Chronicles of Benia


Day 89 of Lockdown

Dear May 2020,

I skipped writing in March and April, the height of quarantine in the Philippines.

But tonight, I will document a bit.

I flew to Manila on 3rd day of March. With a two-kilo luggage excess I was fined for the first time! It was a first time in 12 years of working overseas. But when I got boarded, my jaw dropped seeing the aircraft almost empty for a popular midnight flight.

When Wuhan a city of 14 million people went on lockdown by January of this year, something in me said that China is facing something serious. At the back of my mind was a thought that an outbreak was about to happen soon. Since then, I started to read news and blogs about the virus and Wuhan as much as I can.

At that point, more than curious I was fearful.

I am.



One time in my working life, I with a colleague isolated a compound from mouse brain. After, physical and chemical treatments the cell went through, I was so surprised to see that the cell was still alive! “How can it be able to withstand that?”, I told myself while I peeped into it through a microscope. Science definitely has answer but my soul was awed by its strength. It remained alive until we decided to pour hydrogen peroxide. Deprived of oxygen, it died.

Witnessing that few years earlier shaped my mind that the next kind of a deadly bomb is by the use of a cell. Tiny. Powerful. Unwavering.

With fear of an outbreak to happen soon, I flew to Manila. “If ever my hometown would go on lockdown, I will be home.” was something I bear in mind.

Why I want to be home? I have read stories that when the virus spread in Wuhan that while many left the city, a lot of Wuhan locals too went home to be with their family and faced the health crisis with their loved ones. China is known to be family – oriented. And I want to be home, just be home and together with them will face a crisis.

So, pandemia was declared by WHO and the world experienced quarantine this generation will never ever forget.

The Sacred Gift That I Have Been Given

While the entire world is under the threat of the virus and I have been under the law to stay home and buy things for my family, this gave me the opportunity to realise the depth and beauty of one gift that I have been given – the gift of freedom.

At this point of life, it includes the freedom to hug, freedom to go out and experience life, freedom from illness, freedom to choose time to leave home and be back, freedom to get physically close to another person, freedom to worship, freedom to express complaints and disgust, freedom to mourn, freedom to visit a patient, freedom from name-calling, freedom to inquire, freedom to work, freedom from lust, freedom from sins, freedom from violence, freedom from impunity and freedom from lies.

Quarantine made me see that freedom is the greatest gift of God to mankind.

All along I thought it was life. But then the existence of an illness caused by a new virus brought to a question “what is life without freedom?”

Then, I remembered the cell we experimented on few years back and realised freedom was the power I saw in that cell had. It was fighting for its life, for its freedom to exist and multiply, freedom to be the cell it was created to be.

Freedom was the power I witnessed and it never left me.

On this night of Pentecost Sunday, I recognise immeasurable honor to be given freedom. We celebrate Pentecost because Jesus died for us, set us to freedom and to be never under again under the yoke of slavery.

Thank you Jesus. Thank you for Your gift, freedom.

This is all hair quarantine May photo with my furry housemate, Clarise, who is getting more comfy sleeping beside me.


With all the hills and valleys of things that happened this first month of this year, I would like to remember that early morning when I woke up to learn that Kobe died from a helicopter crash with his daughter.

I am born and raised in Manila and every corner of the city has a basketball ring installed whether this is in a regular basketball court or just hanging on an electric post (tree). This makes everyone a basketball fan, myself included as my parents house is just few steps away from the basketball court.

I may not have seen Kobe in person but the fact that he belongs to my generation and that he is the god of basketball game back home, he becomes like a mandatory idol. So, his death moved something within.

The death of Kobe brought again awareness to me that this time I have here on earth is numbered. It brought me back once again to that period of my life where I kept coming back to confession as my biggest regret in life would be losing heaven.

Before going to a big surgery 7 years ago I went to a priest to have the Sacrament of Healing. The sacrament of healing is the last sacrament given to a Catholic. I told the priest that I don’t want to lose heaven after I completed my journey here on earth and the priest said, “You don’t go to heaven by accident. You get to heaven because you live your life for it.”

As I bid farewell to January 2020, I bid farewell to a person who lives with excellence and passion that up to the last moments of his book of life remained inspiring individual to a history.

Farewell legend.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. “

Psalm 23:4

Dear Lord,
Thank you for the bushfire, it only means we have wildlife and forrest. Thank you for the spewing smokes of Taal, it united the nation. Thank you for Mheg-xit, it only means not all princesses and princes are found in the palace. There are two who want to be financially independent. Thank you for wuhan virus, it reminded us to respect wildlife and lower creatures.

Thank you Lord for Kobe, he made a lot of people believed in their own capabilities. Please embrace his soul and the eight others. Please shine Your light to all souls of death caused by Wuhan virus.

With all these happenings, I am reminded that I am just an earthling out from ashes. You are God and You are mighty. Thus, in You I surrender my future.

Thank you for the gift of hope.


Photo Credit: The Nativity Story of Jesus Christ

The other night while I stared at the image of nativity of Jesus Christ, my mind got lost on the smile of Mother Mary. It was not a LOL-LOL-LOL-smile neither a friendly smile for me. It was a smile more than of confidence. There is something in Mary’s smile and it must be because, while Mary smiles she was looking at Joseph, her husband and the foster father of Jesus. While she smiles at Joseph, Joseph’s head slightly bowed down.
My mind got so lost that I felt something warm rolling down on my cheeks.

I finally figured out what is Mary’s smile about and Mary has on her face is the smile of trust.
When Trust Is Lost

The truth is one the deepest wounds of heartbreak is losing trust to oneself. Sometimes, it is easier to forgive people who have caused the pain. Sometimes, accepting the heartbreak that happened but the nagging feeling of losing the trust remains there or it seems it’s already embedded in the heart. And that situation is the hardest part to bear after every single heartbreak.

Losing trust is allowing fear to take in control. Fear that you might get heartbroken again. Fear that you might say the wrong things again that it will lead to a premature closure or as the goes song “afraid for love to fade before it can come true.” and a long list of fears.

Most of the time, the reason why someone can get to be so protective of oneself is lack of trust. I know someone so completely who intentionally drives both interested and interesting men away by showing her worst self on an onset of courtship out of complete fear – – fear of getting heartbroken again.

That’s how fear operates in our lives. It creates illogical and hurtful behaviours in our pattern. Then, if fear is the root

reason, faith is the answer.

This goes to say that if we have faith, faith in our Lord Jesus Christ that He hears our prayers and that He knows our heart’s desires and that He wants the best for us, we can act in faith, decide in faith, love in faith and open our hearts to love and be courageous again in faith.

To learn to trust again is to have faith both in the Lord and to oneself.

Mary and Joseph

As my mind got lost on the smile of Mary, I remember the words of angel to Mary during the annunciation. It translated to me “Do not fear. The Lord is with you. He loves you and He will guide you and protect you.”

Mary’s faith is something I found on her smile there at the image of the Nativity of Jesus.


I myself often tell this to my female single friends to guard the heart. I say this to them and even to myself as if it is a regular expression like “hello”, “hi or “welcome”, until I spoke to a young lady who I met three months ago.

She asked me of the meaning of guarding the heart after I told her that line.

I stopped and realised that it really is a big thought to say specially, if it is meant as an advice or a loving prodding. While I searched in my heart the meaning of “guarding the heart”, it came to mind that it may be the probable reason on why people, myself included, find it hard to guard the heart is because, the meaning and intention of guarding the heart is incomprehensible, on why it is needful. Thus, do-able steps on how to guard the heart seem hard to do because the noble reason on doing so is something has not been pondered upon and has not been understood, With this, it resulted to failure to guard the heart.

The intention of guarding the heart is not to supress the feelings or treat your feelings to be invalid. It is not also the intention of guarding the heart to harden your heart from loving and enjoying the pleasure. Neither, guarding the heart promotes foolishness by considering what you are feeling to be not childish and is shallow.

But guarding is protecting your heart ultimately from lies.

If truth sets you free, then, lies hold you as captives. When we are captives, there is bondage…there is misery …..there is hurt.

Here are do-able and comprehensible steps of how to guard the heart:

  1. Guarding your heart is knowing your heart

It means knowing what you want, your purpose of wanting or doing what you are doing or wanting. It means knowing your limitations, your weakness, your strength.

Classic example: I would like to be married. So, knowing that in my heart tells me that I would only date people who can get married.

Classic example 2: You keep on asking a person out. You keep on calling the same person. There might be a good reason. Identify that reason and assess.

  1. Keep your eyes opened.

This is best achieved by eliminating day dreaming.

Classic example: In your dreams you and “your friend” who had just asked you out are already married, when you just dated once. Lol

  1. Hear in audible voice the words of God

Most of the time, when a girl/lady/person is filled with self- emotions, even when we pray, we will not be able to hear the word of the Lord or even determine in our hearts the will of the Lord. So, don’t just pray about it. Share your feelings/your thoughts to a trusted friend or family member who knows you and cares for you. They will most likely present to you the truth if the cloud of romance and the idea of being love has already clouded your right judgement.

  1. Ask the person

(This is my most dreaded recommended step.)

To be continued tomorrow.

Love and beauty,



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