Sunday, July 10, 2022


Sean's wedding is a few days away. He is my first, and perhaps only, brother who will be getting married. It is a small beach wedding in the afternoon, along the shores of Glan, with close relatives and friends expected to attend. 

I have no idea how to plan for weddings and largely leave that to others, in the same way I do not interfere with cooking lest the gas range explode. So I was amused to overhear Nanay talk to her friends at 4 am that we—Manong and I—don’t contribute ideas. Because she and her friends meet every day, except Sundays, through Facebook for Bible study and prayer; the upcoming wedding continues to be a concern being lifted up to God. What would we contribute then, except a few typographical checks in the program print out and some food tasting notes for the reception? And there’s the invisible but palpable brotherly support—which really means letting Sean and Hannah decide, until they specifically ask us to do something.

Preparations are underway. Last week, Sean and Hannah talked with Pastor Henry, who dropped by the house for lunch last week. Pastor Henry was our pastor from when we were in Sunday school, and has known us from Adam. Uncle Dot, our youngest uncle from Nanay’s side, is in charge of the flowers and decorations. The church’s music team will play the music in the venue.

Weddings are beautiful opportunities to reconnect with loved ones and friends. In revisiting these bonds, we discover that human relationships endure and grow stronger with time. To see Sean and Hannah experience both the dramatic and mundane steps in their journey to oneness, with just a healthy seasoning of stress, is a source of comfort: they are headed in the right direction, by God’s grace.

So next week, I will limit my clinical and academic work. Over this weekend I will finish my lectures in biochemistry and molecular biology. I anticipate that I may need to run errands—pick up materials and people—the lot of people who drive. Nanay’s friends are coming from Panay and Negros. I might need to meet them at the airport.

People in the house—Nanay and Auntie Nanic, who lives with us on weekends—are in denial. I tell them, partly as a joke, to pack Sean’s things in a balikbayan box. “Ay, hindi anay. Hulaton ta lang nga siya ang mag-hambal,” they say. I suspect Nanay now experiences some separation anxiety, but Sean assures her she can stay at their rented apartment for a steady supply of his glorious láswa.

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Forty days


Lola's lansones trees (Lansium parasiticum) showed up with fruits that left many visitors for her 40-day death remembrance awestruck. We miss Lola Ugol and still look for her when we drop by her home, now silent and solemn, the way houses become when their owners leave them for good.

Friday, July 1, 2022

Reflections at 4 am

At 4 am, working in the living room with only my laptop illuminating the darkness. Windows wide open to let the morning coolness in. Birds chatter and sing outside, like housewives on the street catching up on the latest news. What are they talking about? Their plans for the day? Their dreams last night? Their excitement for the weekend?

Sing this with me.
This is my Father's world
And to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings
The music of the spheres 
This is my Father's world
The birds their carols raise
The morning light, the lily white
Declare their maker's praise

And also: 

This is my Father's world
Oh, let me never forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong
God is the ruler yet

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