Category Archives: manila

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

-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

-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 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).

-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.

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

-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

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

-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.

-my birthday month
-spill over of work from August

-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.

-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.

-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: KatsuCafe

Been wanting to try this restaurant since Ive been seeing it at the back of Bo’s coffee in Katipunan.


It’s a really cozy place. A prefect place to be intimate and relaxed since it is pretty small. I think it can hold up to just 50 people.


First thing that got my attention are the condiments. They gave us grind it yourself sesame seeds in a mortar and pestle which is really cute and somewhat therapeutic. They have sesame oil and that very iconic spice that is a must in every katsu joint.


Their menu is short and concentrated on the typical Japanese food found in casual Katsu places like this. The average price of the food is about 250php per person.


We ordered chicken katsu and pork katsu. Both look almost exactly alike. But i actually like their presentation. It costs 195php. pretty decent because it already comes with the soup and the and unlimited rice.

I just have a bit of an issue with the serving size. I always go to another Katsu place and their pork katsu is a way bigger. But hey, can’t beat the bundle of soup and unlimited though.

I’ll surely come back and try their donburi and tempura. Nomnomnom

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Food blog: Ersao

Ersao has been existent for a couple of years now. I first saw this on the UP shopping center about 5 years back. Now this about a year old branch in Marikina offers a completely different experience compared to the one i know of in UP.



It definitely is a nice place to go to. Very cozy inside and the seats are comfortable.


Their menu concentrates on noodle soups and rice toppings.  They also have refreshing smoothies and milk teas.




I was really surprised by the quality of their food. We ordered 3 different noodle soups and i have to say that all of them were amazing and amazingly affordable. We had beef noodles, wanton noodles, and dumpling noodle soups. The wanton and dumplings in were amazing as i think the wrappers are freshly made on site. I’ve tested the best dumplings in Manila in Binondo and i think these would compare to that. Very soft wrappers and very mild flavored ground pork with chives inside. It was definitely a treat!

We also got a blueberry shake which is also really good. Am amazing feature of the restaurant is the condiments. They have a pretty unique tray of basil powder, curry powder and spicy dilis which is like the ordinary Chili garlic sauce but with dilis which gives it another layer of flavor. I enjoyed adding that to my noodle soup.

Would definitely eat here again. Good food and good ambience!

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Food blog: Sinangag Express

If you’re a Southie, from BF Parañaque or at least studied elementary or high school in one of the many schools there, you surely have tried to eat in this very famous tapsilogan. Since college my family and i moved North so it’s actually been years since I’ve last eaten here: yup, Sinangag Express! It’s that very lovely tapsilog and more that me and my high school friends would always go to eat dinner or lunch.

I think this is one of the very few branches up north. And since it opened in katipunan , it never failed to attract diners even if the place is a lot smaller than the ones in the south.


The menu is the same at the most. They added a bit more like Vigan longganisa silog and Lucban longganisa silig that i have yet to try.


This is what i came here for. Their ever famous tapsilog. I would always remember that I would have 2 orders of this. It’s so addicting. I also remember that after we graduated high school, our school principal treated us here with all the double orders. Good times!

Years ago The prices were at the 40 range and now, maybe just in the Katipunan branch the prices start at 70. Maybe it was really a long time since the last time i ate Sinangag Express. But it tastes the same. Don’t forget the vinegar and that Chili sauce that are standard condiments on every table.

Go visit! I’d certainly eat here again soon.

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Thoughts on music: Pasasalamat, the 25th anniversary album of Christian Bible Church of Las Piñas

I am so proud to post this. Pasasalamat (Grateful) is an album that i produced for the 25th anniversary of my church, Christian Bible Church of Las Piñas. Read on!

Last year, we did something ground-breaking, something so big and ambitious it required my full 100‰ attention for 6 months. We recorded our 25th anniversarry album, Pasasalamat. But everything started 7 years ago.

7 years ago, a dream began to linger my mind. During the time when almost all songs we sing in church are from albums from the US and Australia, I started thinking about the possibility of our church having an album. But of course during that time, I had no proper training, no proper equipment and no possibility for me to do anything like an album. Exposing myself with different kinds of Christian music both local and foreign, on the summer of 2006, I came up with the first song to be included in the album–Pasasalamat. I just barely graduated high school that time and was still establishing my direction for the next 5 or so years. But it was clear to me that I am on my way to a career in music. With the overflow of my leasons in music school came the overflow of God’s blessings for me to write more songs to be sung in church. Soon after, mama gor involved and started writing wonderful lyrics to songs like Nais Pa Kitang Makilala and Kay Buti Mo. That started the influx of words and music that every church anniversarry we see to it that a new song is sung.
Still, my dream a few years back remained, and even became stronger. As early as 2010 I was already telling mama and papa that we should record an album for our 25th anniversarry. What more fitting way to diaplay the goodness of God to the church by proclaiming it not only in CBC but to other churches as well through a CD. And true enough, God allowed it to happen.
2011, God allowed me to win a prestigious composition prize in Indonesia that opened doors for me but more than that, allowed me to acquire equipment for my home studio. Now, I have the right equipment. Years of training in music school allowed me to have the right training. Graduating from college last April 2012 allowed me to have time. And so it began.
I officially started working on the album without any assurance of having it sold, even without any assurance of how it would sound like. I used to produce individual songs before this but I never produced an album. I was really ambitious. The only thing driving me to do this was the sound of the would-be final product and the enjoyment on the faces of the music ministers everytime we finish a recording session in our “studio” every weekend, the pastor’s office.
It became our workplace every weekend even though we had to turn off the air conditioner every time in the middle of the summer heat, everyone had fun. A lot of talent was brought out in the humble 4 corners of the pastor’s office that could not have been possible in a recording studio with all the pressure of being overtime. And for 5 months of album production, it has been like that.
The last month was the post-production. It’s where modern technology steps in to make everything come together and make all the songs sound good. In other words, all pressure was on me now. For 5 days a week, from 10am to 10pm I drenched myself in listening to all the songs one by one until we got the most perfect sample which came after about 9 CD drafts.
After the CD production, I submitted the final master CD to our executive producer and took time to look back. It all just started with a dream. God allowed that dream to materialize and now the CD is blessing not only people from CBC but people around the Philippines as well through 702 DZAS.
Truly this CD is a testament of how God has worked through the church using the incredible talent that God has given the music ministry. Happy anniversarry to Christian Bible Church and to those who already have the CD, please share it with others that they may also be blessed!

Lubusan ang aming pasasalamat!


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Life thoughts: Been a while

Yup. It’s been a while. My last ‘real’ post was way back March. So many things have happened. So many things are yet to happen for me this year. I just want to share some of them.

1. I graduated college last April.

2. I met my future teacher for my advanced studies in Germany.

3. God provided for me for the past months.

4. I was just accepted to teach music in a small music conservatory here in Manila.


Things going on.

1. I’m in the middle of an album production for our church’s 25th anniversary. (so excited about that!) Coming out on December.

2. I’m beginning to formulate my syllabus for my college teaching which will start on November.

3. I’m gathering the papers as I prepare for the submission of requirements for my scholarship.


I really thank God for everything He’s been doing. And yes, I think some of you are still wanting for me to write some food blogs. I will try to get in to that again!

Aguyoy: Manila Composers Lab 2012


The MANILA COMPOSERS LAB, with the friendly support of the ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung, in cooperation with the University of the Philippines College of Music, Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, and Goethe-Institut presents Manila Composers Lab 2012: Aguyoy(Gentle Wind), a series of composition workshops to be participated by young composers from Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, and Philippines and concerts featuring composer Bernd Asmus and trio Chambre d’Ecoute from Germany.

Concert I: Tacet: Tribute to John Cage’s 100th Year
July 17 2012, Tuesday
UP College of Music Abelardo Hall Auditorium
Pre-concert talk at 5:30 pm
Open house 6:45 pm
Concert starts 7:00 pm


Nicolaus A. Huber *1939
Clash music (1988) for pair of cymbals
Demijour (1985/86) for oboe, cello and piano

Bernd Asmus *1959
KNELL (1988) for piano

Heinz Holliger *1939
Studie über Mehrklänge (1971) for oboe solo

Jonas Baes *1961
Aguyoy (2006) for any combination of seven instruments

Adriana Hölszky *1953
Nouns to Nouns II (1983) for cello solo

Robin Hoffmann *1970
Birkhahnstudie (2005) for Birkhahnlocker

György Kurtág *1926
Signs, Games and Messages for cello solo
Hommage à John Cage (Faltering words)
Jelek II op. 5b
In Memoriam Ferenc Wilheim
Souvenir de Balatonboglár
Im Volkston

Mark Barden *1980
Chamber (2006/07) for three (untrained amplified voices)

Concert II
July 20, 2012, Friday
UP College of Music Mini Hall
Open house 6:45 pm
Concert starts 7:00 pm


Nadir Vassena *1970
Amras-Turm Fragment (1996/97) for oboe and cello

Dominic Quejada *1978
Sprache: Study 1 (2012) for oboe, cello and piano
Composition commissioned by the Manila Composers Lab funded by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation

Feliz Anne Macahis *1987
Bellatrix (2012) for oboe, cello and piano
Composition commissioned by the Manila Composers Lab funded by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation

Alexander John Villanueva *1989
ikatlong silakbo (third heartbeat) (2012) for oboe, cello and piano
Composition commissioned by the Manila Composers Lab funded by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation

Juliane Klein *1966
Aus der Wand die Rinne 1, 3, 5 (1996-1999) for cello, oboe and piano
-simultaneous performance-

Concert III: Young Composers’ Night
July 27, 2012, Friday
UP College of Music Abelardo Hall Auditorium
Open house 6:45 pm
Concert starts 7:00 pm

This culminating concert will feature sketches for piano, cello, oboe, and other instruments done by the workshop participants throughout the workshop period.


For additional information on the concerts, you can contact Ms. Ara Janelle Foronda at +6393 271 80634 + or Mr. Alexander John L. Villanueva at +63932 449 0426.