Monday, April 16, 2012


Baby Pia!
A baby is a blessing from God. And so whenever my friends and acquaintances ask me to become a Godfather of their child, I always reply with a "yes."

In the Philippines, I had a few Godchildren. Some of them are one to three years old. While some are grown up. And whenever I hear good stories about them, I feel very proud and happy for them.

Just recently, my supah friend Lisa and Kuya Rhenee asked me to be the Godfather of their miracle baby named PIa Maria Isabelle. The moment I got the text message from them, a smile surfaced on my face. Apart from the fact that Lisa and Kuya Rhenee's entrust me their angel, what's more exciting is that Baby Pia is my first ever inaanak in Brunei Darussalam.

Truth be told, I've always been amazed with Lisa and Kuya Rhenee's strong faith to God and their love for each other. For the past eleven years, they've been hoping and praying to have a baby. That despite the struggles, they stand firm and patiently wait. And so, finally, with Baby Pia's coming, I know exactly how they must have felt to realize the undeniably life changing good news.

Read more to know.

I met Lisa and Kuya Rhenee through Faith, who's now happily married in the United States. It was in one afternoon at CheezBox when I was introduced by Faith to Lisa and Kuya Rhenee. Faith was on her last week of stay in Brunei then as she's bound to fly back in the Philippines to fix her US Visa. On the same day, Pacquaio had a big fight which Kuya Rhenee was watching in his laptop as we enjoyed our food and engaged in chit chats. Meanwhile, Elna was also with us. I was also introduced by Faith to Elna.

I had good impressions with Lisa, Kuya Rhenee and Elna. Indeed, Elna is spontaneous, quirky and vocal about her thoughts. Meanwhile, Lisa and Kuya Rhenee are good at giving advice. During that time, they were sharing their love story and tips on how to make a long-lasting relationship. My ears were glued with their words and gestures. I was very quiet and tamed then compared to my current uber loud and cheerful self.

In a string of stories in that first meet-up, I learned that Lisa and Kuya Rhenee are hoping to finally have a baby. They were married in 2000 and up to that moment, they're positive that the childless phase in their marriage would eventually be replaced with a coming of a child.
Kuya Rhenee and Lisa in December 2011.
Eventually, Faith left for the US and we were all left in Brunei. Positively, my connection with Lisa, Kuya Rhenee and Elna didn't wither. Instead, because of frequent dinner meet-ups and some afternoon chikahan, our friendship has grown. From time to time, we go out to eat, watch a movie and update each other. The group also grew; Jovert came in the circle. I must say, they've become my family in Brunei. 

Lisa and Kuya Rhenee (sige isama na rin si Elna) have been very kind to me. As I remember, they offered me a ride during the time that I had no car. And for the past years, they've always invited and welcomed me to join their celebrations in their abode especially on Christmas and New Year's eve. With these simple gestures, living away from my family has become tolerable and enjoyable. So more than friends, they are my source of strength in surviving life overseas.

So last year, when I went to Manaoag, I had a list of wishes to ask; I was hoping for some miracles to happen not only in my life but also for those people who are dear to me. And so, in July of 2011, apart from praying for myself and for my family, I offered a prayer to the Our Lady of Manaoag. Sabi ko, sana magkaroon na ng Baby sina Lisa and Kuya Rhenee kasi I'm very sure that they'll be good parents.

After a few months, I was so surprised. I was ecstatic to hear that finally Lisa is pregnant. I was speechless and was just stunned with how God's miraculous hands work.
I know that I am not the only who prayed for Baby Pia's coming. With Lisa's religious and supportive family as her parents are active church members and devotees who travel and teach God's words, the heaven was stormed with prayers. From relatives, acquaintances and close friends' prayers, Baby Pia's coming is indeed a crystallization of God's fulfillment for those who wait, pray and believe. Imagine, after eleven years, Lisa and Kuya Rhenee are now parents to a cute and healthy baby girl.

Lisa gave birth on March 26, the day of the Feast of the Anunciation. Surprisingly, Lisa was confirmed pregnant in August, the month of the Assumption. 

A happy couple with baby Pia!
To know more about the Lisa and Kuya Rhenee's inspiring story, you may want to check the February 2012 issue of Kerygma. The story was written by Tina Santiago- Rodriguez, Lisa's sister.

On Being A Godfather
To be a Godparent is not only about giving gifts to a Godson or Goddaughter on the day of baptism or on special occasions such as birthdays, Christmas, etc. More than that, a Godparent stands as a second parent that guides and supports a Godson or Goddaughter; a hand reaches out from emotional to spiritual growth.

In the catholic church in Brunei Darussalam, I was surprised to find out that Godparents are invited to attend a seminar on the importance of baptism and the role that parents and godparents must know. It's scheduled and held two days before the actual day of christening.

The leaflet for the Rite of Baptism

Last Friday, I attended the said seminar. A 30-minute video was presented which detailed the sacrament of baptism. Moreover, everyone was asked to informed on the flow of the actual christening.

On Sunday, 30 minutes before the 9:30 mass, the rite of baptism began. I was seated on the third row, together with another Godparent. In total, Lisa and Kuya Rhenee had two Godfathers and two Godmothers. 

The christening of Baby Pia. (Photo by Lisa)
Kuya Rhenee and Lisa with Baby Pia and the God Parents. (L-R) Jovert, Ms. Len, Ms. Jane and Me.
Ninong Jovert and Ninong Earvs!

Ninang Len and Ninang Jane!

After the mass, we all had the chance to have our picture taken with Baby Pia in the altar. At first, I was afraid (as usual) to put the fragile baby on my arms. But as I felt that the baby was very quiet and "seemed" to be enjoying my fat-packed arms, I savoured the moment of being a Godfather.

Me and Baby Pia Maria Santiago-Bobiles (photo by Lisa)
Kuya Rhenee, Lisa, Baby Pia and me!

Eventually, I went to Lisa and Kuya Rhenee's place to enjoy a scrumptious lunch as a celebration for baby Pia's christening. The Bobiles family prepared a lot of Filipino cuisine. They also had a line-up of desserts which I liked the most. Super happy nung ginataan!



Again, congratulations to Lisa and Kuya Rhenee. And to my inaanak Baby Pia, welcome to the Christian World! Cheers! 

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