Sister Isabel’s African Adventure with God

When my elder sister (Gaying) and Nengkoy recently had some pieces of their jewelries commissioned for cleaning and polishing, they were given some giveaways by the jewelry shop.  Nengkoy kept the photo of Our Lady of Guadalupe while my sister handed over the giveaway book to her son, my nephew Luis.  I however snatched the book from Luis telling him to let me be the one to read it first and will just hand it to him after I’m done.  Luis joked that I might develop itchiness and skin rashes while reading it because the book was written by a Catholic nun. 

The book laid on my dining table for some considerable weeks already.  Still, quiet and unmoved.  Two reasons why it took me some time to start reading it.  First, it was written by a Catholic nun and I was not ready to be preached about some Catholic dogma.  Second, it was written by a Catholic nun, therefore it’s going to be so boring.

But as soon as I decided to scan and read the initial pages of Life On A Mission by Sr. Isabel Villacarlos, I no longer stopped and dropped it until I finished the very end part. 

When asked how she survived all the challenges of her mission,

Sr. Isabel answered, “one must have a major in Faith,

a master’s in Hope and a doctorate in Love.”

Life on a Mission chronicles the adventures, quests and journeys of a Catholic nun in north western portions of Africa.  Sister Isabel can be considered one extra ordinary nun.  She learned to ride a camel, dealt with poisonous snakes, drove a truck,  fell onto a bridge while driving a car, assisted in delivering babies and battled a storm are some of the highlighted adventures of Sr. Isabel in the book.

I guess being a travel addict myself made me stick to reading this book.  But the beauty about the experience of Sr. Isabel in Africa was that she was able to reveal and uncover the presence, manifestations and attendance of God in her adventures, which for me is such a cool thing!

Life On A Mission may not be a bestseller, but it is one remarkable book that definitely deserves more!

Wala akong masabi sa adbentyurs ni sister!

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Bitter Gourd Monologues is so Me

It’s been uncounted number of years since the time I last finished reading a book written in my native language, Filipino.  This long streak of non-sense convention is finally over.  And I am glad to announce that the Filipino-language book I finished is sooo me.  Its entitled Ampalaya Monologues written by “spoken word” genius, Mark Ghosn.

Ampalaya Monologues is so me!  Ampalaya for those who don’t know is Bitter Gourd in the Filipino language or metaphorically defined as “bitter”.  There are 27 characters in the book that features varying idiosyncrasies of heartaches, heartbreaks, eccentric longing, quirky hopes, emotional struggles and of course romanticized bitterness.

This I guess would be the very first book written in Filipino that made me cry and laugh out loud at the same time.  I literally was laughing at a lot of lines and thoughts in this book for I am so bitter, I can totally relate. Here’s the top six monologues I loved and totally enjoyed!   

 

I haven’t see or talked to the writer yet Ampalaya Monologues seem to have entered into my realm.  It was as if Mark Ghosn has entered my cranium and cerebral cortex and wrote what he has seen inside.

According to some write ups, Ampalaya Monologues (like The Vagina Monologues popularized in the past in the western side of the planet) are actually staged and performed by actors in front of big audiences.  But I guess reading the book would be a totally different experience.  It was as if the character was merely talking to the reader and no one else like in a big crowd.  Thus, reading the book I guess would be more intense and can definitely hit you right at your very core.

I love every piece of the chapters/monologues yet the last part was actually the most fitting for it makes you realize that for every tear, every heartache and bitterness a reader felt and experienced in the past, such sufferings will eventually make a person fervently mature and emotionally stronger.  I believe in the ultimate message of the book and that is for bitter people like us, there is still a chance to move on and some freaking flicker of hope is awaiting for all of us. 

Ang sabi nga sa libro, mas mabuting maging bitter kesa fake!

Fenesta Ca Lucive: A Touching Lullaby

Have you ever been introduced to a poignant and beautiful lullaby while reading a novel?  And have you ever tried searching and listening to that music inscribed in such book?  I was and I did.

Thanks to young Elio, the main character in the book Call Me By Your Name, for he introduced me to Fenesta Ca Lucive, an old, sad and touching Neapolitan song.  As soon as I finished reading the pages where Fenesta Ca Lucive was penned, I dropped the book and took my Ipad.  I searched the song and this is what it was… 

Chiagneva sempe ca durmeva sola
Mo dorme co’ li muorte accompagnata
She always wept because she slept alone,
Now she sleeps among the dead

While listening to this beautiful lullaby, I took the book and re-read the portion where it was portrayed.  The music gave a different sensation.  It suddenly gave the novel I was reading a brighter color.  Though, I don’t understand a single word of the song, the music is so haunting, it felt like I was in the streets of Rome witnessing the tenderness, passion and the imminent despair of the main character.

Kakaiba yung piling! Ang galing!