Another ‘F’ arrives in CAMANAVA

No classes. Will there be an announcement of ‘No classes?’

The rain poured hard the previous day and so my classmates and I were exchanging text messages inquiring if there will be suspension of classes. After all, our university is no foreigner to floods and inaccessible roads. However, no announcement came and we all knew what it meant – we still have to go to school.

In school, a short conversation ensued between me and my friend:

Catherine: Kumusta Nerisa? Binaha ba kayo? (How are you, Nerisa? Was your house flooded?)

Me: Hindi kami binabaha, yung ibang barangay lang na malapit sa ilog ang binabaha sa’min. (We do not experience extreme flood in our area, only those areas near the river get flooded.) How about you?

Catherine: Well, hindi naman baha sa bahay namin, duon lang sa dinaanan ko, hanggang bewang ang baha. (There’s no flood in our house but on my way home, I got to traverse to a waist-deep flood.) But there’s this cute guy who assisted me to get through (giggles).

Me: (Though I want to be interested with the cute guy, I have to ask first -) Waist-deep flood? Is that even real? Where is your house located again?

Catherine: Valenzuela.

 

My good friend Catherine was the one who introduced me to extreme flooding in Valenzuela and in its neighboring cities, Caloocan, Malabon and Navotas.

Collectively called as CAMANAVA, the cities have low-lying flat terrains and are frequently affected by interconnected rivers like the Tullahan River. The cities are also located in the northern part of the Metro Manila Bay. All these factors contribute on how CAMANAVA is almost synonymous with the word flood. However, there are some other good things that can be found in CAMANAVA.

valenzuela.gov.ph
A bus braves waist-deep flood in Marulas, Valenzuela, after the nearby Tullahan River swelled due to heavy rains brought by Storm Maring. PHOTO BY MARK CAYABYAB  (Photo and caption from Google: valenzuela.gov.ph)

I no longer remember the occasion, but an officemate went to work with large pizza-like boxes one day. (It wasn’t her birthday, maybe she got a raise.) When I opened the box, I thought I was going to see slices of pizza. But what I saw is a rice cake swirled in circle and has different colors! I ate it and it tasted good as its looks!

If you’ve tasted it already, you know that I’m referring to the delicious and colorful Dolor’s Kakanin of Malabon!

My officemate introduced me to ‘Dolor’s’ which happens to be my favorite already ever since I was younger, I just didn’t know the name. haha!

dolors-kakanin
Photo from Google (casaveneracion.com)

CAMANAVA does not only have the famous Dolor’s Kakanin and the pansit but also boasts of famous nooks for food lovers like Phetron Restaurant in Navotas, Little Beijing Chinese Cuisine in Valenzuela and the City Cake Coffees and Pastries of Caloocan.

Nonetheless, CAMANAVA does not and will never begin with floods and end with foods just like that. Something bigger and better will invade this densely populated area of Metro Manila.

 

Starting September 3, 2015, The FEAST, the weekly Catholic gathering of The Light of Jesus (LOJ) Family, will be embracing CAMANAVA to bring inspiring talks, lively worship and God’s joy.

FSANGANDAANAD2

 

With this additional family added to the LOJ community, I can’t help but reminisce the first time I attended the Feast in our town in Bulacan in 2010. (It was also the first day of The Feast!)

It was July 2010, more than a year since I finished College and also a year since I started looking for a job. I just also came out then from the hospital, physically, emotionally and spiritually drained. I felt hopeless after so many job interviews and job hunts. I felt helpless that I was already jobless and yet incurred another expenses to our family.

The Feast helped me get through my situation, little by little. As every series ended, I kept on asking a servant if there will be another series. Will there still be a Feast next week? was my question to the servant e-v-e-r-y Saturday. And the servant just keeps on saying yes. The Feast in our town keeps on coming every weekend until I was able to stand on my feet again and earned my first job.

The Feast introduced me to Jesus more. From then on, my life, no matter how hard it can get at times, remains beautiful and worth living. 😊

I was jobless then and it seemed like no company would like to have me. An insurance company even rejected me twice! (I applied again after six months because I thought they made a mistake. I mean, how can they not take me? Hahaha! I forgive them now. haha!)

Today, I work for and with the topmost official of a corporation, as in President and CEO. How is that for a story? 😉

 

I am excited to hear and write more stories of victory, love, joy and mercy with The FEAST CAMANAVA at SM Sangandaan!

I am excited to witness how lives will change in these cities!

C’mon everyone, let’s taste and see how the Lord is good and faithful. See you on Saturday, 5:30 pm at Cinema 4 of SM Sangandaan.

Spread the news!

 

 

 

Why do you worry?

A few days from now, it will be another month and it will be the start of the countdown to Christmas already. And I haven’t written anything yet for this month. The truth is I have been writing and deleting paragraphs for a few weeks now. I wanted to tell a messy and ugly story but I don’t know how to make it appear organized and pretty. (haha!😁)

The dawn of a new administration in the country came with a huge probability that my boss will be replaced with a new chief. Change, after all and as they said, is coming. This would mean that my officemates and I, who are the persons of confidence of my boss, (the President of the corporation) will have to look for other jobs somewhere else. Maybe someplace where politics don’t exist. (haha!😁 joke lang)

Although I have an option to stay in the corporation with an environment-friendly position (in our Watershed Management Department. Haha! I’m not complaining, you know. I could really use my skills for the environment!), I still felt uneasy.

This is when the ugly part came – I worried and worried a lot like a madman.  😳

I tell you it was really ugly. It was as if I was sentenced to death, deprived of hope and the will to move on and blind of the many good things that happen around me. The moment was too low that it blinded me of my purpose and path! Gosh. (Thanks to my friends who kept me in their prayers.)

Today, though I feel lighter and better, I ask myself this question, ‘why do you worry?’

 

Control

In the long weeks that I was worrying, I was also hastily looking for other jobs online. I wanted to be in control in every detail of my life. When I say every detail, I wanted to be able to tell myself what and where I will go next. I wanted to plot each day of my life from where I was standing. I guess you would agree with me when I tell you that there’s nothing wrong with what I was trying to do. Anyway, we should really be the ones to be in control of our lives.

My mistake, however, was that I forgot about my sovereign God who is in control of everything. And if He could just rebut my thoughts, He would probably say,

When I say I control everything, I mean all of my creations from the smallest dust to the biggest galaxy, from your smallest zit to the biggest detail of your life, from where you are in my thoughts before you were born to where your soul will be after this lifetime.

This is when I thank God for not being sarcastic but always loving. I thank Him for reminding me this truth through my heart and not with pushing me to the stairs just to drive home His point.

keep-calm-god-is-sovereign-2

 

Certainty

I was also worrying because I am stubborn and I wanted to see the entire journey and not just the next step. I wanted to be certain about every direction, bumps, and crossroads of my journey. But I realized that if I would know everything about my life, I will no longer be allowing God to be my God.

If I knew about every details of how my days will unfold, God will lose His place in my life. I would be doing things based on my own capabilities which are limited and I would be depending on my own confidence which will never suffice.

I realized that God is teaching me to trust Him more. I realized I was being taught on how it is to totally surrender and look at God’s grace with expectant gaze.

 

Concrete Plan

Lastly, I was insane and worried because I wanted to create a concrete plan and plot it on my calendar. And I wanted to make this plan work so bad.

Then again, I recognized that though I may have plans for myself, I should create a space for the grander plans of God in my life.

the-heart-of-man-plans-his-way-but-the-lord-establishes-his-steps-proverbs-16-winter-road-by-simon-pape-on-unsplash-ooomf

 

There you go. I worry because I wanted to be in control, I wanted to have certainty/clarity and I wanted to create a plan.

But I realized that worrying will never ever do me anything good. It just steals my good sleep, healthy appetite and wonderful mornings.

As Baz Luhrman said in his famous Sunscreen speech,

Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum.

 

I no longer worry today. I am going ALL IN to the Lord.

I may not have control, clarity and a concrete plan. What I have today is far more meaningful and essential – my Sovereign King, trust in Him and to His majestic plans in my life.

 

P.S.

Indeed, HE alone can turn messy and ugly things to order and beauty. Galing no? 😉