Apr 102014
 

With the Holy Week just around the bend, we find it opportune to offer incense starter kits for those who burn incense for prayer, particularly those who are just starting the practice.  These are sold in sets.  Items are not sold individually.  These items are hard to find — if ever — here in Cebu or in the Philippines.  Stocks for these are limited.

Incense Starter Set A

incense-starter-set-a-0203

This set includes the following:

  • Basic Incense Burner Cup
    • made of brass
    • includes brass screen
    • 2.5 in. diameter, 2.5 in. height
    • decorative etching
    • free trivet
  • Pontifex incense blend (1/2 oz) – Pontifex brings together frankincense, myrrh, aromatic herbs and spices, and essential oils  to create the traditional incense scent common in many of Vatican City’s churches, cathedrals, shrines, and basilicas.  It exudes a bright and sweet aroma, with hints of spice and mild florals.  This mix of loose grains is of top-notch quality, perfect for use at High Mass or private prayer.
  • Gifts from the East incense blend (1/2 oz)If the mix of pure frankincense and pure myrrh is the base of all blends — the fundamental, classic blend — then Gifts from the East takes the fundamental blend a few notches higher.  This ancient recipe brings together frankincense, myrrh, and benzoin granules (in black, red, and natural colors) to create a clean, crisp, and strong scent suffused with floral notes.  It is perfect for silent meditation, daily Mass, or private prayer.
  • Pure Northeast African Frankincense (1/2 oz) — This comes as small-size grains or tears imported from Northeastern Africa.  Being of natural origin, it burns very cleanly and does not leave any molten residue or charred leftovers long after it has released its lingering, vivid, and fluid lemony aroma with hints of evergreen.  Pure frankincense resin was treasured especially by Coptic Christians in Northeast Africa, by the Byzantine Empire, and nearly all of Christendom.  This can be burned alone, with myrrh, or in a blend/mix and is perfect for prayers at any time of the day or night.
  • Pure Northeast African Myrrh (1/2 oz) — This type of myrrh produces a clear, subdued, earthy-watery scent with faint notes of dried leaves crushed after being soaked in the rain.  The very clear, fluid, and smooth aroma sometines transitions into a soft bitter, woody scent before ending in the plain scent of slow-burning wood.  It does not irritate the eyes or nose.  Like pure frankincense, Northeast African Myrrh can be burned alone, although the practice is not very common.  It is best burned with frankincense or in a blend/mix.  The relaxing scent of myrrh when burned alone makes it perfect for meditation, quiet reflection, and private prayer.
  • FREE Self-lighting Basilica-grade Charcoal (4 tablets)
  • FREE shipping within Cebu Province

Price: PHP 1,815.00
Shipping add-on (outside Cebu Province): PHP 60.00
Availability: 1 Set Left; May be preordered

Incense Starter Set B

incense-starter-set-b-0200

This set includes the following:

  • Small Incense Burner Bowl
    • made of brass
    • includes brass screen
    • 3.0 in. diameter, 1.75 in. height
    • gold or silver/chrome finish
    • free trivet
  • Pontifex incense blend (1/2 oz) (see description in Incense Starter Set A)
  • Gifts from the East incense blend (1/2 oz) (see description in Incense Starter Set A)
  • Pure Northeast African Frankincense (1/2 oz) (see description in Incense Starter Set A)
  • Pure Northeast African Myrrh (1/2 oz) (see description in Incense Starter Set A)
  • FREE Self-lighting Basilica-grade Charcoal (4 tablets)
  • FREE shipping within Cebu Province

Price: PHP 1,405.00
Shipping add-on (outside Cebu Province): PHP 60.00
Availability: In Stock

Incense Starter Set C

incense-starter-set-c-0205

This set includes the following:

  • Deep Incense Burner Urn
    • made of brass
    • includes brass  screen
    • 3.5 in. diameter, 4.0 in. height
    • decorative etching
    • free trivet
  • Pontifex incense blend (1/2 oz) (see description in Incense Starter Set A)
  • Gifts from the East incense blend (1/2 oz) (see description in Incense Starter Set A)
  • Pure Northeast African Frankincense (1/2 oz) (see description in Incense Starter Set A)
  • Pure Northeast African Myrrh (1/2 oz) (see description in Incense Starter Set A)
  • FREE Self-lighting Basilica-grade Charcoal (4 tablets)
  • FREE shipping within Cebu Province

Price: PHP 2,270.00
Shipping add-on (outside Cebu Province): PHP 60.00
Availability: Sold Out (but you may pre-order)

Shipping and Delivery

Orders are shipped right away after payment is received and cleared.  Only next-day, door-to-door delivery is available.  Shipping/delivery is free within Cebu Province.

Payment Method

The following payment methods are accepted (in order of preference):

  • PayPal (accepts major credit cards)
  • direct bank deposit
  • intrabank fund transfer

Contact Information

For orders, inquiries, comments, suggestions, etc., please email thep...@gmail.com or send SMS to 0922-242-2184.  No calls, please.

Mar 142011
 

One click of a mouse or cell phone button. That’s all the effort it will take for useful information to be sent to many. That’s also the same amount of effort to send misinformation to many. Welcome to the world of viral communication brought about by information technology.

Information technology is a double-edged sword. In the hands of a vigilant and thinking user, it can be used to virally spread inspiration, hope, healing, and timely and accurate information. In the hands of morons—of which there are countless here in Cebu, the Philippines, and, as a matter of fact, the whole world—it can be the Sword of Destruction. For fairness’ sake, most of those morons are well-meaning—but morons just the same. (Why? You actually think good intention is the precondition to being not a moron?)

In good times and bad times, try not to help spread rumors, speculations, and misinformation by thinking critically (and, if possible, by verifying your sources of information) before you press that button. Especially in times of catastrophe—whether immediate to you or not—avoid further agitating people’s fears, or stoking the flames of panic that can often be more disastrous than the disaster itself.

You do have a cell phone, don’t you? You’re on unlimited text/call subscription, aren’t you? You do have access to email and the Internet for sure (because you’re reading this rant online). You’re using information technology right now. And the Sword is in your hands. Wield and use it to build and heal, rather than to sow chaos, panic, and destruction.

For those who have unknowingly forwarded rumors about the Japan quake (particularly about the valid scare about radioactive materials reaching Philippine shores via wind or water), here’s something you can virally spread via social networking sites, text messages, email, and the like:

National Radiological Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan (RADPLAN)

National Radiological Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan (RADPLAN) (downloadable as a PDF file; about 1.1 MB). This document has been prepared by the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI), an attached agency of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). It is a mirror copy of the one from http://www.pnri.dost.gov.ph/documents/radplan.pdf, which takes centuries to download.

The document contains answers to common questions related to nuclear emergencies such as the following:

  1. What is a radiation-related emergency or radiological emergency?
  2. What are the different types of radiological emergencies?
  3. What are the levels of radiological emergencies?
  4. What is a radiation-related emergency or radiological emergency?
  5. What organizations will be involved in a national radiological emergency response?
  6. How will the operations in a national emergency be managed?
  7. What should the public do in case of radiation-related emergencies

Feel free to forward this public document to as many people as you can. Avoid downloading the PDF file from the PNRI website in order to take load off its servers.

(Special thanks to Dave Bargamento for the huge help in retrieving this document.)

Dec 242010
 

Christmas is NOT about Santa Claus.

Christmas is NOT about noche buena.

Christmas is NOT about peace, justice, forgiveness, reconciliation, love.

Christmas is NOT about gifts.

Christmas is NOT about family.

Christmas is NOT about partying with friends.

Christmas is NOT about children or the children-at-heart.

What, then, is Christmas all about?

Or, the better question would be, WHOM is Christmas all about?

Christmas is all about a newborn child, a specific kid—not kids in general.

Christmas is about that boy, whose nanay and tatay were refused accommodation in the inns.

Christmas is about that boy, born in a stable, wrapped in cloths used by commoners.

Christmas is about that boy, whose birth was witnessed by animals.

Christmas is about that boy, whose birth was the cause of angels’ partying.

Christmas is about that boy, whose first human visitors were common folk—shepherds, to be precise.

Christmas is about that boy, whose birthplace was pointed to by a brilliant star.

Christmas is about that boy, who was worshipped like a king by three star-studying scholars from distant lands.

Christmas is about that boy, who was the target of a shoot-to-kill manhunt ordered by a jealous king.

You would think that Christmas is about joy and laughter.  You are wrong.  Christmas is about humiliation, self-humiliation of a God who had to take on human flesh in order to carry out a salvific plan.  The humiliation of Christmas is the direct contrast of the exaltation and victory of Easter.  Yet, one cannot exist without the other, and both are inextricable threads of the whole salvation story.

What, then, is Christmas all about?

Or, the better question would be, WHOM is Christmas all about?

Once you realize the answer, you will discover many of your Christmas rituals and activities meaningless, until you bring Christ back into Christ-mas.

Photo credits: “Nativity” (http://ladymacbeth86.deviantart.com/) and “Christmas” (http://www.sxc.hu/profile/klsa12)

Jan 012004
 

As children, we used to chant whenever it rains, “Rain, Rain, go away. Come again another day. Little so-and-so wants to play.” The chant sometimes worked—and it would bewilder us. Sometimes the chant failed to work its wonder—and we would play under the rain anyway, that is, if Nanay allowed us to.

There is something about the rain that makes me feel comfortable. It’s probably the way it lowers the temperature. Definitely, the mantric pitter-patter of raindrops falling on the roof and the way the rain makes the leaves sing a song of their own all add to the mesmerizing effect. Rain soothes me, pretty much like a lullabye does.

Everytime it rains, I feel vulnerable, like a distraught child being calmed down. That’s exactly what I felt like today. All throughout the day, the rain has been pouring, with intermittent letups. And, just tonight, it poured down hard.

Something about the rain makes me want to escape it, yet something about it makes me not want it to stop. That’s what makes me believe rain is magical.

Maybe, the coolness of the rain intensifies the pleasure of warmth. I guess the contrasting feelings make the difference. If not for the cold weather, I would not appreciate the warmth of coffee, of a hug, of hot noodles, of my blanket. In contrast, if not for hot weather, I would not appreciate the coolness of the airconditioner, of the ice in cold beverages, of the shade that trees give.

(First published on my private blog in 2004.)

Photo credit: “Rain Dance 03″ (http://fbuk.deviantart.com/)

Jan 012004
 

I just learned today that Bigfoot had rejected my application for a position as Copywriter. So far, only two of the companies that I applied in have rejected my applications—Bigfoot and Convergys. I was truly interested in the Convergys post—they were looking for a Communications and Culture Trainer. As for Bigfoot, I was already starting to imagine what it would be like to work as Copywriter there. They have the reputation of having a loose policy on office wear. I’ve seen their employees go to work wearing shorts and slippers. I have learned to love the idea of working in such a non-restrictive environment.

Perhaps my desperation over having a stable job has heightened the disappointment that I felt in these recent rejections. I may have been too seriously engrossed in looking for a job that I forgot what it was like to enjoy the hunt. I remember the lesson I learned from my past achievements. That lesson was to never care about the outcome of the search—just to enjoy the search.

When I graduated with honors in high school, it was not such a big deal—I would not have felt less happier if I didn’t get the gold medal. When I won as National Champion in the Copywriting and Headline Writing Contest of the National Schools Press Conference in Malolos, Bulacan in 1995, it was not such a big deal—I would not have felt any less victorious if I received no award. When I sat down inside the contest room with the other student contestants, I did not feel very scared or nervous; I was calm and was just trying to do my best and enjoy whatever it is I was doing—and leave the rest to the judges. When I applied for the Ten Most Outstanding High School Students of Cebu award in 1996, I didn’t really look forward to being granted the award. I got awarded anyway. Though, I wouldn’t have felt bad if I didn’t make it. After all, my goal was not the award, but the enjoyment of having participated.

That’s why I’m rather surprised at my disappointed feelings. I wasn’t like this before. And, now I know why I feel this way. I better reflect on what’s happening before I take the qualifying exam tomorrow for Phil-Am Outsourcing Solutions, Inc. I’ve sent them my application for Copywriter, and they’ve asked me to take the qualifying exam tomorrow.

Tomorrow, as I sit down for the exam, with my pencil in my hand, I will keep reminding myself, “Em, enjoy this. Don’t think you will get something out of this. Just enjoy doing this.” Who knows? That just might do the trick. So, Em, do not care if you lose. You may win a game, but if you did not enjoy it, you are no better than the one who lost yet enjoyed it.

(First published on my private blog in mid-2004.  I was on the prowl for a job at that time.)

Jan 012004
 

I grieve now. For a loss. And I grieve with all my heart.

I could only wish for time to fly by as fast as it could.

I wish to close my eyes in the night and not wake up to any morning.

I wish to shut myself from the world, and grieve in private.

For I have lost something dear to me, something precious, something I would want to be mine alone but couldn’t.

My soul grieves. My soul cries. My eyes bear no tears. Death is not half as horrifying as the grief I feel now. The world around me will go on turning. The feast will not wait for me. The show must go on without me.

Let the world move onwards without me, for I grieve now, and I can’t grieve and run at the same time. My grief takes away most of my energy for running, and whatever is left is eaten up by my grief.

I can do nothing now. I grieve and I have none left for me.

Oh, the grief of having to regain trust that has been broken! Oh, the loneliness! The sorrow! The torment! The anguish! The agony!

Thorn upon thorn upon my head, within my thoughts, around my heart. Oh, day of a million sorrows! Be gone from me, insolent creature of sadness. Depart from me, loathsome shadow of despair.

Or just give me death. Death–the blessing of eternal oblivion. A burden lighter than the slow and grinding and long moment of grief. Spare me from the crushing grip of grief, oh Death! Save me from this coldness, this emptiness, this dark and lonely cave where my demons torture me each second.

Put me to sleep, if not temporarily, then at least eternally.

For grief has come to visit and spite me, to raid my home of every warmth that it has left in the hearth. And I am now stricken with fear, paralyzed with helplessness, by its presence in my house.

(First published on my private blog in 2004.)

Jan 012004
 

Where are you, my beloved? You who unceasingly professed love and affection for me, where are you?

You hide yourself from me at this time when I’m in the pit of despair and agony, at this time in my life when all my sins pin me down and I need a Simon to help me bear my yoke all the way to Golgotha? Where are you, sweet creature, at this most bitter hour of my need?

You are far away from me. The seas divide us and keep us apart. Not even the swiftest of thoughts dare bridge us now.

Nor the warm breath of your thought could give me solace and comfort on this cold night. I shiver. I shake. I convulse with fright and fear at uncertainty.

You used to fan the flames of my hearth with your words professing love. But the embers are dead tonight. The ashes are cold. Only the black, charred remains of the fire that once raged are left. And their loneliness shatters the silence, their loneliness narrates the detailed story of pain. In the cold darkness, they bear witness to the transience of everything and pay homage to the Law of the Non-Eternal. In the dark coldness, they groan silently with me.

Ignorance abounds. The absence of joy is too glaring. The night will be long. Sunrise is far away. The sun has just set. Night is setting in, heralded by the dusk, the light dying at twilight. The curtain falls. The spotlight fades. The party’s over. Tomorrow is yet a dream about to come true.

I yearn for dawn. Even just the mere thought of the first glimmer of a soft sunbeam would be enough to get me through this night.

But there’s no sign of light anytime soon.

Everything is in complete darkness.

I have been blinded by the darkness.

I now live in oblivion.

(First published on my private blog in 2004.)

Jan 012004
 

Do I deserve all these?

Yes. I do.

Nothing happens without a reason. I may not have the insight to understand the reasons right now, but my current inability to understand does not preclude the existence of reasons. Someday I shall understand.

Nothing happens that is undeserved. I deserve all the pain, as well as the pleasures. I deserve all the good, as well as the bad. I deserve all the tears, as well as the laughter. I deserve everything that happened to me, is happening to me, and will be happening to me.

Why? Because these are the things I’ve been asking for all along—whether consciously or unconsciously—and I deserve them. I have to learn to embrace them, and welcome them as part of me.

Who I am right now is meant for the things that I’m getting. The kind of person that I was, am, and will be attracts these very things. And I shouldn’t begrudge myself, or other people, because of these. After all, I’ve been asking the Universe for these.

If there’s one precious lesson that I rediscovered today, it is this:

Be careful what you ask for—you just might get it.

The Universe always grants your wishes—those that you make consciously, as well as the ones that your heart secretly murmurs. The Universe always grants your wishes, sometimes immediately, sometimes at a later time. Regardless of when your wishes are granted, the fact remains that once you wish for them, they will be granted.

The Universe doesn’t miss.

And with every wish that is granted comes a consequence. Nothing comes for free, I guess. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. That’s the Law of the Universe. You don’t get anything for free.

Am I willing to pay the price?

I’m still paying the price.

(First published on my private blog in late 2004.)

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