Category Archives: Travel

Homily of His Holiness Pope Francis I at His Inaugural Mass

Pope Francis' I Imaugural Mass homilyHis Holiness Pope Francis I gives his Homily at His Inaugural Mass at St. Peter’s Square, Rome on March 19, 2013:

Dear Brothers and Sisters, I thank the Lord that I can celebrate this Holy Mass for the inauguration of my Petrine ministry on the solemnity of St Joseph, the spouse of the Virgin Mary and the patron of the universal Church. It is a significant coincidence, and it is also the name-day of my venerable predecessor: we are close to him with our prayers, full of affection and gratitude.

I offer a warm greeting to my brother cardinals and bishops, the priests, deacons, men and women religious, and all the lay faithful. I thank the representatives of the other churches and ecclesial communities, as well as the representatives of the Jewish community and the other religious communities, for their presence. My cordial greetings go to the Heads of State and Government, the members of the official Delegations from many countries throughout the world, and the Diplomatic Corps.

In the Gospel we heard that “Joseph did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took Mary as his wife” (Mt 1:24). These words already point to the mission which God entrusts to Joseph: he is to be the custos, the protector. The protector of whom? Of Mary and Jesus; but this protection is then extended to the Church, as Blessed John Paul II pointed out: “Just as Saint Joseph took loving care of Mary and gladly dedicated himself to Jesus Christ’s upbringing, he likewise watches over and protects Christ’s Mystical Body, the Church, of which the Virgin Mary is the exemplar and model” (Redemptoris Custos, 1).

How does Joseph exercise his role as protector? Discreetly, humbly and silently, but with an unfailing presence and utter fidelity, even when he finds it hard to understand. From the time of his betrothal to Mary until the finding of the twelve-year-old Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem, he is there at every moment with loving care. As the spouse of Mary, he is at her side in good times and bad, on the journey to Bethlehem for the census and in the anxious and joyful hours when she gave birth; amid the drama of the flight into Egypt and during the frantic search for their child in the Temple; and later in the day-to-day life of the home of Nazareth, in the workshop where he taught his trade to Jesus.

How does Joseph respond to his calling to be the protector of Mary, Jesus and the Church? By being constantly attentive to God, open to the signs of God’s presence and receptive to God’s plans, and not simply to his own. This is what God asked of David, as we heard in the first reading. God does not want a house built by men, but faithfulness to his word, to his plan. It is God himself who builds the house, but from living stones sealed by his Spirit. Joseph is a “protector” because he is able to hear God’s voice and be guided by his will; and for this reason he is all the more sensitive to the persons entrusted to his safekeeping. He can look at things realistically, he is in touch with his surroundings, he can make truly wise decisions. In him, dear friends, we learn how to respond to God’s call, readily and willingly, but we also see the core of the Christian vocation, which is Christ! Let us protect Christ in our lives, so that we can protect others, so that we can protect creation!

The vocation of being a “protector”, however, is not just something involving us Christians alone; it also has a prior dimension which is simply human, involving everyone. It means protecting all creation, the beauty of the created world, as the Book of Genesis tells us and as Saint Francis of Assisi showed us. It means respecting each of God’s creatures and respecting the environment in which we live. It means protecting people, showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those in need, who are often the last we think about. It means caring for one another in our families: husbands and wives first protect one another, and then, as parents, they care for their children, and children themselves, in time, protect their parents. It means building sincere friendships in which we protect one another in trust, respect, and goodness. In the end, everything has been entrusted to our protection, and all of us are responsible for it. Be protectors of God’s gifts!

Whenever human beings fail to live up to this responsibility, whenever we fail to care for creation and for our brothers and sisters, the way is opened to destruction and hearts are hardened. Tragically, in every period of history there are “Herods” who plot death, wreak havoc, and mar the countenance of men and women.

Please, I would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life, and all men and women of goodwill: let us be “protectors” of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment. Let us not allow omens of destruction and death to accompany the advance of this world! But to be “protectors”, we also have to keep watch over ourselves! Let us not forget that hatred, envy and pride defile our lives! Being protectors, then, also means keeping watch over our emotions, over our hearts, because they are the seat of good and evil intentions: intentions that build up and tear down! We must not be afraid of goodness or even tenderness!

Here I would add one more thing: caring, protecting, demands goodness, it calls for a certain tenderness. In the Gospels, Saint Joseph appears as a strong and courageous man, a working man, yet in his heart we see great tenderness, which is not the virtue of the weak but rather a sign of strength of spirit and a capacity for concern, for compassion, for genuine openness to others, for love. We must not be afraid of goodness, of tenderness!

Today, together with the feast of Saint Joseph, we are celebrating the beginning of the ministry of the new Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Peter, which also involves a certain power. Certainly, Jesus Christ conferred power upon Peter, but what sort of power was it? Jesus’ three questions to Peter about love are followed by three commands: feed my lambs, feed my sheep. Let us never forget that authentic power is service, and that the Pope too, when exercising power, must enter ever more fully into that service which has its radiant culmination on the Cross. He must be inspired by the lowly, concrete and faithful service which marked Saint Joseph and, like him, he must open his arms to protect all of God’s people and embrace with tender affection the whole of humanity, especially the poorest, the weakest, the least important, those whom Matthew lists in the final judgment on love: the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and those in prison (cf. Mt 25:31-46). Only those who serve with love are able to protect!

In the second reading, Saint Paul speaks of Abraham, who, “hoping against hope, believed” (Rom 4:18). Hoping against hope! Today too, amid so much darkness, we need to see the light of hope and to be men and women who bring hope to others. To protect creation, to protect every man and every woman, to look upon them with tenderness and love, is to open up a horizon of hope; it is to let a shaft of light break through the heavy clouds; it is to bring the warmth of hope! For believers, for us Christians, like Abraham, like Saint Joseph, the hope that we bring is set against the horizon of God, which has opened up before us in Christ. It is a hope built on the rock which is God.

To protect Jesus with Mary, to protect the whole of creation, to protect each person, especially the poorest, to protect ourselves: this is a service that the Bishop of Rome is called to carry out, yet one to which all of us are called, so that the star of hope will shine brightly. Let us protect with love all that God has given us!

I implore the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, Saints Peter and Paul, and Saint Francis, that the Holy Spirit may accompany my ministry, and I ask all of you to pray for me! Amen.


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Petition to STOP Cruelty to dogs in China: Pls. sign in the comments area

Reposted from here

dog cruelty 4dog cruelty 2dog cruelty 3


Through Mr. Obama (US President) and
Mr. Barroso (President of the European Commission),

We are all world citizens and were shocked to see how the Dogs are treated and killed in China, as you can see directly from the snapshots above and in this video below.

We do not need words, because we don’t have any word, to comment on the brutality and ferocity of what we saw, and we don’t have the courage and strength to review the video twice.

The DOG is always considered, by all civilizations, man’s best friend and it never hesitated to sacrifice its life for men.

For this and other many reasons, we want all together to make our voices heard because this senseless cruelty is stopped, the dogs’ dignity, as well as that of every living creature is respected, and it will be sent an official note by the European Commission and US Government to the Chinese Government because this brutal and uncivilized practice will be stopped immediately.


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Text PPUR, send to 2861 (Smart, Globe, Sun)

Chance to win P50,000 daily

P25MILLION on 11 November 2011

Let us all VOTE to make our very own
Puerto Princesa Underground River one of
the 7 Wonders of the New World.

Text PPUR, send to 2861
(Smart, Globe, Sun)
1 send is P2.50 = 2 raffle tickets

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Posted by on November 9, 2011 in Education, Events, People, Travel


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NAIA 1 voted world’s worst airport

The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 was voted the world’s worst airport for 2011 by readers of “The Guide to Sleeping in Airports,” a site that reviews the quality and facilities of the world’s airports.

Its primary audience seems to be budget travelers who see sleeping in airports as one way to save money during their journeys.

Among the array of problems cited by international passengers who managed to survive the airport were theft, bribery, and the absence of toilet seats and running water in the bathrooms.

One reader had this experience:

“A big bucket with a dipper was by the front door (of the restroom) and about four attendants hassled me for a tip. When I asked a security guard where the smoking area was he told me to follow him… and he took me outside where he then insisted on a bribe before he let me back into the terminal.”

NAIA does have a recently opened Terminal 3 with better facilities, but “The Guide to Sleeping in Airports” reminded readers that it was deemed “structurally flawed.”

NAIA-1’s ratings worsened from the site’s 2010 assessment that it was the world’s 5th worst airport and the worst only in Asia.

“Earlier this year, some bad press regarding the state of the airport made airport officials promise to clean its Terminal 1 toilets and provide running water and soap. Imagine… they actually had to ‘promise’ to offer this!” the site said.

“The Guide to Sleeping in Airports” also pointed out physical hazards that recently plagued NAIA-1, including the collapse of its Bay 7 ceiling in May.

The basic design of its facilities poses risks. According to passenger Tiffycality, “Their arrival ramp is not user friendly because it slopes downward!! If you happen to be pushing your loads of baggages through this ramp watch out or your baggage might get to the bottom of the ramp before you!!”

The woes of NAIA-1 go beyond poor facilities, the site pointed out.

“The amount of corruption and bribery is just mind-blowing,” says Shizumasa.

“Airport taxes are collected,” the site explained, “but the money does not seem to go towards the betterment of the airport. Document holders have been told their papers are not correct, but a fee of x amount should clear up the matter.”

The site seems to share the same conclusion as this reader: “The worst airport on the planet. It has to be experienced to be believed.”

Blogger: Manila ‘a dump’

NAIA’s poor ranking received media attention at a time when a blog calling Manila “a dump” was going viral in the Philippines.

The brutally negative review of Manila came from Englishman Geoffrey James Quartermain Bastin, who claimed he has worked “on-and-off” in the Philippines since 1991 and tagged Manila as the “disgrace of Southeast Asia.”

The effects of such negative publicity on Philippine tourism remain to be seen, amid Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez’s campaign for Filipinos to sell the Philippine brandthrough social media.

Earlier, Jimenez said the Philippines is not difficult to sell. “This is the most beautiful country in the world. One of the ten most beautiful countries in the world. There is no reason we won’t succeed,” he noted.

With Paterno Esmaquel II/VS/HS


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Marathon du Medoc

A 26 mile médoc wine tasting marathon

The Marathon du Médoc is steeped in folklore – most of it true. 26 miles of fine wining and dining around south western France? Yes. Fancy dress costumes and dancing girls holding up numbers to count down to the start? Yes. Feed stations around a route that reads more like a wine list than a race course: fabulous Medoc wine – Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Lynch-Bages, Pichon Lonqueville, Beychevelles among others?

However, despite the emphasis on fun, and the gastronomic and viticultural aspects of the race, the ” Médoc ” is nonetheless a real Marathon – 26.2 miles or 42.195 km measured officially. The records for the race, at 2h 19’20” for men and 2 h 38’34” for women, are not to be sniffed at (unlike many of the exquisite Medoc wine vintages these athletes must have abstained from on their way past). Nevertheless, record breaking is low down the list of this marathon’s objectives. It describes itself as the longest, i.e. slowest marathon in the world. The registration form explicitly discourages entries from individuals obsessed with speed records or from anyone “sad, unfriendly or stressed out.” Unlike other marathons, which typically reward the fastest finishers with certificates or trophies, this one presents the winner with their body weight in Medoc wine and gives you a medal if you cross the finish line within six and a half hours.

2009’s fancy dress theme was a beach party, and I spoke to Melanie McCullagh, one of the British contingent lucky enough to get a place in the event, and who in her Hawaiian-themed running regalia was one of the more soberly dressed participants. “I’ve run several marathons before in London and Nottingham which have had good atmospheres, but the marathon du Médoc is a fantastic event! I didn’t sample absolutely all the wines, but the atmosphere was amazing. People had really gone to town on their costumes and the organisers had gone to a huge effort to make it a fun event!”

Any medical risks which derive from the combining of alcohol with exercise appear to be of small concern, least of all to the doctors who founded the marathon. The race which has been held every September since 1985 was dreamt up to celebrate ‘pleasure not pain’, and every year a medical conference is convened in conjunction with the race that focuses on the physiological effects of endurance sport. By way of example, past seminars have included expositions on “Meat and Long Distance Running.”

Meat made a more than minor appearance at the pre race pasta-party the night before the race itself. It is de rigueur for runners to load up on carbohydrates on the eve of a marathon, however, at the start village of Pauillac the event, called “Soirée Mille-Pâtes,” goes beyond the promised pasta. In fact, for a pasta-based event the attitude to carbohydrate is distinctly French – i.e. why waste time on that Italian nonsense when there is a delicious meaty stew and a good slug of red Medoc wine to wash it down instead?

During the race itself protein rather than carbohydrate was again in good evidence but the gastronomic temptations built to a crescendo with the passing miles. Official snacks in the earlier stages included bananas, raisins and oranges, plus little cocktail crackers resembling mini pizzas. Almost the perfect canapé to begin with, starting gently in the knowledge that oysters await at mile 23… Sure enough 22,000 molluscs shucked by a dedicated team of over 40 volunteers were piled high in dozens of tubs, slices of fresh lemon alongside at the ready. Bivalves as sports fuel? Not everyone was convinced, but perhaps a subject worthy of next year’s pre-race medical symposium? Mind you, the volunteers weren’t too shy at testing and tasting their own handiwork – all in the interests of quality control – and washed down with a glass (not a paper cup) of crisp white.

For main course freshly grilled beef at mile 24, followed a mile later by the cheese course for those with the cast iron constitution to take it. And at the finish? A goody bag containing – a bottle of Médoc wine of course!

By Marie Dwivkidz
more here
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Posted by on September 1, 2011 in Events, Food & Drink, Travel


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