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.
As the Christmas season ushers in, music from opera and musical theatre will be featured in a special two-night concert in the second weekend of December.
OperaJuan’s “Of Thrones and Tiaras: An Evening of Opera and Musical Theater Royalty” will feature music from various opera and musical theater masterpieces fit for any king or queen: La Traviata, Le Nozze di Figaro, Die Zauberflöte, Cendrillon, Into The Woods, Wicked, Dear Evan Hansen, Hamilton, and many more!
Performing these regal works are opera and musical theater singers Kimberly Adam, Mary Louise Alcantara, Aubrey Marie Buenvenida, Allison Rose Cervantes, Renz Nathaniel Cruz, Eden Lorrice Dumlao, Shanna Loise Garcia, Aindrielle Madelo, Lorenz Edward Sarrondo, Tomy Virtucio, and Jane Wee. The show is directed by Renz Nathaniel Cruz, with musical direction by Klyde Ledamo.
Ticket Price: P500
Venue: Manila Pianos, Ronac Lifestyle Center, Paseo de Magallanes, Makati City.
For ticket inquiries, you may contact: 09651951007, 09950818296, or 09566757186.
This event is co-presented by our official media partner: 98.7 DZFE-FM | The Master’s Touch
Poster design is by Pao Quiambao Villavicencio
OperaJuan is an emerging company of young singers whose aim is to further promote the classical and musical theater genres in the Philippines. This concert will be considered their soft launch.
If I were to sum up the past ten years of being married to the love of my life, only one word comes to mind: GRATEFUL.
That my husband and I are stronger together, and we’ve proven it to each other and to other people many times already.
That we have a home we can call our own.
That we hurdle life’s challenges together, big or small.
That our witnesses stand true to their roles as second parents (sadly, we unexpectedly lost a ninang a couple of months ago).
That our families and friends are with us, in good times and in bad (we still grieve though for the loss of my husband’s father).
That we get to do things we both love–choral singing, making music, travel, writing– and also do things on our own–his passion for martial arts, my various interests and advocacies.
That we have our little treasure, Ariadne.
That we are Schatzis (treasure in German). And this union is #schatzinfinity.
So, how did we celebrate this milestone?
Well, we were in Europe for this.
I have posted pockets of words and photos over my Facebook Page and Instagram (LIKE TOURINGKITTY please!) and will slowly (and I mean slow….ly!) gather them in one post, real soon!
Going back to celebrating, we did not have anything planned, really. Since last year, the ACS began their preparation for this trip. My husband was planning to come home in time for our anniversary, but I suggested that he finish the whole trip instead. You don’t get to go to Europe everyday! So, we settled to celebrating belatedly, perhaps with a Mass, Renewal of Vows, and fancy dinner.
But God has his own way of surprising us. Two months before the trip commenced, I was invited. To join as soprano. Bubble thoughts went like: We will sing in a choir. Together. And tour Europe. In time for our wedding anniversary.
I. Am. Stoked! Who am I to say no?!
And so I said I DO (haha I mean, yes, I am honoured to join!), and right on my birthday, I applied for my visa which was granted two days after. It was meant to be.
10th Wedding Anniversary, Barci style
We had a full schedule on the day of our anniversary, but the previous two days of it were absolutely free days. And we were in Barcelona, Spain! We shopped and ate and strolled, and did most everything just the two of us.
One of our godparents treated us for an unforgettable Tapas dinner, and got ourselves almost drunk with Sangria (lol). Our pastor-friend and choirmate (yes the ACS is super blessed to have a pastor!) gave time to lead us in scripture reading, reflection, and prayer. We read and reflected on the same Gospel passage on our wedding day.
The best part:
We got to tour the church (few photos on my Facebook Page!) and I can’t help but cry while praying.
A Spiritual Pilgrimage to celebrate a decade of marriage
We had a long day on our anniversary day, which began with this.
We were scheduled to visit two more Ignatian sites (because Ateneo) — Montserrat and Manresa. Few days before that, we were privileged to visit Loiola, the birthplace of St. Ignatius.
We sang a couple of Marian songs as offering to Our Lady of Montserrat. Video courtesy of Enric Genesca, one of our host-organizers from Polifonica Puig-reig:
We were told that choirs who visit here would have to get permission to sing inside the Abbey. So this is a rare and special and blessed opportunity for us.
After which, a sumptuous Chinese buffet lunch (yum!) and dinner at the hotel, where we also performed for an awarding ceremony for the Polifonica Puig-reig, our host choir, which celebrates its 50th year as a choir.
Who gets to spend their wedding anniversary this way? We are truly thankful that this has all happened. All in God’s plan and perfect time.
We are grateful that we got to spend this special occasion with the people who are dear to us, our ACS family.
Bonus photo! Check out our ACS Fam ten years ago during the wedding reception!
Just like any other marriage, ours is a work in progress, every single day. But we keep in mind what our father-rector and spiritual tatay said during the Homily on our wedding day, the three things our marriage should have: Communication, Care, Be fair.
We missed our daughter for almost a month, but we are more blessed that my mother and sister willingly took care of her while we were in this trip. We cannot be any more grateful for that.
I don’t know how to end this post, and I must try to sleep (hello jetlag, it’s been a week and you are back!) so let me end with this Bible verse that we have reflected upon ten years ago, last week for the 10th anniversary, and forever until death parts us.
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Ephesians 5:21)
While formula and follow-on milk formula are enjoying the limelight in the marketing scene, it’s always nice to know that there are still institutions who dared take that road less traveled and support only the best–breastfeeding.
I got a chance to attend a forum on the Mother-Baby Friendly Philippines program of the World Vision and the Department of Health as a mommy blogger. When I read the invite, I immediately asked if there are milk sponsors and gladly there is none, since this is a project of the Department of Health.
What surprised me even more is seeing one of the foremost breastfeeding champs in the country, in the person of a male.
Imagine that. A room full of mommy bloggers, nutrition experts, celebrity influencers, a supportive organisation, all in unison for breastfeeding.
The focal point of the event was the phone application they introduced to report milk code violations. I do hope that the response time will be reasonable and adequate, and for the customer to be assured of their safety and confidentiality.
Here’s more about the event:
Breastfeeding may be considered a challenging phase of motherhood but the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of breastfeeding for mothers and babies truly make the journey worthwhile. While more and more mothers recognize that breastmilk will always be superior compared to formula milk, there is still a need to spread awareness on its benefits and to encourage people to support breastfeeding.
In response to the global campaign of protecting, promoting, and supporting breastfeeding, World Vision Development Foundation, in partnership with the Department of Health, launched Mother-Baby Friendly Philippines. This two-year project aims to:
1. Support and strengthen the implementation of Executive Order 51 (The Philippine Milk Code of 1986), Republic Act 7600 (The Rooming-In and Breastfeeding Act of 1992), and Republic Act 10028 (The Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009).
2. Increase awareness and educate health professionals and the public regarding these laws.
3. Encourage people to promote, protect, and support breastfeeding by involving them in monitoring the implementation of breastfeeding laws in the country.
Carleneth F. San Valentin, Health and Nutrition Technical Programme Manager of World Vision Development Foundation, believes that encouraging mothers to nurture their child is a way to empower a mother’s ability to breastfeed and care for their child. “We are here to educate mothers so that they are empowered to make the right choice in nurturing and caring for their child. We want them to realize that if these laws are not implemented, we are impinging on their rights and of their child’s,” she shared.
According to Dr. Anthony P. Calibo of the Department of Health, this responsibility to uphold the breastfeeding rights of mothers is not just the responsibility of concerned organizations and government sectors; it is a responsibility of the general public. “If a mother is investing herself for the betterment of the future of her child, then she is also investing in the betterment of the future of this country,” he emphasized.
To stay true to their mission and vision for this project, the team conducted Mommy Forum: Mother-Baby Friendly Philippines last October 2, 2018 at Little Owl in New Manila. #MBFPH was graced by mom celebrities like Camille Prats Yambao, Jennica Garcia Uytingco and Erika Padilla.
Erika Padilla, World Vision Breastfeeding Ambassador, shared her breastfeeding journey. “It is a huge sacrifice. It is difficult, painful, and a lot of work. But definitely worth every single drop because I see my son getting stronger and healthier every day,” she recalled. Her story encouraged more moms to share and ask for more tips from Erika as well.
Rommel Fuerte, Executive Director of World Vision Development Foundation, reminds long-time moms and new moms the reason behind this gathering: the breastfeeding normalization is still a work in progress and it’s a must to constantly promote and protect breastfeeding to empower moms and to ensure a healthy start for their children.
To know how you can support Mother-Baby Friendly Philippines, log on to https://mbfp.doh.gov.ph/ or download MBF PH via Google Play or Apple Store.
And before we head on another trip, here’s a short summary of my Hong Kong trip last July (I know, late as usual!).
I have been wanting to go on a solo trip for years. Moms need to recharge, you know.
And for this particular trip, I intentionally identified Hong Kong because of three reasons:
1. I kind of spoiled our own family trip two years ago, because of work that had to be done while on the trip.
2. My goal was to walk, eat, sleep. Nothing more.
3. Because Disneyland. Yes.
But God had even better plans, adding up to the list above.
1. My college friend hosted me (praise God for their family!) so I had no problems with accommodation. Plus, their place is in an MTR line, and with a mall–with an outlet store!
2. Her husband treated me to Disneyland (yay for perks!).
3. I chanced upon the Closing Ceremony of the Belt and Road Choral Competition, wherein my Ninong Mark Carpio (of the Philippine Madrigal Singers) was part of the jury. And this: The Vesna Children’s Choir performing a short program. Uh-ma-zing!
4. IKEA!!! Bought pasalubong for my home–bed sheet, toilet stuff, among others. And before I know it, an IKEA store is opening soon in the Philippines, just in front of our church! (calm down, heart and wallet!)
5. And slept for eight hours STRAIGHT each night I was there. Such grace.
And so there you go. I was able to tick off my goals, plus got some bonuses.
I am just so grateful that this trip happened, at the right time, at the right situation, and right context. I literally needed a break, and it was a perfect one.
So, here’s a clip I made to remember my first ever Serendipitrip (love the play of words there!). CLICK HERE to watch on Youtube. And don’t forget to LIKE and SUBSCRIBE for more travel vlogs! You sure would not want to miss the next ones.
Thinking about studying abroad? Begin your school hunt with this fair.
Last year, my singing group called Perfect Blend, was invited to open the activities with the Philipoine National Anthem and the EU Hymn. Looking forward to attend this fair once again next week. And here’s why.
The 2018 European Higher Education Fair (EHEF) is set on 10 October 2018 at the Grand Atrium of Shangri–La Plaza in Mandaluyong City. Organized by the Delegation of the European Union to the Philippines, together with EU Member States’ Embassies and Cultural Groups, and in partnership with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), EHEF 2018 will feature universities and higher education institutions (HEIs) from EU member states.
This year’s theme “Sustaining Innovation and Excellence” continues to promote EU as an outstanding center of quality in higher education. EU Ambassador Franz Jessen said:“The universities and education institutions in Europe offer the charm of Europe’s history as well as cutting edge, innovative education. The EHEF aims to bring both excellence and diversity to a growing number of prospective Filipino students.”
Do you want to specialize in business, engineering, sciences, and the arts? Check out this year’s participating universities/higher education institutions:
University of Antwerp
University of Hasselt
Mendel University in Brno
Study in Prague Consortium, made up of the following institutions: Czech University of Life Sciences; Czech Technical University; Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design; Academy of Performing Arts; Charles University; University of Economics; and University of Chemistry and Technology
Technical University of Liberec
International Business Academy
Audencia Business School
IESEG School of Management
INSEEC Business School
Universite Catholique de l’Ouest
Vatel Hotel & Tourism Business School – Bordeaux
University of Regensberg
WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management
Central European University
Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
IHE Delft Institute for Water Education
Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS) Erasmus University Rotterdam
International Institute of Social Studies (ISS)
Maastricht School of Management
TIAS School for Business and Society
IE Business School
Universidad Catolica San Antonio de Murcia
Universidad de Navarra
Joint Development of Niche Programmes through Philippines-United Kingdom Linkages (TNE 10)
Learn more about the EU educational system and way of life through lectures and direct interaction with university and HEI representatives, alumni volunteers, and past Erasmus+ scholars. There will also be country presentations from each member state to showcase all the best reasons to pursue higher education in the EU.
Admission to the fair is free. Interested parties can pre–register online via www.ehef–philippines.com.For more information, visit @EHEFPhilippines on Facebook, Instagram, and on Twitter.
A cookie can make a big difference. And with the Tim Hortons Smile Cookie Campaign satisfying a cookie craving also goes towards helping a good cause.
“We are encouraging everyone to help make a difference for charities or organizations that are helping those who are in need or are marginalized by supporting our Smile Cookie Campaign,” said Stephanie Guerrero marketing director of Tim Hortons Philippines. “As we continue to grow our presence here in the country, we also want to be able to make more contributions to the communities we serve. This campaign is our way of doing that.”
Now in its second year in the Philippines, the campaign continues to spread joy through the generosity of the coffee chain’s customers. This year, each Smile Cookie purchased for Php50 at Tim Hortons stores will benefit the recipients of its partner organization Action Against Hunger Philippines.
The Tim Hortons Smile Cookie Campaign will run from September 21-23 in the Philippines. Support the campaign and have a reason to smile by purchasing Smile Cookies at Tim Hortons stores. All proceeds will go to the partner organization.
Store locations are Tim Hortons Glorietta 4, Tim Hortons Insular Life, Tim Hortons I-Care, Tim Hortons One Central, Tim Hortons San Lorenzo, Tim Hortons The Link, Tim Hortons Pearl Plaza, Tim Hortons Blue Bay, Tim Hortons Venice Grand Canal Mall, Tim Hortons Eastwood, Tim Hortons Kia Theatre, Tim Hortons Greenhills, Tim Hortons Market! Market!, Tim Hortons Net Quad, and Tim Hortons Uptown Mall.
For the first time, the Smile Cookie campaign will now be celebrated globally with many Tim Hortons locations participating around the world including Mexico, the UK and UAE.
Smile Cookie Campaign is a fundraising event for Tim Hortons restaurants worldwide. The campaign was established in 1996 as an effort to help raise funds for the Hamilton Children’s Hospital in Ontario. Today, the campaign continues as a major fundraiser for the brand where 100 percent of the proceeds goes to its local charity, hospital or community program of choice.
Action Against Hunger Philippines is an arm of the global humanitarian organization that takes decisive action against the causes and effects of hunger. To date, AAH has helped 299,284 people through its nutrition and health programs; water, sanitation, and health programs; and food security and livelihood programs.
About TIM HORTONS®
TIM HORTONS® is one of North America's largest restaurant chains operating in the quick service segment. Founded as a single location in Canada in 1964, TIM HORTONS® appeals to a broad range of consumer tastes, with a menu that includes premium coffee, hot and cold specialty drinks (including lattes, cappuccinos and espresso shots), specialty teas and fruit smoothies, fresh baked goods, grilled Panini and classic sandwiches, wraps, soups, prepared foods and other food products. As of December 31, 2016, TIM HORTONS® had more than 4,700 system wide restaurants located in Canada, the United States and the Middle East. The TIM HORTONS® brand is owned by Restaurant Brands International Inc. (TSX,NYSE:QSR), one of the world's largest quick service restaurant companies with more than $24 billion in system sales and over 20,000 restaurants. To learn more about the TIM HORTONS® brand, please visit the TIM HORTONS® brand website at www.timhortons.com or follow us on Facebook: Facebook.com/TimHortonsPH, Twitter: @TimHortonsPH; and Instagram: @TimHortonsPHL
About TH Coffee Services Philippines Corporation TH Coffee Services Philippines Corporation is a joint venture company established under Restaurant Brands International, Inc. aimed to grow an iconic brand, TIM HORTONS TM in the Philippines. As the master franchisee, it is set to enable TIM HORTONS TM to expand its reach outside the US by providing exemplary service and valuable products that are relevant and customized to the needs and tastes of the local market.