Education and Home

Readers’ feedback on angels, love letters, barangay thieves, Sulu sultanate, literacy, etc.

A POINT OF AWARENESS - Preciosa S. Soliven - The Philippine Star

My husband Max, who wrote daily columns since we got married in 1957 (Manila Times, Evening News, Inquirer and Philippine STAR) until he died in 2006, almost always responded to his readers’ reactions. Everyday, he would let me react to the contents before he would forward it to the editorial desk, for he thought my feedback represented the thinking of his many other readers.

On angels and love letters

Last year from March to December, nine major topics attracted a variety of emails to my Thursday column “A Point of Awareness. Several respondents were even writers. Rev. Fr. Antonio M. Rosales, OFM has been a Franciscan priest of Santuario de San Antonio in Forbes Park, Makati, from 1997 to 2007. Now, He is assigned at the St. Francis Friary, Cebu City. To my five articles “Angels are Real,“ He elucidated, “I also have a special devotion to my guardian Angel that has inspired me to write a book “Jesus – The Story of Jesus of Nazareth as Told by His Guardian Angel.”

“I was recovering from the life-threatening experiences of an irregular heartbeat, remedied with a pacemaker implant. After my stroke in 2007, my seizures became more regular and even violent. I prayed hard to my guardian angel. I asked myself what the guardian angel of the God-made man, Jesus of Nazareth, would have done while Jesus was going through His passion, and how would he have told the story of the Lord.

“In this context I took my mind away from my fears about my health. I thought that this telling of the life of Jesus Christ from the point of view of His guardian angel will be a humble contribution to this Year of Faith, and could be part of the long-term preparation for the 500th anniversary of Christ in the Philippines.”

His past books were The Day Jesus Died, about a young man, who witnessed the passion-death-resurrection of Jesus; about the Lord writing letters to family, disciples, and others in The Jesus Letters; while My Son, Francis was about Signora Pica Bernardone, Mother of San Francesco di Assisi writing about her son St. Francis; lastly he also wrote My Name is Noah, about an ark-maker and a flood survivor even before typhoon Yolanda flooded the Visayas island. “This literary multi-tasking has been challenging and entertaining. I am like a cook with two or more pots on the stove.”

Letters from a Filipino student in wartime Japan

Celebrating my June 1 wedding anniversary, I wrote the 2-part column “How to Write Love Letters.” Several readers were impassioned by them. Among them was Consuelo “Elon” Sison, 93 -year-old widow of the late Atty. Domingo P. Sison, WWII USAFFE veteran. Her email states “I read your column last June 20, and I am writing you because you write here something very close to my heart. Like you and Max, my dear beloved Doming and I wrote love letters to each other even after we were married. He also passed on to the Great Divine in June 2000 but every once in a while, when I am missing him very badly, I bring out his letters to read again.”

Thirty such love letters, written monthly (January 1943 to July 1946) by Doming from Japan, where he became one of 27 Philippine pensionados, granted scholarship in Tokyo after the war, filled up her book “From Tokyo to Albay with Love.” Actually Doming joined the war in Bataan, but escaped the Death March, falling almost dead on the roadside until he was rescued by relatives of writer Bienvenido Santos.

Now Elon is a mother of 13, grandmother of 35, great grandma of 5. Consuelo Sison has been a grade school and high school teacher for 43 years in Albay, Manila and Quezon City. Various accomplishments made her outstanding alumna in the Hall of Fame 2010 – Araullo High School.

This new generation comments came from school guardian counselors, Claudine Duque and Maria Tatel who encourage highschool students the merits of resisting internet social network and value instead letter writing. “The fact that someone spent time writing a letter for you though his penmanship might not be as legible is something really sweet and candid. It is amazing how love could turn someone into a good writer. Some people may find it hard to show their true feelings thus, love letters could be very helpful.”

Brunei Museum version of Sulu Sultanate

Richie wrote in his email “The Sulu Sultanate section in the Brunei Museum has pictures and infos showing the Sulu royal family is the cousin of the Sultan of Brunei, Omar Ali Saifudden III, the father of the current Sultan of Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.

“The real Royal Princess of Sulu was Her Royal Highness Princess Norma Piandao Jamasali, seen in the picture in the museum. As the royal relative of the Sultan of Brunei, she communicated with him. Due to foreign invasions the sultan lost his control in Sulu.

“The grantee of Sabah was Sultan Jamalul Alam, Sultan of Sulu, who abdicated the Sulu throne with no heirs and became the Sultan of Brunei. He is the grandfather of Sultan Bolkiah of Brunei but not related by blood to the Kirams. Kiram pretended to be Jamalul Alam’s son, that’s why Sultan Bolkiah rejects the Kirams. It’s not true that Dayang Dayang Piandao’s mother was a princess of Brunei.”

“Hope you can visit Brunei Museum and write about the true royal family of Sulu, which is the Jamasalis not Kirams.” My series of articles “Historical Facts About Sabah Filipinos Must Know” were data, facts I gathered from the numerous articles my husband wrote when he visited Sabah during President Ramos’ administration and my recent visit to the Malaysia National Museum. Therefore both museums of Brunei and Malaysia need to reconcile their facts.

A witness of the rags to riches life of a ‘Barangay Captain thief’

On “The 40 Thieves Hiding in the Barangays,” Gerardo Lee (true name withheld) emails “I have worked for almost 11 years as a lowly clerk in our barangay and I have personally seen and witnessed how graft and corruption has become so pervasive at the lowest level of our political unit. Our barangay captain has been our elected barangay captain for almost 20 years, replaced only by his eldest son when the 3-term limit applied. He has become one of the very rich but dishonest barangay captains not only in Manila but probably in the entire Philippines. He now owns multi-million peso properties including high-rise residential and commercial buildings and flashy cars. Some if not most of them are bought and registered under dummy persons, mostly relatives. He started only as a self-employed and a former OFW renting a small apartment, owning not a single property except for a second hand car.”

On how to be literate and healthy

Reacting to my two-part column “Your Literacy Determines Your Survival in this ‘Super Competitive World,” Arthur Lopez, owner of AML Consultancy and president of Philippine Hotel Federation, expressed deep concern about Filipinos’ poor command of English.

“Many may speak English, but do not really comprehend. Having opened several hotels since the 80s, I must have interviewed 10,000 applicants. College graduates, including lawyers, have failed the interviews. This has deprived many Filipinos to be well employed as well as lose the chance to work abroad. It is very difficult for me to get enough recruits for my clients overseas. “

In the hotel business, waiters hear, but cannot carry out instructions. Seventy percent fail in English Proficiency tests, 2 out of 10.

This worsened when President Corazon Aquino tried to replace English with the National Language. She even insisted it should be the language of Congress. Recently the Department of Education required that primary school children should be taught in their provincial dialect, postponing English lessons to fifth grade and above, ignoring the basic fact that it is easier to learn a foreign language, specially English, considered the global commercial language as early as preschool.

When Engr. Racie Freires discovered SOBBA (Sterilized Oxygenated Bicarbonate – Buffered Alkaline), a solution that keeps our blood Ph at 7.4, his Saudi Arabian bosses were so grateful that they spared his life. So many readers of my 3 part article “Buffer Strength Your Blood to Prevent Heart, Kidney, Bone, etc. Ailments,” have asked how they could buy the SOBBA blood Ph - stabilizing solution which when mixed with drinking water helps various body ailments.

Engr. Freires sent these informations, Three sources are: The Theosophical Society Office at # 1 Iba St., Cor. Florentino St., Quezon City; The Cubao Office at #17 Maryland St., Cubao, Quezon City; and Schytech Office 2016 Sampaguita St., Sta. Ana, Manila, with tel. nos .5629152 or 5622782. Engineer is starting to produce it in commercial quantities.

Have i ever seen an angel?

I believe that all the themes of this column were inspired by the guardian angel of each writer. But have they seen their angels? Fr. Antonio Maria Rosales says “Seen in the material, physical sense, no, not yet, but that I have felt the presence of one, definitely, like when I was very sick or when I felt particularly distressed and tested, or abandoned. And I am convinced many others had the same sensation in their lives when they were going through similar moments or experiences. The sensation gave me a sense of courage and hope, a conviction – more than just a feeling – that I am loved and cared for, and that things will be all right.”

Or, as a few others have said, the “angel” could be that someone who, in a particular moment of pain, loss, or abandonment, stretched out a comforting hand to assure us we are not alone, that there is still someone who cares for and believes in us.”

(For feedback email at [email protected])

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