Thursday, June 12, 2008


Good news comes to us in the strangest of ways. Yesterday, June 11 is a date I shall never forget. As I was getting off the MRT on Quezon Avenue on my way to a friend's office in the Banawe area, I suddenly thought of my friend Ces Drilon who had been reported to be held against her will by bandits, together with her ABS-CBN crew in the jungles of Sulu. I first knew about this in the early morning of Tuesday, June 10, and have been worried for her safety. And so, curiosity egged me to reach for my phone from my pocket at that very moment, search for her name in its directory, and press "call," expecting a recorded message saying the subscriber would be "outside the coverage area, or has turned his unit off. Please try again later." That was exactly 1:00 PM. Lo and behold, Ces' phone rang! I was so surprised with this unexpected ringing of her phone that I immediately terminated the call after just one ring - a.k.a. a "miscol." Then the real surprise came when Ces immediately called back. I answered my phone, and the voice on the other end said, "Les, I'm sorry I can't talk right now." "Click." It was her. I smiled and thought at that moment, though I didn't have the chance to ask Ces how she was doing, I was just so thankful to hear her voice, obviously which meant that she was alive! I was just so happy as I began boarding the jeepney on Quezon Avenue bound for Banawe. But then again, I was sad too that such things must happen to a good person. A kind-hearted lady. As of this writing, Ces is still in the jungles of Sulu together with her crew, held captive by the Abu Sayyaf led by Al-bader Parad. Wasn't this the same fellow responsible for the abduction of Father Giancarlo Bossi? Nevertheless, I ask you to join me in faith asking God to protect her, to shield her from the enemy, and to bring her back to her family safely. Yesterday, June 11, is a date I shall never forget.

(Image from

Sunday, June 08, 2008


Since we shall once again be commemorating our Independence Day in a few days, allow me to share with you a very rare appearance of two prayers which my grandfather Jorge Bocobo, with his unwavering Protestant faith had written and read in 1931, and the other in 1932 during the Liberty Parades of those years. If you observe and read the prayers carefully, it would seem that these prayers were written only yesterday, for it speaks of the same evils and ills that hound our country today.


O living God our Father, may Thy grace ever abound unto our nation. In perfect trust do we seek to know Thy will in our strivings for liberation. Bless Thou every hand that toils and every heart that throbs for freedom. Grant that in the vehemence of our struggles for liberty, no ill-will or hatred may creep into our hearts. Give us to bear our disappointments with charity and long-suffering, confident that Thou, O God of deliverance, will never forsake us Thy people.

We beseech Thee to bestow increasing strength and power upon those who labor for our emancipation, and may those who deny us freedom see the righteousness of our cause.

In the hollow of Thy mighty hand are the destinies of all nations. To Thee we commend our country's future, so that, we pray Thee, it may shine unto the perfect day. We fear no harm or evil under the shadow of Thy wings. Lead our people on the paths of righteousness and of goodwill toward all men. Let freedom be ours, O Thou giver of every good gift. We thank Thee for manifold blessings in the past. May we be deserving of Thy continued protection today and in the years to come. To Thee we attribute all glory and all power forever and ever. Amen.


Almighty God, Father of all nations, fountain of all strength and mercy, we Thy people come unto Thee in the hour of danger and distress. Hide not Thy face from this nation, we beseech Thee. Do Thou pour out Thy holy comfort upon our afflicted souls. We are Thy people, and Thou art our refuge and deliverer. Of Thy loving-kindness, there is no end.

We entreat Thee, O most gracious Father, stay Thou the hand that would smite our liberties. Send forth Thy spirit unto our rulers and so touch their hearts and quicken their sense of justice, so that they may in honor keep their plighted word to us. Let not the covetous designs of a few interests prevail in the councils, nor sway its noble purposes toward our country.

We pray Thee, O Lord, grant us peace to forgive those who seek to destroy our freedom.

We thank Thee, O heavenly Father, that we can thus pray to Thee. We thank Thee that Thou hast inspired us with a renewed spirit of national unity. Do Thou bless and sanctify our aspirations as a people. Guide us in our endeavors for our emancipation to the end that our every thought and deed may be accepted in Thy sight. And to Thee be all honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.