"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." (Albert Einstein)

Saturday, December 24, 2005

A Blessed CHRISTmas to All!

"For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over His kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this." (Isaiah 9:6-7 NIV)

As we celebrate the birth of the Christ of CHRISTmas, Who is the Reason for the season, I wish you a Meaningful CHRISTmas! May He bless you with love in your heart, warmth in your soul, contentment in your life, and peace in your home. Hope you'll be inspired by this poem as it has inspired me!

What do you see?

"Christmas is a Time for Loving"

Christmas is more than a day at the end of the year,
More than a season of joy and good cheer.
Christmas is really God's pattern for giving,
When He showed His unlimited love to all living.

For the holiday season awakens good cheer
And draws us closer to those we hold dear,
And we open our hearts and find it is good
To be kind to all men as we know that we should.

But as soon as the tinsel is stripped from the tree
The spirit of Christmas fades silently
Into the background of daily routine
And is lost in the whirl of life's busy scene.

All unaware, we then miss and forego
The greatest blessings that mankind can know.
For if we kept Christmas love strong in our heart,
We'd keep giving and loving each day from the start.

We'd find the lost key to meaningful living,
That comes not from getting, but from unselfish giving.
And we'd know the great joy of peace upon Earth
Which was the real purpose of our Savior's birth.

So let's sing the glad song of the first Christmas night,
Then let's live in His love and stay in His light.

- Adapted from Helen Steiner Rice

Sunday, December 04, 2005

CHRISTmas Still Shines!!!


I like to sing.
Moreso, I love to sing for the Lord.
And it brings me immense joy to sing in celebration of His birth!

I began with my mom's love for music & singing. I was exposed to hit tunes at that time, classical music, musicals (Broadway), even oldies, etc. Soon I discovered the acoustics of the shower room. And in family reunions, we kids were given (by the oldies) a gift per song, kaya paiksian (para makarami) at paramihan talaga kami ng kanta. I remember a 2nd cousin finish all the 12 days in the song "12 Days of Christmas"! We thought she'd get 12 times the gift, but then she only got one gift for her lengthy song! :-)

When I was 5 years old, in Kinder 1, a few batchmates & I were picked from each of our class to sing (in the Marcos years) at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). Little did I know, that the awesome experience was a foretaste of what is yet to come! I actually experienced singing for the Lord at 13, when I joined the high school glee club. In the tryout, I was classified as a mezzosoprano. I still remember discovering how beautiful it is to lead people to sing their hearts to Him in our cantatas/concerts!

Then I joined the Greenhills Christian Fellowship (GCF) Chancel Choir in my teens & some years after. We sang church anthems, in Christmas & Easter cantatas/concerts (in church & at the Meralco Theater), in "Concert at the Park" (Christmas & Easter) & other tv shows, did Christmas carolling, joined 1000-voice choirs in crusades & conferences, in recitals for music degrees, in charities, in parties, in weddings, in hospital visitations, in wakes, etc. Some of us even recorded the theme of another church... I guess we sang everywhere & in all occasions. But most importantly, we sang our hearts to the Lord! What inexplicable joy! Post-GCFCC, I still sing, but I'll always cherish our memories! One lovely memory is singing a cappella under the moonlit night sorrounded by fireflies in an out-of-town choir retreat.

Our Easter Cantata in "Concert at the Park"

So the songs continue... Last February 2003, we celebrated at the PhilSports Arena (formerly ULTRA) the 25th anniversary of GCF. It was a joint celebration of the GCF Center & its satellite churches (South Metro, East, San Fernando, Batangas, North, Cebu, Naga, Malolos, now we have Marikina Valley & Legaspi). Rev. David Y., GCF founding pastor, and his wife Patty Jo were brought back to address GCF at this momentous occasion. Our hearts swelled with joy & our eyes welled up as we celebrated God's blessings & faithfulness to us. There were presentations from all GCF music groups - adults, teens & kids. I sang with the joint choir of the GCF Center (dressed in white) & satellites (dressed in the other rainbow colors). It was overwhelming! I guess the pictures below will speak for themselves! (Pictures below are from http://www.gcf.org.ph)

GCF's 25th anniversary celebration at the PhilSports Arena in Feb. 2003

The Praise Factory (kids), singing & dancing!

Rev. David Y., GCF founding pastor, and his wife Patty Jo were brought back to address GCF at our 25th anniversary.

I sang with the joint choir of the GCF Center (in white) & satellites (in the other rainbow colors)!

And on & on... In the next two weekends of December, my fellow alumni & the current members of the GCFCC will convey through songs, at the "GCF Chancel Choir Reunion Concert" (circa 1985 to present), that Christmas still shines! The GCFCC & the Praise Factory (kids) will join our voices to celebrate the birth of the Reason for the season: the Christ of CHRISTmas! This is also a reunion with our beloved Ate Nila (concert conductor) & Kuya Ed D. (composer, arranger & pianist of the "Christmas Still Shines Overture"), who are "home for Christmas" from abroad. And just like old times, dear Pastor Dave & PJ are back & will celebrate Christmas with us (on the 1st weekend performances)! For those in the Philippines, join us in celebrating the real meaning of CHRISTmas, bring your friends & loved ones. For those abroad, you can spread the word to your friends & loved ones here that "Christmas Still Shines"!!!


Christmas Still Shines: A GCF Chancel Choir Reunion Concert

Join the GCF Chancel Choir with the Praise Factory in a reunion concert this Christmas.

The concert is directed and choreographed by Rene HofileƱa, with Janet Sabas-Aracama as musical director and conducted by Leonila Velasco-Dimangondayao.

Performance Dates:
Sat, December 10 (3pm and 8pm)
Sun, December 11 (8pm)
Sat, December 17 (3pm and 8pm)
Sun, December 18 (8pm)

Ticket Price: P100.00
Venue: GCF Ortigas Worship Center, Ruby corner Garnet Rds., Ortigas Center, Pasig City, Metro Manila

For inquiries, please contact Ms. Louella Chua, 6321354 loc. 115 or 0920-9612603.
This concert is for the benefit of the GCF VM711 Project.


This post is also entered in Lasang Pinoy (LP) 4.5. Lasang Pinoy is "a monthly food blogging event to promote Filipino food" (as described by Karen of The Pilgrim’s Pots and Pans). LP 4.5 is a special edition LP with the theme "No to Plagiarism" - hosted by Stef at Beyond Adobo. Reflecting on this LP theme, I fondly remembered the yummy pancit. Sponsors have generously provided food for our choir rehearsals. We usually had oodles of delicious noodles, all types of noodles: canton guisado, bihon guisado, mixed canton-bihon, pancit palabok, even pasta carbonara, pad thai, etc. I wasn't fast enough to get a picture of the ever-so-popular canton guisado before it was consumed. So in keeping with the LP 4.5 theme, I asked Karen if I could borrow a picture for this entry. Since her picture is not yet posted online, she referred me to Mike of lafang. He kindly offered to lend me (from his LP 4 entry on the theme "Soul Food") all three (3) photos of his own home-made pancit (canton, bihon & lomi). Thanks Mike, I borrowed your photo of the scrumptious canton guisado, which is posted below. Now, doesn't this picture really whet your appetite?! And thanks Karen! :-)

pancit canton guisado from http://www.mikemina.com/index.php/2005/11/26/lasang-pinoy-4-pancit-guisado/