Category Archives: family

Life thoughts: Secured in my Father

Our position will affect our condition. If we are sure about something, it will always affect how we behave. Eternal security is important with our intimacy with God, because like a son’s assurance of his father’s love to Him, (this has been my case when I was young) even if I don’t win my basketball games, even though I miss some notes in playing the piano during my recital, even though accidentally bumped the car, even though he gets angry, I am assured (and he does assure) that at the end of the day, he still loves me. For a son like me, the security of his love and acceptance of me no matter what I do is one of the greatest driving forces to live life. For sure he gets angry when I do foolish things, and it will be only natural for me to think again if he loves me or not, if I am still welcomed in the house or not, but as his character is, our relationship will never have an end.

As God’s children, that security we can only found in Him brings us intimacy with the Father in two ways:

  1. Even if we prove ourselves to Him or not, He still is our father. We do not need to spend our whole lives trying to please Him by doing good works because when we believed Christ’s death and resurrection for the purchase of our sins, we were already made perfect in God’s eyes.

Hebrews 10:5-10 says:

5 Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says,

 

“Sacrifice and offering You have not desired,

But a body You have prepared for Me;

6 In whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have taken no pleasure.

7 “Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come

(In the scroll of the book it is written of Me)

To do Your will, O God.’”

8 After saying above, “Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have not desired, nor have You taken pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the Law), 9 then He [a]said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will.” He takes away the first in order to establish the second. 10 By [b]this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

 

Romans 5:1 says: Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,.” Christ already did what we can never do: to perfectly please and appease God.

 

  1. Because we are secured in His love and acceptance for us, we can spend our whole life in gratitude and worship as we become closer and closer to God who has given us this everlasting love through our relationship with Him. Our gratitude in worship or living our life for Him brings us to a more intimate knowledge of who God is. “…since we have confidence to enter the holy place…and since we have a great high priest…let us draw near with a sincere heart…let us hold fast the confession of our hope…for he who promised is faithful.” (Heb. 10:19-23)

So papa, thank you for the security of love you have given the family. I am not perfect but I think you still see all of us as wonderful blessings from God. Thank you and I love you.

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Life thoughts: My year in a nutshell

I just want to use this post to thank God for all the things that he has done and taught me this year also as I look forward for the coming new year. I’m gonna try to attempt to do a monthly looking back starting

January
-started the year with a very great project with a jazz pianist
-I had dengue that month til February
-was also mentally and spiritually preparing for the launch of our church album for February

February
-was still recovering from dengue
-dengue left me with Vertigo which was so dreadful for me. The 2 sundays after i got home from the hospital was very unforgettable because i passed out those 2 sundays after morning rehearsals for church.
-a big blessing would be the launch of the album which i produced. Everyone loved it and the Music during the launch was the best or church music ministry has done so far

March
March to April were the most painful months i have had this year. I rejected from having a scholarship that would allow me to have my graduate studies in composition in Germany. I was given full assurance that i would have it so i actually never planned for anything else when i started the year. It was indeed painful but God has other plans that i did not know during that point. I felt like my whole world shattered in front of me since almost everyone was expecting that i leave at the middle of the year (or at least that’s how i felt).

April
-my April will much be the same as my March until the last week.
-was hired to a piano studio to teach voice and piano.
-during the last week of that month, i received an email and a text message asking if i would like to work in de la Salle- College of st. Benilde which is a very prominent school, and in UP college of music extension program. Both of these are my dream work places aside from Febias College of Bible where i was teaching since last year.

May
i got all those jobs. My self esteem was boosted again.

June
-shuffling 4 jobs and a couple of projects at the side ain’t easy. But it certainly is a blessing.
-my friends start teasing me of getting married with my girlfriend because of all the work i have

July
-was surprised to receive an email inviting me to perform in Malaysia.

August
-probably the busiest month of my year.
-international silent film festival
-and a couple more events that needed some new works. This month i pushed myself to the limit and wrote 1 piece of new music a week.

September
-my birthday month
-spill over of work from August

October
-went to Malaysia for the sound bridge music festival
-after the last concert, went straight home for ara’s special project with my piece also to be performed. That weekend was one for the books. No sleep, but had 2 works premiered on just one weekend.
-ara graduated with honors. Super proud of her.

November
-started with maybe my biggest project ever. I had to do arrangements for a theatre production on December. That’s 16 songs in 3 weeks.

December
-i joined a jingle writing contest for the Philippine dental association, and surprisingly won the thing with a jingle i did in just 6 hours (all arrangement and recording and mixing and all)
-blessed to have a lot of work which made it a very merry Christmas for me. Hehe

Next year, great things are already lined up for me. I am excited, yet anxious of those things that i have no assurance of. But looking back this year, i think i dont have any reason to be afraid of the coming year. He has it all planned out already 🙂

Merry Christmas and a blessed and exciting new year to you!

Food blog: Chef Laudico’s Casa Filipino

Junior MasterChef Pinoy Edition

Image via Wikipedia

Buffet? Eat-all-you-can? Most of us would think of Yakimix, Cabalen, Saisaki. But for the second to the last blow of eating before the year ends, I took my parents to Chef Laudico’s Casa Filipino at the corner of Scout Torralba and Scout Fernandez in Quezon City.

Most of us know Chef Laudico because of the show Junior Masterchef Pinoy Edition which might have contributed to a boom in his business with his wife. Casa Filipino focuses on solid Filipino dishes we like!

Their menu is as easy as this:

They have 4 buffet stations: Salads, hot appetizers, mains, desserts. I am going to show you pics of those dishes that I like the most.

Their salad station, which has 4 sides, also has 4 different appetizers to choose from. I love the Filipino veggies with the bagoong dressing. They also have lumpiang sariwa, makis on one side and the ordinary salads on the other. The Filipino veggies are to die for.

I forgot to take pics of the hot apps table, but their sisig wrap, lumpia cones are really good. The only problem, maybe true to any buffet restaurants, is the serving temperatures. Of course, some are a bit cool already.

They have around 20-30 dishes in the mains to choose from. Let me start with this ordinary basil, tomato pasta. What I like about it is that, it’s not dry at all. All the chafing dishes have convection warmers beneath them that might have done the trick. The tomatoes are sweet. I enjoyed this pasta.

The pumpkin cream soup is also good. Full of pumpkin goodness without it being too pumpkin-y in a way. Very balanced.

The pakbet is so good I can eat it alone with rice.

I’ve seen this famous Angus beef kare-kare of theirs in other blogs. I could just say wow. The beef is so tender. The sauce is creamy with a subtle peanut taste. The bagoong they use is sweet which gives the kare-kare a different attitude.

A pig will always be the star of a show! And true it is! Their lechon liempo, freshly cooked straight out of the oven and ready to serve is so good, Cebu-style! As my grandfather would say it: never eat the balat without the steam!

Their dessert table consists of a chocolate tablea fountain, fruits, cupcakes, and other pastries. The chocolate is bitter-sweet. Just the way I like it.

Two of my favorites in the dessert station are the maja blanca (top) and the suman panacotta (bottom) which is famous because of its appearance in the Junior Masterchef Pinoy Edition along with Chef Laudico’s wife as the guest chef. The suman panacotta consists of a layer of suman at the bottom and a layer of panacotta (tastes like maja blaca to me) at the top.

We really had a nice time in Casa Filipino. For the price, I would say you get value for your money. It’s the cheapest buffet restaurant that is this good I’ve known so far. This is the place where you should bring your balikbakayan relatives for them to have a taste of real Filipino food.

Happy new year everyone!

 

 

Life thoughts: Thanksgiving

We may not celebrate Thanksgiving in the Philippines, but I think this is the best time to look back for the year that was, for what God has done to me, through me, my family and other people. My heart cannot contain all the joy that God had brought me this year, so here goes. I can just write the major things that happened this year. (I feel like I’m gonna repeat this on Christmas):

1. I was able to travel twice for free. Which is a dream I think for anyone.
2. I won a competition in Indonesia.
3. God took away my lolo last March, and I think that event made the family more solid, even though my mom’s still facing a lot of stress.
4. My lolo’s death catalyzed my creativity as I was able to write 5 major pieces this year that all made it to an international audience.
5. My ate got married. Still adjusting, though, but I’m really happy for her and her husband.
6. I have renewed passion to lead the church’s music ministry as every week I see to it there is something new.
7. Maybe last, for now, one of my greatest blessings this year is Ara. 🙂

Food blog: Ree ChiChie’s Cassava cake

There’s this cassava cake place where I always pass by whenever I come home after bringing Ara home. I’ve been always intrigued as to how it is. So, last Tuesday, since it is a holiday in Manila, (All Saints’ Day) my dad wanted to visit the remains of my lola, his mom in Fairview, Quezon City. We passed by this small store and tried it out.

It’s pretty cheap. It’s available in 2 sizes. The big one costs 210php. The small one, which is still a lot, costs 105php. It is available with 2 toppings: macapuno and langka. We bought the macapuno.

It is so good. I’ve eaten a lot of cassava cakes, mostly from Laguna, but I’ve never tasted anything like this. The macapuno on top is generous that it adds to the sweetness of the whole thing. It’s creamy, and because it was freshly cooked, it added to how good it was.

It was so good we bought another one coming home. It was in the fridge for 3 days but the macapuno on top never dried up unlike most cassava cakes I’ve tasted.

I would really want to buy it again, especially for Xmas or when I go to visit Ara’s house soon.

Life thoughts: FEBIAS talk

Last Sunday, me and my parents talked in a Parenting Seminar in Febias which is a Bible College in Valenzuela City. Of course I didn’t talk about parenting, but I talked about how they brought me up, focusing on how our communication in the house made me what I am today.

 

We are so blessed to have parents like papa and mama. Personally, I thank God for them for how they brought us up–gwapo, confident, God-fearing.

I am the youngest of us three, bunso, malambing, makulit, magulo. But my parents had their ways of reaching out and communicating with the three of us. Si kuya na tahimik at malalim magisip ay tinatapatan nila papa and mama ng seryosong usapan na wala masyadong jokes, si ate na artsy, outgoing, at minsan sensitive ay iba din ang approach nila. Ako na ubod ng bait, at ubod ng gwapo ay, malamang, ibang iba.

When I was growing up, they taught me to be an achiever. I was taught to do everything with excellence. I was taught to be always number 1. So nung grade 1 ako, well hanggang grade 6, si mama lagi magrereview sakin pag may periodical exam. Hindi ko lang namemorize ang mga date kung kailan nag-landing si Magellan sa Pilipinas, hindi ko lang nalaman na mali ang tinuturo ng math teacher ko tungkol sa roman numerals, hindi lang ako top 1 from grade 1-6 dahil sa support nila kundi mabilis kong nalaman kung ano talaga ang gusto ko sa buhay.

Kaya nung highschool ako, at sobrang dami kong competition na nasalihan, sinuportahan nila ako sa lahat ng competition ko. When I was in 1st year, my first competition was the National Students Convention which was held in Marikina. Kahit na kakagaling lang sa hospital ni mama, they went to the competitions to watch me. 3rd year highschool naman in Baguio, they went naman to Baguio City to watch me. And my last national competition which was in Cebu, they also went there to watch and support me. Hindi lang musical competition ang sinalihan ko, may writing, may declamation, may photography din–kung kailan film pa ang ginagamit, at 400php ang isang roll ng film, well, they still supported me. I won first place in that. So when I went into college in UP, I know what I wanted. They supported all my interests. Unfortunately, music was what I love to do the most, kaya ngayon, isa po ako sa mga nagugutom na musikero sa Pilipinas. Hehe.

Sa college ibang level na. I excelled a lot as a composition major in the UP college of music.  University Scholar akong consistent, laging nag-aabroad for a conference or competition. At alam kong sabik din sila for any information galing sakin dahil nauuna pa mama ko magpost sa Facebook ng status tungkol sa mga magandang nangyayari sa kin. Hehe.

My most recent one was the Young Composers Competition of Southeast Asia in which I won the grand prize. Nung nag-skype kami after the awarding, si mama umiyak, ako hindi. Sinabi ko pa nga, ‘ma, please, ako magpopost!’ Hehe. And they were so proud of me. That makes me happy.

So going back to communication, I would just want to point out a few things based on my story.

1. Communication is not just what you say with your words, but what you say with your eyes, your facial expressions, your touch, your hug, your overall appearance, your eagerness, your kasabikan for a story, your time. There is more than just words.

2. Proper communication made me open up more to my parents, hearing their comments and suggestions, doing it, and achieving in life.

3. They respect who I am, not just me respecting what they want or how they want me to be. In that way, I respect them more.

4. My communication with them opened up my communication with God. They are my example of how and who God is.

 

My sister just got married last night (Saturday). I’m expected to be next. Pero paano ko itataguyod ang aking pamilya? Personnally, gusto ko ding palakihin ang mga anak ko in an environment the same way kung saan ako lumaki–it is an environment full of openness, full of love, full of sincerity, isang pamilyang may damdamin at di lang basta sumusunod sa rules ng isang librong nabasa mo sa National Bookstore, although baka makatulong, but how the Bible says it to be, and also how my magiging anak’s personality would be.

I would like to say again that communication makes a person open–open to criticism, open to change, open to sharing emotions and more. So for the parents here, please, please open the lines of communication to the children. Ask them how they are. Ask them about school. Kung in a relationship, ask them kung may pang-date. Tpos sabihin mo nalang na magtrabaho ka para sa pan-date mo. For the youth here, wag kayong mahiya. Magkwento, magsalita, umiyak, magtanong sa inyong mga magulang. Kung kaka-break mo lang sa girlfriend mo, sabihin mo. Kung after one week, may girlfriend na ulit, sabihin mo uli. Kung after one week, break nanaman, parents, batukan nyo na! Sa mga youth pa din, kung nagpapaturo nanay o tatay mo sa facebook o twitter, turuan mo. Pero wag masyado para di na madaming tanong. Tapos lagi niyong papaalala ung mga nakakalimutan nila. Kasi di na sila bumabata. Hindi sila pwedeng kabitan ng USB flash disk para madagdagan memory nila. Watch TV together. Watch movies together. Eat out together. Make unplanned vacations together. Ask them kung pano manligaw. Ask them pano magluto. Talk to them when your happy. Talk to them when your sad. Talk them about your future. Talk to them about God. But never talk to them about their insurance.  Hehe. Just keep the communication lines open!

Let me start and end my talk by saying that kaming magkakapatid are blessed to have papa and mama as our parents. So as I say goodbye and sing this song, always remember, the keyword is LOVE.

I sang a song of mine called Minsan http://soundcloud.com/ajvill/minsan and a beautiful song called Love Never Fails by Brandon Heath http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nQy-aP_Koo