I’M giving you the definition of home from the dictionary: “Home is where one lives permanently as a member of a family or household.”

My definition of a home is a place where I can be comfortable, where my family and friends live, and where I am loved. Cebu is my home

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

It took travel away from home to wake me up to the fact that in our senior years, nothing comes free of charge. If there is happiness, there is pain. If there is love, absence of love does appear, too. If there is company, loneliness pays a visit too even in a crowd. However, home really embraces us with open arms. My family picked me up in Mactan.

I fell into the open warmth of friends, Tita, Sony, Gingging, and Gloria at Big Mao a few days after I got back.

The two meditation groups I belong to made me feel so welcome that I have no words to express my happiness.

Tito and Yenna Mercader’s Tuesday group made me feel so much a part of them that spiritually, the Tuesday group is also home to me.

Cebu is really a lovely place to come home to. Even walking around the malls, just seeing the usual coffee shops in Ayala with friends like Mr. and Mrs. Carlito Alvarez et al, hearing Teresin Mendezona’s “I read your column” (she was referring to the language barrier in Seoul) and Carmen Campbell’s “gosh, what happened to your first ticket?” (upon learning that I got left behind at the JFK) made me feel that Cebu is a cozy place and home to really nice people.

Last Wednesday, my Ayala hiking group gave me so much joy, as I sat down with them under the trees. (I can’t hike yet). But Dr. Billy Jaca’s naughty grin, plus his teasing tone, “she’s alive, she’s alive,” with the warm hand shakes from Ralph Zuluaga, Gary and Chat Muñoz, and Susan and her dear hubby, plus Jo Ocubillo’s twinkling eyes—all these I will not exchange for material treasures in this world.

What really made me realize the truth of my good friend Lani’s column was my first day at Redemptorist Church. Lani once wrote that “the best part of going away is coming home.”

I was in time for my July lector stint every 5:15 p.m. novena mass on Wednesday and my lector stint every second week of the month.

As I entered Redemptorist Church, Mama Mary’s gaze, and our Sacred Heart’s open arms took me in so completely that tears rolled down my cheeks spontaneously because I realized how much I missed my church. (It’s not just the building.)

Our Redemptorist priests’ welcoming faces, reassured me. We believe you belong to us not just as priests, but as everything else (sorry for the proprietarial note, but that’s how most of us parishioners think)—as friend, confessor, mentor, and as ordinary mortals who are dedicated and committed to God’s work, but who are as human as we are within the limits of your vocation. The lay ministers, the lectors, the choir, the classmates at the 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. masses made me feel I had truly come home. I just felt I belonged.

When we travel, we are enchanted by so many places and things we don’t normally see. Actually, abroad I was very happy that there were several people heavier than I am so I didn’t have to choose clothes that would give the illusion of my being less heavy. There I felt slimmer than most people. That was really something!

But when all is said and done, we are made to see from afar what we really have here in Cebu and I will not trade places with anyone else.

Eventually, God will bring us to our true, permanent home, our place of origin, where our roots really are. Our true citizenship really originates and ends in heaven. We would be terribly at a loss if we miss this fact.

We really are only travelers here on earth waiting for the time when we are called home. However, many of us, including myself do want to stay some more here on earth in spite of the crosses we all bear. And why not? Life especially in Cebu is beautiful. Home is really a place peopled by beings you belong to and are happy to be with.