Two Worlds…


   Two Worlds

           Sis, what are you doing in here? I come to my senses when my sister who just came into the country a week earlier disturb  my deep thought.

             I thought we will do this together.  This, meant shop for the  groceries. My sister who is  fascinated as I was  when I first entered The Giant  Store at Kentlands was already over the place before she found me. Every time I go to this store I will go straight to the back section  where the Bakers Section is located. I am always  fascinated as I watch the baker line up his bread. The breads come in different shapes and sizes. I sniff the sweet smell of vanilla in the air as he goes back inside to check his oven.

I have read somewhere that the origin of bread started as a porridge.  Further experimentation led to cooking the mixture that had been heated in fire creating the first bread and tortilla-like. It was said that the Egyptians mastered leavening while the Greeks mastered style. The art of using yeast was used by the Egyptians and the Greeks turned bread baking into an art. They invented the front loaded oven and made different doughs, loaf shapes and styles of bread and mothers  started buying food from the skilled bakers instead of making bread in their kitchen. Furthermore. Leavened bread was costly and the white bread invented by the Romans made by sifting the grain through linen was costlier. And so, before proper nutrition became an obsession the poor people ate dark-whole grained bread and the rich people ate white bread.

The year was 1973. Martial Law was just declared and the country was in turmoil. Employment was scarce and poverty abounds.  I am seated in the front seat of the school bus. This special bus will bring us to the next city where we attend high school. I want to sit in front because I love to see the landscape while we travel. I remember my mother made my sandwich for lunch this morning.  She boiled two eggs, peeled, smashed  the egg  with a fork and  scooped in some mayonnaise and spread in two large slices of white bread. Every day, she made different sandwiches for me. Tuna on a Monday, turkey on a Tuesday, chicken on a Wednesday, ham on a Thursday and egg on a Friday. I am very lucky. With the rest of the country in hunger, here I am with my delicious  sandwich prepared by my beloved mother.

Liza, where are you?  I came out of my reverie and I almost fell from the branch of our mango tree at the back of our house when my mother called me.

Are you  daydreaming again?

No, mother, I was just thinking how much I love you. I answered back. Those different sandwiches you prepared for me, they were delicious.

What?  My mother answered back. What sandwiches are you talking about?  We  could hardly buy rice, much more your sandwiches. Besides, we haven’t eaten bread for so long now. Get down and cook the rice, your father will be home soon. I bet he is very hungry looking for a job.

Okay, I’m coming I said to my sister.  Just let me watch this final art show  of the baker.

The baker is now carrying a large basket full of different breads. He line them one by one according to size and shape. How I love to touch them.  Now I  understand why I love to stand in front of the Bakers Section of The Giant Store. Not that I want to buy  bread, I just want to see them lined one by one,  and if I have my way, I want to touch the bread to assure myself  that the bread is not an imagination, as it was,  long time ago.


Of Poverty and War


             As I rounded  the corner towards the elevator of The Walter Reed Army Medical Center,   a very young soldier fully in command of  his wheel chair, lower limbs almost cut to his thighs,   both upper limbs gone and with just one eye  passed me by.  The left arm was cut just below the elbow and a prosthetic arm replaced the one that was blown by a bomb while the right arm his doctors cut almost to the armpit.  I assumed the prosthetic arm   use to feed himself, to move his chair around and to  do his private thing in the bathroom. I was told he was hit by a bomb in Iraq. This  young soldier, a six footer man before the bomb reduced him to a torso, seemed so small in his wheelchair.

I remember when I just graduated from college. It was 1973 and the family struggled to cope  with the effects of the  martial law recently declared nationwide. Food and job were scarce. The company that my father worked    was in great distress.  The government rationed rice, the basic food of the people. Salaries were not paid in full.

We had a pig in our backyard that my mother used to raise. We fed the pig  with the combination of left over foods for garbage from our neighbors and water spinach that my father planted in our backyard.  We kept   plastic containers outside the  kitchen of our neighbors’  for collection every morning.

It was   New Year’s Day. The neighborhood  quietly sleeping towards the daytime after a night of eating and lighting of fire crackers, the after effect of all night  celebration of the New Year. My mother had discovered a freshly thrown carcass of a roasted pig in one of the plastic containers. She carried the plastic container with a smile on her lips. The night before, we celebrated New Year’s Eve, with one  big bottle of Coca Cola and a loaf of bread.

“Pilar wake up” my mother shook me from my deep sleep.

“ I have a big surprise for all of you” she said, a thin woman not more than 5 feet tall.  Her eight children woke up to a delicious smell of roasted pig coming from the kitchen. My mother, instead of feeding the pig with the carcass of a roasted pig that came from one of the  plastic containers from our neighbors’  kitchen, my mother washed it and cut it into nice little pieces, put in some sweet smelling herbs that grew in our backyard. She covered the kitchen table with  the plastic table cloth that  she only used on special occasions.  Last night, she did not bother to cover our kitchen table. We sat down to a delicious breakfast  that we have not tasted for a long time. Despite the good smell of the food  I  felt  sorry for myself and for my family.  This one milestone in my life, I will never forget. I will find it hard to forget, not because I have suffered through  it, but because I rose above it.

How I wanted to cry for the soldier today, I wanted to cry aloud then.

Yet,  how can one  rise in a situation where there is none.  I have heard that this young soldier will receive medical aid the best that the US Army can give. All available therapies will be accorded to him. One thing is sure; all those material things available to him will not make his arms grow, nor his legs nor return his other eye. And he knows this. Yet, this young man, a soldier par excellence, upon entering the elevator greeted us all with all smile.  “Good morning”.


The Walter Reed Army Medical Center was the U.S. Army’s flagship medical center from 1909 to 2011. Located on 113 acres (457,000 m²) in Washington, D.C., it served more than 150,000 active and retired personnel from all branches of the military. The center was named after Major Walter Reed (1851–1902), an army physician who led the team that confirmed that yellow fever is transmitted by mosquitoes rather than direct contact.


The Drawing Contest

Drawing is not my forte. I guess I don’t have any special skills so to speak. A mediocre in anything, I always admire artists. When I was asked to attend to the small kids in the Church last week, I don’t know what to do with them. They were so loud that at some point they interfered with the Thanksgiving Service.

I asked them what they wanted  to do. Draw, draw, they said. I have Andy the five-year-old, Cocoy, the six-year-old and Jacob, the seven-year old. Thanksgiving Service was  very long in fact it lasted 9:30 the next morning and so I asked the three little ones to draw as much as you can. “The more you draw, the more chances of winning”, I told them.

Andy, a very witty child, chided me. “Sis Celine, this drawing contest is not about winning, this is about having fun”. That wisdom put  me in the right perspective!

I remember when I first saw this child, she was about two, the Locale was in Hagerstown, Maryland  about a hundred miles  from where the Locale is right now. She was running and walking all around the place and the thing she enjoyed most was to climbed the long stairs to the second floor. I was asked to attend to her at one time and at one point I could not cope up with her running and jumping and climbing the stairs! How time flies. Today a very talented child, she could sing the Church hymns much better than us members of the Choir!

Cocoy with the silky skin thanks to his Mom, is also very intelligent. At one point during the break, I asked questions relating to the bible phrases and stories.  The story was about heaven. “Do you think heaven is bigger than God?” I asked.  Cocoy answered, No,because God created heaven, so God is bigger than heaven!  I was amazed how these little one acquired such wisdom.

Jacob, the “naughty” one. Actually  Jacob is fine and also very talented. Such talent  from Mom and Dad. During the KNC aralan, he is the smallest before Cocoy and Andy joined them, Jacob can answer straight forward ahead of the elder KNC while playing with his toy.Jacob who can be loving and naughty at the same time is also very intelligent. He can outwit you if you are not careful. At one time when asked what is the meaning of  divorce, he replied, “When Mom and Dad fight”.

Here are the winning pieces in their respective categories:

Under the category of Perseverance, Andy got my approval. This is the image of the girl who persevered to push the gold coin although her arms are starting to ache. Entitled ” THE HEAVY GOLD COIN”, Andy inserted  the  caption, “this is so hevy, my arms are getting tired”, this from a 5-year-old! Congratulations to you Andy.

.  This drawing is telling us how Christians should remain steadfast in times of hardships for we know there is a reward waiting in the end. ! WINNER UNDER THE CATEGORY OF PERSEVERANCE!…

Under the category of Salvation, Cocoy got an A from me. Said he, ” this sail boat sails smoothly in the rough sea.”  I chose this from among his other drawings because  I am reminded of Noah and his Ark. Just exactly how the Ark of Noah was. We knew that the Ark was not meant to sail but to hold Noah’s family and their animals from the deluge, yet the Ark remained afloat towards the forty days and night rain with out stop. WINNER UNDER THE CATEGORY OF SALVATION. Congratulations Cocoy!

 Jacob drew something sunny and happy, just exactly how  he feels around him, I guess. He drew this picture entitled “Grass Land”. Jacob told me that the whole landscape is full of grass and the people around are happy. The sun to the left and the clouds to the right, this drawing reminds me of the story in the bible. In the history of creation God said, Let there be light, and there was light. Again God said, let the earth bring forth grass, and it was so. And God created Adam and Eve. And in the beginning, Adam and Eve were just happy having each other with the sun and the clouds above them and the grass around them until Satan came. WINNER UNDER THE CATEGORY OF CREATION!

Virginia Beach summer of 2011


The fun of summer that only the beach of Virginia can offer. With my sisters in faith at Virginia Beach, Virginia.

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Peace and Christmas

Once upon a time in the land of Egypt, the Israelites were commanded by God to kill a lamb and  eat in a hurry with their stomach belted, their shoes on for the Lord will kill all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast.  The blood of the lamb, the Israelites  will smear  on the door of their houses, and the plague will pass over them. They were made to hurry because they will leave Egypt to go to the promise land.

And it happened that in the midst of chaos and  death among the first-born both man and beast in Egypt, the first-born of the  Israelites were spared.  This is PEACE  in the truest sense of the word. If peace is equivalent to Christmas, there was already a celebration of Christmas during the time of Israelites.

The Legend of December 25 as the birth of Jesus Christ

 Once upon a time, Caesar Augustus, the first emperor of the Roman Empire sent out a decree that the world should be taxed.  Joseph of Nazareth   and Mary who was in her late pregnancy set out  from  Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem and register for tax purposes. (I am confused why the Americans complain when they are taxed by the IRS)  To make the long story short, Mary delivered Jesus in a manger, for the inns or hotels  as we call it now-a-days, were full.

 Mary delivered Jesus in a manger when the shepherds  were out in the field tending  their flocks  in the middle of the night. This may suggest spring  lambing season,  while in the cold month of December the sheep might have been corralled.  How did December 25 associated with the birth of Jesus Christ?

If you read the whole bible, there is no mention of the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ in contrast to very detailed information about His death. The writing of  the apostles Paul and Mark make  no mention of Jesus’ birth. The gospels of Matthew and Luke provide information about the birth of  Jesus Christ but there was no mention of the date.

The earliest mention of December 25 as Jesus’ birthday comes from a mid-fourth-century Roman almanac that lists the death dates of various Christian bishops and martyrs. The first date listed, December 25, is marked: natus Christus in Betleem Judeae: “Christ was born in Bethlehem of Judea.”

So, almost 300 years after Jesus was born, we finally find people observing his birth in midwinter. But how had they settled on the dates December 25 and January 6?

There are two theories today: one extremely popular, the other less often heard outside scholarly circles (though far more ancient).4

The most loudly touted theory about the origins of the Christmas date(s) is that it was borrowed from pagan celebrations. The Romans had their mid-winter Saturnalia festival in late December; barbarian peoples of northern and western Europe kept holidays at similar times. To top it off, in 274 C.E., the Roman emperor Aurelian established a feast of the birth of Sol Invictus (the Unconquered Sun), on December 25. Christmas, the argument goes, is really a spin-off from these pagan solar festivals. According to this theory, early Christians deliberately chose these dates to encourage the spread of Christmas and Christianity throughout the Roman world: If Christmas looked like a pagan holiday, more pagans would be open to both the holiday and the God whose birth it celebrated.”

In the old times, peace reign among the Israelites by the blood of the lamb. Today Peace reign among the people of God  not only on December 25 as popularized by the Catholic Church but by the blood of His begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

My daughter has diaphragmatic hernia

Essay on Informative Speech

Speech 107

Montgomery College – Rockville

Jocelyn Bautista




Twenty years ago, at  the age of 2, my daughter Melissa was diagnosed of diaphragmatic hernia that could have cost her life, if God was not on  our side.

What is Diaphragmatic Hernia. 

It is a birth defect in which there is an abnormal opening in the diaphragm , the muscle that helps us breath. The opening allows part of the organs from the belly :   the stomach, the  spleen  the  liver and the intestines, to go up into the chest cavity which causes  the lungs not to develop properly.

To  my inexperienced eyes, the intestines of Melissa  looked like spaghetti noodles hanging  and clinging  in her diaphragm when the doctor showed us the x-ray results.

What cause diaphragmatic hernia? –It is caused by the improper joining of structures during fetal development.

Weak at the knees was how I felt when the doctor told us that she could have a heart attack anytime. She was very lucky,  the attack did not come soon. At 2 years old, all her intestines were outside of the stomach area, crowding the lungs and the heart.

Symptoms of Diaphragmatic Hernia:

The baby is bluish colored skin due to lack of oxygen; she has rapid breathing; and she has fast heart rate.

I was wondering when she was growing up, her skin  has the color of violet, as compared to her  brother who  is  fair skinned.

I was Polyhydramnios when I was pregnant with Melissa


Test and Diagnosis –

The pregnant mother may have excessive amount of amniotic fluid. 

When I was carrying Melissa in my body,  my tummy  was so big,  that during the time of delivery, the pain to the side of my tummy was so intense as if the muscle would  tore  apart, that I did not recognize  the pain caused by the child wanting to get out. I thought at one point my body  would  burst.  That is how much fluid I had  in my stomach.

The Ultra Sound Test

About six months  into my pregnancy, my doctor asked me to undergo ultra sound testing because she was worried about the quantity of my amniotic fluid. She suspected something else, but she did not tell me.  Hydrocephalus. A very good friend, more than a  doctor, she stayed with me all through out.

A constant guest at the hospital

We were at the hospital for pulmonary infection on the lungs of Melissa when they  found out  her disease. Since birth, we were always at the hospital for cough, fever and lung infection.   At 8 lbs at birth, she did not grow normally. She was small for  her age;  she  was light as a feather.

Emergency Surgery  is  the only remedy

Surgery is the only remedy for diaphragmatic hernia. The procedure is to place the abdominal organs into the proper position and repair the opening in the diaphragm.

It took six straight hours for the surgeon to fix Melissa.

How did Melissa get the disease?

Pollution in Metro Manila – Philippines –

MANILA –  A lawmaker expressed alarm and concern over the increasing deaths in Metro Manila of as many as 14 people a day, mostly children, due to unmitigated air pollution and other environmental degradation.

In Manila, on a 636 square kilometer live more than 10 million inhabitants.  Manila has proven to be lethal to its millions of residents, killing thousands every year due to pollution.

Just theory  but scientifically correct

Could be the pollution in Metro Manila was  the  cause, I don’t know. What I know, my daughter had diaphragmatic hernia diagnosed when she was two years old, long enough to collapse the lungs and the heart,  but lucky enough that it did not.

Today, at 22, my very lucky child, in gratitude for the lease of life,  is happy   serving our Church; the Faith we both hold dear in our hearts.

Thanks be to God!

The story of the prodigal son

For centuries the parable of the prodigal son is one of the best parables in the bible. Some interpreted the parable as a representation of the three characters and three types of persons. The father being the Father in heaven who forgives sinners and welcome them back. The eldest son represents the unforgiving heart, and the youngest  “prodigal” as the sinner.

Or it could mean something else too:

As a father, you will not allow your son to get into trouble. What kind of father are you that you give in to the wishes of someone you love  just because he asked for it.

The Father God  in heaven, in  all His  knowing state, will not give something to His son when He knows  will  bring him to damnation. For damnation is not from God. Only goodness comes from the Father.

James 1:17 (King James Version)

 17Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Here is the whole story of the prodigal son  as written in the bible.

Luke 15:11-32 (King James Version)

 11And he said, A certain man had two sons:

 12And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.

 13And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.

 14And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.

 15And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.

 16And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.

 17And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!

 18I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,

 19And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

 20And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

 21And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.

 22But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:

 23And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:

 24For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

 25Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing.

 26And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.

 27And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.

 28And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.

 29And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:

 30But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.

 31And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.

 32It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

In summary, which is which?  For the father, in  his lavish love for his son, acted lavishly when he gave in to his son’s request to harvest not in season. The  parable of the prodigal son is more likely the  parable of the prodigal father.  

Thanks be to God for Brother Eliseo Soriano whom by the grace of God was given the  special gift only known to few.

Luke 21:15 (King James Version)

 15For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.

Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift!

Topic #284 – What is the best way to tax people

In 1976 when I took the Board for Certified Public Accountant, my taxation subject helped my average grade climbed just barely to pass the passing grade of 75%. Accounting Practical I and II were very hard. To pass the Board you have to have a grade for any subject not lower that 65%, but should not be lower than 75% on the total average. I got 77.3% something. My Taxation was high and it really helped elevate my total grade for I got 65% in Practical II.

What is Taxation? In simple term it is to impose a charge on something.   A country will not survive without taxation. We have to give something in return for what we enjoy or earned. To keep the economy going. To keep nature going.

In the old days, Jesus Christ understood the significance of taxation when he commanded his apostles to give what is due to Caesar.

 Matthew 22:21King James Version (KJV)

 21They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.

During that time Caesar Augustus made a decree that the whole world will be taxed.

Luke 2

 1And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that the entire world should be taxed.

And Joseph traveled with Mary who was heavy with a child to be taxed.

Luke 2:5

King James Version (KJV)

 5To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

Levi who received the office of the priesthood has a commandment to take tithes according to the law;  was also paying tithes while still in the loins  of Abraham.

Hebrews 7:5

King James Version (KJV)

 5And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham:

Hebrews 7:9

King James Version (KJV)

 9And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham.

In the end times, for we are definitely in the end times, isn’t it a glory to God to follow what the people of God  did before us, to pay our dues to the people who governed us?

Billboard signs around the city of Manila.

Pay your taxes. Your money will go the construction of the roads and bridges, to build infrastructures, hospitals and etc.

 Do we need  to be reminded of this?

In the US, the more you have the more you pay, this is  the law of equation and the law of God.

What is the best way to tax people?   Educate them the true religion.

We are the Members-Church of God International with Brother Eliseo Soriano as the Presiding Minister and Brother Daniel Razon as the Vice Presiding Minister.

Post # 283 If you found $1000

This morning I had a chat with my daughter Melissa through Facebook. She was asking if I could send her an  iphone4. I checked the Google and it runs between 200 to 400 dollars.  When Steve Jobs died of cancer the world mourned  for him. I was kind of distant because I am not really familiar with Jobs much more his creations. I am a Dell fan. I am more familiar with Microsoft. More so, I have none of Jobs creations until now. And I really thank God, I don’t have his cancer too. No offense intended though.

Melissa is a precious child. She was diagnosed of diaphragmatic hernia when she was 2 years old. She was operated immediately. Three years ago she was infected of dengue virus. Again she needed hospitalization. She is a normal lady today at the age of 23. Thanks be to God.

So when my daughter asked for an iphone, I smiled. I told her maybe in the near future. I don’t mind that my daughter does not have an iphone. She is okay with her Dell computer right now. Same with my son, Martin. Deep in my heart I would like them to have one. So, if I found $1,000 today, I will buy my daughter Melissa and my son Martin an iphone.

Describe the perfect sandwich

What is a perfect sandwich? I am not a sandwich eater. How can I come up with the idea of making an elaborate sandwich that can come up to $5,000? When I saw the cost to make a sandwich can run up to $5,000 I was shocked. For us Filipinos, we are rice eaters. It took me five years to adapt to the culture of the western countries such as sandwich as a meal. In the Philippines $5,000 dollars could buy you a little house with two bedrooms, a bathroom, kitchen and a small living room.

At the cost of $5,000, the sandwich could feed a whole” barangay”. A barangay is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines and is the native Filipino term for a village, district or ward, according to Wikipedia.  My father was once a head of a barangay. I was a small kid then and I have never seen the happiness in my father’s eyes as he talked to the people about our community.  He loved so much being the head of our barangay that he lost control of our small chicken farm that I loved so much. Instamatic cameras were not popular in those days. I wish I have the picture of our chicken farm. We had chicken layers and the chicken laid eggs and business was good. But my father who loved the politics more than the chicken farm somehow lost focus and we ended losing the farm and my father losing the election.

My father is 84 years old now. He somehow got a new  farm, no more chicken though, when he retired from the company he worked for at the age of 55 and bought a farm to continue his life.

Back to the topic. If you ask me to describe a perfect sandwich, I am at a loss. Just ask me how to describe what I love, I have written it for you.