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After more than two years of not returning to the Philippines, my husband and I were excited to take a trip back to our homeland.

Several days before the flight, we were so busy preparing all the stuff that we were bringing home. The things we’re taking home as “pasalubong” (gifts) would make our loved ones who are waiting for us, especially our grandchildren, happy.

As anticipated, when they met us at the airport, their smiles, hugs and kisses made us feel how much they missed us. We could hardly believe what the change in the past two years could make to each one of them.

On our trip back to Bicol, the long and never-ending stories about many things began with our relatives who fetched us from the airport giving us the highlights of the events in the past years. As a result of the exciting conversation, the 12-hour travel seemed not too long and boring to all of us.

Upon arrival at our home, the feeling of joy and happiness was overwhelming as we met all the members of our family. The feeling was so powerful that I couldn’t hold back my tears.

Next came the giving of what we brought for them as “pasalubong.” The little things they received made them happy because my grandchildren knew these came from the generous hearts of their Tito Jojo (my son-in-law) and Tita Lalai (my daughter), who had spent time and money to buy the stuff. There were also gifts from their cousins AJ and Ella.

Looking at and listening to our grandchildren, how we wish that God the Almighty allow us to live long and healthy so we could see them grow and could guide them in their journey on the road to righteousness.

As grandparents, we want them to grow in love, not only among themselves, but also to grow in the love of the Giver of all graces. For without Him, this life is useless.

We want to inculcate in their young minds the gospel truth that without Christ, we are defenseless against the devil, but with the “helmet of salvation” given to us, our minds and hearts are protected by God.

[box type=”default” size=”large”] Food for thought [/box]

*God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can stand up against it. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so you will not give in to it. – 1 Corinthians 10:3b (NLT)

*Everything on Earth has its own time and its own season. – Ecclesiastic 3:1 (CEV)

(Editor’s Note: Mrs. Linda Ibarreta and her husband Roman left for Manila last April 29. They will be back in Michigan in September, this year.)