Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Mother's Hug

by: Agnes M, , Source Unknown

For years I had watched mothers hug and kiss their children and I was envious. I hadn't received a mothers hug or known a mother's love.

When I was little, my parents went through a painful divorce. It was a rough journey for them I imagine. All I remember about it was my father coming home drunk and shouting at everyone. He had a habit of beating us whenever he had a drink. I don't remember much about my life with both parents. All that is implanted in my mind is waking up one night all alone in the house and to noises coming from my grandma's little hut. I had no idea of what was going on so I walked there to find out. I walked so stealthily because it was too dark and I was afraid I would meet with a wild animal. There were too many of them in those days. When I got to my grandma's hut, my other sisters and brothers were there with my father. I think he was drunk because he was shouting. He asked me, "Do you also want to follow your mother?" Without thinking I just said, "Yes." I didn't think to say no. Next thing I knew, he had hit me so hard on the head with some hard thing and I started crying. My elder sister took me back to sleep. The next morning, I had no mother.

We all grew up alone. No mother around and practically no father. My father kind of deserted the home. He went to leave with another woman (as I came to learn later). He would make appearances about once every three months or so. We were too young that we never really understood what was going on. It didn't occur to us that something was wrong. May be it did to my elder brother and sisters but not me. Most of the time we had no food. We didn't know tea with sugar or food with salt or cooking fat. These were great luxuries and only tasted them when my grandma decided to invite us to eat in her hut.

Many nights we just drank water and slept. These were the nights when my elder sister, Consolata had not been to the neighbors to borrow some maize or beans in the pretext that it was for planting. They never understood but they gave anyway. They wouldn't understand because, our farm produced a lot of food. We had acres and acres of wheat, potatoes, maize, etc. My father would make sure we didn't attend school for long periods of time to work in the farm. We all worked so hard. When I was too young to dig, I would be the one to cook. I had to fetch firewood and make lunch for others (that is, if there was anything to cook. Mostly it was boiled maize. My grandma was kind enough to give us some salt to put in the maize.) When the harvest time came, my father was home full time. We were not allowed into the farm. He would hire casual labor to harvest, put the produce in bags and load into lorries to go and sell in other towns. Our luxurious days were after the harvest when we could go back to the empty fields to collect the rejects -- those little potatoes that couldn't fetch anything in the market, or the good ones which had dropped off while they were being packed up.

Then one day we met my mother. I didn't even recognize her well. She was looking so nice I couldn't believe she was my mother. I was afraid of her. The atmosphere around her was of a very successful woman and I made sure I kept out of her way as much as possible. She commanded a lot of respect and fear. She never showed any love. If she had it, she kept it hidden inside. She made sure we got the basic needs and we thought this was heaven. e hadn't seen anything better. Inwardly, I was very proud to be associated to that important woman. I hoped one day the school children will see me walking with my mother so that they can know I was important too. I needed them to know I was associated with a beautiful mother even though I had no shoes and went to school with patched uniform.

We had grown and when I was in college the family went through a very terrible ordeal and I lost my mother again. This time, I knew all that was going on. I knew who started fights, who shouted louder, who banged the door...

When I grew up, I didn't know about Jesus. No one talked about Him at home. We attended mass but that was just a Sunday routine which to me had no meaning at all. When I was in high school, I gave my life to Christ. My step father was very angry with me as a result. I had no support at home and as a result I dropped my Christian commitment. I finished college and go a job. By this time, I didn't even know where my mother was or what she was doing. I had heard though that she had given her life to Christ and was looking for a way to come back into our lives. But all of us children wanted nothing to do with her. Our argument was that if she didn't care when we were young what did she want now.

Then, in March 1999, I rededicated my life to Jesus. This time, "with my two eyes open" and I knew it is what I needed in my life. The Lord has been very faithful to me since then as I have completely given myself to Him. There are days of struggle but I am not alone now. I am with Jesus. At this time, I knew I had no choice but to go to my mother and ask for forgiveness for not wanting her to be a part of my life. I didn't know how but I kept praying for God to open the way. My mother had completely committed her life to Christ and was working in a local church as an evangelist (she is even today). I started hearing news about her evangelistic meetings and how God using her to change people's lives. In December of 1999, my youngest brother and I decided to go and see my mother in our rural home. I remember the whole of that week my heart kept beating so fast when I thought I would see my mother again. I didn't know what to expected but I imagined, with Jesus, all was going to be well.

The minute I got out of the car my mother came running to me and gave me the most beautiful hug I have ever had. We just stood there holding each other with tears in our eyes. I wanted to live in this moment forever, to stay in those warm arms that felt so secure. For the first time in my life, my mother hugged me!

Now I know many people may not see this as unusual but I waited thirty years for my mom to say those magic words, "I love you." Now they flow from her heart like a fountain.

I praise the Lord for what He is doing in my family. I have a daughter, and trust me, I never stop hugging her and telling her how much I love her. She needs to know. I hope every parent who reads this will learn and always let their children know that they are loved. Never assume that the child knows. Always tell them clearly that they mean a lot to you. They will grow to know how important it is to be loved so they in turn will love others.

And one last thing...

Hug them often.

originally posted in

Monday, October 13, 2008

Mother's Quote 19

I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life. ~Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


A man stopped at a flower shop to order some flowers to be wired to his mother who lived two hundred miles away.

As he got out of his car he noticed a young girl sitting on the curb sobbing.

He asked her what was wrong and she replied, "I wanted to buy a red rose for my mother.

But I only have seventy-five cents, and a rose costs two dollars."

The man smiled and said, "Come on in with me. I'll buy you a rose."

He bought the little girl her rose and ordered his own mother's flowers.

As they were leaving he offered the girl a ride home.

She said, "Yes, please! You can take me to my mother."

She directed him to a cemetery, where she placed the rose on a freshly dug grave.

The man returned to the flower shop, canceled the wire order, picked up a bouquet and drove the two hundred miles to his mother's house.

originally posted in

Monday, October 6, 2008

Mother's Quote 18

The sweetest sounds to mortals given
Are heard in Mother, Home, and Heaven.
~William Goldsmith Brown

Friday, October 3, 2008

Mother's Quote 17

Any mother could perform the jobs of several air traffic controllers with ease. ~Lisa Alther

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Making Of A Mother - inspiring mother stories

By the time the Lord made mothers, He was into the sixth day working overtime. An Angel appeared and said "Why are you spending so much time on this one?"

And the Lord answered and said, "Have you read the spec sheet on her? She has to be completely washable, but not elastic; have 200 movable parts, all replaceable; run on black coffee and leftovers; have a lap that can hold three children at one time and that disappears when she stands up; have a kiss that can cure anything from a scraped knee to a broken heart; and have six pairs of hands."

The Angel was astounded at the requirements for this one. "Six pairs of hands! No way!" said the Angel.

The Lord replied, "Oh, it's not the hands that are the problem. It's the three pairs of eyes that mothers must have!"

"And that's on the standard model?" the Angel asked.

The Lord nodded in agreement, "Yep, one pair of eyes are to see through the closed door as she asks her children what they are doing even though she already knows. Another pair in the back of her head are to see what she needs to know even though no one thinks she can. And the third pair are here in the front of her head. They are for looking at an errant child and saying that she understands and loves him or her without even saying a single word."

The Angel tried to stop the Lord "This is too much work for one day. Wait until tomorrow to finish."

"But I can't!" The Lord protested, "I am so close to finishing this creation that is so close to my own heart. She already heals herself when she is sick AND can feed a family of six on a pound of hamburger and can get a nine year old to stand in the shower."

The Angel moved closer and touched the woman, "But you have made her so soft, Lord."

"She is soft," the Lord agreed, "but I have also made her tough. You have no idea what she can endure or accomplish."

"Will she be able to think?" asked the Angel.

The Lord replied, "Not only will she be able to think, she will be able to reason, and negotiate."

The Angel then noticed something and reached out and touched the woman's cheek. "Oops, it looks like You have a leak with this model. I told You that You were trying to put too much into this one."

"That's not a leak." the Lord objected. "That's a tear!"

"What's the tear for?" the Angel asked.

The Lord said, "The tear is her way of expressing her joy, her sorrow, her disappointment, her pain, her loneliness, her grief, and her pride."

The Angel was impressed. "You are a genius, Lord. You thought of everything for this one. You even created the tear!"

The Lord looked at the Angel and smiled and said, "I'm afraid you are wrong again. I created the woman, but she created the tear!"

originally posted:

Monday, September 29, 2008

Mother's Quote 16

"Children are the anchors that hold a mother to life." ~ Sophocles

Friday, September 26, 2008

Mother's Quote 15

[A] mother is one to whom you hurry when you are troubled. ~Emily Dickinson

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Prayer for Peace

The Prayer for Peace

The world prayer for peace comes from the Vancouver Assembly of the World Council of Churches :
For peace in your country
For the victims of violence everywhere
For those struggling for peace and justice
For churches in conflict situations
For a world without war and violence

Lead me from death to life,
from falsehood to truth,
Lead me from despair to hope,
from fear to trust.
Lead me from hate to love,
from war to peace,
Let peace fill our beings,
our world and our universe. Amen.

This decade has been named as the decade to overcome violence. In the logo, the hands represent a heart, above a broken yellow earth.

originally posted in

Monday, September 22, 2008

Mother's Quote 14

Every mother is like Moses. She does not enter the promised land. She prepares a world she will not see. ~ Pope Paul VI

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Grace & Mercy of a Mother's Love....

Only a thought, but the work it wrought,
Can never by tongue or pen be taught,
For it ran through life like a thread of gold
And the life bore fruit a hundred fold.

Only a word! but t'was spoken in love,
With a whispered prayer to the Lord above-
And the angels in heaven rejoiced once more,
For a new-born soul entered through the door.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Mother's Quote 13

Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.
by Mother Teresa

Thursday, August 28, 2008

INA reaches out to the victims of the ill-fated Princess of the Stars

When the shipping vessel, Princess of the Stars sank at sea, claiming hundreds of lives, the members of INA (Inang Naulila sa Anak Foundation) led by Manay Gina, were among the firsts who offered moral support to the bereaved family members of the victims.

"Since I lost my dearest daughter KC in a fire, it has become my personal mission to offer solace to the other mothers whose loved ones also perished in a tragedy, for in giving comfort, I am also fortified in return," she said.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Gina de V shares thoughts in her own blogspot

Posted on August 18, 2008 - Filed Under News, People & Events |

Meet Manay Gina, the blogger.

Georgina de Venecia, popularly known as Manay Gina, wife of former House Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr., has launched her own blog ( primarily to tell inspirational stories.

In an interview with The PUNCH, she said people need “fairytale stories”, especially nowadays when there is so much negative news on media.

In her blogspot, she shares how she has coped with emotional crisis, including the loss of a teenage daughter in a fire that gutted their house.

“It was not easy. The pain will never go away,” she said adding that her sharings on her blogspot is also still part of her healing process.

Manay Gina stressed that her blog will not cover politics, particularly the ouster of her husband from the congressional speakership post earlier this year.

She said with the inspirational stories she shares in her blog, she hopes to help people realize that there is always life after a storm.

The blogspot, entitled "The Quintessential Filipina" also includes people Manay Gina admires, her friends, her life as an entertainment personality, and her projects such as the Ina Foundation Inc.#

originally posted in:

Aid to typhoon Frank victims in Pangasinan’s 4th District

In Dagupan

Manay Gina and husband, Rep. Joe de Venecia were in Pangasinan's 4th District recently to distribute roof sheets and good lumber to the residents whose houses were damaged by typhoon Frank.

In San Fabian

For initial release, the couple distributed 21,000 pieces of galvanized iron, 18 thousand good lumber and 2 boxes of nails in Dagupan City; 16,350 G.I. and 9,800 pieces of lumber in San Fabian; 16,000 G.I. and 7,500 pcs of lumber in Mangaldan; 7,300 G.I. and 3,750 pcs. of lumber in San Jacinto; and 2,773 G.I. and 1,662 pcs. of good lumber in Manaoag.

In Mangaldan

In her speech, Manay Gina, thanked the miraculous Lady of Manaoag for sparing the district of human casualty, when the devastating typhoon hit the area.

In Manaoag

Speech: Gabriela

GABRIELA – U.P. - Diliman
July 25, 2008

Una sa lahat, buong-puso kong binabati ang GABRIELA, sa patuloy na pakikibaka para sa kabutihan ng mga Filipina at ng ating inang bayan.
Ang sabi ni Rizal, ‘nasa kabataan ang pag-asa ng bayan.’ Ito ay nakikita kong totoo, sa katauhan ng mga kabataang narito ngayon. Kayat lubos ang aking pagbati sa mga responsableng ‘iskolar ng bayan’, na laging mulat at handang manindigan para sa katarungan.
Isang malaking karangalan po para sa akin ang makapiling kayo ngayong hapon.
Bilang ina, ang mga sektor ng kabataan at kababaihan ang pinakamalapit sa aking puso. Kaya nang magkaroon ako ng pagkakataong maglingkod, agad kong inasikaso ang kaawa-awang sektor ng ating lipunan—ang mga abused women at mga streetchildren.
Hindi n’yo naitatanong, noon pa mang Pangulo ako ng Congressional Spouses Foundation (mula 1992-1998, 2001-2007 at July, 2007to Feb, 2008), na binubuo ng mga maybahay ng mga kongresman, hinikayat ko ang lahat ng partidong politikal na magsama-sama--- kanan man ito, gitna o kaliwa, upang maisulong ang mga programa para sa pinakamahinang sektor ng ating lipunan --- ang mga abused women at mga streetchildren.
Dahil dito, naitayo po namin ang 16-building complex sa Ayala-Alabang na The Haven for Children, at ang 15 Regional Centers for Women sa lahat ng rehiyon ng ating bansa para sa rehabilitation ng mga kababaihang biktima ng pang-aapi, rape, prostitusyon, illegal recruitment at pambubugbog.
Ang pagtalikod sa ‘divisive politics’ ang siya ring formula kaya namin naitayo ang The Haven for Children sa Alabang, isang institusyon na binubuo ng siyam na gusali ---- may dormitoryo, klinika at paaralan, para sagipin ang mga batang-lansangan sa Metro Manila.
Nakapagtayo din po kami ng tatlong Regional Centers for Children sa Tarlac City, Dagupan City at Solana, Cagayan.
Salamat na lang at akin ding nasimulan at napondohan na ng aking asawa na si JDV bago siya inalis na Speaker, ang ikatlong proyekto ng CSFI -------- ang 20-building complex na The Haven for the Elderly para naman sa mga inabandonang senior citizens. Ang pasilidad na ito ay may kakayahang mag-alaga ng 600 senior citizens at a given time, sa maaliwalas na kapaligiran ng Tanay, Rizal.
Bago ako nagpaalam bilang chairman ng congressional spouses, nagawa kong matapos ang dalawang gusali nito, at ang pagtatapos ng proyekto ay ibinilin ko na lamang sa DSWD.
Upang makagawa ng tunay na kabutihan, mahalaga na ang isang lider ay may mababang loob, at uunahin ang kapakanan ng bayan.
Nakakalungkot na ang mga katangiang ito ay hindi makikita kay GMA.
Kaya hindi nakapagtataka kung bakit, makalipas ang walong taon sa posisyon, ang tanging legacy ni GMA ay ang paglalagay sa Pilipinas sa mapa bilang isa sa pinaka-corrupt na gobyerno ayon sa report ng World Bank at ADB, na siyang sanhi ng pagiging pinaka-unpopular niyang presidente ng ating bansa, mula nang maibalik ang demokrasya.
Marahil, hindi kaila sa inyo, ang dinanas na kabiguan ng aming pamilya mula nang magdesisyon kami at ang anak naming si Joey, na manindigan para sa katotohanan, upang hindi mabaon sa utang ang masang Pilipino dahil sa ZTE deal.
Nagsimula po ito nang ipagtapat ni Joey sa amin ang tungkol sa labinglimang bilyong piso na magiging utang ng ating bansa, kung natuloy ang ZTE deal ni GMA.
Si Joey po ay isa sa mga nagnais na gumawa ng Broadband project sa pamamagitan ng Build- Operate- Transfer, kung saan walang gastos ang pamahalaan kahit singko.
Noong una, pabor si GMA sa B-O-T, pero sa isang iglap, nagbago po ang kanyang desisyon at pinaboran ang ZTE na gagawin ang proyekto sa halagang labinglimang bilyong piso.
Ang akin lamang pong tanong. Ano ang biglang nagpabago sa isip ni GMA para ilubog ang bansa sa labing-limang bilyong pisong utang? At bakit, tila napakahalaga ng deal na ito dahil nagawa niyang saksihan ang pirmahan ng loan agreement doon sa bansang Tsina noong April 21, 2007, habang ang kanyang mister ay halos agaw-buhay sa ospital?
Ang katotohanan, ang tunay na halaga ng proyekto ay 130 million dollars, pero ito ay naging 330 million dollars dahil sa napakalaking tong-pats ng mag-asawang Arroyo at mga kasabwat.
Ito po ang pilit na itinatago ni GMA kaya nilito niya ang taong-bayan sa pamamagitan ng kung ano-anong panunuhol at pagtatakip. At hanggang ngayon, ang orihinal na kontrata ay ayaw ilantad at sinabing nawawala.
Ako ay saksi, sa pagiging sunod-sunuran ni GMA sa kanyang ‘midnight cabinet’ na binubuo ng kanyang asawa at ng mga kapitalistang oligarchs na nagpopondo upang masigurong mananatili siya sa kapangyarihan.
Sino ang nasa likod ng smuggling sa langis, mga auto at pangarerang kabayo?
Ano ang dahilan at umasa si GMA sa importasyon ng bigas kahit na ang ating bansa ang siyang balon ng kayamanan pagdating sa bigas at rice research production?
Bakit ginagawa niyang pulubi ang ating mga kababayan at pinapipila para manglimos ng 500 pesos para tumanaw ng utang na loob sa kanya, gayong ang perang ito ay nagmula din sa pawis ng taong-bayan?
Bakit nananatili siyang manhid at ayaw tanggalin ang VAT sa langis kahit dumaraing sa gutom ang mga drivers at mahihirap?
Yan ay mga tanong na naghahanap ng kasagutan mula sa Pangulo, na ang istilo ng pamamahala ay nagpalawig sa kultura ng suhulan, pagtatago sa katotohanan at short-term solutions sa ating mga problema.
Ang buong katotohanan, ang ZTE deal ay isa lamang sa maraming transaksiyon na pinagkakuwartahan ng mag-asawang Arroyo. Ang kanilang kasakiman ang dahilan kaya maging ang mga alagad ng simbahan ay nanindigan laban sa kanila.
Ito rin ang dahilan kaya nagkaisa ang aming pamilya na pumanig sa katotohanan, kahit ang kapalit nito ay ang pagsira sa aming dangal sa pamamagitan ng paggamit sa buong puwersa ng Malakanyang.
Kung tutuusin, mas tahimik at napaka-ginhawa po marahil ng aming buhay kung nanatili kaming bulag sa panloloko ni GMA.
Pero nang mawala ang pinakamamahal naming bunsong anak na si KC, naunawaan kong sadyang maikli lamang ang buhay kaya mahalagang gawin natin kung ano lamang ang tama, para sa kaligtasan ng ating kaluluwa.
Sa gitna ng mga sakripisyo, nagpapasalamat po kami dahil naging instrumento ang aming pamilya upang mailigtas ang sambayanang Pilipino sa isang napakalaking utang.
Hindi po namin alam kung ano ang hahantungan ng pagsubok na ito sa kasaysayan ng aming pamilya at ng ating bansa. Pero sa bawat umaga, we draw inspiration from our faith and look to God to guide us through the most difficult times.
Ngayong hapon, nais ko po na muling magpasalamat sa bawat isa sa inyo dahil sa patuloy n’yong pakikibaka para sa katarungan.
Ang pakiusap ko lamang po, huwag po nating hayaang maisantabi sa dahon ng kasaysayan ang mga kasalanan ni GMA sa taong-bayan----mula sa Hello Garci, sa fertilizer scam, sa ZTE, ang iba pang mga anomalous transactions na involved ang Arroyo family, at sa ginawa niyang pagpapahirap sa ating bayan. Lahat ng ito ay dapat niyang pagbayaran. Higit sa lahat, dapat nating siguruhin, na matapos na ang kanyang kasamaan.
Marami pong salamat sa inyong lahat. Mabuhay ang masang Pilipino!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

More photos of me and my first apo

My firts apo, 10-month-old, Isabella “Belle” Cruz Evangelista.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Manay Gina moves on

PEOPLE By Joanne Rae M. Ramirez

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The De Venecia home in Forbes Park is no longer filled with politicians, politicians’ wives, lobbyists and hangers-on these days, the way it used to be bursting at the seams when the Man of the House (pun intended) was still Speaker.

But the house is still filled with friends of the De Venecia couple, cheerful butterfly-themed paintings and figurines (including Hermes plates with a butterfly motif) and the laughter of its most frequent visitor -— 10-month-old Isabella “Belle” Cruz Evangelista, Manay Gina’s first apo.

“Belle” means the world to her Mamita Gina, and the baby reminds Gina of what truly matters in life.

“I have suffered the unbearable loss of a child,” Gina tells me one rainy July morning when I paid her a visit. She lost her youngest child KC when a fire gutted down their Dasmariñas Village home in 2004. “After that, nothing could be worse.”

Not her husband’s loss of the Speakership, not the seeming betrayal of those she once thought were her best friends. Certainly not perks that flew out of the window when her husband lost his Speakership.

Does she miss being on the presidential plane and being in the presidential entourage during state visits?

“No. Nagsawa na ako diyan. I could fly to the US on my own. I have stayed in the Blair House many times. Eh, nung maliit ako, palagi na ako nakakasama sa mga trips abroad. I had a very happy childhood. Every summer, my father would bring us on a cruise, on the SS Cleveland, SS Wilson. Hindi ako sabik sa ganoon. Marami na rin akong privilege na na-experience even without her (President Arroyo), na hindi ko na rin yun hinahanap.”

They say proximity to power is power itself, and having one’s high heels sink on Malacañang’s carpeted halls brings with it a certain high.

Does Gina miss her access to the Palace?

Hindi. Kasi nga my father taught me how to eat with paupers and walk with kings. So it doesn’t matter if I don’t walk with kings now. Passing nga ang lahat, eh. That’s what KC’s death made me realize. For all you know, tomorrow I’ll be gone. So what I’m working at now is to save my soul. Di ba, what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but suffers the loss of his soul?” she adds.

* * *

Gina believes it was her gift of discernment and her sixth sense (“I’m a witch!” she quips) that made her support her stepson Joey de Venecia’s allegations on the ZTE corruption scandal. Joey’s testimony rocked the Arroyo presidency.

Nakita ko Joey was telling the truth. He said, ‘Tita, what am I going to do?’ Sabi ko, ‘Joey, this will cost us the speakership of your dad and maybe even our lives.’ But my decision is, you go ahead. Sabi ko, we have to try and save this money for the taxpayers. And you’re doing what’s right for 90 million Filipinos.”

“Si Joey, hindi kami close. I didn’t talk to him since KC died. Hindi kami nag-uusap because may tampo ako sa mga anak ni Joe from his first marriage. I felt they never loved KC. But my decision to support him helped heal my relationship with him. After I listened to Joey, I believed he was telling the truth.”

It crossed the minds of some that Gina supported her stepson’s expose because she was sourgraping.

“Sourgraping over what? It’s not as if I was part of the deal. I supported Joey because it was the right thing to do. I felt na sobra na ang corruption. Ang dami na kasing nagsusumbong. Again, I am not close to Joey. Lahat ng negosyo niya, siya lang ‘yan. Hindi ako nakikialam d’yan.”

But once she made her decision, Gina was at peace. “I know when people are lying,” she points out.

* * *

These days, Gina may be out of Malacañang’s inner circle, but she’s certainly not down. “Power is fleeting,” she stresses, having experienced painful political losses twice (the first was Joe’s defeat during the presidential polls in 1998).

What isn’t fleeting, she says, is the effect of the good you do for others.

Yung pagka-genuine ng tao hindi ‘yan lilipas kasi love is never wasted. Yung pagmamahal mo sa kapwa tao, it’ll always come back to you. I remember yung father ko, he would always tell me, ‘Hija, lagi n’yong isipin na gumawa kayo ng tama because kung hindi sa iyo babalik, sa mga anak mo.’ Many of those who are kind to me, who gave me their grace, my father was good to them.”

She tells me the story of her grandfather Jose Leonardo Perez, who was once the provincial treasurer of Tarlac. The provincial assessor was the father of P.O. Domingo, who became PNB president. Gina’s grandfather would give Domingo a ride whenever he could. When Gina’s father was starting out in the movie industry, P.O. Domingo would give him easy access to loans (“Kahit ayaw niyang mangutang”) till Sampaguita Pictures became the big movie production studio that it was.

Gina says that in their clan, loyal housemaids are buried in the family mausoleum. That’s how they were raised — to value the kindness and devotion of others.

Gina was one of the first to comfort the women who lost their children during the sinking of the Princess of the Stars. Sans fanfare, she and her fellow members of the INA (Inang Naulila sa Anak) Foundation were among the first to set up counseling desks at the Sulpicio Lines terminal in Port Area. Her work with bereaved mothers and disadvantaged women and children (Her Haven for Women has helped some 15,000 or 20,000 clients) goes beyond politics.

Gina herself says she may not be able to show her appreciation to all those who have showed her genuine kindness. “But kindness is never wasted. Later on, it will continue, yung mga mababait sa akin, my children will never forget.”

Our conversation draws to a close. It has stopped raining and the sun is shining again — outdoors and in Gina de Venecia’s life.

* * *

(You may e-mail me at

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Mother's Quote 12

Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat. -Mother Teresa

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Manay Gina De Venecia, life counselor, radio drama producer, and wife of former speaker Jose Devencia Jr., walks on the mild side by launching her blog,

The blog focuses on issues pertaining to women, family, love and life. She describes herself as a "Quintessential Filipina", and gives advice on a range of issues considered essential in the course of a woman's life.

She also showcases her advocacies and activities, especially the Haven for Women, Haven for Children, and the Ina Foundation.

In her daily blog work, she posts quotable quotes she finds on the internet which appeals to her sensitivities. These include quotes for mothers, children, prayers on peace and understanding, and faith.

Comments and quotes have been pouring in, mostly about musings of everyday struggle of people
, says Eero Brillantes, who developed the creative and technical content for the blog of Manay Gina.

If you would read the comments on the blog, you can see the potential for a powerful outlet to propagate hope. Tagos sa puso ang mga naka post. So much emotion is involved. All of us try so hard to find our patch of good earth.

Of particular interest to a lot of her blog visitors is the post on the "Miracle of the Shoes" which talks about the loss of a loved one. The De Venecias lost a daughter to a fire accident at their home.

A blog post from a certain Maria Isabelle had this to say:

Losing a loved one is never easy. My Mom once told me that there is nothing more heartbreaking than losing a child. She said it with tears in her eyes. My Mom, like you, is a strong woman. She lost twins about two decades ago..And like you, she turned to the Lord and prayed for her two prayed for her two boys…I cried with you and your family. KC and I are of the same age and I felt you pain when I saw the footage on TV. Looking back, I see that you have come a long way from the shocked parent I saw. What I see now is a strong woman who believes that her beloved daughter is at peace with the Lord. Pairs of shoes are amazing. In your case, it is more than amazing. It is miraculous. Keep praying.

Another post comes for a certain Ann Margaret and tells of her own life and death experiences as her comment:

As I read Manay Gina's blog on "Miracle of Shoes," I felt the void inside my heart like her because I also lost my grandmother. It was so hard to accept that she's gone because I don't have enough courage and strength to endure the pain of losing her. Her death was so sudden. But it would still take a life time for me to say "I'm ok". Her blog really touched my heart; it is very sentimental. I burst into tears while reading it. Losing someone we love is never simple; it would crash our hearts into million pieces, feeling as if the world is on your back. Though we cry so hard, it would never bring them back to life. Yes, I also believe that prayers are the best way to ease the hurt, because through prayers we can talk to them solemnly and in peace. Prayers are the best channel to communicate with God and to the soul of our departed ones. It would also help their soul to find their way to heaven. Let's face the fact that they left us because they are now in the arms of God. Just be strong and have faith. Because everything happens for a reason.

Manay Gina also writes on life learnings from her interaction with Former President Corazon Aquino, who she fondly calls "Tita Cory". She says that

To the world, she (Cory) will always be the symbol of a bloodless revolution. To me, she will always be my Tita Cory -- a role model in integrity, the glow of reason in times of darkness, and someone who finds strength and perseverance in prayer. I believe the Lord has blessed Tita Cory with the gift of His peace — an inner tranquility that calms the heart and soothes the soul.

The blog also features her own showbiz activities and in the process incites comments on the importance of her work in the field. "Nagmamahal, Manay Gina" has so far garnered two Catholic Mass Media Awards. Says Enzo Emmanuel,

Showbusiness has become a tool of influence and change in society. because information is given at the same time as entertainment, the messages can easily get across. Manay Gina has used this to promote her advocacy which made a difference and lots of troubled women were given help

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Pinoy Nobel Peace Prize winners

Photo taken from:

Only a few pinoys know that we have Nobel Peace Prize winners.

In 2007, '"for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change", the Nobel Peace Prize went to Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Six Filipinos were part of the IPCC, a collaborative body composed of governments, scientists and peoples whose main objective is to provide the best scientific information to policy-makers on the events and issues of climate change. Rex Victor Cruz, Rodel Lasco (University of the Philippines Los Banos), Juan Pulhin (UP) and Rosa Perez (PAGASA) are contributors to the IPCC's 4th Assessment Report on "Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability". Felino Lansigan (UPLB) and Lourdes Tibig (PAGASA) served as reviewers in this winning document. You may access the Nobel Peace Prize winner document at this site.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Play and feed a hungry person

Rice is the staple food of Filipinos and probably the most important crop in the country. 90% 0f rice is produced in Asia, and nourishes nearly half of the world's population. Rice fields cover 11% of the Earth's entire arable land 1. Unfortunately, we are in the midst of rice crisis. The poor, especially the children and women suffer most.

This site, site encourages people to learn english vocabulary while providing rice for they hungry. It is basically a game where internet-users can learn english and donate rice for every correct answer.

Every now and then, this blog will give references that can help us understand the nature of rice and the crisis we are facing now.

1Mclean JL, Dawe DC, Hardy B, Hettel GP, eds. 2002. Rice almanac. Los Baños (Philippines): International Rice Research Institute, Bouake (Cote d'Ivoire): West Africa Rice Development Association, Cali (Colombia): International Center for Tropical Agriculture, Rome (Italy): Food and Agricultural Organization. 253 p.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Prayer for peace

I found this prayer online - it is a prayer for peace written in more than 40 languages, and invites everyone to pray this everyday. Every mother, every woman and every Filipino hopes to achieve peace in our hearts, homes, communities and country.

You may visit the site Prayer for peace.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Go Philippines!

I am very proud of our Filipino Olympians in this year's Olympics in Beijing, China. I am sure they will do great!

Let us all pray for our athletes and hope that we can hit that first gold.

According to, we have 13 athletes on seven games. Go team Philippines!

Eric Ang

Ryan Paolo Arabejo
Daniel Coakley
Miguel Molina
Christel Simms
JB Walsh

Track and field
Henry Dagmil
Marestella Torres

Hidilyn Diaz

Rexel Ryan Fabriga
Sheila Mae Perez

Mark Javier

Harry Tanamor

Friday, August 8, 2008

Save the Children in the Philippines

Save the Children has worked for underserved children in the Philippines for 26 years. From its initial program in West Visayas, which began in 1982, the Philippines Country Office has expanded and now implements child-focused education, health and emergency preparedness and response programs in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, the archipelago’s three major island groups. Save the Children has a special focus of helping children made vulnerable by endemic poverty, natural disasters or by armed conflict. Programs are marked by the active involvement of families and communities, so that progress made for children can be sustained.

Challenges for Children

Access to and quality of basic services in education and health are major challenges for children in the Philippines. With eight of 10 children unable to access early childhood services, many Filipino first-graders enter school without the skills they need to learn. In Metro Manila, overcrowded schools result in teachers holding classes in two or three shifts a day. In contrast, rural schools have fewer students but suffer from a lack of basic resources, such as books, teaching supplies, or even teachers. The public education system’s inability to catch up with rapid growth in the student population has led to a serious decline in the quality of instruction and student achievement. An alarming number of very young children in the Philippines have iron deficiency anemia. Among older children, this is compounded by soil-transmitted parasitic worms that cause malnutrition and diseases – a result of poor sanitation and hygiene. In Mindanao, children and their families are vulnerable to the effects of sporadic conflict between various armed groups and the Philippine military.


Mother's quote 11

Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials. ~Meryl Streep

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Mother and Son


Monday, August 4, 2008

Mother's quote 10

My mother loved the Bible.
Goldie Hawn

Friday, August 1, 2008

Mother's quote 9

There is only one pretty child in the world, and every mother has it. ~Chinese Proverb

Mother's quote 8

There is only one pretty child in the world, and every mother has it. ~Chinese Proverb

Monday, July 28, 2008

Mother's quote 7

Who fed me from her gentle breast
And hushed me in her arms to rest,
And on my cheek sweet kisses prest?
My Mother.
~Anne Taylor

Friday, July 25, 2008

Mother's quote 6

Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible. ~Marion C. Garretty, quoted in A Little Spoonful of Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Favorite Story: The Mother

The young Mother set her foot on the path of life. "Is this the long way?" she asked. And her guide said: "Yes, and the way is hard. And you will be old before you reach the end of it. But the end will be better than the beginning."

But the young Mother was happy, and she would not believe that anything could be better than these years. So she played with her children, and gathered flowers for them along the way, and bathed them in the clear streams; and the sun shone on them, and the young Mother cried, "Nothing will ever be lovelier than this."

Then the night came, and the storm, and the path was dark, and the children shook with fear and cold, and the Mother drew them close and covered them with her mantle, and the children said, "Mother, we are not afraid, for you are near, and no harm can come."

And the morning came, and there was a hill ahead, and the children climbed and grew weary, and the Mother was weary. But at all times she said to the children, "A little patience and we are there." So the children climbed, and when they reached the top they said, "Mother, we would not have done it without you." And the Mother, when she lay down at night looked up at the stars and said, "This is a better day than the last, for my children have learned fortitude in the face of hardness. Yesterday I gave them courage. Today I have given them strength."

Continue reading here...

Friday, July 18, 2008

Mother's quote 5

"Honour thy father and thy mother" stands written among the three laws of most revered righteousness."
-- Aeschylus

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

being a mother

"If I can give my life and leave a new life for Filipinos, I will gladly do that."

Monday, July 14, 2008

Mother's quote 4

A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts. ~Washington Irving

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Are You a Great Mom?

By BabyZone and ParentZone Editors

You know you've wondered it, even if you've never muttered the words aloud. What is your parenting prowess? Keep clicking to find out!


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

How to Pamper Your Wife

By eHow Relationships & Family Editor

A little effort can go a long way. You really can't go wrong with pampering her just a little bit every day.


Consider letting her sleep in! Take the children out for a morning stroll or drive so she can sleep solidly without waking up to any cries or fretting.


Bring home breakfast - bagels or muffins, fresh juice and her favorite coffee or tea.


Send her to the gym, out for a bike ride or anything else she wants.


Monday, July 7, 2008

Mother's quote3

All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother. - Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, July 3, 2008

10 Steps to Being a Better Wife

Before we try to change you, here are a few changes we'll try to make ourselves. Deal?
By Sharon O’Brien

Some guys might not realize this, but when most women get married they usually imagine cozy evenings by a fire, sharing their hopes and dreams with the men they love. Our Prince Charmings, however, sometimes turn into The Grinches Who Stole Romance, lying on the couch with a beer in one hand and a remote in the other. You may have noticed our displeasure about this on occasion.

However, in the interest of your willingness to cater to our needs (see "10 Ways to Be a Better Husband"), here's a list for the women out there. Ladies, instead of trying to fix your flawed but lovable husband, why not start by looking in the mirror? These 10 steps will help you re-energize your marriage and renew your appreciation for the former Mr. Perfect.

1) Take care of yourself
Turns out that the best thing you can do for your husband is also good for you. Eat healthy foods, maintain good grooming, and exercise regularly. You'll look and feel better, and you'll continue to be the vibrant and attractive woman he fell in love with, no matter your age.


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Elizabeth I

"Do not tell secrets to those whose faith and silence you have not already tested."

Monday, June 30, 2008

Mother's quote2

Charlotte Perkins Gilman:

So when the great word "Mother!" rang once more,
I saw at last its meaning and its place;
Not the blind passion of the brooding past,
But Mother -- the World's Mother -- come at last,
To love as she had never loved before --
To feed and guard and teach the human race.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Mother's quote1

Womanliness means only motherhood;
All love begins and ends there.

- Robert Browning

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mother & Child 1965 - Stephen (2001) by Stephen B Whatley

# 4 in a series of 4 tributes in oils to the life of the artist's late mother, entitled 'My Mother- Marjorie J Whatley (1943-1981)- 20th Anniversary Series'
Oil on canvas, 20 x 16in.
Collection of the artist.
The painting was inspired by a tender photograph of mother & child leaving hospital soon after birth.

taken from:

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

How Much Is Your Mother Worth?

by Kelly on May 10th, 2008

I saw on CNN today that had released its most recent numbers valuing the unpaid services of being a mother. This whole line of thought interests me a lot from a financial and tax policy perspective. I tried a few times to draft a post about this subject but kept coming back to the post that I wrote last year. So here it is, in its entirety (note that the numbers in the post are from 2007):


Monday, June 16, 2008

A Husband...

A husband should be
Loyal and honest

A husband should be
Strong and protective

A husband should be
Loving and romantic

A husband should be
Patient and understanding

A husband should know
When enough is enough

A husband should know
When to fight and when to cry

A husband should know
all your goals and dreams

A husband should know
your strengths and well as your weaknesses

A husband needs to be a true man
A husband needs to love you unconditionally
A husband needs to know your heart is forever his

by:sarah holmes

originally posted in

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I Said A Mother's Prayer For You

I said a Mother's Day prayer for you
to thank the Lord above
for blessing me with a lifetime
of your tenderhearted love.
I thanked God for the caring
you've shown me through the years,
for the closeness we've enjoyed
in time of laughter and of tears.
And so, I thank you from the heart
for all you've done for me
and I bless the Lord for giving me
the best mother there could be!
Author Unknown

originally posted here...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Gina de V: JdV will testify on all GMA corrupt deals

From The Daily Tribune online-06/10/2008

He will definitely spill the whole beans, and not just focus on the ZTE-NBN kickbacks.

Even as he is undergoing a full medical check-up in a Singapore hospital, ousted Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. won’t back off from testifying before the Senate to tell all he knows about the corruption-ridden deals allegedly entered into by the presidential spouses, Gloria Arroyo and her husband, Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo.

This was relayed to the Tribune yesterday, through a brief telephone interview with Gina de Venecia, wife of the former Speaker, who said her husband wanted to be sure that he is in the best of health before he testifies because “it is definitely going to be a long-drawn war with the Arroyos once he starts testifying to all he knows.”

The couple appeared to have particularly been ticked off by the advertisement that appeared in a major newspaper that pointed to the De Venecias allegedly in secret meetings with nuns and leftist organizations.

The ad was reportedly paid for by a group known as Babae Ka, a party-list contender which was identified in 2007 as an Arroyo administration ally.

Reached by phone, Gina de Venecia said of the smear campaign against her husband, particularly the paid ad by Babae Ka: “I dismiss it as rubbish. I don’t even want to dignify it. We have no enemies, only Gloria Arroyo and the First Gentleman, which is why I am very sure that behind the smear campaign are the presidential couple.

“The truth is, GMA is very very scared over what my husband, JdV, will say because we all know that no one can be more credible than an insider like JdV.

“My husband will speak out in the proper forum and at the right time. And unlike other witnesses who are focused only on the ZTE, JdV will reveal all the misdeeds of this administration, which is to blame for the almost beggar status of the Filipinos today.

Babae Ka!, Ang Kasangga and Akbay Pinoy, media reported during the 2007 election campaign period were set up directly by the Office of External Affairs under the Office of the President.

This was exposed by then Party-List Akbayan Rep. Etta Rosales.

It was a time when the leftist party list groups were reportedly being eased out of their representations in Congress to give way to the Malacañang party-listers who would serve the political needs of President Arroyo, to ensure that her group of allies would drown out an impeachment complaint then reportedly being readied against her.

The same office of external affairs was reported then to have undertaken the controversial People’s Initiative, a signature campaign meant to extend the term of Mrs. Arroyo.

Denials from the individuals mentioned in the advertisements as having met with Gina de Venecia, who was tagged as the leader of the group, such as Sr. Mary John Mananzan and former Arroyo social welfare chief Dinky Soliman who has turned Arroyo critic, prompted a press statement from the same group, but without giving its name, daring De Venecia, Mananzan and other leftst and activist groups to prove their allegations wrong.

The statement purportedly comes from the Arroyo-allied group, Babae Ka.

The statement challenged the former Speaker, Sr. Mary John Mananzan and leftist organizations “to prove that our information is incorrect.”

The group insisted that it remains remain firm on its accusations.

“We also challenge the former speaker and the activist nun to categorically deny that they are allied with each other.

“We declare that their actions in the days, weeks and months to come would definitely prove us correct. We stand by our information that they have formed an unholy tactical alliance against President Arroyo,” the statement read.

The group added: “What we published is not a smear campaign against De Venecia or anybody. It is an open letter seeking the truth. And it is our patriotic duty to this country and our countrymen to reveal what we know.

“From where we stand, we could easily conclude that there is no need to stage a smear campaign against De Venecia. His record as filthiest trapo of all trapos (traditional politicians) in this country could speak for itself.

“Sister Mary John Mananzan, may we ask the following: Was she present during a meeting held at Sta. Quiteria in Caloocan City just a week or two ago? Did she announce there that they have collected Two Million Pesos for Lozada? What was that meeting all about? Tell us, Sister Mary John.

“The burden of proof is not on us. We published an open letter through a paid advertisement and they called it a “smear campaign.” But they never denied that there is indeed such a plan to destabilize the Arroyo administration. It is they that must explain to the people and the authorities their roles in this dastardly and criminal plot.

“We also challenge them to surface this so-called “Alex.”’ But we are very sure that they could never do that. That “Alex” is fictitious. Based on our informants, the photos came from Gina De Venecia. In a manner of speaking, kinuryente nila ang media (media were given a bum steer). This is another grand deception against the Filipino people.

“Just like the media, we could not reveal the identities of our sources. Most of them are from the opposition. They could no longer take what is being hatched. They are genuine leaders who deserve to be protected.”

It is however doubted that Babae Ka obtained the alleged information from the opposition.

originally posted in

Friday, June 6, 2008

You Want to Be a Wife, Mother, and a Full-Time Entrepreneur?

Take action now to prevent the crisis that's sure to come otherwise

This week's letter comes from an entrepreneur who's in business with her husband and finds that the workload is crushing her. She's desperate for time to enjoy life and her family. It's a problem many of you have written about and one I'll explore further in the coming months.

Our dot-com business is right on the edge of exploding. It has consumed our family. The company uses some freelancers, but it's hard to say when we might be able to afford additional help. I start work at 4 a.m., and my husband does baby care all morning. Then I take over from him and go to bed by 9 p.m., which doesn't leave us much time to be together. There are no weekends when you're an entrepreneur. A college student watches our 16-month old a couple of days a week, but I wouldn't feel comfortable using more child care. How can I get enough work done, take care of my child, and have time for my husband?

-- S.E., Lambertsville, Penn.

This is a picture of a life out of control -- a whirlpool of duties draining your spirit. The danger, caution the several experts whom I consulted, is that a major crisis (a heart attack, infidelity, a suffering child) could be brewing, which no one has the perspective to see coming or the strength to stop. Many people wait to examine and repair their lives until the crisis hits. You're wise to take action before such a catalyst forces you to.

TOUGH ON WOMEN. It's extremely difficult to raise young children and start a company at the same time. Both make such huge demands on your time and psyche. Without good, full-time child care, the two are almost irreconcilable. The combination is especially tough on women. Research shows that women entrepreneurs invest far more time in child care and domestic life than male entrepreneurs with similar responsibilities.


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Mother Teresa Biography

Born: August 27, 1910
Died: September 5, 1997
Achievements: Started Missionaries of Charity in 1950; received Nobel Prize for Peace in 1979; received Bharat Ratna in 1980.

Mother Teresa was one of the great servants of humanity. She was an Albanian Catholic nun who came to India and founded the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata. Her selfless work among the poverty-stricken people of Kolkata (Calcutta) is an inspiration for people all over the world and she was honored with Nobel Prize for her work.


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Gina with friends and affiliates

the Estradas
Despite differences in political affiliations, the de Venecias and the Estradas have managed to maintain their close ties. Photo taken when the De Venecia couple visited
former President Erap Estrada in his Tanay resthouse in July 2005.

Gina with people she admires

Nelson Mandela

Manay Gina met one of the icons of freedom, Nelson Mandela during FVR's term as president.

Sisters of Charity
An ardent admirer of Mother Teresa, Manay Gina makes sure to meet her successor, Mother General Nirmala of the Sisters of Charity each time she vi sits Manila.

Manay Gina with family

The De Venecia family (Joe & Gina with children Christopher and KC) during the SONA 1994, when former Speaker Joe de Venecia first assumed his position as Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Manay Gina with her children: Carissa, Phillip, Christopher and KC.

No matter how busy with their personal commitments, the members of the Vera-Perez clan make sure to attend the weekly Sunday Lunch at their home in Valencia, Quezon City.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Haven for Women: Facilities

The Haven for Woman is a landmark project of the Congressional Spouses Foundation, Inc. inaugurated on September 30, 1995 by President Fidel V. Ramos.

The Haven for Women stands on government-owned land donated by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). The DSWD is also tasked with its operations.

The facility gives assistance to victims of rape, incest, involuntary prostitution, illegal recruitment, domestic violence or abandonment by spouses or parents.

The original complex has nine buildings:

  • 5 residential cottages

  • Livelihood and skills training center

  • Medical and dental clinic (with airconditioned nursery)

  • Multi-purpose social hall

  • Administration office

  • In order to reach the abused and battered women in the provinces, CSFI has established "mini-Havens" for women throughout the country. To date, there are 15 Regional Centers for Women. They are located in Dagupan City; San Fernando, La Union; Solana, Cagayan; Magalang, Pampanga; Baguio City; Rosario, Batangas; Ligao, Albay; New Lucena, Iloilo; Labangon Cebu City; Palo, Leyte; Cagayan de Oro; MAA, Davao City; Catbalogan, Samar; Gumaca, Quezon; and Tagum, Davao del Norte.

    PHASE II of the Haven was recently build behind the original complex. There are 6 new buildings namely:

  • Chapel

  • Activity Cottage (library, group counseling room, audio-visual room)

  • Day Care Cottage (classroom, playroom and feeding room)

  • Transition Cottage for clients who are on their way to full recovery

  • Productivity Cottage

  • Gina as Ambassador of Goodwill

    Manay Gina's status as advocate of social justice has brought her to international forum like the World Peace Summit held in Korea in 2007, where she talked about "Peace as a Culture of the Heart".

    Wednesday, May 7, 2008

    A miracle in Naples

    On April 2, 2005, when Pope John Paul II died, Mrs de Venecia asked the President if she could join the official party to attend his funeral. “I felt I have to go on a pilgrimage. I have to renew my faith”, she admits.

    While in Rome, Ambassador Philippe Lhuillier told her of the miraculous St. Patricia whose relic of dried blood allegedly liquefies when visited by pious pilgrims.

    Together with Ambassador Lhuiller, and DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman, Mrs. Marot Moreno, Mrs. de Venecia visited the quaint St. Patricia Church in Naples.

    “When we reached the place where the relics were kept, the nuns asked us to make our petitions, and pray a Glory Be to the Father. I specifically asked :”If KC is okay wherever she is, can you please show me by liquefying your blood?

    “So we started praying. And on the third ‘Glory Be’, I saw the black blood slowly liquefied, and when we were reciting the fourth ‘Glory Be’, I saw the dried blood turned completely into its liquid state. I felt so humbled. God heard me.

    “And then, when I was going out of the Church, I smelled smoke. Then I knew, KC was beside me. …and there’s life after death. After that personal miracle, I started moving on. I know that my life has a purpose, and I know that God gave me KC as my inspiration in finishing my mission in life.”


    These are series of photos taken during the inauguration of the INA Healing Center last December 16, 2006, in commemoration of KC de Venecia’s second anniversary with our Lord.

    The first photo showed KC’s parents, former Speaker Joe de Venecia and Mrs. Gina de Venecia, with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in a souvenir shot beside Manay Gina’s painting of the ‘Madonna and Child’ at the Center’s lobby. Manay Gina, did the painting six months before the inauguration, she chose the portrait out of her numerous paintings because it symbolizes her deep affection for her daughter KC. In fact, the INA Healing Center was established as a direct result of her painful effort to recover from the loss of her dearest KC, three years ago. You will observe that in her painting, a butterfly which is predominantly black and yellow in color, is on the Madonna’s right shoulder.

    The second photo shows former Speaker JDV during the commemorative mass for his daughter KC. On his right shoulder is a yellow and black butterfly similar to the butterfly on Manay Gina’s painting. The former Speaker and the butterfly also assume an almost identical position as the Madonna and the butterfly. What’s more dramatic is the fact that the butterfly on the painting reflects exactly the same color in the butterfly design on the blouse of KC’s lola, Mama Nene Vera Perez. Apparently, this mysterious butterfly found its way to JDV, when the members of INA Foundation had flown a swarm of butterflies in an earlier ribbon-cutting ceremony. Contrary to its restless nature, this particular butterfly clung tenaciously at the JDV’s shoulder during the entire three-hour affair, despite the strong electric fans and the numerous people who approached the former Speaker.

    The third photo shows ghost whisperer Bernie Nepomuceno, a protégé of Father Jaime Bulatao. She claimed that KC, whom she had never seen before, appeared to her in a dream and admonished her to attend the inauguration. In Bernie’s dream, KC convinced her to wear a caftan blouse, which she has not worn for two years. KC said that she would manifest herself as a yellow and black butterfly similar to the color and pattern of Bernie’s blouse. When Bernie saw the butterfly on the Speaker’s shoulder, she instantly recognized it as KC because it reflected the pattern and color of her blouse, as KC had exactly described in her dream. Bernie related her story to KC’s parents and even playfully posed with the former Speaker, mimicking the butterfly settled on his shoulder.

    Do souls make an effort to manifest themselves to their loved ones, especially when they had no chance for a last embrace, a final goodbye? Could it be that KC manifested herself as a butterfly and contacted the gifted Bernie to relate this story, to reassure her mom and dad, and the other mothers who lost their beloved children that she and the other kids who have passed on are still very much present in our lives? One thing certain though is that love indeed transcends all boundaries—be it time and space. To see is to believe.

    Tuesday, May 6, 2008

    Life lessons from my Tita Cory

    By Gina de Venecia

    Since she came into power in 1986, I’ve always felt a special kinship with former President Cory Aquino, whom I fondly call my Tita Cory. Maybe because being the first woman President of this country, it gratifies me that she’s a fellow Assumptionista, who may have gone through the same school life experiences as I had and have walked along the same corridors as I did. Outwardly, Tita Cory seems to give an aura of frailty or delicateness but surely, her strength of character and uprightness never cease to enthrall me ever since I came to know her up-close in 1992 when we found ourselves on the same boat as I and my husband, former Speaker Joe de Venecia, of the so-called Pangasinan express, pushed for the presidency and eventual victory of President Fidel V. Ramos.

    Now that our commonality went beyond our school, I began to notice how low-keyed she was despite her remarkable role in our country’s history. My great impression and admiration of her grew, when during the Ramos Administration, there was never an incident that she tried to exert influence on matters concerning her personal interest. Instead, she remained on the sidelight, an oblivious yet very strong presence, never interfering but one who would always be at hand just in case she’d be needed.

    Because of this, I developed genuine fondness to the unassuming, yet resilient leader that is Tita Cory. So much so, that I would solicit her advices in matters that required sensitive handling. I even requested her amiable and dear daughter, Kris Aquino, who is also close to my heart, to be the godmother of my dearest daughter, KC.

    Since then, being with Tita Cory became a big thrill for me. In September of 1997, Tita Cory and I were entrusted by President Ramos to attend and represent our country in the funeral of Mother Teresa in Calcutta. Here, I felt blessed and humbled to witness kings and head of states pay tribute to a modest and selfless nun whose life demonstrated God’s great love especially for the sick and the hungry. That experience was made even more profound by the fact that I shared it with Tita Cory — our country’s symbol of social justice and humility.

    Then came the presidential elections of 1998. I would often hear people say that a person’s truthfulness and sincerity is measured when one is at his/her grimmest. After Joe’s defeat in that year’s presidential elections, our pain was aggravated with the stillness in our home in Magnolia Street that was usually teemed with followers. Just days after the election, it was transformed into a sad vacuum of space. To make matters worse, people whom we thought were friends have refused to even take our calls. Many of our ‘fair-weathered’ friends had change of hearts, but not my Tita Cory.

    She was my first guest when I celebrated my birthday in February of 1999. She came ahead of everybody and left just before the next guest arrived, just to make sure we could spend quality time. Her words still echoed in my mind up to this day. She said, “Gina, when you were on top, I wasn’t always there but now that you need a friend, I want you to know that I’m here.” Little did she know that her words and her very presence renewed my faith in human kindness.

    On the eve of December 16, 2004, Joe and I experienced the most agonizing and unimaginable pain that parents could ever have ---the lost of a dear, dear child. It happened on the eve of the first simbang gabi just when the country was eagerly awaiting Christmas and was surrounded with the joyous spirit of the season.

    Almost everyday, during our deep mourning, Tita Cory was there, attending the daily masses offered for our dearest KC. And on Christmas day, instead of spending this special moment with her family, Tita Cory was communing with us, as we commemorated KC’s ninth day. She was there in silent prayer, comforting us with her presence and making us feel that we have a sincere friend even during our darkest hours.

    In 2007, when some officials of the Lakas party were persuading me to run for a seat in the Senate, I decided to consult someone who, I know, can be truly trusted, a person who would give me the best advice for my own good and our country’s interest. My Tita Cory.

    I remembered exactly how she described her own discernment process, when she ran as President. She said that she prayed hard for guidance and wisdom. And when she was enlightened to make a go for the presidency, she said she cried as she realized the gravity of the task she would pursue. Yet, she embraced the challenge unquestioningly as a true servant of the Lord would do.

    Heeding the counsel of Tita Cory, I requested Sister Herminigildes of the Pink Sisters to help me with my own discernment process. On the ninth day of my discernment process ( which included fasting, abstinence and attending daily masses), after I cut the bible asking the Lord to give me an answer, I found myself staring at the Book of Esther, which chronicled the life of a patriotic queen who was raised as an instrument of God to avert the destruction of the Jewish people.

    Following her example, I submitted myself to promote Joe’s interest and devoted my attention in his congressional bid in Pangasinan. True enough, Joe was faced by an opponent made formidable by forces from the GMA camp who had planned Joe’s ‘assassination’ right at his home. They did not succeed.

    As fate had it, after only eight months, my husband was ousted as Speaker. And who would I find at my side but My Tita Cory. Together, we fought for our quest for truth and the evils in our government through prayer rallies and masses. In jest, she told me, ”Gina, I never thought that at my age of 75, I would still be in mass actions.” To which, I replied, “Tita, you cannot retire because the country needs you. The people need an inspiration and a unifying force. You are that person.”

    To the world, she will always be the symbol of a bloodless revolution. To me, she will always be my Tita Cory -- a role model in integrity, the glow of reason in times of darkness, and someone who finds strength and perseverance in prayer. I believe the Lord has blessed Tita Cory with the gift of His peace — an inner tranquility that calms the heart and soothes the soul.

    The Haven for Women

    Manay Gina became the President and Chairperson of the Congressional Spouses Foundation, Inc. (CSFI) in 1992. Since ninety percent of the CSFI members are women, it was decided that her first project would be about fellow women, specifically the most marginalized---the women in crisis.

    Thus, her first two terms as CSFI president is defined by her landmark achievement in championing the cause of abused women with the establishment of the nine-building The Haven for Women in Alabang. It was inaugurated in September 30, 1995.

    Its main goal is to rehabilitate the abused women and help them to reclaim their God-given right to live with dignity.

    The rest of her term as CSFI president was spent in the construction of the 15 Regional Centers for Women, nationwide, to serve the victims of abused in the provinces.

    In 2001, Mrs. de Venecia returned as President and Chairperson of CSFI. This time, she rallied the congressional spouses to develop the Phase 2 of The Haven for Women.

    In 2007, The Haven for Women reached its completion with the addition of the KC de Venecia Recreational Center in memory of her lively daughter, KC.

    From its original nine buildings, The Haven for Women, through the years is transformed into a 16-building complex with state-of-the-art facilities making it as the most complete rehabilitation facility in the country.

    It has eight cottages, a transition cottage, an air-conditioned nursery, a multi-purpose center, a mini-hospital, an activity center, an administration office, a library, a livelihood center and a multi-purpose gym.

    From the time it was opened in 1995, The Haven for Women has successfully rehabilitated more than 17, 000 abused women. Many of them are victims of rape, incest, forced prostitution, physical and emotional abuse, abandonment and rejection.

    Thursday, May 1, 2008

    The Haven for Children

    When Manay Gina returned as President and Chairperson of the CSFI in 2001, her inspired leadership has become the rallying spirit of the congressional spouses to establish The Haven for Children in Muntinlupa City, for the rehabilitation of streetchildren, ages 7 to 13.

    The complex is composed of eight 2-story buildings, with its own multi-purpose gymnasium, well-appointed cottages, a non-formal school run by DECS, a medical & dental clinic, an administration building and a training center that teaches the children practical livelihood skills. It was inaugurated in January 15, 2004.

    The center’s goal is to provide the displaced children a ‘home’ away from home with the help of social workers from the DSWD and well-meaning volunteers. Its objective is to reunite the boys with their families. To achieve this, the center has a special counseling program for the parents so that they will become more responsive to the needs of the children.

    For children who have no family, the center has a program that screen prospective foster parents for possible adoption, while the others are transferred to other government shelters that offer programs which are more suited to the needs of the child.

    In 2006, Manay Gina, brought her campaign to save the abandoned children to a national scale by finishing three Regional Centers for Children in Dagupan City, Tarlac City and Solana, Cagayan.

    In February of 2007, the fourth Regional Center for Children in Agusan del Sur had its groundbreaking ceremony. Similar to The Haven for Women, Manay Gina hopes to put up satellite centers of The Haven for Children in all regions.

    Please click on the image to make it larger.