Pilgrim's note

PILGRIM is defined as someone who travels to a holy place to search for the meaning of life and faith. In our context, we are indeed pilgrims in our way to soul searching.

Last August 28-31, we went to Lucban Quezon, a three-hour drive away from Metro Manila to visit our friend Jervie de Guzman, a former seminarian and now a successful businessman. Also, it is a time for us to relax and reflect from very tiring months.

As a school instructor, we live in an arena wherein we train our students to be competent individuals and make them nation builders by sharpening their minds, giving them weapon to combat the challenges in life.

Literally, it is a battle between ignorance and knowledge. As we go along in our journey to Lucban, we reflect on the things that we met. Those things deepened our faith and changed our perceptions in life.

So here are the things that we reflect on our way to Lucban.

* Delayed flight

Before we leave Iloilo, we met one of the things that really irritated the travelers -- flight delay.

Hearing the announcement from a person in authority seemed like hearing a politician's promises. Lots of passengers got irritated, while others curse the receptionist. Some of us slept and watched the basketball game on TV.

Reflections: Flight delays are not new to us and I think it is normal to get upset in that event. Charles Swindoll reminded me of something that I carry every time there's an event that will trigger your negative reaction. He said, "Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it."

Really, we sometimes tend to forget who we are and what we are when those things happen. We cannot control the things that will happen along the way; we cannot blame the receptionist that announced the flight delays and we cannot blame God if this thing happened to us.

Let us think rationally. It really pays off if we rationalize because the more we blame, the more the situation becomes worse and others will look at us as uneducated. Patience is really out of the context nowadays. What really caught my attention is the old man who smiles at the receptionist not because of the receptionist's pretty face but because he understands that those things happened beyond their control and if all of us have that mindset, "what a wonderful world," just like what Louis Armstrong said in his song.

* Zigzag road

After a five-hour flight delay, we took a ride and went straight to Lucban. We met a zigzag road that led us to Lucban. It's a quite difficult road to drive especially for the new ones but for the expert, it's easy as ABC.

Reflections: Zigzag road is similar to our lives -- full of obstacles or hurdles. There are some changes in your plans and the more you encounter those obstacles, the more you become stronger to face the challenges in your life. Life doesn't make sense if we can't face those obstacles. You cannot call it life if you try to evade those hurdles that block your way. Those hurdles measure your strength as a person and the more you face it, the more you become stronger than you think. So the next time you see those zigzag roads, always keep in mind that "this too shall pass."

* Mt. Banahaw

The first thing that comes into our mind upon entering Majayjay is the Mt. Banahaw, a 7, 119ft above mean sea level that is considered the holy mountain and popular among the pilgrims and mountain climbers. It really gives you an impression of the majestic creation of God. The mountain gives you an impression that we are lucky to have these landforms because we are blessed by the gift of nature. The mountain offers spiritual and serene ambiance, giving you time to reflect and meditate.

Reflections: Mountains are often associated by the word "problem" because upon seeing it, we sometimes tend to think that we cannot overcome it. Let us think in a positive way -- that mountains in our life are a challenge that we must overcome. It is conquering the Goliath that crosses our way. Climbing the mountain implies hard work and learning new skill.

I still remember how the Iloilo, once known as the simple city, became one of the most livable cities in the Philippines because of its innovations and dynamic improvement in terms of business and facilities. No doubt that the city administrators and the government of Iloilo City overcome the challenges that hinder their way to progress and now, they dubbed it as "tiger economy." Thanks to the leadership of Hon. Jed Patrick Mabilog and Sen. Franklin Drilon and also other city administrators who catapult the city from simple city to a progressive city.

* Kamay ni Hesus Shrine

One of our brothers, Jervie de Guzman, toured us in Kamay ni Hesus shrine in Lucban, Quezon. It is also a popular pilgrimage site for the devotee and a popular Holy Week destination. Healing mass is also conducted at the chapel. One of the main attractions in the shrine is the 305 steps before you reach the 50-foot statue of the Ascending Christ. The image of ascending Christ welcomes you to his arms, embracing the sinners and the lost one into his loving arms.

Reflections: We tend to forget to thank our Lord in every great moment we have and we always remember him in times of our troubles. During that time, one of our brothers is in his soul searching journey and he keeps on asking himself, why those things happened to me? Why is it that I can't go to my next destination? Bro. Jervie answered him: "Kaya ka nagkaganyan kasi may isang bagay ka pa na kailangang ayusin at ang Diyos ay tutulong sa iyo para ayusin ang mga bagay na sasagabal sa daan mo (Those things happened to you because God wants you to fix those certain issues in your life. He is there to guide you)."

God never abandon his children. Every time we encounter some problems in our way, always remember to pray. We may not receive the exact answer but that answer is best for us. Let us have humility in our hearts, humility that will bring us in peace and into his arms.

Wherever we go, we always leave a mark in that place and that place leaves a mark in our hearts. The mark that is embedded in our hearts signifies the place that gave us a lesson to learn, an experience to remember and a challenge that we face after we leave. Every journey teaches us a lesson, which will help us to be strong and wise with hope in our hearts. (Sensei M. Adorador)