Memories of A Saturday: Why I Offer Thanksgiving to God

There had always been something different with Saturdays. If days of the week had color, it would be the color yellow. It always looked so warm and very anticipating.

ImagePhoto courtesy: MCGI.org

As a kid, I used to remember one of my weekends being spent in a place far away from home. My family and I would spend it in Apalit, Pampanga, where we attend our weekly Thanksgiving ceremony. I must have been somewhere between five or six years old then, when I would distinctly remember the homey scent of rice being cooked wafting through the bathroom as my mother splashes me with lukewarm water. It was 3:00am in the morning, but I was the least bit sleepy.

By 3:30am we would be cruising at the dark road ahead of us, illuminated only by the orange-colored expressway lamp lights and the dimly-lit moon. I would fall asleep resting my head on a pillow that nestled in one of my Kuya’s laps. At 6:00am we would be eating hot sopas with some cheesy puto or butter-smeared hotcakes on our monoblock chairs near the front of the stage. And then my mother would spread half a blanket on the cement floor and make a make-shift bed for me, and she would make me lie down and close my eyes as I listen to the heavenly singing of the Music Ministry as the ceremony starts.

I may have fallen asleep during the opening parts of the ceremony, but I would extremely be wide awake during the part where brethren would come up on stage and offer thanks to the Lord. When it was our time to go up the stage, my dad would place me on his shoulders and I could see all of the convention center, which was smaller back then. Then I would hear the rhythmic beats resounding, and the brethren onstage dancing and singing praises to God.

Then brethren would enumerate numerous reasons why they give thanks to the Lord – some of them were given jobs, some of them were cured from sickness, some of them were celebrating their spiritual birthdays. Then there were those who thanked the Lord for being fired from work, for failing exams and even for losing a loved one. “Why do they do that, Papa?” I once asked my Dad. And he answered that brethren still offered thanks despite the seemingly bad things that happened because it was what Bro. Eli and Brother Daniel had taught us – to give thanks in all circumstances as written in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, and because it was God’s will and things will work together in the end (Romans 8:28).

Fast forward to eleven years, and here I am, with God’s help still awaiting the coming of Saturdays every week. When I was younger I didn’t fully understand yet what it meant to give thanks to the Lord, but now that He has called me into His fold nearly two years ago, I learned to thank Him for everything He has done in me and my family’s life. I thank Him for the wonderful fate that He has given me, that I grew up and was brought up inside His true Church, and that I was given the highest calling and duties that give meaning to my life, duties I sometimes think I don’t deserve. But with His loving kindness and mercy He urges me to go on and do my part, to someday be with Him in paradise even if I get to stay in a little corner. I thank Him that I can write, even though I am fully aware that no words would describe what I am feeling and that words will never be enough to express my gratitude.

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Photo Courtesy: MCGI.org

But I thank Him still, for everyday of my life that I am able to open my eyes and be able to reach another Saturday.

From Cab Drivers to Superheroes, with Help from UNTV’s “Tulong Muna, Bago Pasada” Public Service Campaign

I’ve never been one who frequently uses a taxi. From what my very little experience offered me was that taxis (and the cab drivers) are your quicker modes of travelling, especially when running late. But as my daily allowance would only consist of lunch money and some jeepney fare, riding taxis are just out of my options. To be honest, I’ve only ridden a taxi once (on my own, with me shouldering all the flag rates and the additional costs) and that was when I was going to be late for an extremely important major exam (and yes, I was still late).

Basically, my knowledge and appreciation of taxis are those of your average and regular commuter. But thanks to a brilliant initiative by one of the country’s first public service-oriented TV Stations, UNTV, my opinion on taxis has drastically changed.

Owing to its name, UNTV – Your Public Service Channel recently launched its latest advocacy, “Tulong Muna, Bago Pasada” (Rescue First, Drive Later). Like its predecessor, “Tulong Muna, Bago Balita” (Rescue First, News Later), it aims to invoke the habit of putting lives first before anything else. As taxis are indeed knowledgeable with all the possible routes, of city roads, and also almost always available at any time of day, they can become our extra patrol for the streets to prevent crimes and accidents. When they do happen to come across accidents on the road, they can help carry out emergency responses, thanks to the training provided to them.

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“Tulong Muna, Bago Pasada” had now started its first batch of training sessions for taxi drivers willing to be part of this advocacy. The sessions include series of first-aid training and basic life support technicals useful for real-life scenarios like hit and runs and collisions. After undergoing several days of free training, our taxi drivers are given certificates, proving that they are well-equipped to give out the knowledge they learned in emergency situations.

This one-of-a-kind public service campaign is spearheaded by the country’s Mr. Public Service, Kuya Daniel Razon, with goals to make our roads safer for motorists and involving as many Filipino people to become public servants.

Thanks to this endeavours, I now see our Manong Taxi Drivers as not just road magicians, being able to transport you in one place to another with the least possible time, but also as the next line of dedicated and disciplined superheroes who do their part in serving the country and our fellowmen.

So the next time you ride a taxi, try to tell the Manong Driver about this public service campaign, and how he can help by contacting the following UNTV hotlines : 0938 803 0777 (Smart), 0926 633 5744 (Globe), 0923 416 1377 (Sun) and 441 8688 (PLDT).

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