I found an amazing acapella group through a friend's FB posts. Due to the fact that the said friend was a member of the Philippine Madrigal Singers, i thought I could not go wrong with hi in checking out Pentatonix.

I hope you enjoy their music as much as I do. :)
Hoping that help can be given to our province as well. Please check out this site: https://www.facebook.com/HelpCapiz/.

Thank you!
The APY Choir bids Mr. Carlo Serrano goodbye as he resigns from his position as conductor. Mr. Serrano passes on the baton to Mr. Mark Abesia. Mr. Abesia takes on the reigns officially on 28 July 2013.

Mr. Serrano is a Composition Major in the University of the Philippines College of Music. He has selflessly served the group in these various capacities during this period. Mr. Carlo Serrano has been with the group since 2010. He has led the choir through the Panunuluyan Musical Play (2009), Juveleum Youth Festival (2011), the participation of the choir in the Sari-Sari UA&P Chorale Festival (2013), and most importantly during the various church services at the parish. Carlo pushed for musical education for deeper musical appreciation and interpretation of the members, to the point that he even would tutor the members one by one. 

2012 is a year of big changes for me. I guess the Year of the Dragon thing for the dragon (Earth Dragon, to be specific) is working out for me.

This year, I am halfway through my MBA. I now have a boyfriend. I am starting to enjoy doing household chores. I am taking work more seriously. And my step mom has asked me to take over the management of properties being rented out. My goal of getting a Ph.D. in Development Management, through a scholarship from an Australian University, is also becoming clearer. 

The fear of failure and the fear of poverty (due to mismanagement of finances) are playing at the back of my head. But I think this is the best time for me to start taking life more seriously. I look  And I know God will never leave my side.

I am taking each day as a new opportunity to learn and to grow. Strangely, I am excited about growing up.

Peter loves flowers.
Updates on my life... he graciously agreed to pull back and to take it slow. So we are back to the courtship stage. I told him I still need to deal with my personal issues about how I relate to men and how I value myself.

As it is my birthday tomorrow, he surprised me today with flowers. 

I love flowers. They wither after a few days but while they are alive, they do what they do best-- to be beautiful-- unconditionally beautiful.

 Flowers do not have give any excuses. They are just beautiful. And the fact that we cannot enjoy their beauty for long just makes the experience more worthwhile. 

Beauty has a purpose in this world as well. 

Humans need to invest in relationships.
In order to keep any relationship alive, we need to invest our time and our presence. In our world today, it is easier to communicate with our loved ones thru mobile phones or the internet. It is easier to travel to visit our faraway relatives, with cheaper airfare rates and faster planes.

We also need to invest in our relationship with God. We need to make time for Him so that we continue to grow in love. Sometimes, this relationship is the one we de-prioritize first. We claim that we are too busy with work, school, and extra-curricular activities. Maybe we need to use our Sundays to clean the house or to catch-up with the family. If we cannot even dedicate our Sundays to God, do we even make time for Him during the "ordinary days"?

I can relate to the issue of juggling a busy schedule. I work as a School Administrator in a University. I am also taking up my Masteral degree in Business Administration at the Ateneo Graduate School of Business (full-load, at that.) I need to make time for my family. I also have friends from High School, College, School, work, etc. I have three choirs (Apostleship of Prayer Youth Choir, Caelestis Voce, and Japanese Anime Choir Singers.)  I am also actively serving as an officer in the Apostleship of Prayer Youth. 

One can get overwhelmed when we list down all the things that we need to do. But I have realized that if you value something and if you love something, you will make a way to make time for it and to invest on it. 

Today, I wanted to share ways on how we can make time for God in our everyday.

Today's Gospel reading is about the good and bad fruit. While reflecting on the Gospel and on my own life, I realized that it is so difficult for me to discern if people are as good as they say. Sometimes, we are distracted by the "trappings" of a person. We are amazed by their charisma, their physical features, their ability to speak well in public, and their educational background. 

Jesus teaches us where to look in these cases. We should look at the fruits of their lives... the results of their actions. Actions speak louder than words. 

This is not about judging others. Rather, it is about knowing who we can bring us closer to God.

Check out: http://www.pray-as-you-go.org/mp3/PAYG_120627.mp3 for your daily reflection today.

June 27. The story that our first reading for today (2 Kings 22,8-13; 23,1-3) recounts can very well be entitled "An Old Testament Retreat Experience." While putting order in the temple, to seek out metals for smelting, the high priest Hilkiah accidentally found the book of the law. The high priest gave the book to the scribe Shaphan, who brought it and read it out to the King. When the king heard the Word of the Lord read out, he recognized it and immediately tore his garments. He arranged to gather the people so that the Word of the Lord from the book of the Law may be proclaimed and heard again by all and the spirit of the covenant may be renewed in the hearts of all and in the life of the community.

In a sense our ordinary lives show resonances with what our first reading narrates. We live borrowed lives and in some of us, committed lives. Lives which have been dedicated and covenanted to God, as conduits of God's love to others, and servants of Christ's mission. Yet the dust of every day life, the routines we follow, the desires and obsessions we pursue, the career paths and life directions we trek, all of these can make our promises to God buried in the pile of our life's junk, kept in the dark, hidden and lost to forgetfulness.

Yet God sends grace-filled occasions that cause us to remember, and remembering in Scripture is an essential gift that spells life and redemption as forgetfulness can mean damnation and loss. These experiences of "retreat" renew the spirit of covenant in us and recovers for us the presence of God who remains in us whether or not we notice or acknowledge God. In such retreats at least three important things happen: First we see the disorder in our lives, the very situation that has led to or caused our forgetfulness, the ways by which we have allowed ourselves to lose our hearts to ambiguous or outrightly corrupt desires, the ways we have allowed ourselves to become slaves of instincts and passions that pleasure us but ultimately make us lose control of life. Second, The Word of God finds anew in us a heartfelt hearing. There are readings and there are readings of God's Word. But a heartfelt hearing allows the Word to be heard and received, find resonances or dissonances in us, reflected upon and ruminated, and move us to a response where God's Word becomes us--transforms our valuing for people and things, makes an impact in our choices and our very ways of choosing: God's Word takes flesh in our lives and persons. 

A third event in these retreats is fruit-bearing. And Jesus in our Gospel today reminds how quite central this event is if we want to discern the validity and authenticity of our retreat experience. "By their fruit you will know them." For people may have the most dramatic, tearful prayer experience, even with God's Word read (why, even Satan quoted Scriptures to Jesus in the desert temptations!) but real encounters with God are always grace-filled and transforming. The fifty-fifth chapter of Isaiah says God's Word does not return to God without having accomplished the fruit it was sent for. So if a retreat experience does not culminate in good fruit, some disconnect must have happened somewhere. We lacked disposition? We were deaf to the Word? We allowed ourselves to hear God's Word but amidst many other noises that block our good hearing of it or distort our understanding of it? We did hear the Word but refused to listen and act on it? Many times a retreat experience is able to plant the seeds of God's Word in our hearts, but the grace sown needs nurturing and constant lived embrace so that it may grow into real virtues and good habits and show robust and abundant fruit in due time.

In the many moments of our forgetfulness in the days of our lives, may God cause us to stumble upon God's Book of the Law and may the Word of God find a new hearing in our lives and renew us from our core. God Bless! 

An event .. four years in the making
I had already experienced the LSS last year, given by The Shepherd's Flock. And as the APY ExeCom planned "The Hunger Games" Team building and recollection, I knew that Raymart would incorporate the teachings of the Holy Spirit into the program. But I did not expect the things that happened today.

We started with the Team Building activities. There were 12 stations that Ces and I prepared. Each was connected to the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The stations tested both the mental and physical aspects of our members. I felt that this was a success. We all had fun and we were able to bond with each other. It gave me an opportunity to see who had leadership potential in the group. And it allowed us to translate the 12 Promises to the members, in a language they could understand

When we moved back into Hall 1 of Layforce, people were tired and sleepy from the morning activities. I had to elbow my seat mates to wake them up during the talks. But the discussions by Pope and Raymart on God's love, On Forgiveness, the Holy Spirit, and Faith, were topics which I had heard of before. These may seem so simple, even repetitive (subjects we discussed back in Grade School and even in College Theology) but they took on a new meaning for me today.

 I was amazed about how they wove the story of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus into God's love and onto the discussion of the Holy Spirit. The image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus as a God who gives His heart (to the last drop of blood and water) and the God that accepts us all no matter what, just allowed me to deepen my understanding of God's abounding love for me.

 I was also amazed to see how they explained the Holy Spirit's role in the Holy Trinity. The Holy Spirit is not separate from God the Father and Son. The Holy Spirit is a result of the love of God the Father for God the Son and God the Son's love for the Father. And in relation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Holy Spirit is the blood and water which flowed from the side of Jesus when His heart was pierced with a lance. 

I realized that there is no conflict between our devotion and of believing in the Holy Spirit. In the Age of the Holy Spirit, this is the time for renewal. The Paraclete gives strength to our wavering faith and gives life to our ministry. It does not matter if we are a Charismatic group or a Sacramental organization. All that mattered was that we "told the world of His love" and that we allowed our Hearts to become like His.

The Holy Spirit
(Published in my FB Notes last 10 September 2011)

5 years ago, I saw a flyer for the Life in the Spirit Seminar (LSS) posted in Church. I don’t know why that particular flyer made me nervous. It made me so nervous that I consulted Mama Edith about it, and she told me that I should have gone to the seminar.

But due to different meetings, the fact that I felt shy about going alone (and other excuses that I made along), 5 years passed by.

Now, 2011, I got to know Gjian and Raymart from The Shepherd’s Flock (TSF), because they became a part of the Apostleship of Prayer Youth’s (APY) Executive Committee. They kept on talking about the LSS and I was finally convinced that I needed to and wanted to go. Unfortunately, I was not able to make it to the July/April session because of a meeting or some other thing.

BUT, through the grace of God and the intercession of Mama Mary, 2 days after Mama Mary’s birthday, I committed to coming. Wanting to make sure I had company during the seminar, I invited Ken, Ivy, Pierre, Val, and Ian to come.

Sabi ko, this is it! Kahit na-delay pa ako dahil naglinis ako ng banyo at nagpa-photocopy pa ng piyesa, I was going to make it. Of course, Nelly’s intermittent and personalized text reminders, helped place LSS in my priority list.

Today, I came and conquered. Today, I re-learned and re-understood basic tenets of our faith. Bro. Buddy spoke about how God loves us and how God saved us. Bro. Bong’s talk was on Faith, Repentance, and Forgiveness. These are the basic tenets taught to us in Grade School, more often in the form of memorized items and acronyms that were just words. But today I felt and found out what they meant for me. It also helped that my Shepherd, Sis. Ludz allowed us to process our learnings in our kawan.

Today, I encountered the Power of God, manifested through the Holy Spirit. As Bro. Albert spoke about the Holy Spirit and the Gift we were going to receive, I felt a splitting headache. It made listening more difficult. But I decided to persevere and to surrender the pain to Him.

I felt excited and apprehensive as we closed our eyes and began to pray. While singing “Come Holy Spirit”, I felt myself mumbling strange words. In the darkness, I saw the Sacred Heart of Jesus beckoning to me (how fitting, kasi siya yung lagi kong kaharap kapag Sunday.) I told Him, “Lord I believe in You, Ikaw na ang bahala sa akin.”

A hand suddenly touched me, to anoint me. I felt a bolt of electricity jolt me. It was hot, as if fire was enveloping me. My lips were vibrating and I was saying words that I could not understand.

I stood up and I felt people surround me. They were praying over me and I felt them touch me. My knees buckled and I was swaying from side to side. I tried to resist the force. But I felt myself falling. Next thing I knew, I was on the floor and I was speaking in tongues. My tongue felt as if it was going to fly out of my month. I felt so light. And tears were falling down my face. My tears were triggered by the beautiful music that I heard, it was as if angels were singing.


Empowered and recharged. It was as if all my problems had been lightened because I was no longer alone. I felt enveloped in warmth and love. My headache was gone. And as Bro. Dennis spoke to us about how to let these gifts bear fruit (Pray, Study the Word, Belong to a Community, and Serve), I felt so joyful and so excited. I felt that I was ready to go and serve again.

Akala ko si Super Man lang ang pwedeng magkaroon ng kapangyarihan. Ako rin pala pwedeng maging Super Joan. Nakalimutan ko na Siya ang pinaka-bukal ng lahat. At dahil sa kabutihan Niya, pinili niya ako. Oo ako ay makasalanan at hindi ako perpekto.  Pero dahil sa pag-ibig Niya, ako ay nagiging buo.

I will follow Your call, Lord. All that I have is Yours. Use me to direct others to You.

My wish is that you too follow the call. Magpaligaw (courtship) ka at magpaligaw (lose yourself) kayLord. And you too will discover your super powers.

All Proceeds go to the Panunuluyan Christmas Project of our Church Organization