The Beloved










2012 had been a tough year. One year has passed since a death in the family had consumed us and that nagging feeling that perhaps we have not loved well enough still remains. If there is one thing that tears you apart, it is losing the people who have been a constant in your life. The details are blurry now but we did juggle between hope and reason for some time. Hoping that Papa’s illness would not be fatal and reasoning that indeed death comes and fight that we must, it was never on our hands.

When we received news that Papa has given up to the best that science has to offer, we also knew it was time to hold hands and whisper our goodbyes. Under crimson skies, we turned into taking our beads and prostrating before the heavens that he be led safely home.

On the same year, another family member shared news with us of an illness that can prove fatal for her. Her concerns masked all our other concerns. We suddenly learned to peel away our non-essentials in exchange for a heart opening up to a generous serving of compassion so that her fears can be assuaged. Somehow, I felt winter loomed for far too long last year but spring is yet to come, right?

Everything happens in its proper order, in its perfect time.

Prayer is a place that shelter souls. We find refuge in our devotion to Senyor Sto Niño & the Mother of Perpetual Help. We held his hand, stayed close and listened to Him breathe his love on us. We waited for Him to make his move and tried as best as we could to listen to him speak to us in dreams and whispers. He worked his miracles on each of us with intimate precision. He made the pain duller so it was easier for us to write our story.

And so it was in July, that we fluttered away and wandered to a familiar road so we can reclaim ourselves. We surrounded ourselves with hoards of tenderness, kindness and joy around our family in Cebu . We escaped and came back to our true north.

We came home to our Beloved.


The devotees waiting for their turn to pay obeisance to the Shrine of our Beloved Senyor Sto Niño at the Basilica was strangely shorter than what we had expected. It was my first. He was in shimmering white and red and his face popped out in a room that I could only define as Agape. We followed the faithfuls who came to kiss (or at least touch) the glass encasing him.

Our experience was nothing short of profound. We stood there long enough to immerse in the inspiring faith of the people who came to pray and bring their intentions to Him. An air of spiritual conversion filled the dark enclave. We shared happy tears. One cannot help but be blown away by the tremendous outpouring of faith – re-assuring and peace-filled.  When it was time to leave, no one wanted to go. We all wanted to stay there wrapped up in the loving mantle of the Holy Child. To feel naked and bare – between the shadow and the soul – everything taking a backseat for our Beloved.

Nothing tugs at the heart strings more than seeing candle peddlers as old as 95, making a living out of dancing for souls that request for prayers. Our visits to the Basilica will never be complete without it. For 10 pesos per candle, Manang will sway back and forth while chanting our special request in a simple and purest form of sacred ritual prayer performed to a silent, resilient beat – holding a bunch of candles and lifting her prayers to the heavens. Divinity at its core.

As soon as we came out of the Basilica, once again we were assured of a love given in full – not in pieces, halves or quarters.


Oh, our Beloved, they do not know what you are to us.

It doesn’t matter how years, people & things change. For as long as we have you, we will never lose our way.

Chichi Abadingo