Good Hands. Golden Hands.

THE OBVIOUS ESCAPE

Ever has it been that man seeks for excuses to escape from doing things contrary to his own heart’s conviction. The same was once true to me, I grew up with the thought that “if you give him fish, he will eat for one day; but if you teach him how to fish, he will eat for a lifetime.” This has become a popular excuse to reject a beggar with grimy, cupped hands, ready to extend and stain our stark white barongs on the way to work. This consoles our guilty conscience when we fail to reach out to that foul-dressed woman and her three little children, taking advantage of the minute we are caught by the traffic’s red light at the intersection. This is our obvious escape.

THE EYE-OPENER

Like many others, I too have moments of realization. One day, while on the road with a friend, a street child came near to ask for money, and remembering the “golden excuse” , I bluntly refused to give and selfishly justified that the kid must not grow up begging “asking for fish”  but must learn to “fish” in order to “eat for a lifetime”. My friend who opened up his purse and handed a couple of coins to the young beggar turned to me and taught me a lesson that changed my perspective of giving. His message is still vivid, “whatever reason one has for asking help, it is none of my business. My business is just to give within my ability to give as a response. If it was a mistake because he asked for the wrong reason, at least, my share of mistake was because I gave in good faith.” The truth confronted me, and I have been set free.

THE GOLDEN TOUCH CAME TO LIFE

Founded in the year 1962, Metrobank has since remained faithful to keeping YOU in good hands. For 52 years, the institution is able to showcase that the those years of uncompromised stability, unparalleled excellence in both products and services, unscathed strength and leadership amongst banks betwixt tests of time and stiff competition are evident enough of its being the best and the strongest bank in the Philippines. Very much like gold, Metrobank has been through refinement, pure with no dross, and of great value.

Very timely this year for the Butuan branches and its subsidiaries, as Metrobank is experiencing not just a mere mythical golden touch of King Midas but the realistic transformation of gold from glory to glory, the “Kadyawon Ta” chapter of Purple Hearts Club has become the channel through which the institution together with GT-Metro Foundation, and Metrobank Foundation reached out to the less fortunate families in the city of Butuan. Very much like the gold, Metrobank gives value to where it is found.

THE BLUE-COLLAR JOB

While it is true that Metrobank caters to the financial needs of its clients, it has become an example before other institutions in ways beyond banking. In line with the bank’s participation in the celebration of the Chinese New Year, a partnership with the CSWD, AFP, PNP, DILG and even clients was formed for the distribution of goods to the indigent households in the locality. Wing On, Inc. provided us the best possible site to repack our goods, while Good Luck Rice Mill made ready 500 sacks filled with 5 kilos of rice each, both entities are Butuan branch’s clients.

Came the 21st day of February. Purple Hearts Club Kadyawon Ta chapter members assembled at the first distribution site, Brgy. Golden Ribbon Covered Court, together with the partners’ representatives to prepare the venue for the day’s event. A prayer of thanksgiving to the True Giver of Gifts commenced the short program. Identification of the enlisted heads of the families were done by CSWD personnel, baranggay tanods and those from the PNP secured the activity’s order and peace, those from Metrobank and its subsidiaries were divided into teams to take charge of the verification of the claim stubs, and distribution of the goods.

While the sun seemed to be generously warm that morning, the ball of fire failed to match the warmth of the faces of those benefited by the event. The picture of a woman with child seemed to still have more strength despite the 5 kilos of rice in her hand, and the grocery bag filled with goods enough for a family of four. The grin of a man in his 60’s carrying all two packs of goods was contagious. No greater joy than to witness 400 strangers smiling back at you as though you were an answer to their prayers. The day was overwhelming.

After an action packed morning, one might assume that the movers and the shakers of the event would have been beat. But the volunteers did not stop just yet. A second distribution site at Por Cristo Home for the Abandoned Elderly, Brgy Abilan, Buenavista with a hundred more beneficiaries awaited. Though the day was already exhausting, seeing the senior citizens perk up and energetically meet the benefactors at the gate brought a profound surge of energy and excitement for the helpful hands to continue on with the gift giving. Here were old men and women housed away from the hustle and bustle of city life, abandoned and allowed to wither away in the resonating silence of the surrounding rice paddies. It was a heartrending sight to behold, but the presence of the volunteers bringing bags of blessings that sat in the AFP 6 x 6 trucks somehow alleviated the sorrow that clouded the place. There was joy. There was exhilaration. There was this hope that they were not forgotten after all.

THE IRREVOCABLE TRUTH

While we were not given enough time to “teach them how to fish”, those 500 household-beneficiaries were given not only “fish that they can eat for a day” but more so, the hope that there are still those who look after their welfare, the hope that will create a ripple effect as they too will learn to reach out to those whose needs are greater than theirs, it will be the same hope that will make them hold on to dear life.

May the faith declaration of a prosperous life that goes along with those goods, be truly upon them. May the institution’s impartation and their receipt of blessings become a gesture of faith that they too will experience far beyond just the golden touch of King Midas. So be it.

The event was a manifestation that we need not wait for a grubby hand to intersect our path and trigger our hearts into opening up our purses to somehow change the day of another, rather than merely turning our backs and walk away. Who knows, that day of intersection will then change his life, and his life will change those around him.

by Niño Tuñgul with Andre Peña

22

From the plethora of endless options of titling this blog post, I came to terms with myself into reducing it into two digits: 22.

2 and 2, in perfect equilibrium. 2 and 2 = a score and 2 years of me from my first breath of life, to the initial wobbly baby steps, to my remarkable childhood, to my encounters with real friendships and zany crushes, then opening my eyes to the awareness of death and losing loved ones, to receiving my college diploma, eventually getting hired, and finally to here and now.

I have always loved birthdays, (and the neurotic surprise planning that goes with it especially when it’s for a friend). But, I have never been a fan of my own. As a matter of fact, I dread it. Why? Because I have this feeling that the date is jinxed of some sort. Maybe because I have thought of my birth day selfishly, that it should and must be all about me and what would make me happy during those 24 hours. Like everything was at my disposal.

And as I add another year to my heady “wisdom”, a sudden epiphany has dawned on me: a birthday is not about the celebrant, but more the people around her. Those who have come a long way, or may have been around all along. They have given her new eyes, a clearer sense of direction, those who choose to stay and grow with her. But the passersby matter as much, because they have instilled on her the hope of a “someday, somewhere in the future”. They remind her of her being, that she, her life is worth celebrating. They are the ones she has touched, and they are a perfect telling of how one can embrace so much lives more than the capacity of outstretched arms.

For this year, October 25 came in 3 hours ahead of schedule. But I thank the people behind the “preparation” from the tiniest capillaries of my heart. You helped me start the day strong and we faced it together head-on. I am paying homage to all the firsts we did today, because you made acting and dancing ridiculously in public über fun!

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Eid ul Adha

Tea at dusk as I

Witness the moon slowly rise.

In a few moments, it will

Almost

Be a perfect horizon.

Except that, nothing will ever be

Perfect again.

Because “perfect” will stand for

A pungent memory of

What used to be -

The starting point of

A wild goose chase, or,

The opening line to this poem -

Almost.

A song from songs

God of the universe

But also the lover of my soul,

You remain from age to age.

You are the God of David

The God of Abraham

The God of Adam and Eve,

And since the beginning

You long for one thing –

You long for my undivided attention.

You want to be close to me

And stay in my heart.

Everyday Lord,

You run after my heart;

You pursue me while

I pursue other idols.

Everyday You woo me

When I feel insecure and unloved.

I am always on the run;

Chasing after my own passions

And I am weary.

But when I turn back

I see You, Lord.

You have been there all along,

Waiting for me to return to You.

Only You can outlove my flaws

And distill me to be blameless

From my iniquities.

Reign in my heart, Lord.

I long to stay in Your presence

And muse on Your beauty and majesty.

To You I give my all,

But this is nothing compared to You

Giving up everything

Just to have me back in Your affections again.

You keep me.

Teach my finite heart

To love an infinite heart like Yours.

Teach me to lean on You

As You dance me above

My failures and troubles.

Permeate my soul;

Swallow me whole by the immensity

Of Your grace and mercy.

Show me that I can be satisfied

With nothing, because I only need You –

my everything.

I tell You I love You

But You love me more.

And when You say You do,

You show me the cross.

You tell me to look up and show me the wide

Expanse of the heavens.

You want me to enjoy

Your astronomical love.