Saturday, December 26, 2015

Keeping the Faith

The year-end Thanksgiving service last December 20th captured my feelings of appreciation for the blessings of this year. I reflected on the spiritual triumph for the members of the Church who persevered despite the turmoil caused by the enemies of the Church. The blessings are manifested in never-ending ways.

I believe that when you have faith, everything is possible. I am one with the INC church administration. I am One with EVM.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The AlDub Serendipity

The Aldub loveteam is a pleasant surprise. It is a fortunate happenstance of a split screen romance gone viral. Their undeniable chemistry propelled this loveteam to unprecedented stardom that had defied expectations. The Aldub serendipity is a phenomenon that was meant to be. Five years after a chance meeting at a teen event, fate had intervened and brought an unlikely pair together. Yes, it is serendipity; a magical coming together. On July 16, 2015, the Aldub Nation was born in the Philippines.

The Beginning

Yaya Dub, as played by Maine Mendoza, was in a remote location in the baranggay for the long-running show Eat Bulaga. We are all witnesses of Yaya Dub's giddy reaction when she spotted her crush, Alden, watching her on a tv monitor as she performed her dub smash song. Alden Richards was in a television studio for the noontime tv show Eat Bulaga. The micro expressions on Yaya Dub's face are familiar to us; haven't we all responded the same before with our old crushes in our teen years? One of the hosts, Allan K, noticed and started to tease Yaya Dub who became even more flustered. The writers and the producers took notice of the attraction and ran away with the notion of a love story via split screen. Little did they know that the whole nation will be hooked as well.

The Aldub Phenomenon

The Aldub phenomenon has swept the Philippines. Last October 24, the Tamang Panahon event was held in the magnificent 55,000-seater Philippine Arena. The hashtag #AlDubEBTamangPanahon drew 41 million tweets and shattered world records. Of course, the Twitter world was perplexed about this loveteam that commanded so much devotion. The Aldub fans cross all demographics and transcended all walks of life. Sociologists, pop culture experts, businessmen, and advertising executives scrambled to understand this social media phenomenon. The internet world became curious of our quirky pabebe wave. I must admit, I have started greeting friends (even non-Pinoys) with a pabebe wave.

Alden and Maine are the new Filipino superstars. Success couldn’t happen to a more kind-hearted couple; they are both beautiful inside and out. As the song goes, God has given them to each other. The Aldub team spelt the rebirth of Eat Bulaga to greater heights. The song "God Gave Me You" by Bryan White appropriately captured the blessings each brought to each other, and to the Aldub Nation. The interaction between Alden and Maine had awakened long-forgotten “kilig” feelings. Respect to elders and to the traditional custom of courtship took center stage.

Magic of Romance

There is magic with the first blush of romance, when everything was beautiful and energizing. I could relate to the extra heartbeat, that momentary loss of concentration, and that sweet giddy feeling. And I found myself smiling in remembrance. It doesn’t matter that happily-ever-afters do not always happen, but love is a feeling meant to be shared, even if we’re mere witnesses to a blossoming relationship. We cheered with the first handshake, the first date, the first hug. Now, we wait with bated breath for the first kiss. If this reel romance turns into a reality, I will be joining in the celebration. Fantastic, Baby.

The Haters and why I don't care

Some elitist and intellectual snobs scoffed at the adulation heaped on Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza. What irked me was the condescending attitude of some critics who were chiding the fans for what they call low-brow humor. The crab mentality surfaced again. The self-proclaimed high-browers have admitted that they have not even seen the show, but deigned to write scathing criticisms. These are the same people who demand political and social responsibilities in our entertainment shows (duh!). They ignored that 100% of the proceeds from the Tamang Panahon show went to create public libraries all around the Philippines. Well, miserable people could not appreciate the simple joys of romantic love, witty comebacks, and laugh-out-loud moments.

Innovative Television

I am a proud fan. The Kalyeserye episodes had provided me countless hours of enjoyment. Pure entertainment. Innovative television. I stand in awe of the creative genius by the writers and the spontaneous improvisations from a loose script by the three hosts (JoWaPao- Jose, Wally, and Paolo). Stand-up comedy at its best. The extemporaneous repartee between the baranggay cast and the studio hosts Tito, Vic, and Joey contributed to the amusement. Allan K’s shrieks mingled with my own.

The show was meant to be a distraction from the mind-numbing challenge of my Advanced Statistic class. Aldub provided me a much-needed respite from the stress of my doctoral studies. As I listened to the audio via my cellphone on my drive home, the traffic on Belt Parkway had become much more tolerable. I drove with a smile on my face. Priceless.

What will be, will be. If it is meant to be.

At the end of the day, the non-fan/critics should just let us all be. Let AlDub be. Let the fans exult in our fandom. Our happiness is not of any of the critics’ concern. Nobody can dictate what gives us pleasure. They will never understand; their loss.

What matters most is that Alden and Maine remain true to themselves. If this romance blooms further, the fandom will rejoice. What the fans need to remember is that the magic happened because of the two of them, not one more than the other.

If July 16 did not happen, they could have achieved individual success but I doubt it will be near to the phenomenon they have become as a team. As far as I am concerned, July 16 evened the playing field, it did not matter that Maine was the neophyte and Alden had five years of showbiz experience. The chemistry is inexplicable; perhaps it is just that- serendipity.

And if the naysayers still try to bother you, maybe you can shove them, unfriend them, unfollow them, delete them. Or you can try this: Give them your best I-don't-care-what-you-think expression. Stick out your tongue and tell them “Wala kang pake!” (None of your business!)

Video credit: Eat Bulaga

Friday, September 11, 2015

A 9/11 Birthday Thank-You

A birthday is a day spent in reflection and celebration for the blessings of the past year. But it takes a little bittersweet significance when that day happens to be 9/11. It has been fourteen years since that fateful day when the towers crashed.

September 11, 2001 started as just an ordinary day; clear, blue skies on a mild summer day in the normal hustle and bustle of New York City. Just an ordinary day suddenly pushed into the annals of history as the day when the world stood still and New York City went dark. Every year thereafter, Americans pause in somber remembrance for the countless people who lost their lives for a senseless tragedy.

In years to come, I still hope that the 9/11 reminiscences will always be treated with respect, dignity, and appreciation, not only for those we lost but also for those who continue to survive. We shall not forget.

So, I have kept quiet all these years, always feeling the reluctance to claim attention when everybody else mourns. In my middle age years, I do not need a boisterous celebration. I just do not want to apologize for having a 9/11 birthday, just like when a medical receptionist muttered an apology when I gave her my birthdate.

I am spending my 9/11 birthday with family. This is all I need. There is so much to be thankful for. My heart is full of grateful appreciation for the Facebook page filled with greetings and private messages. Life is good because I have Christ in my life. I have family and friends who keep me going through the years.

Fourteen years after a near-miss with tragedy, I am grateful for the chance to enjoy life as God sees fit for me, to pay it forward. There must be a good reason why I didn't board that E train on the way to a planned trip to the Twin Towers that day. I am thankful for all of you. God gave me you.

God gave me you to show me what's real
There's more to life than just how I feel
And all that I'm worth is right before my eyes
And all that I live for though I didn't know why
Now I do, 'cause God gave me you

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Let the Men Sing

After several hours of mind-numbing review of statistics for DNP school, I suddenly felt the need for music therapy. I wanted music that relaxes, calms the nerves, and soothes the soul. As I started to look at the Adele songs, I heard the sexy baritone voice of Barry White coming from the TV. Enough of the estrogen-fueled music of my past writings. It’s the boys’ turn to strut their stuff. Let the men sing (or play).

Jason Mraz- American singer-songwriter

Pharell- American singer-songwriter and rapper

Michael Buble- Canadian singer, songwriter

Ed Sheeran-English singer-songwriter and musician

Ronan Keating- Irish musician who used to be the lead singer for the group Boyzone.

Bruno Mars- American singer, born and raised in Hawaii with a Filipino mother

Eagles- American rock band in the 70's

Barry White- American composer and singer-songwriter known for his distinctive bass-baritone voice

Jose Mari Chan- Chinese Filipino singer and prolific songwriter

Rey Valera- Filipino singer and songwriter. His songs were used as movie scores and in tv serials.

Nonoy Zuniga- Filipino singer

Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwo╩╗ole- Hawaiian musician and entertainer, named as the "The Voice of Hawaii"

Louie Armstrong- nicknamed Satchmo, was an American jazz trumpeter, singer, and one of the pivotal and most influential figures in jazz music.

Richard Clayderman- French pianist

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Kids Got Talent, Part 2

She’s too heavenly, and a joy to watch. She’s Heavenly Joy. She’s a young kid whose cuteness, pertness, and tap-dancing skills invite comparison to Shirley Temple. However, she’d rather have Jesus in her. And she’s only five years-old. Her musically-talented parents are so proud.

Heavenly Joy singing Impossible Dream. Wow!

Solomia singing “Time to Say Goodbye”.

Nathan Bautista, young rocker, “Don’t Stop Believing”

Aldrich Talonding and James Bucong, “Dance with my Father”. This was taken about 2 years ago before young Aldrich lost his father to cancer. He and his cousin went on to appear in the tv show Ellen.

Cydel Gabutero singing Power of Love

Martin Cruz, 3 y/o drummer

Kids are inspiring too. Daniel Cabrera, a nine-year old boy, was seen studying out in the street under a McDonald's lamp. Talk about persistence, something that is lacking in kids who are more privileged.

Part 1-

Monday, February 16, 2015

Can You Lip Sync?

The music of Meghan Trainor’s “All about that Bass” filled the room. I quickly turned down the volume lest my family hear me practicing. I lip-synced to this music that is anti-stick figure, anti-Barbie. It is a song that celebrates most of our imperfections. The mirror reflected back a poor attempt at pantomime. The image looked like those movie scenes with the dubbing gone bad; something like English dubbed over Tagalog words.

I switched to Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off”. I was hoping I can keep up with the lyrics “and the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate…”. That was easy enough but soon my tongue tripped on the words. Darn. Even a male cop performed better than me. The viral video of that Dover cop head-bobbing, shimmying and singing along to a twenty-something female was entertaining. Should be doable, right? But I must admit the truth. I cannot sing, I cannot even lip-sync.

Just to clarify, I have no intention of posting anything on YouTube. No way would I do that now. It would have been fun twenty years ago when I was sillier, more adventurous and less proper. In my younger years, I did not care about haters. It was fortuitous that there was no You tube then. Now, it would be professional suicide and my son would probably disown me, LOL.

Lip-syncing is an art. Not everyone can pull it off. There are a few ordinary people who are just plain amazing when they channel their inner Taylor or Meghan. They get the rhythm and the words right and they make us suspend our disbelief. Then there are some epic fails. Just watch those countless videos of failed lip-syncs by some wanna-bees. Even professional singers embarrass themselves when they could not sing along believably to their own canned music.

Here are some of my favorite lip-sync moments:

Remember this from 2005? “BackDorm Boys” - Two Chinese boys lipsynced to the Backstreet Boys “I want it that way”.

Rhian Ramos with Moymoy Palaboy

Famous people love to do battles on who can move their lips along and entertain us mere mortals.

So, I would like to assure my family and friends that I am not serious in uploading anything anywhere. It is just fun to sing along to Nicki Minaj while driving through Belt Parkway. It is liberating to pretend that we can sing. But maybe some of my friends would try. Maybe Tet can do Arianna and Erwin can surprise us with his Katy Perry impersonation. I just wonder, if a cop can do it, so can a nurse.