What an astounding convention!  Complete with all the scripts for the drama and other elements that would make the final night of the DNC 08 very memorable.  Seeing the whole Invesco Field filled to the rafters made the whole thing looked like it could eclipse the opening of the Olympic Games!

I missed the speech of Al Gore, the same way I missed the speech of Bill Clinton the night before.  Truly the whole evening belonged to Senator Obama.

It was very American. It was very gracious for John McCain to congratulate Obama on this historic night. It was not just a night for the Democrats, it was the night for the whole America.  That after 45 years, the speech of Martin Luther King is about to see its fruition in the most powerful seat in the whole world.

I was again riveted to CNN – amazed at how the people were soaking all his words in.  The camera would zoom in on many faces with their eyes getting teary-eyed as H O P E and C H A N G E are being spelled right in front of their eyes.

Like thousands of Americans, I did not know Barrack Obama.  His meteoric rise to the Senate is something not regularly seen – and most commonly interpreted as greed for position and greed for power.  But tonight, hearing his background the most compelling of which ” seeing my mother fight with the health insurance agent as in her bed as she fights cancer….” that was starkling imagery that would unalterably shape the compassion of any man toward the have-nots.  His statement about fathers being needed to provide stability and to provide for the children was really powerful.

The speech was not as polished as Hillary’s was.  But what it lacked in perfect prose and lyrical stance, it more than made up by communicating the bone of what America needs to hear. HOPE.

More than 12,000 miles away, my wife and I listened intently as the history is being written right there in Denver.  A powerful message of HOPE could reverberate throughout the world and througout the generations.  Yes, it looked and felt like the acceptance speech of JFK – esp in terms of the drama and other elements, but it was similar in terms of defining a hope for this generation, and eventually a hope for the nation.  And we as non-americans could only hope that it would spread throughout foreign shores.

Obama was starting to fill the huge shoes for the presidency.  He looked like one. He sounded like one. He acted like one.  It is the President’s role to lift up the countenance of the nation.  And Obama did just that.

A son of an interracial family. Raised by a single Mom (America is being raised by single Moms for the past many years now…) who struggled to complete her degree and prevailed against all odds – Obama is a picture perfect promise of what America used to be, and in his campaign, is trying to recover for the nation.  The american promise, that with hard work and partnership, it can be done.

It is going to be an interesting showdown.  Both candidates appear to represent what the best of America is all about.  The proud, patriotic, courageous fly-boy who has been serving his country, who now wants to serve as its commander-in-chief. The promising young man from Harvard who chose the path of public service.

What an amazing crossroad for America.

I am not an American – but I sincerely say “God Bless America!”


Remarks of New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, for her address to the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday night in Denver:

I am honored to be here tonight. A proud mother. A proud Democrat. A proud American. And a proud supporter of Barack Obama.

My friends, it is time to take back the country we love.

Whether you voted for me, or voted for Barack, the time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose. We are on the same team, and none of us can sit on the sidelines.

This is a fight for the future. And it’s a fight we must win.

I haven’t spent the past 35 years in the trenches advocating for children, campaigning for universal health care, helping parents balance work and family, and fighting for women’s rights at home and around the world … to see another Republican in the White House squander the promise of our country and the hopes of our people.

And you haven’t worked so hard over the last 18 months, or endured the last eight years, to suffer through more failed leadership.

No way. No how. No McCain.

Barack Obama is my candidate. And he must be our president.

Tonight we need to remember what a presidential election is really about. When the polls have closed, and the ads are finally off the air, it comes down to you — the American people, your lives, and your children’s futures.

For me, it’s been a privilege to meet you in your homes, your workplaces, and your communities. Your stories reminded me everyday that America’s greatness is bound up in the lives of the American people — your hard work, your devotion to duty, your love for your children, and your determination to keep going, often in the face of enormous obstacles.

You taught me so much, you made me laugh, and … you even made me cry. You allowed me to become part of your lives. And you became part of mine.

I will always remember the single mom who had adopted two kids with autism, didn’t have health insurance and discovered she had cancer. But she greeted me with her bald head painted with my name on it and asked me to fight for health care.

I will always remember the young man in a Marine Corps T-shirt who waited months for medical care and said to me: “Take care of my buddies; a lot of them are still over there … and then will you please help take care of me?”

I will always remember the boy who told me his mom worked for the minimum wage and that her employer had cut her hours. He said he just didn’t know what his family was going to do.

I will always be grateful to everyone from all fifty states, Puerto Rico and the territories, who joined our campaign on behalf of all those people left out and left behind by the Bush Administration.

To my supporters, my champions — my sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits — from the bottom of my heart: Thank you.

You never gave in. You never gave up. And together we made history.

Along the way, America lost two great Democratic champions who would have been here with us tonight. One of our finest young leaders, Arkansas Democratic Party Chair, Bill Gwatney, who believed with all his heart that America and the South could be and should be Democratic from top to bottom.

And Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, a dear friend to many of us, a loving mother and courageous leader who never gave up her quest to make America fairer and smarter, stronger and better. Steadfast in her beliefs, a fighter of uncommon grace, she was an inspiration to me and to us all.

Our heart goes out to Stephanie’s son, Mervyn, Jr., and Bill’s wife, Rebecca, who traveled to Denver to join us at our convention.

Bill and Stephanie knew that after eight years of George Bush, people are hurting at home, and our standing has eroded around the world. We have a lot of work ahead.

Jobs lost, houses gone, falling wages, rising prices. The Supreme Court in a right-wing headlock and our government in partisan gridlock. The biggest deficit in our nation’s history. Money borrowed from the Chinese to buy oil from the Saudis.

Putin and Georgia, Iraq and Iran.

I ran for president to renew the promise of America. To rebuild the middle class and sustain the American Dream, to provide the opportunity to work hard and have that work rewarded, to save for college, a home and retirement, to afford the gas and groceries and still have a little left over each month.

To promote a clean energy economy that will create millions of green collar jobs.

To create a health care system that is universal, high quality, and affordable so that parents no longer have to choose between care for themselves or their children or be stuck in dead end jobs simply to keep their insurance.

To create a world class education system and make college affordable again.

To fight for an America defined by deep and meaningful equality — from civil rights to labor rights, from women’s rights to gay rights, from ending discrimination to promoting unionization to providing help for the most important job there is: caring for our families. To help every child live up to his or her God-given potential.

To make America once again a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws.

To bring fiscal sanity back to Washington and make our government an instrument of the public good, not of private plunder.

To restore America’s standing in the world, to end the war in Iraq, bring our troops home and honor their service by caring for our veterans.

And to join with our allies to confront our shared challenges, from poverty and genocide to terrorism and global warming.

Most of all, I ran to stand up for all those who have been invisible to their government for eight long years.

Those are the reasons I ran for president. Those are the reasons I support Barack Obama. And those are the reasons you should too.

I want you to ask yourselves: Were you in this campaign just for me? Or were you in it for that young Marine and others like him? Were you in it for that mom struggling with cancer while raising her kids? Were you in it for that boy and his mom surviving on the minimum wage? Were you in it for all the people in this country who feel invisible?

We need leaders once again who can tap into that special blend of American confidence and optimism that has enabled generations before us to meet our toughest challenges. Leaders who can help us show ourselves and the world that with our ingenuity, creativity, and innovative spirit, there are no limits to what is possible in America.

This won’t be easy. Progress never is. But it will be impossible if we don’t fight to put a Democrat in the White House.

We need to elect Barack Obama because we need a President who understands that America can’t compete in a global economy by padding the pockets of energy speculators, while ignoring the workers whose jobs have been shipped overseas. We need a president who understands that we can’t solve the problems of global warming by giving windfall profits to the oil companies while ignoring opportunities to invest in new technologies that will build a green economy.

We need a President who understands that the genius of America has always depended on the strength and vitality of the middle class.

Barack Obama began his career fighting for workers displaced by the global economy. He built his campaign on a fundamental belief that change in this country must start from the ground up, not the top down. He knows government must be about “We the people” not “We the favored few.”

And when Barack Obama is in the White House, he’ll revitalize our economy, defend the working people of America, and meet the global challenges of our time. Democrats know how to do this. As I recall, President Clinton and the Democrats did it before. And President Obama and the Democrats will do it again.

He’ll transform our energy agenda by creating millions of green jobs and building a new, clean energy future. He’ll make sure that middle class families get the tax relief they deserve. And I can’t wait to watch Barack Obama sign a health care plan into law that covers every single American.

Barack Obama will end the war in Iraq responsibly and bring our troops home _a first step to repairing our alliances around the world.

And he will have with him a terrific partner in Michelle Obama. Anyone who saw Michelle’s speech last night knows she will be a great first lady for America.

Americans are also fortunate that Joe Biden will be at Barack Obama’s side. He is a strong leader and a good man. He understands both the economic stresses here at home and the strategic challenges abroad. He is pragmatic, tough, and wise. And, of course, Joe will be supported by his wonderful wife, Jill.

They will be a great team for our country.

Now, John McCain is my colleague and my friend.

He has served our country with honor and courage.

But we don’t need four more years … of the last eight years.

More economic stagnation … and less affordable health care.

More high gas prices … and less alternative energy.

More jobs getting shipped overseas … and fewer jobs created here.

More skyrocketing debt … home foreclosures … and mounting bills that are crushing our middle class families.

More war … less diplomacy.

More of a government where the privileged come first … and everyone else comes last.

John McCain says the economy is fundamentally sound. John McCain doesn’t think that 47 million people without health insurance is a crisis. John McCain wants to privatize Social Security. And in 2008, he still thinks it’s OK when women don’t earn equal pay for equal work.

With an agenda like that, it makes sense that George Bush and John McCain will be together next week in the Twin Cities. Because these days they’re awfully hard to tell apart.

America is still around after 232 years because we have risen to the challenge of every new time, changing to be faithful to our values of equal opportunity for all and the common good.

And I know what that can mean for every man, woman, and child in America. I’m a United States senator because in 1848 a group of courageous women and a few brave men gathered in Seneca Falls, New York, many traveling for days and nights, to participate in the first convention on women’s rights in our history.

And so dawned a struggle for the right to vote that would last 72 years, handed down by mother to daughter to granddaughter — and a few sons and grandsons along the way.

These women and men looked into their daughters’ eyes, imagined a fairer and freer world, and found the strength to fight. To rally and picket. To endure ridicule and harassment. To brave violence and jail.

And after so many decades — 88 years ago on this very day — the 19th amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote would be forever enshrined in our Constitution.

My mother was born before women could vote. But in this election my daughter got to vote for her mother for president.

This is the story of America. Of women and men who defy the odds and never give up.

How do we give this country back to them?

By following the example of a brave New Yorker, a woman who risked her life to shepherd slaves along the Underground Railroad.

And on that path to freedom, Harriet Tubman had one piece of advice.

If you hear the dogs, keep going.

If you see the torches in the woods, keep going.

If they’re shouting after you, keep going.

Don’t ever stop. Keep going.

If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.

Even in the darkest of moments, ordinary Americans have found the faith to keep going.

I’ve seen it in you. I’ve seen it in our teachers and firefighters, nurses and police officers, small business owners and union workers, the men and women of our military — you always keep going.

We are Americans. We’re not big on quitting.

But remember, before we can keep going, we have to get going by electing Barack Obama president.

We don’t have a moment to lose or a vote to spare.

Nothing less than the fate of our nation and the future of our children hang in the balance.

I want you to think about your children and grandchildren come election day. And think about the choices your parents and grandparents made that had such a big impact on your life and on the life of our nation.

We’ve got to ensure that the choice we make in this election honors the sacrifices of all who came before us, and will fill the lives of our children with possibility and hope.

That is our duty, to build that bright future, and to teach our children that in America there is no chasm too deep, no barrier too great — and no ceiling too high — for all who work hard, never back down, always keep going, have faith in God, in our country, and in each other.

Thank you so much. God bless America and Godspeed to you all.

Hillary’s Finest Hour

August 27, 2008

Grateful for their loyal support

Grateful for their loyal support

The much anticipated speech by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton deeply impressed me.  Sure it was all about politics and some people might argue that she was just being a good politician.  But setting aside the natural cynic in all of us, I was riveted to CNN trying to capture the pathos and ethos of the moment.  The camera loved her.  Clinton delivered, not only that, Clinton delivered hope.

Here I was, more than 12,000 miles away – watching her and I was feeling more hopeful.  Here was a lady who through the past several months had been through some of the most grueling and horrendous media exposure during the primaries.  And she was, powerfully delivering what seemed to me a STATE OF A HOPEFUL NATION address.

Poignant words about “did you do this just for me?”

18 millions votes

18 millions votes

I wish many of the political names in this country would just ask that question.  In the US, you hardly hear of a Democrat becoming a Republican and vice-versa.  But in this country, anyone can change colors, ideologies and cross multiple party-lines and re-cross multiply party lines because “IT IS JUST FOR ME…”

The Philippines has a lot of maturing to do in terms of politics and governance.  We have seen our political candidates bicker and fight – and once elected, remain enemies, or if favorable to their advantage, would switch allegiance in a heartbeat.

Clinton telling her 18 million supporters to support Obama was almost a picture of utopia.  When candidates can come together and forget even the nastiest remarks and be united for the common cause. I know that there are many people out there who would just tell me that this is just a big political show.

But there I was – soaking all her words.  Loving Clinton and expressing my deep regret that she was not even considered for the Vice-Presidential position.

When her speech ended, I realized one thing.  She did a wonderful job in endorsing Obama. But she did a superlative job in endorsing herself.  History will vindicate her and look back at what she did at the DNC 2008 and realize that it was her finest hour.

She offered hope, and hope when powerfully lived out, will give rise to many more hopeful hearts.  I am not even an american but Clinton inspired hope in me.

She should be the next president of the United States of America.

Should have been the presidential nominee

Should have been the presidential nominee

Last night, switching between CNN, FOX News and ESPN, I was trying to absorb all the the things that were happening all over the US and China.  The democrats are preparing for their Democrat Olympics in Denver and Beijing was still impressing the world with its closing ceremonies.

When the Olympic flag was transferred to the IOC chairman, who then gave it to the mayor of London – a funny thought ran across my mind. I wondered what he was thinking and how they will try to put up something as grandiose as Beijing.

The commentator said something that I barely heard but really made an impact.  When the flag was being given to the Mayor of London the narrator said “and the IOC Chairman encouraged London, that the focus is on the athletes.”

Before, during and at the closing of the Olympics, it seemed to me that the city of Beijing was really competing for attention against the athletes.  The city is the host for the Games – but the real stars should be the athletes.  I was waiting for documentaries of the athletes and their stories how they got to the Olympics and other inspiring stories – but there was none.  Rather a plethora of ads and Panasonic infomercials, the building of the Bird’s nest and The Cube, the unending smog, the closing of many factories just to lower the pollution index, and anything else about Beijing, rather than the athletes who make Olympics happen.

Every generation must remember the story of Jesse Owens and the German runner Lutz who even helped Owens and in the end, chanted his name during the 1932 Berlin Games, powerfully illustrating to the world that athleticism, brotherhood and friendship were really above any philosophical ideologies being espoused by the powers-that-be in Germany at that time.

I was waiting for something like this. Something more personal.  Something more lasting. We can study the architecture and inspiration of BIRD’s NEST for years to come, but the lives of the athletes are short and their colorful careers are passing. The lives of the people are more interesting, rather than the building and the facilities where the games were held.

During the Olympics, there were few stories that evoked inspiration.  Usain Bolt, dreaming, thinking and then deciding that it was possible to break the WR in Men’s relay.  The agony of the US team dropping their batons!  Michael Phelps breaking the records. Michael Phelps looking to his left to acknowledge his Mom, then turn to his right and saw President George Bush cheering him on as he won another gold for USA.  The athlete with disability who did well in the triathlon. The victory pose of Bolt with the Jamaican flag draped on his shoulders. The strain on the muscles as the gymnasts hit their different stations, the Australian diver who clinched a 112.70 score in the 10M platform dive beating the Chinese favorite diver…. these were the stories that should have been highlighted more than anything else.
This got me thinking about Church life as well.  It is like being invited to attend worship. And once inside the Church building, you hear testimonies upon testimonies of how the Church was built and the amount of money it took, the challenges they faced and where the materials came from.  Then someone spoke about the air-conditioning system in the hall and the filter designed to clean the air inside.  The music ministry talked about the quality of their instruments and the different music schools where their musicians came from.  The pastor came in and talked about the budget, the ministry programs, the plan for another church facilities across the road for sports and other outreach projects.

Then it was time to close.  There was loud and festive music celebrating the building and how beautiful it was. And then it was time to go.

There was no mention of someone who made it all possible. There was no mention of Jesus Christ, or our Savior who died on the cross that we might live.  The Church building was built so that the people may worship – but in the end, it was the builders, it was the building that was worshipped.

I had these feelings at the overall Beijing Games.  The Olympics turned out to be more about the host city than what the Games is all about.  It turned out to be this super “angsted” desire to showcase the city rather than its intended guests.

And thinking of Beijing Games made me realize that there are times when Church life is about what we have made with our hands, rather than what God has done because of His love.

I got an email today from a friend in the Middle East.  What he sent was really priceless.

He sent me 4 pictures taken yesterday when he and his wife and their daughter, visited my sister who is working there in the United Arab Emirates.

I must have stared at those pictures for the longest time.  I thank God for their ministry and how they took the the time to visit my sister.  What a priceless blessing.

I was deeply encouraged.

The Filipino is worth dying for...

The Filipino is worth dying for...


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Thank you.

The feeding of the lies…

August 21, 2008

I must have been suffering from a blogger’s block.  After writing the 100th post last week, it just sat there waiting to be followed by another blog this week.  Somehow I could not bring myself to write anything until a couple of minutes ago.

I noticed that the blog on YOU ARE MY HEALER has been getting a lot of hits recently, especially since yesterday.  A lot of people must be getting encouraged by the testimony of Mike Guglielmucci.

Until news articles confirmed that his cancer claims for the past two years have been false.


That even his family members were really shocked at the unfolding events.

Needless to say, I am very baffled. Why a pastor needs to lie about his medical condition – and deceive the whole world?

While the message of the song IS STILL TRUE, I am afraid that the credibility of his witness would suffer for quite a long time.

Here are some of the lies that have really baffled me in recent months:

1. The photographer who took shots of what was supposed to be a “lost” tribe in Latin America, where there was a man covered in red ink in a warlike stance as the picture was taken.  Later on, this turned out to be a fraud.

2. Bigfoot fur remains – when thawed revealed that the whole BIGFOOT mystery was a FAKE. The fur was made of rubber materials.  Mystery is solved for all of us though.

3. Senator Edwards was also involved in an extramarital affair and it forever changed the image of him being an almost perfect husband and father.

4. Athletes caught in doping incidents even at the Olympics and other worldwide sporting events.

5. Gasoline companies declaring before the media that they are not earning enough and kept on jacking up the prices.  Well the price of crude oil is down to $114, yet the price of gasoline in this country has remained unbelievably high when it should have been lowered by more than P20 per liter at this time.

6. I don’t know who is lying when the Philippine government would report that the economy has gotten a lot better since the current President took office.  But millions of Filipinos are going hungry – and those who can still afford to buy food are now mostly eating noodles for viand along with their very cheap rice.  How can the economy be better when the inflation rate has been measured at 12.07% last June?

7. System generation loss of the electric companies. These people need to start being honest and not charge all these to the people who are the poor hapless consumers.  It is not the people who are causing the generation loss – but their faulty equipment, cables and other infrastracture.

8. Who is telling the truth in Mindanao?  When days after the ARMM elections, war broke out and these cruel and savage things are not even reported by the Philippine media? People are being killed and institutions are being burned yet it is not reaching the news channels in the cities.

9.  In the Georgian conflict, lies are being told in the worldwide body right there in the UN Security Council.  Russia has punished the “aggressor” but why is it taking too long for Russia to move out of Georgia? They are acting like the real aggressor with powerful words like “crush” the Georgian military.

We are surrounded by so many lies.  And unfortunately, if we are not careful, we may begin believing some of these as well:

Here are some of them:

1. Religious lies about the exclusivity of certain faith systems/church/denominations – where family members not following their strict religious codes are considered “polluted.”

2. Lies that make us feel and think that we are not worthy to be loved by God.

3. Lies that tell us that we can never be forgiven.

4. That we are not and will never be good enough.

5. Lies that measure our lives according to how much we have accumulated in our lives.

6. That happiness depends on our socio-economic status.

7. When sexual abusers deceive themselves into thinking that they are not responsible for the crimes they have committed.

8. The powerful lie that for the sake of the family’s financial well-being, sexual abuse victims should just remain silent.

9. Lies that tell us, that the Father is never pleased with us, and that He is some distant God who just watches us, uninvolved in our pains and miseries.

How about you? What are some of the lies that may have shaped or may have influenced you?  Sometimes, we do not want to accept the truth because the lie has become so deeply embedded in our thought process that it has become our “reality.”

John 8:32 states that we shall know the truth. And the TRUTH shall set us free.

May the loving Father of the truth gently reveals to us the lies in our lives that we may be set free into the absolute and objective reality of HIS TRUTH.