of the most beautiful and meaningful photos I keep.

tay-and-mommy

 

 

 

Catching Up With Cindy Kurleto

Thanks to writing. I started to see through things clearly. I am able to look deep inside and know myself a little bit more. I have become aware of my existence, of the life around me, of living, of being human, and even of my greatest fear, death.
One of the many things I have come to realize is that my life is too short to be mad, sad, or miserable. I have to overcome these emotions as they exist. I have to find out an outlet, my passion, and do things that make me happy. I have learned that playing the flute and blogging are one my favorite things at this stage of my life!
Moreover, I also realized that it is important to surround myself with people and things that will make me grow, that will inspire me, and make me happy. People and things that give out positive vibes and make us realize more the kindness and beauty of life. We can not always choose 100% of the time but we can still do something.
Even in my social media account (Instagram), I only choose to follow people who inspire me. There are indeed a lot of great people around the globe, and I wish I have all the time to write about them.  These inspirations crossing my path are part of my journey. Thus, I recognize and appreciate them through writing.
For instance, I wrote about the flutist who inspires me to do better, Bevani. Please read about her and check her Youtube Channel (Bevani Flute). Now, it is my pleasure to feature this wonderful lady. I never knew her personally but when I was younger I saw her from TV commercials in the Philippines.She was a VJ, model, actress. She has one of the most beautiful faces in Philippine Television. Meet Cynthia or better known as Cindy Kurleto! I do not remember how I found her in Instagram but when I saw her, I left a comment on her post about how glad I was to see her. She responded and she was very nice to everyone. We found out that we have the same birthdays too (and year)! What struck me was seeing how she has found love and happiness in her private life now. She has left the world of show business to fulfill her destiny to be where she is right now, a loving wife and mother. So let’s catch up with Cindy! 

Birthday Message From Me

Thirty seven years ago.

Today I remember my parents who brought me out to this world and raised me, my family who made me whole, and God who gave me life.

I personally would like to thank all the people who took time to greet me. It is heartwarming, as we say it in Filipino (nakakataba ng puso) to read messages even from social media like Facebook. Just imagine each person taking time (just a few seconds) to type in their birthday greetings? It can be as simple as “HBD, Happy birthday or Enjoy your day”.  I super appreciate each thought! It means a lot to me. I feel very special on my birthday. Thank you from my heart!

I would just like to share. When I was younger, I was excited for my birthday. As a kid,  you look forward to gifts or parties. As the years went by, I felt different about it. I can say I feel a little scared because I know that I am aging. I know we should not look at it that way, but it seems like  each year I am  marching towards the end of my journey.  I am afraid to grow old. I am afraid of death. But you know what, I also feel like as years go by, it is like God is pulling me towards Him. I don’t know maybe it is the same for other people. Aging, growing old makes you reflect on the meaning of life, the meaning of existence. It is no longer about material things. It goes beyond it. My life. The people I love and care about.

For people who really know me, I am not so much into parties or big gatherings.   I love people and  I love my friends. But truly, I am really more of an introvert. My former boss (Dennis) said, today that I should do something fun. Fun for me is reading all my family and friends’ greetings. Writing about what I feel and maybe “fluting” later. I felt very inspired too that one of our school former teacher (who is now a conductor of an Orchestra) wished me a happy birthday. He told me to keep fluting! : )  It meant so much to me. Today I feel really special because my hubby took off from work and will just spend the day with me. He will take me out to lunch. Will also do something fun with the kids later. I told my children last night that they are my greatest birthday gifts ever!

One last thing. I wish to grow more in wisdom. I want to be more appreciative of each moment. I am not perfect and will never be. And this world isn’t too. We can not please everybody. That is one lesson I have learned. Some people still won’t like me. But some do love me!!!  And I guess growing in wisdom is like learning how to strike a balance, knowing your focus or priorities, and accepting some facts about living. Lastly, is giving your darn best to be good. Just be a good wife, a good mom, a good person.

Wishing you a happy life as well! Thank you for everything!!!

birthday37

 

 

Promoting Values

Literally, every time I watch this commercial, tears flow from my eyes. No matter how many times I have seen it. It is funny how my children look at me or call me whenever it is on.

I guess I think about my daughter and my husband.  I think about my dad. I think about childhood and parenting. Children growing up. People growing old. I ponder on the cycle of life. Of how we all have common experiences in life. And no matter how sad or scary, we all have to go through it. And of course, never fail to see the happiness and beauty that also come with it.

 

First Of March

There was a time when my head was filled with thoughts. I had to write them down. They were overflowing. My heart was filled with emotions. I had to let them out.

I am not sure if it has something to do with the sudden loss of a loved one. But after that event, it seems like I have nothing much to say. Maybe my mind is still full of him. Or my heart still grieves.

I have not been writing as much. Instead I focus on music. I find it comforting. Healing. Some of the clips I share to my Instagram account (khris_79).

I know I will be back on track someday. For now, I will just let things be.

I hope you are doing fine as well as you read this. Keep inspiring others. Keep searching for that passion. Do things that will make you happy. Happy life. God bless you all.

 

 

Do You Know Your Roots?

I have always been interested in the family tree. When I was young, we used to go to one of our grandfather’s home, Arsenio. He had our family tree painted on his walls. I thought it was amazing to see all these people coming from one tree. From then on, it got me curious.

I was in grade school when I interviewed a great grandfather in our family. He was called Lolo (Grand father) Marcial. His wife was my great-grandfather’s (Lamberto) youngest sister, Paula.  I had a little notebook where I wrote down the names of my ancestors and how people were related to each other. The journal is no longer in my possession for years now. I will definitely look for it when I get back to the Philippines. For now, I only rely on asking family members.

Not everybody is interested to get to know their family members especially the new generation. The past may not be of their concern right now.  We tend to be very busy in our own little worlds. However, I believe a time will come when they will see the value or delight in tracing their roots and recognizing blood ties or blood relations.

I am writing this for the generations to come especially for my children and their children, and to all my descendants. With this, they can have a glimpse of the past, where they come from, where they belong, and have an appreciation of being part of a big family.

I am always amazed when I think about the many lives, families, and generations that come to life from two people who chose to start a family. I wanted to trace four sides (blood lines of my grandparents from both Father and Mother’s sides) but it would certainly take a lot of time and work. Maybe in the future I will be able to do so. For now, I am going to write about my grandfather’s line (father’s side), the Lazaro clan.  Below is an old photo shared by my Auntie Victoria (Arsenio’s daughter) which she got from Lola  Zeny (daughter of Marcial and Paula).

family

This is the portrait of my great grandparents (at the center) named Paulina Cuevas Guinto and his husband, Lamberto Lazaro with their five sons.

THE GREAT-GREAT-GREAT- GRANDPARENTS

Sebastian Cuevas and Gregoria Javier  are the names of my great- great-great-grandparents or third great grandparents. Their daughter is Petronila Cuevas, who is my great-great grandmother or second great-grandmother. Her daughter is Paulina Cuevas Guinto, my first great-grandmother (the one in the photo above). I remember their names (Petronila, Paulina, and all the grandfathers on the photo above) whenever we would visit their graves on All Souls’ Day in Bacoor Catholic Cemetery in the Philippines.

I just found out a few days ago from my Uncle Edgardo (Felicisimo’s son) that Petronila Cuevas, my second great grandmother,  is the sister of Datu Kalun, a man known in Philippine history particularly in Basilan (in Mindanao). Datu is the title for chiefs, sovereign princes, and monarchs in the Visayas and Mindanao regions of the Philippines.

datu lolo

I googled him and found this:

“Pedro Javier Cuevas “Datu Kalun” was Born in Bacoor, Cavite Province on May 6, 1845 to Sebastian Cuevas and Gregoria Javier. Pedro was a hard-working, pious, and patriotic young boy. He was an expert in arnis, a Filipino martial arts which emphasizes in the use of wooden stick, bladed weapons & bare hand. At the age of 27, he was sentenced to death along with his two friends for their anti-Spanish activities which took place during the Cavite Uprising of 1872. They were charged for the death of a Spanish officer of the Guardia Civil. His punishment was commuted to life imprisonment for his non-direct involvement in the murder. He was exiled to San Ramon Penal Farm in Zamboanga, a place for political prisoners. The harsh treatment he received from the Spanish jail guards in San Ramon Penal Farm led him and six other inmates to stage a successful revolt and then escaped towards the mountains of Ayala, a nearby barangay. They crossed the Basilan Strait with a stolen vinta and landed in Malamawi Island, Basilan, only to find out that they had to face three hostile forces: The Spanish authorities, Yakans, and Sulu forces. The group led by Pedro had no choice but to fight in order to survive. His strong leadership, and his skills in diplomacy and combat earned him the respect of the natives and his fellow escapees. Spanish Colonial authority’s efforts to capture him were unsuccessful. Joined by Yakan fighters and military mutineers, Pedro’s group grew in numbers and they became an effective fighting force against the Spanish authority as well as Sulu slave-traders and pirates who frequented Basilan to collect tributes. Over the years, his group gradually conquered 26 villages – almost the entire Basilan Island, but he wittingly spared the Spanish military garrison in Isabela, which he and his followers saved from the Sulu pirates in the late 1870’s. In 1880, Fr. Pedro Llausas, a Spanish Jesuit priest in Isabela facilitated the request for the amnesty of Pedro and twenty of his fellow escapees and mutineers. He was pardoned by the Spanish Crown on July 21, 1882, during the term of Fernando Primo de Rivera, Governor General of the Philippine Islands. During a duel in the early 1880’s, Pedro Cuevas defeated Datu Calun, a leading Sulu warrior, who was sent to challenge him. Sometime in 1884-1885, the title Datu was vested on him by Ali Ud-din. He then assumed the name of Calun. Since then, Pedro Javier Cuevas came to be known in Philippine history as Datu Kalun, the undisputed ruler of Basilan and nearby islands. In 1894, he led a successful expedition to Bohe Lebbeng, a coastal village in the eastern part of Basilan against the forces of Sulu General, Datu Djulkanayin, who came all the way from Jolo in May of 1894, with his armed followers to collect tributes and assert control over the people of Basilan. The peaceful settlement of this incident showed his brilliant skills in diplomacy and strategy, thereby, affirming his position as Teniente Absoluto of Basilan. Datu Kalun’s strenuous physical life from his teenage days drained him of vigour. He passed away in Lamitan, Basilan on July 16, 1904 at the age of 59. He was succeeded by his nephew Gabino Cuevas Pamaran known as Datu Murusalun. Among Datu Kalun’s significant achievements in Basilan were the imposition of justice system, introduction of efficient farming method, economic and social development, consolidation of the Basileños, and freedom from Sulu pirates, slave traders and Spanish incursions. These made him a great leader of his time. Datu Kalun was a patriot to his countrymen, a hero to his followers, and an icon to his family. Edwin F. Pamaran

datu

Other links where you can find information about him:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Basilan#Conquest_of_Lamitan

http://lgulamitan.page4.me/47.html

http://www.lamitancity.gov.ph/html/historicalplaces.html

Credit to my history teacher, Fernando Santiago for sharing the next link:

http://quod.lib.umich.edu/p/philamer/ACX1716.1903.002/1228?rgn=full+text;view=image;q1=datu+kalun

THE GRANDFATHERS

Lamberto Lazaro, my first great-grandfather, has four other siblings: Maria Inocente, Isidro “Idong” Lazaro, Antonio “Toyong” Lazaro, and Paula Lazaro Reyes. I could not trace anymore Lamberto’s parents, my great-great grandparent.

Lamberto as shown in the picture above has five sons: From Left to Right, Dominador, Francisco, Amado, Arsenio (beside Paulina), and Felicisimo (beside Lamberto).

Amado died during World War II and I do not know any information about Francisco. Dominador, Arsenio and Felicisimo were lawyers in profession. Felicisimo was the youngest of the brothers and has been known to be a living legend. He was a sharpshooting police colonel and famously known as the “Tulisan.” http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/8187/the-true-value-of-war

tulisan

Dominador was the eldest among the five brothers. He is my grandfather. He was a criminal lawyer and later on worked as Legal Counsel to the Police District. Dominador’s children are (from eldest to youngest): Lourdes, Hermoso, Dominador Jr., Aurora, Adelaida, Reynaldo and Rosalina.

Hermoso is my father. He was a lawyer and he worked for the National Bureau of Investigation and retired as a Deputy Director. He has three children: Khristine (me), Hermoso Jr., and Kathrine.

For the future generation, you can write your own family tree story. Dedicated to Andrei Santino, Kirsten Ava, Julianna Louise, Carmillia Nicole, Hermoso Dominador III, and Celestine.

To each of you who is part of this big family, remember that you are precious in the eyes of our ancestors. Indeed, we have grown in different branches, different directions. Some of us may not be close emotionally due to circumstances or physical distance.  But keep in mind that we will always be related by blood! We are family.

 

family like branches

 

Prayer for Healing
the Family Tree
Rev. John H. Hampsch, CMF

Heavenly Father, I come before you as your child, in great need of your help; I have physical health needs, emotional needs, spiritual needs, and interpersonal needs. Many of my problems have been caused by my own failures, neglect and sinfulness, for which I humbly beg your forgiveness, Lord. But I also ask you to forgive the sins of my ancestors whose failures have left their effects on me in the form of unwanted tendencies, behavior patterns and defects in body, mind and spirit. Heal me, Lord, of all these disorders.

With your help I sincerely forgive everyone, especially living or dead members of my family tree, who have directly offended me or my loved ones in any way, or those whose sins have resulted in our present sufferings and disorders. In the name of your divine Son, Jesus, and in the power of his Holy Spirit, I ask you, Father, to deliver me and my entire family tree from the influence of the evil one. Free all living and dead members of my family tree, including those in adoptive relationships, and those in extended family relationships, from every contaminating form of bondage. By your loving concern for us, heavenly Father, and by the shed blood of your precious Son, Jesus, I beg you to extend your blessing to me and to all my living and deceased relatives. Heal every negative effect transmitted through all past generations, and prevent such negative effects in future generations of my family tree.

I symbolically place the cross of Jesus over the head of each person in my family tree, and between each generation; I ask you to let the cleansing blood of Jesus purify the bloodlines in my family lineage. Set your protective angels to encamp around us, and permit Archangel Raphael, the patron of healing, to administer your divine healing power to all of us, even in areas of genetic disability. Give special power to our family members’ guardian angels to heal, protect, guide and encourage each of us in all our needs. Let your healing power be released at this very moment, and let it continue as long as your sovereignty permits.

In our family tree, Lord, replace all bondage with a holy bonding in family love. And let there be an ever-deeper bonding with you, Lord, by the Holy Spirit, to your Son, Jesus. Let the family of the Holy Trinity pervade our family with its tender, warm, loving presence, so that our family may recognize and manifest that love in all our relationships. All of our unknown needs we include with this petition that we pray in Jesus’ precious Name. Amen.

+++++++++++++++
St. Joseph, Patron of family life, pray for us

How Do You Explain Falling In Love?

My seven year old boy saw some photos from my phone. They were pictures from my wedding day. One is when my father was walking me down the isle.  The other was when he kissed me and gave me away.

I explained to my boy how the wedding ceremony goes particularly that symbol of giving the daughter away. As expected, he asked me a lot of questions. I am really often amazed on what children ask. As a grown up, I appreciate their purity, their innocence and their curiosity.

He was asking these:

“Why kissing goodbye?  Why do they give the daughter away?”

“Where do the parents go after the march? Does the daughter go with them? “I explained to him that she has to go with her soon to be husband. And the parents will just have to be there to watch.

“How will you know who to marry? Who chooses the person you will marry? The girl? The boy? Both? or the parents?  But there are so many people in the world…” 

In my heart I knew one day he will know the answers to his questions. That is the time when he falls in love. I simply told him that when he is a grown up, maybe he will meet someone. They will get to know each other. They will be friends. And they will fall in love. Being together is a mutual decision.

“When I get married, will I go to another country too?”  My son knew my story how I left home. I told him that it depends. He may or may not go far away. Then he added,

“Can we stay in one house then?” And I said “No. I will live in my own house.” And I know (based on experience) that if possible, that’s what a new couple need when they’re starting their life together.

He added “Can our houses be close to each other? Can we be neighbors?” I replied, “I think that is fine…”

Then he stopped asking. I guess he had an idea, and he was satisfied with my answers.