By Nickky Faustine P. de Guzman

Beyond All Barriers: Coincidence or Miracle?
By Flor Gozon-Tarriela and Butch Jimenez
Published by Conquest for Christ Foundation, Inc.

IT WASN’T PART of Alden Richards’ plans to become “The Pambansang Bae” (The National Babe) nor it was Tess E. Santos and Kim Atienza’s wish to get sick. But, despite troubles, there is always a reason to seek the good and to celebrate triumphs, no matter how small they are. This is the key reminder of the book Beyond All Barriers: Coincidence or Miracle, the fifth installment in the series which compiles people’s stories on the “miracles” of life.

“Life isn’t always sunny, but we can always look forward to rainbows,” said Flor Gozon Tarriela, a BusinessWorld columnist and one of the book’s two authors — the other is Butch Jimenez, senior vice-president of PLDT — during its launch on Nov. 25 at the Manila Polo Club in Makati.

From tales of struggles in love and health to career and business, the paperback has 100 stories, all with various versions of a happy ending.

Among the stories told are those of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, theater and TV personality Isay Alvarez Seña, Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Nix Nolledo, and urban planner Felino “Jun” Palafox, Jr., who wrote about how they turned barriers into blessings.

Among the storytellers is 22-year-old actor Alden Richards (a.k.a. Richard Reyes Faulkerson, Jr.), who is currently celebrating his newfound A-list celebrity status, thanks to his Eat Bulaga stint and his AlDub (Alden and Yaya Dub) fans. But the road to becoming a household name was not easy. Entering showbiz wasn’t even part of his plans. “I wanted to be a pilot when I was growing up and my mom was very supportive of me,” he is quoted as saying in the book. But his mother would always tell him that she wanted to see him on television. “I would meekly say ‘yes’ to appease her,” he said.

When his mother died when he was only 16 years old, he realized he wanted to fulfill her wish. And so he auditioned countless times, and was rejected. Then GMA network saw his potential in 2010. He started acting. Early this year, however, his career had reached a plateau and he felt “restless and empty inside.” That was when he started to yearn for a deeper spiritual life. It was only when he surrendered himself to God that he was able to achieve his dreams and his mother’s wish.

The turning point for Kim Atienza also came when he sought spiritual healing. His story, called “The Ironman,” tells how he battled Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), a disorder that attacks the peripheral nervous system, weakening and paralyzing the limbs. Before developing GBS, he already had a stroke that led him to change his lifestyle. He started joining marathons. It was only when he got GBS that his spiritual side grow stronger and deeper.

Actress Isay Alvarez-Seña has a similar story, called “My Heart Full with Every Curtain Call.”

It was the last quarter of 2012, and she was busy with corporate shows, TV series, and rehearsals for the production of the musical Katy! where she was the lead star. In between rehearsals, she would feel uncomfortable. “In one rehearsal, I felt faint and was having a hyper-acidic attack. One time, as I was lying down, I felt a big lump on my left side,” she is quoted as saying in the book. She was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, a cancer of the blood.

She did not question God — her illness prompted her to strengthen her spiritual relationship with Him. She also helped herself by eating organic food and living a healthier lifestyle.

She said in the book: “I was not only prepping myself physically but spiritually, too.”

It has been two years since she got sick, and she said she is enjoying life to the fullest.

The book has tales of love especially for the hopeless romantic. Cynical about love and the concept of “forever?” Read “Single No More” about Tin-Tin Uy-Enriquez, director of Trans World Trading Co. Her story proves that there is a happy ever after, no matter one’s age is.

“When I was in my fifties, I had given up hope of ever getting married,” she says, while she may have been alone, she was not lonely. She was happy being single — until her friends set her up on a date. As you may have guessed, the date worked out, but the struggles of the romantic relationship are up to the reader to learn.

“To the single ladies who are still hoping for God’s best, continue to honor and serve your parents; serve the people,” she says in the book, “and the Lord will give you the desires of your heart.”

The book is not available in bookstores. For orders call 847-0522 to 25 or e-mail