Wednesday, November 3, 2010

BREATH (August 16, 2010)

Yesterday, while our entire family was participating actively in Tak-kad Na! Para Sa Mga Isko, a fun run and walk initiated by Prof. Amihan Bonifacio-Remolete for the University of the Philippines Integrated School Sports Program at the U.P. Academic Oval, we all of sudden remembered The Book of Wisdom.

Catching for our breath, we could hear God reminding us that He gave us -- all living animals – just 500,000,000 times to breathe.

After one round, we began realizing in between gasps and pants how we miss the opportunities to shape up given by Cynthia Alexander and The Art of Living Philippines.

After two rounds, we thought, amidst what seemed to be a dizzy spell, of the mycobacterium tuberculosis polluting fast not only the European but the Asian air.

After three rounds, we started to feel, with a literally heavy heart, for others who are suffering not merely from the so-called Extensively Drug-resistant Tuberculosis.

Holding on to our dear life, we were saved by the bell of Mamang Sorbetero and other U.P. Manininda members.

Right that very moment, meditating with all the street food under the banyan tree, we wished to live.

Another day.

Tomorrow is not just another day, say, for the likes of the Philippine Tuberculosis Society Inc.

August 17 is the celebration of PTS's 100th birthday!

And there is no better way for PTS to commemorate it than by launching its centennial commemorative stamps and the 2010 TB seal.

At high noon, PTS will renew its campaign at the Podium along Asian Development Bank Avenue within Ortigas Center in Pasig City.

The TB seal, also known as the little messenger of charity and goodwill, had been created by such volunteer artists asManuel Baldemor.

Art, in this case, has succeeding in spreading not the germs but the word.

Since 1910, the PTS sub-committee on ways and means adopted the sale of Christmas seals as a means of raising funds.

Since it featured Dr. Jose Rizal, it will always be labelled as the Rizal stamp.

An affiliate member of the National Tuberculosis Association in New York, PTS also became the local distributor of more than 100,000 American Red Cross Christmas seals in 1917.

Pres. Manuel Quezon, the Ama ng Wikang Pambansa himself who died of tuberculosis, was honored in 1935 with strip seals.

Elizalde and Company issued its own free-upon-request Christmas seals in 1940 and 1941.

The Japanese occupation prevented PTS from issuing seals from 1942 to 1945.

However, as if back with vengeance, it issued crudely-designed seal that appeared on mails, but PTS had no record of its issuance.

What made the said unrecorded yellow seal the rarest of them all was its style, being issued in sheetlets of six seals on a tete-beche format with gutters in between.

Also in 1946, PTS cut its ties with the NTA.

By 1947, PTS started printing its own seals with Pres.Quezon as its first design.

Usually, the seals were printed either in the United States or Japan until the declaration year of Martial Law, except in 1959 when PTS used U.S. seals, and in 1971 and 1973, when seals were printed locally which they were doing to this day.

The sale of seals enabled PTS to acqure a mobile x-ray unit in 1946 and another in 1950, that helped them conduct mass surveys in schools, factories, and communities in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

Yearly, the Christmas seal design changes yet the format depicting the Filipino Christmas spirit remains the same.

In the name of PTS, or our country in general, we had been winning in the annual International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease award: third in 2006, second in 2004 and 2007, and first in 2005 and last year.

And that's Baldemor's secret!

Two Fridays ago, we discovered another.

Prof. Wilfreda Jorge Legaspi, our colleague at the U.P. Departamento ng Filipino at Panitikan ng Pilipinas, turned 50.

So we ate out.

With her pastor-husband, Noel, and their son, she exerted extra effort to share her blessings with Kanlungan ni Maria Home for the Aged Inc.

All the way to #17 Lanzones Road, Nayong Silangan in Antipolo City, we travelled with Jeralyn Develos and Percival Gapas of Alitaptap Storytellers Philippines.

We were supposed to entertain 17 elderly men and women but Posh and Percy, did great as if they themselves were participants in their own Lampara-Alitaptap Children’s Storytelling Competition.

During the program we introduced them and they invited us all for its their contest for storytellers on August 21-22 and September 4-5 at the National Library of the Philippines; on September 17 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines; and on September 18 at SMX Convention Center.

An inner voice took me, instead, to the room of 70-year old Eduardo Estacio, a former stuntman and stand-in who lost both legs to diabetes.

Last seen in Chito Roňo's Yamashita: The Tiger Treasure in 2001 as one of poseys of Jarco played by the actor formerly known as Rustom Padilla, Tatay Eddie was stuck on his bed surrounded with photos of Fernando Poe Jr., Joseph Estrada, and other long lost friends.

None of them, he admitted, bothered to visit him, including his 11 kids.

Some spirit told us the reason why when we learned that all of them were first-born.

From a distance, we could hear a breathtaking voice, singing songs and reciting poems, coming from 81-year old Josefina Arellano, who stood out as an artist herself.

Listening to Nanay Pina's poetry, social worker, Rachel Mariano, told us a story.

Or was it history?

Kanlungan ni Maria Home started its operation in May 2002,” the Miriam College alumna recalled, “under the auspices of retired Bishop Crisostomo Yalung of Antipolo. On October 29, 2004 under the present guidance and sponsorship of Bishop Gabriel Reyes, we got officially registered at the Securities and Exchange Commission as a non-stock non-profit organization. All of the Incorporators belong to the Diocese of Antipolo City like Fr. Uldarico Dioqiuno who is now our Priest in Charge.To date, we have served a total of 54 residents --17 are within our care, 16 were reconciled to family and relatives, 12 were referred to other institutions and nine already joined with our creator.”

August, though, is not exclusive to tuberculosis. It is also the Lung Month, Sight-saving Month and National Asthma Month and within it the Diabetes Week, Family Planning Week, Breastfeeding Day and National Hospital Week.

For us, it is our own Mother's Month. Last August 6, we pledged to give our 81-year old mom a bath daily. We meant it, we mean it, and we will mean it to the last breath.


American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 by eliminating one olive from each salad served in first-class.


What we are is God's gift to us but what we become is our gift to God.

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