A Prayer from a Catholic Filipino Sinner

A Prayer from a Catholic Filipino Sinner

by Jem De Ocampo

Father God, you rule over both conquerors and conquered, and You had Your Only Begotten Son descended from them both as He was born on earth. We Catholic Filipinos claim to fight for Your glory, yet like those fools of old and new we vow not to be like, we betray our own kind, the rest of the world, and most of all, You. Thank You very much for fighting against our evil as much as You grow our good, much like how You guided Moses and the Israelites in their Exodus from Egypt. Please continue guiding us, and guide not only us Filipinos but also those of other nations, even those who oppress, for they are among us humans You created as well. Please strengthen us and use us for Your glory.

By Your Passion, Lord Jesus, You are able to use even this humiliating history we Filipinos have with the Church as well to bring us closer to You. We who are supposed to be faithful to You betrayed You along with our brethren so many times that we very much don’t deserve Your love now, yet You continue to help us move better for Your glory without compromise. Thank You very much for having lived with us on earth, showing that You also understand our struggles through Your lowly life in a conquered land filled with weary citizens. Please continue walking with us, and please keep on giving our suffering meaning. Please strengthen us and use us for Your glory.

You brought the gift of tongues upon Mother Mary and the Apostles, Holy Spirit, and You have more in store for us Filipinos as well. But while we Filipinos have gained quite an affinity for what we consider foreign as well, we tend to use it for selfish aims, whether as individuals or as a collective, much like those oppressive foreigners and privileged we criticize. Thank You very much for making our selfish endeavors backfire on us, too. Please continue shaping us the way You want to and make us true Filipinos according to Your will, whatever circumstances we come from. Please strengthen us and use us for Your glory.

Saint Lorenzo Ruiz and Saint Pedro Calungsod, please pray for us. You served God while living with colonizers, and you laid your whole lives as witness to Him. You faced people who understandably refused to be conquered by foreigners as you tried to help them be closer to God, and you fervently believed in His strength and persistently lived His Good News even as martyrdom was revealed to be your fate. So with the Communion of Saints made up of many faithful from across the world and its history, please pray for us.

And Mother Mary, Strongest Woman, please pray for us. You believed in God as you, Saint Joseph, and the Child Jesus fled from the oppressors within your beloved native land, even as it meant hiding within the land of those who once enslaved your people. You also stood with the Apostles as the Holy Spirit came during Pentecost, when foreigners and locals were surprised by the uniting power of God Almighty. So with the Saints you rule over, please pray for us.

So this prayer goes in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,


Some of Jesus’ Lessons and Miracles If They Happened in 21st Century Philippines

Some of Jesus’ Lessons and Miracles If They Happened in 21st Century Philippines

an Ordinary Time reflection by The Overlord Bear/Jem De Ocampo

“And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and kneeling before him said,

‘Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly; for often he falls into the fire, and often into the water.

And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.’

And Jesus answered, ‘O faithless and perverse generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.’

And Jesus rebuked him, and the demon came out of him, and the boy was cured instantly.

Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, ‘Why could we not cast it out?’

He said to them, ‘Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you’” (Matthew 17:14-20).

Continue reading “Some of Jesus’ Lessons and Miracles If They Happened in 21st Century Philippines”

Reactions to the Resurrected 21st Century Filipino Jesus Christ

Reactions to the Resurrected 21st Century Filipino Jesus Christ

an Easter reflection by The Overlord Bear/Jem De Ocampo

“Jesus said to him, ‘You have believed because you have seen me. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe’” (John 20:29).

Continue reading “Reactions to the Resurrected 21st Century Filipino Jesus Christ”

The 21st Century Pinoy Sorrowful Mysteries

The 21st Century Pinoy Sorrowful Mysteries

a Lenten reflection by The Overlord Bear/Jem De Ocampo

“One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, ‘Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!’

But the other rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not fear God, since your are under the same sentence of condemnation?

And we indeed justly; for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.’

And he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come in your kingly power.’

And he said to him, ‘Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise’” (Luke 23:39-43).

Continue reading “The 21st Century Pinoy Sorrowful Mysteries”

If the Nativity Happened in Today’s Philippines

If the Nativity Happened in Today’s Philippines

a Christmas reflection by The Overlord Bear/Jem De Ocampo

“Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him.

John would have prevented him, saying ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’

But Jesus answered him, ‘Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness.’ Then he consented” (Matthew 3:13-15).

Continue reading “If the Nativity Happened in Today’s Philippines”

Penman No. 337: A Perfect Ending

Gonna miss ya, Sir. Thanks very much again for all the great lessons, then!

Pinoy Penman 3.0

IMG_9010.jpegPenman for Monday, January 21, 2019

I RETIRED last week after 35 years of service at the University of the Philippines, and I celebrated the special day with UP friends at a dinner graciously hosted by UP President Danilo Concepcion at his official residence, the newly renovated Executive House.

Standing in a wooded corner of Diliman close to C. P. Garcia, the Executive House was built by President Vicente Sinco in the late 1950s, and in its early years no president really lived there, but it became the venue for lively faculty colloquia, involving such intellectual stalwarts of the time as O.D. Corpuz, Ricardo Pascual, Cesar Adib Majul, Leopoldo Yabes, and Concepcion Dadufalza. When President Salvador P. Lopez decided to move with his wife into the place in 1969, they were reportedly met, in typical UP fashion, by a posse of protesters insisting on certain demands.

These historical precedents were…

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Penman No. 330: From Parrots to Maroons

The hype is crazy, and this also has quite some stuff to learn about my uni, so yeah~

Pinoy Penman 3.0

up-maroons-86-championship.jpgPenman for Monday, December 3, 2018

I HAD a whole other column lined up for this Monday, but that’s going to have to wait after last Wednesday’s titanic ballgame—you all know what I’m referring to, that heart-stopping semifinal do-or-die clash between the Adamson Soaring Falcons and the UP Fighting Maroons for a spot in the UAAP finals. Without a ticket to the live game at the Araneta Coliseum, I watched the nailbiter on a giant screen at the UP Theater with 2,000 other maroon-shirted fans, and screamed my head off as shrilly as the girls around me when UP sealed the 89-87 win with a shot in the closing seconds.

I can’t say that I’m a huge basketball fan—I hardly know what’s going on in the NBA or PBA—but I’m a big fan of school spirit, and have cheered for UP since my mother (BSE, 1956) indoctrinated me by playing…

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Penman No. 325: Free to Think, Free to Speak

A refreshing piece about the university I wanna clown lots yet still thank very much.

Pinoy Penman 3.0

IMG_0438.jpgPenman for Monday, October 29, 2018

I’VE BEEN seeing frothy messages on the Internet calling for the University of the Philippines to be shut down because it seems to be producing nothing more than anti-government critics and rebels (and, uhm, five out the seven new National Artists announced last week).

It’s no big secret that rebellion and resistance are coded into UP’s DNA, because it has always encouraged critical thinking, which in turn encourages—at least for a while, until complacency sets in—an attitude of dissent, of anti-authoritarianism, of rejection of the status quo. That’s how knowledge happens, as every scientist since Galileo has affirmed. Learning to lead requires critical thinking; learning to follow demands nothing more than blind conformity.

Apply that to the political sphere, and not surprisingly, UP has for the past century been a crucible of protest, against both internal and external forces seeking to influence its constituents’…

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Penman No. 320: On Academic Freedom

Well, this is quite a refreshing read, alright. Makes me feel less like I’m being forced into silence whenever I’m in class, yo~

Pinoy Penman 3.0

Avatars.pngPenman for Monday, September 24, 2018

Let me dwell this week on the idea of academic freedom, which has been in focus again recently in the light of controversies involving conflicting ideologies on campus. It’s important because universities are the natural home of ideas, and therefore for clashes of ideas, which then take various forms of political and cultural expression.

Modern (and especially secular) universities stand on the bedrock of academic freedom, which at its simplest means one’s freedom to choose what to study and what to teach, and giving value to knowledge—not power, not money, not superstition—as our best guide to the way forward. That knowledge can be gained through research and reason, through experimentation, debate, and creative intuition. Hopefully that knowledge will yield better options for a thinking citizen.

That’s the basic concept, and while it sounds like something no one should quarrel with, the fact is that…

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Penman No. 233: A Ray of Filmic Sunshine

And now, my favorite professor’s thoughts on some local cinema developments.

Pinoy Penman 3.0

Sunday_Beauty_Queen_poster.jpgPenman for Monday, January 9, 2017

AS SOMEONE who wrote about 25 full-length screenplays for various film projects and directors in another life between the late 1970s and early 2000s, I really should be more interested in the remarkable developments that have taken place since in local cinema, especially on the indie scene.

But I have to confess, with some guilt and shame, that I haven’t kept up with what our younger, post-Brocka and post-Bernal directors have produced, except for the occasional viewing of a Brillante Mendoza or a Lav Diaz film, or outstanding documentaries such as last year’s Curiosity, Adventure and Love and An Open Door: Jewish Rescue in the Philippines. There are some personal reasons for this estrangement (not worth getting into at this time), but I do realize that I’ve missed out on a lot of good material while bingeing unpatriotically on Hollywood and Netflix.

I must…

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