Archive for » September, 2009 «

In His Footsteps

Should I say I am so blessed and thankful to have this once in a lifetime opportunity to have travelled and literally walked on the lands where Jesus lived, died and ressurrected – walking where Jesus walked, where the prophets prophesized, and where the apostles lived, was thrilling beyond words.  In return, I am so proud and happy to share this blessing with you thru this post (it’s been awhile tho since my last post hehehe).  

Since i was a kid in my religion class (during my elementary & high school days) and read the Holy Bible laging first honors sa Religion class haha, i dreamed of going to the Holy Land.  To my surprise, this dream came true when i was sent to Israel to attend a 3-week training program on agribusiness (marketing & export management- but of course am not gonna detail on this thing ) and fortunately, I had the chance to visit most significant places associated with Jesus – sacred places which I’ve only encountered in the Bible and usually seen on NGC – but now with my naked eyes (soooo amazing, unbelievable – beyond these words nga, haha).  I don’t know where to begin to speak of my experiences on this trip — to talk about how much I learned, what wonderful things I saw, how spiritually emotional it was to touch, see, feel, smell all that Jesus touched, saw, felt and smelled.  Each stop was filled with so much wonderful stuff that it was hard to believe that the next stop could be better– but it always was.   

 

I’ll start with the first stop @ Mt. Precipice, Nazareth – according to Catholic tradition, the site where Jesus leaped from the hill after having been chased from the synagogue.  At the top of the cliff, you can see the fantastic views of the Yizrael valley and the round-shaped Mount Tabor in the background. 

 Church of The Annunciation  Inside the Church of The Annunciation 

Still in Nazareth is the Church of The Annunciation – the site where, according to Roman Catholic tradition, the Annunciation took place. Greek Orthodox tradition holds that this event occurred while Mary was drawing water from a local spring in Nazareth.  How amazing, how goldilocks haha!   

 

I wish I could have walked also (like Jesus did) over the waters of Galillee – renowned for being the beautiful waterfront before where Jesus performed His miracles (the story of Jesus calming the stormy waters and the infamous feeding of the multitude), it has also been acknowledged in the New Testament as a lush and bountiful giver of life; a rich source of fish stock for the Israelites. Standing there I could just imagine how our Lord Jesus first proclaimed it to His disciples in Biblical times — and then a big chill went down my back, nakakakilabot talaga.  

Baptism @ JordanJordan River 

  

  

  

  

  

 Get wet @ the Jordan River.  Running from the Sea of Galilee into the Dead Sea, it was extremely important as a source of water during biblical times.  Jesus came to the Jordan River to seek his own baptism from John the Baptist.   The water is so calm, fresh and clean – uminom pa nga ang batangmangyan – and luckily I was able to bring home some haha (bottled water from the holy land).  

 Town of Jesus Synagogue of Jesus   

   

   

  

  

 

 A quick stop at Capernaum – where Jesus did most of His preaching and healings. 

Mt. of Olives

Gethsemani
 

 

 
 
 

 

 

A short climb to Mount of Olives: a place of many of Jesus’ acvities; Dominus Flevit, where Jesus cried over Jerusalem; Ascension Church and The Our Father Church. Beit Faji Church, where Jesus started his ride towards Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.  Gethsemani where Jesus suffered the agony in the garden right before his crucifixion.  

 

 

Few places inspire such passion as Jerusalem. Its significance to Jews, Christians and Muslims endures. The Israeli capital’s major sites include the Old City, the Wailing Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (the tomb), Via Dolorosa (the way of the cross), and the Dome of the Rock- the third-holiest Islam shrine in the world. The Old City is easily explored on foot. Away from the religious sights, jazz clubs, hip restaurants, arthouse cinemas and edgy theater entertain Jerusalem’s 725,000 inhabitants and constant stream of visitors and pilgrims.    

Via Dolorosa – The Way of the Cross

 

Inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, I kissed the stone on which Jesus’ body was laid down and was anointed after death and before entombment.   At that moment, I felt a big chill went down my whole body, then tears started to fall – I cried, wala akong nasabi kundi “salamat po Panginoon”.  Those were tears of joy, tears of contentment, mga luha ng pasasalamat – I felt the presence of Jesus – and I’d say this was the higlight of my trip to Jerusalem.  By chance, I am now a certified Jerusalem Pilgrim.   

 

What was different about a refreshing morning swim in a clear turquoise water of Jordan River?  How about if it’s in the Dead Sea?! My Last stop — The Dead Sea – it has 37% salt in it or it is 6 times saltier than other seas, so we’re absolutely buoyant and float up (nakalutang kahit hindi marunong lumangoy, haha astig!).  The Dead Sea is 1,200 ft. below sea level – the lowest point on Earth.  

 

We travelled on to the northern edge of the Dead Sea and the Judean Desert and beyond, had a glimpse of a greener Jordan Valley and Jericho.  

Unfortunately, the group wasn’t able to have a peek on the Church of Nativity in Betlehem and also the city of Jericho while these two cities are currently under the Palestinian Government.   

The knowledge of the scriptures, the events of Christ’s life, the historical sites I visited – was no less than amazing.  No question was left unanswered.  And everything I saw was up close and personal. I don’t know if my words will encourage you somehow to visit Israel, or maybe dream of going there someday – maybe sooner or later (maybe some of you had already been there).   I would highly recommend it.  It is a life changing experience.  

The Gospels now have a face.  I have walked in His footsteps and my memories from this trip are of a value untouched and unparalleled by money.  Yet the most important thing is that we continue to walk in His footsteps, follow His teachings that will guide us to a more meaningful journey of life — that will lead us all to our ultimate destination.    

“The strenght of a man consists in finding out the way God is going, and going that way.”   

  

Paraiso: Sa Kabila ng Malagim na Pagsabog

noong isang buwan lamang ay napabalita na ipapasara na ang mt. pinatubo para sa mga trekker (lokal o banyaga) dahil sa pagkasawi ng 2 french tourists at 9 na pinoy at ilan pang nawawala, matapos nilang akyatin ang bundok.  ano nga bang meron sa tuktok ng bundok?

natatandaan ko noong 1991, isang malagim na pagsabog ang naganap sa mt. pinatubo at libu-libong buhay ang napawi, maraming pamilya ang nawalan ng tirahan at kabuhayan.  halos nagmistulang disyerto ang lalawigan ng zambales, tarlac, pampanga at ilan pang kalapit na probinsya sa dulot nitong lahar na halos umabot pa sa mindoro ang abo noong kasalukuyang sumasabog ang bulkan.   makalipas ang halos isang dekada, napabalita na isa nang tourist attraction ang mt. pinatubo.  una ko itong nabasa sa mabuhay magazine, at binalak ko, na kung may pagkakataon ay aakyatin ko ang bundok.

isang kaopisina ang nagyaya sa akin para umakyat sa mt. pinatubo, at maswerte ang batangmangyan at nabigyan ng pagkakataon na makasama sa adventure na ito.

ikalawa ng madaling araw nang umalis ang bus sa cubao patungong capas, tarlac.  pagdating sa capas sa ganap na ika-5 ng umaga, ay sumakay kami ng jeep patungong sta. juliana, na kung saan magsisimula ang pinatubo adventure.  kinailangan namin na makarating sa lugar bago mag-ikapito, bago pa magsimula ang “balikatan exercises ng mga US military” na kasalukuyang ginaganap noon sa sta. juliana.4X4 4X4

  

 

 

 

 

kasama namin ang dalawang local guides, ito ang aming sinakyan nang halos isang oras para marating ang simula ng paglalakad (simula pa lang pala, akala ko doon na). dalawang oras at kalahati na paglalakad sa tubig, bato, buhangin, abo – bago namin marating ang mt. pinatubo.  sumasakit na ang likod ko, ang binti at paa sa sobrang tagal ng paglalakad, at halos ayoko ng ituloy sa sobrang pagkainip at pagod.   naaliw lang talaga ako sa kasama naming guide, kasi nasasagot nya ang lahat ng tanong ko, kahit wala na itong kinalaman sa mt. pinatubo (kakulet ng batangmangyan eh).nakisama naman ang panahon kasi hindi naman masyadong sumikat ang araw noon.   kaya sinamantala ko na rin ang paliligo sa bawat tubig na madaanan YAHOO.mag-aalas onse na ng marating namin ang paanan ng bundok. TARAGIS! taragis ang nasabi ko sa guide, kasi paanan pa lang pala ‘yon.  May aakyatin pa pala kami para marating ng tuluyan ang bunganga ng bulkan.  Sa pananabik na malaman kung anong meron sa itaas, nagmadali na ang grupo sa pag-akyat sa makitid at madamong daan pakyat ng bundok.mga kalahating oras din ang aming inakyat – TARAGIS ULIT.  ito ang tumambad sa mga mata ng batangmangyan..wala akong nasabi kundi - OMG - haha.  nawala ang pagod, sakit ng paa, gutom – sa pagkamangha sa aking nakita.   putek, hindi ko pa pala narating ang crater ng bulkan.  kailangan pang bumaba para maramdaman ang lamig ng tubig sa bunganga ng bulkan.  mga sampung minuto pa na lakad pababa at narating namin ang maladalampasigan na bunganga ng bulkan.syempre, walang sinayang na oras ang batangmangyan, ligo agad, pero teka, sobrang lalim, wala akong makapa na lupa, haha, floating ang katapat, buti na lang marunong ako lumutang. isang oras din ang inilagi namin sa bunganga ng bulkan, inilatag namin ang dalang tent, nagpahinga, at iginayak ang dala-dalang mga pagkain at sandaling nagsalu-salo.  syempre may adobo, sardinas, tinapay, kanin, sisig. at nagulat ang lahat – ang dala ng batangmangyan ay dalawang lata ng SPAM LIGHT 50% less salt – hahaha. taragis.  matapos kumain at magpahinga, ay kinailangan na namin lisanin ang bunganga ng bulkan.   kailangan namin marating ang sta. juliana bago mag ikalima ng hapon bago magsara ang gate ng kampo ng balikatan. masasabi ko na sa kabila ng malagim na pagsabog ay isa na ngayong paraiso ang tuktok ng mt. pinatubo.    ang pinatubo adventure ng batangmangyan ay isa sa pinakanatatanging karanasan na mananatiling buhay sa kanyang ala-ala at isang patunay lamang ito ng katatagan, lakas at tibay ng loob, tiyaga, at hindi pagsuko sa anumang hirap at pagod marating lang ang tuktok ng tagumpay.

Tara, byahe na —  sasamahan ko kayong tuklasin ang ganda ng Mt. Pinatubo.

“Never stop exploring!”