Ultimate sacrifice
HIDDEN AGENDA - Mary Ann LL. Reyes (The Philippine Star) - April 21, 2019 - 12:00am

Staycations during Holy Week have their pros and cons, but I think that the pros far outweigh the cons.

It is understandable why most people choose to travel locally or abroad during these most important days for Catholics and non-Catholics alike, despite the higher hotel room rates and travel fares, the traffic, and the crowd. For many students, this is the first long weekend after school ended and it is a great opportunity for the whole family to be together. For their parents, this is a perfectly legitimate chance to get a long rest from work. If you had just taken those airline promos seriously and planned your vacation in advance, then you could have spent less for Holy Week in Boracay, Hongkong, or Tokyo.

Travelling is of course good for the economy. When people leave the metropolis to go to the rural areas, they contribute to the rural economy every time they dine out, rent a room, ride on a tricycle or jeepney, or buy locally made pasalubong. 

As for me, staycations involve a logistical nightmare simply because we are a big family. Planning and spending for an out-of-town or worse, an out-of-the-country trip for 15 people, is not a joke. And since most of us in the family are either on school break or do not have regular office hours, there is no urgency to having our vacation done this Holy Week. 

And so last Thursday, I went to my first Visita Iglesia. I have to admit that I was dead tired from the heat and the travelling but it made my Holy Week more meaningful. And then Friday night, I chanced upon a movie being shown on TV titled “The Bible,” in particular that part when Jesus was being nailed to the cross and when he was uttering his seven last words. My tears started falling. No one deserved to suffer like that, especially for the sake of others. I felt the pain as they drove the nail through His palms and His feet. Jesus went through all that suffering to save us. And what I have done to deserve it? How often have I thanked and praised Him for saving mankind from sin. That is unselfish love in its purest form.

My staycation gave me time to reflect on the real meaning of the Lenten season. Yes, I abstained from eating meat, but how many are aware why Catholics do that? Only Good Friday is obligatory day for fasting and abstinence but it is better to extend it until Holy Saturday to honor the suffering and death of the Lord Jesus and to celebrate more readily his Resurrection on Easter Sunday. For me, fasting and abstinence is to able to engage in meaningful suffering, to be able to relate more to and to better understand the suffering which Jesus went through.

I sincerely hope that our political candidates had the chance to reflect on the real meaning of public service. It should not be about wielding power, or about the chance to keep one’s family in control, or about enriching one’s self at the expense of others. Public service should be about sacrifice – about sacrificing one’s time, finances, effort to make a meaningful and lasting difference in the lives of others. 

Not so hidden agenda

Parish Construction: In commemoration of the 29th anniversary of Wong Chu King Foundation, Inc., the St. Dominic Parish (formerly the Piat Heritage Museum) located at Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Piat Rd, Piat, Cagayan was turned over to the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao last April 1, 2019.  The construction of the parish was funded by the foundation. The purpose of a separate parish is to avoid conflicts in the use of the Basilica between the pilgrims and parishioners.  The Basilica is for the pilgrims who gather for their devotions and Eucharistic celebration, while the parish is for parochial functions (baptismal, weddings, funerals, among others). Shown in photo are: (left) Sto. Domingo parish priest Fr. Fredel Agatep; (third from left) Piat Mayor Carmelo Villacete; (fourth from left) Most Rev. Diosdado A. Talamayan, D.D.; (third from right) Most Rev.  Sergio Utleg, D.D.; (second from right) WCKFI executive director Alexander Wongchuking.

Tourism Convention: The Tourism Educators and Movers of the Philippines (TEAM Phils) Calabarzon Chapter held its first students’ convention recently at Lyceum the of the Philippines in Lipa City, Batangas. Themed “Connecting the Dots and Borders  in Hospitality and Tourism,” the one-day event discussed the latest trends and issues in the industry, particularly those concerning meetings, incentives, conferences, medical and health tourism, and industry workforce attitude and values. Shown in photo is former tourism undersecretary Alma Jimenez talking about creative marketing and selling the country in tightly contested arena to over 600 students from Calabarzon, and Central and Northern Luzon universities. Other resources speaker were former tourism undersecretary and keynote speaker Oscar Palabyab; Deedee Ledonio, events, convention and exhibition expert; Angel Ramos Bognot, MICE expert and Premier Travel entreprenuer; Norelyn Baviera, vice president of Fiera devManila Philippines; and Zander Kim Sigua, founding president of the Leaque of Tourism Students of the Philippines.

For comments, e-mail at mareyes@philstarmedia.com

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