Salvation

Salvation is free,
Maturity is costly.
Backsliding is cheap,
but Salvation comes with a guarantee!

You can run away from the LORD with just a fraction of the cost to mature yourself.

But I learned that God still desires those who fell in adversity to be with Him, because they are still children of God.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

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First of May

“When I was small
and Christmas trees were tall,
I used to laugh
and I used to play.
Don’t ask of why
why time has passed up by,
someone else could be far far away.”

First of May, 2013.

It’s time again for the unemployed to search for a decent job. Lots of vacancies here and there. Excitement and anticipation in the air.

But am I ready?

At the surface, I am excited to finally land to a job that fits my field of interest. I’m so excited to work for a company in need for someone who understands the bits and pieces of technology. Someone who knows the trends that can improve the company in the IT setting.

But deep inside, it feels to me that I am not ready yet.

If anything, it could be that I am still fresh from those achievements I got during graduation. Maybe I lost my energy from doing my Special Problem. Maybe I am still pressured by my family’s expectations of me.

But nevertheless, the anticipation is still there. Yet there is something I should outgrow.

It’s something I don’t really know, but it is there inside me.

“Now we are tall,
and Christmas trees are small,
now you don’t ask the time of day.
But you and I,
our love would never die.
‘Cause kids don’t cry
come First of May.”

Enjoying till the End

18 April 2013, University of the Philippines Mindanao, 12:00pm.

In less than 24 hours, I will be a graduate of UP Mindanao. It has been a wonderful six years in this institution. All the anticipation, the aspirations, the suffering, the pain, the struggles, the relief and all the joy I have had here will be cherished forever.

As I sit on one of the white, graffiti-marked benches of the Atrium, I begin to reminisce those first days here. The Admin building wasn’t painted yet. Some of the roads weren’t paved yet. The canteen shack of Ate Marichu. The “giant ashtray.” The trek to Kanluran. But what remained was the nature that enveloped in this learning haven secluded from the hustle and bustle of downtown Davao life. It made my stay here even more enlivening and interesting.

The birds that chirp each and every day, the occasional moos of cows and carabaos, the splatter of green flora, the fresh air of the uplands, all have reminded me how privileged I am to pass the UPCAT and be able to study here. Never in my life would I experience this opportunity.

Would I have studied elsewhere here in Davao, would I experience the same thing I enjoyed in UPMin all these years? To be frank, it’s an absolute NO. Yes, I will be nearer to my family but I think I wouldn’t experience that sort of tranquility and freedom I got from UPMin. It’s absolutely different.

Now that I am to bid farewell to this second home for a good six years, I will definitely miss this place. Sobra. Grabe. Über. When I wear my Sablay tomorrow, that would be the time this experience would end, at least temporarily.

Thanks UP Mindanao. Until we meet again.

The Desires of My Heart

Praise to the LORD Jesus Christ, who is risen from the dead and reigns forever and ever. Amen!

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” (Proverbs 16:3)

My college graduation is coming near, and I have the urge to seek what the desires of my heart are, according to what the Lord has planned for me. All these years I have sought for a solution to ease my doubts and strengthen my faith. As of now, all my search end up with more questions in my mind:

Will I be able to attend a Christian church that does not demand much my presence nor my money?

Can I safely join a Christian congregation that my family may not approve of, even if my conviction thinks otherwise because they serve the Lord in truth?

Will I be bothered when my family demands my presence in their religious activities even if the Lord tells me it’s wrong?

Can I stand the demands of my work which may include that my personal time with the Lord is lessened?

Can I live a healthy Christian life even if I may be diagnosed with something I haven’t known for years?

There are even more of these questions coming into my mind right now as I go through this journey. But for now, I have the Lord Jesus Christ who will help me as I commit my plans to Him. I know it will be a difficult journey for me, but I know Jesus and His Father in heaven will guide me through.

I thank the Lord for this wonderful journey I had in the six years I had in college. As I transition to the bigger challenges ahead, may He guide me to deliver me the desires of my heart according to His will.

“To Thee, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, For Thou hast given me wisdom and power; Even now Thou hast made known to me what we requested of Thee, For Thou hast made known to us the king’s matter.” (Daniel 2:23)

What if the Azkals Did Not Qualify for the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup (part 1)

Image

(photo from interaksyon.com)

The fixtures for Group E of the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup qualification round is getting near. And it will be held in Manila. And expectations are high for the Philippine national football team, also known as the Azkals, who won Third Place in the 2012 Challenge cup main tournament. And it will be no easy task.

In anticipation of the tournament, many Filipino football fans are getting excited to see their own team take on the challenge again for the 2014 edition of the tournament.

I may be excited as well, but as my fellows at usapangfootball.com have argued, failing to qualify for the 2014 main draw will have a massive impact, not just for the team, but for Philippine football in general.

So I present to you a worst-case scenario that every Pinoy football fan must prepare if the Azkals won’t qualifyBut please, don’t take it seriously, yet.

But first, critics on the media and on the Web have pointed out the blunders of Hans Michael Weiss during his first two years as head coach of the Azkals. They have blamed on his tactical and relationship incapacity for the bad things the team had experienced in the last two years. If you want to see the longest, the most comprehensive and the most heated discussion over the Web about him, read through the Is there a need to replace Coach Weiss thread on UsapangFootball.

Weiss was given a contract extension six weeks after he his previous contract expired. And that transition period was filled with mud-slinging, cussing, and accusation against Weiss for his “bad performance,” based on the words of PFF Chair Nonong Araneta he gave out early this year. Many critical fans on the interwebs have been joyous of the six-month extension he was offered. Other supporters were not.

Weiss gave this statement when he signed the extension and leading the team to a win against Myanmar last February 6th:

“People here rather than seeing the positive, they are criticizing. We are doing everything to bring football on a higher level,” Weiss said.

“They shouldn’t say we’re just lucky and all these stuff. A little bit more positive approach from the public and fans will be appreciated.” (Source)

But we cannot help but see a reality that the innate ability of the Filipino to be very critical vocal, speculative and frank, which have been beneficial most of the time. Many Filipinos are seen to go beyond the face value when it comes to critical decisions by anyone who holds a high-profile position in the country, including in sports. And it includes Coach Weiss.

Now we move on to our main discussion.

You may have seen how other teams in Group E have been preparing for the qualification tourney, and how strong they are now, at least on paper. And you should have seen how the teams in recently-concluded Groups A, C and D have fared.

If you did see the previous performances of the recently concluded fixtures of Groups A, C and D, most of them were either high-scoring (mostly against Guam and Northern Mariana Islands) or close (1-0, 1-1 or 0-0). Bangladesh and India enjoy their healthy goal differential after their good performances. I’d still think India might qualify if the 2nd place from Group B has a worse goal difference, but then again, I cannot count Pakistan off, and how will they conquer Tajikistan and how much will they score against Macau.

The recent training camp of Turkmenistan shows that they can overcome teams with high defensive pressing, or teams high on attack. Cambodia did not look that good in the last Suzuki Cup, but at least they managed to win against strong teams like Malaysia’s U23s in a recent friendly, which look like they’re still a team that might give the Philippines a run for their money (remember the goalless draw on September last year? Many of the European-based players were there.) Brunei may look like inexperienced at some point, but because the fixtures happen to fall on FIFA match dates, their strongest players from DPMM FC could raise questions if how more (or how less) Turkmenistan and the Philippines can score against them.

So, what would be the worst case to make the Azkals receive a massive humiliation from the football community? Lose or draw against Brunei and Cambodia, let alone what happens against Turkmenistan.

The 2011 SEA Games match between the U23’s of Philippines and Brunei, in which the latter won, and the senior team’s goalless draw against Cambodia in September 2012 can set as an example. Both had European-based players. Both were coached by Weiss. Both were deemed to be the strongest squad on paper. Yet circumstances let them down. A bad pitch. Players failing to gel. Weiss’s apparent tantrums. Stephan Schroeck and Jason De Jong getting fouls. All these have happened.

Will these happen again during this year’s tournament? Some would say yes, some would say no.

But apparent in the team under Weiss, critics argue, was that the team underachieved and underperformedEven with the strongest players available, they depended on long balls, having a high backline, less ground passing, and such others. Winning Third Place in the 2012 Challenge Cup, winning the 2012 Peace Cup and getting to the semi-finals of the Suzuki Cup for the 2nd time, they argued, was an underachievement, they say, as these were tainted with controversy – Neil Etheridge getting suspended by kicking a Turkmeni player and shouting foul words on the sidelines during the match against Palestine, Phil and James Younghusband not in the lineup due to an accusation of being “prima donnas,” and the complaints from local-based players for not being included in the final squad of the Suzuki Cup.

And that’s not even the whole story yet.

(to be continued)

For Great Service

KB4U0127

January 10, 2013.

Opening day of SM SaveMore Market in Bajada Plaza, J.P. Laurel Ave., Davao City.

Many stores like these have been sprawling like butterflies all over Davao. A few months ago, a sister SM property opened – SM Lanang Premier, a massive shopping mall only 1.5 kilometres away from this store. Another few months before that, a rival mall, Abreeza, a joint project of Ayala Land and ANFLOCOR, opened.

There is another mall being constructed, Gaisano Mall of Toril. Yes, it’s in Toril, Davao City. I am sure that the people from far south of the city and the neighbouring towns of Sta. Cruz and Digos City in Davao del Sur are excited for this.

And another rival, NCCC, is planning to build another full branch in the upper barangay of Mintal, where my University is located. (Mintal already has a branch of HB1, the convenience-store arm of NCCC.) There are rumours there are more high-end malls and supermarkets to come in more areas of the city. I won’t be surprised if there will be one in the suburban districts of Buhangin, Bunawan, maybe even the upland districts of Calinan and Marilog. (By the way, Calinan just got a new branch of Jolibee!)

But it all boils down to do great service to a city that is just so huge. Yeah, Davao is geographically massive that these things should happen.

Reminding

I have only three months to go before I should graduate this year. With this short time, I need to rush things up. Now, I must redeem myself.

I bought a pad of sticky notes yesterday to keep me informed of what to do in the next few days. I know I do not have the time now to enjoy, and I should act now. So the sticky notes, which are now on the wall of my bedroom, should remind me every now and then.

It still makes me think if I could still make it that far. It’s a challenge for me to finish up what I have started. It’ll be great for me to be able to be on stage getting that diploma that I have dreamed of. And I have to be reminded of that.

I wanna go out there and be reminded that there is a world waiting for me – a world that is cruel, impatient, demanding and unforgiving. It will be hard for me not to be reminded of that.

Time is short. Now I have to remind myself.