Tag Archives: the wonder of you

The wonder of YOU

I have posted two articles with this title– all in reference to my dear wife.

This time, I am using the same title with reference to someone else. Not another woman, though. But a group of young ministers who do not cease to amaze, if not amuse, me. The series of reflections on the EDSA Revolution Anniversary last month and the resurgence of heated discussion on facebook group related to the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches (CPBC) and Convention Baptist Ministers Association (CBMA) have influenced my decision to feature this group on my blog.

In the Philippine history of struggles for change, after the euphoria of EDSA Revolution, there was resurgence of some unrest. Both political and military enmity resumed once more in the Cory government. A group of young military officers emerged looking for a coherent ideology. Using anti-American rhetoric, they claimed to lead an underground movement to overthrow then President Corazon Aquino and the system she represented. They were known as the Young Officers Union (YOU).

BGen. Danilo Lim, one of the founders of Young Officers Union

 Their shadowy existence raised speculations. Some dismissed them as public relations creation of the better-known Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM). At that time RAM’s image appeared to be tarnished because of links to discredited politicians. Others claimed the group broke with the famed Gregorio Honasan and other movement leaders for their indecisiveness and close alliance with opposition politicians. Some even believed YOU has adopted the organizational structure of the outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines as manifested in their activities and even press statements alluding to “American imperialism” and the Aquino “puppet regime“.

In 1989, they captured national spotlight when staging a nine-day siege of the Makati business district. Since then they were taken seriously to the extent of offering a bounty for the arrest of seven renegade officers identified as YOU leaders.

In my article on movement for change in the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches (CPBC), I made mentioned about the progressive pastors and seminarians in 1980’s who participated in the struggle against dictatorship, some made alliances with lay leaders that wanted changes in the CPBC. Also a group of seminarians in Panay in 2000 who staged a protest for some reform in their institution. Of course,  there may be others before or after them. Then emerged the movement of young ministers in Negros who dared to challenge the status quo perpetuated by influential ruling group. In 2006, they showed their consolidated strength by daring to challenge the veteran leadership in Negros and foretasted success when they captured the leadership in Kasapulanan.

They called themselves Young Overseers Union (YOU) with immortalized slogan “Go for Change.” In varying degrees, they have sustained their movement and made their presence felt, most often, causing discomforts to those who want to perpetuate the status quo. Their battle cry for change continue to disturb the leadership.

Covenant Signing?

Some members of YOU dsiplay their manifesto
Photo Credit: YOU Forum

While some veterans dismissed them as neophytes, other conservative leaders considered them trouble makers. However, they serve as inspiration to those who also want change. I came to know them through their former leader who was once a close friend of mine.

If my memory serves me right, they started as a Community Learning Group that meets regularly for fellowship, study, prayer and support system. But their political experience in the 2006 Kasapulanan election and subsequent CPBC election have strengthened their resolve and honed their skills in organizing. Even the betrayal and abandonment of their former leader and allies, and attempts to isolate them including threats and harassment did not deter their commitment to change. They remain undaunted,strong and productive At times, they appeared to be irreverent but the issues they raised are relevant.

Young Overseers Union

Plans over cups of coffee
Photo Credit: YOU Forum

One of my unforgettable encounters with them was during the CBMA – Negros Assembly at the Remitio Memorial Chapel, Convention Baptist Bible College, Bacolod City. Inspired by the overwhelming support to my leadership and subsequent development in the CBMA, I started to advocate, at that time, for a moratorium on pastors’ involvement in the CPBC politics which I felt should be left to our lay leaders. We were really determined to make the association soar to heights apart from CPBC.

However, during the open forum, they confronted me with harsh realities and problems in the CPBC and how pastors are used and abused by the lay in the leadership. In the course of discussion, a statement coming from them kept on ringing in my ears related to the lose of trust and confidence on the CPBC leadership. I said to myself, my God, what would happen to the CPBC if this trend continues.

Waiting for the group?

The looks that cause discomfort to some
Photo Credit: YOU Forum

Admittedly, that encounter has changed my direction and since then served as a reminder to me to carry on the principled stance, and not succumb to both pressures and enticement in the course of leadership and service. Thereafter, we shared many things in common, especially  in advocacy for change and development. Although, at times, we differ in approaches. In a way, they have ignited my  idealism and my pre EDSA commitment and courage as change advocate.  Of course, I suffered the consequences of going against the tide in the CPBC politics. Especially, when I dared to frustrate the plan/ scheme of the ruling group to perpetuate their control. I earned their brunt and had a foretaste of crude retaliation and extent of influence, manipulation and maneuver. But the members of YOU in respective areas neutralized their actions and parried some blows saving me from fatal hit.

To the young ministers, thank you for  the challenge, vigilance and idealism that made me stay grounded in principle till the end of my term. Thanks, too, for your support. Don’t lose YOUr wonder. The following lines are for YOU. YOU are in the position to lead the movement for change in our institutions and organizations.

When everyone seems to understand me
When everything I do gains support
You pose a challenge and raise endless questions 
You test my principle and conviction 
And you’re always there to call for change
In everything you do
That’s the wonder
The wonder of you

And when you confront me with the problem in our Convention
You give me reasons to change my direction 
Your commitment for change is worth a fortune
You inspire me to carry on
And you’re always there to lend a hand
When the going gets rough and tough
That’s the wonder
The wonder of you


Article first published  as The Wonder of You:3rd edition  on Padayon Katipan. The author is in the process of transferring posts from other blogs to  converge on this official website.


The wonder of you: Revised edition

No, this is not a revised edition of the song which became a top hit in 1950s. This is a revised edition of my blog posted during the birthday of my beloved wife last month.  But I really love the song as it is reflective of our  love experiences.

dzpatriarcaWritten by Baker Knight, The Wonder of you  was released as a single by American pop music singer Ray Peterson in 1959 and recorded by English singer Ronnie Hilton in the United Kingdom in the same year. Both versions became a top hits with Peterson peaking at #25 on Top 40 in US and Hilton’s version reaching #22 on the UK Singles Chart. Soon others followed their suit including the world legendary Elvis Presley which further popularized the song after its release as his single in 1970.

From the website of londonwelshmvc.org, I learned an interesting story behind the song. It was actually a spiritual search. The composer was ill at the time of writing and was searching for the Deity that would always be kind and forgiving toward him no matter what the conditions. While he couldn’t say it was written directly to God, he admitted searching for Him at that time. However, he didn’t finish the song until several weeks later. The delay made him realize that the song might also make a good love song. Since there was no Contemporary Christian music in those days, he decided to make it a love song.

I  have been inspired  to make a blog on this song. My way of expressing my gratitude to the woman whose love has created  wonders  which changed my life.

edsa shiftShe came into my life when I tried to return to the mainstream of normalcy after the EDSA Revolution in 1986. Resuming my remaining year in the seminary was not possible for technical reasons. Thus, I shifted to Social Work. No longer young as my classmates, a class period was an agony, having been conditioned to a non academic life. Making the adjustment worse was the label attached to my name because of controversial past. It included my participation in a movement of church people who participated in the struggle against dictatorship. It was sort of taboo in our denomination at that time.

Isolated from my faith community, coupled with difficulty in adjustment with studies and relationship, I was about to quit and go back to where I belong. But the thought of her made me hold on. Like me, she shifted to Social Work while in senior year in another course. It was a” love at first sight“, for me, the first time we met. A terror on her part, though, having a knowledge of my background. Thus, while I tried to get close to her, the more she distanced herself. Still, she served as a challenge to me against odds.


However, all my attempts to woo her almost came to naught, including my prayers. In desperation, I think I revealed to her my plan to stage a protest action against God. (Indeed, I was really very serious with that plan.) I didn’t know if it had a bearing in my eventual success to get her precious yes. I called her the rainbow of my life. Thereafter, the wonders in our relationship, as portrayed by the song. Hence, the lyrics of  The wonder of you with intervals of the poem I made for her more than two decades ago, are addressed to my wife, as they explicitly capture the essence of our love experiences.

When no-one else can understand me
       When everything I do is wrong
              You give me hope and consolation
                       You give me strength to carry on

Like a rainbow. . . .
you come, after the storm
you accept me just as I am
you let the sun shine through
……I am no longer the same.

And you’re always there to lend a hand
        In everything I do
             That’s the wonder
                      The wonder of you

Like a rainbow. . . .
I wish the luster would stay forever
inevitably, at times it disappears
But I don’t have fear
I know its presence is still there
to appear again after another storm

And when you smile the world is brighter
        You touch my hand and I’m a king
                Your kiss to me is worth a fortune
                       Your love for me is everything

Like a rainbow. . .
our relationship looks like a compromise
between the storm and sunlight
my life’s clouded with rainstorm
yours is brilliant as daylight.

I’ll guess I’ll never know the reason why
         You love me like you do
               That’s the wonder
                       The wonder of you

Like a rainbow. . . .
Our love will glow
to prove the paradox of life,
how contradictory forces harmonize
to show the beauty in life,
when unlike poles unite.



Snapshots of Life

Like the black and white photographlariza1
Life was so simple in the 1970s
My hairline was perceived to be that of a “conservative”
Reflective of my lifestyle and perspective

In the 80s, however, some areas turned into gray
More so, when the art of photography captivated me
My focus was  on pictures of harsh realities in the society
Likewise, in solidarity, I participated in the people’s struggle for democracy


The last quarter of the 1980s witnessed the change                                                              Lariza 3Life was added with colors.
Like the emerging fad for colored pictures
Yet, the black and white side of life did not end

Lariza 4Life became the more meaningful in 1990s
When our union produced a family
Blessed with three kids, I intended to add more
But my wife’s protested, we might not take care of them all

Lariza 5

At the dawn of a new millennium, and thereinafter
More colors were added into our family affairs.
Commitment to service was no longer an exclusive property
My wife and children became active in their respective way

Lariza 6Later, however, life has become complicated
Especially, with the resurgence of my principled stance to fight for what is right
This time, directed to our Lariza 8community of faith
For these, I almost did not make it in the first decade of the new millennium (due to serious illness).

Lariza 9

By God’s grace, I successfully crawled to the finish line to cap my leadership And continue to avail of the grace of God for another decade
Believing that there is hope, where there is breath, I never cease thanking God for the coming decades

Lariza7I do not know what snapshots of life await for me
Be it black and white or colored, come what it may
Whatever happens, God will never leave me nor forsake me
This I believe, with utmost certainty

Lariza10Looking back on the snapshots of life
I cannot find any reason to fret
Rather I have to move on and give life’s best
No matter what, I will continue to live and serve


This blog started as a photo album entitled Retrato sang Kabuhi (Snapshots of Life) I posted on Facebook on the eve of my birthday,  May 27, 2012, with captions written in our local dialect- Ilonggo.The likes and comments from friends inspired me to transform the album into a blog with English translation of the Ilonggo captions for the benefit of other readers.