“May Awa ang Diyos.”

I heard my Lola Estrella Rustia say this a lot when I was a young girl. Pagkatapos magmano, I would greet her, “Kumusta po Mamang?” (How are you Mamang?) And she would always answer, “May awa ang Diyos… (God has mercy…)” Her look and tone was thankful and hopeful at the same time. This morning I woke up missing her, and the way her small feet shuffled as she walked around her home in Santiago City.

As a first grade teacher, this “statement of belief” is one of the many lessons that Mamang would pass on to us: Everything that happens to us, comes from God’s mercy. Having this mindset teaches us to be grateful for every moment, be it a time of joy or a time of sorrow. We live each day by God’s grace alone. And because we are recipients of His mercy and grace, we ought to have compassion, to be merciful and gracious to others. There is no room for conceit in a heart that is always grateful for God’s mercy that is new every morning.

It is also a source of comfort during times of despair and hardship. May awa ang Diyos, therefore have confidence in God’s merciful nature – and you will soon see deliverance. There is no room for defeatism, in a heart that has hope and faith in God’s mercy that never fails.




To the Young Women of Malolos

My grandfather, Honesto Rustia Sr., translated this inspiring letter by Jose Rizal to the young women of Malolos into Ilocano. I was a young girl when I saw the published booklet in my Mom’s files, but after Mom died I lost track of it. Recently, I have been looking for a copy of his translation. The words of Rizal are stirring, especially today. The friars were the ones who had “power” at the time this letter was written.

Continue reading “To the Young Women of Malolos”

Everyday is a gift.

On August 18, 2012 (five years ago as of this writing), we received one of the saddest news: Capt. Jessup Bahinting was in a plane crash with his Nepalese co-pilot Kshitiz Chand, and two passengers: Sec. Jesse Robredo and his aide. At that time I only knew of Sec. Robredo as the DILG Secretary, a former mayor of Naga City who was loved by his people. I was more affected by the news about Tito Jessup crashing, and couldn’t believe that our hero pilot / pastor was really gone. He had flown a lot more dangerous flights before, and had even flown through a typhoon to deliver anti-venom medicine that saved the life of a young man in Cebu who got bitten by a cobra. He had to be alive!

Alas, three bodies were found three days later, Aug. 21. We were at the Global Day of Prayer for Peace in the West Philippine Sea held in Makati, and I remember we had a moment of silence to honor Sec. Jesse, Capt. Jessup and his co-pilot. These men were husbands, fathers and brothers to their loved ones, and to many others (myself included) whose lives were blessed by their friendship. Continue reading “Everyday is a gift.”

Perla’s Miracles

She looked peaceful, but unnatural. I wasn’t used to seeing her so still. I snuggled up to breathe in her comforting scent, and rubbed her arms with a prayer for her life force to return. It felt so unreal. Up until that point, I had lived a somewhat “sheltered” life, and Mom’s nurturing love was like an enormous bubblewrap that shielded me from the outside world. Six months pregnant, I was looking forward to giving birth to my firstborn with Mom beside me. I wasn’t ready to let her go just yet. I read somewhere that some comatose patients can still hear even if they can’t respond. Selfishly, I whispered to her: “Mom, you promised you’d be there when I give birth. Please be there. I need you.”  Continue reading “Perla’s Miracles”

The frequency of natural healing


Confession: I have never really been a “watch” person. As a teen, if I needed to know what time it was, I’d look at a wall clock or my mobile phone. I thought watches were an accessory one wears in order to impress others, so I didn’t think about owning one back then.

But in 2015, I learned about Philip Stein’s Natural Frequency Technology, and how it could help someone like me with CHD. So, after working hard to get a basic one (thanks to the folks at L-Timestudio and their 50% discount) — I thought I’d try it. After almost two years, I’m finally sharing my personal experience (not a scientific study) with Philip Stein’s NFT. Continue reading “The frequency of natural healing”

In Memoriam: Shirley Chan

AuntShirleypiconlyWe live in an age when dreaming big dreams, achieving great things in our careers, or being famous — is often talked about, encouraged and posted on Facebook or Twitter.

What’s not mentioned a lot, though, is a simple truth: in order to get to where we want to go, there are people behind us, people cheering on for us, or just simply giving us a push when we need it. People behind the scenes who make actresses look lovelier than normal, or directors who know which angle of the camera works best, or writers who make sure famous people say the right things. The “little” people.

The strong people. The ones who have the extra strength to cook for others, and make sure their loved ones are well-fed, stocked, clothed, rested. They pick up our slack, keep quiet when our tops fly, or say something we need to really hear. People whose names aren’t often known, but their presence is always needed, always felt. And their absence is felt even more. Continue reading “In Memoriam: Shirley Chan”

Salamat po Ma

Mama-BiDear Mama Pearl,

#WishYouWereHere. Miss na miss ko na po kayo — araw-araw, tuwing nakikita ko ang mga apo ninyo.

Lalo na po yung kamukha niyong si Jude — hindi ko alam kung paano niya nakuha pati ang mannerisms ninyo kapag nagsasalita. Baby lang naman siya nung huli niya kayong nakita. At thanks be to God po, matalino din siya, at gumagaling na siya mag-piano ngayon. Nung first day nga po niya sa piano school, nagulat kami at pati instructor niya — 10 lessons po agad tinapos niya sa first day. Salamat sa Diyos po sa ipinamana ninyong hilig sa musika.

Si Moriyah naman po, malapit na mag 3 years old. Kapag kumanta na siya – mula sa bahay, hanggang sa mall, hanggang pag-uwi sa bahay – paulit-ulit yung medley niya ng Eensy-Weensy-Spider, Old McDonald, Baa-baa Black Sheep, at minsan may kasama pang “One call away.” Long play! Sino nga po ba yung ganun? 😉

At si Jaron po, 8 mos. old na today, sa birthday niyo. Kasing bigat po ni Ysrael nung pinanganak. Kasing lakas din niya umiyak. Pero ang sarap tumawa! At grateful din po kami na hindi siya sakitin, sa awa ng Diyos. Continue reading “Salamat po Ma”