How do you live your life to the fullest? Part III

June 23, 2019

It’s been weeks now that Joy and I have been emailing each other. She also sent me two poems which surprised me because I never thought of Joy as being poetic. When I asked her why she wrote the first poem, she told me that that day she woke up crying; she felt so useless. It’s a good thing that Johnson, Joy’s husband, comforted her. The other poem was written just two days ago and, as you can read below, after she was not able to sleep two nights in a row  because of her unceasing headache.

When she wrote to me today, she said that her headache was gone. She happily told me that it rained a bit [in Dipolog] so the air felt fresh. She also shared that former teachers from St. Mary’s paid her a visit, and they had fun reminiscing the yesteryears.

With Joy’s permission, I am posting her almost daily emails to me from the earliest, sent 7 June 2019, to the most recent, sent June 22, 2019, but IN REVERSE order, and I have titled it “Acceptance and Gratitude. On the days when she couldn’t write me, it means that she was really not feeling well or that there was power outage, as happens often in Dipolog, our hometown. My explanatory notes are in brackets [].


Acceptance and Gratitude

By Ma. Rita Joy Pastor Rubillos

22 June 2019

I hope you understand if I can’t send letters sometimes. I always get a headache and it can’t be relieved by paracetamol. I couldn’t sleep for two nights now.


Cancer and my feelings


 To speak of CANCER is like a fire tree invaded by termites (gi-anay).

 It’s rare and cannot easily be detected until a part of the tree is rotten.


Flowers continue to bloom

 and smiles admirethem

 hopelessly hoping to survive.


Quietly moaning with the cancer growing inside


Praying and 

cheering that life gets longer

Heaven awaits



21 June 2019


Well, I am lazy today. I just stayed in bed the whole morning and ate my dragon fruit. I am now going through my clothes. The ones that I’m going to give away.

What do you think, Car, should I go back to my painting after I’m done with all my schedules?



20 June 2019

I’m thankful that today I received dragon fruit from Adelfa [one of our classmates]. Finally, I have tasted dragon fruit. It’s my first time to taste it. It tastes good and interesting. They say it’s nutritious and can also cure cancer.



19 June 2019

[Joy joined the dinner gathering of SMA Batch ’81 sponsored by Shirley, a visiting classmate who now resides in the US. Joy’s detailed report of the gathering follows. Plus lots of pictures.]



Attendance (family names used are all maiden names):  Florifes, Leah Agnis, Rebecca de la Torre, Jimema Insong, Nida Amante, Amber Omamalin with Jean, Mary Ann Dalman, Elona Montederamos, Delia Vidallo, Evelyn Zamoras, Gina Cabilin, Monica Canilang, Cheryl Lood, Brenda Frasco, Adelfa Sorronda, Annabel Mutia, Julieta, Shirley, Leah Loyola and me, Joy. All in all we were 22, including Jean, from an older batch.

All had chicken barbecue except me. I had grilled fish. We had tinola, sinuglaw, lechon kawali, and beef steak.  Shirley brought two bottles of wine, chocolates, and cologne. Everyone was full and happy. No one went home empty-handed. (Busog ug malipayon ang tanan.  Walang umuwing luhaan).  

SMA batch’81 get-together is always fun.  We strengthen our bond.  It is a time where we share our stories, food and blessings.  Some crack jokes while others just listen.  I feel happy just to be with my batchmates.  I’m looking forward for the next event.

Shirley has a big heart for the elderly.  She is helping Bishop CAEMARE build a Home for the Elderly.  I hope tickets will be sold out.  It’s a noble deed.  Hope people of Dipolog will support the cause this coming June 29, 2019.  And, she is also selling her old clothes this coming June 22. Proceeds will go to the same cause.

Nakakataba ng pusoto realize that our batchmates have generous hearts, especially towards the needy. Very Marian. Maka-proud.  It’s not only Shirley, but almost all of us, in our humble ways. Love moves us. Generosity and dedication to what we are doing become very imminent as our Marian virtues.

Gemma Ladera [another classmate who is residing in the US] will arrive soon. We will see her on June 30, 2019, God willing, Car.  We will have fun again. (Bibo na pod na).

Ay, it’s already late. Let’s go to sleep now.  Good night.

God bless us all.





[Joy sent me a long email regarding her thoughts about what I was currently doing in my job. I was relating to her that we are visiting the hotels in Semarang and Solo so that we could decide which is the best place for our National Conference in November. I think her painkillers made her more confident in writing on and on. And she told me the next day that she made lots of mistakes as she went through her email the previous day. I told her that it’s ok. And we both laugh about it.]

Hi Car!

I took painkillers today to make sure I could go without hassle.

Well, every participant will be looking forward to your event.  And also, would like to explore the place.  It’s always business and pleasure. Just like Grail meetings, there is always a tour or night out after the heavy discussions.  Hehehee, just remembered those Grail days.  Trying our best to be always wholistic.

After seeing the wonderful view of Mt Fuji, I would like to visit Legaspi for Mt. Mayon. Hellen [Joy’s daughter] told me that I must be feeling guilty, that’s why I’m going local.

Well, I majored in Management but what’s important in business is perseverance. You really need that. And also, knowledge of the business. To be successful, it takes time, guts, and energy.  It’s easier said than done. But there are people who are good at it. They have passion and enough resources.  We can’t be emotional in business. Be friendly always and provide good customer service.  I learned this from the Grail.  If something is failing—evaluate and check what happened.

Just like you sometimes—calm and objective, not subjective. It’s like learning from your mistake and implement things positively. Hehehe, that’s like cancer. There is pain and the failing organ and to cure it just by positive thinking. Know the disease and treat it. Not only by ourselves, but also by the professionals.  That’s why you need consultants…for cancer patients, the consultants are the oncologists.

Nice to hear that you are coping well.  Just keep on with positive thoughts. Mine is lazy effect. Ok, I will send your regards to our friends. And keep on doing your job well.

Take care always.  God bless.




18 June 2019

Hi Car!

Thank you for sharing your photos in Semarang.  Are you dancing in one of the pictures?  I like your batik pants; was that photo taken in Semarang, too? You look young and beautiful. Good that you are gaining weight.

I was not able to email yesterday for we had a brown-out, starting at 6AM up to 9PM. It was so hot. We didn’t really know where to go. It’s a good thing that it was a full moon that night. Maayo nalang hayag ang bulan. We went to the boulevard for a while.   It’s usually like that here, no?

This morning, Johnson and Hellen went to the market.  Then Johnson and I cooked. Hellen is assigned to wash the dishes.

In the afternoon, we went to follow-up some PAG-IBIG documents, etc.   At least, we were able to finish something.

Life must go on.  We have to do our daily responsibilities.  Slowly but surely. Still kicking and coping.

We will meet Shirley on June 19, 2019 at Ati-atihan Restaurant for dinner. To help raise funds for Bishop Caemare, Shirley is sponsoring some events such as Zumba and used-clothes sale on June 22, 2019. There will be a concert on June 30.  Well, I don’t know if I will be present in all activities. But I will also contribute for the cause.

Hehehehe… update: Nene and Gemma Rongquillo [our classmates] are now in Norway for their cruise. Gemma Ladera will arrive on June 27. I think we will have another gathering.

My schedule for my Cebu trip will be on June 25  – 29, 2019.

The visit to parents of Batch ’81 will start in July 2019.

Hahaha sorry if I have forgotten something.

God bless you.




15 June 2019

Hello Car!

Wow, what an opportunity to travel to those beautiful cities—it does not only open doors to business, but also to enjoy and see other places. Yes, I heard that Solo is known for their batik and historical places. Point of view of someone who is a wanderlust like me. Sometimes, it is also tiring; just have time mgt. and listen to your body also. If I were the boss, I will choose Solo because there are many places to see and it’s more peaceful.  Hehehee I’m getting myself involved.

Enjoy the rest of your stay.  And always be safe.

I have now my second-hand wheelchair.

[Carolyn’s note: Joy also included a photo of her husband, Johnson, sitting on her wheelchair.]


14 June 2019

It’s time to think of the good things we have done today. So that we will be able to smile and be thankful.  I hope you will have a good night sleep also. Sweet dreams.

Love and prayers.



Hello Car!

I hope you have wonderful business trip and at the same time visit to Thomas in Solo.  It’s always a good opportunity to travel.  It gives more inspirations.  Enjoy and stay safe.

How old is Thomas? Is he the same age as Hellen? Hellen will be turning 18 this coming November. Thanks for sharing your nice photos.

Take care always,




12 June 2019

Just to wish you a good night.   You deserve it.

Much love and prayers,




 Why would I be discontented?

No reason to whine all the time.


I have food to eat

I have clothes to wear

I have many blessings to be thankful for

I have my family and friends all by my side

 And God with me.


Give a smile…and laugh more.

Thank you everyone for occupying my time.

It’s a joy.



Hello, Car!  I hope you have a good and longer night sleep. And, a lovely morning today.

It’s nice to dine out with friends once in a while. To have good food with less effort, good chat and good laughs. What does Malaysian food taste like… is it spicy food, Car?  Thanks for sharing your photo.

We are really “Sisters” because you bought a cabinet yesterday while i was cleaning my cabinet also yesterday.  Cabinet connection. Hehehehe

Happy Philippine Independence Day!  Mabuhay!



[Joy sent pictures of her favorite vegetable dish: bitter melon, cooked with fish and vinegar.]


10 June 2019

Thank you Lord for this wonderful day. Wish you have a great and lovely day full of joy.  Let’s begin the morning with a smile.

Take care mi amiga e minha irma.  Vamos…. 

Love u Car

[Joy stayed in Brazil for a few months with her work at Grail International, that’s why she can speak and write Portuguese.]


9 June 2019

[Joy’s response after I informed her that our friends, Jay Rosales (Filipino Grail member now residing in Brisbane, Australia) and Daisy Taniredja (of Indonesian Grail) are praying for her.]

Hugs and kisses to them.  Members of my prayer empathy brigade is growing. Thank you. May God bless you always.

7 June 2019

[This is the thank-you letter that Joy wanted me to post, but it took me weeks before I could finish this blog post.]

There is an important person who was also very involved during my hospitalization in UST Hospital. Her name is Amy Rose Eisma De Alban. She was assisting me from the start last May 25. On June 4 she helped us in the admitting section, and on June 6  upon my discharge from the hospital. She monitored my situation the whole time even if she had work, and looked after my needs, from hospital matters to food services, She was so generous with her time and resources.  Thank you, Amy and Myre (contact person), Mimi, Joy and Jake (prayer warriors).

My aunt, Tia Nora, cousins Ray, GemPat Revereza, Boyet who visited me and Edith who cooked my favorite special and tasty palabok, ampalayasalad and nilagang kamote.  Salamat kaayo. You are always monitoring my condition, and ever ready to give your all-out support.

And, of course my Nang Dinia and Nang Charit who are also dependable and even if they have their own difficulties/ family concerns. They will not hesitate to help me in my medications.  They always think of me as their own sister or anakin auntie Delly.

Then, Hellen de Wit, who is always there for Hellen, Johnson and me.  She is one of the godmothers of Hellen, who partially helped us in the college education of Hellen. Hellen is in the Netherlands and a Grail Dutch. She regularly calls me or Hellen to talk about anything, about life, cancer, my worries and everything, my goals, achievements of my family and even my frustrations and death.  She is a good listener and my spiritual friend.

CUTIE, the sweet and smart classmate with a glowing heart. Friendly, cordial, respectful especially to the elders, dedicated to her work, but finds time to be with me or relatives and friends—super-duper in caring for others and also generous.  She is like Rowena, but Rowena is the quiet type. Chichi a viva—she does it properly all the time and on schedule. Aimee does it with finesse. Batch ‘81 forever friends… / friends forever because each one has a genuine heart, a glowing heart.  trying to give time, to share the blessings that we have and enjoy life.

I don’t know why I am doing this, maybe because I am just counting my blessings. – friendship. In 54 years, I make friends most of the time or we all do.  We form relationships and we deepen them as years goes by.  We treasure each encounter and friendship. Each is unique and on a different level.  Memorable moments are real and to be treasured.



[There are still some more notes and many pictures to share but since many have been waiting for this blogpost to appear, I will post the other messages at another time. Thank you for reading. Feel free to send messages to Joy through this blog. She appreciates very much the comments sent through the blogposts and through emails. She said that she didn’t know what to say and that she cried after reading them. Joy is grateful for all your prayers and she’s praying for all of us as well.]


Photo credit: Thank you to my sister, Pinky, for this watercolor painting. She’s a great editor and a budding artist as well.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. May says:

    Another wonderful piece from the heart. I’m rooting for you Joy.

    Liked by 1 person

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