At Large

Bruce Lee and faith

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Here’s a Holy Week reflection from Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas, excerpted from the essay “Bruce Lee’s Priest” published in his book “Stewards of Jesus.” Learn how, of all people, Bruce Lee inspired Bishop Soc’s vocation and his desire to serve God through serving humanity:

God called me to follow Him and He called me through Bruce Lee. Before I heard the words of Jesus “Come follow me,” I first heard the words of Bruce Lee, “Be yourself and learn the art of dying.” Bruce Lee, not Jesus, was my teen-age idol. I was too sickly to engage in martial arts but I was an avid reader of Bruce Lee’s philosophy. Bruce Lee said:

Be flexible. Be formless. Be fluid. Be shapeless like water. You put water unto a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle. Water can flow or it can crash or creep. Be water, my friend. Water has the continuity of movement. You must free your ambitious mind and learn the art of dying. The cup realizes itself only by being empty. Be yourself.

These words touched me deeply within. It disturbed my sleep. It distracted my studies. It left me desiring passionately to learn the art of dying. I wanted to be empty like the cup! I wanted to be formless like water. I wanted to find myself…

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Housewives and even career women are said to be the main drivers of the extraordinary ratings of the late-morning TV drama “Be Careful with my Heart” (on ABS-CBN). The drama traces the developing love story between an aspiring flight attendant named Maya who agrees to work as a nanny for the young daughter of a businessman with ties to an airline, and the executive, addressed as “Sir Chief,” who is a widower with two teenage children and a young daughter who has been temporarily struck dumb by grief over her mother’s passing.

The chemistry and “kilig” factor between the actors who portray Maya and “Sir Chief”—Jodi Sta. Maria and Richard Yap—is undoubtedly the biggest reason for the drama’s growing popularity. But also part of its appeal is the wholesome and values-laden story and plotting, even if the audience can see the ending coming from a mile away.

While Sta. Maria has proven her worth as a ratings and box-office draw in various TV dramas and movies through the years, Yap is relatively new to the field. He made his mark as Kim Chiu’s stern father in “My Binondo Girl” (where he was known as “Papa Chen”), and is now making waves (and setting aflutter the hearts of women of a certain age) as “Sir Chief.” He proves that sex appeal is not necessarily confined to the young and buffed, even if TV is cruelly intolerant of any sign of age, or aging.

Now “Sir Chief” is making tracks in a vastly different field. He has agreed to take part in a TV ad for senatorial candidate Ramon Magsaysay Jr., in effect becoming the latest member of “Barangay Mambo Magsaysay,” a group of advocates and supporters of the former senator and son of the late President whose battle hymn was “Mambo Magsaysay.”

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Yap made public his support for Magsaysay, who badly needs a last-minute push to make it to the winning circle, via his endorsement in the ad megged by indie director Bongo Ferraren. Clad in a yellow shirt with the number 24 on his breast pocket (Magsaysay is No. 24 on the ballot), “Sir Chief” declares that “Magsaysay is still our guy!” while giving the former senator a friendly slap on the back.

After the shoot, Yap explained his endorsement: “Our country needs change. And I think Ramon Magsaysay Jr. can help our government do that for us. We need someone who has integrity, and who has the track record to do the things that need to be done. I believe that he is the one!” The popular “matrona’s idol” said Magsaysay is the only candidate he is endorsing, and that he is doing so voluntarily and for free.

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Soroptimist International of the Philippines (SIPR) will hold its Mid-biennial Conference on May 30-June 2 with the theme “Celebrating our Cultural Heritage.”

To be held in L’Fisher Hotel in Bacolod City, the conference has as special guest and speaker Cherry Fleming, president-elect of the Soroptimist International of the Americas.

SIPR began life in 1966 when Mariquita S. Castelo founded the first club. More than 2,000 Filipino women now call themselves Soroptimists, belonging to any one of 87 clubs nationwide. As one of the regions under the federation of the Soroptimists International of the Americas, SIPR implements the flagship programs of the federation: the Women’s Opportunity Award, which gives educational grants to women who are the primary source of financial support for their families; the Violet Richardson Award, which recognizes the volunteer efforts of young women between the ages of 14 and 17.

Locally, SIPR’s own signature program is the “Unsung Women Heroes Award,” which recognizes women who, “with great fervor and little fanfare, have made it their life’s work to uplift the well-being of other women and girls in their communities.”

This year, SIPR has also launched the Mariquita S. Castelo Leadership Award, the first and only award to be given to a member, in observance of Castelo’s birth centennial.

Over the years, SIPR has engaged in projects designed to combat trafficking of women and girls and violence against women. It was instrumental in the institution of Women and Children’s Protection Desks in the Philippine National Police, and has also been at the forefront of advocacy, training and service programs for environmental protection, reproductive health, and women’s economic empowerment.

Heading the leadership of SIPR for 2012-2014 is Governor Minda Garcia, a businesswoman and civic leader.

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