Posts Tagged ‘Faith’


UPFC Burned Down on April Fool’s Day

April 1, 2016


UP Faculty Center during the early morning hellish moments [Photo courtesy of]

Learning that the UP Faculty Center burned down to ashes today pained me. I walked down its corridors countless times for many years even after the death of my brother Prof. Isagani R. Medina of the History Department who occupied Rm. 2020. Our Humanities Classes were held at Palma Hall but I worked and had great time with several friends from the UP CSSP and CAL Faculty until recently. I was there last February to meet Dr. Apo Chua and Dr. Ruby Alcantara who were part of my team on Project Apolinario Mabini.

I could easily emphatize with all the fire victims.  Six years before my brother passed away in 2004, we ourselves lost our house and everything in it to a fire, including the research materials for the history book my brother and I were then working on, and my own researches and materials on Vicente Salumbides, a film producer in the 20’s, and Atang de la Rama. [In fact, one of my brother’s books was launched at the UPFC garden under the auspices of CSSP.]

It is difficult to find words to describe how I feel … “panlulumo” is the closest I could think of.

It was no joke to lose everything. But as a consequence, it made me gained Courage to rise above the loss. My faith in God became stronger, and I was so full of gratitude to realize that I was not quite attached to things I possessed, [except perhaps for irretrievable family pictures and research works!!! But I have learned to let go of them anyway. I had to. Otherwise, I’d wallow in self-pity perhaps, and waste my time crying for things that can never be replicated after all]. Though the material loss was great, I did not cry then or shed a single tear because everyone in the family were spared — my then disabled brother, my octogenarian mother, and my child. In an event like this, the lives of our loved ones matter more than anything else.


Daily Prompt: Quote Me

January 7, 2013

“What is happening to you is not the problem. It is your attitude to what is happening that is the problem.”

I don’t remember where I read and got this quotation but it has served me and saved me from a lot of “internal” worries. So much so, that I have made three copies and tacked them in corners of the house where I work or sit most of the time during  the troublesome phase in my life to remind me and fortify myself emotionally. It became a favorite and a useful quote that I share with friends in trouble, who suffer from undue worry.

One concrete example that I can share with you is when we lost our house and everything in it because of the fire caused by faulty electrical wiring that occurred — of all places, in my room. I wasn’t there when it happened. When I returned, our neighbor’s houses, about 10 of them were also gone. The blame was put on us. Outside the family, nobody would want to talk to me, I started feeling like an outcast. But who’d want that to happen in the first place? Had I known I would have transferred my most valuable documents and things, right? But knowing that I am not guilty of anything, understanding and recognizing that the neighbor’s reactions are actually affecting me negatively, I worked on using reverse psychology — in myself. Putting into heart the above quotation, I first thought and only focused on God as the One and Only to cling to. At that point when I was in “Me Against the World” mode, I fortified myself by turning to the Supreme Power and by taking a positive attitude that shielded me from negative ambiance. Coupled with another quotation, I tacked a verse from the Bible that gave me added unexplainable “power” through Faith: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Acceptance of the loss was the key and negative attitude of others the peripherals, a natural human reaction. I must not be affected as persecution complex would just prosper and overpower me. I disregarded them and what they were thinking and focused on rebuilding our house again. With God in me, positive thinking, and positive mental attitude, I survived! And soon in talking terms with those same neighbors again…

12 years since then, I still have the two quotations tacked on the wall in my room.


Daily Prompt – Fight or Flight / Fire

November 27, 2012

I remember vividly the time after midnight when I went home in March 1998. As I walked down the road towards the street where I live, I saw water gushing down. It was summer so where could the water be coming from, I wondered. There was no electricity either. As I come nearer to our place, my heart started to pound as I saw fire hoses depleted with water. And then the fire trucks. There wasn’t much activity by then. It was unusual for our lively neighborhood to be “dead.” My walk became faster until I found myself running towards home. I thought of my old mother who by then was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, a disabled brother and my then 11-year old son. I left them to the care of a househelper and an elder brother to attend to an important function. It was one of those rare days when I had to leave them.

When I saw the fire hoses, I was already thinking of the worst; that a fire burned down the neighborhood. But my mind was focused on my loved ones. Where are they? I was rushing straight to our house not caring who were around. A friend stopped me; offered me a glass of water. Everybody were quiet. When she asked me to calm down, that served as confirmation of my fears. We lost our house and everything in it: the most valuable documents being kept by my parents, irretrievable photographs, the book collection and some of the historical researches of my historian brother that we were then readying for publication, my own personal collection of artbooks, and my paintings. Made of wood, it took only about less than an hour to burn according to the neighbors.  And, most unbelievably, the fire started from my room: faulty electrical wiring, or short circuit, they later said. I felt some indescribable weight on me. I felt heavy…

But my family members were safe I was told. They were brought safely to a niece’s place nearby. I heaved a sigh of relief, thanked my friend and proceeded to go. It was dark but I could with the help of moonlight saw our formless house, gutted down to ashes as I walked past it. The house where I grew up carrying memories of good, old days is gone. Nevertheless, memories live. I could only but thank God that nobody got hurt; my loved ones safe. What that incident taught me, and what I am thankful for until now is my non-attachment to materials things. I never shed a single tear for losing the house and everything that we had in it. Above everything on earth, whom we love and care for comes uppermost. Who and what is important to us would have its hierarchy clear to us, especially in unexpected disasters such as this one.. My faith in God also made me stronger after that. “We shall overcome!” – became my mantra. I found courage to start anew with the belief that God is always there with me. Faith helped my spirit triumphed; it has helped me recovered from whatever repercussions the fire loss had brought us.

Now, I only buy what I need. I had stopped collecting “things” and stopped painting as well. I started to collect ideas and make them into advocacy films; and in between continues to compile and publish the writings of my brother. I am now left with a volume out of five book compilation of his historical writings that I promised him. He died six years after the fire incident.

Daily Prompt – Fight or Flight/Fire