What We Are Grateful For

 Titchie Carandang-Tiongson with husband, Erwin and sons Nicolas and Rafael. (Photo courtesy of Titchie Carandang-Tiongson)

Titchie Carandang-Tiongson with husband, Erwin and sons Nicolas and Rafael. (Photo courtesy of Titchie Carandang-Tiongson)

We asked our writer-friends, whether they’re sitting down to a holiday dinner of roast turkey or sinigang, what they are most grateful for as Americans celebrate their Thanksgiving Day on the last Thursday of November.
 Cathy S. Babao (Source: enjoyingwonderfulworld.blogspot.com)

Cathy S. Babao (Source: enjoyingwonderfulworld.blogspot.com)

Cathy Babao

Thankful for family and friends. For good health, provisions and a shelter to return to at the end of the day. For work and the opportunity to help so many people. For finding love and His grace in the most unexpected places.  

Migs Bassig

On this day and all other days I am thankful for my family, which includes my Ma and Pa, my three siblings (Lourdes, Francis, Josemaria), our loyal housekeeper, Lisa, and my dog, Budoy. When I have to describe myself to people I always say I am a writer and reader who happens to be Filipino, but before I ever became anything else, I was first a Bassig and will always be. Without family I am nothing. They are the pieces that make my heart and fill it to bursting; everything I know about love, I learned from them.

 Migs Bassig (Photo courtesy of Migs Bassig)

Migs Bassig (Photo courtesy of Migs Bassig)

 Cecilia Manguerra-Brainard and husband, Lauren, in Rio de Janeiro (Photo courtesy of Cecilia Manguerra-Brainard)

Cecilia Manguerra-Brainard and husband, Lauren, in Rio de Janeiro (Photo courtesy of Cecilia Manguerra-Brainard)

Cecilia Manguerra Brainard

I am thankful for my family, for our health, for the gifts granted to us. I am grateful to those who have helped the Philippines after Haiyan; this is a light in the darkness that has engulfed the Philippines. I am thankful to the Creator who I know will shine His mercy on this world that is undergoing so many painful changes.  

 Lotis Key (Photo courtesy of Lotis Key)

Lotis Key (Photo courtesy of Lotis Key)

Lotis Key

So grateful for a life that is not the norm.
Health. Family. Job. Love. Shelter from the storm.
Clean air. Clean water. Clean food. Clean hands.
The right to dream, to pray, make plans.
This taste of perfection humbles me, sad member of the minority.

Lisa Suguitan Melnick

I'm thankful for knowing to first honor my own health, joys and peace of body, mind, spirit. In this mode, I express gratitude for this chance to say:
I am thankful for my parents.
I am thankful that they are still around to read this.
I am thankful for my life partner, Mark.   I'm thankful that though I don't always want to tell him that, here we stay.
I am thankful for my son, Ryan Akira-- a purehearted, really good person.  He's always been this way.

 Lisa Melnick (Photo courtesy of Lisa Melnick)

Lisa Melnick (Photo courtesy of Lisa Melnick)

 Benjamin Pimentel (Photo courtesy of Benjamin Pimentel)

Benjamin Pimentel (Photo courtesy of Benjamin Pimentel)

Ben Pimentel

I'm thankful for being part of a nation that has endured so much through the centuries but has managed to move forward, to smile, to dream, to build, to learn from history, to rebel, to celebrate, to hope for a better world for everyone.

 Elizabeth Ann Besa-Quirino with husband, Elpi (right), and sons Timothy and Constante (Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Ann Besa-Quirino)

Elizabeth Ann Besa-Quirino with husband, Elpi (right), and sons Timothy and Constante (Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Ann Besa-Quirino)

Elizabeth Ann Quirino

I had this tucked away.  A piece of paper in my journal slipped out.

“Mom, I’m so grateful for all you and Dad have done for me over the years and I’m so proud of everything you’re accomplishing.”

It was a note my son scribbled a while ago. It does not take much for me to be grateful. It’s the little notes, the little things, the small gestures, the kind words amid the gigantic landscape of the world’s turmoils and travails that keep me going. I am grateful for lessons learned from the past that help me face the present. I am thankful for the opportunity to do what I love to do and share it. Best of all, I am grateful for the love of my husband, my sons and close friends.

Thankfulness helps us heal, gives us the gifts of wisdom and compassion. With gratitude, we find the best of everything in every single day.

 Marivi Soliven and brother, Nolet (Photo courtesy of Marivi Soliven)

Marivi Soliven and brother, Nolet (Photo courtesy of Marivi Soliven)

Marivi Soliven

I am grateful  for Penguin's publication of The Mango Bride, which inspired National Book Store to fly me home to Manila for literary events and a visit to my brother newly felled by a stroke.  For Nolet's  continuing recovery I am deeply grateful. I am thankful that Typhoon Haiyan spared my family in Aklan and that the Internet helped us to bear witness and reach out to each other through the ordeal. I am grateful that in this most bittersweet of years, our many sorrows have been leavened with joy and the persistent hope that better days are yet to come. 

Titchie Carandang Tiongson

My four-year-old has a school prayer, "We are thankful for family, food and friends." I echo these sentiments today, looking back at a year spent working on “Philippines on the Potomac,” an effort to document the lives of Filipinos who lived in DC during the previous century. Their stories--Jose Abad Santos, Sofia de Veyra, Enya Gonzalez, Bienvenido Santos and many others--are lives of grace and hope in a time of war and uncertainty.

 Marites Danguilan-Vitug with husband, Vet (Photo courtesy of Marites Vitug)

Marites Danguilan-Vitug with husband, Vet (Photo courtesy of Marites Vitug)

Marites Danguilan Vitug

There's so much to be grateful for. We in Metro Manila were spared from the wrath of Yolanda (Haiyan). But the feeling is like being at a wedding and funeral at the same time because thousands perished and many more lost their homes in parts of the Visayas. On a personal note, my husband has a new lease on life after undergoing a kidney transplant. Good health is the best gift one could aspire for.