First of all, advanced happy birthday to Conrado ‘Taoke’ Ching, president of the Bureau of
Immigration (BI) Press Corps and publisher of the weekly newspaper ‘Border.’ He will be celebrating
his 38th (?) birthday over the weekend.
Greetings come from his press corps officers and members, ‘Border’ staff, family, relatives,
girl friends (and boy friends, too, of course) and supporters. From them and this writer, happy
birthday, Taoke, and may you have many more!!! By this, I mean many more birthdays, not
How queer is it? Today, our nation celebrates twin occasions.
Firstly, today is Ash Wednesday which marks the first day of Lent for Christians, including
of course, members of the Roman Catholic religion which is the predominant religion in our country.
This is the day when we troop to the church and find time to have ashes placed on our
foreheads as a sign of repentance and a reminder that we came from and shall all return to
dust. Today is also observed by Holy Masses and Church services and is a prelude to the observance
of the Lenten season, which is 40-day fasting and abstinence.
Falling 46 days before Easter Sunday, Ash Wednesday got its name from the practice of
blessing of the ashes which come from burning palm branches which are collected by the Church from
its members. These palm branches were blessed on Palm Sunday of the preceding year.
The ashes from these palm branches are then used by priests to mark the foreheads of the
Catholic faithful in the shape of a small cross.
Valentine’s Day, on the other hand and I guess, needs no further explanation. It is the
feast day of Christian martyr Saint Valentine or ‘Valentinus’ and is the day where love and
affection is celebrated in many parts of the world, Philippines included, of course. The day is
marked by romantic dates, sending of greeting cards, chocolates, gifts and flowers, among others.
While St. Valentine has come to be known as the patron saint of lovers, did you know that
the kind of love he actually expressed and for which he is being honored every year is not at all
the kind which is traditionally romantic?
Legend has it that St. Valentine was a Roman priest during the reign of ‘Claudius’, an
emperor who then persecuted the Church. The said emperor, as the story goes, banned young people
from marrying, on the basis of thinking that unmarried men make better soldiers since unlike those
who are married, they do not have to worry about leaving behind wives and children should they die
and therefore fight better.
This runs counter to what the Christian faith upholds, that marriage was supposed to be
encouraged. Against the emperor’s wishes, Valentine was said to have secretly performed marriage
rites to those who wanted to be united within the Christian Church.
The secret was later discovered so, Valentine was arrested, thrown in jail and even
tortured. While in prison, Valentine was said to have healed a blind girl through continued prayers
which he said with her. The girl happened to be the daughter of Asterius, who joined Christianity
when his daughter’s blindness was cured.
Valentine was later sentenced to execution broken down into stages -- beating, stoning and
According to legend, on the eve of his death, Valentine wrote a note for the blind girl he
had healed, where he asked her to always stay close to God and that he ended the said letter with
the words, ‘from your Valentine.’ His death sentence was carried out on February 14 in 270 A.D.
Beauty tip -- Mix equal amount of warm castor and almond oil and massage over scalp at least once a
week. (Source: Dr. Rosary May Canay-Diaz of Californian Bloom Aesthetic Institute and Medical
*** Jokjok (from Joel
Landicho of Isabela Province) -- PULUBI: Iho, baka may limang piso ka diyan, palimos
naman/PEDRO: Naku, ibibili n’yo lang po ng sigarilyo!/PULUBI: Hindi ako naninigarilyo, iho/PEDRO:
Siguro ibibili n’yo po ng alak?/PULUBI: Hindi rin ako manginginom/PEDRO: Naku, eh malamang ibibili
n’yo ng droga!/PULUBI: Iho, wala akong kahit na anong bis-yo/PEDRO: Ganu’n po ba? Lika, sumama nga
ho kayo sa bahay. Sandali lang/PULUBI: Bakit iho?/PEDRO: Ipakikita ko lang sa nanay ko kung anong
nangyayari sa mga taong walang bisyo!!
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