Saturday, August 16, 2014

Kids Have Talent

Lyca Gairanod

In the blind audition of Voice Kids Philippines, a diminutive nine-year old girl from Cavite, Philippines confidently belted out her own version of pop rock group Aegis’song “Halik”. It was her voice, just six words into the song, that made her coach Sarah Guillermo turn her chair. It was her voice that brought the audience to their feet and propelled her video to become a viral hit.

The raw power and richness of her voice and her gutsy performance impressed me, but what captured my heart was that impish little smile and the twinkle in her eyes when she saw the audience’s response. She had me at the first growl.

Lea Salonga was so moved by her that she later drew comparison to Lyca’s story with Nora Aunor, the Filipino superstar who triumphed from her humble beginnings. Nora's train stations versus Lyca's junk shops.

Lyca had great competition, but at the end, after garnering the audience vote in all three categories in the final show, she was declared the first ever grand champion. The "madlang people" had spoken. Singing alongside Aegis, she held her own, rocked the stage, got a standing ovation from the audience and the coaches, and ensured her victory.

Her back story transfixed the audience; her father is a fisherman, and to help support the family, Lyca joined her mother and other siblings to scavenge for junk. This is a story of hope and resilience, but somehow, those who were unhappy with her win are trying to discredit this child, citing “sympathy votes”.

Sympathy can only bring you so far, it cannot win a title. Lyca triumphed despite/in spite the sob story because she is talented; it's not because of civic duty nor a moral responsibility.

The Iraqi teen who was deformed in the war and was adopted by an Australian woman did not win X-Factor Australia. The orphaned girl, the single mother who worked overseas, the mentally challenged teen, the bullied boy, the extremely shy man and the social outcast did not win their contests. Juan Karlos, another Voice Kids Philippines contestant, got his place as a runner-up because of his talent and charm, not because he lost his mother at a young age.

Lyca, with her untrained voice, is a “diamond in the rough”. There was so much more nuance in her voice, so much more untapped potential that it is so exciting what the future will hold for her. With proper musical training and professional guidance, she will achieve even greater triumphs.

She is a modern Cinderella, and we, her supporters, are her fairy godmothers.

Darren Espanto

This eleven-year old from Canada, if he won, would be also deserving of the title. His talent is immense that it really doesn’t need official confirmation to be declared a winner in his own right. He is not just a young Jed Madela, not just a young Martin Nievera. Darren Espanto is ready for stage, for his own path to glory.

Here are other amazingly talented kids.

Amira Willighagen, 9 y/o from "Holland's Got Talent"

Angelina Jordan, 7 y/o from Norway’s Got Talent 2014

Sam Santiago a Filipino American from Irvine, California. He had appeared in the Maury Show - Most Talented Kids 2013

P.S. This. Is. Not. Talent. but it is soooo much fun to watch.
I was compelled to put this together after being subjected to a horrible display of non-talent as seen below. Although I must admit that the Ken Lee version is one of the most hilarious and extremely entertaining auditions I have ever seen. This is a guaranteed belly laugh.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Centennial

It gives me special joy to proclaim my faith for all the world to hear. After all, it had been 100 years since the Iglesia ni Cristo or Church of Christ was founded in the Philippines. From its humble beginnings, the Church had risen in stature and in size. Today, on our Centennial celebration, the INC had established magnificent houses of worship in more than 100 countries all over the world.

On July 27, 1914, Bro. Felix Manalo registered the Iglesia ni Cristo in the Philippines, and with his ministers, propagated the gospel and brought the church to its glory and splendor. One hundred years later, July 27, 2014, the Church held its centennial celebration in the much-acclaimed Philippine Arena. The 55,0000-seater edifice was hailed as the largest domed indoor arena in the world. It is a proud testament to the incredible growth of the church in these last days and serves as God's benevolent nod to the dedication of the members.

On the other side of the world, the wondrous excitement of the brethren who attended the activities in Ciudad de Victoria was thankfully captured via internet link-up. The live-streaming of the worship service was seen all over the world, with brethren wishing they were inside the Philippine Arena.

The most special moment for me was when Bro. Eduardo V. Manalo raised his hands to exhort the members to continue in the fight to the end and to persevere against all odds. It was just what I needed, to fortify me during moments of weakness and sadness. That was a defining moment that will stay in my heart forever. The message was clear... the rousing prayer was inspiring.

I remembered my friend Norma who stayed patient with my insolent questions as I tried to grapple with a tumultuous shift in my long-held beliefs. She paved the way in 1979 when I could no longer ignore the truth.

I thought of my brothers Cesar and Allan who were my persecutors, and then, when they were called into the fold, they turned out to be even more devoted than me.

All the stories of faith around me filled me with pride. The OFWs who stayed strong through the pangs of loneliness were one in faith with the poor brethren in the slums of Manila. The hundred-strong choir members were united in thoughts with the surviving brethren of typhoon Yolanda. The elder members of the Church shared their joy with the youngest believers.

As the brothers and sisters raised their miniature flags, from around the world, we greeted one another “Happy Centennial”. The sea of humanity roared in exultation.

I am in unity with my brethren all over the world. One God. One Church. One faith.

Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.
- King James Bible "Authorized Version", Cambridge Edition