THE LECHON KID – a christmas story / philippine electorate

1. THE LECHON KID – a christmas story
2. The Philippine Electorate  
eastwind journals 142


By Bernie Lopez
Permission is granted to re-publish with credits and notification.
This is a rerun of a previously published blog, for new comers


Please bring your rosaries so Pope Francis can bless them after the Mass at Luneta, Palo, and other places. There will be a prayer rally entitled WIN ONE FOR GOD at the Araneta coliseum, December 12, Friday, 3pm to 630pm, endorsed by CBCP President Archbishop Socrates Villegas.

The Philippine Electorate

Seventy percent of Filipino voters are either poor and uneducated or have distorted values. They vote rogue people to office just because they were screen stars, corrupt people just because they gave some cash, and inexperienced people just because they are children of former politicians. We give the power to rule us to weak, dumb, inexperienced, corrupt, unqualified, criminal, self-serving people. So we deserve it all. You do not have to be smart to be a politician. Just be rich. Until we uplift and educate our electorate, we are to blame for our sick government. None of our presidents were champions for the people, only for themselves. We never had a true leader for a long long time now. When will get out of the mire?


THE LECHON KID – a christmas story


The Blumentritt-La Loma area is the lechon (roasted pig) capital of Metro-Manila. There are 50-odd stalls in an eight-block area, which sell an average of 300 to 400 lechons a day. That’s about half a million pesos gross a day, which is not bad for a strange place where affluence and poverty see each other eyeball-to-eyeball. During the Christmas season, the volume of sales doubles to a smacking million pesos a day. On a day close to Christmas, a spiritual event descends upon Blumentritt-La Loma.
Five-year-old Richard is nicknamed the Lechon Kid for a good reason. He has no parents, no brothers, no sisters, no family. He lives alone underneath a small bridge, except when there is a storm, when he would ask Father John at nearby Lourdes Church along Retiro St. to take him in.


RICHARD – Hello father, the storm is over, so I guess I will leave for the bridge today.
FR. JOHN – No, it’s okay, You can stay around for the whole Christmas season.
RICHARD – Wow, really father? Why?
FR. JOHN – Because it’s Christmas.
RICHARD – Oh, okay father, thanks. I will clean the church garden once a week then.
PRIEST – Okay, that’s good. But Richard, you stink. Take a shower when you come back this afternoon.
RICHARD – Yes, father.
FR. JOHN – Remember, Richard, when people are kind to you, always tell them ‘God bless you’.
RICHARD – Why father?
PRIEST- Because God blesses them for being kind and He blesses you also, and will give you good things. Okay, go over the kitchen and get your rice.


Because Father John leaves early and there is no breakfast ready, he gives Richard a plastic bag of cold rice from the night before. Richard then looks for food for himself in the streets. He roams the lechon stalls, clutching his plastic bag of rice. By that time, the pigs, which were being roasted since 3:00 to 4:00 a.m., are hot and ready for the first buyers. At Mang Kiko’s stall, five lechons are standing vertically on bamboo poles, leaning against the wall, deep red-brown, glistening like sports cars.
Richard opens the plastic bag of rice, places it underneath the biggest lechon, and lets the oil from the lechon drip to his bag. Mang Kiko knows Richard and ignores him. After 15 minutes and 20 drips, he takes his rice, puts some patis (liquid fish salt) from the table, goes out, and starts to eat with bare hands on the sidewalk, standing. When he finishes, he goes to Mang Kiko, places his hand on his forehead, saying –“God bless you, Mang Kiko,” Mang Kiko would shoo him away.
At mid-day, he has a plan on how to get lunch. He spots a salted-egg vendor. So he pretends to limp exaggeratedly towards the woman vendor and just stands there in front of her, hoping to get some sympathy. The woman vendor stares at him. He does not even put his palm out. He just stands there and smiles, irresistible to any decent soul, and he knows it. Finally, the woman gives her a salted egg. He jumps with joy and hugs her, who quickly pries herself loose from his dirty grasp.


RICHARD – My name’s Richard. What’s yours?
ALING FELY – Fely. Okay, just go.
RICHARD – God bless you, Aling Fely.
ALING FELY – I know you’re not lame. Stop pretending.
RICHARD – I know you know. I was trying to be funny.
ALING FELY – Get out of here.


Richard puts a hand on her forehead, giving her a God-bless-you, and she yanks it away. Next, he goes over to a sidewalk mini-eatery. A mother and son are just standing up after eating. Richard quickly grabs the left over rice from their two plates and puts it in his plastic bag. Nobody notices. He goes over to the eatery owner and gives her a God-bless-you before she shoos him away. Outside a dirty barbershop, he sits on a bench. He peels the salted egg, puts it on top of the rice in the plastic bag, and pounds the bag against the wall to mix his lunch, another feast with bare unwashed hands.
After resting a bit, he goes over to the coconut juice vendor, and drinks leftover juice from two plastic cups before they are thrown into the garbage. He puts the empty cups on like slippers, and hangs on the rear railing of a passenger jeepney. As it moves away, he slides on the pavement, using the cups as his ‘skis’ – ingenious but noisy. He ignores people shouting at him to get off. The burly coconut juice vendor picks him up with one hand. Before he leaves, he gives the coconut vendor his “God-bless-you.”
In the evening, Richard stalks another lechon stall, the biggest in the area, which displays as many as a dozen lechons at any given time. Hiding within the forest of lechons, he takes a pair of rusty mini-scissors from his pocket and cuts off two 6-inch pig tails of lechon. Aling Donna, the owner, sees him at the corner of her eye but pretends she does not. Richard goes over to her and gives her a “God-bless-you” hug, for which he is rewarded a plate of rice. That is one sumptuous dinner, two 6-inch pig tails on rice. The next day, after his breakfast of lechon oil on rice, Mang Kiko confronts him.


MANG KIKO – Hey Richard. Do you know I sold ten lechons yesterday? That’s a record. As soon as you left, a lady bought all five lechons. So, I ordered five more which were all sold before noon.
RICHARD – That’s because I told God to bless you. You give to me, He gives to you. Ha-ha.
MANG KIKO – I give you twenty drips of lechon fat and He gives me P12,000 income in one day? That’s a bit lopsided.
RICHARD – You don’t know Him. He didn’t take up Accounting. He’s poor in Math. As long as you give, He gives back. You better believe it, (proudly) God gave to you because I asked him.
MANG KIKO – Maybe so. (Richard begins to leave). Hey, hey, bless me first.


Richard puts a hand on Mang Kiko’s forehead and blesses him. Onlookers begin to laugh. Next day, Mang Kiko sells 14 lechons. Richard’s image spreads like wildfire. He is giving “God-bless-yous” to vendors left and right. The mini-eatery quadruples its income. The juice vendor consumes a record 44 coconuts instead of the usual 15. Aling Fely quintuples her egg sales and is now diversifying into balut (fertilized duck’s egg). Aling Donna, the lechon tycoon, sells a staggering 46 in one day. Mysteriously, buyers are coming from nowhere. Richard is getting fat, eating all the lechon he can, no longer just drips or tails, but the real McCoy.
At the Christmas midnight Mass, right after the consecration, Richard comes up to Fr. John, tells him to bow down, puts his hand on his forehead, picks up the microphone, and says, “Father, God bless you for taking care of me.”
The Christmas season in lechon land is never better. Richard becomes the legendary God-bless-you kid of Blumentritt. Blumentritt flourishes to this day, sanctified and blest by God through His messenger, Richard, the Lechon Kid. The Lord’s power to change the world is manifested in a small child, which perhaps not even the CEO of a multinational firm can do to a strange place like Blumentritt. We have to emulate Richard, if we are to change the world, not for ourselves, but for the Lord. Changing the world for the Lord is the best mission for all of us.
The words “God bless you” is an empowerment word. This story is an empowerment of a kid who somehow changed the world for the better in his small way. It is also the empowerment of the people around him, to be blest and receive spiritual bounty because they gave material bounty. For Christmas gives spiritual bounty more than material.
it was not a dream
that drove me to take wings
but a nightmare
during my pilgrimage in portugal
praying for discernment
I walked 80 kilometers for seven days
from lisbon to fatima
sleeping on the roadside as I had no tent
brushing my teeth in village fountains
on the sixth day
there was a slight drizzle
so I asked a farmer
if I could sleep in his sheep’s shed
the shed had a certain sheep odor
that was a little bit offensive
all of a sudden, the birth of Jesus
came to me in a flash
then I suddenly realized
how it defies the imagination
that the Creator of the universe
is humble enough to permit Himself
to be born in a crib for new-born sheep
the hay of such a crib is itchy on the skin
the swaddling cloth helps
but still the God who made all of us
did not stay in a three star inn
but a no-star sheep shed
His power must be awesome and limitless
to be able to do this
the omnipotent God in total humility
born in a manger
at whose side powerful kings
and winged angels knelt in adoration
He set an example
on that first Christmas 2,000 years ago
to be able to save all of us
this Christmas
He made richard, a poor homeless boy
as his emissary in giving good tidings
of his birth and coming
to the people of blumenttrit-la loma
excerpts from Wings and Wanderlust
to order – email


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