Author: James Z. Carpio

They just came from the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral and they found themselves lost in the middle of the City of Naga. A representative of a group of more than ten asked a lady for directions on how to go to the Basilica.

It was my morning walk as usual, dark and early, I came from home and from a distance I could see the group of local tourists or pilgrims. I overheard the lady gave them instructions and she went on her way.

We were then all in front of the gate of the Naga Central School. I greeted them a cheerful, “Good Morning and asked, what seemed to be the problem?” The leader of the group said they wanted to go to Basilica Minore as previously mentioned.

Without hesitation and with a spirit of adventure, I volunteered to be their tour guide. I told them that it’s not really far from where we are by the time we get to the main avenue we could take a jeepney. But it was the Fluvial Procession day so the chances were quite slim– nil actually.

We took a short cut by passing through the premises of the Naga Central campus. And I had to walk a little bit slower as I noticed they were trailing behind. Also because there were at least three children among them.

I asked the group where they are from and they replied, “from Ligao.” To make the mood light, I jokingly remarked and you are all ‘naliligaw’ (lost). They laughed heartily.

Halfway through the walk they said that I was their guardian angel sent by ‘Ina’ to lead them to her home. I smiled. I just smiled but deep inside I was elated.

The lady in her forties told stories while we were walking. She shared that they do that pilgrimage every year but somehow the city keeps changing so they do not know the directions to their destinations.

There was no jeepney so we continued walking. When they saw the Peñafrancia Church there were oohs and aahs. They changed their minds and decided they wanted to head on there first before going to the Basilica Minore.

Well, okay, I told them. So I walked with them towards the facade of the church. They said their gratitude and I gave them easy and specific instructions as to how to get to the Basilica. The oldest of the group, a grandmother, told me if ever I find myself in their hometown of Ligao she said to look for their family and she gave me her surname. I thanked them too, bade them farewell, greeted them, ‘Happy Fiesta!’ and finally went home.

Why did I go out of my way and personally showed them where they wanted to go to? That’s easy, it’s because there have been a few times in my life that I have been lost too.

I remember we were in the Lion City, the moniker for Singapore, and my sister, her friends, and I had been circling and roaming the city maze: lost and tired. There was this young urban professional, a Filipino, who noticed our dilemma. We looked helpless even with a map. He volunteered to take us where we were going. Mind you, it was a long walk too but he also went along with us to show us to our destination.

I learned that day that being lost happens to anyone. More so because that is the downside of traveling in a foreign place.

But that could happen anywhere. I was then studying at the university and I was supposed to take a test and I couldn’t find the examination room. I asked directions from a fellow student and she couldn’t put into words the exact location because it had a sort of secret passageway so she personally accompanied me to the room. On hindsight, I could not have been able to take the test if not for her crucial heroic deed.

I could have lost my passport at the Frankfurt immigration area. I was already at the baggage claiming section when I saw the German lady officer running towards me with my passport in her hand. I could just imagine how a lost passport could have ruined my vacation. I thanked her in German. What good fortune!

Regardless of nationality, race or religion the inherent thread of humanity that binds us is strong and surfaces in the most difficult times. But even in the most trivial things we can show each other our compassion that even though no matter how simple it may have been to us but to the person we helped it meant the world to them just the same.

The guardian angel who could help you could be me, it could be some other person or most importantly it could also be you when someone loses his or her way and asks for your help too.

However, these were special cases. There were no uniformed personnel who could have assisted them or us (In Singapore). I was at the right place and at the right time and I only had to exercise that morning as my agenda. Times like that is a great example of how the universe works.

They wanted to give veneration to Our Lady of Peñafrancia. And I believe that the whole universe conspired so that they would be able to say their heartfelt prayers at the Church and Basilica.

Each and every single one of us can be an instrument for any act of goodness to our fellow men especially if the intention is intrinsically virtuous. There is an angel in all of us. Be steadfast and ready for we do not know when our halo and wings will be tested but rest assured that the opportunities will be endless. In the whole of our lifetime there will be countless moments to be kind, generous, thoughtful and loving. These are the moments when our light will shine and our radiance will be truly appreciated.

A life less ordinary that becomes all the more purposeful if we aspire as vessels of goodness, keeping in mind and in our hearts the inspiration of goodness that we all have been lost but ultimately found in the overflowing abundance of God’s Love in the fruition of the promise of His dearly Beloved Son.

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