Family: My Roots and Wings

My family: My roots and wings

For this reason I fall on my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth receives its true name. (‭Ephesians‬ ‭3‬:‭14-15‬ GNBDK)

Today, I’m going to write about family.

My mother, my niece and I went on a road trip to visit my father’s side of the family so we could spend there a few days with them.

It has been a while we were able to vacation there and since my father died, my mother thought it best to come visit before any of my father’s remaining siblings also pass away.

Morbid, huh?

But it’s true. They’re not getting any younger so my mother thought we’d better spend time with them at least a few days a year.

You see, we live in Leyte, an island in the Visayas.. And they live in Bulacan, a town in Luzon far up north of the Philippines.

When I was little, my whole family used to go every summer vacation and I would have a blast spending my summer getting to know my uncles, aunts and cousins.

When I and my siblings grew up.. We were caught up in the busyness of life..and of course travel fare got rather expensive so our trips there became less and less.

I never saw my uncles again until they came to visit for my father’s wake. And before that, they only saw my father when he went there for their brother’s wake.

So that’s why we invested time, money and effort to connect with my father’s family.

OUR LEYTE TO LUZON ROADTRIP

We decided to take the road trip, or land trip for us locals, from Leyte to Luzon as an adventure. It was a grueling 32 hour bus ride but it was a new experience so we had fun, though we all agreed we’ll never do it again.

We crossed San Juanico bridge in Tacloban towards Samar. If I’m not mistaken, San Juanico bridge is the longest bridge in the Philippnes, connecting two islands – Leyte and Samar.

San Juanico bridge

San Juanico Bridge, Tacloban – Samar

Then in Allen, Northern Samar, we took a ferry boat to cross the ocean to Luzon, landing first in Sorsogon.

Sunset in Allen, Northern Samar

Sunset in Allen, Northern Samar

 

Here’s a Philippine map to show you our journey by bus.. The red line traces our journey from Baybay city, Leyte in the Visayas (our place) to San Miguel, Bulacan in Luzon (my father’s place).

Philippine Map

Our road trip from Baybay City, Leyte, Visayas to San Miguel, Bulacan, Luzon

 

It was tiresome but it was worth it. We arrived in San Miguel, Bulacan tired but happy to see them again.

Sunrise in San Miguel, Bulacan

Countryside San Miguel, Bulacan

Countryside view, San Miguel, Bulacan

San Miguel Bulacan, town entrance

San Miguel, Bulacan town entrance

 

Our Reunion

We laughed, we cried, we ate together.. We had a blast connecting..sharing our lives since we last saw each other.. My mother’s last visit was last 1992… Mine was around 5 years ago.

Velasquez clan

Velasquez clan in Bulacan

Walking around San Miguel, Bulacan

Walking around San Miguel, Bulacan

Velasquez family eating halohalo together

Velasquez family eating halohalo together

Goofing around with my family

Goofing around with my cousins and their kids

 

Roots and Wings

Family, for us Filipinos, is very important.

Most Filipino children often stay with their parents long after they’ve grown and have a family of their own or they live close to each other.. It is also common for an extended family to live together.

Why?

Faithfulness to the family is a tradition that is characteristic of Filipino society.  This family loyalty is apparent in the fact that there are no booming businesses for retirement homes or orphanages in the Philippines.

Family is my roots and wings.

Why roots? Family grounds me.. Who I am is largely because of my family. Family nourishes me.. I bloom in their love and acceptance.

Why wings? I fly high with their support and confidence in me. I dream to reach lofty heights for them.. To be able to bless them and make them proud.

My family is not perfect. Whose family is? But we learned to love and accept each other with all our flaws and imperfections.

Well, you know what they say.. “You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family.” So we’re stuck with each other..through thick and thin..for better or for worse.. In sickness and in health. Till death do us part.

Hopefully, before Death comes to part us, we’ll learn to love like Jesus loves, having plenty of chances to practice on each other. 🙂

In closing, I would like to share with you what Pope Francis shared at the “Encounter with Families” on the second day of his visit to the Philippines last January 16, 2015 as reported on gmanews.com:

Pope Fr

DREAM!

That was how Pope Francis framed his message on the final event on the second day of his Philippine visit, an “encounter with families” at Mall of Asia Arena.

“To dream how your daughter or son will be. It is not possible to have a family without such dreams. When you lose this capacity to dream, then you lose the capacity to love and this energy to love is lost,” Pope Francis said in his message following a Liturgy of the Word.

The Pope spoke at length on families, calling them “the country’s greatest treasure” and using the story of St. Joseph, who cared for his wife Mary and foster son Jesus, to tell his message.

“I recommend that at night when you examine your consciences, ask yourselves: Today, did I dream about my sons and  daughters? Did I dream of the love of my husband or my wife? Did I dream of my parents, my family? It is so important,” the Pope said.

“I like this idea of dreaming in a family,” said the Argentine pontiff in Spanish. “It is so important to dream, and dream in a family. Please, don’t lose this ability to dream in this way.”

While talking about the threats that families all over the world face, he spoke specifically about challenges facing Filipino families.

“Here in the Philippines, countless families are still suffering from the effects of natural disasters. The economic situation has caused families to be separated by migration and the search for employment, and financial problems strain many households,” Pope Francis said.

“While all too many people live in dire poverty, others are caught up in materialism and lifestyles which are destructive of family life and the most basic demands of Christian morality. Those are the ideological colonizations,” he added.

The Pope underscored the need for Filipino families “to be a support and example for other families.”

With an estimated 80 million members, the Philippines is the largest Catholic country in Asia.

“Every threat to the family is a threat to society itself. The future of humanity, as Saint John Paul II often said, passes through the family,” he said.

From conception to natural death

As in his message, the Pope called on Filipinos to also be on the lookout for threats to human life including that of the unborn child.

“Protect your families. See in them your country’s greatest treasure and nourish them always by prayer and  the grace of the sacraments. Families will always  have their trials, but may you never add to them!” Pope Francis said.

“Instead, be living examples of love, forgiveness and care. Be sanctuaries of respect for life, proclaiming the sacredness of every human life from conception to natural death,” he added.

Pope Francis adverted to the gospel reading on how Saint Joseph protected Jesus and Mary when the newborn Lord was threatened by Herod in Bethlehem.

“The family is also threatened by growing efforts on the part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage, by relativism, by the culture of the ephemeral, by a lack of openness to life,” Pope Francis said.

(Read full story here:  http://gmanetwork.com/news/popefrancis/story/407155)

So, how are you and your family?

 

 

 

 

Action steps for victory

  • Have you connected with your family lately? Give them a call or send them a letter. Better yet, visit them. Your presence will be an incomparable gift.
  • Let’s pray for our own families and all the families in the world.

praying hands of a child

 

Dear Jesus, I pray for my family and all the families in the world. That all may come to know You, love You, and serve You so that one day we will all be happy with You in heaven. Amen.

 

 

 

This is it for now. ‘Til next time.

To our health, wealth, and victory, GODSPEED!

 

Tata Velasquez

Tata with guitar

 

 

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