Showing posts from November, 2007

UP Singing Ambassadors: Tulad ng Dati

The air was biting cold as I walked my way to the Church of the Risen Lord to watch the concert of the UP Singing Ambassadors (UPSA). Aside from the carols I hear in malls, it’s the chills that remind me that Christmas is near. UPSA’s Christmas offering, Tulad ng Dati , features songs from a wide repertoire—world song classics, Christmas songs in English and Filipino, as well as popular songs of the present. Conducted by Ed Manguiat, himself an international prize winner, the choir gave masterful renditions of songs like Poor Wayfarin’ Stranger (an American folksong), I Thank You God For This Most Amazing Day (Eric Whitacre, written by E.E. Cummings), and Diwa ng Pasko (Ramon Tapales, arranged by L. San Pedro). In one of my favorites, Creation , the choir cleared off age-old notions about choral singing by performing a word-less piece composed by B. Cmenypko. The song narrated—literally without saying a word—the story of how this world came to be. I was amazed when some singers shri


I sing because I'm happy, I sing because I'm free.... -- Civilla D. Martin and Charles H. Gabriel, 1905 I remember the night when I poured my heart out to the Lord. Yes, I remember clearly. There I was, a filthy rag, guilty of my sins, deserving nothing less but punishment. I remember how my tears literally soaked my pillows, creating moist imprints that would disappear the morning after. There was pain in my throat as I cried out to God for mercy. "Forgive me," I pleaded. But at the back of my mind, I knew I did not deserve what I was asking for. I offended my Lord and my God. When I sinned, it was as if I spat on His face shamelessly. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" ( 1 John 1:9 ). These words gave me courage to come to my Father that night. I confessed my sins to Him. I trusted in His faithfulness. He would forgive me not because I deserved it, but because He is merciful and

Stem cells from skin

In my Ethics class, we discuss the issues that surround the field of research. There are many troubling questions. Different sectors of society respond differently. It's a chaotic debate that's going on. It seems endless. As each year unveils a development in the biosciences, new issues are inevitably introduced. But here's good news for everyone, something that could "quell the ethical debate troubling the field": Two teams of scientists reported Tuesday that they had turned human skin cells into what appear to be embryonic stem cells without having to make or destroy an embryo. All the scientists did was add four genes which reprogrammed the chromosomes of the skin cells, much like clicking the system restore key to a computer. This is a breakthrough because it shows that cells of the body can be induced to become "embryonic-like." Cells in this state are best for research because they're easily manipulated. They can easily become other cell types

JP Asong at Game KNB?

When JP told me one night if he could borrow my black shoes, I sensed something strange. I got giddy when he broke the news: ABS-CBN called him up. He qualified to play at Game KNB? JP on national tv! How could I miss that? I almost cut class just to see the show. He looked good. But I could tell he was shaking. He won 60 thousand plus an entertainment showcase. As soon as he got back after taping, he rushed to my room, said he couldn't believe it, and thanked God profusely. He lost to an Atenista in the second round. He chose "Seeing stars" category, thinking it was about constellations. Sadly, it was about some movie. It wasn't for him this time. But, my golly, we were walking after dinner awhile ago when some people on the other side began screaming, "JP!" He didn't win the million, but he's a certified star.

Gospel tool

In presenting the gospel, we must make sure that we're presenting it faithfully. Here's a great guide we can use. Here's the Tagalog version .

Paper Dolls

Paper Dolls is a documentary film featured in the 8th Israeli Film Festival in the country. It tells the story of homosexual Filipino OFW's in Tel Aviv who work as caregivers in the morning and as entertainers at night. Touching, moving, true to life. Made me realize how hard it must be to work abroad. I watched the movie with Mike, as a requirement for Art Stud 1. After the show, I congratulated critically-acclaimed director, Tomer Haymann. Mike and I even had our photos taken.

A bug's life

Sibalom, Antique. Watch the 10-minute slide show here: DCF Missions Exposure Trip


We set out, twenty of us, from Metro Manila to Sibalom, Antique. The bus in Cubao was nothing imposing. Trust me, you won't even bother taking a second look at it. The green paint looked new, with the words Dimple Star--the name of the company, I guess--sprawled on its sides. But curiosity got the better of me. I surveyed it carefully, and when I saw the sign hanging in front that said "Antique," I was taken aback. Times have changed, old people will tell us. They used to travel for weeks to hop from this to that part of the country. Now all it takes is a bus. From Cubao, we went to Batangas City. From there, we rode a ferry to Mindoro. Then, we took another bus ride to reach the other port, from which we rode the ferry going to Caticlan. We took another bus ride to take us, finally, to Antique. All in all, travel time was 19 hours. Not, it wasn't easy. It wasn't torturous either. At the end of the trip we all looked haggard, almost like refugees: layers of oil


I had many reasons to go. These I pondered as I packed my clothes for the trip that would take me to Antique and then finally to Negros. I'd be out of town for two weeks, so I had better have my clothes, socks, and underwears ready--or I'd have to wash them in the course of the trip. Because I'm a pretty light traveller, I packed as few clothes as I could. You're free to disagree with me, but I believe that the enjoyment in travelling decreases with an increase in baggage. I'll bring a tote bag if I can help it. I was going on missions. To tell people of Christ. To show them that they can be assured of their salvation. To remind them of God's love and mercy. After I finally zipped my bag, patted it like a man would to a friend, I said, "Ayos! Ready to go na." But was I ready?, I asked myself. In my room, I pleaded God to search me. After all, I might just be going with all the wrong motives--for sheer companionship with dear friends in the fellowship,


Travelling is like having four years of college education—it transforms you, but only if you let it. This I remember my favorite University professor telling us in class three years ago. In my seat, I was in what can only be descibed as a trance: my teacher's voice playing in the backgound, my imagination taking me to places—in an old castle in Spain, in sprawling vineyards in Italy, or in some fireplace in Sweden. I left that class with restless feet. I was determined to travel the world, but when I learned of the staggering cost of plane tickets, I had to think again. You see, I've always loved travelling—both the experience of reaching places I've never set foot in, and equally, of the process of getting there. The past two weeks have seen me travelling around the Philippines. A cross-country vacation, I'd tell people in amusement, when they asked me what I had been up to. It's no secret. I joined the UP DCF Missions Exposure Trip to Sibalom, Antique. After more