Math made fun at Mathemagis

Find Math boring? Well, not in this “school.”

We started enrolling Aria in Mathemagis when she turned four. Though not continuously, we are grateful for what Mathemagis has contributed to Aria’s study habits. Especially in her writing.

Mathemagis is a Singapore Maths tutorial center where kids can get a kickstart in loving and living Math. Kids learn from a variety of methods like worksheets, manipulatives, even iPad applications exclusively used in their classrooms. Their teachers are nurturing, and this is one reason why Aria loves Mathemagis.

We are near the Makati Branch, so we enrolled there. Aria’s first teacher is Teacher Cherry, whom Aria calls her second favourite teacher (next to Mommy, of course!). She is now assigned in the Active Fun BGC Branch.

The Makati Branch had activities like this. This was the Pi Day celebration (yep, on March 14, 2014!)  and awarding for level finishers. Aria hurdled the first level for her age that time, with flying colours and lots of fun!


Aria and Teacher Cherry during last year's Active Fun Halloween party. We chanced upon her while we were doing the trick or treating around Active Fun.
Sneak peek: Aria on the iPad at Mathemagis Makati with Teacher Mika.

We are enrolled at the moment, since she also takes Singapore Math for homeschool. It is a good supplement for our at-home lessons.

And if you want to get to know more about their programs, check out these two events happening tomorrow.


Seminar on teaching math effectively at the SM Center Pasig. March 19, 3-4pm. Free registration, just contact Teacher Rose at 09328785501.


Memagis in partnership with Kids Central will be holding an Open House event this Saturday March 19 at our Serendra branch. 2nd flr Mall area above Conti’s Restaurant. 9am-12nn. Contact Teacher Len at 8337374 for more information.


Summer is fun at Kids Central Makati! Mathemagis and First Robotics offer summer programs for kids 4 and up. Visit them at the 3F Cedar Executive Building, 1006 Arnaiz Avenue, Makati or call 5565109 for details.

Bakasyunan Summer Fun

Summer is slowly creeping in! Feel that heat especially around lunchtime? Don’t forget to hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate!

Thinking of other ways to beat the heat? Here’s a getaway you could try.

Bakasyunan Resort and Conference Center located at Tanay, Rizal is a perfect sanctuary for vacation and relaxation for everyone, Nestled in a 15-hectare forest property with a spectacular view of the Sierra Madre Mountains and Laguna de bay, Bakasyunan is a tourist and vacation destination for fun and adventure.

They offer rooms for overnight accommodation, team building, conference, seminar, wedding and special events for small groups to big groups, pair that with the amazing mountain and nature view around the resort.

Bakasyunan has a total of 94 rooms, and can choose from double, quadruple, family and dorm rooms.

Check out their Team Building Activities that can accommodate groups of up to 500 capacity for overnight accommodation and 1000 capacity for day tour. Rate is 100 per head but we offer this for FREE for groups of 20 and above.


For those who want to have a perfect venue for Conference, Seminar, Wedding, and any Special Events; our Event’s Place is the one that you are looking for. Their function rooms have a capacity of 20 persons up to 500 persons.

Have fun this Summer and start your adventure at Bakasyunan Resort.


Bakasyunan Resort Head Office (Monday-Friday 9am-6pm)
Tel. Nos.: 02-4401230 / 4408802 / 7064509
Mobile: 09175755116 / 09178303438

Bakasyunan Resort Tanay, Rizal
02-8814515 / 09175755120 (Everyday 7am-10pm)

Bakasyunan Resort Iba, Zambales (Beach Resort)
02-6688986 / 09175755158 (Everyday 7am-10pm)

#KoristaAko: Jay and Aui Tamayo

Korista Ako

Hi, Koristas!

Love is in the air, and (sometimes) in some choral groups. I believe this is because love songs in choral settings give more kilig, right?

My husband and I have our own story to share, but I will share that another time. We started from being mere strangers singing in a choir to being partners for life. Yes, I thank God for the gift of singing, because not only did I found a career with it, I found love with it!

And while we’re still celebrating love this February, let us get to know a couple who ended up singing beautiful music together, forever.

Jay and Aui Tamayo had been making beautiful music in a choir since their younger ages, and eventually sang for the same choir in college. Career, marriage, and three children hence, they’re still singing together with one of my favourite groups, the Ateneo Chamber Singers (my husband sings with the group, too), and have been to concerts, trips, and competitions together. Isn’t that great? Let’s get to know them more:

Jay and Aui Tamayo.
Jay and Aui Tamayo.


Name: Jay and Aui Tamayo

Current profession: School Administrator/Business-folk

Choirs joined:

Jay: Valle Verde II Village Choir, Ateneo College Glee Club, Ateneo Chamber Singers (ACS) (2001-present)

Aui: St. Paul College Pasig MAC, Ateneo College Glee Club, Ateneo Chamber Singers (2001-present)

Why did you join the choir? What was that something or someone that influenced you? We joined our first choirs because we loved to sing. We still sing with the ACS because we didn’t want to stop singing, we wanted to keep doing something we were passionate about (but was fun) that will keep us sane from crazy work obligations, we wanted to serve God and singing was the best way we knew how, we wanted to keep singing with our friends (some of whom we’ve been friends with for almost 20 years).

What is your most unforgettable choral moment?

Aui: More than the moments of winning in competitions or the applause, it’s when you connect—self with your katabing singer, as a choir, choir with conductor, you with conductor, choir with audience, choir with orchestra, choir with audience & God, you with God. I don’t think there is any medium that can bring people together in such a profound yet inexplicable way as music.

Jay: My top two: Singing for the Pope during his Papal Visit last January and winning at the World Choral Games and having your national anthem played while the flag is being raised.

How is it singing as husband and wife in one choir? Is it harder or easier? It’s easier in some ways, harder in others. It’s easier because you know each other well so you communicate better. Plus you instantly have common friends & time spent together! It’s harder because it’s mixing objectivity/business with personal.

Did you first meet in the choir? Yes, with the Ateneo College Glee Club! Jay was in his senior year when Aui joined in her freshman year.

What’s your favourite choral love song? With You from Pippin

#KoristaAko dahil: Ito ang blessing ni God sa amin—to be both His instrument and be touched when we sing.

Thanks, Jay and Aui, for sharing your choral and love story to us! And to end, they shared with us a throwback photo of them, very significant as this was their first tour together in the choir.

Jay and Aui Tamayo. Circa 1997, which was their first tour together.
Jay and Aui Tamayo. Circa 1997, which was their first tour together.


#KoristaAko is powered by Touringkitty. Tune in for the latest post every last week of the month. Follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates.

Consummatum est: Weaned from the breast

I really cannot think of any good title for this post. I just had to post this anyway: Aria is FULLY WEANED from the breast. From MY breasts, which nourished her with my own milk from Day One.

No more breastfeeding, no more asking for “dede” to be able to sleep. Not even for comfort. Not even for…nothing. Hugs work. Blankets work. Dolls work. That’s enough for her.

I actually thought she’d wean after that two-week Europe trip I had in the middle of last year. Or even that overnight trip to Balesin last month. But she didn’t.

It has been close to two weeks of no nursing at all, no asking for “dede” to sleep. After our nightly prayers, she would just wrap herself in a blanket to sleep, then mightily proclaim that she will sleep by herself because she is a big girl.


She IS big. We have to pay for her train fare already. No more free buffet for her either. Kid's Rates already apply.
She IS big. We have to pay for her train fare already. No more free buffet for her either. Kid’s Rates already apply.

Let’s count this exactly: Five years, five and a half months. From someone who had doubts in the early days, who was almost persuaded to give formula (to which I never gave in), whose original goal was just six months, it was more than what I prayed for.

Breastfeeding is an investment. Aside from not buying formula and bottles anymore, we had lesser hospital trips, and reduced risk for certain types of cancers. Not only my daughter, but for me as well. Plus the countless other positive benefits for the whole family. Even for Daddy, who always had a good sound sleep in the night.

What happens next? Baby number two so I could breastfeed again? That’ll come, Sa Tamang Panahon.

That’s why I am ever so happy to see MORE breastfeeding families nowadays, and actively promoting it through the organisations that I am part of — LATCH and Our Lady of La Leche Movement.

It is true, a mom could be emotional when weaning time comes. For some, they choose to force wean, for some reasons. But I let this one come naturally, on her own. And all I feel is bittersweet.

I am praying and will continue to support all families who choose breastfeeding. Trust me, it’s the BEST and ONLY choice you’d want for your children.


~ Touringkitty

#KoristaAko: Jhoan Ayos

Korista Ako

Happy (Chinese) New Year! I know, I had backlogs for #KoristaAko. The last quarter of the year had always been busy, busy busy! But it was very musical, and I hope yours was, too.

Now, on with my latest post! Last October, my husband and I (being part of the Philippine Choral Directors Association) were invited to attend a Culminating Recital event of the Plan W Sing Philippines Choral Leadership Program at the PICC in Pasay City. Plan W is a project led by Diageo Philippines, in cooperation with the Andrea O. Veneracion Sing Philippines Initiative.


Plan W participants from all over the Philippines in a culminating choral concert. My voice teacher, Bechie Valena, was one of their voice teachers during the weeklong camp.
Plan W participants from all over the Philippines in a culminating choral concert. My voice teacher, Bechie Valena, was one of their voice teachers during the weeklong camp.

One of the participants is someone I knew prior this project, as our choirs were supposed to be part of one project last year (still hoping for a collaboration in the future!). And we shall get to know her more and her Plan W experience here at Korista Ako!

Photo source: Facebook
Photo source: Facebook

Jhoan Ayos is a budding conductor from Cavite. She handles the Melodic Symphony Children’s Choir, which will be having its concert on February 28. This is the second phase of Plan W, where the choirs of the participating women conductors will showcase what they have learned in a concert-recital in their own hometowns.

Indeed a Dream Come True for these little angels and their conductor.
Indeed a Dream Come True for these little angels and their conductor. Click photo for event details.

She relays, “I started singing when I was five years old, for an Easter Sunday celebration. My cousins eventually asked me to join the choir. I continued, but they didn’t.”

“Almost three years ago, Fr. Ariel Lisama, a priest in our church, asked me if I could teach the kids. I accepted it and thought it was easy, but it wasn’t. That decision changed my life.”

Her choral heroes include Mark Carpio of the Philippine Madrigal Singers, who is also the Artistic Director of the Plan W Sing Philippines Program. She describes the Madz Choirmaster as musically gifted, very kind and patient, and exudes good vibes all around (wait, he’s my conductor, too! And yes, he is these ;D). Another is Steve Collado, her conductor in CVSU Pansayang Sining, which had brought her to places, as well as the Madz et al Choral Festival. Another conductor favourite for her is Davidson Sy, her church choir conductor, who taught her the meaning of service. She said she experienced singing for four Masses straight when they were the only choir at that time in their parish. It may be tiring and unrewarding, but she still enjoyed serving for the Lord.

I asked her more questions about the Plan W. Here is a Q and A we did over Facebook (edited some parts for clarity and conciseness, but retained most Filipino parts):

TOURINGKITTY (TK): How was the overall experience?
Plan W Sing Philippines has been a life changing experience for me. It made me realize that music is really my calling and made me ask myself, what took me so long? I once dream of inspiring people. Little did I realize I am already inspiring the children I am teaching through singing and serving. I felt so grateful and blessed to be chosen as one of the 34 scholars around the Philippines. I knew God has a purpose why I was able to be part of this a once in a lifetime experience.
I am so honored to be able to attend training with the finest mentors in the field of singing. Araw-araw siksik, liglig at umaapaw ang learnings from the mentors. They have different styles of teaching but then all of them are effective. Namamangha ka na lang na yung mga inaaral ng matagal sa schools and other trainings nagawa ng mga mentors na isqueeze sa time allotted for them. Aside from the technical stuff, there were also lots of inspiring stories from the mentors. Yung good vibes ang lakas makamagnet effect. Mapapasabi ka na lang din na ang sarap mangarap! Na someday you can experience kahit ilan lang sa mga stories na shinare nila.

Aside from the passion and love for music there is one more thing in common among all the mentors: they are all humble. Iba talaga yung galing na may kasamang right attitude.

My experience would not be the same without my co-scholars. We came from different parts of the Philippines. The youngest is 18 and the oldest is 60 but we share the same passion for music. I was roommates with Ate Vivian from Capiz and Ate Laarni from Butuan City. They made my stay more enjoyable. All 34 of us were able to have bonding moments also from breakfast to breaks and even going out at night. I love how we shared insights, knowledge and experiences. Most of them have many years of experience but never did I feel any competition. We were able to build friendships from the week long camp (Oh my I miss them) but until now most of us are still connected through social media and text messages.


TK: What were your most favourite part/s of the one week program and why?
The whole experience was memorable, though my favorites were:
Day 01 – I was so excited and at the same time so nervous. Before going to UP some of the parents of the kids I am teaching said “galingan mo Jho umaasa sayo ang mga bata.” It was both negative and positive for me. Positive because I know they are just wishing me well, negative because I can feel the pressure. Upon arriving at the hotel I was able to meet my co-scholars. Hearing all their experiences I was like, “Bakit ako nandito? Dapat ba ko dito?” Comparing my background to them, it was nothing. I cried on my first night and prayed. I was crying at comfort room thinking I am letting the kids down kasi hindi ako makasunod sa tinuturo ng mga mentors tapos maalala ko pa sinabi ng parents ng kids. Here comes my favorite part. While reviewing at the hotel one of my roommates, Vivian Berjamin from Capiz came to me and asked alin ba yung hindi mo maintindihan? baka matulungan kita nagbiro pa sya saying “akala mo naman magaling ako eh no” sabay tawa. Just a few minutes after my silent prayer, God gave me the answer. That gave me so much hope that’s why the next days have become more fun and easier to understand. This training is not just about the best mentors sharing their knowledge to us. It is also about us scholars sharing our experience and knowledge.

Day 07 – Culminating concert. I love performing and after 3 years I was able to perform again. A day before the concert, I have some tunes and lyrics on my mind then I started to arrange it. My co scholars ate Gisella from Imus Cavite, Ate Marife from Laguna and Ate Love from Las Pinas helped me to finish the song entitled “Sing Philippines.” It was my first composition and was shocked when Sir Mark told us, “you should sing this in the concert”. Seeing my choir members and my family during the concert was so priceless! Hearing my youngest brother shouting “Ate ko yan!” sobrang sarap sa pakiramdam. To be able to see how the audience liked our performance and some of them telling us thank you for insipiring us, grabe! Speechless kami! (Check out the video at the end of this post!)

TK: Three things (or more, or less) from your mentors that you think will be very useful for your conducting career.
“The Backbone of the music is the text” – Teacher Malou Hermo
Sometimes we tend to focus on the melody of the song. Maganda nga yung tunog pero yung text hindi na maintindihan. We should give importance to both.

“Teach music the way it is developed” – Teacher Joy Nilo
There are different ways on how to teach music but for them to understand music deeper you should teach on how it was developed.

“The most important discipline in the art of singing is breathing” – Sir Mark Carpio
All of us know how to breathe but only few know the proper way to breathe.

TK: Where will this training lead you to?
This training gave me empowerment, hope and more determination which leads me to dreaming many things for my choir. I want to learn more about music and share more to other people. I will continue what I have started. Two weeks after the training I already see improvements of how I rehearse with my choir and will still continue to improve in the coming days, months and years. It made me dream big for my choir. I want the kids to experience many things about performing and music.

TK: Anything you’d like to say to female conductors like you who aspire to be better at what they’re doing?

I started as “walang alam” in music, just the passion, kaya minsan na din akong napanghinaan ng loob pero hindi pala dapat. When you’re doing the right thing all problems, struggles are just temporary. God will provide! Tiwala lang dapat at wag susuko. Most of the time we conductors don’t realize how much we inspire our choir members. We fail to realize how they give importance to whatever knowledge we impart to them. Sometimes you’ll be shocked to hear them say “gusto ko din pong maging katulad nyo”. Our simple wish to share what we know caused chain reaction to our members to their future members. Keep the passion burning! Let us continue to share and inspire other people. You are on the right track! Keep going!

Thank you, Jhoan, for sharing your thoughts! We learned a lot from your stories, and we, too, can’t help but to feel proud of what you have achieved in those days.

If this is not enough, then check this. She even managed to write a theme song of the project, which, along with her co-participants, was performed during the culminating activity! Watch video here.
Sing Philippines buong Bansa tayo’y umawit
Sing Philippines musika sa puso natin
Dadating ang Araw, kapayapaa’y makakamtan
Kababaihan! Ating simulan.

Sing Philippines

Jhoan Ayos, composer


#KoristaAko is powered by Touringkitty. Tune in for the latest post every last Wednesday of the month. Follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates.


12 months in 12 photos

Happy New Year 28 days late!

You probably noticed my slight hiatus on the blog. But I’ve been rather active on Instagram (follow me @touringkitty!) so you might have known the reason/s. One word: BUSY! But very happy.

2015 was definitely a great year. If there is a word to describe it, it would be “miracle,” just like how His Eminence Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales describes life. Yes, life is a miracle, and so is each passing day that we’re able to wake up to.

I challenged myself to post the best photo of the month. But I chose those which are very memorable. They may not be frame-worthy (some may even be blurred!), but as they say, a picture means a thousand words. In this case, I will post 12, so that’s 12,000! But trust me, the descriptions I will write will be very brief and meaningful.

Here goes!

JANUARY: Pilgrimage

Pope Francis' Pope Mobile passing by the EDSA Extension (near Roxas Blvd.). We're THAT close!
Pope Francis’ Pope Mobile passing by the EDSA Extension (near Roxas Blvd.). We’re THAT close!

January last year was very important to the Roman Catholics, and probably to some believers as well. Pope Francis visited the country for a spiritual and political reason. Our family of three treated his visit as a pilgrimage, wherein we can be seen waiting in the crowded lines for the arrival of his Pope Mobile wherever he may go.

FEBRUARY: Long and meaningful life

Nanay Pining Canlas is our Rector, Monsignor Bobby Canlas' mother. She celebrated her 96th birthday last year, with about 40 priests concelebrating the Mass, along with Archbishops and Bishops.
Nanay Pining, with her youngest, Mons Bobby, plus the clergy who concelebrated the Mass.

Nanay Pining Canlas is our Rector, Monsignor Bobby Canlas’ mother. She celebrated her 96th birthday last year, with about 40 priests concelebrating the Mass, along with Archbishops and Bishops (yes, Cardinals Tagle and Rosales were in attendance). Great to witness God’s blessing of life to Nanay.

MARCH: Finding my voice

Meeting her was one of the best things that happened last year!
Meeting Nelly Miricioiu (and taking a three-day masterclass under her) was one of the best things that happened last year!




Attending Nelly Miricioiu’s masterclass last year was definitely one for the books. Her expertise, talent, humility, and positivity was a great source of inspiration for us, masterclass students, and even the observers and our audience during the two night concert. I definitely found my voice, and slowly getting back on track.

APRIL: Saving Lives

To my right is my uncle (brother of my father), and to my left is Dr. Buddy Ostrea, the man behind Ostreavent, along with his colleagues.
To my right is my uncle (brother of my father), and to my left is Dr. Buddy Ostrea, the man behind Ostreavent, along with his colleagues.

God has put me in every aspect of a production last year–from artist to audience to production staff. Here’s one, where I was part of my uncle’s production team, to give life to a fundraising concert by pianist and CCP President Raul Sunico for OstreaVent, a lower-cost ventilator which was invented by Filipino doctor Dr. Buddy Ostrea (who happened to be one of our hosts in the Madz during a US tour).  I know I could not avail a ventilator, but being part of this project made me realise how noble Dr. Buddy’s invention was, knowing that there are premature infants who will benefit in this equipment.

MAY: Gift of Life

Honoring my own mother in this special month for mothers.
Honoring my own mother in this special month for mothers.

Bloggers were given this opportunity to bring in our own mothers in this event by a fabric conditioner brand. Timeless beauty my mother really is! Three generations in that photo!

JUNE: Wanderlust

When in Italy, do jumpshots!
When in Italy, do jumpshots!

I haven’t been able to blog about the entire trip! But I still hope to, before the trip turns one year in June! Anyways, this was one unforgettable trip. Two weeks, five countries, ten singers, one great work premiered and showcased to the world. Wow. Just wow.

JULY: Homeschool mom at work

One of her first photos as a bonafide homeschooler. Some days, it's still like this. Other days, well... But still fun!
One of her first photos as a bonafide homeschooler. Some days, it’s still like this. Other days, well… But still making the most of each session!

After the European trip, I got sick, but we had to begin homeschool because we have a preschooler enrolled! So we did, albeit slowly and surely. We’re now at the homestretch of the first homeschooling year, yay!

AUGUST: Turning five

This charmer turned five!
This charmer turned five!

I blinked my eye and saw five blissful years as a mother. No words can express the joy my heart feels. Probably, those five emotions in her favourite movie, Inside Out, could. Still, joy over everything.

SEPTEMBER: Another year

I turned 32!
I turned 32!

Happy. Blessed. Overwhelmed. Fortunate. Contented.

OCTOBER: Stage Nanay

My loves rehearsing. Something they do best--music.
My loves rehearsing. Something they do best together–music.

Instantly I became a Stage Mother. And why not, I had to accompany my daughter in five separate Halloween and All Saints’ Parties all over town! She even performed for her homeschool’s party (video in this link).

NOVEMBER: Seventh heaven

Celebrating seven years, on to forever!
Celebrating seven years, on to forever!

Time flies when you’re having fun, indeed. Very lucky girl to have him as my partner for life.

DECEMBER: Christmas Musical blessing

Music is God's gift to our family. We're happy and ready to share it to the world.
Singing Belen. It went something like that during Christmas Eve.

Each of us had separate singing engagements. Ton with his choir, the Ateneo Chamber Singer, who had mall shows and Masses. I at some private functions– for retired and elderly priests and for a Sacerdotal Anniversary. Aria sang at church and with my choir for a caroling event. Together we sang at church on Christmas Eve. Music is God’s gift to our family. We’re happy and ready to share it to the world.


The beginning of the year gave so many surprises. I definitely was fulfilled as a wife, mother, musician, teacher, traveler, advocate, and servant of God. I actually didn’t expect 2015 to be as busy, as fun, and as packed as I imagined. And this year, I just pray that more meaningful things will happen to me and to my family.

Here’s wishing you all the best and praying for all of you this 2016.


~ Touringkitty

Christmas for our Lolo Pari

Our beloved priests. They can be happy, kind, calm, strict, or masungit, especially when it comes to decorum inside the church. But, as they say, it’s all in a day’s work.

But what if old age hits them?

For the past 13 years, Msgr. Bobby C. Canlas, Rector of the Shrine of Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, hosted an annual gathering for our dear Lolo Pari–the retired and elderly priests. One of his advocacies is supporting retired and elderly priests. Mons Bobby holds this the Monday before Simbang Gabi, just before the busyness of the celebrations kicks in.

I was once again invited by our Rector for this year’s event, and was asked to render a couple of songs for our dear Lolo Pari. I remember my husband and I have sung for a couple of events in the previous years as well. This year was special, and I will tell you why as we go along in this post.

The Christmas Party for the Lolo Pari starts with the Celebration of the Holy Mass, which they concelebrate with His Eminence, Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle, D.D., the Archbishop of Manila as the Main Celebrant.

I was seated in a table for FREPS, or Friends of the Retired and Elderly Priests, a group of individuals who support this annual project through their time, talent, and treasure.
I was seated in a table for FREPS, or Friends of the Retired and Elderly Priests, a group of individuals who support this annual project through their time, talent, and treasure.
And here are the priests after Mass, with the FREPS seated in front.
And here are the priests after Mass, with the FREPS seated in front.

Then, it’s time to partake of the feast. In between dinner, there were gifts and raffle prizes given to the priests (appliances, among others), which put smiles on the faces of our special guests and honorees.

At some point after one raffle draw, I was called to sing. Our kind Rector introduced me as a Shrine volunteer and an alumna of the Philippine Madrigal Singers. I chose to sing Filipino classics–Gaano ko ikaw kamahal and Mutya ng Pasig, which definitely were appreciated by the priests. And how I was humbled by their response!

The good Archbishop-Emeritus Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales was asked by Mons Bobby to give a few words, after which, he led the honoring of the Blessed Mother, whose Immaculate Conception was celebrated last December 8, a day after this event. In his speech, he mentioned that he was talking to his seatmate, Bishop Honesto Ongtioco of Cubao, that it was fine if he didn’t win the raffle; hearing my singing makes him a winner already, and that hearing my voice is a miracle. Such nice words from the kind Cardinal. (He actually won a personal ref after saying that. God is great!) He said also in his speech that life is a miracle. Indeed, it is.

Former Bishop of the Diocese of Novaliches, Bishop Ted Bacani, invited me to reprise the two songs the following week, during the reception for his 50th Sacerdotal Anniversary as a priest. I reported this to our Rector after the party, and he said it was great to hear. He concelebrated Mass along with the Bishop’s priest-friends, which I was also able to attend. Our Rector supported me in that performance as well, in a gym filled with priests and guests. So much love for the ever jolly bishop.

As souvenir for his Golden Sacerdotal Anniversary, Bishop Bacani gave out these books as souvenir to his guests.
As souvenir for his Golden Sacerdotal Anniversary, Bishop Bacani gave out this book, Mercy Alone, which he authored, to his guests.

As we were handing out the gifts to our Lolo Pari, some priests would talk with me and thank me for my singing. Also, they were very appreciative of the gifts that they received and the gathering that was, saying that this doesn’t happen everyday, that’s why they treasure it so much.

It was humbling that our Rector sent me a text message the following day, thanking me and saying that I won the hearts of our Lolo Pari. I replied that I was blessed to be part of that celebration, and to share God’s gift to them.

Our Rector was right. It isn’t easy to be a priest. Aside from the commitment to God, he is also committed to God’s people–saying Mass everyday, hearing confession, performing other Holy Sacraments and church duties. It takes so much to be a priest and these few chosen ones heeded the call, and remained steadfast in their commitment, until they reach retirement, until the end of their days. Pari Magpakailanman! (Priest forever!)

And we're in the news! TV5's Pambansang Good Boy Mon Gualvez covers the said event.
And we’re in the news! TV5’s Pambansang Good Boy Mon Gualvez covered the said event. Here he is doing a short interview with our Shrine Rector.

And here’s a news clip of that event at the Shrine of Jesus, done by our co-Shrine volunteer and TV5 reporter, Mon Gualvez. (Click this link)

So, make sure you greet your priests every chance you bump into them. Thank them, especially this Christmas Season. Their lives are perfect examples of self-sacrifice and service. They are considered Alter Christus, or another Christ, as Mons Bobby mentioned. May we see Christ in their lives.


~ Touringkitty

Mini-Course: Make your Christmas Stress-Free

Christmas has been my most favourite season. And it is also my busiest season, especially at church. Advent and Simbang Gabi Masses, preparations for other church activities, rehearsals, meetings. And when work gets in, that’s the time that I have to multitask, too.

I’m happy though that it’s that way, but sometimes, with the many other things going on my mind (family, oh yes, family matters, which sometimes gets set aside), I just with Christmas would pass, and the New Year just goes by, so that everything would be done.

That’s why I need to calm down, sit down, and relax. This mini-course would help me with just that.


Mich Nicolas, Filipino mom and writer, helps busy moms through this online material containing audio files (listen to the on the go), slides (see what you’re learning), and reflection sheets (write them down, too).

Do you feel stressed because of the seemingly endless things on your to-do list this season? Instead of holiday cheer, are you more in the zone of holiday mess and panic? Do you want to get back to what truly matters and find meaning at Christmastime?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then “Stress-free Christmas: A mini-course for busy moms” is here to help you:

• Reduce unnecessary stress

• Let go of the pressure of perfection during the holidays

• Go from panic to peace

• Enjoy what matters

• Celebrate the Reason for the Season

If you are looking for a more meaningful, happy and stress-free Christmas, then take hold of this mini-course. It won’t take much of your time, but it will help you get that peace and joy you’ve been longing for.

When you purchase this mini-course, you will receive the following:

• 5 Audio Files (Estimated Total Running Time: 33 minutes)

• 25 Slides with Key Points

• 2-page Reflection Sheet


Visit this link to get your copy straight to your email, and together, let’s have a stress-free Christmas!


~ Touringkitty

Celebrate Advent and Christmas Seasons at the Shrine of Jesus

Last year's First Anticipated Simbang Gabi Mass, December 15, 2014.
Last year’s First Anticipated Simbang Gabi Mass, December 15, 2014. From my personal archives.

Christmas is just around the corner, and what better way to prepare for it is by active participation in the Holy Masses leading to this special day.

At the Shrine of Jesus, we make sure we prepare well for this special occasion. We began with the blessing and lighting of the Advent Wreath and the blessing of the church’s Christmas decors last November 28.

And as Shrine volunteers, we took part in an Advent Recollection, Mass, and Holy Hour last Saturday, December 12, at the Betania Retreat Center in cool Tagaytay City. Our Recollection Master was Fr. Herbert Camacho, the Parochial Vicar of the St. John the Baptist Parish in San Juan City.

The Shrine of Jesus works on a theme for its celebrations. In line with the Pope’s declaration of the Year of Mercy, this year’s Advent and Christmas activities are done under the theme: Awa at Pagpapatawad na Lubos, Handog ng Isinilang na Manunubos.

We also have an ongoing Christmas love offering project: Parol na Makinang, Tulong sa Simbahan. I would like to invite you to support this project for the maintenance and upkeep of our Shrine which has been standing for 16 years already. Through your love offering of P1,000 (you can do it individually or as a family or group), you will light up one Parol decoration inside the church, and proceeds will go for maintenance of the Shrine. Visit our Shrine Office for details. Let us also show mercy and compassion to God’s temple–the church–and contribute to its much needed repairs.

This year's Christmas Project of the Shrine of Jesus. Please do support and help us maintain our church.
This year’s Christmas Project of the Shrine of Jesus. Please do support and help us maintain our church.

And this week, in the great Filipino tradition, we count down nine days before Christmas through Simbang Gabi. Here are the Schedule and Mass Celebrants for the Novena Masses:


ANTICIPATED SIMBANG GABI, 8:00 PM (Monday to Saturday), 8:30 PM (Sunday)


December 15 – Rev. Msgr. Roberto C. Canlas (Shrine Rector, Shrine of Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life)

December 16 – Rev. Fr. Tony Atole, SSP (Saint Paul Novitiate, San Fernando, Pampanga)

December 17 – Rev. Fr. Rollin Flores, SSP (Provincial Councilor, Society of St. Paul, Our Lady of Sorrows, Pasay City)

December 18 – Rev. Fr. Alfredo Guerrero (Bishop’s Residence, Diocese of Cubao)

December 19 – Rev. Fr. Cris Cellan, SSP (Provincial Councilor, Society of St. Paul, Makati City)

December 20 – Rev. Fr. Tony Atole, SSP

December 21 – Rev. Fr. Alfredo Guerrero

December 22 – Rev. Msgr. Roberto C. Canlas

December 23 – Rev. Fr. Rollin Flores, SSP



December 16 – Rev. Msgr. Roberto C. Canlas

December 17 – Rev. Fr. Tony Atole, SSP

December 18 – Rev. Fr. Cris Cellan, SSP

December 19 – Rev. Fr. Rollin Flores, SSP

December 20 – Rev. Fr. Alfredo Guerrero

December 21 – Rev. Fr. Tony Atole, SSP

December 22 – Rev. Fr. Rollin Flores, SSP

December 23 – Rev. Fr. Alfredo Guerrero

December 24 – Rev. Msgr. Roberto C. Canlas


Our Christmas Eve Concelebrated Mass happens on December 24, 7:30 PM. We usually hold this early so that people could still go home in time for Noche Buena. Do attend this Mass because we have a very special Panunuluyan presentation, and exchange gift among the churchgoers, just like we do every year. My family will be a part of the Panunuluyan (yup there’s a big hint already for you, so do not miss this Mass!).

On Christmas Day, two special Masses will be held in the morning–the 9:00 AM Children’s Mass, followed by picture taking with Santa Claus, and the 10:30 AM Concelebrated Mass, with no less than His Eminence, Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle, D.D., Archbishop of Manila, as the Main Celebrant and Homilist.

Christmas Season continues with the New Year’s Eve Mass on December 31, 7:30 PM and the New Year’s Day Concelebrated Mass, with His Eminence, Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales, D.D. Archbishop-Emeritus of Archdiocese of Manila, as the Main Celebrant and Homilist.

You read it right! Two Cardinals celebrating two important Eucharistic Celebrations at the Shrine of Jesus, in just one week apart. Hope you could attend both to receive the blessings of two Cardinals.
See you at the Shrine of Jesus!



~ Touringkitty

Seven years of marriage

Last month, my husband and I celebrated our Seventh Wedding Anniversary in a simple, meaningful, and love-filled way.

November 8 this year was a Sunday, and we have church duties with the choir. We were really planning to ask for a prayer of blessing from our Rector, Monsignor Bobby Canlas, who graciously celebrated our wedding day seven years ago. We didn’t know whether he is celebrating Mass for that schedule or not, but we were planning to send him a message in case we won’t be able to meet him in the morning.

But what happened was this happy surprise.

Surprise! Instant Renewal of Vows right after the Holy Mass! (See the empty pews?) This priest loves my family so much, and for that we are grateful.

Some of my choir members were still on queue for Holy Communion after the Mass, and as we were already having the Renewal of Vows, I signaled them from afar to take photos. Huge thanks to their support!


Photo photo! Just like a real wedding. Love and blessings abound.
Photo with the priest celebrant! Just like a real wedding. Love and blessings abound.

We somehow had a gut feel that Mons Bobby made it a point to celebrate Mass during our choir’s Mass timeslot, so we could have our Renewal of Vows after the Mass. Coincidence or not, we were truly grateful for his generosity and thoughtfulness.

Then, it’s lunchtime for this family of three! We really didn’t have anything planned for this day, except for that lunch. My husband treated us for some Japanese in a nearby hotel.

And we had this picture taken at the hotel lobby!
And we had this picture taken at the hotel lobby after the yummy lunch.

We then went home to rest in the afternoon, and in a very last minute decision, my husband asked me for a date (insert #kiligpamore here). I had to immediately call for backup (aka my mom and sister) to look over our daughter while we date. So, he asked me to choose between a romantic movie or the contemporary music orchestra concert at the CCP. Of course, I chose the…latter!

Music nerds unite!
Music nerds unite!

I sang for the opening concert of the 33rd Asian Composer’s League International Festival and Conference, two days prior this, at the UP Abelardo Hall Auditorium, with the Auit Vocal Chamber Ensemble under the baton of Katz Trangco. And this that we watched is the orchestra concert of the festival, held at the nearby Cultural Center of the Philippines.

The concert featured orchestral works of composers from various Asian countries, including one of our friends and choirmate in Auit, Jimuel Dave Dagta. Days after that concert, he won a special composer’s prize in that festival!

The music was rather new to my husband’s ears, because he isn’t used to listening to contemporary works in one sitting. But he enjoyed the experience. While I am impressed with the different textures and compositional styles used by different Asian composers.

The night won’t be complete without our usual coffee-after-the-show sesh at Starbucks. Guilty pleasure! This we don’t get to do most of the time anymore, unlike when I was in college and together with some friends, we’d usually unwind after a concert over food or coffee.

It was a simple celebration yet very unforgettable. With the love from family and friends that surrounds our household, we are beyond blessed.

And here’s a short and sweet message to my dearest treasure.

To my beloved Schatzi,


Here’s to forever!

Darling I will be loving you even beyond seventy.


Much love, 





How do you celebrate an important occasion? Do share how, so I could also get tips for the next date night!