17 December 2012

The Call of the Faithful

Abraham was called
When he least expected it
He was told to leave everything
For the land God has promised
He obeyed and set out
For the perilous journey
The "Father of All Nations"
Was blessed beyond imagination

David was anointed
When he least expected it
He was told to leave his shepherding
To become Israel's king
He claimed what was promised
Yet he waited for the day
When the mighty King of kings
Raised him up unto the throne to lead

Mary was visited
When she least expected it
"A baby from a virgin!
Fear not!", said the angel.
Instead of doubting God
She uttered a song of praise
"My soul magnifies the Lord!"
Knowing her Son will soon save the world

Jesus became sin
When He knew no sin at all
We brought Him to death
Yet He gave eternal life
He rose from the dead
To give us hope and joy
To make us saints for His glory
And to live with Him forevermore

For our ancestors in the faith,
God is sovereign in their lives.
He still is, and will always be.
Surrender your all in His hands.
Because God knows His plans for us. Above all, He does everything for His glory.
Let your lives be an instrument for His wonderful plan.

07 October 2012

[I don't have a title yet...]

In the rising of the sun
In the darkness of night
In calamities and serenity
I see God in every thing

In the mighty roaring lion
In the bird's flight patterns
In the wildest and tamest of things
I see God in every thing

I see His hands at work
He's never at rest
A Father who continues
To change His children's ways
His work, a patent of grace
Of love and of mercy
He is never at rest

In the most noble of kings
In the meekest of hearts
In the richest and poorest of men
I see God in every day

In joys and in bliss
In sorrow and in grief
In all the paths of our lives
I see God all the way

The Lord is not yet finished
With the lives of His people
He always knew what's best for us
Which twists and turns to go through
Have faith, have faith!
Have faith in the God
Who promised us greater things to come

This lyrics is a product of our church's study about I and II Samuel.
In every circumstance that David was in, you can see God's hand, be it blessings or judgments. :D

05 October 2012

For Lack of a Better “Positive” Term

Facebook. Twitter. Gmail. Yahoo. Youtube. These names are very much popular in our Age of Information. These nouns are even used as verbs. I am currently “facebooking” while typing my reaction paper. I often wonder why our age was that of information, when in reality the past age was more concerned with true and hard-earned information. Yes, technology makes us easily informed, therefore making research and information dissemination easier. On the other hand, too much use of technology makes us unaware of time. Finally, I found an apt, yet not positive, term for such a way of life, “temporal disorders”.

Last October 3, I was able to attend Dr. Jonas Baes’ colloquium entitled “Music and Temporal Disorder: The Dissolution of Form and Tonal Structure in the Piano Piece A Priori (and myths about composing the other self)”. I am not unfamiliar with the pieces of Dr. Baes, since I have composition major friends and, in some instances, we discussed about his music and the music of his composition students. This colloquium has led me to see Dr. Baes and his works in a new perspective.

He told us the philosophical background of his works. He leans toward Emmanuel Kant’s epistemological views (a priori and a posteriori). His music usually defies the a priori in music. He makes music without form and without distinct melody. He defies the norms of today's music, he deconstructs the constructed idea regarding music. He introduced to us the term temporal disorder, a term used by Elissa Marder in her book Dead Time: Temporal Disorders in the Wake of Modernity. Temporal disorder is defined as a disorder of being unable to live in time. In our present age, time is usually commodified. Dr. Baes mentioned happy hour and prime time. He also gave examples of temporal disorders in the Philippine context, such as addiction to video games and watching Telenovelas. I was really struck by the Filipino’s fetishism for the camera. I usually hate people who will tell me that they will just wait for the performance videos to be uploaded on Youtube, even if the place is just one jeepney away or the concert is free. I will always tell them that the live experience is very much different from watching it on a computer screen. I am very thankful for my parents because they watch recitals and performances whenever they are free. I remember my father attending the Viva España concert at the Abelardo Hall despite his very busy schedule because he told me that, “mas kakaiba ang pakiramdam kapag nakikita mo mismo yung kumakanta, tumutugtog at sumasayaw (the feeling is different when you experience the singing, playing, and dancing in person)”. My mother would always ask me if there will be recitals in the college because she would usually bring some of her friends and relatives to watch. My churchmates also supported our church choir when we performed last September 23 at the PhilAm Life Auditorium for the Coro Et Al concert. We might be the most amateur choir that night, but our churchmates told us that the worship experience was very different when you see it live rather than watching it on Youtube. It’s as if they were part of the singing, they feel the experience of simply being there. I usually equate this to church worship as opposed to television worship services. The experience of worshiping with your fellow worshipers is more precious than watching sermons on TV. Yes, we can learn something from TV sermons, but the feeling of being with other people, of singing a heartfelt song during singing time, of hearing people’s testimonies, and of praying earnestly for those who need it is more fulfilling and engaging. TV worship can feel so artificial sometimes.

Temporal disorders affect a person’s yearning to experience music making in the flesh. Because of technology, people are satisfied to see performances on video and see how beautiful the stage design is or the costume of the performers are through photos posted on Facebook. These people would be comfortable in their own homes, in their own comfort zones. Some would say that, in watching a performance, they felt as if they were there. One of my church-mates told me that she saw the performance of AJ Villanueva’s Prayer of Stillness and that the soprano was very good. I told her that her hair would stand on its end and her ears will be filled with her voice and the sounds of the piano only if she was in that exact time and space of the performance. The piece was composed for a small hall, not for earphones. What many people do not understand is that, in our kind of music, the aural aspect is as important, if not more, as the visual aspect.

The reason that I appreciate watching performances, be it classical, contemporary, or avant-garde, is because I understand the importance of time and space in music. Being with new music and contemporary composers cause me to dialogue with them regarding their music, their motives, and their considerations in making their pieces. It was also applicable to Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, and even to the priests in the Middle Ages. It is also applicable to the nose flute, tongatong, and kulintang. I would never forget the day when I heard a nose flute being played as I travel in the mountains of Kalinga. It was more beautiful and more serene when it was played in the echoing mountains as compared to playing it in Abelardo Hall.

The problem with so many people today is that they let technology dictate their way of living, instead of using technology to improve their way of living. Temporal disorders may be the reason that schools do not value music education and music making because they can simply download songs they can dance to during Linggo ng Wika. They can just watch Youtube videos to learn how to sing and play the guitar. They never valued the fulfillment they can gain when they learn a skill that can not only improve their physical dexterity, but also their emotional, cognitive, and even moral aspects of their being. They never saw music education as a tool to help a person develop holistically. Since I am a pragmatist type of educator, I believe that you should learn music by doing, not merely watching.

This generation seriously needs some reflecting to do. Did we improve along with our technology? Or did we regress because we let technology progress, making it a substitute for everything that humans can do? When we are stripped of our gadgets, can we still function normally? These are the questions that my generation should ponder.

28 August 2012

Morning reflections

The Lord has been good to me. He has always been.

For the past weeks, I have been worrying so much about every thing. It makes me sad, anxious, grumpy. As if every smile drains my energy. Then, I would blame God for everything I feel.

But, it was me who brought it to myself.

It was very disrespectful to blame a God who has always been merciful, gracious, and even just.

After all of the bad things I hurled at Him, punishments with great love and concern were what He threw back. Why would I be angry when He exacts punishment on my sinful acts and thoughts? He is just! That is what I deserve. I even should be dead by now. Thank God for His unending love and grace.

O Lord, let me be an instrument of Thy peace. I beg of you, please keep my thoughts and actions pure and holy. :)

*Good morning! It's a brand new day. A brand new start. Another chance to show the world who I really live for. :)

A morning reflection and prayer :)

20 August 2012

Do I speak loudly in class?

Do I speak loudly in class? Yes, I believe I do. Being a musician, I know how to modulate my voice depending on the size of the room. I was trained to do that. I took it seriously because I am a choral singer, too.

The better question to ask is, “Do I always speak loudly in class?” Do I answer honestly in class or do I answer what my professors like to hear from me? My answer: No, I don’t always speak "loudly" in class. Usually, I don’t speak loudly in class when I know that my opinion or answer will cause a disturbance in the minds of those inside the classroom.

I experienced it so many times in the College of Music. When I did share my opinions or ask questions, I was usually shunned because what I said was not “in the book”. Thank the heavens, not all of my professors are like that. I encountered one professor who was always ready to hear his students’ questions and insights. If he doesn’t know the answer to my question, he would honestly say he is not sure what to answer. Then, he would encourage me to research about it and give the answer next meeting. That certain professor even defended me when I got a 5.0 in my solfege panel exam. He showed the panel my class performance. After doing so, he then talked to me and asked what happened. I told him I was so scared to fail. He told me it was normal, but he believed that I can survive the UP College of Music because I have the drive to do so. True enough, I am still in the College of Music.

I’m afraid (and SO TIRED) of professors not answering my questions and professors who even brand me as disrespectful when I ask a question they cannot answer. I don’t know why some professors get easily intimidated with their students. Some of my college professors caused a big issue in the college, which I will not disclose here, all because of students who asked “so many questions”. I thought UP professors are open-minded and had the best interest for students. Unfortunately, not all of them are like that. On the other hand, I am very grateful for professors who always want their students to learn and speak their mind freely.

I do not solely blame my professors for not always speaking loudly in class. I am a partly to blame because it is my decision not to always speak in class. When I think of something during the class, it shows in my face and my gestures, but not all are keen enough to see it or ask if I had something in mind that I would like to share.

I’m not sure if not speaking all that is in my mind is going against the UP student expectations. However, there should always be a balance between assertion and quiet pondering.

Reflection paper for my EDFD120 class. :)

10 August 2012

This is an educational autobiography for my EDFD120 subject. :D
hihi. enjoy :P

01 August 2012

13 May 2012

On Benedictions

Now unto Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. Jude vv. 24,25

For today's churches, benedictions are merely a signal to dismiss worshipers, very much like a school bell signaling the end of class hours. In our church, after the pastor utters the benediction for that Sunday, the choir will lead the people to sing The Lord Bless You and Keep You. I have been part of our church choir for 5 years already. It is a marvel how God, through the Holy Spirit, continually remind me that I am still a work in progress. Recently, this is one of His lessons for me.

It has been a habit for me to play the C Major chord after the pastor's benediction. I sing the alto line of The Lord Bless You and Keep You with my eyes on the lyrics projected in front. "Good day to everyone and may you all have a blessed week." Turn off the Clavinova. Bring the pieces inside the music room. Chat with some people. For years, this has been my worship dismissal habit.

One Sunday, I did not play the C Major chord, Ate Nikki did. That was when realizations dawned on me.
  1. When I do play the C Major chord, I was so worried to play the wrong chord that I wasn't able to listen to the benediction of the pastor.
  2. I stared wide-eyed to the pastor as he said, "Now, receive the blessing of the Lord" before he said the benediction. I haven't heard it before!!!or I was too busy with myself.
  3. The pastors always quote benedictions from the Bible. It's His Word! True enough, His Word does not go out in vain.
  4. Thus, it is UNIQUELY for His children.
  5. I treat benedictions as a habit. A normal occurence.
  6. I am so ignorant.

Benedictions are not only heard inside churches. It can be anywhere! The latest, famous benediction is from the book-turned-movie Hunger Games. Before a tribute goes to the Hunger Games, the announcer will shout:
May the odds be ever in your favor!

The odds? What are the odds? They are very hard to guess. They cannot be determined. Odds change. And yes, this fallen world put their lives to the ODDS.

Shame on me. I remember the odds being in our favor more than God being faithful. Wonderful benedictions such as those from Jude and Hebrews came from the Word of God and not from some mortal, sinful men. Why do I regard Biblical benedictions as nothing but mere words? With this shame, I asked God to forgive me for being ignorant about His Word and His promises. It also made me search myself. A C Major chord can receive an approving nod from the choir or the pastor, but does the hand that play it receive the blessing of the Lord?

From that day on, it is ultimately about God. I made myself a worshiper from the announcements to the last note of The Lord Bless You and Keep You. I play the C Major chord with much conviction and I sing with a ring of gratitude in my voice. Also, with the benediction in mind, I can always remind myself throughout the week that Christ Jesus clothed me with His righteousness, presenting me blameless before the presence of the Holy God. The Holy Spirit, my Divine Helper, will help me not to stumble into temptation. The triune God is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I can even share this wonderful truth to others. It can also be an encouragement to someone who is going through hard times. I have yet to find out its other purposes in my life as a Christian.

So, may the odds be ever in your favor?

As for me, may praises be ever to my faithful Savior!

For a list of benedictions, click here.

"Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and establish you in every good word and work."
II Thessalonians 2: 16,17

May you find meaning in those Words. :)

18 April 2012

Belated Happy Birthday, Happy Cum Laude, Advanced Happy Graduation!

Belated Happy Birthday!

Last April 15, I became twenteen... Nah, I'm not a teen anymore. I'm already 20 years old! I was actually thankful because I will be forced to be mature, though many remarked me as mature compared to my peers. In my lifetime, this year was the 2nd time my birthday fell on a Sunday. What better way to celebrate the day-I-came-to-be but by praising God with my Church family (which includes my biological family)? Singing praises to God, seeing the DVBS participants sing their theme song, hearing God's Word preached, partaking the Lord's Supper...and offering a song to Him.

I came from Calamba the day before for Jetu's wedding and arrived home late. I might not be in the best singing condition anyone can be in. My voice was hoarse. My eyes were droopy. I had coughs and colds. I still had a hard time singing with braces and occasional bleeding gums. Still, it is not for men but for God. That is the only way I can express my gratitude to the God who saved me and gave me 20 years to live. So...click here for the video of the song. The lyrics was made by me while the music was made by AJ Villanueva. I don't expect it to be applauded by singing experts. I was jittery as well since I am not used to singing ALONE. Just pay attention to the words of the song and I hope you'll be blessed! :)

Happy Cum Laude!
April 16, Monday. At 10 AM, I was already at church for Allie's piano lessons. After the lesson, I went to TriNoMa to meet AJ. AJ called me up when I was riding the FX. He exclaimed, "Ara...Cum laude ako!!! Grabe, sinagot ni Lord ang prayers ko!" I was about to cry because I have also been praying for his appeal to be granted. Truly, God answers prayers! When we saw each other, he was all smiles. I was, too. All I can say was, "Congratulations". It was awesome. The timing was perfect. It was a reason to celebrate and thank the Lord for His blessings!

After we ate lunch at Baliwag (walang diet-diet!), we proceeded to the MRT. Unfortunately, the MRT ran out of cards so they couldn't entertain passengers without stored-value tickets. We were forced to take a taxi to JAM Liner. We then boarded a bus headed to Balibago, Sta. Rosa. This is what I call an adventure! XD ENCHANTED KINGDOM!!! XD

So, we arrived at EK. It was my first time to see EK up close. AJ didn't see it for a long time. :D I took only a few pictures because I was afraid to get the digicam wet...or I might drop it. :))

This was a double celebration, for my birthday and for AJ being a cum laude! Yipee! We ended our day with a Banapple dinner. Great way to end a tiring day.

Advanced Happy Graduation!
NOT ANYMORE! We just had our graduation earlier today. T. Melissa also graduated from her Masters' Degree. The Cortes were there (Tita Vangie, Tito Tony, Pastor Jones, Kuya Joey, Ate Xands, Joaqui, and Ate Pulay!). Of course Tita Bee and Pastor Frank was there. IT FEELS SO GOOD TO HAVE A SABLAY ON MY SHOULDER. To think that I will have another chance to wear my sablay on my Bachelor's Degree graduation, I'm just thankful to God for all He has done in my life! (pictures of my graduation...to follow!)

Papa, Mama, and I ate dinner with AJ, Tita Bee, and Pastor Frank at King Bee Commonwealth. SARAP NG FOOD! XD

Thank you God for all the blessings You gave me, my family, and my loved ones (AJ and family, T. Melissa and family, etc.). This will be one unforgettable April for me! :D

23 March 2012


When this earthly life is popularly lived
By those who mock God's holy name
When every human threat comes with believing Him
I will cling to His promises alone

When I see the wondrous cross of Jesus
How His flesh was torn, saving sinners such as I
I forget all earthly wand'rings and focus on the prize
Grateful for the wondrous cross of Jesus

When sickness and death is just an inch away
Every resource was used up in every way
When every human pain makes the suff'ring hard to bear
I will cling to His hope alone

When I see the wondrous cross of Jesus
How He endured every curse, saving sinners such as I
I forget all earthly wand'rings and focus on the prize
Grateful for the wondrous cross of Jesus

The mercy of the Lord made Him leave His throne
To endure His Father's wrath
Putting on His blood-stained robe,
In His righteousness, I'm clothed
And I willingly took up His cross

When I see the wondrous cross of Jesus
How His Father took His life, giving breath to such as I
I believe this crucified Man rose up a glorious King
And chose me
To save me

I'll be forever grateful for the wondrous cross of Jesus
this is my first attempt to write a lyrics for a song
turned out really well!
thank you, Jesus Christ, for the cross -- the symbol of death that you made into a symbol of life and love
i'll be forever grateful!!!

05 March 2012

Pira-pirasong Paghahangad

Paang sumasalang sa tubig
Kaaya-ayang pakiramdam
Samyong mala-sampagita
Itinutulak ang mga daliri
Palalim sa malagkit na

Papel na sinulatan
Ng mga hinaing ng pagkabuhay
Inilapag sa tubig
Na tila diamante
Sa pag-silahis ng araw

Lutang, lutàng na mga pangarap
Ang pumalibot sa katawan
Pilit pang ikinawkaw ang binti
Pinakiramdaman ang mala-hiyelong
Pag-akap ng hangih
Humahampas sa natitirang
Bahaging pumupukaw sa ibabaw

Ng mga ibig abutin
Nilukot ang mga papel
Piniga sa uluhan
Ipinunas sa mga nangangatog na kalamnan
Hanggang sa nabalutan ng kabuuan
Ng pira-pirasong

Muling umihip ang hangin
Nangatog ang mga papel
Dumanak ang lamig
Hanggang sa kalaliman
Ng katauhan

Sinumpa ang hangin
Nanigas ang tubig
Natanaw ang paninigas
Hanggang sa matang dilat
Ang umaalingawngaw na hangin
Ipinapamalas ang pighati

Ipinilas ang mga papel
Sa balat na nanlilimahid
Sa putik na kanina’y
Kasing-linaw ng nakaraang
Kasing dilim pagka-raan
Lumubog sa kumunoy
Ang buong katawan
Hanggang sa hindi na makahinga
Ang kalahatan
Sa dami ng mga pangarap
Na naging saksi sa tagumpay
Ng pagkalubog ng tuluyan

Tinanggap na ito na ang
Ng lahat ng inilapat
Sa libu-libong papel ng inaatim
Isang blankong papel
Ang tumambad sa mata
Na pilit inabot ng nanghihinang kamay

Isang blankong papel.

Natamasa ang tunay na kapayapaan
Sa isang papel
Naipahayag ang buhay
Na ipinamuhay
Sa mga papel
Na piniraso’t inilapat sa tubig
At sinulat ang sarili
Gamit ang putikan

Niyakap ang papel
Habang tuluyang lumulubog
Ang kasamang

This is for people whom everyone thought wasted their life, but they know they did not.
I'm praying for all of you, my persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ!

22 January 2012

It has always been that way...

Yesterday was tiring...
Confusing as well...

Should I be doing these things? Or am I wasting my time in doing so? Maybe I'm not meant to be in the limelight..
I always prefer to be in the backstage, never to be seen by anyone.

I can always do my best when no one sees me.

I don't know if I'll still be up to the challenge.

after doing your best and feeling so discouraged at the same time,
so, how about that? :|