Saturday, July 29, 2006

I've been accepted!

Hello everyone,

Just in case anybody is still checking this page, I know I haven't posted for ages but I don't have the internet at home. Just to let you know that I've been accepted by the Dominicans for the novitiate and will move to Cambridge in September. I'm so happy as this is something that I've been wanting to do for three years now and I feel so blessed that I will be entering the Order of St. Dominic, where so many holy men and women have gone before to inspire me. Please pray that everything will go well for me, I'm so relieved and exhilirated.

In Christ through Mary and St. Dominic,
love Daniel

Thursday, May 11, 2006

It's been too long

Hi Everyone, I know it's been so long since I last posted but I do have a few good excuses. I arrived back in the UK on the 4th April and I've been so busy ever since. My first task was to try and find a job and I'm happy to say that I found one in a call centre within two weeks. I've been working there for almost a month now and it's a good place to be. Also, I don't have access to the internet at home so what with working five days a week and having to go to the library to use the internet I haven't really had much time for blogging. Next time I post I'll put a couple of photos up of what I've been up to since I got back. One of the things that I missed most when I was out in the Philippines was our historic buildings and so I was so happy to go out to St. Michael's Abbey in Farnborough for mass one Sunday. The mass was very beautiful, it was in Latin apart from the readings and the music sung by the monks was very beautiful, I enjoyed it so much.
Last weekend I went to London and stayed with my sister, she has recently bought a flat with a very big garden and armed with a pitchfork I took to digging the soil for a vegetable patch to grow potatoes and runner beans. I really enjoyed being out in the fresh air and the exercise was good fun. On Sunday I went to mass at St. James, Spanish Place probably my favourite church in London and of course it was incredible, they always sing the most beautiful polyphony there. I then went to Newman House to see some friends which was great and had afterwards had lunch at Carluccio's, my favourite Italian restaurant. I then made a quick dash to Picadilly to meet with a friend and luckily caught a glimpse of the amazing 40ft high Sultan's Elephant ( definitely check out the website if you don't know what I'm talking about) that is making its way through London complete with Sultan and princesses on board at the moment. All in all it was a wonderful weekend that left me feeling refreshed and exhilarated, I am truly blessed to have such wonderful friends.

God Bless you all,
In Christ through Mary

Daniel

p.s. Please pray for me I've got my first two interviews for the Dominicans on Sunday

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

An Island Paradise


I know that it's been a long time since I posted but there hasn't been much to write about really apart from what I'm about to describe. I suppose it would be interesting to describe the political situation out here which is completely crazy at the moment but I don't know how safe it would be as freedom of speech isn't so great out here at the moment since the National State of Emergency was declared. Anyway, I'm sure you're much more interested to hear about my vacation when my sister Clare came to visit me for six days. It was so nice of her to come 7000 miles from London to Manila for such a short time but we both had such a great time and she didn't seem to be affected by jet lag at all really

She arrived on Saturday night and Fr Allan took me to the airport to pick her up. From there we went straight to our hotel, the Mabuhay Manor, in the city centre, close to the Roxas Boulevard. It was a lovely hotel, very comfortable with a very spacious room. The next day my friend Glenn came to accompany us around Manila. We had planned on going to mass at San Agustin church, the only remaining colonial Spanish church in Intramuros (within the walls) the old city of Manila. There were so many churches there before but most of Intramuros was destroyed by bombing in WW2. However, when we arrived I realised that the church is not a parish so only has three masses on Sunday, two in the morning and one in the evening. As we had missed the two morning masses we just went to the excellent musueum next to the Church that has the largest collection of Philippine antiques in the country, religious and civil. From there we went on to Makati, the fancy financial district and went to an Indian restaurant for lunch. Now, those of you who haven't been to the Philippines won't realise how rare Indian food is in this country. That one mall is the only place in the whole country where I have seen an Indian restaurant. And if you know British people, you know that we love Indian food. Indian food is more popular in the UK now than British food. Anyway, after that we went to stay with the Dominican sisters of St. Catherine of Siena in St. James Academy, Malabon City.

The next morning we came to Navotas to let my sister see what it is like where I live here. We had lunch in the parish and after that we went straight to the airport to go to Boracay. Boracay island is the no.1 holiday destination in the Philippines. It combines world class white sand beaches with all the stores and restaurants anybody could want. It's a very sophisticated and beautiful place where you can see people from all over the world. That is really rare in this country where there are practically no foreigners at all. To get there we took a flight from Manila to a placed called Kalibo, in Aklan province, Visayas. We went on a package tour so everything was arranged for us and it was very easy. From there we were picked up by our tour agency which held up a sign with my name on at Kalibo airport. We were taken on a bus for two hours to Caticlan where our resort, which had its own boat, picked us up and took us straight to our resort on the island. We stayed at Club Panoly, one of the best resorts which has a private beach, swimming pool, two restaurants, a cafe and a spa. It's very big with two kinds of accomodation: one kind is a high rise hotel and the other kind is single rooms in the style of native huts but with nice Western interiors! We had a wonderful time there and both of us couldn't believe how beautiful it was, we never thought that we would get to go somewhere like this in our lifetimes and especially for me at such a young age. The beach was so big but the whole day there were only about six people on it. I have to thank the Philippines for that. To see more of Club Panoly click on the link above. Remember you can click on the photos which will open a new window so that you can see them full-size.

In Christ through Mary,
Daniel


Me on the beach


My sister and I by the pool

Friday, February 03, 2006

Gonna Soak Up the Sun

I'm so excited because I'm going to Boracay island and in the words of Sheryl Crow "I'm gonna soak up the sun; I'm gonna tell everyone to lighten up". I can't believe that in 7 days my sister Clare will be here and we will be going on holiday to a beautiful resort for a much needed rest and relaxation away from my work here in Manila. It's unbelievably not only going to be the first time in over seven months that I will see one of my family but also the first and probably only time that I will meet another British person. The cultural difference here is really overwhelming, it's hard to believe how people can think and feel so differently about so many things. One of the things I read about and in the DVI information pack was the culture shock that volunteers feel not only when they depart but also when they return. This has been on my mind a lot recently especially since it's only two months until I return to England now. I wonder how I will react to being around familiar sights and sounds, tastes and textures again. I'll be sure to let you know when I find out.
Keep in touch and keep praying,
In Christ through Mary,
Daniel

Pet Peeves

Patti from Mercy Drops Falling tagged me so here goes:
Five Pet Peeves

1. People in the UK who address me as 'mate', especially when they don't know you at all (the first thing it puts me in mind of is a biological partner!). I think the Filipino "Kuya" meaning brother is much nicer.
2. People in the Philippines who call out "Joe, hey, what's up!" to me just because I'm white
3. People who spit/urinate (there are many who do this in the Philippines) in public
4. People who call me narrow minded simply because I refuse to accept the doctrine of relativism that all things can be true at any one time and there is no such thing as absolute truth
5.People who patronize me and myself when I realise that I am being patronizing

In Christ through Mary,
Daniel

Quartet Meme

Sorry I've been away for so long, the truth is that I've been going to the gym every other day and that's kind of been my focus the last few weeks. Also, I had the feeling that nobody was reading my blog but since a couple of people have asked where I am I feel motivated to carry on. I'll start with the meme of Fra Lawrence who tagged me in January:
Four Jobs I've Had in My Life:
1. Teaching Religion classes to Grade 6 students 2. A cleaner in my University Residence 3. A Subway Sandwich Artist 4. Teaching Catechism to High School Students
Four Movies I Could Watch Over and Over, and Have:1. The Harry Potter films 2. The Wizard of Oz 3. Devdas 4. The Hours
Four Places I Have Lived:1. Portsmouth/Southsea, UK (my home town) 2. London, UK 3. Manila, Philippines 4. Only three!
Four TV Shows I Love To Watch:1. Rome 2. The Gilmore Girls 3. Restoration 4. Jane Hickson's Miss Marple
Four Places I Have Been On Vacation: 1. Rome 2. Paris 3. Madrid 4. Republic of Ireland
Four Websites I Visit Daily:1. The New Liturgical Movement 2. Contemplata Aliis Tradere 3. BBC News 4. CNN
Four Favorite Foods:1. Smoked salmon 2. Pret-A-Manger 3. Thai Green Curry with Coconut Rice 4. English Fish and Chips
Four Places I Would Rather Be Right Now: 1. At home with my family 2. London 3. A gothic cathedral 4. Rome
In Christ through Mary,
Daniel

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Diocesan Religious Christmas party

Last Sunday the Diocesan Religious Christmas party marked the end of the hectic Christmas party season and we all breathed a sigh of relief. The Christmas season is a really hectic time for clergy and I know that they welcome the return of ordinary time and the corresponding slowdown in the pace of life. The point of the occasion is to bring together the various religious congregations of men and women in the diocese to get to know each other a little better.



Sisters manning the registration



Sisters of the Institute of the Virgin Mary perform their number for the evening: note the sister on the far left with the electric guitar: a modern version of Sr Maria! And no, the blue shawl is not part of their habit.


Dominican sisters of St. Catherine of Siena peform Christmas carols with the help of their colourful capes!


Sr Melba, also of the Siena congregation, sings the praise of the Child Jesus as she holds him in her arms. Note the beautiful crib arranged behind her.



Sr Anne, a french sister from the Sisters of the Good News who works in our parish sings the traditional French carol "Il est nee le divine enfant".


Our Beloved Bishop Deogracias IƱiguez giving his Christmas message.


The award winning choir of Los Remedios, a chapel in our parish perform in the language of Visayas the song which won them the acolade of best choir in Navotas.

In Christ through Mary,

Daniel

Friday, January 06, 2006

Christmas Season

The parlour games at the Parish Staff Christmas party. Something that is mostly reserved for children in the UK but is adored by Filipinos of all ages and classes. The party was held on New Year's Eve which here resembles the blitz with every family lighting so many firecrackers that the noise is non-stop from 11pm to 1am.



The intrepid welcome the New Year with Roman Candles, I'm glad the paschal candle isn't that kind of roman candle!



Young and old join in the dancing, this particular number is the "dance routine" hit of 2005, "BOP IT!"


Happy Children at one of the many Christmas parties held for the underpriviledged due to the generosity of parishioners who give their time and money

And last, but certainly not least, on January 1 we welcomed Fr Patrick into our community and it's great to have him, he's a really friendly and happy priest.
Mabuhay! Maligayang pagdating sa ating tahanan.
In Christ through Mary,
Daniel

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Merry Christmas

A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all. Sorry that I haven't posted for so long but it was so hectic here in the days leading up to Christmas and then the last few days there was no internet so there we are. I can't get blogger to put my photos up right now and I have a cold so I'm going to finish now but I'll definitely post properly tomorrow if I am able.
God Bless,
Daniel