I’ve shared a lot of me in these pages. Many of them I write as notes to self, and they function as such: beacons and reminders of conversations with my God; I go back to them and they guide me and inspire me again and again.
So then I also started writing them for my sons, wisdom and truths we can discuss as boys and men, graces given to me in life that I hope to leave them for life. And so I also write for my dear and most forgiving wife, to explain for better and for worse why I am the way I am; and how with faith there is hope; and as in our wedding’s gospel invitation to always come and begin again, why above all else, we can always count on love, always love. I don’t know how else to account for this miracle that daily transforms me, redeems me. And so finally, I write all these to share with others, for whatever they’re worth to you, my dear reader.
So here allow me to cover the basics. What shaped me into who I am.
I was born and raised in Manila and educated by the Jesuits, as were/are all males in my family (and many females)! In my case, it was 12 years of Jesuit education across Xavier and Ateneo in Manila and Fordham in NYC. The only exception in my formative years were the 5 high school years I spent in Opus Dei’s Southridge, which left a lasting formation and a very unorthodox synthesis given everything else about me is Jesuit.
I also grew up in the Jesuit parish of Mary the Queen, a bastion of Chinese Filipino Catholicism. My parents were both second generation Chinese in the Philippines: their parents (3 of my 4 grandparents) were born and raised in China in the diasporic Xiamen province, who migrated rather accidentally (war broke) to the Philippines. The point being, it was an unlikely twist of events that led me and my parents, whose forebears were essentially atheist, into Catholic schools; and “coupled Catholic schools” at that (Mama went to ICA and Markyknoll, Papa went to Xavier and Ateneo so they were always just across the street from each other); let alone the most formative combo of them all: the Jesuits and the Opus Dei. I already hinted at that unorthodox pairing of Catholicism’s most liberal and conservative ends and will let you decide how the chips have fallen across these pages.
I was also educated in the US, where I earned 3 degrees (Fordham, Yale, NYU) and lived a cumulative 15 years in the Northeast slash Tri-state (Celtics and Patriots! if you’re wondering where I lie in that divide). All of which immersed me in a far more global and diverse world than the utter homogeneity I’d grown up in. I see a lot of very good things about my Philippines and a lot so very badly in need of change. As with this broken, beautiful world we all call home.
All these have formed me into who I am, what I believe in and how I live my life. You will find across these pages my ongoing story. I hope you won’t just be readers; I hope we will be co-authors, writing out our lines as revealed to us day by day. Let’s build a better world together.
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam!
Andre A. Yap, Founder