Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Joint Recognition Ceremony

Sponsored by the International Honor Societies of Pi Gamma Mu, Pi Sigma, and Phi Kappa Phi

Held at the Media Center Broadcast Studio, College of Mass Communication, U.P. Diliman, 30 January 2008, Wednesday

Many thanks to Mama for taking pictures! I'm wearing my yellow "Filipina butterfly" dress, usually reserved for harangs

Goodbye Sir Manny

Sir Manny Gregorio has passed away. I received several text messages a couple of hours ago, telling me so. Let us pray for his family.

I regret that I passed up the chance to take Oratorio Voice Lit. class under him... now, I never will have the opportunity to do so. :(

He is in a better place now... and in no more pain. We cannot shed tears for that.

He will be sorely missed by the College.

~ ~ ~ ~

Sir Manny's Write-Up in our college web site:

Bass-Baritone Emmanuel Gregorio holds a degree in Voice and Engineering. One of the
most revered opera and recital singers in the country, he is also widely respected by his
colleagues and the concert-going public as a teacher; gifted as he is with the skill, knowledge and intuition that make for an ideal voice pedagogue. His training and experience as an engineer equip him with a deeper insight and understanding of the physical workings
involved in the execution of singing. Since he began teaching privately in 1975 he has had over 2,000 pupils of fifteen nationalities. He possesses a sense of knowing accurately what his pupils feel and recognizing which assets need strengthening and which faults need

~ ~ ~ ~

"Fear no more the heat o' the sun,

Nor the furious winter's rages;

Thou thy worldly task hast done,

Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages:

Golden lads and girls all must,

As chimney-sweepers, come to dust....."

... William Shakespeare

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Love in Fear

At the start of the week, I came face to face with the person I dread the most, in the whole world. I had NO idea he was back in the country, in fact I thought I'd never have to see him in my entire life. But for some as-yet-unknown-reason (to me, at least), the Lord has seen it fit to expose me to this... this... creature (I'm loath to call him a man. My dog has a nobler character than him).

I met him at the College of Music library. I ran in to return the score for a harang later on that evening, and I saw his familiar figure. It can't be!!! I screamed in my head, but I knew it was him. And true enough, he turned his head and locked gazes with me, and I felt afraid, more afraid than I've ever been in my entire life. Fear coursed through my veins, and it took all of my willpower not to turn around and run.

Somehow, I was able to force my feet to go forward, and I calmly deposited my book beside his pile in front of the librarian. I claimed my ID, and just as calmly turned my back on him to go about my business.

Somehow, I was able to go to the dojo and attend training as scheduled. But my heart was heavy, and my mind on dark things.

Somehow, I was able to sing later that evening, and act like the gay Filipina butterfly I pretended to be as I serenaded some Kenyan and Japanese visitors with upbeat pieces like Pamaypay ng Maynila and Sa Kabukiran.

And so I functioned like a robot for the next forty-eight hours, until I was able to talk to a friend about it, a few days later.

This friend gave no advice, but did something much, much better. He prayed over me, and just like THAT *snaps fingers*, my soul felt lighter. He reminded me of our Christian duty to love, as He loves... to love even those who are unrepentant of their transgressions against us, as He continued to love the soldiers as they nailed Him on the cross... to love and forgive those who would do harm to us if they could, as He forgave his murderers and cried out to God on their behalf: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."

I guess I'm more of a hater than I thought I was. And I know that, as of this moment, I would be grateful if I never set eyes on him again. And this is why I need to arm myself with God's Word, and repeat them over and over until they enter my heart and become part of me. Because if I do not, then I will be stuck like this forever: fearful, hateful, and mistrustful... a twisted, hollow shell of a human being, malformed and undeserving to be labeled as a creature made in His very image... unable to draw near to Him who is the source of all that is good and beautiful.

So after I finish typing this, I will write some verses on yellow post-its and stick them all over my room. :)

Have a fear-less weekend, everyone!

"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath
torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love."
~1 John 4:18~

"Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest."      ~Jos 1: 9~

"In God have I put my trust; I will not be afraid of what man can do to me." ~Ps 56:11~

"... Ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God's: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it." ~De 1: 17~

Friday, January 25, 2008

Kundiman ng Langit

There was a fundraising concert held at the College of Music for the benefit of Sir Manny Gregorio last Wednesday, the 23rd (Please pray for him, he is currently in the ICU of San Juan De Dios Hospital).

Among the several performers were Ma'am Camille Lopez-Molina (who did an awesome rendition of Maria Clara's aria, Kay Tamis ng Buhay), the Madz, the UP Camerata (my new favorite choir! Go collegemates!) Ma'am Luci Magalit, and Kuya Ervin Lumauag. His performance of Sir Agot Espino's Kundiman ng Langit was the highlight of the evening, for me (There WAS one incident concerning the order of the music sheets that made our pulses quicken, haha! But it was a breathtaking performance, nonetheless).

Just wanted to share the beautiful lyrics of this exquisite song.


May isang kundimang naiiba,

Daloy ay kay haba, waring hindi magwawakas;

Nilikha buhat sa langit, ng Amang tapat umibig;

Awitin, kundiman ng langit.


Himig ay sinulat ng Kanyang dugo,

Titik ay hinugot sa pusong ‘di magtatampo,

Ang hatid ay kaligtasan, at ang ating kalayaan;

Dinggin, kundimang ito.


Kay hiwaga ng pag-ibig na dulot Mo,

Kasalanan ko’y nilimot nang totoo;

Sa kabila ng ginawa ko; ako’y mahal na mahal Mo,

May hihigit pa ba sa pag-ibig Mo?


Sana’y tugunan ang haranang ito

Na binuhay ng kamatayang pinangtubos,

Sugat ay paghihilumin. Dungis nati’y lilinisin;

Damhin, pagsuyong ito.


May hihigit pa ba sa kundimang ito?



I was lucky enough to have the honor of interviewing Sir Agot Espino, the composer of this classic song. He told me that this was one of the few songs he was able to notate with words AND music, at the same time! This made me comment that it was as if God was whispering in Sir Agot's ear. The humble man blushed at this, and said he didn't want to assume this was so. But he believes (and so do I) that this song couldn't have been written without Divine Inspiration.


What struck me about this song upon my first hearing was its near-perfect cohesion of words and music, which only occurs in masterpieces of the art song. And truly, Kundiman ng Langit is a masterpiece. It sends chills up and down my spine... to visualize Sir Agot, writing down the notes and lyrics of this blessed song, with each individual note and nuance perfectly in place.


Here's hoping that Kundiman ng Langit will be performed more often in worship services. :) If there ever was a song composed that deserves to win a praise song award, this has GOT to be it!



"... and with my song I will praise Him." (Psalm 28:7)




Saturday, January 19, 2008

My Twinnie, "Dancing"

Watch Tata "dance" hahahaha! She had to dance this at the Ateneo High School Soph Night. This was her 'rehearsal'!

Mama and I were behind the cam, cheering Tata on, while Papa was watching from the side.

RCS at Megamall

Friday, January 18, 2008

I Am Legend / RCS Mall Tour

Movie time is family time, with the Francisco's. Seldom do we watch a movie with one of us absent... I can only think of a couple of instances (mostly it was I who was KJ enough not to be around, usually because of a rehearsal).

We gathered altogether as usual Wednesday evening to watch I AM LEGEND, which has got to be THE scariest film I've ever seen! And I usually don't cower in fright when watching horror films like THE RING, but LEGEND had me taking refuge behind my gigantic bucket of popcorn more than a few times.

I was struck by certain lines in the film... like when Will Smith's character (a brilliant scientist who discovers the cure for the disease that turns humans into carnivorous zombies... and not just ANY zombies, mind you, but powerful & cheetah-fast ones at that!) is surrounded by the zombies, and he cries: "You're sick! You're ALL sick! I can SAVE you! Why won't you let me save you?"

I was thinking that this line could be fittingly assigned to come from another, from One who loves us with a passion that is both terrible and beautiful... one that goes on loving us despite our indifference, and even our spite and ridicule.

And I still count myself among the sick... in fact, the more I come to know Him the more unworthy I feel of His love. And that is why I desperately cling to Him, for in His presence I am healed, and made clean and new... and I can begin to understand my reason for existing.

Here are the other lines that struck me:

"The world is quieter now. We just have to listen. If we listen, we can hear God's plan." Here's hoping that it won't take an apocalyptic event like the K Virus in the movie to make us listen to Him.

"Light up the darkness!"

"We are His legacy."

~ ~ ~

I got to watch an old friend, Jaime, perform with the Ryan Cayabyab Singers (RCS for short) today in Megamall during their mall tour. :)  I'm so happy for him, and oh-so-proud! Buy their album, you guys! Support Filipino artists!
I was lucky enough to get to chat with the RCS singers after their mini-concert, while they signed my copy of their album. They're such lovely people! And two of them are from U.P! Haha, sorry, couldn't resist school pride.

                That's Mr. C himself with the RCS singers, at the album signing.

Wooohoooo! Go go go Jaime! :) May you continue sharing your God given talent with us for a long time to come. 

More pics to follow, my camera just died on me. Good thing Mama was there to take photos as well!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A Severe Mercy

This is one of those life-altering books that influence the way you think, forever.

To describe it as merely a romance is too simplistic. This is the story of a man and a woman who fall passionately, obsessively in love with one another... and eventually, how they fell in love with Christ.

The wife threw herself wholeheartedly into her new Christian life. She lived and breathed for God.

And so did the man, but it was for HER sake that he did so. For the man loved his wife more than he loved God...

And God, in His infinite Wisdom, took her from the man when they were both still very young, and very happy in their love.

The second half of the story is how the man dealt with the death of his beloved.

C.S. Lewis wrote to him thus: "... One way or another the thing had to die. Perpetual springtime is not allowed... You have been treated with a severe mercy. You have been brought to see... that you were jealous of God. So from US you have been led back to US AND GOD; it remains to go on to GOD AND US. She was further on than you, and she can help you more where she now is than she could have done on earth ... Do not avoid... the travail you must undergo while Christ is being born in you."

Beautifully written, the book has something for everyone.

For those seeking tips on how to have a beautiful relationship, the chapter entitled The Shining Barrier provides better guidance than most relationship manuals out there. Some excerpts:

"The Shining Barrier -- the shield of our love. A walled garden... The Shining Barrier -- we called it so from the first -- protecting the green tree of our love.

But why does love need to be guarded? Against what enemies? We looked about us and saw the world as having become a hostile and threatening place where standards of decency and courtesy were perishing and war loomed gigantic. A world where love did not endure... It must be that, whatever its promise, love does not by itself endure. But why? ...

... The killer of love is creeping separateness. Inloveness is a gift of the gods, but then it is up to the lovers to cherish or to ruin. Taking love for granted, especially after marriage. Ceasing to do things together. Finding separate interests. "We" turning into "I." Self. Self-regard: what I want to do...

We raised the Shining Barrier against creeping separateness, which was, in the last analysis, self... We began immediately... to live by the principle of sharing.

We decided that each of us must read every book the other had read, and we did so... Our thesis that if one of us liked something there must be something to like about it which the other could find was proved again and again. And sharing was union. More and more, as I read her books and knew her music, she was in me and I in her; and so for her: the co-inherence of lovers."

There is also beautiful poetry to be found in the book, written by the author for the most part.

The chapter Encounter With The Light is full of intellectually sound arguments for the case of Christianity, made even more so with the inclusion of letters from C.S. Lewis, whom the author and his wife befriended during their stay in Oxford.

In the end came acceptance, and so the author said:

"I choose to believe in the Father, Son and Holy Ghost -- in Christ, my lord and my God... Choosing to believe is believing. I confess my doubts and ask my Lord Christ to enter my life. I do now know God is, I do but say: Be it unto me according to Thy will. I do not affirm that I am without doubt, I do but ask for help, having been chosen, to overcome it. I do but say: Lord, I believe -- help Thou mine unbelief."

I already mentioned that the latter part of the book deals with bereavement. I foresee that I will reread this volume in the years to come, to glean strength from the gems of wisdom and penetrating insights in the nature of loss to be found within its pages.

I really cannot recommend it highly enough. What a great find! To think I just happened to see it while browsing one of the bookshops in U.P. :)  One never knows what treasures lie hidden beneath the stacks of thrillers and romance paperbacks.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Sands

The Soul for comfort holds herself to be

Inviolate; but like the blowing sands

That sift in shuttered houses, Christ’s demands

Intrude and sting, deny her to be free.


She twists and turns but finds it vain to flee,

The living Word is in the very air,

She can’t escape a wound that’s everywhere,

She can but stand or yield — to ecstasy.


Her Lord is seeking entrance; she must choose.

A thickening callus can withstand the pain

Of this rough irritant, the sands that swirl

Against her thus defied. But if she lose

Her self, Christ enters in – the sharp-edged grain

Of sand embedded grows a shining pearl.


-- from The Sands, by Sheldon Vanauken


~ ~ ~ ~ ~


So much is happening all around me. Too much. I wish I had a magic watch that could stop time.


"... This ... is a time of taking in -- taking in friendship, conversation, gaiety, wisdom, knowledge, beauty, holiness -- and later... there'll be a time of giving out..."

I need TIME! I need more time to absorb and process all that I'm taking in.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

It's happening again, just like before. It begins with the innocent text messages ... but are they, really? I don't want to go through this again...

Sometimes, to guard a friend's heart, you need to cause that person a little pain.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Books I Read in 2007

I passed by the blogs of a couple of bibliophile e-friends, and I found it quaint how they kept track of time by the books they read. :) So their New Year posts consisted of book lists like this one. Only, this isn't complete since I only started keeping track around September/October. And this doesn't contain the titles that I started but haven't quite finished reading yet. Here goes.

If you've read any of the titles below, let's get together and share!! ;)

1. The Confessions of St. Augustine

2. Calvin & Hobbes: Scientific Progress Goes Boink!

3. The Manila We Knew ed. Erlina Enriquez Panlilio

4. Discovery Lessons for New Believers: GCF

5. Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk

6. Poor People by Fyodor Dostoevsky

7. On Dialogue: An Essay in Free Thought by Robert Grudin

8. God Among The Shakers: A Search for Stillness and Faith at Sabbathday Lake by Suzanne Skees

9. Tales from the Secret Annex by Anne Frank

10. The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius

11. Fear and Trembling by Soren Kierkegaard

12. The Handbook of the Militant Christian by Erasmus

13. The Seducer's Diary by Soren Kierkegaard

14. Calvin & Hobbes

15. Can One Person Make A Difference? by Charles Swindoll

16. Atonement by Ian McEwan

17. Just A Moment by Fr. Jerry M. Orbos, SVD

18. Kierkegaard as Religious Thinker by David J. Gouwens

19. C.S. Lewis Had A Wife by William J. Petersen

20. The Matrix of Faith: Reclaiming a Christian Vision by Jeffrey C. Pugh

21. A Girl to Come Come To by Grace Livingston Hill

22. What's So Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancey

23. The Aesthetic Validity of Marriage by Soren Kierkegaard

24. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

25. Literature Through the Eyes of Faith by Susan V. Gallagher and Roger Lundin

26. A Model For A Better Future by Kim Alexis

27. We Were The Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates

28. The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey

29. My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Obligatory New Year Post

A lot's been happening these past few days. I don't really want to elaborate, but let's just say I feel like a rubber band that's being stretched to its limit (emotionally AND physically). I don't know if this particular band will snap or if it will go back to a roundish shape (though definitely, no longer the same).

And since I'm fresh from reading on Erik Erikson's fascinating psychosocial stages (EDCO 101, great subject as an elective!), I'll use his theory as a basic framework for this "the-year-that-was" list.

1. Trust vs. Mistrust: If 2006 was the year I experienced Betrayal, my experiences in 2007 taught me that there are still so many wonderful people in the world. My faith in humanity has been restored, my original optimistic nature along with it. I am thankful for new friends in the arnis club, in my college, and I hope that these relationships will last even after I graduate from UP. :) These new friends have made a huge impact in my life already, even within our short acquaintance. I can say I'm a better person for having met them.

2007 was also the year that I learned (the hard way) to trust myself less and trust in Him more. I can say that this is the biggest life lesson I've learned this year.

2. Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt: 2007's allowed me more opportunities to "spread my wings," though not as many as I'd like. Still, I can now proudly say that I've been to a mall all by my lonesome for several hours, and loved every minute of it! Haha. (Don't snicker... it's quite a big thing for me.)

I thought it would be scary... but it wasn't. I became intimately acquainted with said mall's layout, its bookstores, and enjoyed a hearty lunch while people-watching.

Thankfully, not that many "shameful" moments. Though I still think I need to work on my recitation skills. A lot of times I miss out on scoring pogi points with the prof.when he asks a question, and I THINK I know the answer but I decide to err on the side of caution instead of blurting it straight out. Then I get to find out that I was right after all. Sayang. I'm scared of making mistakes. Overly so. I must be more outgoing this 2008.

Oh yes, I DID get a good dose of healthy shame in October. A mirror was held up to me, exposing my flaws and sins. It's "healthy" because, when I look back to that night, I am renewed in my commitment to live a better life, for His sake.

3. Identity vs. Role Confusion: 2007's experiences clarified a lot of things for me, like the fact that I enjoy BOTH performing and teaching and would be perfectly happy doing both, though I feel that teaching would be infinitely more fulfilling in the long run. And I believe that our country needs teachers more than it does performers, in my chosen field.

4. Intimacy vs. Isolation: Early in 2007, there was this boy... well, nothing came out of it (and good thing, too!). I'm only glad that God protected my heart from being bruised too badly.

Isolation isn't such a bad thing. In 2007 I discovered just how much I enjoy being alone. :D Haha. Loner!!!!

Happy New Year everyone!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

I found this funny...

William Shakespeare

Banish plump Gabriela, and banish all the world.

Which work of Shakespeare was the original quote from?

Get your own quotes:


Can you say 'Ouch?' hahahahaha. Good thing training starts tomorrow. :)

= = =

The first day of 2008 was definitely not a good day. Here's hoping that it's going to be uphill from now on.

It has to... I couldn't bear a repeat of what happened yesterday.

Shelfari: Book reviews on your book blog