Just a quick note for now. I’ve been through a rollercoaster of emotions the past half year, and I am slowly picking up.
As for this blog which I almost neglected (itself went through breakdown, literally), I will surely be back on the blogging track sometime soon. Meanwhile, follow my (mis)adventures first on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. All handles are @touringkitty.
Words are my love language and one of my self-expressions (poetry, writing, and blogging). Sadly, words tried to put me down several times in the past.
Thanks to Weight of Words, I rediscovered how powerful words are, how beautiful they are.
And how they should matter, or not. Ironic, isn’t it?
Very timely to have watched this work on Ascension Sunday, which was also World Communications Day. The Homily tackled about how words are used in social media nowadays, creating fake news, among others. And how our role as bearers and spreaders of the Good News is important nowadays.
Going back to the work, honestly, I did not know what exactly to expect in a “solo devised theater performance,” as the description announced. All I know is that a dear friend and great artist, Abner Delina, Jr., will surely showcase what he is known for–being daring, brave, and true to his work.
The premise was simple: how words are used, misused, and abused. The presentation on point and exact: from birth to death and how words evolved from nothing to everything. The message was clear: for all of us to be careful with our choice of words, and not to dwell on what we hear so as not to affect us. The latter may be harder to do, as with my case, but lately I have been praying more, got back to my meditation, and choose my words carefully before speaking or writing.
Abner is indeed a storyteller. With this work, he took his storytelling a step higher and turned out to be a message bearer, speaking for those who do not have the power to speak.
He based this monologue from a book of the same title published by CANVAS. He’s got a solid team of collaborators as well, handling various aspects of the production, which all contributed positively and greatly to the show. This is not just his work, but of so many who believed that mental health is important in this generation of using lesser and more meaningless words. Unfortunately, though, I was not able to participate in the discussion after the show, since I had a rehearsal to attend.
I have been called names in high school, been judged by people I trusted, even people who do not know me that well. There were even instances social media was used against me to destroy my name, which gave me emotional trauma. I never thought that words can cut like a knife, and they made a pretty deep cut which lasted years.
I thank this show for giving me this reflective pause about words I use, misuse, and abuse, and how these very words may affect me. Since morning that day, and especially during the Homily at church, I have been praying and reflecting and preparing myself to watch this show, to have an open mind, to accept things as they are, to forgive, and to use words as source of positivity and strength.
After all the setbacks, I should keep myself reminded of the following:
Sticks and stones may break my bones, (but words can never hurt me) . (Old adage)
It’s only words, and words are all I have to take your heart away. (Bee Gees’ Words)
For no word from God will ever fail. (Luke 1:37 NIV)
You still have four more chances (yes, four more shows!) to watch this work for yourselves, and like me, discover the power of words. See poster below.
If you have watched it already, do let me know what you think of the work in the comments.
And if any of you or your family and friends, even those you do not personally know, think they might need help, do not hesistate to reach out and tell your story, too. Sharing is caring, definitely.
Okay, that might not sound right, but am sure you know which Max I am talking about–the restaurant, of course.
And indeed I have. From my parents’ wedding reception, the studio recital of my voice and piano students, my daughter’s baptism, reunions, meetings, or any time of the day eating, these all turn to special when we are at Max’s.
And they want you to experience the same through their special summer treats!
There’s heat quenchers, free food for kids, new products and discounted bread items.
Read more HERE:
Rice bowls: complete meal in one bowl. From Mondays to Thursdays, families craving for a hearty lunch or dinner after a long day at work and school can enjoy Max’s Rice Bowls with a free scoop of Selecta Ice Cream starting only at PHP149.
Rice pa more: unlirice! If you’re more of a Meal Deal type of family, you can also top up with Rice All You Can by adding PHP50 to a Real Deal/Family of 5 meal of PHP100 for a Family of 10 meal.
Halu-halo ALL YOU CAN AND WANT! Looking for a merienda treat to cool you off? Or a place where you can hang out with family, friends, and coworkers while cooling down? From March 23 to 31, customers can get unlimited regular Halo-Halo at Max’s for only PHP 189 every day from 2:00-6:00 p.m.
Kids eat FOR FREE! Make the weekend extra special and troop to Max’s with the family, where kids aged 10 and below can enjoy a free Kiddie Meal, which comes with 1 pc. of Max’s classic Fried Chicken, rice, pasta, sago’t gulaman, and a caramel bar.
Take home treats with a discount. Want to make that weekend feeling last just a little bit longer? Parents looking to take a piece of Max’s home can also enjoy 25% off of Max’s Corner Bakery products from 5:00 p.m. onwards. With a minimum purchase of PHP150, the first 50 customers can avail of the discount on all of Max’s Corner Bakery products.
“Filipinos want to make the most of summer and make it a time to create new memories, so we wanted to make this summer extra special for every Filipino family, every day of the week” said Max’s Restaurant Chief Operating Officer Paolo Serrano. “No matter who you’re with or what day of the week you come in, we’ll make your summer dining experience one to remember with these summer delights.” This summer, fill your family time with care, love, and hearty, comforting food with Max’s summer treats. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/maxsrestaurant.
Avail one, or all! Visit your nearest branch today. Some offers come for a limited time only, so make sure to catch them, else they’ll soon be gone.
Thanks to Max’s Restaurant and Mommy Bloggers Philippines for inviting us for lunch last week to taste all the new and yummy treats.
The Shrine of Jesus has been more than a church for us, it’s our second home.
There, we have built our first family, even before marriage. My husband and I formed a children’s choir in 2006 from among its churchgoers and relatives of other volunteers. We have taken part in so many Holy Masses, liturgical celebrations, activities in and out of the Shrine like recollections and pilgrimages.
Ton, Aria, and I are all volunteers of this beloved church. For all that we are, we have, and we will be, it is because of this Sanctuary and especially the community it build itself.
We got married, received the sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist, Aria got baptised here as well. This church pretty much is a witness to our family life.
From a once barren land, this Shrine was built to commemorate the 10th World Youth Day and St. John Paul II’s Manila visit. Now, 20 years after it was built, the Shrine remains standing tall, despite being surrounded by so many structures.
But of course, like any other object, it is wear and tear. The edifice needs repainting, the corners need fixing. The choir loft alone needs repairs. Generally, the structure needs its much needed facelift.
And YOU can help! For as low as P200, you will get one raffle ticket, and you can contribute to the Shrine repair and repainting fund.
Watch this video to learn more about our Shrine, and why we are doing this project. May God bless your generosity!
Programming music. One of the most difficult yet the most basic block in any choral group.
As a chorister, I get excited with what’s going to be the repertoire for a certain concert I sing in or watch. Always interesting to know the hows and why of putting a set of songs together.
For the recent trip I was part of, the repertoire was unique yet sophisticated. Simple yet complex. Challenging yet exciting.
The Ateneo Chamber Singers specializes in sacred music. Most of their concerts in the past would consist all-sacred repertoire. For this particular tour, we sang a good mix of songs from all over the world and of different genres and eras. Secular and sacred music were included, and for the Canta al mar competition in Calella, Spain, we participated and won in the Musica Sacra category, wherein our repertoire included two out of three Filipino compositions.
This is one, a setting of John 14:6. And this piece spoke to me strongly.
The first time I saw this piece, I just saw the text AKO in the first couple of pages. And when I skipped on the last page, that’s when I saw the complete text of the Bible verse in Filipino. That’s when I had tremendous goosebumps immediately.
John 14:6 is “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” In Filipino, “Ako ang Daan, ang Katotohanan, at ang Buhay.”
Which is where the name of the Shrine of Jesus was taken from. Which is the verse that I always carry to mind and heart, in good times and bad.
It seemed to be a difficult piece, as the assistant conductor of the choir was dissecting a certain part of it. She, by the way, is the composer of the piece.
But each rehearsal proved to be better than the previous one, as we singers, with our conductor, witnessed how the piece blossomed into each one of us, how the seemingly difficult and impossible proved to be one of our strongest pieces.
And what’s even surprising (at least for me), I was assigned to do the short solo part, during a rehearsal I was not able to attend.
Here is Juan 14 by Mary Katherine Trangco. Video courtesy of the Tolosa Choral Contest Youtube Channel. We sang this as well for the Tolosa competition; three out of seven songs were Filipino works. The entire repertoire of the participating choirs can be found in that youtube channel, too.
It’s as if the Lord spoke to me, to cast all my doubts away, and entrust everything to Him, because all I need to do is to seek Him first.
Jet black hair. That has been our hair colour since birth.
But with ever changing world, plus the inevitable grey strands, one has to keep up with having their hair coloured.
I am not so much of a fan of colour, but about four years ago, my “virgin” jet black hair was subject to colour because of an opera production, wherein my character was a fairy with gold hair. Say what?! But out of need, I had my hair coloured. And been doing it about once a year since then.
And what perfect timing was this opportunity to try the Novelina Zeelke Cream Hair Colour a few days ago.
Here are some snaps from my hair transformation.
For my hair length, two bottles of this were used. Did not realise my hair was very long already! Haircut time soon.
And the finished product…
And here are some after colour shots of my hair.
So, how was the overall experience with Novelina hair colour?
I was worried with the chemicals used because I can be sensitive with them. Gladly, their formulation did not make my hair itch.
They also have the colours in herbal formulation, just in case you wish to try it. I deliberately chose keratin cos my hair needs that extra shine.
I was expecting the hair colour to bleed since it is burgundy, and true enough, it did…only in the shower and not on my bed! But it still bleeds a little, about 12 days after the colour, but I do not wash my hair everyday. Guess it will eventually be gone.
I liked the effect–colour shows up when light strikes, and I am perfectly fine with that.
Thanks again, Novelina, for having me try this out! Should you wish to try their products, visit Cash and Carry Mall in Makati and have it applied for free until the 28th of December.
After a yet another long hiatus, I am back to my blogging mojo!
And what better way for a comeback is to post a new entry in my passion project, #KoristaAko.
Our korista for this edition is quite an interesting ball of musical energy, and I got to meet him for the first time not as a chorister, but a band player. And what an interesting encounter it was, with their band winning the top prize for an international band competition held in our country for the very first time.
So, meet our korista, Efraime Mallari. But first, this video, which I am sure you have seen around Facebook.
NOTE: This funny video is a spinoff of a segment of a late night comedy show. No copyright infringement intended and just for pure korista laughs.
His musical journey is quite interesting, and proves that music heals. He tells of his beginnings as a wind player here.
I joined the band in 2005, playing the clarinet. Hindi ko talaga plano magbanda noon. But it was doctor’s advise for me to study any wind instrument or mag-sports. Pinili ko ang pagtugtog since, music lover po talaga ako noon. Then lumipat ako ng flute nung 2009 and nag-UP ako nung 2010 as Flute Major. Because of competition sa slot sa Orchestra and other opportunities, lumipat ako ng Oboe. Nagshift ako to oboe major since kaunti lang ang oboist sa Philippines. Then ayun po, dagsaan na ang opportunities dahil nga po sa pagiging oboist ko. Kaso nung 2012 po, nagkasakit naman ako kaya ako nagstop. Then nahirapan na ako makabalik so nung gumaling ako, nagwork na lang po muna ako. Teacher sa isang music school for a year then, naofferan ng work sa government so pinush ko na. 2014, naging conductor po ako ng banda namin kasi umalis yung conductor namin papuntang Bahrain, and nagwork naman yung assistant niya sa call center kaya naiwan ako. Nawala din po yung ibang members namin after ng Malaysia Competition namin. At first, ayoko po talaga. Unang una, 20 years old lang po ako nun, pangalawa, nakakapressure po kasi dahil nga po medyo kilala ang banda namin, baka di ko kayanin ang pressure. Plus the fact na puro bata ang mga naiwang members. So as in back to zero talaga halos. Then ayun po, kinaya naman at kinakaya pa rin till now. Paunti unti, sa tulong at support na rin ng mga matatanda naming members, nakaka-ahon ahon. Nakakasali and nakakapanalo rin naman po ng mga competitions here sa Luzon and including sa Davao. Hanggang sa eto nga po, nakasungkit ng championship sa international competition. Sobrang saya po lalu na’t arrangement ko yung ginamit namin sa competition na yun. Cooperation lang po talaga ang key. Lalu po’t sobrang dami namin.
And that arrangement he was talking about is this:
The Citizen Brigade Band of Dasmariñas won the Marching Showband Category of the Bacoor International Music Competition held last June here in the Philippines. I was fortunate to witness this, as I was invited to work behind the scenes for this competition. Such a great place to be in that time, and learned a lot about band music and competitions.
Now let us get to know more about Efraime the korista here in #KoristaAko.
Name: Efraime Amoroso Mallari
Current profession: Office Clerk at Dasmariñas Water District
– Francisco E. Barzaga Memorial School Children’s Choir (2004)
– Koro Ecclesiano (2008)
– Dasmariñas Chamber Singers (2016)
– Philippine Vocal Ensemble (2017)
– Sing Philippines Youth Choir (2018)
Why did you join the choir?:
I’m in a children’s choir when I was in grade 5, so I’m already singing when I was young. Singing is my first love and playing instrument just came after that when the doctor advised me to learn wind instrument for my asthma. Since then, I focused on my instrument till college. I took DCPMA major in flute and shifted to oboe in UP Diliman although I’m already a Madz fan since 2007. Then in 2016, I suddenly missed singing in a choir. I love our band but there’s this different fulfillment that singing gives me. So even though it’s hard, pinagsabay ko. I joined Dasmariñas Chamber Singers, then Philippine Vocal Ensemble and Sing Philippines Youth Choir Batch 3 and the rest is history.
What was that something or someone that influenced you?:
The Philippine Madrigal Singers. Since I’m a fan of the Madz since High School, may special part na rin talaga sa puso ko ang singing kahit nakalimutan ko siya after many years of playing instruments. Then came 2016 when I began singing again and kept on singing.
What is your favourite song arranged or composed for choir and why?: Marami eh pero ang most memorable is Riveder (le Stelle by Z. Randall Stroope). Nagpupunta pa ako sa Computer shop noong high school just to listen to that. Second is “Sa Kanyang Paglalayag” of Ily Matthew Maniano.
What was the hardest piece you’ve studied?: Lahat mahirap lalo noong kababalik ko pa lang sa choir but the hardest ones are the German lalo na sa bulol na tulad ko.
Any choir/s or vocal ensembles you look up to and why?:
Given na yung Madz. So after Madz, I look up to UPLB Choral Ensemble. Halos lahat ng kilala kong galing UPLBCE have this discipline and every time I hear them, I’m always moved by their singing. The most memorable was the repeat performance of the AOV Choral Fest last year when they sang “Daluyong” which was the obligatory piece that time.
What is your most unforgettable choral moment?:
When we (Dasmariñas Chamber Singers) qualified for the Grand Prix in the 2018 Orientale Concentus International Choral Festival. Maraming mas magagalingsaamin. Marami rin kamingpinagdaananbagomakaalis at habang competition kaya hindisumagisaisipnaminnamakakapasok kami. Also, my experience with SPYC (Sing Philippines Youth Choir–an every other year choral program by the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the Madz) Every moment of it is very memorable.
#KoristaAko dahil: It opened SO MUCH opportunities for me and may something talaga sa pagkanta na bumubusog sa puso ko. I can’t explain it but it always makes me happy.
This year is quite a milestone for me and my husband.
To begin, this is the tenth year since we both graduated from the premier State University. Exactly as this post is being done–April 27th.
And to celebrate, this photo I had to unearth from an AVP shown during our wedding reception.
I was in the middle of my Bachelor’s Degree in Music (eight long, fun, music and travel-filled years, no regrets!) when he began taking his Masters degree in Technology Management. So you see, he had ALL the reasons to be with me then– to fetch me after choir rehearsals, or I’d wait for him to finish class.
It was a sunny, sunflower-filled Sunday, April 27, 2008. We were called the Centennial Graduates, as UP was then celebrating 100 years. And with both our families around, we marched together to get our degrees. He even had his parents come to Manila from Iloilo. Why? Because two days after this, namanhikan sila. A Filipino tradition of formally asking for the hand of the woman in marriage by the whole family of the man. We got married seven months after my college graduation.
Ten years hence, here we are. We just wrapped up prayer time, and the Gospel reading today is so timely. John 14:6, where the name of our beloved Shrine of Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life was taken from. We got married and had our daughter baptised in this church. We are blessed to be serving this church through the one thing that made us first meet–music.
More Ten Years post next time! Just had to let this happy feeling out, before the day changes.
The word “progressive” signifies that something is newer, better adapted to the times than whatever it is being compared against.
These days, the idea of sending children to a “progressive school”, understandably, is something some parents might still be hesitant to subscribe to, given that the term might make it sound like some fad method. Why, after all, would a parent take a chance with a new approach, when they themselves went through a more traditional educational setup, and turned out fine anyway?
In Britesparks International School (BIS), one of the pioneer progressive schools in the country, “progressive” is more than just giving up traditional practices for the sake of novelty: it is the recognition that education must adapt to the times, must evolve alongside the society it is preparing children to enter in the future.
“A traditional setup will not digest that some children may be naturally gifted in some aspects, and not as gifted in others. But there has to be a place that can see that potential in children, and that is Britesparks,” said Veronica Co, School President of BIS.
When BIS opened back in 2000, it was not yet the complete institution it is today. The institution began as a preschool for gifted children, the first of its kind with the drive to accommodate and include students with special needs in their usual classes.
Through the years, the school expanded its range of programs, eventually taking on elementary and high school students as well, while still keeping this advocacy of inclusiveness. The move to its current location in 2013 in Metropoli Drive, Bagumbayan was fairly recent, but such was a significant one which coincided with its increased capabilities.
Today, BIS accepts preschool to senior high school students, with its subject curricula complying with various local and international education standards: its Math and English are consistent with Common Core, a set of teaching standards used in over forty states in the US; its Science, ICT, Art and Music, and even French curricula are consistent with various other international school standards; and its Social Studies and Filipino methods fully comply with DepEd standards.
True to its progressive nature, however, BIS does not simply stop there: the institution recognizes the immense value of a child’s social development, which must occur alongside his academic development.
The focus of the school’s methods is on the child, not the teacher: children learn through experience, collaborating through a wide range of constantly updated activities and projects which may cover multiple subjects at a time, consistent with the interconnectedness with which we process information around us today; a group project about cooking food can be an English, a Science, and a History lesson, all at the same time, as well as a subtler nudge toward the benefits of working together for something much more difficult to achieve by one’s lonesome.
When taken in the context of the school’s inclusive policy, it is no wonder that BIS students grow to be more tolerant and less discriminatory of those around them.
“I’m proud of the fact that our students do not discriminate or bully those who are special. It’s really different; the children are so well-rounded and enlightened at times, you’ll be surprised,” said Co.
“Progressive” might sound vague, but go back to its roots—just like BIS, in all its approaches, has always anchored itself on its long-standing policies of inclusiveness and experiential learning—and we find a more concrete term, one that every parent wants in their child: progress.
This is something BIS aims to deliver in all aspects, to ensure that the children of today grow into individuals fully prepared to face the challenges of the present and the future.
Check out some photos of the school:
Britesparks International School classes start on August 1. For more information, visit www.britesparks.edu.ph or contact (02) 966-8120.