06 November 2011

The Villa Sanchez

For many years since I started working, my wife, Susana, and I have dreamt of having a house of our own. We have been moving from one rented dwelling to another. Our dream seemed impossible to realize given the meager wage I earn at only Php 4.80 a day. In fact, my dear wife had a hard time making ends meet most of the time

A break came into our lives when my supervisor, Crispiniano (Cris) Palo, being a sub-agent of a real estate agent, Conrado Garcia, of the Villa Victoria Homesite owned by Mr. & Mrs. Conrado Guanzon, offered me one of the cheapest lots thereat at only Php 7.00 per square meter. I grabbed the opportunity though I was not sure where I will get the down payment for it. While at the office Cris, who knew my mastery of surveying and drainage design (which was my favorite subject in college) mentioned to Mr. Guanzon that I am an expert surveyor and that he could avail of my services (as a sideline) at a reasonable cost much cheaper than what licensed surveyors will charge who may have no knowledge of preparing drainage plans at all. Upon hearing Cris’s comments about my penchant for addressing surveying problems with precision and neatness, Mr. Guanzon right there and there proposed a verbal contract with me in the presence of him (Cris) and Conrado (Garcia) that he shall compensate me fairly well if I would prepare the drainage system plan of the Villa Victoria Homesite. He will give me a helper in my surveying work.

Using the government-issued level (surveying instrument) in my custody, I performed topographical survey of the entire homesite with the help of his servant, Kiko. The work took us 2 days (Saturday and Sunday) to finish. Despite my tiredness from work in the Department of Public Highways, I still worked in earnest from dusk till midnight of every night designing the drainage system plan. This effort took me a whole week to finish. Upon presenting the plan to Mr. Guanzon and told him how much my work costs, he bluntly told me, “ You don’t dictate your payment. I will pay what I deem is fair“. I can’t recall how much he paid me which was less than half of what I expected. He would have paid almost 2 times as much had he contracted the work with licensed designers. Despite my disappointment, I agreed to accept the payment to be credited as down payment for our lot.

Then, when he called me to design the grades of the curb-canals for all the streets, I set my price. I told him he will not be able to find anybody in San Fernando or even in the neighboring towns who will do the same job at less than 1.5 times of what I am asking for. You may take or leave my offer, I said. Having already known my ability by then and believing my word, he agreed to pay me per lineal meter of grade I provide to the contractor for his guide in casting the curb-canals.

Immediately after our verbal agreement, I , with Kiko aiding me, started the traverse surveying using this time the government-issued transit also in my custody. We worked even at night. (This is no boasting, but night traverse surveying was not taught to us in college. The only night survey class we had was to determine the bearing of the star Polaris in relation to an established baseline.) I placed a Coleman lamp behind a piece of wood which I partially sawed so that I would see the slit of light set over my target points. Even when it was drizzling, we did not stop. I wear an empty rice sack over my head to protect me and covered the transit with a piece of cardboard to shield it against the rain as well. When Mr. Guanzon learned from Kiko that we were doing night survey work, he had a hard time believing it! He had to personally asked me for confirmation … When I replied, “Yes, I’m able to do it even as precisely as daylight surveying” he was wide-eyed in amazement and disbelief!

It took us 4 consecutive nights to finish the night surveying. Without resting, I started the design of the most economical and feasible grade possible for all the streets. After finishing it, I advised the contractor to get from me the succeeding grades, lines and radii of the curb-canals each time he had finished the one I had given him. Every end of the week I submitted to the office the number of meters completed. When the curb-canal work was all finished, Mr. Guanzon wound up paying me more after deducting the cost of our lot. At long last, my perseverance and toil was rewarded with a title to our lot and some cash to boot for buying the basic materials to start the building of our dream house.

But we had to wait until we were ready. An interesting incident propelled us to start the construction: The architect of Mr. Guanzon rejected the 4” concrete hollow blocks proposed for use in the construction of his house. He wanted 8’ for the exterior walls and 6” for the interior ones. So, Mr. Guanzon told me, “I will give you a truckload of my 4” CHBs so that you can start building your house. I thanked him profusely for his generosity. (The CHBs were extra hard because the masons had to use chisel and hammer to cut them!)

So we decided to start. But, even with the cost of Portland cement then at only Php 4.00 per bag, we can only buy 4 to 5 bags at a time. We had to use only bamboo for reinforcement to economize. I had to pay my co-worker driver and his crew Php 10.00 for a truckload of sand. Then, when these basic material were ready, I asked my DPH construction crew for volunteers to help me prepare the foundation of our house which I set on a Sunday when they were free. I spent the previous Saturday laying out the lines and grades for excavation. Sunday work was a combination of excavating and pouring of a portion of the wall footing. The “bayanihan” still cost us some for food and refreshment. If we didn’t provide such, we might not be able to get their help anymore. So, the pouring of the wall footings and laying of CHBs were done piecemeal, weekly. When the 3rd layer of CHBs have been laid out outlining the whole floor plan after several weeks, I decided that, henceforth, work will be confined to laying of CHBs for the master bedroom.

Work was suspended for a long time till we have save enough to buy lumber for floor and roof framing, T&G for flooring and corrugated metal roofing sheets. With the help of my carpenter crew, we were able to resume work and constructed a partial roof over our bedroom.

Though the T&G flooring are placed loose (not nailed down) over the framing, only hollow blocks to use as stairs to the bedroom, a piece of corrugated metal sheet to use as a door and only empty rice sacks to cover the frameless windows, we moved in on that particular, significant day which we would easily remember --- April 2, 1962 (my 31st birthday).

Since the roof was partially complete we could see the stars as we lay down to sleep. When it rains, we had to crowd farthest from the roof gap. If the wind blows hard with the heavy rain we get soaked. But, we just take the inconvenience in stride, even laughed it off.

We were determined to complete the construction even piece by piece. But, the task was not easy. My take home pay was meager. To complement my earnings, my wife had to sell smoke fish (tinapa) on foot, with our 6-year old daughter, Myra, in tow within the adjoining homesite, Dolores Subdivision. As I got gradually promoted my earnings gradually grew as well. The “bayanihan” was discontinued. Hired labor was used to complete the CHB walls. Since the floor is yet unpaved, and the roofing is not yet complete, my wife’s laundry, which are hanged to dry in the sala-dining area, usually gets soiled by dust which is stirred up by whirlwinds. Our toilet needs are met by burying our feces in our backyard. The various plants we raised there grew well and bear fine fruits.

As time went by, the entire roofing was completed. Wooden jalousies were installed in the window frames. A 2” concrete slab was poured in the sala-dining and kitchen areas and finished with green-colored cement. The bedroom floorings were nailed down. We replaced our pitcher water pump with a manual jetmatic pump so that we can pump water up the tower tank. By the end of 1963 the house was basically complete but for plastering and painting of the walls.

Then, in June 1964, disaster struck! Typhoon “Dading” ripped our roof off almost killing my wife who clung to the rope attached to the roof frame in a futile effort to hold the roof down. Were it not for the presence of mind of my brother-in-law, Miguel, who grabbed her tightly thus forcing release of her grip on the rope, I might have been a widower since that time. Except for a small part, our entire roof landed in the yard of our neighbors across the street.

Out of the money I borrowed from the GSIS, I bought a passenger jeepney to augment our income. The balance of the loan was used for the reconstruction of our more securely anchored roof. But, before it could be completed, another misfortune befell us! Our jeepney got involved in an accident at the junction of the McArthur Highway and the Diversion Road (in front of the Fernandino Restaurant). Damage to the jeepney was extensive and most of the passengers were wounded and bruised. Thankfully, none was killed. But, I could not do anything but to visit them in the hospital. I just ignored their suits because I cannot possibly pay their inflated demands. Work on the roof went on unhindered till completed. With this reconstruction, plastering of the walls was also done.

By the end of 1965 our bungalow was complete but for its painting. It remained like this till my return from my employment with the Pacific Architects and Engineers, Inc. in South Vietnam from Sept. 1968 to March 1973. When I asked my wife what she would prefer: buy us a car or convert our bungalow into a 1 ½ storey house? She chose the second option. So, we went for it. I did the structural and simple architectural design and drew the plans. I closely supervised materials quality control and construction procedure.

We spent almost all our savings from my overseas work on this extensive renovation project. But, it was well worth it. Our home, which our eldest son, Edwin, fondly calls the Villa Sanchez, is a sturdily-built structure. It is designed and built to withstand the most powerful typhoons that will ever visit the country. Likewise, it can withstand earthquakes of 7+ magnitude. It is designed and built this way to withstand, through many generations, with proper care, maintenance and repair, the adverse effects of weather and climate change.

FRANCISCO (Franz) A. SANCHEZ October 26, 2011


01 May 2011

San Fernando LDS, A Highlight in Jubilee

This morning I've attended a live satellite broadcast of the Area Conference in Angeles Stake Center. It was presided by Elder Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and was conducted by Elder John Michael Teh of the Seventy. The conference was in line with the jubilee celebration of the Church here in the Philippines since it was rededicated for missionary work by Elder Gordon B. Hinckley of the Twelve Apostles at that time.

Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Twelve Apostles gave his message before the concluding speaker, Elder Packer. He acknowledged the remarkable increase of the Church membership here in the Philippines since the formal missionary work began. As he reviewed the number of members here during the pioneer years, I became interested with the year 1964 because that's when my father was converted to the Church with his parents and siblings and were known as one of the pioneers. And when Elder Cook got to 1964 he quoted that there were 263 members in the country at that time. Five of that number were the family of my paternal grand parents.

Brother David Lagman and his family were the very first members of the Church here in the Philippines. They belonged to San Fernando Branch where my grand parents were baptized and attended Church services until they moved to the U.S. According to my father this morning, my grand father became a counselor of Brother Lagman in the branch presidency during the pioneer time.

14 September 2010

The Conversion

My Conversion to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

In November 22, 1963 upon arriving home from work my wife, Susana, casually told me about two neat young men who came about 3:00 p.m. to visit us. It so happened that on that day no one was home except her. Our two sons and daughter are at school and I was at my road construction project. I can still vividly remember how our dialogue went…

“Who are they and what do they want?”

“They are missionaries. The want to talk with us about their religion.”

“What religion?”

“I think it’s called ‘The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’.”

“And what did you tell them?” getting a bit bored.

“I told them to come back tomorrow since you’ll be home the whole day because it’s Saturday.”

“What?! You gave them an appointment? Why? Are you telling me that you are entertaining doubts about the Church we now belong to that’s why you want to hear about this other one? Don’t you know how I stand in our Church? Can’t you see how devout I am?” I angrily asked in rapid succession.

I did so because I was upset by the thought that my wife is not as faithful in the Church as I am considering the fact that she was instrumental in my introduction to it and even had been a member of it longer than I was.

She tried to pacify me by saying, “I can’t see the reason for your anger. I just thought that since it’s about God that they will be talking about there’s nothing wrong about it. Besides, those young missionaries are so nice. I just couldn’t have the heart to turn them down. There should not be a problem. We’ll meet them just this once and that will be it…No more appointments. We’ll just kindly tell them that we’re not interested. Period.”

“Oh, no! No, I’m not meeting any missionaries. You be here and meet them yourself since you were the one who made the appointment!” I snapped back.

With these final words I ended our conversation. But my wife (bless her!) kept on muttering her disagreement with my decision. She couldn’t understand my antagonism at that moment. Maybe she would, had she been aware of my situation…

I was born and raised a Catholic. During my boyhood my paternal grandmother, a devout one, used to take me with her whenever she goes to church. Even in our home various Catholic rites are performed at her behest. I grew up with the belief that for one to be saved (go to heaven) one must regularly attend mass, confess sins, receive communion, participate in processions, stand in vigil during the Lenten season, etc. I firmly held this belief until, one after another, the Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ), the Jehovah’s Witness, and the Methodist churches attacked the Roman Catholic doctrine claiming that most of it run counter to what Jesus and his apostles taught, even citing specific verses in the Bible to prove their points. I probed the holy Book for those verses and truly enough found out to my utter dismay that their charges were well-founded. It’s then that my faith started to wane.

I can’t remember when I last went to church, but I’m sure that since we moved to our still incomplete house at Ventura Street, Villa Victoria, San Fernando, Pampanga in April 2, 1962 we, as a family, never went to church. A couple of months prior to our move I was being proselytized by Iglesia ni Cristo ministers. Actually, four ministers took turns in teaching me. I forgot the names of the first two but the last two I well remember because both of them have affected my spiritual life significantly. Mr. Salvador Lugtu was the one who diligently taught me. Occasionally, Mr. Daniel Lapid, the INC provincial head, taught me, too. But, it was Mr. Lugtu who finally “convinced” me that the Iglesia ni Cristo is the true church of Christ. It was also from him where I first heard about the “Mormons” which, to me, connotes “Moro” --- non-Christians who mostly live in Mindanao in southern Philippines.

In a nutshell, this is what he told me in a warning tone, “There are now in our country young American men who go about in pairs spreading what they claim to be the true gospel. They affirm that a certain Joseph Smith, Jr. had had a vision and that he received a commandment to establish a church. And, so he established what is known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Mind you, brother, that nowhere in the Bible can you find such a name. The true church bears his name only: “Church of Christ”! He also said that these young American missionaries could well be counted as among those “false Christs who shall rise in the last days…and will deceive many…”

From this introduction I got deep impressions about Joseph Smith, Jr. I imagined him to be a fat, balding man in his mid-fifties who conceived the idea of having had a vision and through craft and guile succeeded in convincing quite a number of gullible persons to join the church he had established by which he is amassing a fortune. I even pictured him seated comfortably on his swivel chair with feet on his desk, a cigar in his mouth, hands (with fingers flashing diamond-studded rings) intertwined over his stomach, relishing the fruits of his persuasive talent.

It was 2 or 3 days later after this conversation that I was baptized in the Church of Christ(?). I and my family were very active. I participated in all the Church activities especially in the worship services which were held on Thursdays and Sundays. Whenever I had time to spare I went to the Church’s library to study and learn all I could about its doctrine with the end in view of converting my immediate relatives and , if opportunity arises, would engage people from different faiths in debates as most INC members are wont to do. My enthusiasm, zeal and activeness must have caught the attention of the church leaders because, in just less than 3 months time, I was “recommended” for advancement to deacon. That was a great promotion by the Church’s standard! If one will but take notice, in this church there are only a few deacons in a relatively large membership. Yes, only a few get to be deacons or deaconesses. And to be one is considered a great privilege and honor!

I, together with the other candidates, was ordained to the office of Deacon by raising my right hand and uttering a vow dictated by the “Punong Ministro” (Head Minister) to the effect that we will serve the Lord diligently and remain faithful.

Right after our ordination we were instructed to wear for worship services black pants, black belt, black socks, black shoes and a “Barong Pilipino” on Thursdays and a white suit with matching white belt, white long sleeve shirt, white tie, white socks and white shoes on Sundays. We were also informed that we will start serving as deacons on the inauguration of the church building in our town in January 1964.

Immediately, I had my pants, barong and suit made. All of them were ready by early November 1963. This was the state of affairs when my wife met me with the news about these two missionaries.

Saturday, the appointment day with the missionaries had arrived. Since I had nothing important to do, I took a nap after lunch. When I woke up half past three I fussed and paced about the house thinking of something---anything---to do outside so I can have an excuse for not being home that evening. I have thought of seeing my friends and play chess with them or, maybe, see a movie. I wrestled with myself in making up my mind. Finally, I decided to go but something bothered me. I just can’t shake the feeling of being prodded by “someone” to stay. This feeling of wanting and not wanting to leave the house kept with me until I just realized that there was some knocking on the door. When I opened it I was surprised to see two young Americans smiling ear to ear! They introduced themselves as Elder Stephen Iba and Elder Ben Kahahanui. Despite their friendliness I maintained a contentious attitude. I thought to myself: “Ah! Could these young men really be missionaries? How much do they actually know? They should have known better than to pick me as one of their prospects for will they be in for a complete surprise!”

After a short exchange of amenities I asked the Elders what I can do for them. Elder Iba said, among other things, that they came to bring us good news about the restoration of the true gospel and the true church. He talked about Jesus Christ, His Heavenly Father and the Holy Ghost which aroused my curiosity. Before he could say more I asked him a question which to me was very important. In fact it was the very question which hindered my complete conversion to the INC. Even after my baptism, the question occasionally bothered me. But I kept pushing it back in my mind whenever it crops up assuring myself that the Church is correct in its assertion since it is based on the Bible (Christ is a man. John 8:40).

“What is your belief of Jesus Christ?” I asked Elder Iba. “Is he a man or a God?”

Because his answer completely astonished me and would like to be sure that I heard him right, I asked him to repeat it. Again, he said, “We believe Jesus Christ to be a mighty God who worships an almighty God who is His Heavenly Father” emphasizing the words “mighty” and “almighty” as he spoke.

I proceeded to ask further questions about their belief of the Godhead. I got so enthused and satisfied with the way these young men answered them that I beckoned my children to join us and once seated I bade the missionaries to proceed in teaching us. Elder Iba took that opportunity to teach us the first lesson. The experience I had during this first meeting was thrilling and memorable. All the time that the Elder was explaining, I listened intently…even with gladness in my heart. Then, at the conclusion of the lesson I, for the very first time in my life, heard the bearing of a testimony. Each and every word the Elder uttered while looking at me straight in the eye sank in deeply. His companion bore his testimony, too. The testimonies touched my heart. I still vividly remember what I said after Elder Iba’s testimony. Instead of saying “Amen”, which I didn’t know at that time to be the proper thing to say, I said: “I take your word for it” to which Elder Iba hastily replied, “Don’t just take my word for it, brother... Pray about the things we taught you…We know if you will sincerely ask God He will let you know of their truthfulness.”

The Elders might not have been aware of it but, indeed, I believed all what they taught us that evening. This is evidenced by the fact that, when he asked me when they can come again, I said, “Anytime you’d want to, preferably at closer intervals, if possible.” That night as I, with my wife, knelt in prayer I had a feeling of joy and comfort. I knew God was hearing me.

Early in the morning the following day my wife asked why I was not getting ready for church services. I told her, “I’m not going to attend today. Maybe…not ever…unless they (the INC ministers) can prove that what we heard last night is false and also, unless they can answer to my satisfaction the questions I now have regarding the Church.”

Utter gloom descended upon my family, especially my two sons who were 10 and 12 years old then. The younger son’s query, “What will happen to us now?” struck me hard! They seemed to feel lost and are sad about not attending church. I explained to them that it’s useless for me to stay in a church whose doctrine I doubt. They understood. They followed me.

Our absence from the service didn’t escape the notice of the church leaders. Upon consultation with my brother-in-law who was present in our meeting with the Elders they learned about my stand. Early the following day Mr. Lugtu paid us a visit. He asked what the matter was with me. I said a meeting with two missionaries two days ago had cast doubts in my mind regarding the truthfulness of our Church, even its doctrine about the Godhead. Our discussion didn’t last long because we dwelled on the same questions repeatedly which he failed to answer satisfactorily. He left disappointed.

That evening I expressed to the Elders my desire to resolve matters once and for all. I requested them to help me accomplish this by engaging our ministers in a debate. Elder Iba explained that the gospel should not be a subject for a debate. However, he agreed to meet and have a friendly discussion with them if only to help me decide. I then asked them to come that Sunday at 7:00 p.m.

That early Sunday morning I told my brother-in-law to convey my invitation to Mr. Lapid to meet the two missionaries in our home that evening. He accepted the invitation.

Around 6:30 p.m. Mr. Daniel Lapid and Mr. Duman Sarmiento, a “pangulong diacono” (deacons’ leader), did come. They had with them a big carton box filled with church books. I whispered to my wife, “My! The head minister surely comes fully prepared, isn’t he? How impressive!”

After the customary “good evenings”, Mr. Lapid asked me, “What happened, brother?”

“Well” I said, “I have had this meeting with two young Mormon missionaries and, frankly, I must tell you that all they have taught me so far has stuck in my mind. My faith in the Church and its doctrine has been shaken. It’s “loose” now. Whether it will be restored or lost completely will depend on the outcome of your discussion with them.”

“You have doubts about the Church and its doctrine?...Like what?”

“Take, for instance, the authority. From whom did brother Felix Manalo get his authority to establish the Church?”

As he started to refer again to Rev. 14:6-7 I said, “I have heard that before and I don’t believe now that the angel referred to there is brother Manalo. Also, I have heard it often from the pulpit, especially soon after his death, that the end is really very near and it’s about time that we prepare ourselves to meet him and Jesus Christ. The Church is already in its 49th year and yet what has it done so far regarding the prophesy: “…having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people. (Rev. 14:6)? Where is the gospel being preached aside from the Philippines?”

His reply, if it could really be considered a proper reply at all, quite appalled me…

“You know, brother, if we go out of the country and try to preach, say, in the U.S.A., the people there might ask, ‘Why, have you already converted all the Filipinos that’s why you came to convert us now?’”

This answer of his adversely affected my regard for him. I used to look up to him as a wise, intelligent man of God. I told him flatly that I don’t think that’s the way the question should be answered. Also, I told him that I strongly doubt the Church’s doctrine about Jesus Christ being a man only and not a God.

He protested, saying, “We don’t say that Jesus Christ is a man only. Rather, we say Jesus Christ is a man, period. We don’t say the word “only” because that degrades him…He is not an ordinary man. He is holy. So, we don’t say he is a man only.

I answered, “Just the same, with or without the word “only”, Jesus Christ is a man according to the Church’s doctrine. You won’t accept the truth that he is a God, too. This is what I can no longer accept.”

As our discussion was in progress, the Elders arrived. They warmly greeted us all. I noticed the lukewarm reception the minister and the deacon accorded them. I love to recall the highlights of that confrontation. Like, when Mr. Lapid asked Elder Iba where in the Bible did he get the name, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints”, and then looked at me with a facial expression conveying: “See how clever I am in asking a question? He will be baffled, you’ll see, because he will not find it in the Bible.” But…

Calmly, Elder Iba said, “It is not in the Bible because this name was the one given in a revelation to Joseph Smith, Jr. to give the restored church to distinguish it from the ancient one which was lost.”

“The Bible says in Rev. 22:18-19 not to add unto nor take away from what is written in it!”

“If that’s the case, then we should not read any further than Deut. 4:2 because it also says here, ‘Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it…’”

Was Mr. Lapid confounded!

Then, when during the discussion the terms “paradise” and “heaven” were mentioned, the minister asked, “Do you know what heaven means?”

“Yes, it is where Jesus Christ and his Father dwell.”

“Then, where is heaven?”

“I don’t know exactly where it is. All I know is that there is heaven.”

“Heaven only you don’t know?” the minister asked again in an air of superiority. (His question was a literal translation of the vernacular: “Langit lang hindi mo alam?” He meant to ask: “You don’t really know where heaven is?”)

“No, I don’t ..Do you?”


“Where is it?”

“There” the minister said proudly pointing upwards.

Then, Elder Iba asked, “Suppose, right at this moment, someone on the opposite side of the earth , say, in the U.S.A., answers the same way as you do, where will heaven really be then since he points in a direction opposite yours?”

Was Mr. Lapid confounded…again!

The most significant highlight of that meeting was when, after a lengthy discussion about Jesus Christ’s status and Mr. Lapid’s insistence on citing verses purportedly proving Jesus Christ to be a man (only), Elder Iba put his foot down and looked him straight in the eye saying: “Why do you deny his divinity? Why do you claim him to be your head and yet insists on denying him? Why?”

The minister stammered, “N-no…I…I’m not denying him!”

“Oh, yes, you do just right now!” the Elder insisted.

As the Elder was confronting the minister with these questions I noticed his (the Elder’s) face gradually turning red. He spoke firmly and, with great conviction, bore his testimony about Jesus Christ’s godhood…about his being very much alive and leading His Church through His living prophet…etc. Mr. Lapid’s face turned ashen. He must have been sorely affected by that testimony too, for he just sat there, motionless…staring blankly…and tongue-tied for a few seconds!

After Elder Kahananui had borne his testimony I suggested winding up the discussion. All agreed. I offered the closing prayer in our dialect. I asked God to open the minds of all who were present and accept what the Holy Ghost is witnessing to us. I knew for a surety then which of the two teams is of God.

Mr. Lapid might have sensed my feelings because he left sad. He probably felt that that will be the last time I’ll meet with him. It did happen for, after that meeting, we became regular attendees of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ services.

Within a few days after the presentation of the last of 6 lessons the Elders gave us a “challenge” which we readily accepted. (We have been eagerly awaiting for it even before the end of the lessons.) On Jan. 18, 1964 my two sons, Edwin and Reynaldo, my wife and I were baptized at Clark Air Base. Three months later I baptized my daughter, Myra.


In May 8, 2008 my wife, son (Edwin), nephew (Jonathan) and I visited brother Stephen Iba at his residence in Salt Lake City, Utah. As we recalled the events that led to our conversion he shared with us this significant happening in his mission:

“My companion, Elder Kahananui, and I had met with much hospitality in San Fernando but few welcomed our message of the restoration. We felt we needed to humble ourselves through fasting and much prayer. We felt prompted to take a jeepney out of town and search among the farmers of the sugar cane fields. We just got off and walked on a dirt road and noticed a silver roof glistening in the sun which attracted our attention and feelings of going there to see who was at home. That is when we saw Sister Sanchez washing the family clothes... from there on it was heavenly history.”

My gratitude to these two missionaries is profound for it was through and by them that I came to know about the latter-day prophet, Joseph Smith, Jr., who was instrumental in bringing forth the Book of Mormon and the restoration of the true gospel and true Church of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I know that my Redeemer and Savior, Jesus Christ, lives! I know that He leads His Church through His chosen prophets! These I testify in the holy name of Jesus Christ. Amen.


19 June 2010


Welcome to my blog. I would like to take advantage of this technology and make use of it as a channel to share my thoughts, experiences and other things that may matter to me. I hope you would find it worthwhile as you read my following accounts.