Sunday, March 28, 2010

This Holy Week I Will...

(picture courtesy of

Lj T. Salceda

Except for a well deserved r & r especially for the working people, the mandatory Seven Last Words and the Sunrise Service on Easter Sunday- make the most of your Holy Week vacay by including or considering some of these to-do ideas.

This Holy Week I will…

1. ESCAPE. If you’re like me that haven’t got the time or money to travel or avail of a long vacay, why don’t you come up with your own “mini-vacation”? Holy Week is the time when the roads of Manila are not so clogged. Explore the metro or your town or your barangay. Do a food trip. Climb a nearby mountain or hill. Go on a a joy ride or a picnic with your loved ones/friends. Stay away from the malls- they are usually close on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.

2. WATCH and LEARN. Radio and TV stations typically have their special Lenten programming during this time of the year. If you’ve had enough of their replays/marathon broadcast or the usual religious-themed shows/movies, have your own movie marathon or programming at home. I bought a compilation of BBC’s documentaries about the life of Jesus Christ and other Biblical figures & issues for a discounted price of P600. (They also have documentaries on sale about Rome/Ancient Egypt/machines etc.) Included in my to-watch DVD's are The History of Christianity series from House Of Praise & a few biographies of famous Christian figures. Boring you might say, but I am planning to have a crash course in Christian history this Semana Santa. Of course there’s a wide variety of movies/shows to choose from!

3. SIMPLIFY. Show some love to mother earth by arranging/recycling/salvaging your magazines/books/wardrobe collection. Time to sew those missing buttons, polish your shoes or delete old files from your computer. You can also clean up your kikay kit or bags. Because of busyness, most of us girls don’t have the time to wash or clean or even change our hair brush/comb, make-up kits, toothbrush and even our bags. As we check and unclutter our hearts/spirits from spiritual baggage, do your self a favor and exercise it to your wallets/purses/bags too.

4. PARTICIPATE. There are various Holy Week-related activities like musicals/plays/concerts/seminars/exhibits lined-up this year. Go out, attend and show your support.

5. BEAUTIFY. Sleep longer, detoxify, dust your old bike and use it, have a facial or get a massage. Be good to your body. You will never regret it.

6. CHURCH HOP. Roman Catholics have their "visita iglesias", who says you can’t do it too if you’re an Evangelical or Protestant or Baptist? I have long been planning to do my own “visita iglesia”. Wouldn’t it be an adventure to study and capture in photos some of the biggest or interesting or oldest “Christian” churches in the Philippines or even Manila? Any suggestions?

7. DISCOVER. Try a new recipe or do an old recipe with a new twist! How many meals have you actually tried from all your recipe books? 3 maybe 5 the most. Why not prepare one full meal all taken from or inspired by your recipe books? Change is good. Perhaps you can try going vegetarian for a day.

8. TESTIFY. Give Bible tracts, text some thoughts to ponder or tell your friends to listen to 702 DZAS or watch the 700 Club. Here’s another suggestion- why don’t you write your testimony or recall a time in your life when God did something miraculous/extra-ordinary and post it on your blog or send it to Tanikalang Lagot (Unshackled radio program) or your church? Share what God has done in your life.

9. FAST. I am not just referring to abstinence from food or drinks. Fast from technology or work or worry or expenses. Contemplate, journal, commune with God. Be still and know that He is God.

10. REMEMBER. Think about His love. Think about His goodness. Think about His grace. That brought us through... GREAT IS THE MEASURE OF OUR FATHER’S LOVE. Thank the Lord.

Whatever you plan to do this season, as long as you do it for the glory of the Lord Jesus, the REASON why we have Holy Week in the first place – that’s the best list/goal/thing you can ever accomplish. You don’t need my list or someone else’s. Do what He wants you to do. Obey.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

After a Break-Up: Picking Up the Pieces (Part 2)

After a Break-up: Picking Up The Pieces (Part 2)
Lj T. Salceda

You’re still in disbelief or perhaps denial. It’s only been a few days, maybe weeks but the pain is still sickening, debilitating to a point. You still go through the same roller-coaster of negative emotions.

It’s torture. Why can’t God take away the pain? Can’t He see? Can’t He hear your cries at night? Why can’t you bring back time or just stop breathing, thinking and hurting? It’s unbearable, you toy with the idea of ending it all or your life.

DON’T! If you take your life, you just pass on the misery, humiliation and expenses to your family and friends. It’ll be the start of a different gamut of problems. Whatever heartache, problem, trial or hardship you are going through SUICIDE is NEVER the SOLUTION my dear. (And neither is killing someone else. It’s MURDER.)

Someone you cared for, you loved deeply, you treasured more than your life cheated on you, left you, chose to be with another girl/guy or caused you too much emotional/mental/physical damage. Shattered your dreams. Broke your heart or your bank account. Wasted you time and your money. You’re left flooded with questions and drowning in tears… How could he? Is there something wrong with me? Why us? What now?

“Take him back,” says a small part of you. “Fight for him. Tell him you’ll forget it ever happened, if he won’t do it again.” You try to convince yourself that no relationship is perfect. No one is. You’re willing to do whatever it takes to repair the relationship, if there is still one. "Just come back, please." In your heart, you beg. What would be life without him?

Ahhh, has sanity abandoned me?

Alas, reason prevails! If I accept a cheating guy, I only empower him to hurt me more. You’ve given him many chances. You’ve done your best. Enough is enough! How do you survive a heart break and move on gracefully? The first hours, even days are crucial and the hardest. It will feel like hell. But it won’t be that way forever. I tell yah! Been there and done these things:

1. Face it- he left/cheated/lied/betrayed you. It is PAINFUL. Like a million daggers piercing every part of you. It's tormenting. Then numbness sets in. Stop blaming yourself or others. It won’t do any good. It happened. But it’s now part of history.

2. Let it out! Cry, scream, hit the punching bag at the gym, ran, tell God how you feel, write about your experience.

3. Lick your wounds. Dry your tears. Force yourself to get up or eat/sleep/rest/work/do your chores. I ate instant noodles for dinner for one week so my intestines will have something to digest. Not too healthy, but better than not eating at all. It was hard enough to cook, much more swallow regular food. But I forced myself to finish a small cup in between sobbing. Don't be paralyzed by your past or your mistakes.

4. Choose to be positive. The situation will not change overnight. You won’t feel better in a day. You won’t forget in a week. Like what Ptr. Ed Lapiz said, "Selective memory is needed to be happy." Don't wallow in pain or self-pity for a looong time. You'll miss a lot. It will rob you of many beautiful, wonderful opportunities/things.

5. Allow distractions/diversions. Go out with your friends (even if you become the butt of their jokes). Tackle new projects. Learn a new skill. Go on a trip. Climb a mountain, but don’t jump off the cliff.

6. Shine! Let's just say that a heartbreak/wrong guy is like getting a make-over. Chemicals or procedures are used to remove what is not essential or to enhance a specific part of your body/life to reveal a more beautiful/better you. For a day or two it will sting, you will struggle; but you are treated to an amazing result (as long as you don't get an allergic reaction). Don’t let a guy (or problems) get the best of you. Let it bring out the best in you girl!

7. Let yourself heal. It is a process. It takes time. Don’t jump in another relationship. Don’t bring unnecessary baggage to a new or possible love/partner. THE right guy will come. It's OK to avoid things/people/places that will remind you of him. The time will come when you will have the courage to face them.

8. READ. I've found so much comfort in some of the books I've read such as How To Mend a Broken Heart by Nelson Dy and When Everything Goes Wrong by William Girao. Or if you want to escape for a while, try some comic relief- read Bob Ong books, Archie or Charlie Brown.

9. If it gets too difficult to bear, talk to a professional. It won’t make you less of a person.

10. Learn from your experience. Share what you’ve learned.

“God has a reason why he plucked him out of your life,” said my writing mentor after a one-on-one girl talk. “It’s time to move on Lj,” she added. And I did.

Read Part 1 here.

I am now dating a super sweet, loving guy. I can’t thank God enough for waking me up from a horrible nightmare, sustaining me all through out the whole ordeal and giving me what I deserve- the BEST!

Break-up: Losing Someone You Love (Part 1)

Smashed And Broken Heart

Click here to getImages &
Smashed And Broken Heart Pictures

About a year ago, I went through one of the roughest times in my life. I've not really opened up with anyone about my break-up (except for a short interview by Ate Haydee on Family Matters back in Aug), so this is the first time I am openly talking, rather writing about it. I made a two-part series about this experience, the first article is more about what I FELT. I put them on paper the day after the break-up. While the second will tackle how I DEALT with that difficult stage.

Break-Up: Losing Someone You Love (Part 1)
Lj T. Salceda

Just when I thought things were going great (vacation plans set, flights ready to be booked and sked’s re-arranged); my world came to a halt and came crumbling down. I found myself back to the same path I know too well, but dreaded my entire life. My worst nightmare is happening right in front of my very eyes.

I just lost a dear friend- my best friend (just when I thought I finally have one), my confidante, my mentor, my cheerer, my sweetheart (so I thought.) Someone I cared so much and loved more than a friend. The past two and half years have been anything but easy; nonetheless I persisted, fought and did not give up on him, on us. I thought I've finally found someone I could trust with my secrets. Someone I could open up and talk about the mundane and important things in life- my day, my dreams, my struggles, my fears. Someone I could bare my heart and soul with and still love me for who I am. Someone who could protect me and be there during the up’s and down's. Now he’s gone.

There isn’t a word in the English, Tagalog or even Bicol dictionary that could describe what I’m going through right now. I am shattered. I am confused. I am crushed. I am infuriated. I feel worthless, scared, sad, betrayed and disappointed. Whoever said that there’s beauty in pain? Ah, I feel like my head is going to explode from all the questions waiting for answers. Why does life have to be so cruel? Why does it have to happen again? (After my parents separation.) Why him? Why me? And a million other questions.

Everything is a struggle now. Sleep has been elusive. Even eating is a chore. I refused to make new friends. I became more of a cynic and a skeptic of relationships. Screw love! Outside I’m composed and all smiles, but my core is a wreck. One moment I’m collected, a second after I’m having a breakdown inside the ladies' room. Now I understand why people jump off of buildings or turn to drugs or succumb to mental breakdown.

How could I even start to forget him when my surrounding reminds me so much of him? His pictures used to adorn my table. His voice served as my alarm clock. His messages kept me through a difficult day. His promises gave me hope. There’s the bookstore at the corner. The basketball court. The mall. Those darn love songs.

After all the waiting, the sacrifices, the prayers, the expenses – he’s gone. Perhaps it was my fault. Why did I give my heart, my trust, my love to him? I knew men were dorks! Maybe I shouldn’t have gotten into this in the first place. Why didn’t I end it when things got shaky and he got shady? Why didn’t I take the red-flags seriously? Obviously I didn’t, now I’m paying the price.

I will never be the same again. Maybe I still have lessons to learn. Maybe I wasn’t ready or mature as I thought I was. Maybe he wasn't THE man for me. Maybe it wasn't the right time yet. Maybe God has a better plan. Doesn’t He always have anyways?

I know there are no shortcuts to recovery, to healing, to moving on. Let me lament for now… I ought to choose the difficult part sooner than later. Forgive and let go. I’ve read this from somewhere “Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go.” So please help me God…

“...He makes all things beautiful in His time."

Read Part 2 here.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

BEAUTIFUL still even after the rain :)

I ♥ FLOWERS! (If you have to use these photos, please acknowledge that they're from me.)






Thursday, March 4, 2010


By Lj T. Salceda

I love success stories! The rags-to-riches, true-to-life, self-made people and their tales of survival and triumphs make me believe in the possibility of the impossible. If they can why can’t I?

I do know a different success story. Memorized and played it in my head countless of times. I know all the twists and turns, the characters, the highs, the lows and the in-between-ins- well except for the finale. It is my own story. My journey.

Unlike Manny Villar- I don’t have millions in the bank or a conglomeration of businesses or a prestigious seat in the government. No, I am not as rich or as powerful as Mr. Presidential. I am a daily-rate radio announcer. My 28-inch SONY TV is the most expensive item I’ve ever purchased. And I have a microphone, the airwaves and the written word as my platforms.

Unlike Manny Pacquiao- I don’t earn thousands of dollars per punch (or word in my case). I don’t grace the cover of international magazines like TIME or Reader’s Digest. Neither do I get visits from Hollywood stars. No, I’m not as well-known or as influential as the PACMAN. I do have a full time job and two part-time jobs, yet I will never earn even a quarter of what this renowned sports figure earns per fight. I usually write articles for local magazines. I often beg celebrities/important people to be on my shows.

Unlike Sarah Geronimo- I don’t have blockbuster movies, platinum albums, sold out concerts and endorsements of almost every type of product there is. No, I’m not as recognizable and adorable, er talented as the Philippines' Pop Princess. I did play a small role in an episode of 700 Club dramatized testimonies. I get free books, concert tickets and CD’s from our partner companies. I play and listen to thousands of songs from a wide range of artists on my musical show and I’m hoping my listeners are not only entertained, but also inspired by what I do.

I’m no way near the fortune they make, not even close to their fame and NO, I’m not endorsing any of them. I do admire their talents, achievements and work ethics. My SUCCESS story is quite different from theirs though.

As an active girl scout of the Philippines from elementary to high school, I’ve attended dozens of camps, participated in various projects and have been awarded GSP of the year in secondary school. Yet, I’ve never had my own GSP uniform, my Mom could barely afford our baon, and I have always been a sickly young girl. How did I do it? Lots of hard work and determination! I sold ice candies; baby sat my cousins and solicited from politicians and businessmen for financial assistance. Our yard and our neighbors’ backyard have been our local pharmacy.

As a consistent honor student, I’ve walked the stage to receive my awards wearing borrowed dresses and shoes. We barely had the money for tennis shoes for my PE class! I lived on borrowed things- from jogging pants to back packs to books. When JS prom came, I was torn. The P250 registration fee was heavy enough for my mother to pay for a night of dancing and drinking (soda); not to mention the dress, make up and transportation. Would poverty stop me from experiencing a milestone (for some teenagers) in high school? Of course not! My solution? I went to the prom wearing my aunt’s Sunday dress, my black school shoes (the same pair I wore when I trekked Mount Mayon) and asked a family friend to help me apply some of her inexpensive make-up at the warehouse where she was working at that time. For the transpo, I hitched with my classmate who has an owner type jeep- 4 of us stacked at the back seat.

I worked my way through college, graduated Cum Laude and landed my dream job after being a volunteer for eight months. I’ve been in media for ten years now however, I still live in a dorm, travel via public transportation and from time to time avail of loans in our cooperative for big, unexpected expenses.

But I do consider myself a SUCCESS. Why? Just to give you a few reasons.

1. I was able to finish a degree without getting in debt.

2. I can eat three, sometimes more square meals a day. With my choice food.

3. I can buy any clothes or shoes I want for whatever occasion.

4. I have been to some of my dream destinations like Palawan and Boracay before I turned 30.

5. My Ma is as healthy and as active as anyone her age (59). My brother is getting better after battling depression.

6. I have a decent amount saved for medical emergencies or a Master’s degree or even missionary work. I don’t have a credit card. I’ve applied thrice, been rejected thrice. What a relief (or was it a shame?)!

7. I am ALIVE and HEALTHY! A little stressed out from working too much, but I don’t have any serious health conditions that I’m aware of.

8. My articles have been featured in various magazines, newspapers and books. I am currently writing a book.

9. I’ve worked with and gotten to know some of the most beautiful, powerful and well-known people in business, politics, entertainment and other fields.

10. I can dream and work harder, even fight for the rest of my dreams that are still waiting for fulfillment.

Mr. Good old dictionary defines success as “the achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted.” I’ve certainly accomplished some of the things I’ve only dreamed of when I was younger, however I still have a looong way to go. Let me brag, I mean, savor the fruits of my labor for now.

Yes, I am a success! How about you?