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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, March 28, 2018
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with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

What’s Digong giving up for Lent?

Ninfa Leonardia

A lot of motorists, especially operators of Public Utility Vehicles are moaning and groaning over the new announcement of increases in fuel costs. Imagine, gasoline prices have gone up to P1.15 per liter, diesel by P1.10 and kerosene by P1.00. This is the biggest hike experienced in several months, maybe even since last year, and it is something very heavy, not only for PUV operators, but for the ordinary motor vehicle owners as well. But what can we do? These are dictated by the world market. One suggestion: Just offer your chagrin and dismay as a mortification for the Lenten season.

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One thing I am very curious to know is whether President Duterte, who is also a Catholic, also practices mortifications. In fact he has delighted government workers by declaring or adding half a day to their Lenten week vacation by declaring Wednesday as a day for one-half duty only. As for those in private companies, it will be up to their officials to determine if they, too, will follow suit and give their workers an additional half-day off on Holy Wednesday. Meanwhile, if the President wants a suggestion for his Lenten mortification, I suggest that he promises not to use any cuss words during, at least Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Not even if he is provoked by Joma Sison. Can he do it?

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By the way, reports say that the Communists, or the Reds, are now ready to talk peace but it is President Duterte who is not inclined to agree. Well, he must have gotten his lesson from that one time when he did try, but got disappointed in the result. In other words, he believes in the saying that “Once bitten, twice shy”. Anyway, he must be thinking that the head of the rebel movement is only bidding for time, and is not at all sincere in going through peace talks. If it is true that local rebels are surrendering by the scores, why talk at all?

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Will music do the trick and close the gap between North and South Korea? There are plans for South Korean artists to perform in North Korea and the South wants its rapper with the abbreviated name of “Psy”, to perform his “Gangham style” act that had made him an international sensation. I am sure North Koreans are excited to see and listen to Psy, but it is said that the NOKOR government is not keen on the idea because they think the singer has a “provocative” style. Provocative enough to incite further conflicts?

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There have been predictions of rain and even of a storm in some parts of the country this week, which is strange, considering that the week is usually marked with very warm, if not hot weather. But then, this could be part of the supposed climate change that is hitting the world and causing disturbances in our schedules. But rain or shine, Filipinos will not be deterred from their usual Lenten observances and there will be the usual processions, mortifications, and fastings among the religious ones. I am sure that rain will not even affect the “Visita Iglesia” that will draw crowds and even entire families to the churches on Holy Thursday.

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Speaking of the “Visita Iglesia”, I am reminded of family friends Leif and Nanette Severino, originally from Silay City, but now long time resident of Las Vegas and New York, but are actually residents of the world, because they are on the go all throughout the year. This couple travel all over the world and always on their itinerary are the churches in every country they visit. So far, they have visited more a thousand churches already, and adding more! Most of the time they do their traveling by land, with Leif at the wheel.

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While in the United States, they use their SUV that is completely equipped with their needs so they don’t have to book rooms in hotels, just parking anywhere safe so they can move on the next day. They have also covered most of the churches in the U.S. this way. Last November, they came home to Silay, and in our meetings with them, we were regaled by their travel tales and enjoyed their “pasalubongs” from various parts of Europe.

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Now Leif has been a PWD or a person with disability since birth, but that does not stop him from all that activity. In fact it is often an advantage for him. Everytime we were in Las Vegas, and we would go around with him, we always asked him to be the one to park the car because there are always spaces reserved for PWDs. And he is, I think, the original inventor of selfies, because he had invented a gimmick long ago with a camera attached to the end of a long stick, so he could be in the pictures with us. He is truly an inspiration for people with disabilities. We always look forward to his annual visits home, as he and Nanette are our model Visita Iglesia couple.*

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