“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.




Why am I happy to be Filipino?

There are so many reasons why I thank God I’m Filipino. But I’m narrowing it down to my top 10, in no particular order:

1. Pinoy Music. Some critics say we don’t have a distinct sound. I say that IS our sound: we take the best (and sometimes a little of the worst, too) from music all over the world in order to create the right blend that for the most part, only Pinoys are able to understand and enjoy. Foreigners sometimes ask me to translate a Filipino version/cover of a popular song that makes us laugh, but a lot of things get lost in translation. Come to think of it, music is so ingrained in the Filipino psyche that it permeates every aspect of Pinoy life: like it or not, almost every thing has a “theme song” to accompany it. Continue reading “Why am I happy to be Filipino?”