Experiencing Mauban: A Rocky Beach near Brgy. Cagsiay II

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Isang maganda, malinis, at hindi matao na public beach sa Mauban, Quezon Province ang puedeng puntahan kapag medyo pigil sa budget. No entrance fee na, malinis at ramdam mo ang nature dahil hindi ito commercialized. Nakakarelax!

Located at Brgy. Cagsiay II, 20-30 mins from Mauban town proper. Please click here to view the place in Google Maps. Not sure kung may particular name itong property/place na ito.

Important notes: Ingat lang at puedeng malakas minsan ang alon depende sa panahon. Take your beach shoes and swimming goggles with you dahil maraming mga bato. This beach has no facilities at all. Do not bring small children with you. Recommended kung panandaliang langoy lang! Most importantly, sa mga maganang kumain, magdala ng pagkain! 🙂

Sharing some photos.

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Why I Gave up Netflix for Good!

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Reasons why I don’t need Netfix anymore.

  1. Expensive. The standard plan at $15.98 per month offers unlimited access to all contents (with a catch see #5). I can share the access to another person who is willing to split the fees but is a real hassle. The price is expensive for me since I only watch in average one movie per week. And mostly my reason is that I have spent money on it and not because I like Netlix’s contents. And it takes me at least half an hour to find a movie that suits my mood.
  2. Ultra HD plan even more expensive. Basic and Standard plans work OK (but not that good) in small screens only. If I have bigger screens (good thing I don’t have them), I will need to upgrade to a better quality Ultra HD plan at $19.98 per month.
  3. Not enough content. Netflix has around 10,000 movies and TV series in their database. The number looks huge but very few of them (really!) are of my interest especially because I hate watching movies while reading subtitles. There are many non-English programs without English audio.
  4. Search displays ZERO result almost all the time. I search for a movie I want to watch and it’s not in Netflix. 99% of my searches displays zero result and would only give me suggested movies related to my search keywords which I don’t really like.
  5. Some movies not watchable in other countries. I travel across two to three countries in Southeast Asia and I can observe some contents are viewable in one country but not in another.
  6. The things I like can be accessed elsewhere. I love watching health documentaries, films about the planet earth, and some TV series. However, they can all be accessed somewhere else, even for free. And I have already watched most of them so there is no reason to spend money in Netflix and watch the same.
  7. The things our toddlers love can be watched elsewhere. YouTube has it all for our kiddos who loves rhymes and children’s programs. There are other apps too that we can download for free or with a minimal lifetime fee that could satisfy our kid’s viewing needs.
  8. Very few good Christian movies. Of all the 10k movies in Netflix, there may only be less than 100 good Christian movies for the whole family. Because #9…
  9. The majority of contents promotes sin and immorality. I would say around 90% of Netflix’s contents promotes lust, gluttony, greed, laziness, anger, envy, luxury, and pride. Sins that are considered source of all other sins and immorality in the world. The more we watch them the more we believe that they are normal and we lose that awareness of God our soul.
  10. Most “Catholic” movies they have attack the Catholic Church and her teachings. Besides the fact that Catholic movies are rare in Netflix, most of these movies do not actually praise the Catholic Church and her teachings. In the contrary, it criticizes and makes fun of her members and her doctrines.
  11. It’s just not for me. Considering all the first 10 reasons, Netflix is just not for me. As a Christian father of three kids, I need good contents to watch with my whole family.
  12. Not worth it. We only access it once or twice a week, not even consistently. After a year and a half on Netflix my wife and I got tired of the seeing the same contents.

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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Simon and Garfunkel’s – Sparrow Song Meaning

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This post is about my favorite song “Sparrow” by Simon & Garfunkel. If you haven’t heard of it, you may read the lyrics and listen to it here.

It is actually a fable with an impacting meaning and a lot of lesson to learn. The five characters in the story are: the sparrow, the oak tree, the swan, the golden wheat, and the Earth.

The Sparrow and the Oak Tree

The sparrow was very tired from a very long flight and he badly needed some rest. He may represent a person or a community who underwent a lot of suffering and want to take a short pause to regain strength. The Oak Tree rejected the crying sparrow because its branches or leaves won’t be of any help [even though it’s obvious that they are what the sparrow needs]. The Oak Tree are those people who deliberately avoid the needy and even to the point of scolding them even without hearing their plea.

The Sparrow and the Swan

The exhausted little sparrow went on and spoke kindly to a swan hoping for whatever help he can get, perhaps some company would be appreciated. The swan was ashamed of the sparrow’s presence. If the swan helps the sparrow, the swan would be laughed at by the other swans who might see this “yucky” gesture of helping a stranger. Perhaps the swan represents those who deliberately not help the needy because of human respect. Human respect is when you opt not to do the right thing because you’re afraid people’s esteem and opinions towards you will go bad.

The Sparrow and the Golden Wheat

Suffered two rejections, our little protagonist wandered off and found himself in the middle of a wheat field. The starving little sparrow desperately asked for something to eat. He was very optimistic he would get something, after all, there was enough wheat to feed even flocks of birds of different kinds. Just one stem of the millions of wheat in the field would give a sparrow an instant relief of his suffering and hunger. However, the golden wheat so selfishly refused to help. “I would if I could but I cannot”, the golden wheat said, “I need all my grains to prosper and grow!” The golden wheat are those who do have sympathy to the needy but prefer not to share their excessive wealth in fear that they might need them in the future.

The Sparrow and the Earth

Here comes the hero (or heroine) of the story. Mother Earth with arms wide open offered her all. She heard the poor sparrow’s testimony and helped him and loved him until his death. If we exclude the last two lines, we would think that Mother Earth represents another group of people but this is not the case. Paul Simon, who wrote the song, clearly tells us that the Earth is God himself. Simon borrowed God’s words to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:19, “for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return”.

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My own reflection

We can all be sparrows at least in one point of our lives when we experience some kind of suffering. It can be financially, physically, emotionally, spiritually, etc. Nobody has lived and will live a perfect life with no suffering. Even our savior, Jesus Christ, suffered and died on the cross. So we will have our own sparrow experience if we haven’t had one already.

On the other hand, we also have this villain moments in some points of our lives. Because of selfishness and the absence of love, we sometimes are the oak trees, or the swans, or the golden wheat. We choose not to help the suffering sparrows because of whatever excuses we make.

So this song prompts us to do what?

This is more on our responsibility as God’s co-creators. Yes! God created man in his own image, in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). God created so man should partake of God’s work on earth as co-creators. We’re not only referring to procreation here but also the creation and propagation of love. After all, God is love. And it is love that prompts us to understand the sparrows all around us. Without love, we create a lot of excuses and end up like the three villains in the story. But with love, meaning with God, we can do the appropriate for our neighbors.

This is one of the reasons why the Catholic Church encourages us to perform works of mercy. The catechism has dedicated seven paragraphs (2443 – 2449) about “Love of For the Poor” highlighting seven spiritual works of mercy and another seven physical works of mercy. If we all do our part as God’s co-creators, we can make the world better.

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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“The Platform” Movie Review – The Praying Lensman

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The Platform or “El Hoyo” (meaning the hole) is a Spanish fiction thriller movie released on September 6, 2019. The cast includes Iván Massagué as Goreng, Zorion Eguileor as Trimagasi, Antonia San Juan as Imoguiri, Emilio Buale Coka as Baharat, and a Filipina (in blood) Alexandra Masangkay as Miharu. There is a lot of lessons to learn from this movie but please consider these markers below. I wont let my kids watch this movie until they reach the age of reason.

As a Christian father, I somehow feel obliged to share my own thoughts on some of the movies I watched. This is a review on a Christian perspective and not a review on its effects, plots, casts, etc. So here are some markers in areas I think are important and could be useful for those who are deciding to watch this movie.

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Things to remind your kids:

Cannibalism◼◼◼◼◼
Violence/Murder◼◼◼◻◻
Gluttony◼◼◻◻◻
Greed◼◼◻◻◻
Nudity/Sex◼◻◻◻◻
Blasphemy◼◻◻◻◻
Cursing◼◻◻◻◻
My own review only
  • Cannibalism. Prisoners are forced to eat human flesh for survival
  • Violence. Prisoners take their own lives or kill other prisoners
  • Gluttony/Greed of food. Prisoners in the upper floors are not thinking of other prisoners in the lower floors who depends on the upper floors leftovers
  • Nudity/Sex. Masturbation, sex, naked people (about 2 mins)
  • Blasphemy. Addressing Goreng (the main character) as “Messiah”, using the passages in John 6 to convince him to embrace cannibalism.

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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“Onward” Movie Review – The Praying Lensman

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Onward is a Walt Disney animated movie released on Feruary 21, 2020. Starring Tom Holland (Spiderman) as Ian Lightfoot and Chris Pratt (Star-lord Peter Quill) as Barley Lightfoot.

As a Christian father, I somehow feel obliged to share my own thoughts on some of the movies I watched. This is a review on a Christian perspective and not a review on its effects, plots, casts, etc. So here are some markers in areas I think are important and could be useful for those who are deciding to watch this movie.

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Things to remind your kids:

Divination and Magic◼◼◼◼◼
Homosexuality◼◻◻◻◻
Co-habitation◼◻◻◻◻
My own review only
  • Divination and Magic. Contacting the dead and the use of magic in real life is an insult to God.
  • Homosexuality. A lady police officer mentions about a daughter of her girlfriend. In fact, Poland completely deleted her scene.
  • Co-habitation. The two brothers live with their mom and her boyfriend, their step dad.

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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Villa Elma, a Good Alternative to the Crowded ‘Kamay Ni Hesus’

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A used-to-be private property has opened its gates for public in the city of Lucban, Quezon. This beautiful site is located right at the slope of a mountain facing the peak of the mysterious Mount Banahaw and is just a 15 minutes ride from the town proper. Villa Elma is a family owned property with sculptures and statues like those of Kamay ni Hesus along the Lucban-Tayabas road. In fact, some of the figures in both locations look exactly the same.

The thing that I like most in Villa Elma is the serenity of the place. I could hear the birds of different kinds singing all day long. And since the whole place is filled with flowers and trees, countless butterflies and insects can be spotted. It’s really a perfect place to appreciate the beauty of God’s creation. I could also hear water running down the side of the mountain. Indeed a fitting place for prayer, meditation, and reflection.

The other feature of the place is the option to stay for a night. They have some rooms available at a reasonable rate and I can tell you, you will never be disappointed with the deal. The rooms are very spacious and some of them with terraces. I was told by their care taker that high-ranking Philippine Officials have stayed in the place for a retreat and for leisure.

They offer food orders during daytime and you can enjoy it served at your room or at their canteen. They offer local dishes like the Pancit Lucban and Longanisang Lucban which are the best sellers in the area.

The most memorable moment I had there was swimming in a natural non-tiled pool of spring water. The water is so fresh you can actually drink it. Only I dared to dip in the water while my wife and kids enjoyed a shower of spring water nearby.

We had an enjoyable experience at the place and so I am confident you will also have the same. Learn more about the place via their website http://www.villaelma.com.ph/store/c1/Featured_Products.html.

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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