True North Magazine

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volume 8 • number 3 • december 2013


Real men's issue Raising Men and Boys


Evangelizing Men



In Vino, Veritas

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Ramoncito dela Cruz

It was a no-fuss photoshoot with all Coordinators gamely posing for the camera, as individuals and as a group. You can feel the strong camaraderie and the genuine love and respect for each other. It is a fitting end to a night of good food, good wine and good conversation.

Managing Editor Aly Sulit-Placino Editorial Board Gary Mendoza (coordinator-in-charge) Berry Marfori Anna Sobrepeña Chito Sobrepeña ART DIRECTOR Cleone Baradas CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Mae Abiva-Leung Manny Manuel Madel Sabater-Namit Mars Quizon Mich Cruz-Villar Jun Viterbo PHOTOGRAPHERS Mike Villar John Rich Villas


Why True North?

In navigational parlance, True North is a constant that guides travelers. In the course of our lives, our True North is Jesus Christ, the constant for all times. True North is a publication of Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon ( and its partners – Christ’s Youth in Action, Ang Lingkod ng Panginoon, and the Institute for Pastoral Development. LNP is a member of the federation of communities around the globe, Sword of the Spirit (

you are invited

True North is inviting all engaging storytellers—through words and pictures. We are expanding our pool of writers, editors and photographers for our forthcoming issues. Before we can write beautiful prose and compose inspiring pictures, we also need story ideas. Interested members of Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon and all its outreach organizations are welcome to email or call Monching dela Cruz at or 0917 891 7644.




Editor’s Note Ang Tunay na Lalaki 4 God@Work Man Up! Raising Men and Boys 8 The Sons Also Rise 10 Parenting Teens 13 Leading the Little League TRUE NORTH BEAT 1 15 22

True Measure of a Man In Memoriam A True Man of God

24 26 28

Teachings Evangelizing Men Bearing Fruits Consultation Demystifying Andropause

TRUE NORTH BEAT 2 30 32 36 38

For the Love of His Game Tested and Purified by Fire A Christian Men’s Guide Mission Impossible 10 Questions Rockin’ and Rainin’

CLARIFICATION: The painting used on page 10 of True North’s August 2013 issue is by Joey Velasco. NOTE: All recent True North issues can be shared and read in Look for the True North page.


Ang Tunay na

photo credit: KEIGH CRUZ



ho is the real man? By what standards do we measure him – by his conquests, his degree of influence, his bank accounts, or his biceps and abs? The quest for an answer has consumed me for the past few weeks as True North prepared this issue in earnest in time for the Christmas season. We read some books, consulted many people, and prayed a whole lot more. In your hands is our bold attempt to discover, scrutinize and understand the true essence of a modern Christian man. This is True North’s “The Real Men’s Issue”. This issue is packed with stories and practical tips on how to raise Godly men, how to build Christian manly characters, and how to deal with worldly temptations. This issue is not just for the men, but also for the women who love and care their father, husband, sons, brothers, cousins and friends. In this issue, we have the privilege to listen in on a candid tete-a-tete among our brother Coordinators, as they bared their driving passions and deepest desires. Turn to pages 15 to 21 to read about the lessons learned from their father, their love stories, and their guiding philosophies in life. We also talk to the parents of three all-boy families who share the joy and challenges of raising boys (pages 7 to 14) – the Feria brothers (South Sector), the Tan brothers (Central Sector), and the

Luna brothers (North Sector). True North also catches up with Jopeng Piquero, the Director of the Young Adults program, to get some tips on how to better engage our young people (pages 26 to 27). Other concerns that men struggle with, such as how to remain faithful to our way of life (pages 4 to 6), how to evangelize men effectively (pages 24 to 25) and how to deal with andropause (pages 28 to 29), are also tackled nicely in this issue. We have a light-hearted guide on how Christian men can understand and should understand the opposite sex (page 36 to 37). As I said in the earlier part of this note, this is a bold attempt. Sisters, you be the judge on this. Read about how a jock who was obsessed with his dream to become a professional basketball player became an active member of God’s team on pages 30 to 31. In this issue, we also say goodbye to one of the pillars of our Community – Mike Joseph Jr. – who had harvested so many disciples here and abroad (and will continue to inspire many others through his legacy) and led them into a radical relationship with the Lord (pages 22 to 23). The piece was written by his long-time friend and comrade-in-Christ, John Keating. Mike is a true man of God. A man who loved Jesus Christ with all his heart, soul, strength and mind. At the end of the day, I guess if we want to know who the real man is, there is only one holy man

that we can model our lives to – Ang Tunay na Lalaki for all times – Jesus Christ. "For the spirit of the Lord rests upon Him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding. A spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord, and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord. (Isaiah 11: 2 – 4).


Postscript: We are honored to be chosen as a Finalist for the Best Local Community and Parish Newspaper in the 2013 Catholic Mass Media Awards. To God be the Glory!



Man Up! by John Calica and Mars Quizon

What does it mean when somebody tells you to “man up”? This is commonly used as a derogatory phrase when a man displays behavior that is deemed un-manly. For Christian men, "manning up" should be taken both as a challenge and a responsibility. True North presents some common men’s accessories which we will use in guiding men to rise above daunting circumstances and consistently act in a manner that is aligned with the Christian way of life. We have also asked two brothers to share their grace-filled experiences on how the Lord has blessed and encouraged them to continue follow Christ even in the ordinary circumstances of their daily lives.


WALLET Holder of God’s Blessings

A man’s wallet usually contains his IDs, credit cards, receipts and of course, enough cash to get him by. A man’s wallet contains his valuables, and as such, should serve as a reminder of the inherent responsibility to be good stewards of God’s valuables that are entrusted to each one of us.


Mobile Phone Keeping Us Connected

Nowadays, mobile phones have become (almost) indispensable tools. With the proliferation of smart phones, a cellular phone is now being used as a camera, an organizer, a note pad and for many other things - as long as you have the right apps. However, a cellular phone’s core function is still that of a communication tool meant to

works as a business development officer in a private local bank and is an affiliate of The Servants of the Word. He has served in the Evangelization Ministry of Lingkod-Makati and currently serves as an Action Group Leader. Paul shares that as one who is relatively new in the workplace, it was indeed difficult to manage finances as a single Christian man. But as his personal relationship with the Lord develops, his view about finances has also evolved. “We were taught that we are mere stewards of the resources that God has given us. Hence, the fact that it is God-given, we are expected to manage it well so that we can use it to contribute to the work of the Lord,” Paul says. Paul read up on financial tools to help him overcome financial hurdles. He then came up with a Personal Daily Cash Flow Statement, where he inputs all cash inflows (primarily coming from his salary), less cash outflows (classified into: food, transportation, clothing, leisure, bills, etc.), into his phone, and then to his personalized Microsoft Excel cash flow statement every time he gets home. After a few months, he was able to establish his average daily spending level. He then set an ideal cap on his expenditures, thereby creating his daily budget to allow him to tithe and save up.

4 4

photo credit: john rich villas

Paul Saret

Judd Cabasug

connect us to the people who matter most to us. Arguably, all Christian men, at the start of each day, must connect with the One who matters most for direction and guidance. Prayer helps keep one’s temper at bay when stuck in traffic or when there’s a tough deadline to beat. It helps one focus despite the distractions – be it in the form of the challenging people in one’s life or that favorite sin.



Reliable Means of Service

Shoes protect a man’s feet from the harsh elements and allows him to go to different places. Some shoes are made for specific purposes. In Scriptures, God urges us to love one another – and a concrete manifestation of that is through service. Just like a man’s trusted pair of shoes, men are called to use their God-given talents to serve other people.

is a covenanted member of Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon - Central District B. Judd currently serves in the Central University District as a Pastoral Leader. Judd started his personal relationship with the Lord as a law student when he joined LingkodMakati in 1999. As a single Christian man, Judd shares that he always had to rely on the belief that one should be plugged into God always. “The best tool for me is prayer - more importantly, daily prayer. Through prayer, we take our instructions from Him, we find peace, comfort and strength, and we are able to live, work and serve in His power. There has to be a conscious effort on our part to live out the way of life. While there is grace, we can't just rely on things to fall into place. We have to know that we have to take up our cross on a daily basis. We should never think for a second that prayer time will simply find its way into our schedule. We have to carve out time for it and try our best that it will be quality time.”

Judd encourages all of us, particularly the men (married and single) in the Community, to serve and serve some more because service, as they say, is a gift that keeps on giving. “Always make yourself available for service because it keeps us on our toes. Through service we get to experience first-hand God's love and grace. We get amazed seeing how God multiplies our time and resources. We also become more dependent on God and constantly overcome the seemingly impossible challenges that faze us,” Judd opines. Judd shares the secret of his joyful disposition amid so many challenges that crop up daily: “Rejoice always. We should make a conscious effort to rejoice always. With this is mind, we accept that many obstacles will come our way, yet we will find ways to address them. We have a victorious God and we should make that known.”

As a single Christian man, Paul recognizes the need for personal order. “We want to bring order into our lives because our Lord is a God of order. We want to have balance in our lives because our God also seeks balance. When He created the world and all its creatures, he worked and toiled, and he rested. We have a God who is responsible and industrious, a God who is orderly. As His followers, we ought to be like Him.” Paul further shares: “Generally, a schedule just helps me organize my daily activities and events. Being single, I have a lot of time and a lot of energy to do a lot of things. I work. I serve in Lingkod-Makati. I go to the gym. I go out with friends. I travel. I spend time with the family, etc. Having a planned and organized calendar allows me to see at a glance how I can do all of these things without compromising any of my critical tasks.”


watch Keeping us on Track

A man should always look at his watch as a tool to keep his life in order. It is said that there is indeed a time for everything, as stated in Ecclesiastes 3: There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. A Christian man should learn how to use his time very wisely.



Handkerchief Maintaining our Cleanliness

Bringing a handkerchief is an old practice that should be maintained by men. A handkerchief is a handy tool to wipe the grime off our faces or hands and helps us stay clean. One of the most daunting tasks for single Christian men is in the area of purity and chastity.

Paul mentions that he always updates his E-list, “We are all called to evangelize. Lingkod’s mission, in particular, is to Christify the workplace - to introduce Christ in our offices. For me, work becomes even more fulfilling when God works in it. If we are able to relate our purpose at work with God’s individual mission for us, it’s certain that the results are eternal and even the earthly reward becomes even more gratifying.” Paul’s heart to evangelize had its start from his first evangelizers, his very own parents, Jun and Nancy Saret – both founding members of BCBP-Bulacan Chapter.


Social Networking Account

Evangelizing in the Time of Multimedias

Social networking has redefined the way men (and women) interact with one another. And as God’s soldiers, Christian men are called to play in all battlefields and win more souls for Him. It is through these various social networking sites that Christian men can gain access to the different people in their spheres of influence.


Judd recalls that being in the company of other single Christian men has helped him overcome temptations of the flesh. He said that being part of a household of Christian men helped him realize this. “Having experienced the richness of a men's household back in 2001, I realized that renting an apartment with fellow Lingkod-Makati brothers was the way to go. It was one way of keeping us encouraged and accountable.” There, they supported each other in the simplest of things such as making sure the monthly bills were paid, the place was kept clean and in order and that everyone was safely home. In terms of building relationships, being together allowed them to give each other pieces of advice, listen to each other’s concerns, support one another in service and just pray for one another. Paul, who is living with his siblings, on the other hand, still can claim support and be accountable in pursuing purity as a Christian man through his very own “band of brothers". “In Lingkod, I am a part of a support group called an Action Group. We meet every week. We spend time together and ‘waste time’ together. We know each other’s successes and tribulations. At some point, we also began to discuss our sins and struggles. And having known one another as deeply as that, we are able to help each other overcome them by simply keeping tab on how each one is doing in that area of his life. It just helps a lot having so many brothers who would constantly remind you and ask how you are doing.”

Indeed, single Christian men live in very challenging times. The call to live a righteous life free from serious sins and do work to advance God’s kingdom may seem gargantuan. But with God’s grace and these tools and tips, (and with some help from your family and friends) we do hope that you’d be able to man up every single day and behave in a way that will please the Big Man Up There.

From His Roots a Branch will Bear Fruits Three families s h their joy oare bringing f up God-lovin g men


Raising Men


n a Ligaya gathering, it would be typical to see the Feria brothers Randy, Richie and Red all actively serving. Randy would often give talks as one of the community’s pastoral leaders, Richie would be busy heading the South Sector Music Ministry and occasionally manning the production booth with his wife, making sure community assembly programs ran smoothly, and Red would be the main active guitarist in support of his brother in the Music Ministry, while also heading the Pathways Southside Music Ministry. And while the rest of us may already be used to the Feria brothers’ brand of service, two people in the assembly are often teary-eyed, but quietly smiling and beaming with pride and gratitude to the Lord: their parents, Rey and Lyn. Rey and Lyn had been serving in the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals (BCBP) since 1985 but early this year, they made a decision to follow their children and serve together as a family in Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon. In Community gatherings, they are often introduced as “the parents of Randy, Richie and Red.” That doesn’t bother them at all. “In fact, I enjoy it when we’re introduced that way because it simply affirms the fact that we have had some success in surrendering our children to the Lord,” Rey says. People would often ask, “What is the secret of their success in raising their children?” And Lyn would say, “We’re not a perfect family. We’re just like other normal families. Perhaps, the difference is that we all have a personal relationship with the Lord.”

Greatest Lesson

The love and fear of the Lord is what Rey and Lyn consider the greatest lesson they imparted on their children. Conversing with the Lord is one thing that Randy, Richie and Red have been taught from their early years. Each of them had their own Sto. Nino to devote to and to have as a friend – a patron to whom they talked, prayed, and asked forgiveness from when they did naughty things as children. Like other children their age, the Feria brothers would also fight over little things like toys. Their father would tell them, “Toys are meant to be shared and enjoyed. If you quarrel over them, they do not have a place in our house. Any toy that will destroy your relationship must be destroyed.” And Rey did just that! On one occasion, he smashed a toy against the wall because the boys were quarrelling over it. The boys got his message clearly enough that he did not have to do it a second time.

Culture of Friendship

This was the kind of closeness the Feria family had that they consider themselves not just a family, but a bunch of close friends. “We have this culture of friendship within the family which started from our children’s boyhood days.” To give real life to this, they


The Sons Also Rise by Mich Cruz-Villar

assignments. “I never put my career over my family. For their sake, I had gladly and readily put my career aside. Whatever career plans I had, I would always make sure that it is with the approval of everyone. Otherwise, I would try to look for something else.” Rey says. On the other hand, Lyn also developed a special bond with her sons. She taught her children to be thoughtful, even if they were boys. “I made sure they would write birthday cards so they grew up that way,” Lyn shares. Eventually, she became the recipient of her sons’ thoughtfulness. On Rey and Lyn’s 25th wedding anniversary, Randy, Richie and Red gave them the surprise of their lives when they organized an anniversary party for them, polished in every detail down to the chorale, the caterer, their clothes, resizing of their wedding rings, arrangement for mass and renewal of marriage vows and a program of honoring. The highlight of the program was a rendition by the boys of a song they composed for their parents entitled “Thank you Dear Lord for Mama and Papa”.

photo credit: mike villar

Whatever career plans I had, if my children do not approve of it, I will try to look for something else.

have adopted special names for each member of the family. Randy is Best Friend who -- being the eldest and the 2nd father in the family – is always ready to inject balance and wisdom especially when their Papa is away. Richie is the Super Friend, the family’s ever reliable handyman. Red is the Joyful Friend who always manages to bring joy and sunshine even during moments of darkness. Rey is Papa Friend and Lyn is the Sweet Friend who showers everyone with her love and affection. Most importantly, at the center of their family is Jesus Christ, their Greatest Friend. As part of their culture of friendship within the family, Rey and Lyn encouraged open communication. They talked to their children like adults and co-equals, even when they were still young. Rey would have regular one-to-one talks with each of the boys. When he’s away on business trips, he would write individual letters for each one of them. He also doesn’t fail to fence the family with prayers and entrust them to the Lord, especially when he is on extended missions overseas. The relationship between father and sons is characterized by a deep sense of trust in one another, such that the boys would comfortably share even their secrets with their Papa. He recalls how Richie would insert notes in Rey’s bible with the message: “Papa, I need to talk to you.” Sometimes, their letters for Rey would be tightly sealed and marked “confidential” and Rey would take that seriously. Even to this day, as adults, Randy, Richie and Red would turn to Rey and seek his advice when it comes to major decisions like career and marriage. Communication among them was also two-way. Rey was open to listen to his sons’ feedback as well. “We learned a lot about parenting from our sons because they do call our attention when we are not acting as good parents. And we take good note of that as we resolve to change our ways and become better parents to them. Nagpapasalamat din ako na hindi sila nangingimi to express their feelings.” One time, during a family vacation, Randy asked Rey when he would stop going on out-of-the-country work assignments. When Rey asked what prompted Randy to say that, Randy said.”I want us to have more time together before I get married.” After that conversation, Rey made it a point not to consider any further foreign

A Family in Community

Rey and Lyn attribute their family’s closeness to one another to community life. “Being in the Community really helped us in bringing them up to become closer to God and that is the greatest blessing we got in the Community – having a personal relationship with the Lord,” Lyn says. Rey and Lyn started serving in BCBP when their sons were still very young. And so early on, the boys got exposed to Community life. “We would always make sure that they know where we are and where possible, make them a part of what we are doing,” Rey says. They were among the first participants in the children’s formation program and later on in the youth formation program where they all took on leadership positions. The young boys would also have their own share in delivering talks on the Christian Family during Brotherhood Christian Life Programs. When they became young professionals, their thirst for Community life led them to Ang Lingkod ng Panginoon and eventually to Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon as they entered their married life. Their desire to give their all for the Lord was so rooted in them such that Randy, in his corporate life, would decline exciting job opportunities abroad because he didn’t want to be away from his Community. Teachings and practices in the Community, such as worship and honoring, are part of the Feria family’s way of life. Honoring and prayover is a regular part of the menu during birthdays in the family. Whenever they would go on their annual

turn to page 12


Raising Men

Parenting Teens

Loving Them as God Loves


immy and I have five sons with ages 12 to 20. Nick, the eldest, is a 3rd year college student and is part of the service council of Christ’s Youth in Action (CYA) Quezon City hub. Matthew is helping jumpstart Ateneo CYA and recently has had the courage to exercise the gift of prophecy in prayer assemblies. Jake and Karel are in high school and are often called to serve with others at various teen programs within and outside of the Community. Johann just joined the Young Adults Program and doesn’t mind that others know he is considering the priesthood. I know that our story is not unique, as our Community is blessed with children who have come to know and love the Lord at an earlier age than their parents. Our traditional Filipino culture engenders a female


predominance in matters of religion, so people often ask Timmy and me how my sons’ being unabashedly for God came about, as if we had some secret formula to share. I don’t know that you can call it a secret formula because Timmy and I simply saw our parenting as just another expression of our discipleship to Jesus. When you have been loved and forgiven unconditionally, heroically and sacrificially, there is no other response but to love back the same way. Such a love changes you, re-invents you, affects everything you do. I was hooked onto discipleship in my early years. I can safely testify that this outlook is what led me to my current profession (a doctor), state of life (married) and finally being a mother to five sons. What a far cry from what I had envisioned for myself when I was growing up!

photo credit: JOHN RICH VILLAS

by Dr. Guia C. Tan

Raising Men

I was born the third of four girls, whose doting father had planted in my head that I was simply to finish any course, the choice of which was irrelevant because he told me my only job in the future would be to help him in his business and to take care of him when he grew old. There was nothing about being a professional, married or having kids, and especially sons. You can imagine then how I have had to rely on the Lord to traverse this unexplored territory of being married (and a doctor), and especially raising men, of which I had absolutely no experience. Yet I dealt with it as with all other new things that happened to me. I asked the Lord to teach me. In prayer, the first thing He told me when my sons were born was: my sons are not my own. In much the same way I am merely the steward of all material wealth and physical time, I am simply the temporary keeper of these precious beings. Thus early on, I would croon to the baby in my arms: “Mama loves you! Papa loves you! But Jesus loves you so much more.” While it was a subtle sort of brainwashing, the reminder was actually more for me. I mean, if my heart was bursting every time I looked at my son, I could trust that the Lord’s heart must be bursting a million times more with love for my child. In fact, I began to see the best thing I could ever do was to tell my son this truth: The Lord’s love for him was perfect and reliable 100% of the time, while mine surely wasn’t and indeed proved itself to be inconstant and fallible. The truth of the Lord’s surpassing love too became the backbone of my being calm and collected when the kids were severely sick, met accidents or encountered

Such a love changes you, re-invents you, affects everything you do. Parenting is just another expression of our discipleship to Jesus.

big disappointments in life that couldn’t be comforted by words, hugs or Nestle Crunch. In prayer, too, the Lord gave me a prophetic word about each one of them. These I wrote so I would remember them and go back to them. I mean it just makes sense. If we are holding them in trust for Him, then He will give the vision for us to work towards it so that His will for them is accomplished. At significant moments and when the time was right, I would share with my sons what these words were. I actively sought input too. I gobbled up whatever recommended material there was for Christian parenting. More importantly, I put them into practice. One of the most important pieces of wisdom I hold on to this day is the “teachable moment”. The teachable moment, the books said, is that moment when you need to deal directly with a misdemeanor of a child when it happens. Unfortunately, these moments often happen at inconvenient times and places— when you’re rushing to school

and he doesn’t want to say sorry for hitting his brother, when he is in the supermarket and throwing a tantrum, or when they’re fighting and you have visitors in the house. I learned to drop everything and deal with it, not out of impatience or embarrassment or social pressure, but to deal with it purposefully for as long as needed because, I reminded myself, I love him and this was the best time to teach him an important life lesson. One very important realization also began to grow on me about my caretaker role in their life—that it was to be a temporary one. I slowly understood that one day my parenting would come to an end and then the Lord Himself would do the parenting thereon. Soon enough, if I did my job right, they would experience the Father the way I did. My main role, therefore, was to make sure they recognized the Father when He finally chose to reveal Himself personally to them. The realization made me keenly aware therefore of the way I modelled the Father. In so far as I was able, I needed to be Jesus to them. And so I tried to show them unconditional, heroic, sacrificial love like His. A love that was patient and kind, not envious, boastful or proud, sought not its own agenda, rejoiced in the truth and everything else written about it in Scripture and had already experienced from the Lord. I tried my best to patiently tutor them, to process wrongdoing before punishment, to ask for forgiveness when I made a mistake, to drop everything when they needed help with homework or to remove a splinter in the thumb. Nothing was too small or too big. Because the Lord was that way with me. I learned their love language and used quality time, gifts, acts


Raising Men

From page 9


photo credit: mike villar

of service, touch or words of affirmation even if it sometimes strained my time, my pocket or my very being. I wasn’t always successful. It isn’t true that everything comes naturally because you love your kids. I had to work hard at it because I was raised in a different way and had to do much unlearning. But the best part of this effort was finding the grace is always available and finding that I was transformed in the process too. Needless to say, the “time limit” perspective continues to impact on me daily. It is what makes me look the other way when they are so noisy and messy, or when Timmy and I can’t play our music in the car because they’re making a racket playing cards or “Reverse” or laughing their heads off at stories Timmy and I don’t understand. I tell Timmy: “In a few years, it will be quiet, and we’ll miss the noise, so let’s just enjoy the noise.” It’s what makes us go out hunting for hopia at 10 PM because we were belatedly told it was needed in school the next day, or makes me get up at midnight and check on them and volunteer to make them hot cocoa at midnight even if I’m not entirely sure it’s studies keeping them up or it’s Facebook. If Jesus will give them the benefit of the doubt, so will I. Timmy and I will definitely be here for them as long as we’re needed. We’re just acutely aware that it won’t be very long and the Father Himself will be telling them what to do and where to go, if it isn’t already happening. Of course, the letting go hurts. But we’ve been prepared for that moment a very long time and surely when the time comes to completely give them up, the grace will be there.

family vacations, family bonding activities were not just fun, but planned in such a way that they can worship the Lord as a family and honor one another. Before the start of each new year, they would have their regular family council wherein every member would lay down their individual plans before the family and discuss how they can support one another as they pursue their plans for the ensuing year. The spirit of brotherhood lies among the Feria brood that they always look out for one another. When Red met a road accident, Randy and Richie were on top of everything. When Red’s wife Gie had her operation, the brothers planned how to raise finances and how to support them while Gie was unable to work. “We’re really so blessed that the kids grew up in such a way that they have this sense of responsibility, support and love for each other,” Lyn says. Passing on the Teachings Now, all three boys are married and serving in the South Sector of Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon. They have continued Feria family traditions that took its roots in Community life. Their regular family vacations with worship and honoring and their annual family council now include their wives and children. Even the song that they composed for their parents on the 25th anniversary has been revised to include two generations of Feria children. “Natutuwa ako na yung mga sinimulan namin, pinagpapatuloy nila,” Rey says. It has been said that parents should only aspire for their children to go to heaven. Looking at Randy, Richie and Red today, Rey confidently says : “Mission accomplished.”

Raising BOYS


the little league

photo credit: LUNA FILES

by Jun Viterbo

by Jun Viterbo


hen Roy and Wendy Luna (nee Casidsid) were undergoing their marriage discernment and preparation process in LingkodGreenhills in 2002, their desire was to have only two to four children – a boy and a girl or double that. Eleven years later, they are the proud parents of five children: all boys. There is the eldest Nathan, considered as the pleasant and sociable son; second son Sam is the serious yet witty one; middle child Gab is the versatile one; number four Gian is the bubbly one; and finally the youngest Joshua is thought to be the expressive one. Their common trait, as diplomatically put by their parents, is that they are all “energetic”. Roy and Wendy thought that the first four boys who came along in the first six years of their marriage would have been enough. But Wendy became pregnant again in 2010. They saw the latest pregnancy as an affirmation of God’s faithfulness in their family. Naturally, they all prayed for a baby girl. But, alas, God chose to complete a basketball team, rather than provide the team with a muse. Wendy, then, would have to be their eternal muse. The all-boy set-up is hardly new for Roy, who is the eldest among four brothers. He says: “I was naturally expected to be the


Raising BOYS

It is a great gift and a huge responsibility to be a parent, and quite a challenge to be one to five sons. leader, and the role model to my younger siblings. I believe I tried my best to be one.” But being a father to five boys is altogether different for him because he believes that “being a father is different, especially in the context of our call and Community way of life. I am to be a priest, provider and governor. It is a great gift and a huge responsibility to be a parent, and quite a challenge to be one to five sons.” Nowadays, it is very seldom that one can find a brood of five. Moreso, a brood of five boys. So how does Wendy lovingly deal with all of them? Only by God’s grace, she reckons. It doesn’t hurt that Roy’s approach to fatherhood is pro-


active and hands-on, in contrast to the stereotype father-provider/ mother-nurturer we were used to a generation ago, she says. Roy and Wendy firmly believe that the X-factor in raising these boys is them being part of a Community like Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon. “Our way of life and Community pattern (couple dialogue, pastoral care system, spending time with sisters/brothers, parenting courses) is a great source of support and encouragement,” Wendy says. Despite their busy work schedules and the challenging logistics of raising five vigorous boys, Roy and Wendy still manage to find some “alone time” for just the two of them,

thanks to the opportunities given by Roy’s business trips and the all-too-important availability (and willingness) of the boys’ grandparents to look after them while they are away. The five Luna boys have grown to have their own Community life, apart from that of their parents who are servants in the North University District. The kids are part of either Friends of Jesus (FOJ) for toddlers and the Junior Young Adults (JYA) of Ligaya. One of the important life lessons that Roy and Wendy are imparting to their boys is that they should appreciate God's love and goodness, and that, with prayers, these will compel them to respond graciously and generously to love Him back.

photo credit: JOHN RICH VILLAS


N A M ela Cruz

cito d by Ramon




ne fine evening several weeks ago, the four main pillars of Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon Community – Senior Head Coordinator Spanky Meer, North Sector Coordinator Andy Juan, Central Sector Coordinator Melmarx Marcojos, and South Sector Coordinator Manny de los Santos – sat down with True North in a post-dinner tete-a-tete to talk about their rites of passage, the role of modern men, and the battle against dark forces. Below is an excerpt of the freeflowing and honest conversation: True North: I read somewhere that says: The Christian Man is under siege, and he is losing the battle. Is this a valid assessment? Melmarx: He may be under attack, but he’s not losing the battle. For one, Christian men – the real Christian men – recognize that they are under attack, and because he recognizes this, he is


able to respond and not give in to the enemy. There may be more artilleries attacking him now than before. The battle may be fiercer, but it doesn’t mean that he is necessarily losing the battle. Manny: If you look at the salvation history, Christians in general, and Christian men in particular, have always been under attack. So this situation is no different. But to the question as to whether we are winning or losing the battle, the key here is conversion. If we are converted, and are living out the way of life as Christian men, then we are not losing. Andy: I have a slightly different take on this. I think one big issue that we are facing right now is that there is confusion – a confusion of what real men ought to be. There’s a confusion of what roles they are supposed to take. We are bombarded by the different kinds of influence – those that try to take away the difference between

men and women, their roles and their responsibilities. Christian men nowadays want more to be popular rather than respected. I see that a lot in the workplace. If we’re saying that the first step of solving a problem is to recognize the problem, I think many men do not even know that there’s an issue, that there’s a problem. I think that’s the strategy of the enemy – to keep it subtle. Spanky: I agree with the points being mentioned here. But my approach is this: Christian man is a very generic term. I’d like to believe that the real Christian men are those in The Servants of the Word. The Holy Spirit is with them, so even if they are under attack, the word “siege” does not apply here, because they have the Holy Spirit with them. Now, for the ordinary, nominal Christian men, it really depends on their journey. Definitely, the environment is hostile. It’s getting darker, the prophecy that the Lord

has been telling us, constantly reminding us, is that we should not let our guards down. As to whether we are losing, I don’t think so. It’s just that we need to push harder, and rely on our spiritual weaponry. There’s no lone ranger anymore. We are in this together, of course, in humility and submission to the Holy Spirit. The moment that one believes that kaya ko na eto, that’s the beginning of the end. True North: So what do you think is the greatest temptation a Christian man is facing nowadays? Andy: I think it’s that certain indifference in the world – indifference to the society, indifference to the environment, indifference to our neighbors. The notion of as long as I’m not hurting my neighbors, as long as I’m doing my responsibilities for my family, I’m okay. I’m going to church and hearing mass every Sunday, I’m okay. You know, I’m

reminded of the rich young man following all the commandments but was unwilling to part with his attachments to the world – but of course, one can never know how the Lord will look at them – but if you are talking about how we can advance God’s cause in this world, we know that it requires more than just being good. Manny: It’s a combination of many temptations to remove our focus from God. The other idols – whether it’s work, it’s fame, or it’s family. There are just so many alternative gods competing for our time and attention.

a dictatorial kind of governance, instead of someone who is caring and loving. As a protector, many men understand it in the physical sense, not necessarily as protector against the worldly values. Some men may actually think that they are doing all three. But they only look at it in the material and physical point of view. They don’t look at it in the spiritual point of view – that is providing for the spiritual well-being of the family.

True North: Are Christian men having more success in being a governor, protector and provider of their family?

True North: Within the Ligaya context, how are our men doing?

Melmarx: If you think about being a governor, many men do exercise that. But they are probably exercising a wrong kind of governance – more like

State of Men in the Community

Andy: We are trying to be as faithful as possible to our Community way of life. The men have seen the support from their brothers, as they face temptations in their daily lives. The busy-ness and the pressure of work may


At the end of the day, it is really submitting to the Holy Spirit. We can only do so much. God will supply all other things that are needed to turn this around. have prevented some of us from fulfilling our commitments. Easy to teach, but to live it out, it’s tough. But I think we have the Holy Spirit with us, we have one another for support, so it can be done. It’s a matter of taking it seriously, and working together as a pastoral team, as brothers in the Community. I’ve seen lives turned around by being just trying to be faithful to what we’ve talked about. Manny: It’s something that we have to continually work at. The pastoral support system is a big help, and that is one of the blessings of being in a Community. We have a support structure that is constantly reminding us and helping us. True North: What is the Community’s strategy to build up more men for the Lord? Andy: We’re dreaming again. The Lord is asking us to dream again. I firmly believe that we are about to enter the next stage. The question is no longer if we have


the resources to do it, but who should we send to invest in the young people. We need heroes. We need brothers who will lay down their lives for the cause. When I was growing up in the Community, I saw a lot of missionaries giving up their jobs and working full-time for the Community. They really made an impact for young men like us. I think that’s the foundation for radical heroism. It’s like a grain of wheat that died, fell to the ground, and bore fruits. Melmarx: We are now living in a different time. But we still need that same radicalism at this point in time. When I think of living a radical life, I’d think of the likes of Kuya Rogie (Singson), Ate Grace Tan. They are Christians living out a Christian life in the milieu that they find themselves in. They are lights amid the darkness. They are not ashamed of being Christians. Sa akin, they are all radical disciples, even to our young people. So I think that’s one area by which we can see some models for radical discipleship. Spanky: We are reading the movement of the Holy Spirit quite sensitively here. Really, it’s the youth. We’re prepared to try any and all ways of thinking out of the box, being creative to attract the youth. At the end of the day, it is really submitting to the Holy Spirit. We can only do so much. God will supply all other things that are needed to turn this around. If we are all listening to the Holy Spirit and following the movement of the Holy Spirit, it will happen because God will honor it. And we don’t say it because we are proud, we say it because we believe that the victory is here, it has been won for us. All we need to do is to be faithful, to be consistent. It is that kind of faith that will win the battle.

Remembering Childhood True North: Looking back to your childhood, what is the one advice that your father has imparted to you that you will never forget? Spanky: My father did not give advice through words. He communicated it to me through his life – his life of simplicity. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from my father is to be simple and to learn to live within my means. My father never borrowed a single centavo. He gave us a house, he took care of us. But he never borrowed – to a fault. If you’re a businessman nowadays, you’ve got to leverage. My dad said: “It will just give you stress”. Learn to be happy with what you have, with what God has provided you – that has been my treasure that I’ve inherited from my dad. And I always look back to that. I try to drill that home to my own kids. My prayer is: “Lord, make me transcend all of that materialism.” Andy: My father is also a simple man. Hindi siya nakatapos ng pagaaral. Karpintero siya by trade. So one thing that we saw when we were growing up was that a man takes responsibility and is in charge of the house. I saw that in action. One memory that’s very vivid in my mind was the time of Typhoon Yoling. Because of the strong wind, many roofs were blown away. And as my mom and I were praying the rosary, I saw my father walking in and out of the house. Basang-basa siya, and he will give us an update of what’s happening outside. My sense that time was that everything would be all right, because Tatay was there, Tatay was in charge. Melmarx: My dad is a man of prayer. And he himself would remind us to pray. Bata pa lang kami, tinuruan na kami magdasal.

Sunday was a sacred day, we always have to go to Mass together, even when I was already in high school. He has inculcated in me the importance of prayer. Secondly, the value of hard work. My father did not believe in palakasan. He came from the province, from a poor family. He studied hard, worked hard. He was able to get into the Central Bank of the Philippines without any connection – just by sheer hard work. He is a man of integrity. He didn’t cheat anyone in his life. I really learned a lot from my dad. Manny: Same thing here. There were no words, just action. He showed us how to love and serve his family – the way he played with us when we were kids. We could see his love by the way he served our mom and all of us when we were young. True North: Can you share with us that one moment that it dawned on you that you are no longer a child and that you are now a man? Andy: When my first born came out, I could really sense the weight of my responsibilities. I was 28 years old then. I think I matured a lot after I became a father.

Melmarx: My realization came in different stages of my life. The first one was when I came to Manila. Being apart from my family, there was a sense of freedom. But at the same time, the burden of responsibilities is upon me – I needed to survive, I had to make it here, I had to do well here. There’s nobody here beside me. I don’t have a mother to cry on, or a father to rush to. Ako lang ang mag-isa. Manny: I was 20 years old when I got my first job. I was able to help out in the household, pay the tuition of my younger sisters, kasi medyo tight ‘yung budget at that time. The second time was when I went to the States for my MBA. I was 21 years old then. It was my first trip in an airplane. This was in 1980s. I had my two maletas. I landed in JFK Airport in New York, knowing that I’d be there for two years. And I was all alone.



believes that the first men we ought to evangelize are the Ligaya sons. “Before we look farther out there, let’s look at our own sons, our own children. Let’s begin to form them. God’s grace will empower us to seriously work on how we can move them forward.”

Finding Love True North: Everybody’s curious about your love stories – how did you know that she’s the one? Melmarx: I knew it way before she knew it. (Laughter all around) Andy: I used to look at Community sisters as “hindi katalo” (off-limits). Manny: But Father Herb once said this about our sisters. “Don’t just love them, marry them!” (Laughter) Andy: I was a CYA (Christ’s Youth in Action) worker right after I left The Servants of the Word and the late Mike Joseph was my pastoral leader in transition. In one men’s group meeting, he just said to me: “Wouldn’t it be nice to marry a friend?” That line struck me. That triggered a change in my perspective about the Ligaya sisters. So the first thing I did was to look at the list


says that we need a “laser focus” strategy to attract good men into the Community. “It is in our culture that women get attracted more to spiritual pursuits. So we are now trying several ways to bring in more men, such as the ECLS for men and mentoring courses for men, including inviting Community kids who are no longer active to these events.”



We’re dreaming again. The Lord is asking us to dream again. I firmly believe that we are about to enter the next stage.

of my friends. Landa’s name came up as Number 1 on my list. Spanky: It was love at first sight for me. It happened before our Community existed. Apples exuded the qualities that I felt I wanted in a partner. Her personality was super bubbly, and she was glowing. When I saw her, she was the belle of the ball. People would just congregate around her. She was kinetic eh. She was full of energy. That


summer, I met her through a mutual friend. We met at the porch of the Baguio Country Club, but there was a big party at her place which I was not invited. So when we got down from Baguio, I called her up, I visited her, I gave her chocolates and flowers. Looking back, I’ve wanted to be a lawyer since I was 10 years old, and I never deviated from that goal. So it’s the same zeal that I pursued my wife. And I tell my kids that if you want something bad enough, go for it. But discern if it’s good for you. In my case, both my dreams are good for me – being a lawyer and marrying the woman I love. I have no regrets in either case. Melmarx: Cor was the one that I courted for nine months. One time, I heard the Lord asked me what do I really want. And I said, “Lord, I like her. She seems to be the kind of person who I want to spend the rest of my life with.” And I heard Him say: “Okay, I’ll grant your desire”. But after nine months, basted. I started looking around again and did some dating. But after six months, I realized that I really wanted Cor. So I courted her again, and thanks be to God, she said yes, finally. So I guess, that’s how I know that she’s really the one. Manny: Monette and I were neighbors. We grew up together, except that we didn’t meet each other because we had our own circles of friends. We weren’t very neighborly. In 1983, she needed something in the bank that I was in. Her brother introduced her to me, and I was able to help her out. We went on dates afterwards. By the second or third date, I sort of knew that she’s the one. Because when I go into a relationship, it was with the intention of marrying her. Spanky was our Pastoral Leader when we entered the Community. Even if we were still single, they put us in a married group because they sort of knew that we were going to get married.

True North: What life lessons do you want your children to remember you by? Spanky: I’d like my children to grow up to be humble men and women. I think that’s the springboard for grace to work – acknowledging who they are and being grateful for whatever they have. That will ground and anchor them. As you know, ego is the master of illusion and magic, it can take you to where you don’t even know where you’re going to end up. But if you’re humble, you’re connected to grace, you know it’s not you. On the other side, my children taught me humility. I had to ask for forgiveness for times that I’ve wronged them. I was an impatient, even cruel, father in the sense that I was insensitive and arrogant. But because of all the teachings and formation that we received in the Community, it was easier for me to ask for forgiveness. Even if it is very difficult (to ask for forgiveness), I seize the opportunity, because we are not perfect, we will never be. Andy: I wish they will learn to do things out of conviction; not because I said so, not because they want to please me or to obey me. I always talk to them about character, that it is tested when no one is looking. I hope that they will do what is right because they themselves believe that it is right. Manny: When my kids reach certain milestones in their lives, I would write them a letter. In that letter, there are about four to five things that I emphasize. First is to realize that everything you have is a blessing. Second is to develop the attitude of gratitude for all these blessings. And third, to know and understand the Giver of the blessings, to have faith in the Lord, and to trust in Him always, especially in times of trial and difficulty. We reinforce these messages

at the end of each year, when we get together. We have a little recollection every year where we thank the Lord and talk about their concerns. Melmarx: For our family, we have a family mission statement. It’s something that we revisit every year. In that family mission statement, we have identified five important traits: Holiness, Excellence, Servanthood, Unity and Simplicity (HESUS).

Last Words True North: Before we end, we want to know what’s that Bible verse that is guiding you as you live out your Christian life today? Andy: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. And all these things will be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33) I say that because I saw it happened to me. I wanted to do so many things as a young man. My parents were almost dragging me to the Community. Looking back, there was grace made available after I responded and said yes. My story was much like the rich young man. I was a good boy. I didn’t get into drugs and alcohol. I was not hurting anyone. My world was just basketball. So why do I need to give my life to the Lord? But you know, the invitation to the rich young man was to give up whatever he had and follow Him. I didn’t have many things in life, so it’s really tantamount to offering my life at that age of 17. In all my decisions in life, I’ve always looked back to this passage. Again the inspiration for me was whoever loses his life for God’s sake will find it. That’s what I saw in my leaders – they were losing their lives to God, but they were finding so much meaning in their lives. They’re all very happy, they’re very fulfilled, they are great men.

Manny: My passage is the same, but it started a little earlier than that. It started with: “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24). But it encompasses the whole part up until “Seek ye first…” That passage has a story kasi. During our wedding preparations, Monette and I were discussing the liturgy and we both agreed that it was the reading that we wanted. It turned out to be the exact reading for our wedding day. So it’s really a gift and a promise of the Lord to us, and it’s something that we clung to from the time that we started. Melmarx: Mine is 2 Timothy 4:7. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”. Being in my mid-40s, I sort of look back and say: “Wow, it’s been some time – almost three decades with the Lord.” Of course, I don’t want to give up now. I know that it’s not going to get easier, but my desire is that I want to finish the race, and I want to finish strong. There’s no other life I can think of living, but to live my life for the Lord. I don’t want to put to waste all these years living my life for the Lord. I’m "all in" in this, and I’m all in for the rest of my life. Spanky: I’ve so many favorite verses. So I asked the Lord: “Lord, which one?” And He brought me to Psalm 63, the one that starts with: “I thirst for You, my whole being longs for You, in a dry and parched land, where there is no water”. To me, I think that passage makes me desire that intimacy with Him. With the absence of that intimacy, the relationship can become functional. The ego can come in. It is Him and me. If there is one word that is central in my life that is the “Intimacy” that God gives me in my relationship with Him.



notes that Ligaya is taking the matter seriously. “We have realized that there was really a need to address the men as men. That’s why we have started the Men’s Retreat four years ago. Now, there is a better awareness on the roles of the man in the family.”


sees the needs for fathers to have spiritual eyes. “Our home is under siege. It is very easy for outside influences to enter your household. If you are not discerning or watchful, your home may be under attack.”


In Memoriam:

a True Man of God

Throughout my adult life, it has been my great privilege to call Mike Joseph my dear brother and friend. We met in Manila in 1976, during the very first visit that Steve Clark and I made to Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon. Mike and I were both 23, both recent graduates from the university, both recently named coordinators in our respective communities, both on fire to live our lives in total dedication to the Lord. Over the next 15 years, we would spend months each year as inseparable companions in the


Lord and partners in the service of the Gospel: building up Ligaya’s University District, establishing Christ’s Youth in Action, doing community building around Asia, and laying the foundations of the life of The Servants of the Word in Manila. The fruit of those years has been a deep, lifelong friendship that even Mike’s death has not ended, but merely changed. In three simple points, I would

photo credit: mike joseph's facebook page; john rich villas

by John Keating

In Memoriam

like to pay tribute to my brother Mike as a prince of a man and as a true man of God. First, I have always found Mike so genuinely human. He tasted deeply “the agony and the ecstacy” of the human condition. He knew keenly the experience of human strength and of human weakness. Naturally blessed and gifted – intelligent, articulate, talented, charming, guapo – he had a magnificent sense of humor and many natural leadership qualities. Yet he was also personally acquainted with the darkness of sin, and with the reality of human slavery to the world, the flesh, and the Evil One. He knew the greatness to which we are called by God, and he knew the vileness to which we are capable of stooping in our rejection of God. All this

experiential knowledge gave Mike deep wisdom for others, and a compassion and understanding that made him a superb lover of men in their weakness and failure. Secondly, Mike truly became a “new man” in Christ. His conversion to the Lord as a young man was profound and irrevocable. He left everything behind to follow his Lord, radically ready to do whatever he believed to be God’s will for him. His heart was on fire with love for God, with zeal for the Gospel, and with love for others which made him an untiring and utterly unquenchable missionary—at all times and in all places and to all who would listen. That love and that zeal throughout his life have eternally impacted the lives of thousands of people. I do not exaggerate. Finally, Mike lived his life as “a

man for others.” As he utterly cast off his former life of selfish pleasure-seeking, his heart was transformed by God’s love, to be able to love with God’s love. His brief encounters with people often left an enormous impact. His capacity for friendship is legendary: an extraordinary number of people rightly consider Mike to be their close friend. His love for his family is exemplary: for his parents, his siblings, his many close relatives, and in a unique and beautiful way, as a husband and father in his love for Jo and for Claire. I’m proud of you, my brother! You ran your race like a champion. I thank the Lord that you not only started well, but that you finished strong. I mean to do the same, and to run my race to the end. See you at the finish line, Miguel!

A Legacy in Business Performex Inc. is the organization Mike Joseph Jr. started 14 years ago after he came back from doing mission work in China. Performex does Human Resource and Organizational Development Consultancy and Corporate Coaching. It designs and conducts customized training programs. The values and mission of Performex is to give glory to God through excellence in work. “During the months of working with Mike, I witnessed his consistent passion for these values. At the end of every workshop, he inspired people to be the best they can be in the organization they belong to. Even if Mike didn’t explicitly speak of his Christian faith as we conducted business workshops, one could see in his actions and his sharing during the informal moments, that it was anchored on his genuine relationship with Christ,” writes Steve Sandoval, who was hired as a Senior Training Consultant of Performex earlier this year. Right after Mike’s passing, clients of Performex started calling Steve expressing equally their shock and deepest condolences, but also asking what would become of their scheduled trainings and workshops. “I then realized that Performex will be a vehicle for Mike's legacy in the business world and conducting the recollection as scheduled is a symbol of our commitment to his legacy,” he adds. Today though Mike is no longer with us, Performex is committed to continue the legacy of his leadership. We ask for your prayers for Performex ‘s employees, partner-consultants and loyal clients, for the grace to be inspired to follow the legacy that Mike left behind—A life fully lived for the glory of God!

JOHN KEATING After completing two terms as the Presiding Elder of The Servants of the Word, John took up residence in Manila in 2011. While exercising a regional leadership role for The Servants of the Word in Asia, he continues to serve as the vice president of The Sword of the Spirit. Here in the Asian region of The Sword of the Spirit, John serves as the Regional Director of Kairos-Asia and on the Asian Community Building Team, and is one of the outside coordinators for Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon.



Evangelizing Men Tips and principles by Alvin Zenarosa


vangelizing men, now more than ever, is a must for our Church and communities. Is there a standard approach in reaching out to men? Do we have a template on how to be successful fishers of men? Evangelizing men is an organic process, very similar to farming. We can only prepare the soil, but it is God who will bless our work. We have to be versatile and flexible as one activity may work for one person and not for the other. For example, there was a time that climbing mountains was very popular, so we organized an evangelistic retreat in Mount Makiling. We got a big group to sign up. We scheduled the commitment time during the bonfire. Did it work for all? Many committed to live their lives for Jesus Christ for the rest of their lives. But some did not make the commitment. More than knowing the practical steps in evangelizing men, we need to know the timeless principles taught and used by Jesus Christ during His time.


In the Harvest Conference, the late Mike Joseph Jr. shared the passage in Acts 1: 8, where the disciples were called to be Jesus’ witnesses in Jerusalem, then to Judea, Samaria, and up to the ends of the Earth. We see here a natural progression from witnessing to those in your immediate surrounding up to the areas of the unknown. We are called to be witnesses of Jesus Christ first to the men in our own sphere of influence. As we are faithful in carrying out this mission in our immediate circle (family, friends and neighbors), our circle will become bigger. According to Dr. James Dobson in his book Bringing Up Boys, we live in a time where children and young people are starving for family life. There is a lack of focused interaction among family members because of the harried lifestyle of parents and children. Parents are simply too distracted and exhausted to protect and care for their children. Our boys today are the future men of our Community. How the parents respond to the call of evangelizing their own sons will have a major impact on the child’s decision to live as disciple of our Lord. In Deuteronomy 6:4-7, it says: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all

Do It One Person at a Time

People might wonder why do we put in so many resources for just one person? The answer is quite simple, because Jesus did it. He reached out to individuals like Nicodemus, the Blind Man, Zacchaeus, and many more. Back in 1990, I attended a Catholic Evangelization Training Program conducted by people mostly from Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon and its Partners in Mission. Through this program, we were taught to identify and empathize with people. We were taught to be discerning on how we can tailor fit the Gospel message to a particular individual. We went door to door looking for people to share the Gospel and narrate our personal encounters with Jesus Christ. Sometimes, I could find some similar background or experiences with that person, and

photo credit: milbert capote

Start Where You Are

your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children…” This is the fundamental challenge for us: to bring the Gospel to our children by living out our faith. We have to communicate the Gospel to our own sons before we teach them our Community’s way of life. The absence of the Gospel will make our way of life a tedious task because it detaches itself from the reason for which we live the life of a disciple.


use that as a jumping point for sharing the Gospel. In 1992, I joined the Christ’s Youth in Action (CYA) and applied the lessons I learned on personto-person evangelization. Many of those who joined CYA were led to the Lord due to the person-toperson evangelization process. During the recent Feast of the Covenant, I am thankful, humbled, and privileged to witness a person who I cared for during his Christian Life Program made his covenant in Ligaya.

Pray for Grace

One day, my service leader in CYA and I went over my plan for the year. It was loaded with activities for our action group. I was so excited to show my grand plan laid out for the whole year. He then looked at me, and counseled: “Pray on your knees for the people you serve.” He was emphasizing that it is not the activities that I was organizing that would bring those young men to the Lord, but by God’s grace. Men’s Evangelization is primarily the work of God. We are called to participate in this work and the best way to begin is through prayers. Psalm 127 states “Unless the Lord builds… we who labor, labor in vain.” Since the 1990s, we in CYA pray a prayer for New Evangelization every 9 A.M. This prayer reminds us of our call to evangelize young people and how we are very much dependent on God’s leading and inspiration to accomplish His work. In Mapua, some men in CYA were doing well in their Calculus class and they felt the Lord leading them to start an informal tutorial session for those who were having difficulties in this subject. The small CYA table became a popular place for those who needed tutorial assistance. As a result, those who were non-CYA members started attending the prayer meetings and Bible studies.

Preach the Gospel

This is the most important of all. We need to turn the hearts of men whom we are evangelizing to God and not to our groups or to ourselves. The way to turn the hearts of men to God is for them to hear the Gospel. In the Acts of the Apostles, we read an account of Philip being led by God to evangelize the Ethiopian eunuch. In Acts 8:35, it states: “Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with scripture he told him of the good news of Jesus.” Jesus is the Good News. This is the Gospel message men need to hear: God loves them in the midst of their sinfulness, brokenness, and stubbornness. Evangelizing men becomes more effective when they see that we have no hidden agenda. We are not there to recruit, improve or change them but to genuinely befriend, love and share the message of God’s grace.

Evangelize as a Team

In Psalm 133, it states “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity.” Our relationship as men has a positive effect on the lives of the people we evangelize. The Servants of the Word brotherhood is one great example of this. They invite men to their household to play basketball, pray with them, and share their simple meals. Those who experienced this are simply “caught” for the Lord as they witness how the brothers love, honor, and serve each other. This is also done by members of Ligaya. They open their homes and invite people to their Lord’s Day celebration as a family. The richness of the Lord’s Day celebration and the fellowship with the family has attracted many men to investigate our Community further. I personally experienced this when I was new in Community.

Continuous Process

In Mark 3:13-14, we see “Jesus going up the mountain, and called to him those whom he desired.” The Lord desires that men become his disciples. The end goal of evangelization is discipleship. As disciples, we embark on a life long relationship with Jesus. Thus evangelization is not limited to a single event or encounter. Even Peter who had a lot of hits and misses, yet our Lord continuously worked with him and through him. Just like him, all of us have a unique experience of God, and our life is weaved together by various experiences that taken together become a grand tapestry of God’s work.

Bringing It Back Home

So how do we evangelize men? Simply put, we begin through the grace of God. We can only prepare the ground but conversion and growth is entirely dependent on God, and how man responds to God’s call. We pray for the people entrusted to us by God. This begins at home (our Jerusalem). The sphere becomes bigger as we become faithful in our own circles. We evangelize men by spending personal time with them and entering their personal lives and allowing them to enter our own lives as well. We evangelize by preaching the Good News who is Jesus. We evangelize as a community, witnessing our love for one another and being inclusive with this love. We evangelize knowing that our input in the person is a mere fraction of what would make him respond to God. We evangelize trusting that all our interactions are key moments and our gracious God will use us amid our sins and weaknesses.



bearing Fruits

from dedicated youth workers (like Tony Albayda, Mina Conception, Mondie Mondoñedo, Paulo and Portia De Alba, JanB Ginete-Blay, etc.). He also had international mentors, David Quintana and Mike Shaughnessey (both elders in The Servants of the Word and serving the youth in the Sword of the Spirit in Europe and North America respectively). “I stand tall on the shoulders of giants,” Jopeng beams. No wonder Jopeng eventually felt confident to embark on this new adventure the Lord was giving him.

“When God closes a door, He opens a window”.

new Challenges and Triumphs

In the case of Joseph “Jopeng” Piquero, the window opened to him was a service that was totally unfamiliar to him – working with the high school youth of Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon. He had just ended his 16-year service with young professionals in Ang Lingkod ng Panginoon and was taking on a more administrative role in The Servants of the Word, when Ken Noecker, then Elder of The Servants of the Word Philippines, asked him if he would be open to serve in the Young Adults (YA) Program of Ligaya. In obedience to his Elder, Jopeng readily accepted the request, saying: "Ken, I am a servant. If you think I can contribute to the program, I will do it." But at the same time he shared his doubts and anxiety with Ken on taking over something he knew nothing about. Ken assured Jopeng that there’s time for him to learn and he could try this service out for six months. It has almost been three and a half years since that trial period started in June 2010. Jopeng can now look back and marvel at how the Lord dealt with all his doubts, and encouraged him to go beyond his comfort zone. As a result, he has experienced immeasurable blessings that flowed from that decision.

Obedience and Blessing

It’s a good thing that the previous YA Director, Abyong Calo, had established a good and working youth program. All Jopeng needed to do was to just keep paddling the YA boat towards more opportunities for the young people to establish a personal relationship with the Lord and with other young people in the Community. It’s a good thing that he had a lot of support


Even amid the blessings, there were challenges. Jopeng had to establish a special bond with the youth he was serving. He sought counsel from his predecessor, and Abyong advised him to “simply love them”. Jopeng took this to heart as he prayed that the Lord would give him a big heart and for the grace to genuinely love them. And that is what he did. As he became more aware of what he needed to do with the YAs, he found them slowly warming up to him. At first, they called him Tito Jopeng, then TJ or “Teej”, then Kuya “Teej”, and finally, Kuya Jopeng. And yes, even “KJ”, short for Kuya Jopeng, especially when they find him too strict or when they feel he’s not on the same wavelength as they are. Another challenge Jopeng (and the rest of the YA workers) faced was to create activities that would sustain their interest and contribute to their growth in their relationship with the Lord and other YAs. For young men, these activities had to have elements of fun and adventure, while giving them the opportunity to build relationships and discover new things. An important dynamic Jopeng had to consider in developing new and interesting activities is that these encounters need to generate an atmosphere of “I definitely belong here!” Jopeng and the YA workers created activities

If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. Deut. 28:1

photo credit: JOHN RICH VILLAS

by Manny Manuel III

with a purpose—it wasn't just about sports or overnight lock-ins, but they are more about building relationships and camaraderie while doing things that they love to do.


Through all these, Jopeng has been blessed by his encounters with the young people. Over time, he has witnessed some transformations in these young men. He has seen young men transformed from being cold, aloof and disinterested to being engaged in the Lord as they actively participate in the YA Program. Many youth have come to realize that more than the prodding from their parents, they are attending YA activities, such as YA camps, retreats and lock-ins, because they are building relationships with the Lord and one another. And they are experiencing blessings beyond their imagination. Jopeng has also seen young men take on leadership roles in the YA Program. It has been Jopeng's vision to witness the more senior YAs leading the younger YAs. They are now serving as speakers and sharers in YA activities. Jopeng’s fervent hope is to see these young men give their lives fully to God – as leaders and Coordinators in Ligaya and the Sword of the Spirit, or as men seriously considering to live a life of consecration – maybe as priests. But one thing that will give Jopeng his greatest joy is to see the young men becoming part of The Servants of the Word. With God at the center of their lives, who knows how God can work and allow them to bear much fruits.

Jopeng says: 1. Serving in YA is a great opportunity and privilege, notwithstanding the challenges. Our young brothers are in their most formative stage in life. What they see and hear from us can leave an indelible mark in their lives and we want to make this a mark that encourages and builds them up. An encouraging word, a tap on the back, a nod, a warm greeting, or a smile of acceptance can really make a great difference. Remember, reaching out to them in genuine love is what encourages them to respond in the same way as well. 2. We are in the business of winning people for the Lord. We want to create a winning environment for the youth, and it is good to hear stories of YAs having fun. But we will be definitely shortchanging them if they look back and all they could remember was just the fun parts. More importantly, we want them to have fun and enjoy being with the Lord and with others who also share their idea of fun and enjoyment. 3. We have a sacred trust. This term was part of what John Keating shared last year when he spoke to youth workers in Ligaya. The Lord has entrusted these young brothers to youth workers like me, and I am accountable to and for each one of them.



Demystifying Andropause by Dr. Jojo Uson

CONSIDER THESE: The king had fought valiantly against the Philistines for many years alongside his soldiers. He had grown exhausted and almost got killed at one time. Unable to endure the rigors of long battles, he was advised to remain in Jerusalem and never fight again, lest Israel loses her king. Then one night, unable to sleep, he took his soldier’s wife in his arms. Giving up fighting could be difficult for an esteemed man’s ego to accept. Could his conquest of the young woman be an attempt to balm his bruised ego? Could he have been going through the proverbial midlife crisis at the time? “Midlife Crisis” is the term loosely used to pertain to the condition of an individual undergoing various changes during middle adulthood, that is,


from 40 to 60 years of age. For a woman who hits 40, the changes may be attributed to what is more popularly understood as surrounding menopause. But did you know that men may go through a similar experience in their life cycle? That King David may be going through such a phase in his life can certainly be a teaching point for us Christians. Andropause (or "man"opause), the male counterpart of menopause, refers to the physiological and psychological changes occurring in men at midlife. It is brought about by a decrease in levels of testosterone which is an androgen, hence its name. Testosterone is the hormone that makes men male. It is responsible for male sexual characteristics like facial hair growth, deep male voice,

development of male genitals and contributes to various bodily functions such as bone formation, prostate gland growth, liver function, and blood cell production. Unlike menopause, andropause does not have a clear demarcation and occurs rather insidiously over years. Beginning age 30, men’s testosterone levels are expected to drop by about 1% to 2% per year. For some, by the time they reach 40 and up, this can be accompanied by symptoms characteristic of andropause. Similar to menopause in women, men with low testosterone levels may be at risk for developing heart disease and bone loss. Symptoms of andropause can be physical – low libido, erectile dysfunction, hair and muscle loss, weight gain, hot flashes (yes, men can have them, too), night sweats,

photo credit: JOHN RICH VILLAS

Ever wonder what King David was thinking when he committed adultery with Bathsheba?

sleep disturbance and fatigue. The symptoms can be psychological or mental – irritability, memory loss and depression. While some symptoms may be reversible with interventions, it is important to note that others may overlap with normal aging process and may persist through time. Not recognizing andropause can impact on the quality of life of men. They may grapple with these distressing symptoms when the condition can actually be improved with some measures. A simple blood test can diagnose andropause. Blood testosterone can be done to determine if one has below normal range of the androgen. This varies across different age groups. It may soon become part of routine screening in men above 50. Other conditions associated with decreased testosterone like diabetes and

hypertension also have to be ruled out before andropause is diagnosed. How can andropause be managed? Testosterone replacement therapy is a viable treatment option to correct this condition. Benefits include better mood and concentration, enhanced quality of sleep, improved libido and sexual satisfaction, improved energy level and muscle strength, and a general sense of well-being. Not everyone is a candidate for testosterone replacement though, it is best to consult a physician prior to starting any form of treatment. A more holistic and practical approach to andropause entails maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This helps mainly by boosting testosterone production in men. Because andropause coincides with the stage in the life of

What should a man do:

men when they are starting to relish the fruits of their labor and achievements, to define the meaning and purpose of their existence, the changes that happen in the waning years can be a reminder of the eventuality of one’s mortality, yet should not be cause for worry or fear. In 2 Corinthians 4:16, St. Paul provides a deeper supernatural perspective: “Outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” The acceptance of one’s frailties and limitations can lead to an awakening to what is more essential – to focus on what is everlasting rather than what is earthly and temporal. What is lost physically can be gained spiritually. The realization that human capacities can decrease will only make God’s presence increase. Rather than viewing andropause as a crisis in midlife, one can perceive it as a process that can ultimately bring men in midlife and beyond closer to God.

 Dietary modifications – low carbohydrate (less rice, bread, pasta, potato, corn), less fat, moderate protein, more soy and tomato products, green veggies and plenty of water.

Jojo Uson

 Exercise – weight training involving large muscles of the back, arms, legs and shoulders to increase muscle mass and strength (at least three times a week). Unfortunately, running marathons won’t help, they can further decrease testosterone.  Reduce cigarette smoking and alcohol intake.  Adequate and/or good quality sleep every night – average of seven to eight hours for most, sleeping in on weekends won’t work (so you must wake up to attend Sunday morning prayer assemblies).  Stress management techniques - relaxation training, meditation, learning enhanced coping skills, and avoiding negativity.  Take a new interest in career or a hobby.  Spirituality – gain a deeper understanding of one’s faith and pursue a closer relationship with the Lord.

is a covenanted member of Central District C. She is the wife of Bobby and mom to Rafa/Enzo, a senior YA, and Gabby, a special adolescent. She is a Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of the Philippines College of Medicine and a faculty member at the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health. She is a consultant psychiatrist who holds private practice at The Medical City, Pasig.




HIS GAME by Michael Jonathan A. Villar



started playing basketball at the age of nine. I developed my basketball skills by accepting 1-on-1 challenges against the professional tambays in our neighborhood over a bet of "Ice Tubig" or a bottle of Coke 500. The older and bigger kuyas would always give me partida by giving me plus-14 points in a race of 1-to-15 game. All I needed to do was make one tsamba shot and "swoosh"! A cold and refreshing drink that would make me feel like the Michael Jordan of Cainta. But the truth was, I always lost in those games. By a point.


In the summer of 1991, I honed my basketball skills simply by playing hoops from sunrise to sunset in all open courts available, whether in our village or other nearby barangays. In the evening, my friends and I usually watched PBA games at the house of one of our barkada.


During my high school years, I felt I was on the right track. I advanced in my basketball skills and received multiple championships, individual awards, and even achieved celebrity-like status in school. (My mother can attest to that!) With every game I won, I moved closer to my ultimate goal and eventually was fielded to become a varsity player for the UP Fighting Maroons Men's Senior Basketball Team. Of all the hundred aspirants, there were only three of us who made the cut. And among the three of us, I was the only one who got a monicker - "Choo-Choo Train"- because of my unique speed and quickness on the court. Hence my college nickname became “Chu”. My confidence was at an all-time high. Until reality bit me. Hard. Two weeks before the start of the UAAP Season, I didn't make the final roster with reasons that were unacceptable to my ego. I had all sorts of excuses. "Eh mas magaling pa ako dyan kay Jersey #15 eh!"; "Hindi nga maka-score si Captain Ball sa akin eh!" or "Wala

eh. Napulitika ako." I felt anger, pain and bitterness. To make things worse, instead of playing basketball, I was demoted to being a "water boy", "floor manager" (as in mopping the court), and cameraman. And for four years, those were my roles in the varsity team.


I felt ashamed of what I was doing for the team because many people back home were expecting to see me play on national TV. I remember the time when one of our neighbors in Bacacay, Albay, was expecting an autographed jersey from me. Since I didn't have any, I secretly had my own jersey made out of my own money, and had it sent to them, just so they would think I was actually playing in the league. I started questioning why God allowed me to dream big and only to fail. I was convinced I would no longer make it to the PBA.


If there was any consolation from being the resident videographer of our team, it opened doors for me to discover another passion – media production. I helped my varsity teammates do photo montages or MTVs for the girls they courted. With the dreams of becoming a professional basketball player fading, I then moved and shifted

photo credit: mike villar

During that summer, I worked hard to attain my ultimate dream: to become a professional basketball player like my ultimate idol, Jawo. (Obviously, a never-saydie Ginebra fan!)

my energies to pursue a career in media production. After graduation, I joined the TV industry as a segment producer. I had the best time of my life travelling to different places, meeting new people, and working with some of the A-list stars in show business. Eventually, my connections expanded and I became a certified "Racketeer" – accepting shows and projects left and right. Somehow, it helped me forget my aborted PBA dream and just focused on my new career path. Later on, I started my own media production business, Tooth Fairy Productions, covering personal and corporate events. When it rains, it pours. And just when I thought I have forgotten all about PBA, a job offer came along. I was hired to be a segment producer for ABC Sports, which covered – guess what? The PBA. Who would have thought that later on, I would still end up with the league that taught me to dream big. Maybe not as a player, but someone who covers the game I love most. In our varsity team reunions, the running joke would be that I was the only one in the team who actually made it to the PBA. As I got busier, I forgot Someone who was with me all the time during my successes and failures.


In 2008, I was introduced to Ang Lingkod ng Panginoon-Makati. Initially, I was hesitant to continue attending the prayer meetings because they were held on Fridays – one of the game days of PBA. But somehow, things just fell into place. I attended the Christian Life Program, which was held on Mondays, and finished the course without any absence. However, when I committed to the Lord, I knew that my desire to follow Him

If life were a game, that commitment would become a turning point for me to score opportunities of what God had to offer—to become a part of His team.

would still be met with challenges on time and work schedules. Though hesitant at first, I continued to commit myself to the Lord. If life were a game, that commitment would become a turning point for me to score opportunities of what God had to offer— to become a part of His team. I enjoyed a different kind of fellowship with the brothers in Community. Being used to rough games and trash talking in basketball, I was surprised to find myself playing the game with brothers who would tap you for a good shot – even if you are on the opposite team, or brothers who still remained joyful even after losing a game. I served the brothers and sisters by being a “water brother” to the sisters, floor manager (stacking chairs this time), or being the cameraman during Lingkod events. It led me to get to know my brothers and sisters-in-Christ through different services. I let go of my worries about my busy schedule and learned to prioritize things that would please God. One by one, I declined projects, in exchange of my commitment to serve the Lord with all my heart, mind, body and soul. And slowly but surely, I have established a more personal relationship with God.


When the choice came whether to give up my job at the PBA came, I entrusted to God my decision to give up, for me, the best job in the world, because the best Coach and the best Director of my life had assured me enough of His winning and perfect plans through Community life. After I married Mich in 2011, we continued serving the Lord and our committed way of life in Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon. As God reminds me always: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." (Mt 6:33) God indeed blesses the desires of my heart. And He does so generously. Three years after I committed myself to the Lord, He brought me back to the PBA, this time, as a Senior Producer and Director. And He did not limit me to the PBA. Through my media production business, He blessed me with a constant client that every Pinoy basketball fanatic would love – no less than the NBA.


What if I learned to seek God first when I was a basketball varsity in UP? Would it change the course of my life and could I have become the Jawo of my generation? Maybe. Maybe not. But one thing is certain. If that scenario happened, whether I made it as a professional basketball player or not, or whether I became the busiest "racketeer" or a regular company employee, I would always remember the good works the Lord has done for me because He loves me unconditionally. And I am confident that I will never be cut off from His team.



tested and purified by

fire by Madel Sabater-Namit

similar to donuts) for a living. "I was a working student as early as nine years old," Joey recalls. Joey was in his elementary years when he decided to live with his uncle in a rented room in a squatter area in Paco. In Manila, Joey had a variety of jobs as a kargador, "barker", newspaper boy, and shoe shine boy just to get by. After some years, Joey worked as a waiter in hotels like the Manila Hotel and Manila Hilton. While attending night classes, Joey had to wake up early to do his rounds as a taxi driver – all throughout his six years in high school and six years in college, where he finished with a Bachelor's degree in Economics at the Manuel L. Quezon University. It was only after his graduation from college when Joey started to earn more as a salesman and real estate agent. “That was where I got my break,” he says. "I became a realtor and I started selling for BF Homes, and the Ayala group in the south.” It was also this time when he came to know about Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon. He first joined The Servants of the Word household together with the late Mike Joseph, Jr. and Francis Iturralde. He stayed in the house for more than a year.

"Taxi!" Every time he hears someone hailing a cab, Joey Pontejos can feel a familiar tug in his heart. Joey, a former taxi driver, is one classic example of a man whose humility, perseverance and persistent prayers have led him to where he is today. As a boy growing up in Naga, Joey had to hop on buses and sell "chakoy" (a Filipino merienda


It was during that time when he learned to forgive, even his uncle who used to beat him up when he was little. “After you’ve experienced conversion, you become a different person,” Joey says. “The Lord changed my attitude. I was able to accept the people around me and I've also learned to respect them." Joey steadily became successful in his chosen career. He was able to build a house for his parents. “One of the reasons I got delayed in marrying

photo credit: taxi (WWW.FREEDIGITALPHOTO.COM)


was because I took care of my parents,” he confesses. “I believe that when you take good care of your parents, God will bless your life.” As years passed by, Joey took his time for marriage discernment. “I told the Lord that if I don't find the right woman, I will stay single and work as a businessman,” he recalls. At age 36, Joey met Tess, a dentist who would soon become his wife. “I have an office in Rufino Building in Makati where she was employed in a dental company. When I saw her walking by one time, I introduced myself,” Joey narrates. They did not mind the 13-year gap between them. On February 3, 1990, on his wife's 27th birthday, they got married. Earning from his own thriving construction business, Joey was able to provide his three children with good education, even sending Marian Therese, Monica Belle and Jose Lorenzo to exclusive schools.


Never in his earlier life had he expected that he would be able to send his children to good schools, a far cry from the time when he himself had to work hard to be able to attend school and earn his own diploma. With the tough life he had gone through, Joey has learned the virtue of perseverance and word of honor. “Don't give up easily, work hard, and stick to your promises,” he summarizes. He also attributes his success to his mother’s persistent prayers for him. A pleasant personality can also go a long, long way too. “Hindi naman ako matalino pero mahilig ako makipagkaibigan,” he adds. “Those friends whom I met were instrumental to my success. Without them, I wouldn't be what I am today.” He said his experiences,

The Lord changed my attitude. I was able to accept the people around me and I've also learned to respect them.

including the times when he slept in bangketas when he was not staying in his uncle’s home, made him tough yet prayerful. “It is through Divine Intervention that I have become a contractor,” he enthuses. “Not even in my wildest imagination did I dream of becoming a contractor.” And yet he has become one of the successful self-made men in our Community. Even with cars to drive, Joey would sometimes hail a taxi and hear their stories. He would sometimes ask the taxi driver to park so they could eat somewhere. And during their conversations, he would disclose that he was once a taxi driver. They were initially shocked to learn about the hardships that he went through. But Joey is just too happy to share his life story—tested and purified by fire—to inspire others.




Life is such a blur from all the hustle and bustle in one’s daily life. Eating breakfast in a leisurely manner is always sacrificed for things we should be doing right away. So a long breakfast is a quiet escape from rushing to work every day. Most importantly, it is a time to reflect on one’s life and be thankful of one’s blessings.

It was during meal times that Jesus talked to people and told some of His stories. The bonding, plus the delicious food, made it easier for Him to touch their lives. From the simplest meal to the more sophisticated culinary dish, these meals will satisfy our brothers’ palettes and fill their tummies. Of course, bonding with loved ones will surely fill the heart.

Sharing a Meal in a Restaurant

A long leisurely (yet heavy) breakfast at home

Making a list, checking it twice Compiled by May Abiva-Leung The joyous Christmas spirit is in the air! It’s time for gift-giving. Many gifts have been bought and neatly wrapped, yet there are still some names in your list that seem to stump you every year on what’s the best gifts to give them. It’s the section for the boys and men in your life.

To help our sisters make their trips to the malls and tiangges easier, True North decided to take a random survey among the Ligaya brothers by asking what gift would they like to receive, aside from love and prayers. Here are some of things in their wish list. Remember, this is just a wish (and sometimes, a “how I wish”) list.




A massage is the answer to a tired and stressed-out body. Be it from a massage chair or from a personal masseuse, it is a blissful feeling after a tiring day from the office or school.


Music is a form of prayer, a nourishment for the soul. For the brothers who play instruments during Community assemblies and other events, a new bass guitar or piano will surely make them want to play praise music right away!

"Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; tell of all His wondrous works!" Psalm 105:2

photo credit: JOHN RICH VILLAS

Musical Instrument


Membership to a Fitness Center

Health is wealth. One’s body is a temple of God and should be taken care of. A membership to a fitness center shows a willingness to commit to have a healthier mind and body.


Nest Egg for Children’s Education

Parents only want the best for their children. It is a dream to send their children to the premiere schools in the Philippines, or even abroad. Fathers (and mothers) work hard to provide the best education for their kids. It is not easy. It takes planning, time and resources to prepare for a child’s education.


Health and Insurance Plans

One must also think about how to prepare in cases of health concerns or life after losing a loved one. This is a gift that both single and married men must prepare for. It’s never too late to start.



Shoes are very important in a man’s wardrobe. Shoes make a lot of difference in completing the overall look – whether for a sporting event, a day in the office, or on a special date. And of course, they must be comfortable.





Biking is a past time that nearly everyone enjoys. You can enjoy the feel of the wind blowing on your face. Plus, you get to exercise while having fun!


We have entered the tech world. Gadgets have made our life easier and more accessible. For our brothers (not just the techies), to give them the latest cellphone, laptop, DSLR camera or tablet will be really awesome.

A Watch

For most men, it is the only accessory worn aside from their wedding ring. For those watch lovers, it is both an accessory and a collection. Like shoes, it helps complete the look one wants to achieve.

And here is the "how-I-wish” list:



Cars are cited by many brothers for varied reasons. For the family man, an SUV or van is what he needs. For others, they want a sports car or the flashy ones. Owning a car is man’s dream and it gives them some sense of accomplishment and pride.


Rest House

A place to hide away and escape from it all. A place to spend time with the family without the concerns of work and other distractions. It is a place that one can pursue one’s interest or hobby. Also, it is an opportunity to “listen to the heart” and “to be still.”



To see and experience new places is among the favorites.

Our brothers’ sense of adventure kicks in and wants to explore the different sights, cuisines and cultures. For the married men, it is a time to spend with family, learn new things to bond and to have fun. For the single men, it is a time to discover one’s self, be independent and of course, to have fun too. Aside from the usual local destinations, like Bohol or Cebu, or to foreign land like in Europe or USA, going on pilgrimages to Holy Land or the Vatican and to join the World Youth Day activities are among the top in the list. It’s such a gift to experience where Jesus lived or to attend mass in the Vatican. Most importantly, it is an opportunity to celebrate with brothers and sisters who embrace God’s love and teachings in their lives.


A House

Every man strives to provide a home for his family. It is every man’s pursuit to have a house that one can truly call his own. At the end of the day, it is reassuring to come home every night to the loving embrace of your loved ones and the comforts of a home.


A Christian Man’s Guide

Mission Impossible:

Deciphering the Women’s Psyche by Jun Viterbo

“Why can’t a woman be more like a man?” asked an exasperated Professor Henry Higgins in “My Fair Lady” – a perplexing question which has been echoed in many conversations among men since. Let’s face it, any man from one to 92 has struggled at least once to understand women. Even Holy Saint Augustine struggled with this, calling the wife of Job in the Bible as the “devil’s accomplice”. Still, the Bible teaches us that women are not only equal with men (Galatians 3:28), but they are also set apart for a special honor (1 Peter 3:7). There is no doubt that God loves women as much as men as both are made in the image of God. So how can we really understand the women’s psyche? Here is one earnest Bible-based (and humorous) attempt to do so.

The Touch-up

A Man’s Observation: Men can never seem to figure out why women bring out their compact kit just before a plane lands or just before the bus arrives at its station. Or just before you arrive anywhere actually. Do you observe how commonly women need to go to the bathroom right after dessert when you dine out? Men are also baffled as to why women sometimes want to wear make-up in order to look “natural”. A mystery high up there with the answer to the Bermuda Triangle. What a Man Can’t Understand: Can anything cataclysmic actually happen in a span of an hour? Can a retouch be likened to a re-alignment of the planets that the failure to do so may prove catastrophic? Men can’t seem to understand how a touch up can improve (or worsen) one’s face in so few hours. What’s a Man to do?: Pander to that womanly habit. What harm is it to a man when a woman desires to be more beautiful? Why object to an improvement of life’s canvas? Men might learn to appreciate the effort with a few kind words rather than a sardonic remark. Neither are back-handed compliments welcome. Take it from John Keats


who wrote that “a thing of beauty is a joy forever.” Possible biblical verse for contemplation: “The Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you (Num 6:25)

New Occasion, New Outfit

A Man’s Observation: Men observe that during certain occasions (mostly weddings), women are stressed by the proverbial question: What am I to wear? Women can agonize not only with the outfit but the hair and make-up that go with it (and add the shoes that are actually invisible under that gown). In these situations, a new outfit is usually contemplated. What a Man Can’t Understand: Is a new dress worth the investment as it will only be new for a few hours? What if you are invited to at least 10 weddings a year? Does that mean 10 new outfits as well? What about closet space? Are women really serious when they consider not going just because “I have nothing to wear”? Couldn’t the cost of the dress, shoes, hair and make-up be added instead to the gift for the starting couple? What’s a Man to Do?: First, you can’t use the “just-dry-clean-the-barong-or-just-change-the-tie” routine on women. Men can probably encourage women to borrow outfits from friends that belong to a different circle altogether (e.g. a dress worn in a gathering of high school friends will still shimmer when worn again in the company of college friends). A compromise is to invest in accessories (shawls, scarves) instead and cultivate your inner Greenpeace persona: recycle. Possible biblical verse for contemplation: “In like manner also, the women should adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety, and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing.” (1 Tim 2:9).

The Detour to Restroom

A Man’s Observation: Men are in a rush to the cinema to make sure they start the movie. They are about to walk towards the seats when a last-minute decision to go to the restroom is requested. You wait outside the restroom and wait and wait. You miss the action-packed trailers or worse, the first seven minutes of the movie. What a Man Can’t Understand: Men are in a quandary understanding the following: Why do women take such a long time in the restroom? Why do they always go in pairs to the restroom as much as possible? Why are there lines in women’s restrooms while men just dart in and out of theirs? Why is the trip to women’s restroom a social event? What’s a Man to Do?: Men, use your common sense. Women are built differently and thus have to remove more pieces of intricate clothing before they can use the water closet. Also, an important part of a woman’s restroom ritual is the touch-up. This explains the two lines in there: for using the toilet and for using the mirror. Some say that going in groups is not only for small talk and updates but also for safety reasons. As for our movie dilemma, here’s our suggestion: a man can stand in the last row of the movie house so that you're able to see both the screen and your date coming out of the rest room. Hence, you remain a gentleman without missing the movie. Possible biblical verse for contemplation: Read Judges 3 which tells the story of King Eglon, the king of Moab, who had maltreated the Israelties. Ehud became the deliverer of the Israelites and was said to have stabbed King Eglon as he was sitting alone in his “cool roof chamber”.

Women and Driving

A Man’s Observation: If there is an overly cautious driver in front of them, some men tend to make a snide remark: “the driver is probably a woman”. What a Man Can’t Understand: Why does confident driving does not come naturally to most women? What’s a Man to Do?: The concept of men being better drivers is alas more fiction than fact. Several “theories” have been offered for this – ranging from the prehistoric perspective (men are hunters while women are gatherers) to the downright chauvinistic (men use the car mirror for maneuvering, woman would rather use them for make-up). However, for insurance purposes, women drivers tend to have lesser accidents. Furthermore, the number of cases of reckless imprudence resulting in damage to vehicles and the number of traffic violations tend to favor the men. Possible biblical verse for contemplation: Again the watchman reported: “He reached them, but he is not coming back. And the driving is like the driving of Jehu the son of Nimshi, for he drives furiously” (2 Kings 9:20).

Hair Saloon

(The place formerly known as the Beauty Parlor) A Man’s Observation: Men are stupefied when women assert that they have to go the parlor as if

In like manner also, the women should adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety, and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing. 1 Tim 2:9

the mothership is calling them. It seems that after a trip to the parlor (er, salon), everything seems hunky-dory again, as if there’s a Jubilee Year in observance. What a Man Can’t Understand: What is it about going to the saloon that transforms women emotionally? They enter feeling like the ugly duckling and come out of it feeling as regal as a swan. What’s a Man to Do?: Never compare a trip to the barbershop to a trip to the saloon. Moreso, never time a trip to the barbershop the same way you do for a saloon. Men treat a haircut just as that – the need to cut hair. For women, all stress can banish after shampoo and hair color. All moods improve after a thorough pedicure. Possible biblical verse for contemplation: “You shall not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edges of your beard.” (Leviticus 19:27)

Waiter Gently Waits

A Man’s Observation: Men are nonplussed when in any food establishment, while women take their sweet time in deciding what to order. Worse, if an order has been made, this can still be changed again (and again). Of course, this takes more time. What a Man Can’t Understand: Man is able to contemplate in advance what he is going to eat, such that when it is time to order, it’s something that they could even do in their sleep. With women, hunger is like courtship. She has to be wooed and enamored before deciding. Men complain that by the time of a decision, they are fighting off symptoms of ulcer and the very Filipino “nalipasan na ng gutom”. What’s a Man to Do?: It might help if men offer suggestions or jump at the chance when women say the magic words: “Please order for me”. Delayed gratification is also key. When in a group, men can choose to sit in a table composed mainly of women. Chances are, they will eat less so men end up (quite willingly) eating more. Possible biblical verse for contemplation: Jesus said: “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to accomplish His work.” (John 4:34)



Rockin’ and Rainin’ Rock and Rain Marcojos


If I were Rock/ Rain, I would...


Who among the famous young people would you like to hang out with for a day?


The greatest movie ever is...

Rock: Enjoy the ability to play drums, and probably use his brain for things that seem difficult when I'm me, like the subject Filipino. Rain: Play some guitar, hang out with my many friends, play some sports, play some more guitar, play for the Music Ministry, and just be thankful that God gave me so many gifts and talents to use for His glory.

Rock: I'd like to hang out with Paramore for a day. And then jam to any song with them, or even make songs with them. I’m a HUGE fan as you can see. Rain: I would want to hang out with either Hayley Williams (the lead vocalist of Paramore) or Zedd (a famous DJ). I'd want to know how they go with their daily lives, and how they handle everyday situations.

Rock: It's hard to tell. But two movie series that stand out are the Fast and Furious series and the Transformers series. I'm a huge sci-fi fan, plus I'm a huge fan of cars, and these movies seem to capture all of that. Rain: Transformers 1 or 3, or The Fast and The Furious 6. These movies show the innovation of the mind and its creativity in creating stories that can captivate people. Whenever I watch them, I just stay amazed for the entire duration, from title to the credits. I’m like: "How did they do that?"



If there’s a time machine, where and when do you want to transport yourself to?

Rock: I'd probably transport myself to the 30-yearold me, to see what I look like, what I've done, and probably to know what happened after my state of life discernment. Hahahaha! I want to see how the world has changed in about 20 years' time. Rain: I would go back to our Day of Independence on June 12, 1898. Being part of such a historical event would mean so much to me, and I would be able to relive the joy and celebration that went on that day. I would truly want to be in such a great time of triumph and glory for our people.


Who is your childhood hero?

Rock: It's gotta be Tony Stark. Although he's quite a playboy and is arrogant (which I don't want to be), I like his witty personality, his eagerness in creating his Iron Man suits, and the way he was able to change lives through his many works. And I always wanted to wear an Iron Man suit. Rain: My childhood heroes are always my parents. I always looked up to them; I still do. Their never-ending efforts to help me and keep my faith steady inspire me to do good and for the good of others.


Who sings better? Who dances better?

Rock: I think I sing better, although sometimes I sing crazily and out of tune. Rain dances better. I absolutely have no dancing skills, and I've made people laugh when I dance weird. Rain: I am not that sure yet. We have not tried testing that out. I guess both of us are rather okay in both aspects. Hahaha!


We know that you are very good at math and science, is there any other subject that you want more than the two?


What do you want to be when you grow up? Do you want to be a Ligaya coordinator someday?

Rock: In terms of occupation, I see myself as an inventor or a car mechanic in the future. It doesn't show that much, but I'm a grease monkey. I'd love something a little industrial and mechanical. Other times, I see myself playing in a band. Well, people say (and joke around) a lot that either one or both of us are going to be Ligaya coordinators. Who knows what God's plans are. Which one will I be in the future? I have yet to pray about it. Rain: Well, I want to be an inventor one day. It has always been my dream to build and create things that could benefit man's life. Being a Coordinator is not necessarily a goal of mine, but if God calls me to serve the Community, then I'll do it wholeheartedly.


Who is your favorite Saint or Bible character?

Rock: My favorite Bible character is David. He was able to defeat Goliath through the help of God, even if he was quite young and small. He reminds me of myself: small but terrible! Rain: St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Augustine of Hippo are my favorites; Ignatius because I was named after him, Augustine because he is our school's patron. However, the real reason why I admire them is that they did good and they changed their sinful lives into lives worth giving to God.


If you were to advise a 10-year old kid on anything, what the best advice that you will give him?

Rock: Strive hard and never give up. Yearly, my siblings and I put self-printed stickers on our school books and notebooks with this motto: Study hard, Play hard, Trust God. Balance your time for study and play, and don't forget to ask for God's guidance in everything you do. Rain: I would tell him to keep his faith. That's how I get through my trials. He shouldn't let anything get him down. All his problems will melt away if he believes in the power of Jesus Christ. If he trusts in God, he can do anything.

Rock: I'm quite flattered by that statement! But honestly, I love Music (especially since the lesson we're having now is guitar) and PE (as long as the lesson isn't basketball). Rain: Thank you; that's a great compliment to me. On a serious note, I think that Science (Robotics, specifically) and Mathematics are two things I truly love. Rock (Rhomel Isaac B. Marcojos) , 14, and Rain (Rhomel Ignatius B. Marcojos), 13, are the sons of Melmarx and Cor Marcojos, and brothers to River (Rebekah Therese B. Marcojos). Both are part of the Young Adults group.


And the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us, and we saw His glory, the glory as of the Father's only Son, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

photo credit: tsomas eric sales