Tag: choir

Touringkitty Travels: Dating, European-style

We sang, we traveled, we ate. This is how we conquered Europe for the first time as husband and wife.

We got to do it for almost a month. And even if we were traveling with a group, we cannot miss the chance to go out on a just-us date. So, on that one free night in Cologne, Germany, before we head to Spain, we had our first European date.

We strolled along the cold streets, looking for a perfect place for that first European date, and ended up in a cozy bar just across Cologne Cathedral.

Bucket list checked: Date in Europe.

Funkhaus is the restaurant on the building of the WDR Funkhaus, the radio broadcast center, which is important in Cologne’s history.

Next, what to eat?

Eat local, but don’t splurge. That has been our eating out mantra. So, we settled with currywurst and Kölsch (Cologne brewed beer).

Sausage, beer, and hard bread. In true German fashion. Wunderbar!

We learned about the beer from our hosts in Weroth, and they were right, it tastes good! Not a beer fan here, but this one is worth the try.

Spent precious moments here, but not for long. We had to walk back to the hostel to catch our early morning flight. And did I say it was freezing cold that night? And that we were walking by the River Rhine? There you go.

They had these thick blankets ready for those who will be seated outside. It was THAT cold.

This date is definitely one for the books! We are just beyond grateful to have experienced this, and so much more, while celebrating a special milestone in our married life, and traveling with a choral group we consider family.

Crossing the bridge. Photo by the Pastorgrapher. Half smiles courtesy of the cold temp.

Know more about Funkhaus through their website. Click this linkhttp://funkhaus-koeln.de.

~ Touringkitty

Schatzinfinity: Ten years of marriage

#blessed is never cliche

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.

On tour with the Ateneo Chamber Singers. Concerts, competitions in Germany and Spain. I cannot say anything more but THANK YOU, LORD! Photo from the ACS FB Page

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.

Must. Have. This. Pic. Bench pic on the streets of Barcelona. Photo by our dear Pastorgrapher (Our choirmate and Pastor-friend who made us his favourite photo subjects!).

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:

Sagrada Familia, everyone. Such magnificence only God can create. Gaudi, you the man.

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.

A Mass in Catalan language at the Barcelona Cathedral. Luckily, there was a Filipino couple based in the USA who were vacationing and volunteered to take our photos in exchange for taking theirs. They were belatedly celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary with that trip.

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.

Still up and about! Great way to end the day.

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.

A pair of witnesses! Ninong Jojo, our conductor, and Ninang Bitchik, who treated us with that unforgettable dinner. This is in Tossa de mar the day after for more sightseeing and unwinding after the busy days of concerts and competitions.

Bonus photo! Check out our ACS Fam ten years ago during the wedding reception!

Love our ACS Fam! 3/4 of the people in this photo are part of the tour as singers. Two of them we got to see in Tolosa.

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)

Ich hab ein schatz gefunden. Photo again by Pastor Binky in Calella, Spain. Instant photoshoot while waiting for the opening program of the competitions.


Ich liebe dich, mein Schatzi Ton!


Dein Schatzi Em =)


~ Touringkitty

#KoristaAko: Efraime Mallari


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

Choirs joined:
– 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.


Em and Ef. At the Bacoor International Music Championships.

#KoristaAko: Acapellago

Singing in harmony is second nature to Filipinos. Admittedly, when a melody is heard, we (secretly) hum a second voice into it.

And with the advent of a cappella singing in movies and TV (think Glee and Pitch Perfect), and competitions like Akapela Open, more Filipinos are getting hooked in a cappella music. Which positively translates to more a cappella singers and choristers (happy dance there!).

A product of Akapela Open is our featured koristas for this month. Acapellago (see the play name between a cappella and archipelago? Cool, right?) is an award-winning ensemble of five singers who does covers of popular songs in a cappella fashion. They have competed and won locally (beginning with a local town competition and then in Akapela Open) and internationally, getting the top prize in the A Cappella Championships in Singapore just last year. Because of this accolade, they were awarded an Ani ng Dangal, given by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

They started their vocal group in school, with members of the Bulacan State University Saring Himig Chorale in 2012. Currently, the group is made up of singers from different schools who are also koristas. The group continues to create, arrange and perform new music, to inspire many young artist in contemporary a cappella singing and contribute to Philippines music and performing arts heritage.

Visit their Facebook Page! Click the photo.
Visit their Facebook Page! Click the photo.

Let’s get to know each of them.

Ron Laderas is a choir conductor, arranger and singer. He had sung for the following choirs: Hagonoy United Methodist Church (UMC) , Bulacan State University Saring Himig, and Obando UMC. He sings Bass in the group, and takes inspiration from a cappella groups like TAKE 6, Swingles Singers, Kings Singers, The Filharmonic (a Fil-Am group who guested in the Pitch Perfect movie), Rajaton, Pentatonix, Home Free, The Real Group, and our very own The Company. Likewise from the following musicians (composers, conductors, and arrangers) Lucio San Pedro, Mark Carpio, Eudy Palaruan, Chris Borela (who currently conducts Bulacan State University Saring Himig), Ily Maniano, Eric Whitacre, Deke Sharon and Ben Bram. He thinks that a cappella music is popular in this generation, and that the community is getting bigger.

Bogart Laderas is the beatboxer of the group. He is Ron’s brother, who along with him are pioneers of the group. He started with the school choir in Bulacan and is also a Dubbing Talent. He joined the choir because music is his passion, and his ticket to studying as a scholar (some schools do offer scholarships, whether partial or full, to choir members, another korista perk!). His most unforgettable moment was to sing Heal the World with The Philippine Madrigal Singers. He likes a cappella music because of the fact that “you have no choice but to squeeze your imagination on how will it sound full because voice and imagination are your only instruments.”

Almond Pondevida Bolante started his choral journey in high school with the Ramon Magsaysay Glee Club, then in college with the Our Lady Of Fatima University Chorale. He used to train with the Philippine Madrigal Singers, and he says he’s a big fan of the group. The reason he joined a choir is “for me to know how to blend with other people because for me, as a singer, you have to know how to harmonize for you to practice not just your voice but your ears.” He enjoys touring and singing with a choir because he gets to know different people and different cultures, at the same time, share your own culture to them.

Joshua Cadeliña studies music and is a recording artist and dubbing talent. He has joined the Ars Noveau Chorale and Novo Concertante Manila (another award-winning church-based choral group) prior joining Acapellago. He sings tenor and is a trained classical singer. He recalls his most unforgettable choir moment with the Novo Concertante Manila, “It is my first time to travel abroad and to compete internationally (Novo had its European Tour in 2014). Gladly, Novo won the Grand Prix in Poland.” For him, a cappella music “requires sensitivity to each other. It is one of the hardest things to do in a cappella singing but I find it really interesting.”

The only belle of the group is Michelle Corpuz Pascual. She started singing with the choir as member of NAMCYA prizewinning choirs from the north, Samiweng Singers, Ilocos Norte National High School Youth Choir, and Laoag City Children’s Choir. She also trains with the Philippine Madrigal Singers. She believes that joining a choir would improve her singing and widen her knowledge on music. She also thinks Contemporary A Cappella has its own uniqueness.

These choristers also take part in the Sing Philippines Youth Choir, a project of the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the Philippine Madrigal Singers. Michelle and Almond joined its maiden batch in 2014, while Joshua and Ron will be part of the second batch who will also be the laboratory choir of the Conductors’ Workshop component of the Hands-On Choral Workshop this June at the CCP (by the way, I will be one of the trainors again, looking forward to teaching again!).

Of course, I made them answer why they are certified koristas:

#KoristaAko dahil naniniwala ako na dun ako nilagay ni Lord. Destiny kumbaga. – Michelle

#KoristaAko dahil ako ay alagad ng musika at mahal ko hindi lang ang choral music, at a cappella music kundi pati narin ang lahat ng bumubuo ng musikang Pilipino. #KoristaAko dahil proud ako na isa ako sa mga bumubuhay sa musikang pilipino. – Almond

#koristaAko dahil minahal ko na ng sobra ang pag-awit at ang choral world. Mahirap man ang pagiging full time musician sa bansa, pinili ko pa rin ito dahil dito ako masaya, tulad ng nararansan ng iba. – Ron Laderas


Do watch out for their upcoming events, concerts, more cover songs, and a Digital EP coming out soon. Follow them on Facebook and Youtube for the newest events of the group.

Gratitude to Acapellago and their manager, Riva Ferrer of the Philippine Madrigal Singers for this feature. To close, here’s their newest cover, Dulo, by Thyro and Yumi, the duo behind the current hits popularised through the Philpop Music Festival, as sung by Sarah Geronimo, in a cappella.

#KoristaAko: De Pano Sisters

Korista Ako

Time flies when you’re having fun, indeed. First quarter of the year is ending, and since Holy Week came in a little early, March became a busy month for most koristas, especially those in the church ministry. We got to thank our church musicians for making our Holy Week more solemn, reflective, and meaningful with their beautiful music.

March is also Women’s Month, so here’s a feature on three women–sisters, actually–who are great choristers I admire (and I sure am you will, too, and be encouraged to sing in a choir as well, after reading this!).

Presenting our Koristas for this month, the De Pano Sisters: Nell Armin De Pano-Raralio (Armin), Nina Rose Aurora De Pano (Niner), and Nelda Aurora De Pano-Supnet (Dada).

L-R: De Pano Sisters--Dada, Niner, Armin.
L-R: De Pano Sisters–Dada, Niner, Armin.

Belonging to a family of choristers (church choristers at that), all three currently sing (and go on concert tours) together with the Ateneo Chamber Singers. And apart from being choristers, Armin has a day job as a GM of a logistics company and GM of a back-office service provider, Dada is a stay-at-home wife and mom, and Niner is a session musician and gospel songwriter. Dada sings Alto 2, Armin sings Soprano 2, while Niner started to sing Soprano 2 but is now assigned the Alto 1 line (Their voices almost complete the treble section!).


What choirs have you joined, from past to present?
Dada: As I remember it: KFUMC Cherub Choir, KFUMC Tagalog Choir, KFUMC Chancel Choir, Himig Scientia, Tanglaw Singers, ACGC, SINAG, Uno, Ateneo Chamber Singers, Philippine Chamber Choir, San Miguel Master Chorale, Philippine Vocal Ensemble.
Presently actively singing with The Ateneo Chamber Singers and the KFUMC combined Tagalog and Chancel Choirs.

Armin: 1) Church: Kamuning First United Methodist Church, all choirs as I grew up: children’s choir, tagalog choir, Chancel Choir, youth choir, etc., as member, conductor, or accompanist (Male Chorale). “The singing Methodists” is the underlying tradition in our early and unbroken involvement in church music.
2) School: Intl School Manila: Girls Chorus, A’Capella Choir, and the high school Octet. In Ateneo, Ateneo College Glee Club. For 2 years also, I was a member of the Saringhimig under George Hernandez of UP and AILM.
3) Ateneo Chamber Singers, which I joined the year after I was widowed. Singing again in a serious (serious?!!??) choir was a real comfort and companion to me in my widowhood, doing something I enjoyed, something challenging (no joke entering a choir at age 46—it was most humbling!) and something that allowed me to be in the close fellowship of people in ACS. It’s a joy to be in this family.

Niner: As my sisters related, started singing with the choir as a young child (with Ate Armin as conductor!) with the Kamuning First United Methodist Church’s CHERUB CHOIR. In my teens I sang with the youth choir otherwise called TAGALOG CHOIR under my Dad’s sister Zenaida Parungao at first, then under Kuya Arnel (De Pano, another De Pano sibling who is notable as chorister, composer, and arranger). Then on to the big leagues, the adult choir, the Chancel Choir under, originally, my Dad’s sister Zenaida, afterwards under Ate Armin and Kuya Arnel. It would be fitting to acknowledge the great Methodist tradition of singing any time, anywhere — aside from my siblings, uncles and aunts and cousins were in the choir with us one time or another.

I also sang with our high school choir HIMIG SCIENTIA under Mrs. Letty Lomibao – that was in Quezon City Science High School. During my HS days I also sang with Tanglaw Singers, a Methodist youth group made up of youth from different churches. Then Sinag, another Methodist youth group under Kuya Arnel music ministry. For some time I was an honorary singing member in SARINGHIMIG under George Hernandez. I then sang with the Ateneo College Glee Club under Joel Navarro. I also got invited to sing with the HIMIG SINGERS of Davao under Alvin Aviola aka Max aka Kuya Bong. Joined the SMMC too. And Philippine Vocal Ensemble. And of course the ATENEO CHAMBER SINGERS.


Why did you join the choir? What was that something (or someone) that influenced you?

Dada: Music has always been my family’s ministry. So I joined the Cherub Choir at around 5 years old and I never stopped singing since.

Armin: It was the most natural thing to do—we were born to singing Methodist families on both sides. All of us 9 siblings went the same route, sang in all choirs, as ALL our children also became inevitable recruits to the children’s choir of their generation. Sadly, as in my children’s case, the kids have been less passionate about choir singing.

The reason we sing is because it really is a gift the Lord has given every singer to be used and made fruitful—music is the language of the soul, singing is twice praying, etc. What is worship without song? A wedding without music? A celebration, a thanksgiving, or a sadness, a yearning, without expression in music? Mahirap, no? For me the power of music is akin to the beauty of nature. You capture a little, and, really, it’s a lot: for the singer, for the listener. And so we sing. Praise God!

Niner: Joining the choir is a natural progression in my family — what with numerous aunts, uncles, parents, siblings to emulate. I stayed with the choir because of the joy it brings. It has since become my ministry.


What is your most unforgettable choral moment?

Armin: As you see in Slum Books, “too many to mention.” Every time we get a song right is a choral moment for me. Every time we hear/encounter beautiful choral music (other choirs) is a choral moment for me. And to have known, remain friends with, to work and sing with, the generation of the great movers of Philippine choral music: what a kick it is. It makes me proud, thankful, and humble.

Niner: Gaya ni Ate (Armin), every singing event is a choral moment to me — some grander than normal but every time I sing brings out the best in me.

Dada: Probably when I was part of the all children’s choir that lined up the Malacañang Palace driveway and main lobby singing Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus and ‘Christus vincit, Christus regnat; Christus, Christus imperat!’ during Pope John Paul’s very first visit to Manila. I was still in Elementary School then. A close second would be singing for the Papal Mass with Pope Francis in January 2015.


As sisters, have you toured with the choir together?

Dada and Niner touring together during college at the Ateneo in California.
Dada and Niner touring together during college.

Dada: I have toured with Cha Nanu (their nickname for Niner) more times than with Ate Armin. To wit, with ACGC in 1986 for the United Airlines’ Sister-city Exchange Program (to Sacramento, CA); with ACGC again in 2000; with SMMC to Taiwan and Korea in 2002-2003; with the Ateneo Chamber Singers in 2003 (US), 2006 (Europe and Singapore, with Ate Armin also), 2008 (US, Nanu only), 2009 Tokyo, Japan and Taipei (with both Ates), 2012 to Sapporro, Japan (with Nanu only), 2014 to Singapore (with both).

Armin: They (Niner and Dada) have also been session musicians together; just over a year apart, age-wise, they’ve been together a lot more.



More recently, the three sisters went together with the ACS in Singapore for the Three Festival.
More recently, the three sisters sang with the ACS in Singapore for the Three Festival in 2014.

How was the experience being with family members in a choir?

Armin: We love it. My siblings and I sing together every Sunday in church, year in, year out. Of 9 children in the family, 7 of us were members of the Ateneo College Glee Club,& 2 of my sisters in law were ACGC members, too, making us quite possibly candidates for the biggest Glee Club family. My Kuya Albert and I were in Saringhimig together. And, as you know, the DePano siblings were in SMMC* together, too. We like each other, we like singing together. We are also big supporters of Arnel’s entire music ministry. Buy One Take All applies to us.

*SMMC is San Miguel Master Chorale–Dada and Niner, with Arnel

Dada: As the youngest of us 3 there is more financial security when touring with the Ates. Hehehe.

Niner: Masaya! We push each other to sing our best — pulisan sa nota, okrayan at tawanan sa mistakes. But I think having siblings in the choir contribute much to the homogeneous sound of a choir — our voices share a timbre that naturally blend.


#KoristaAko dahil:

Karapatdapat na ibalik ang lahat ng papuri sa Panginoon na Syang Bukal ng lahat ng grasya at pagpapala, sa pamamagitan ng aking pagawit. – Dada De Pano Supnet

In my case, the question would probably rather be: How can I not be a korista? – Armin De Pano Raralio

Ang pag-awit ang talentong iginawad ng Diyos sa akin, natural kailangan Kong umawit para sa Kanya! Lahat ng iba pang karanasang dala ng pag awit ay karagdagan pang biyaya mula sa Kanya. – Niner De Pano

With the Ateneo Chamber Singers in a concert at the Philamlife Auditorium.
With the Ateneo Chamber Singers in a concert at the Philamlife Auditorium.

Big thanks go to the De Pano Sisters for sharing their simple lives intertwined by music.

#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.

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

Andrea O. Veneracion International Choral Festival: A tribute and a legacy

Time flew, fast. It has been two years since the first ever international choral competition took place at the CUltural Center of the Philippines. And I am proud to have been part of it.

Now, two years after, the second competition happens right on the month when the honoree commemorates her birth and passing on. As I type this, we remember her second birthday in heaven, two days before her actual birth date.

This year’s competition happens on the third week of July, from the 22nd to the 25th. Just as it’s about to close on the 25th, the nation will be celebrating the National Week of Filipino Music. Such a great tribute!


And as for its second season, the competition is a legacy, a beautiful one left by the honoree, Prof. Andrea O. Veneracion, Ma’am OA to many, one of the pillars of Filipino choral music. Through her legacy of excellence as founding choirmaster of the Philippine Madrigal Singers, and the legions of choristers its members and alumni have trained, the Singing Philippines have reached a realization.

Competing for the second competition are six choirs from Indonesia, Italy, and Mexico, and ten Filipino choirs, vying for prizes in three categories, which are Folk Music, Chamber Choir, and Vocal Ensemble. The jury is composed of five of the best names in the choral world: Brady Allred (I once took a conducting masterclass under him back when I was pregnant), Janis Liepnis (who handles Kamer, a two-time European Grand Prix for Choral Singing winner like the Madz), Silvana Vallesi (yay for female conductors! She conducts the Coro Universitario de Mendoza in Argentina), Andre Van der Merwe (famous conductor of youth choirs in South Africa), and Mark Carpio of the Philippine Madrigal Singers.

To celebrate Filipino culture and music, the competition will premiere the obligatory piece commissioned by the CCP for the Chamber Choir category, entitled “Ang Tren,” a setting of Filipino literary giant Jose Corazon de Jesus’ poem, music composed by young award-winning composer Saunder Choi.

It’s always a learning experience watching competitions, that’s why if you are a choral conductor or chorister, you should watch this. An international level of competition right in our own land!

Watch this video to learn more about the competition.

If you’re a student or a chorister who would want to watch, email choralfestmnl2015(at)gmail(dot)com to inquire on how to avail of the 50% discount. And since the Opening and Closing Ceremonies are free and open to all, see you there!



July 22-25, 2015

Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater).


Wednesday, July 22, 2015:

5:00 PM Opening Ceremonies;
7:00 PM Folk Song Competiton

Thursday, July 23, 2015:
7:00 PM Vocal Ensemble Competition

Friday, July 24, 2015:
7:00 PM Chamber Choir Competition

Saturday, July 25, 2015:
4:00 PM Philippine Madrigal Singers Gala Concert
7:00 PM Awarding & Closing Ceremonies

Ticket Prices: P800, P700, P500, P300 (all competitions and
Madrigal Singers concert) 50% discount for students & choirs who want to watch

Opening and Closing Ceremonies: FREE/OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
For ticket inquiries/reservations please email choralfestmnl2015@gmail.com

Website: http://culturalcenter.gov.ph/single-tickets/view-event/?id=44829225


The SOJCC turns nine!

What better way to celebrate than with food! After a filling lunch and an obligatory photo with our ever supportive Rector, Mons Bobby Canlas, and Youth Ministry Coordinators Gela and Justin.
What better way to celebrate than with food! After a filling lunch and an obligatory photo with our ever supportive Rector, Mons Bobby Canlas, and Youth Ministry Coordinators Gela and Justin.

Nine years. Wow. I am super happy to have served at the Shrine of Jesus all these nine years, along with these super kids! We still have three pioneer members who started in 2006. Many have come and gone, but the group remained steadfast in our duty as church servants.

We thank everyone who have trusted us all these years: wedding clients, organisations, companies, institutions, and to the choral festivals we have participated in (Madz et al, San Sebastian Basilica Musica Sacra Festival)–to whom we have shared our music with. We look forward to working with more people in the future.

We thank our parents for being ever so generous of their time, support, love, and care. For bringing the kids to each and every rehearsal and performance. For selling tickets to our shows. For preparing our costumes.

We thank our Shrine Family–our beloved Rector, Rector’s Council, Organization Officers and Volunteers (especially of the Youth and Music Ministries), for assisting, supporting, and guiding us as we serve the Shrine community. To the pianists who have taken my place when I am absent for Masses, your assistance is much appreciated.

On a personal note, I would like to thank my own family–my mom and sister–for being present in almost all performances of these kids.

I would like to give special thanks to the co-founder of this group, my husband, for seeing this vision with me. We only wanted to continue our church service after years of hiatus, and having our own choir to nurture and teach and starting again with a new community is a good comeback for both of us.

Lastly, the singers, past and present. I know God had a purpose for bringing the group together. I had my own doubts because you come from different schools, communities, and cities. But you managed to be friends, be good to each other, and sing well together. I have been blessed!

The song in our AVP shown earlier was perfect fit for your friendship you’ve built:

You can count on me like 1, 2, 3
I’ll be there
And I know when I need it
I can count on you like 4, 3, 2
And you’ll be there
‘Cause that’s what friends are supposed to do.

Here’s to nine years, and beyond! Looking forward to our tenth year next year, and the projects we are about to launch.

And while we’re at it, it is our pleasure to invite you to join us!


If you have kids 8-14 years old, we welcome them in our tribe. Message us on our Facebook Account and let’s schedule your audition. Please prepare two minutes worth of two songs sung a cappella–one must be a Mass song.

Let’s sing and serve for our Divine Master and His people!

~ Touringkitty

#KoristaAko: Jon Philippe Go

Another project came into mind last month: To feature chorister profiles on the blog, with the goal of inspiring and encouraging aspiring singers and choristers.

And so, #KoristaAko is born!

Are you one? Shoot me an email if you want to be featured!
Are you one? Shoot me an email if you want to be featured!

In photo is my now Youth Choir, the Shrine of Jesus Children and Youth Choir, during the Madz et al performance last year.

There’s just too many already, you might think. But why not make the whole country sing? Philippine Madrigal Singers founder, Professor Andrea O. Veneracion had dreamed of a Singing Philippines, and now we see choirs blossoming everywhere–in the barangays, places of worship, schools, companies, even among friends. Isn’t it great to see everyone really singing? And it’s much more fun singing in a group!

For our first Korista (and since it’s the Finale Weekend already of The Voice of the Philippines, I’d like to introduce you to the Singing Chemist, Jon Philippe Go! (YES, he is a certified Korista!)

Credit: The Voice of the Philippines Facebook Page.
Credit: The Voice of the Philippines Facebook Page.

Name: Jon Philippe Go

Current profession: Chemist

Choir/s joined:
Philippine Vocal Ensemble (October 2012 – present)
UST College of Science Glee Club (June 2006 – March 2009)

Current projects:
This year will be an exciting year for PVE because we are gearing up for an upcoming tour. I can’t spill all details yet, but we will be part of various choral festivals and competitions to work our way towards it. In a nutshell, PVE will be ubiquitous for 2015!

Why did you join the choir? What was that something or someone that influenced you?

I started out as a member of our college choir in UST back in 2006, the College of Science Glee Club (CSGC). I always had a love for singing but what pushed me to join was when I heard them perform a playful rendition Maestro Ryan Cayabyab’s novelty hit, Da Coconut Nut, during our college orientation as freshmen. At that moment, I already knew I wanted to join CSGC.

After graduating from college, I left the choral scene for a while to pursue my career as a chemist but later on auditioned for the Philippine Vocal Ensemble (PVE) where I was introduced to many more facets of choral music. I wanted to learn more—that was my motivation—and words aren’t really enough to express how thankful I am for the amount of training both these groups have provided me. Proud korista here, 6 years and counting!

What is your favourite song arranged or composed for choir and why?
This is always a hard question to answer because it changes seasonally. Right now, it has to be Fr. Arnold Zamora’s arrangement of Anima Christi. The melody is very straightforward and the harmonies exude so much tranquility whenever I listen to it.

What was the hardest piece you’ve studied?
I’d say these two are equally difficult: Der Herr ist König by Johann Heinrich Rolle and Sinulog by Dyzon Pesquera. Both are so hard that it’s even harder to choose between them!

Any choir/s or vocal ensembles you look up to and why?
It has to be the Philippine Madrigal Singers and the Swingle Singers. The Madz because of their immense understanding of all the pieces they sing, and they always – ALWAYS – give everyone a great show once they step on the stage. I only wish to be even half as good as them!

The Swingles, on the other hand, simply oozes with so much creativity, musicality, and artistry! I first heard them perform with the Madz in CCP and I just had my jaw left in awe. Here, here! Let me pick it up first.

What is your most unforgettable moment—either a concert booboo or triumph—in the choir?
It was one of those days when we had to perform in a train station to promote the Busan Choral Competition in South Korea last 2013. I was to do the solo line for Man in the Mirror (arr. Annie Nepomuceno), which I’ve sung countless times, and we were all getting ready.

Everyone had their eyes locked in on our conductor, mine included. The first note, which was the soloist’s line, was given twice and I gave back a wee smirk that signaled I already got it. But I guess it was bound to happen sooner in my career—I started a half-step lower that would’ve thrown off the entire performance!

No sooner than I started singing the first syllable of the word “Gonna” had wild stares come piercing through me like a laser beam from our conductor. I understood then what had happened and by God’s angels I was able to salvage it by scooping up the note towards the second syllable, in a croon, leading to the right key! THAT will never be forgotten and was definitely a highlight of my tour with the PVE. Hahaha!!!

This is the competition he was talking about--the Busan Choral Festival and Competition. Photo credit: Raul Supnet.
This is the competition he was talking about–the Busan Choral Festival and Competition. Photo credit: Raul Supnet.

#KoristaAko dahil:
Korista ako dahil naa-appreciate ko ang mga nagka-clash na harmonies!



And if you’re asking, YES, the PVE is having auditions, the last day is TOMORROW NIGHT. See post below:

From their Facebook Page: The Philippine Vocal Ensemble will be opening AUDITIONS this February 20 and 27, 8pm at the Pasig Capitol Community Church, 19 San Rafael St., Kapitolyo, Pasig city. Kindly prepare 2 songs of contrasting character sung a cappella. You may contact Joel Aquino – +63920-9229628 or Alexis Joven – +63906-3573202, or send an email at philippinevocalensemble(at)yahoo(dot)com(dot)ph or a private message at Facebook for any questions.



And yes, if you’re asking again, he’s generously shared his social media sites so we could continue following the Singing Chemist’s journey beyond The Voice of the Philippines:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/JPhilippeGo
Instagram: @JPhilippeGo
Twitter: @JPhilippeGo


Thank you so much for your generous answers, Philippe! Wishing you well in your musical journey, and hope to see you in your next performance.


#KoristaAko is powered by Touringkitty. Tune in for the next post on the last Wednesday of March 2015. Follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates.

#ThrowbackThursday: Be part of a TV Station ID = CHECK!

Singing with a world-renowned choral group sure had its perks. One of which is being seen on TV!

So, every bit of TV exposure, we treasure it. And this is definitely one for the books, immortalized through Youtube.

As we await for the new Station ID of this TV channel, which is coming out tonight, enjoy this video they produced ten years ago. As one of the comments read, this is one of their best produced Station IDs. See all the stars there? The Philippine Madrigal Singers, as well as the Hail Mary the Queen Children’s Choir, Powerdance, and the Bayanihan National Folk Dance Company are grateful to be part of it. If I’m not mistaken the orchestra is the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (please correct me if I’m wrong!).

Christmas Greetings from Touringkitty! Come to think of it, this isn’t a Christmas song, but it captured our ears as one for the past ten years and counting. Lyrics here, reposted from Pinoylyrics.net:

Sabay Tayo Lyrics

ABS-CBN All Stars

Sa ‘yo ko lang naranasan, ang lambing na totohanan
Ngiti mong ‘di nagpapanaw, ano pa man ang pagdaanan
Walang malungkot na araw, pag ang kasama ay ikaw
At sa pinag-isang damdamin, malayo ma’y, magkapiling pa rin

Sabay tayo sa bawat pagtibok ng ating puso
Sabay tayo sa lahat ng nais ako’y kasama mo
Sabay tayong lumuha, sabay tayong magsaya
Sabay nagsisikap sa iisang pangarap
Magkaramay sa lumbay, magkasama sa lahat ng tagumpay

Makinig, manginig masdan ang aking bibig,
May sasabihin akong talagang nakakakilig
Matagal ko na itong sa sarili nabatid
Napaka-swerte ko at ikaw ay aking kapatid.
Lahing malupit, lahing astig, matinik, magaling,
Malikot ang isip kahit saang dako ng daigdig
Kapag ikaw at ako’y magkasabay, may malaking bagay
Itigil na natin, alitan at ano mang away
Yabangan, bangayan, tama na ang paligsahan
Mas gusto ko pa na tayong lahat ay magyakapan
Isang pamilya sama-sama, ating lahi bigyan ng kulay
Bandila’y iwagayway, buong mundo ay magpupugay
Sama-sama, lahat ay maghawak-kamay
Bawat isa sa atin ay magsisilbing gabay
Sama-sama, lahat ay maghawak-kamay
Bawat isa sa atin ay magsisilbing gabay

Sa pinag-isang layunin
Sa pinag-samang galling
Saan man dito sa mundo
Ikaw at ako’y magniningning

Kapag kamay mo’y aking hawak
Para akong may pakpak
Pagsubok man ay umapaw
Ikaw at ako’y mangingibabaw

Sabay tayo sa bawat pagtibok ng ating puso
Sabay tayo sa lahat ng nais ako’y kasama mo
Sabay tayong lumuha, sabay tayong magsaya
Sabay nagsisikap sa iisang pangarap
Magkaramay sa lumbay, magkasama sa lahat ng tagumpay