High School Reunions; a Centrifugal Force of Modern Life

           By   Vic  Odarve

High school reunions are actually a centrifugal force of our modern life. It is a get-together affair that takes on a whole new meaning as we get older, a gathering to reminisce and to relive the fun and feel that we had experienced in high school, and a rare chance to spend some moments with our classmates who were a part of the story of our life. With all indications, high school reunions are like a centrifugal force pulling our classmates to meet together.

Central Visayan College, Jagna, Bohol Batch ’73

Yes, time passes differently as we get older and class reunion takes on a whole new meaning. As the person’s age is over 40 years, we are merely aging, physically and mentally. In our long struggle with time, the get-together affair seems to be a clock to stop the aging process. The excitement and renewed camaraderie that could result from attending the reunion may bring us to back in time. Singing at videoke, story-telling of the bygone days, and going to the beach together may put the time to a standstill. Of course, some of our classmates are older than you would like them to be, and you, too, realize that you are also in your advancing age and appearance.

The gathering allows us to reminisce and relive those thrilling days of our high school days. It is joyful to reunite with the girls and boys with whom you shared the first love and first lusts. Some also retold stories about our teachers who were good, and a handful of teachers we never forget. We never forget the teachers known for having a scary stage persona during classroom lessons. But to the more serious classmates during our high school, they never forget those teachers that pulled them from the depths of abysmal academic achievement into one of the top-performing students.

Picnic time, Batch ’73

The reunions also offer us a rare chance to spend a moment with our classmates after many years of not seeing with each other. It is just a way of revisiting your friends that you have lost track after graduating in high school. Meeting them is more significant in our life simply because they were part of our life story and we were a part of theirs. This is the time to know that some were already gone while others are still living. The usual practice of giving a souvenir such as T-shirt simply a memento that once upon a time we have to share some moments with our high school classmates.

Although in our modern times we have several social media such as Facebook to find our high school classmates’ whereabouts at our fingertips, reunions are more powerful to reconnect, relive our memories, and see our classmates face to face. Nowadays, high school reunions are enjoying a resurgence in popularity.

Reunion is indeed a centrifugal force uniting our classmates. As our life is a journey, spending time in a reunion is a moment to cherish before we will finally reunite with the Holy One sitting on the throne.



Lying and Checkmated!

                              By Vic Odarve

Lying has been known to downgrade moral values and destroy one’s credibility necessary to lead others, yet public officials and the country’s leaders choose to lie simply to amass wealth, personal satisfaction, and conceal their futuristic plan for glory and power. In order to acquire more wealth in addition to their income, police officers and their cohorts resort to abduction on wealthy businessmen for ransom. Still, some public officials while enjoying their position in the government involve in an illicit love affair and drawing money from drugs.  In order to get what they want, whether to rebuild their lost empire and conquer the world, some world leaders resort to military adventurism but did not reveal their true intentions. At the end, these people are caught lying and some are eventually checkmated in prison and received public condemnation.

These students from Madonna University learned that lying is a sin

In order to get an extra money for being law enforcers, police officers and their cohorts resort to abduction on businessmen for ransom; when caught, they tried to deny their involvement even though caught red handed. Still, some police officers lied their involvement in some premeditated killings, but when investigated, they justified their actions in order to cover up the details of the information. Such was the case of the abduction of Korean businessman Lee and the killing of Mayor Espinosa.

During the Korean businessman Jee abduction investigation, the committee showed a closed circuit television footage that captured policeman Sta. Isabel and his accomplice, one alias, “Jerry,” taking cash as ransom payment from an ATM account traced to Jee. Sta. Isabel denied the allegations, saying he was just framed. On the killing of Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa at a sub-provincial jail in November 2016, government investigation revealed that there was a conspiracy among policemen. This led to the indictment of respondent policemen, led by former Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group Region 8 (CIDG 8) chief, Supt. Marvin Marcos, for two counts of murder. Despite the CCTV footage of the Sta Isabel withdrawing the money, and the findings that the killing of the mayor was a conspiracy, these law enforcers tried to lie but in vain. The policemen are found lying and are now checkmated to their prison cells.

          Senator de lima and Dayan

Still, some public officials while enjoying their position in the government are making illicit love affair and drawing money from drugs.  Claiming that she will fight back, De Lima always denied the accusation made by the president that she has had a relationship with his driver Dayan and collected money from drug lords. She stated that the accusation was a pattern of character assassination and requested the president to double-check the data. She even used her being a woman to defend herself from critics. But sensing that there are no rooms to hide, she recently admitted her involvement with the married man. She was not telling the truth!

At the world’s stage, some leaders resort to shadowy moves by lying to the world about their true intentions of their actions. World leaders, for instance, opt to lie in order to pursue the own agenda; cover up strategic plans, especially on security matters; attain their selfish end and use to gain a strategic advantage over another country. Lying might be a smart and savvy move because often an explanation of their action is done later to ease public condemnation and disappointment. That is what happened to Assad, Putin, and Hitler.


When the US bombed Syria with cruise and tomahawk missiles for alleged chemical weapons attack against its own people, thereby crossing the red line set by Obama, Assad said the Syrian military had no chemical weapons and that it would not use them if it did. “We gave up our arsenal three years ago,” he said. “We have never used our chemical arsenal in our history.” However, a recorded conversation from US intelligence and medical findings from the victims showed otherwise. Definitely, Assad is lying.

During his press conference on March 4, 2014, Putin informed the people that he had no intention to annex Crimea. But what happened on the referendum on March 16? The people had the option that Crimea is part of Russia. A tricky maneuver! Thus Crimea was annexed and became a part of Russia. He was lying to the world! Hitler, too, was lying. Barely after 6 months of his promise not to take anymore Czech territory after the Munich Pact, he grabbed the rest of Czechoslovakia on the pretext of protecting the German-speaking population. He was also lying to the world.

Univ. of Immaculate Conception students are taught that lying is not an accepted norm

In human history, lying seems the easiest formula the world leaders and public officials have to use in order to attain their hidden objectives.But God, in no instances, encourages lying would be an acceptable thing to do. But rather, it teaches us that we are hurting ourselves by lying. It’s in the Bible,

“Stop lying to each other; tell the truth, for we are parts of each other and when we lie to each other we are hurting ourselves.”- Ephesians 4:25

Some people think that lying is an accepted in our society. Lying downgrades moral values and destroy one’s credibility necessary to lead others. Some public officials after investigations are now checkmated in their prison cells.

A Christmas Visit to a Monastery

      By Vic Odarve

I am always fascinated with the life at the monastery. Here, the monks spend their lives in solitude, in reflections and prayers, and abandon the outside world for religious reasons. That is, living in harmony with nature and to the one in the Highest!

Father Pius - Elele Monastery In Charge

Father Pius – Elele Monastery In Charge

Last weekend we visited the Elele monastery. When we arrived, the place was calm and serene as if nobody was around.

A sharp contrast to the outside world where humming Christmas carols are often heard, people are seen shopping lazily in malls, and children’s laughter are heard everywhere you go.

“Nobody is around,” I told my colleagues. Only a few minutes after, Father Pius opened the entry doorway and greeted us Happy Christmas. He was a Saviourite priest in charge of the monastery. Happy and smiling, he thanked us for coming. We knew then that the monastery opens its doors for expats for a visit and for those who don’t have anyone to share the holiday with or to people who don’t have family or would feel lonely to celebrate Christmas.

Elele Monastery, Rivers State, Nigeria, Africa

Elele Monastery, Rivers State, Nigeria, Africa

Life was so simple then. Monks were hospitable. With some foods and the special recipe they offered, we dined and also shared together splendid bottles of wine around a dinner table. We had a pleasant conversation and enjoyed the meal, too.  I had learned that besides from daily reflections and prayers, their times were also devoted to reading books, raising animals, and cultivating plants and fruit trees. We spent several minutes sightseeing on their gardens and livestock raising projects. It was enjoyable to see several of the fruit trees bear fruits and hundreds of chickens jostling each other over the feeds at the poultry. After we saw these things, we draw to a conclusion how the lives of the monks are being spent.

Filipino Expatriates

Filipino Expatriates

As we left, the monks returned to their cells and prepared to retire for the night; then the place was quiet and serene as their world would be. We bade goodbye as the sun sunk to the deep of the African sunset and the surrounding air began to cool. Then they would be living with nature and to God.

A visit to the monastery with our monks seem to spend our lives back to the old medieval periods. A monastery is a good place for those who retreat from the heavy traffic of our everyday life, bringing some meaning of our lives why we are here, embrace solitude for those who found the vices of the world intolerable. These are some small details of monastic life that people in the world do not see.

Life is too short. Sharing some moments during Christmas with our brothers who have built in strength and mission to live in monastic life; never to marry; obedience to God, and banned from possessing worldly goods is virtuous and memorable. That is, peace to our soul, minds, and heart! A visit will lighten your heart and reframe your perception of the holidays.

Merry Christmas and a happy new year to all.

Why do People Flock at Elele Pilgrimage Center?

                     By Vic Odarve

In spite of the weakening of Christian faith in our modern world nowadays, the monthly program among the faithful at Pilgrimage Centre, Elele town, Rivers State is still a big draw to thousands of Christians, and even non-Christians from all parts of Nigeria, Africa. Usually held every first Friday of the months, pilgrims come to the place for breaking of curses/yoke, pray for special favors such as healing from life- threatening illnesses, and for life-changing counseling and transformation. This power packed monthly celebration, brings all Nigerians from all walks of life to this place of worship.

Pilgrims attended the celebration

Pilgrims attended the celebration

Most Nigerians believe curses from ancestors such as shedding innocent blood, demonic societies, rituals and manipulations, and many others. The ministry runs the prayer to guide and teach the people how to free from satanic strongholds and complete freedom from curses and yoke. The pilgrims with the guidance of the priests, through prayers, provide sound, salient and scriptural insight on how to discover, destroy and be delivered from these evil power. The gatherings, they believe, lay them to be sincerely and completely free from curses and the yoke.

Easter Sunday celebration in Rivers State, Nigeria

Sunday celebration in Rivers State, Nigeria

While some are interested freeing the bondage on yoke and curses, others join the pilgrimage for special favors. Couples, barren or not, come and attend hoping to bear more kids. In Nigeria, most women do not embrace birth control as it goes against many of their cultures. That is why couples want to have as many children as they can. Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, and previous attempts by the government to encourage adults to have fewer children have failed. The United Nations has estimated that the population of Nigeria could grow from 160m to 400m by 2050. In some cases, sickly and some people who could not afford to see doctors also attend this spiritual celebration to seek miracles for healing and cure; others have also joined for the solution of their numerous problems such as, unemployment and fiscal troubles.

The peace that Jesus gives is not fragile like the peace the world gives.

Pilgrimage Center at Elele, Rivers State, Nigeria

Of course, higher intellectual in our modern society in the pursuit of peace and happiness yearns to do closer communion with God Almighty. These people, most of them suffer from heavy burdens in life and lifelong struggling in pain over the devils, feel the journey to this pilgrimage center more life fulfilling and challenging. They will receive life counseling and transformation; receive religious grace and peace of mind. There they seek, in concert with thousands of our Christian brethren, spiritual nourishment, and deliverance. Priests who have distinguished themselves are chosen and be used as instruments of such purpose. The pilgrimage symbolizes the return to our Creator and hopefully to find peace and tranquility of this troubled world. Like Solomon, with all its riches and glory, these pilgrims want to find peace by surrendering themselves to God.

Highlights of the pilgrimage activities are day and midnight masses, testimonies, and inspirational talks from Catholic priests and bishops. Father Edeh, a Catholic priest and a man of deep religious faith, is the founder of the pilgrimage center. He is a household name in the area of breaking of curses/yokes, and healing of the sick through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. His miraculous works remain very popular and unequaled in the history of the Catholic Church in Nigeria. His counseling and teaching have molded the daily lives of these multitudes, giving them spiritual and moral guidance, certainty, and comfort.

With all the confusion of life and broken dreams from curses and yoke; asking special favors and healing; one must join the pilgrimage to Pilgrimage Centre at Catholic Prayer Ministry of the Holy Spirit at Elele, Rivers State, Nigeria, and the largest pilgrimage center in Africa. Attending this power packed monthly celebration will bring you peace with God.

Sometimes an Outright Lying at the Airport Works

           By Vic Odarve

 Sometimes an outright lying at the airport works!

Vicodar observed that religious personalities like evangelists, ministers, priests, nuns, sisters, and brothers of Christian congregations were less likely interrogated during inspections at the airport.

International Airport

International Airport

 After the snakelike cordoned queuing in the immigration checkpoint at the international airport, Vicodar was told to replace his yellow fever card with a prescribed one in a nearby clinic. So he did! With only a few people in the office, he immediately handed his card to one of the officers. ” Good day Sir, May I change this card with the prescribed one?” The officer nodded and said,” Your passport, visa, and valid ID please!” Vicodar complied. After a few minutes, the officer asked” You are a foreigner, what are you doing here in Nigeria?” “Am a missionary here working with Faith Ministry in Port Harcourt, Rivers State”, Vicodar said with a smile. “So you are a priest”, the officer said. Thinking for a while, he said, “Ah….. ah… yes! Sir”. The officer looked pleased and seemed very courteous; fixed his signature and handed back the documents. Then Vicodar said,” Thank you very much, God bless you all”. Then the officer and his fellow workers said in chorus” Thank you, Father, Amen”.

Middle East Airport

Dubai Airport

Fully exhausted from a long travel the next leg of the trip finally brought him to the domestic airport. This time, he was met by a Rev. Sister. Queuing for almost an hour in a security screening, baggage inspection, and weighing stations, Vicodar was again called up by one of the officers to finally confirm his baggage before transporting to a waiting cart nearby.” Come here, show me your baggage and let me inspect what is inside!” one of the officers said. Sensing that the baggage would be opened again for inspection, he pointed to Reverend Sister as the owner. The sister was a few meters away; in religious attire! “Okay”, the officer said. Again, a little deception works!

Plane boarding inspection

Plane boarding inspection

While lying can leave us indelible torture in our conscience, but the same goes for being too honest and open. Why? Telling the truth may entail too much delay in interrogation or may end with solicitation. Remember the airport greeting “Do you have something for me?”

Vicodar is not a priest. He actually owns the baggage. He is a mere employee in one of the great schools in Nigeria. Outright lying works! A little deception is needed! It works at the airport.


Easter Sunday Celebration with Father Edeh

                      By Vic Odarve

Like all other Christians across the world, Father Edeh celebrated Easter Sunday with Eucharistic mass and charitable works. As always in the past the homily reminded the faithful, that it is the resurrection that gives life and hope to every Christian believer.

Easter Sunday celebration in Rivers State, Nigeria

Easter Sunday celebration in Rivers State, Nigeria

Jesus resurrection, an event around 2000 years ago, gives hope to people around the world  to change for a better and challenging life. They also want to resurrect their lives from the deadly trap of the evil. Some Christians are living dead! Living in the midst of corruptions in our wicked world! They are the modern Pharisees; religious outside, but rotten inside. But Jesus says, “I am the resurrection; whoever believes in me, though he dies, shall live.”- John

Father Edeh distributed foods and drinks

Father Edeh distributed foods and drinks

11:25. With this reminder, Christians rebirth and change for a better. Resurrection is one of the biblical events that shape human history.

Last Easter Sunday at the Catholic Prayer Ministry, Elele, Rivers State, Nigeria, Africa, an estimated 6000 people, young and old alike, flocked to celebrate the day with a religious man they fondly called Father Edeh by the Nigerian. After a Eucharistic mass, Father Edeh prepared,

Pilgrims attended the celebration

Pilgrims attended the celebration

packed lunch and soft drinks and distributed to everyone who attended the celebration. Thus, all the people were filled with joy.

Father Edeh has done this activity every Easter Sunday celebration of the year.  Like Mother Theresa did in the streets of Mumbai and Calcutta, he lifts and kindles the hearts of our poor brothers and sisters in Nigeria, Africa and in the process strengthens their faiths in our Lord Jesus. It’s a wonderful job. He has done what our Lord has commanded to us. Jesus says” What you have done to the least of your brothers, you have done it unto me.”He has done it.

Father Edeh is the director and Father Founder of the Catholic Prayer Ministry of the Holy Spirit of the Eucharistic Adoration Elele, Nigeria. Like most famous religious leader, he celebrates Easter Sunday on charitable works.

Airport Security Inspection, Please!

                                                                                                                          By Vic Odarve

Although most travelers believe that tightening passenger screening is crucial to security so that safety must not be compromised, some find the airport inspection frustrating, inconvenience, and another headache. Nowadays airport terminal baggage and security inspections are not as easy as we think; a long line of passengers queuing for immigration and security checks will be experienced. Evidently, tight airport security is intended to make air travel safe and convenient. Remember the 9/11 attack on the twin towers! So no one will argue.

Passengers Waiting Area

Passengers Waiting Area

So our real adventure begins at the airport. Travelers, with luggage and carry-on baggage must follow a snake like cordoned line, queue in the established points of inspection inside the international airport.

“Security inspection please”, one of the airport security told every traveler as he inspected your baggage and conducted bodily checked up. As inspection was done manually, it almost took an hour queuing; opening and closing your checked luggage and presentation of the necessary travel documents. Then an inspection on carry-on baggage, shoes, laptops, was done through in the x-ray machine.

At this point with the imaging technology, airport security personnel screened passengers faster and efficient to detect prohibitive materials while maintaining passenger privacy. This mitigated risk and ensured the safety of the traveling public.

But just a few meters from that inspection point, another security inspector was stationed to recheck the carry-on bag and do some bodily security inspection. Carry-on baggage was required to open and check its contents; airport officer asked several questions while doing the inspection and finally finished his search to the pocket of my pants. Upon seeing something inside, he said “There, that one”. I pulled out some and give him something. The final inspection finished and the officer bye with a smiling face.

International Airport Terminal

International Airport Terminal

Finally, I felt exhausted and joined other passengers already in the waiting area who greeted with thumbs up sign. I knew what they meant. Maybe I was doing it right for the first time. They, too, were doing the same thing. And at last, I was waiting to board the plane.

Though we feel somewhat airport inspection frustrating, inconvenience, and another headache, tight airport security is intended to make our air travel safe and convenient. Maybe next time, it will be your turn. Whether you like it or not, your real adventure starts at the airport. Once inside the terminal you will be greeted,” Sir, airport, and security inspection, please!

A Little Patience Please!

By Vic Odarve

Madonna University,Elele campus, Riverstate, Nigeria, Africa

Madonna University,
Elele campus, Rivers state, Nigeria, Africa

Incessant request for good services is annoying and irritating. And sometimes you did not know that you have paid for it. It takes your precious time for follow-ups and disrupts your daily activities. How much more if it takes almost a month to iron out the things instead of having it completed in a 4 days transaction!  But here in Africa, it is not surprising. It is a common scenario. A little patience is required to work your things out. Patience, please!

It might be a complex for a foreigner to understand the picture unless you do a close look or until you are drawn in one of your business transactions.

Take a case on one of my bank transactions! Just a simple money transfer! It was December 8 that I made a bank transaction. The money was meant for December 25- a Christmas day. And it should suppose to arrive at that date. But after 7 days the recipient did receive nothing. I made a call to the bank manager and he then fixed the problem. So I waited another more working days and to my surprise, the same thing happened. Delayed for the second time! So I called back the manager again several times and begged to give an attention to what had happened. Finally after several calls and follow-ups, the recipient did receive the money. It was already January 2 after New Year! It took almost a month! Instead of 4 days!

There might be something wrong in the bank management. It is difficult to imagine how a simple transaction that could be done in a four working day period ended up in almost a month-long with constant monitoring. In both transaction failures, the bank did not merely notify thru phone or email to its customer.  It seems that this thing is normal in their daily transaction. In their working atmosphere, there’s no such thing as urgent! How about the customers? Customers may keep on calling at the office for follow ups and struggle in pain over their services.

Here it requires a lot of patience than demanding your rights as a customer. It is quite complex for a foreigner to understand the management system the bank is having. Can we do something more? Nothing other than to adopt in order to live and survive in this world where patience reigns supreme than fighting over your rights as a customer.