Timesman | He is watching me

MY BLOOD pressure reached 160/93 when I trekked the almost two-kilometer uphill winding road of Madapo Hills on the way to the Shrine of the Holy Infant Jesus of Prague early dawn and on my way down of Good Friday.

My normal BP is 138/83 but that day I was on the verge of having a stroke. But thank God it never happened.

I never miss this yearly devotion to the miraculous Infant for the last 25 years that started when I was still in the old place in Matina.

Policewoman Glen Villasis, assigned with the Barangay outpost for public assistance at GSIS Heights who took my BP, was surprised to know that I am 77 and according to her I look many years younger.

She asked: “Sir, ano ang sikreto mo at malakas ka pa rin?”

Simple lang ang naging sagot ko sa kanyang tanong. “Because of my devotion to HIM.”

Last Friday’s renewal of my faith to HIM was a big different from 25 years ago when I started visiting the Shrine.

Then, I had to leave my car at the roadside of Santos Cuyugan Road from Matina Highway and started the uphill trek from the first Station of the Cross up the winding road until the 14th Station of the Cross leading to the Shrine.

This time, Jin Lorenz was now driving for me, yet was still sporting a student permit to drive. He was able to park the car right at the compound of the Shrine fronting ABS-CBN at Madapo Hill with ease.

We found the approach of Madapo Hills from Diversion Road in Maa to reach the Shrine for motorists coming from the north side of the city very convenient. Less traffic and the road was well paved and lighted, with spacious parking space.

Upon entering the Shrine from Diversion Road where the 14th Station of the Cross is, you have to walk down the hill to reach the first Station at GSIS Heights and again traverse the same route uphill to complete the Way of the Cross.

And this is what we did, and I survived, although already gasping for my breath upon reaching the last Station.

God really loves me.

The Filipino delicacies and souvenir items of the long Lenten season were the usual sights on both sides of the road. Not to mention those beggars whose number seemed growing. My favorite puto bumbong was also there.

Among the thousands of devotees along the way, we met Bobet Castillo and wife Lillian, TIMES reporter Isabel Petalcorin with a friend.

Bobet asked me: “Mr. T, ano nga sa Tagalog ang okasyon ngayon, kanina ko pa iniisip ito?”

“Easter Sunday sa English, but I can’t translate it now in Pilipino,” I answered. Then, I said again: “Parang Araw ng Pagkabuhay.”

Then we also met my inaanak sa kasal—Sheryl and husband, both former employees of Tesoro’s Printing, and after hugging me, said: “Ninong, parang binata ka pa!”

Talagang binata, biyudo na, hindi ba?         

We also encountered Diding of Davao Shanghai Restaurant and lovely daughter Princess who can be a runaway winner in any beauty contest if only the mother is not “bantay sarado sa anak. “

I jokingly asked Diding: “Puede ba ligawan ng anak ko si Princess?”

Diding said her husband just died of cancer of the blood. Our condolences!

Others we met along the way were Jun Tan and family. Jun was my colleague at the Dona Luisa Village Subdivision Homeowners Association.

The rest of old acquaintances and familiar faces I was eager to meet were no longer around.


I will take this opportunity to ask forgiveness from my readers for more than two months we were out of this corner.

Medyo busy lang sa ginagawang expansion sa bagong bahay.


Congratulations to all first batch of K-12 senior high school students who will be graduating this week!

Posted in Opinion