Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Goodbye, Kuya

Last December 23rd, my eldest brother, Freddie, lost his battle with lung and brain cancer. He was around 45, I imagine. I didn't expect it to hurt so much, but it does.

I never knew Freddie that well. He was old enough to have moved away when I was born, and he was never really required to hang around our house, because his mother and my mother were not one and the same. Of all my half-brothers, though, it was of him that I was proudest. Freddie was once the country's greatest dart player, and people I never knew often asked me if I were related to him once they learned of my family name.

Freddie was a nice guy, as far as I knew him. Perhaps it is best that my rather limited understanding of and relationship with him was limited to the cordial hi's and hello's of Christmas evenings when he and his girlfriend would come to our house for paella and pancit molo. Perhaps it was best that we never had heart-to-hearts because I might not have treated my relationship with my younger brother, John, if it came into context of how he treated me as kuya and I as bunso. A world of perhapses, a galaxy of maybe's, and a universe of might've been's, should've's, and mamaya na langs.

I didn't even get to say goodbye.

Ah, Fred, Kuya that never was, I didn't think I'd miss you, but it's in the void that you've created that I realize the biggest mistakes of all may have been the ones intentionally made.

The one with a sore throat

So, I'm dealing with a sore throat right now, approximately half an hour before I conduct a three-hour seminar on correct English.

No better time than now to connect to Jesus.

Monday, December 27, 2004

The one with biting the bullet

Happy holidays, everyone!

I remember one particular instance when I was about to graduate from college; my mother and I were seated for a heart to heart, and she was asking me of my direction. It was clear-cut in her perspective: she wanted me to pursue a career in law, and I wanted to change the world by becoming a teacher. Eventually, I followed my heart and broke hers, as far as I know.

Since that fateful decision more than six years ago, I have since become a teacher, a radio DJ, a voice talent, a musician/keyboardist, a multilevel marketer (ew!), a marketing communications specialist, a proposal planner, and most recently, a Christian teen magazine publisher. Both my wife and my mother are adamant: decide on doing one thing and do your best at it!

I know they're right, but I can't bring myself to sit down and get at it. Perhaps it's also for that reason that I have achieved only moderate success at these endeavors, because I'm too busy doing other things to settle down into this one particular role. Mind over heart, I'd win this thing hands down, but my heart really wants to play jack-of-all-trades, and unfortunately for me, my wife and son are in it for the long haul, and I can't drag them with me down the long road to bankruptcy.

So I'll continue to work at perfecting LIVEtheLIFE because this is where I've invested the most blood, sweat, toil, and tears, and because I know in my heart that God won't abandon my family while we work on a project that will bring more teens to a better understanding of Him and what a relationship with Him can do to a person's life. At the same time, however, since I still have to bring some food to the table and milk into my son's stomach, I will attempt to do two things on the side: 1) rejoin my old group, Release, to play keyboards for them and earn some much-needed cash, and 2) scratch the surface for some kind of career in the recording arts. Might as well bite the bullet and try to sell some songs to some record labels, if not score a deal for myself.

I have a load of 2005 goals, but those in a later post. Meanwhile, I hold onto God's promises, and am sustained by His love. It's all good when it's all God!

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The one with the LIVEtheLIFE-unrelated post

90% of the posts for the past few months have been LIVEtheLIFE-related, and I admit it's taking a toll. I'm superblessed by all the writers, pastors, artists, musicians, celebrities, family members, and everyone else who've been praying and working with me to make this vision a reality. God bless you all; I pray you'll give me the guided tour of your mansions when we meet up one glorious day in Heaven.

Meanwhile, I'm really pressed for posting something totally unrelated to LIVEtheLIFE, so I just thought I'd say...

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Don't forget the reason for this season!

Thursday, December 16, 2004

The one with the "shame on me!"

The other day, I was reading Job, and one of the verses hit me like a ton of bricks.

"We take the good days from God," he says. "Why not the bad days?" (Job 2:4, The Message)

Eugene Peterson, in his introduction to Job, writes accurately that most people are prepared for suffering in one way or another. What most people don't understand is undeserved suffering, like how to deal when a child dies, or if a job is lost unexpectedly.

There are days when I feel so down, wondering if I had made the right decision, looking at people sniff at the magazine and put it down when they read the word "Jesus" or "Bible," wondering if the magazine will really make a difference in the lives of teens and young adults. There are also days when I feel that God is carrying me high, when a new distributor signs on or when a teen emails in and says the magazine is cool.

Shame on me for losing sight of the big picture. I believe God will make His power manifest - through ways beyond me, and in ways I will never understand. Until then, it's push push push all the way, keeping it up, and knowing that teens need lit like this more than ever.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The one with Freshen Up Your Faith

One can spot a teenager who lives a healthy lifestyle a mile away. He is confident, not cocky; principled, not fickle; faithful; fresh; and attractive in a way that attracts people for his personality and aura. Teens who values family, self, God, and country, are what this nation needs.

Teens like these are out there. It is our mission to bring them together and make a statement to their peers: it’s cool to be clean and confident, it’s fun to be fresh and faithful, and it’s possible to be positive! Like you yourself say: impossible is nothing!

In 2005, LIVEtheLIFE Magazine launches the Freshen Up Your Faith campus tour! With several youth groups supporting the tour, including Youth for Christ, Campus Crusade for Christ, JZone (Christ’s Commission Fellowship Youth Group), Greenhills Christian Fellowship Youth Group, and Christ’s Youth in Action, among other groups, Freshen Up Your Faith stands to revitalize, refresh, and restore today’s young Filipino to a greater sense of self-worth and purpose.

Fresh confidence and fresh faith: your life depends on it.

Today’s youth need and want security and significance. This campus tour will revolutionize the way teens look at their faith: instead of looking at their faith with the typical bored, I’’ll-go-to-church-and-that’s-it attitude, teens will see the excitement, joy, thrill, and vibrancy that come with a clean and healthy lifestyle.

The campus tour visits different high school, college, and university campuses throughout Metro Manila. A fresh and cheerful display reflects the excitement of a life in Jesus! Yellows, reds, greens, and blues abound! It’s loud, it’s brash, and it brings a whole new face to one’s faith!

Performers (selection varies per school and musician availability) can include Barbie Almabis, Christian Bautista, GenRev.net, Hope of God, Kitchie Nadal, Musikatha, and dance and song numbers from youth groups of those particular schools. Expect Christian henna tattoo booths, basketball and other sports-type activities, books, tees, buttons, bags, jewelry, notebooks... everything one needs to live that Jesus lifestyle out loud!

For more information, including booth sponsorship and advertising possibilities email us at superblessed@gmail.com.

Monday, December 13, 2004

The one with the Frio Mixx shake

Despite this incredible diet that I've dropped 15 pounds on, the enemy finds new and exciting ways to tempt me. The latest is this evil, evil shake at Frio Mixx.

Don't be tempted by this sinfully delicious Chocnut Shake! Ignore its creamy, frothy, sugary goodness! Do not revel in its smooth texture, its chocnut bits... ohmygoodnessitssoincrediblygood!

Damn you, Satan! Damn yoooouuuuu!

It is truly a yummy shake, though. You'd do well to have it. Frio Mixx has triumphed.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

The one with the Cindy survey

LIVEtheLIFE is experimenting with a bit of a layout change. I'd like to ask for your votes. Which cover (and therefore overall image) do you think speaks more to 15-20 year-old teens?

Number One, or

Number Two?

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

The one with the 2nd anniversary

On July 15, 1999, I entered the office of De La Salle University - Manila's Psychology Department. There was only one person in the room, a woman wearing a blue and white checked blazer over a simply plain white polo. Her hair was short, cropped a la Demi Moore during her cute Ghost days; on her face, glasses with thick lenses. She was going through her desk drawer, and when she glanced up to see who entered the room, I felt my world stop.

"Good afternoon," I smiled, "Miss Midel?"

"Mister Deen?" she smiled back.

In such a formal fashion began my love affair with Catherine Midel. That day was a blind date, set up by mutual friends of ours who were in the throes of a love affair of their own. We lunched at L.A. Yaki, a Japanese fusion restaurant on an upper floor of the nearby University Mall. I ordered oysters that did not agree with me; I forget what she ordered. We talked about life - and learned of a mutual appreciation of all things Deborah Gibson. The restaurant has since closed down; our relationship, however, is still going strong after more than five years.

Back in college, I wrote an essay about never wanting to get married, about jumping from one affair to another, possibly having a child, but not open to marrying the mother. Reading that essay now, I cringe at my misplaced priorities. Clearly, marriage mayn't be for some people, nor long-term relationships up the alley of some individuals. For me, however, I find it has brought me closer to this woman who I am so proud to call mine.

Let me tell you a little bit about my wife. Catherine and I are virtual opposites. While I am gregarious and talkative most of the time, she would prefer to sit back and listen. While I like going out to parties and being with a lot of people, she would rather stay home with chocolate and a movie. While I am admittedly on the chubby side, she's managed to maintain, to a certain extent, that hourglass figure with which God has so generously blessed her.

She and I do share things in common, though. We are both extremely passionate about things we believe in, and when you get us started, we'll talk your ears off in minutes. We both sing, although she in a key all her own. We both enjoy comedies, the occasional trip on the road, and obviously each other.

Catherine's personality is the love-her or hate-her type, and I fell for her head-over-heels. For me, she was easy to love: she never kept things from me, always lifted me up from my insecurities, always was concerned with my well-being. She also accepted my unconditional love, temper tantrums, and incessant desire for tickling, which she hates.

In 2000, Catherine found her way back to God. I, however, was content with my comfortable, relatively painless relationship with God. God told her to leave me if I would not commit myself to Him; she cried and fought, but was faithful. She never told me about what He told her, but God is faithful, too: a few days before her self-imposed deadline to leave me and remain faithful to God's instruction, I, without knowledge of her dilemma, accepted Jesus into my life.

It changed our lives forever.

It's been more than five years. With God in the center of our life together, it's easier to focus on doing things together. There's relevance in our life; there's purpose and clarity. There will be fights, and there will be make-ups - such is life! Together, we've become one heart, one mind, one spirit; together we've created one life, our pride and joy, Nathan; together, we've created a ministry that, by God's grace, will help bring teens back to Jesus Christ. When we're old, and her back starts to go, and my knees start to buckle, I will continue to thank God for blessing me with this life partner, Miss Midel, because she is everything I've hoped for, and God's ultimate blessing to me.

Happy 2nd year anniversary, darling!

Saturday, December 04, 2004

The one with the new website

Visit LIVEtheLIFE.

The one with the excitement on music out

I am really excited for today's music. I was telling Cathy the other day that this is a great time to have cash (unfortunately, we don't) because a lot of great artists are coming out with great material, and music-lovers everywhere have got to be excited somehow with the quality of material that will head into music stores.

Look to purchase the following, they'll be fantastic:
1) U2, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. Can't wait! Debuted at #1!
2) Michael W. Smith, Healing Rain. Go, MWS!
3) Fantasia, Free Yourself. I think she's the most exciting American Idol yet. Debuted at #8, but so what? Get this album!
4) Ruben Studdard, I Need an Angel. His voice is like buttah.
5) Creed, Greatest Hits. Enough said.

Sometimes, they're great, sometimes, they're not. I've purchased the following:
1) Destiny's Child, Destiny Fulfilled. This is an awful album, across the board. Only four songs are worth listening to: Lose My Breath, Soldier, Girl, and I'm Through With Love. The other tracks are the blandest R&B, which is a shame. DC used to be innovative and fun; this album is tasteless and dull. To complicate matters, Michelle compromises her faith BIGTIME with smutty photographs in the booklet, and singing some of the most horrifyingly sexual lyrics DC has ever produced. Awful, terrible, God-forbidden music. Do not get this album.

2) Music from Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. This would be a charming collection if based solely on Julie Delpy's waltzy, syrupy love song sung to Ethan Hawke in Before Sunset. It doesn't sound like her movie rendition, though, and the studio gloss kills whatever earnestness Delpy gives her own compositions. Her voice, while unique and sensuously French, has been traumatized by the cold sterility of the studio, and as a result, the spontaneity that comes across as refreshing in the Linklater series is severely compromised. Not a bad collection, excellent for coffee out in the brisk night air, but not something I'd listen to on a daily basis.

3) Diane Warren presents Love Songs. This is a Diane Warren collection, and every saccharine-sweet Warren ballad worth its salt is on this collection, from Celine Dion's Because You Loved Me to Aerosmith's I Don't Want to Miss a Thing to long-gone Taylor Dayne's Love Will Lead You Back. You know what? It's the best collection of the year! I don't care what you say: Warren knows how to turn a lyric, and push the right buttons, and make a song speak to you from deep within. I've loved Warren's work from the minute I first heard a Warren composition (Dion's I Love You Goodbye), and this collection has most of it, including Faith Hill, Leann Rimes, and, of course, my theme song with Cathy, I Could Not Ask For More from Edwin McCain. My two complaints: 1) the McCain track doesn't have liner notes from Warren!, and 2) the compilation would have done well to include some Warren songs that weren't hits but personal favorites of hers - including Chynna Phillips' Just to Hear You Say That You Love Me and Color Me Badd's Let's Start With Forever.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

The one with the deepest gratitude

This morning, I swung by Magazine Exchange at SM Megamall to ask how sales were. They told me not a single copy had moved since I delivered the copies yesterday. So, naturally, I was pretty bummed. As I got into my car, I noticed a note on my windshield wiper. It was an anonymous note, written on Republic of the Philippines Office of the President notepaper, and on it was written:

"We love U, Ganz."

I got all teary-eyed, and thanked God for the heart of that anonymous person, whoever you are. You raised me up when I needed it most.

I am so grateful for the Family of Christ. See, we know that what we're doing is for His glory, but oftentimes, the economics come in, and when we realize that we have so much to do and so many places to go to make this mission come true, we can get overwhelmed. Right now, I'm just dying to get the mag out in as many places as possible, and it still surprises me how God's family encourages me at just the right time.

So, thanks, all of you, for helping me make my dream and mission come true:

1) All you Fil-Christian bloggers. You're spreading the word online and offline. Thank you so much; I couldn't have done this without you.

2) The writers and photographers.

3) PinoyExchange.com. Nix, Mike, Ada, and the rest of the gang have been there for us since Day One. They've directed a lot of traffic our way, and I pray that more PExers will join us in our mission. Thanks, you guys, thank you so much!

4) Kitchie Nadal and Roca Cruz. Unfortunately, a huge majority of people buy magazines based on the cover model. Fortunately, Kitchie is a solid musician for Jesus. Your music blesses us so much, Kitchie; keep on singing and using that God-given talent to bring His name glory. Roca, you've been so accommodating, it humbles us.

5) Avia Performance Footwear. Honestly, these guys make fantastic shoes. Seriously. Check them out at SM.

6) All our distributors. Shepherd's Staff, Magazine Exchange, Campus Crusaders for Christ Bookstore, Filbar's (Mr. Barbasa is a really nice guy)... thank you for helping us spread the word.

7) Youth for Christ, Campus Crusaders for Christ, Youth on Fire, and J-Zone.ph. These youth groups are amazing for their love of God, their purity of heart, and their campus network. God bless their hearts!

8) The EdgeRadio.net. The first Filipino-driven 24-hour Contemporary Christian Music station on the Internet and eventually local airwaves, The Edge is truly that - music with an edge, the holy sword of Christ Jesus that'll slash through the junk that's playing on local radio. Click Perfect Pitch. They sponsored our sound system during the Kitchie Nadal set of our launch. Please give them a visit and check out the amazing stuff they've got on sale for their Christmas Bonanza promo.

This list is bound to grow, so thank you for your support! God bless you!

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

The one with all the excitement

So, the launch is over! Pics to be put up! More importantly, now we try to get the magazine into newsstands in the next two weeks.

Prayer, please! Go, go, go for God!

Sunday, November 28, 2004

The one with the list of LIVEtheLIFE Bloggers!

LIVEtheLIFE owes a lot to the Fil-Christian blogging community. A lot of the writers and online support that jumpstarted the magazine came from the online connection of blogs. So, a profuse thanks to one and all Christian bloggers who are willing to make a stand!

I would like to recognize you - please stand up and be recognized! Friends, if you've linked up to the LIVEtheLIFE "Help Spread the Word" online campaign, please email me or comment here so I can add you to the list of people who are helping us take a stand for Christian values in print media! We're fighting fire with fire, to bring teens back to a lifestyle of constant communication with Jesus! Praise God!

If you'd like to join this, it's pretty simple. Just visit this link, and copy paste the text onto your blog. Title it however you wish: standard is "Help Spread the Word! LIVEtheLIFE, Nov 27!" Then blog it, then send me an email or comment on this particular blog entry that you've helped us spread the word! I'll then add you to the growing list below. May God bless you all immensely!

LIVEtheLIFE Bloggers, count off!

1. Ganns Deen (Superblessed)
2. Wifely (Wifely Steps)
3. The Rowster. (The Rowster)
4. Arnold (Better Than Life)
5. Daniel (DeeBeeDee.com)
6. Rick Manzano (RickyManzano.com)
7. Jax (Jax Place)
8. Keren (KerenTan.com)
9. Tina (RefineMe.org)
10. Lyra (Behind the Wooden Door)
11. Riz (Outbursts)
12. Jeanny (Hubby and Wife)
13. Ariel (In Between Panels)
14. JM (For a While)
15. Pau (Brownpau.com)
16. Phisch (InThatNumber.com)
17. Daxi (Daxi)
18. Trisha (Off Tilt)
19. Beabear (Beabear)
20. hafajerry (Barkadahan post)
21. Chette (Chette's Personal Blog)
22. Boris (I Love Boris)
23. Boris (Chinito.org - Two Borises? What are the odds?!)
24. Meryll (Just Keep Swimming)
25. Wayne (Wayne Manuel)
26. Ida (Full Cup Cafe)

Friday, November 26, 2004

The one with the new LIVEtheLIFE graphics

Check it out! :D

Come to the launch!

This is not the final cover. Think about it: this is probably Cindy's worst shot during the entire shoot. She'll look fantastic on the final cover. God is good.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

The one with the Saturday launch jitters

So I just came back from a meeting with the Ayala events people. It's all settled, apparently: we're all set to launch LIVEtheLIFE at Shepherd's Staff, 1230pm, on Saturday, November 27, 2004. Kitchie Nadal will sing three songs, sign magazines and CDs, and basically rock the house. We, in the meantime, will try to get people to subscribe to the mag for a year. We will require just two members of Ayala's vaunted security force, apparently. Praise the Lord.

Oh, swing by Chette's forum. And if you agree with me that Jennifer Hudson should have been the American Idol, visit this site for her AI soundbites. Love it, love it, love it. :D

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

The one with the SMS plans

Today, I meet up with Joan of Smart SMS Care. The idea: get LIVEtheLIFE on SMS! Feedback, news, events, the whole shebang. Right now, it's easier for me to communicate and work with Smart, but I hope some folks at Globe or Sun will get the hint. :p

Meanwhile, to check out some of the Cindy photos we took, visit Harold Uy's homepage.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

The one with the thoughts on Cindy Kurleto

Last Saturday, Harold, Dante, and I had the immense pleasure of killing two birds with one stone: we interviewed Christian actress and model Cindy Kurleto for our January cover feature, who was made up by Corinne, Angela, Sharon, and Dirky, four quirky individuals who make up the Amazing Grace Ministry of Style, a Christian makeup and styling squad. Isn't that so trippy?!

After having spent half a day with Cindy, I can safely say this: print and mainstream media has done this woman grave injustice. She's kind, sweet, down-to-earth, and modest. Plus, she's a real trooper who knows how to work the camera. Didn't have any trouble at all, and got a ton of shots, any of which could be used. Wonderful, wonderful woman. She even pointed out some of her favorite Bible verses, and gladly wore (and accepted) the Soaptees "Believer" tee we gave her for the cover.

You'll see how she looks once we've laid out the Jan issue. Can't wait!

Thursday, November 18, 2004

The one where Ganns is tired

I'm tired and cranky, but also peppy and joyful. A study in contradiction? Y'all don't know me that well. Hwekhwekhwek.

I'm tired because I spent two hours at the gym before deciding to travel across the Park Squares, Gloriettas, and Greenbelts to make phone calls, distribute posters, and whatnot. So this is what it's like to set up a magazine ministry - I'm gonna lose a lotta weight, praiseGodforHisgoodnesspantpantpant.

I'm cranky because I still can't get over how some businessmen think of the bottom line. I asked this large retailer if they could carry our mag, but they wouldn't go for less than 40%. I tried to bargain for 35%, that's giving it to them at cost, but they wouldn't budge. So, instead of a Jesus mag in their aisles, they've got gay magazines, smutty magazines, and magazines no one can really afford at full price. Grr. Prayers to change these people's minds are requested.

I'm peppy because despite all this negativity, God continues to inspire me with the faith of the people who are working with me. God bless Arnold and Noel.

I'm joyful because it's only two weeks until launch, and then God's power will shine bright as the sun. Join me, won't you? LIVEtheLIFE, a Christ-centered publication, sold out in three weeks! Amen!

The one with the anger at some retailers

I understand that, in these difficult times, everyone has to make money to survive. I understand that, I really do. What I don't understand is why some retailers ask for a 40% markup for magazines - on a consignment basis. I mean, come on! At 40%, you'll make more money than the publishers themselves!

Oh! That's why everyone wants to own bookstores! Well, la-dee-dah!

Saturday, November 13, 2004

The one with the exclusive LIVEtheLIFE interviews

A very special part of LIVEtheLIFE are the celebrity interviews. In a meeting with a youth pastor the other day, I was cautioned about the choice of celebrities to feature in the magazine, warned that, if the celebrity backslid, it would speak negatively of the magazine.

I took the comment with as much humility and silence as I could muster (those of you who've met me in person know how difficult that is!), then very tactfully replied that anyone, whether pastor or new believer, is susceptible to backsliding; Provs 4:23 tells us to guard our hearts, for it is the wellspring of life.

Interviewing a celebrity does, among other things, the following:
1) It encourages the celebrity to give testimony, and therefore stand before the public and declare that s/he has a relationship with Jesus Christ;
2) It gives the celebrity a certain level of accountability to her/his fans, and more importantly, to her/his God;
3) It encourages the celebrity's fans to emulate the celebrity, and therefore bring more people to Christ; and
4) It challenges the celebrity's church to give the celebrity's spiritual journey equal, if not more emphasis, as other churchgoers, because the walk of the celebrity is, in part, dependent on the spiritual covering of her/his community.

Be that as it may, we've contacted several celebrities who are open about testifying to their faith, both local and foreign, and - Praise God! - it is my pleasure to announce exclusive interviews with the following celebrities will appear in future issues of LIVEtheLIFE:

1. Kitchie Nadal, Filipino pop-rock singer/songwriter (cover feature, Debut Issue, December 04-January 05)
2. Cindy Kurleto, Filipino-Austrian actress/model (cover feature, Start Fresh Issue, February - March 05)
3. Nicole C. Mullen, Afro-American CCM singer/songwriter (feature, Start Fresh Issue, February-March 05)
4. Casting Crowns, American CCM pop-rock band (feature, Do Great Things Issue, April-May 05)
5. Across the Sky, American CCM pop-rock duo (feature, Do Great Things Issue, April-May 05)
6. MercyMe, American CCM pop-rock band (feature, Christ in the Center issue, June-July 05)
7. Rachael Lampa, Fil-American CCM singer/songwriter (feature, Christ in the Center issue, June-July 05)

God is good! Tell your Christian celebrity-friends about us, and we'll get in touch with them if they're game! :D

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

The one with the restaurant that'll haunt us forever

I fetched Catherine at around 720 last night, and she and I were starved, so we decided to go to Glorietta. After weighing all options, Cathy mentioned this place called Moo Moo Paradise, which she said was featured on TV as a high-protein place, perfect for folks on Atkins and South Beach. "Let's go!" I said.

For all y'all non-Filipinos, Moo Moo is literally that in context - two sounds uttered by a cow. However, in the Filipino language, Moo Moo means "ghost." I guess the Jap-Korean owners of the restaurant didn't consider that when they named the place, and I can tell you as early as now that these folks are in trouble.

We ordered the Moo Moo set course, which consisted of grilled beef (medium well, as Cathy likes it), gyu tofu (spicy beef and tofu medley), egg soup, kani salad (crabmeat salad), and ice cream. While the meat was okay and the tofu was delightful, everything else fell embarrassingly flat, especially the tasteless egg soup and the kani-less salad. The service was good, but what took the cake and made us swear never to return was when a waiter, in cleaning the table of our used dishes, took the table napkin Cathy had been using (stained with, well, oil and other gunk), and wiped the table with it. Our jaws dropped to the floor as we saw the table shine with Cathy's DNA. Ewww.

Never to return. The Moo Moo, however, continues to haunt us.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

The one with Athletes in Action

The Philippines has a funny way of reducing traffic, inappropriately yet popularly called "color coding." It's actually a number system that forces you to remain off the road from 7-10am and 3-7pm on Mondays if your license plate ends with 1 or 2, Tuesdays if your license plate ends with 3 or 4, and so on.

Today, Monday, my car is coded, because it ends with a 1 (our actual license plate is XEX-341, which is a horrific license plate if you're Christian, because it sounds like you're offering a threesome of carnal services at a discounted rate, and that's a whoooooole other story). As a result, all meetings scheduled today required my going there via public transportation. This wouldn't be a problem if I weren't so damn fat (I'm working on that, though).

I met with wackymathay of PinoyExchange.com, who introduced me to several people from Campus Crusaders for Christ (the La Salle Manila chapter of which I had met a few weeks earlier). The intention was to meet with Athletes in Action, the first youth organization to be featured in the magazine's Outta Sight Org feature.

Not only did I meet with them, but their bookstore consigned 150 copies! God is extremely good!

The one with the weight loss

So I've gone to Slimmer's World Pasay Road approximately five times in the past two weeks. They have this "Buy-One, Take-One" promo that calls for P16,000 for two years, or two people can pay P8,000 each for a year apiece. The latter option appealed to me and Abby, one of my churchmates, so we went for it and I started slogging away at burning my fat.

After approximately two weeks, the combination of the rigorous training program developed by those Nazi bodybuilding freaks and the innate evil of an intensified South Beach diet have resulted in a net weight loss of ten pounds.

I love this plan!

Seriously though, working towards this goal is extremely difficult, owing to 1) my horrifyingly sedentary lifestyle; and 2) my desire for all things salty and sweet. However, the work we've been doing for LIVEtheLIFE has found me frequently on the road, away from much sugary and salty temptation... ergo, Weight Loss City. here's hoping.

The one with the LIVEtheLIFE Launch, Nov 27!

LIVEtheLIFE Magazine, the country's first glossy Christian magazine for teens and young adults, is proud to announce a soft launch for its debut issue, out November 27, Saturday!
On November 27, 1230pm, popular pop-rock singer and LIVEtheLIFE debut issue cover feature subject Kitchie Nadal will have a meet and greet at Shepherd's Staff Bookstore in Greenbelt 1 (across Tokyo Tokyo, near Delifrance and O Music Store).

Kitchie will sing four songs from her debut CD, including her current radio smash "Wag na Wag Mo Nang Sabihin" and Christian original "You Are Worthy." Buy a copy of LIVEtheLIFE Magazine at only P85, and get a chance to win books from Shepherd's Staff, a copy of Kitchie's new CD, "Kitchie Nadal," and a gift certificate for Avia performance footwear worth P3,000!

Kitchie will sign CDs and magazine covers. Don't miss this unique two-in-one opportunity to get the collector's edition first issue of LIVEtheLIFE, the first Christian glossy magazine for teens and young adults and have it signed by Kitchie herself!

Also on November 27: Listen to Wave 89.1 and Jam 88.3 as LIVEtheLIFE brings you some of the coolest, life-affirming music from Kitchie Nadal and others!

Check out www.PinoyExchange.com as LIVEtheLIFE's Realm of Thought goes online with thought-provoking discussion!

Fight fire with fire on November 27! Help bring this nation back to God!

"Where there is no vision, the people perish." - Prov 29:18

LIVEtheLIFE Magazine. Relevant reading for the lifestyle with purpose.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

The one with thoughts on the Bush victory

The residents of my home met the victory of George W. Bush with varied responses. My mother and grandmother, solid Republicans, cheered, laughed, danced, and cried. ("Congratulations are in order, mother," my mother rejoiced gleefully.) Meanwhile, Cathy and I sat dejected on our bed, wondering what went wrong with the Kerry campaign.

Thousands of miles away from the American mainland (or even Hawaii), we are not even specks of dust on the American political landscape, but there are many repercussions that come with a Bush victory that send eerie chills down my spine. The largest of all, naturally, is what may happen to the Filipino-American relationship given our pullout of troops from Iraq a few months earlier to save a Filipino hostage, who was freed after the pullout (hey, terrorists can keep their word!). No matter how staunchly Philippine President Gloria Arroyo defends her loyalty to Uncle Sam and Dubya, how the President-elect will treat Ms Arroyo and our nation hangs up in the air. The general feeling in Manila is standard: Mr. Bush holds a grudge against our tiny island nation for pulling out our 55 troops.

That's right, 55. And the nation wonders: will Mr. Bush hold the country in spite? Will he continue to treat the Philippines fairly (the word "fairly," of course, open to definition)? What have we to defend ourselves if and when the honorable gentleman from Texas decides to sever ties with the only predominantly Jesus-believing nation in Asia?

Mr. Bush's Christian ethics and values may have been lifted to high heavens so much during the campaign that even Saint Peter himself would have agreed in principle that the President-elect stood on firm ground for the wedge issues that America found itself weighing upon in the deliberation of whom to vote for president (gay marriage, stem cell research, terrorism). However, there is no black and white in politics, and Kerry's flipflop attitude mayn't have won him many votes, but I still think that Mr. Bush did not make the world a safer place when he chose force as the only available solution to Iraq's woes. The WMD's have still not been found, just like Osama Bin Laden, Bigfoot, and Nessie. Take your pick of which among the four are not figment's of man's fertile imagination.

There is a difference between indifference and showing love through force, and my blog is not the place to debate such differences. These are, after all, just my thoughts, with no impact whatsoever on the millions of Americans who continue to live their lives, peacefully unaware of how America impacts the rest of the world, and blissfully ignorant of what kind of signals they send out when they re-elect a president who, apparently, is not held in high regard by a number of countries. Will it ease world tension, or bring us closer to the Apocalypse?

Dubya has his work cut out for him. He must truly work to bring back the international community's respect of America. In this regard, I pray for him, because peace on earth can be possible, and with a Christian like Bush at the helm, the traveling will be difficult but doable.

Update: I may have some visitors coming over from Bene Diction. Thanks to my esteemed friend and Christian Blogger of the Year for the heads-up (I'm smart and sassy? Wow, best compliment all year!), and welcome to all new visitors. Not the best post for you to read for your first time, but welcome, y'all. May God bless you immensely.

Friday, November 05, 2004

The one with the final cover

This is the final cover of the debut issue of LIVEtheLIFE. Man, I've been so hard at work on this, I haven't had time to blog about anything else!

Wanna help us out? Please feel free to paste the LIVEtheLIFE cover on your blog or website to promote its November 27 release. Thanks!

Congratulations, President-elect George W. Bush. Stand by your Christian principles, man! We will pray for you.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

The one with the call to spread the word on LIVEtheLIFE

As some of you know), I quit my academic job in May to pursue what I believe to be a higher calling - the production of print media that is envisioned to play some role in bringing teens to a closer relationship with Jesus Christ. There is a severe lack of encouraging, life-affirming, nation-building literature among local magazines today - Kerygma and Fish are stellar examples of Christian lit - and we cannot deny this affects the spiritual and emotional growth of our youth.

We Filipinos who have the resources to make a difference in the lives of our fellow Filipinos have the duty to be the best we can be, and offer our lives as offerings to God, that He may use us to win people and change lives for His glory.

I have taken this challenge in my own unique way, and I humbly call upon you to help me in this endeavor. Please spread the word among your friends and family that on November 27, 2004, Saturday, we, the people who stand for virtue in print media, fight fire with fire, with the debut release of LIVEtheLIFE Magazine, relevant reading for the lifestyle with purpose. Please review the following release for more
information on the magazine.

When we sing in church of "coming back to the heart of worship," when we sing, "it's all about You, Jesus," that's what it's all about. This is our humble way of
doing what we can to make our nation a better place, our way of offering ourselves up ad majorem Dei gloriam. I pray you can join us in this endeavor by spreading the word and buying a copy of the magazine on November 27.

May God bless you in everything you do.

LIVEtheLIFE Magazine, the country's first glossy Christian magazine for teens and young adults, hits magazine stands November 27, Saturday!

Power-packed with 56 pages of cool Christian content, LIVEtheLIFE Magazine's debut issue includes:

Kitchie Kitchie Cool - Get into the head of Kitchie Nadal! We're giving away her autographed CD with your name on it!

Overcoming Failure - Get over your failed exams, your ex, and not making the varsity!

Catchin' Tha Spirit - Kanye West, Mase, Michelle Williams, and other American hiphop stars on their faith!

Waaay Above the Rim - The Christ-centered lives of NBA superstars David Robinson, Allan Houston, Derek Fisher, and Richard Jefferson speak for themselves!

Bloggerhythm - We spotlight three outstanding Christian teen bloggers!

Who Doesn't Know Jack? - The pros and cons of masturbation!

Survivor - We feature Maybelle Ti, breast cancer survivor!

Teen Titan - Get to know Stephanie Sol, Ms Teen Philippines 2004

Soapbox - Sonni Viudez on God's sense of humor and Tina Matanguihan on dorm life

Slim4Him - lose weight Biblically!

Manna - great news, Godly views

Citrus - Cut out encouraging Bible cards for your loved ones!

We Like - Write in to tell us about your favorite product!

His Story - comic strip by Ariel Atienza

And more features!

Listen to Wave 89.1 and Jam 88.3 as LIVEtheLIFE brings you some of the coolest, life-
affirming music from Kitchie Nadal and others!

Check out www.PinoyExchange.com as LIVEtheLIFE's Realm of Thought goes online with
thought-provoking discussion!

Visit www.livethelifemag.com for cool desktops and other cool online freebies!

Fight fire with fire on November 27! Help bring this nation back to God!

"Where there is no vision, the people perish." - Prov 29:18

---from superblessed media---

We at Superblessed Media invite and encourage youth groups, churches and schools to make LIVEtheLIFE part of their habit. With advice based on the Word of God, left-of-center design, and features that are both interesting yet godly, LIVEtheLIFE can help affirm the values you work so hard to inculcate in your youth. Contact
superblessed@gmail.com or text 09209073962 for [discounted] subscription and distribution inquiries.

LIVEtheLIFE Magazine. Relevant reading for the lifestyle with purpose.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

The one with all the rats and mice

Okay. When it comes to hating gross things, I hate cockroaches most of all, but I also hate rodents of all shapes and sizes. I am not a mouse fan, white or otherwise. If I had three wishes, I'd wish away all the roaches and mice in the world. But I don't have three wishes, and I have mice in my bedroom.

It wasn't a pleasant discovery. I heard rustling last night near our chips' area (yeah, there's a spot for chips, but we're clearing that out in line with my whole 'I wanna lose weight' credo), and saw the mouse run helter skelter when I came a-callin'. Immediately, I fished out some flypaper and laid out a nice trap for my little rodent friend. Fifteen minutes later, we caught it, but it escaped! I laid out two other flypaper traps and went to bed.

That's where the really freaky dream started. I dreamt the flypaper caught, like, five mice apiece, and there were rats sitting around the area, and one mommy mouse frantically trying to rescue her babies. It was my room, but the house wasn't mine, go figure, and out of nowhere, in runs RuPaul, saying, "you better work, honey, beause those mice ain't movin' themselves, baby."

I woke up to find the traps had caught one mouse apiece, and one of the two mice was squealing so loudly, it practically woke me up. No cold sweat, but it wasn't a calming dream either.

Hopefully, no mice will make their way around this place anymore. Do reputations as mice-killers and torturers make their ways around the mouse community?

Friday, October 29, 2004

The one with the incredible government service

It's almost as if God wanted to teach me a lesson in forgiveness. Leah and I visited the National Library two days ago to get an ISSN number for the magazine. Surprise! We entered the library, were told to proceed to the 6th floor, and filled out two simple forms.

We were finished in five minutes.

It was unbelievable! I've never witnessed such blazing fast government service. God is truly good.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

The one with the Superblessed Christian Blog Award winners 2004

It actually becomes more difficult to post winners than nominees, because there is always the tendency to hurt some people (which is why it thrills me, in a twisted way, that I'm never nominated in these contests, because at least I don't have to lose in public). I hope no one gets hurt by their not running away with the titles. Know that you continue to bless me, and I am forever grateful for the love and lessons I've gleaned from your blogs. I love, honor, and treasure your friendship.

Be superblessed!

Best Designed Blog.
Mikks Maducdoc, Mikkan. Mikks is a tremendously talented Filipino teen (who will be featured in the January issue of LIVEtheLIFE) whose graphic skill is matched by his musical talent. I truly have such admiration for this kid - and his work speaks for itself. He can do animation, he can do Flash... I see the future of Pinoy Christian animation in his eyes. Love you, Mikks!

Most Humorous Blog.
Michael Main, Michael Main.com. This was a tough choice, because all the nominees are excellent examples of joyful Christians, but I think Michael embodies the joy and wonder of a Christian life. He goes through a lot, especially with Amy, but when I look at him and his ability to laugh at the minutest things, I am so in awe of the power of God in his life. Love you, Michael!

Most Educational Blog.
David Heddle, He Lives. Dr. Heddle dedicates a huge amount of time and space to apologetics, and this blesses me immensely. I have learned so much from him, and it never ceases to amaze me how he can find time for his life! If I were given a chance to meet a blogger face to face and spend a day with her or him, I'd want to meet David Heddle. :) Love you, Dr. Heddle!

Most Introspective Blog.
Susan, What a Beautiful Day! Susan sees the world through the eyes of a child, and I am continually blessed by this. She always finds lessons to learn in every experience, and this inspires me to want to see God's power in everything. Love you, Susan!

Most Useful Christian Resource.
Blogs4God. I still think this is the most useful Christian resource online for me, primarily because it has brought so many of us Christians together. I have been helped immensely by my brothers and sisters online, and I owe so much to Martin Roth, Dean, and all the folks at Blogs4God for having helped make it happen. I love you guys at B4G!

Best Blog with Online Discussion.
The men and women of Spare Change. The wit! The sarcasm! The arguments! The fights! Well, maybe not all the time, but I am blessed by Spare Change. Just a gang of men and women who blog about life - which is what blogging is about - and how Christ affects their lives. Inspiring, funny, poignant, riveting. Bryan et.al. have a good thing going, and they should keep it up, because folks like I are truly blessed by 'em. Love you guys at Spare Change!

Most Inspirational/Encouraging Blog.
Darren Rowse, Living Room. Darren's blog is the toasty Aussie with the mostie! That he has an actual prayer newsletter is one thing: that he finds time to do so much is even more inspiring. Darren is articulate and humorous, and I continue to be blessed by him. Love you, Darren!

Most Enjoyable Male Filipino-Christian Blog
Arnold Gamboa sends shivers down my spine. He's not much older than I (wait a minute, I think I'm older), but his knowledge of and thirst for the Word of God is truly inspiring. He's a new daddy, just like I am, and the way he talks about God, his family, his son, and his work, well, it just melts my heart. Visit him, he's one of the best Pinoy Christians online. Ever. Love you, Arnold!

Most Enjoyable Female Filipino-Christian Blog
Jax of Jax Place and Maan of My Silverchair. These two ladies are truly admirable. I love Jax Place because it feels like home. She writes like she talks, and speaks from her heart. God is vibrant and alive in her blog because He is part of her, her relationship with Him is alive and thriving. As for Maan, I've always wanted to encourage her because she encourages me. She mayn't know it, but her blog is always pure pleasure to visit: it's lively, it's honest, it's the blog of a person who continues to search. And don't we all? :) Love you, Jax! Love you, Maan!

Most Enjoyable Male Christian Blog (International, Non-Filipino)
Galvin. You should visit this guy's site! He can't seem to stop writing music for God! What I love about Galvin is that he's so worshipful in every way. His music, for one thing, is a real attraction, but I also enjoy how he tries to apply God's word into everything he does. I think it also encouraging that there are other Asian men out there (another being one of my favorites, DJ Chuang) who boldly proclaim the name of Jesus. Love you, Galvin!

Most Enjoyable Female Christian Blog (International, Non-Filipino)
Tracy, Tracy, Tracy! I've been a fan for years now, but the Tracester has never truly gotten the recognition she deserves. She's done things I've always wanted to do, including becoming a missionary and getting a body piercing (heehee!). She's funny, and I truly love her zest for life and zeal for God. Oh, and her name-it contests are always fun. Someday, I will win one of those darn contests. :D Love you, Tracy!

Favorite Christian Blog of 2004.
As usual, let me encourage the other four candidates before I announce the winner.

I love Mikks because he reminds me of how powerfully God can use anyone for His glory. At such a young age, he's shown such incredible talent, it just makes me weep. I envision great things for this man, and believe the future is bright for this bold and mighty Christian kid. Mark my words, ladies and gentlemen, this man will do Paul-like things before his time is through. Love you, Mikks!

I love Sue because she truly lives the life. Her life isn't an open book, but she does her best to present herself as genuinely as possible, and this blesses and encourages me immensely. She and Katie are so funny together, and I know that God is pleased with the lives they are now leading for Him. Plus, she works in a record store, for which I am eternally envious. Love you, Sue!

I love Darren because he's such an encourager! For all his troubles and difficulties, he sees the bright side, that is, the Christ side of it all, and this is always uplifting for Christians such as I. His blog is titled Living Room, which is wonderfully named, because it feels like home, but it's also a way for us to see how he himself lives in service of Christ. I also love how he lives in Australia, where one of my sisters lives, and someday, I will visit him, and see his living room. Love you, Darren!

I love Christopher Wright simply because he is everything I wanted to be. His life is living testimony and testament to God's goodness. He molds young minds, raising them to be Christlike, and there is no job that carries that much opportunity, other than parenthood, and I admire him so much for that! I love how he teaches me to appreciate the little things, and how he encourages me every so often with a visit and a kind word. Love you, Mr. Wright!


We are told that Christians live in the world, but are not of the world. I think no one epitomizes this more than that Christian enigma that is Bene Diction. Bene is a citizen of the world, giving two cents on important issues, bringing to the attention of the international community situations that should be addressed, and playing the role of blog statesman to the hilt. As Christians, we must attempt to influence the world, however which way we can, and I think Bene is living up to that role with gusto, grace, and panache. Bene has encouraged me several times, and blessed me almost too immensely; always there when I was down (and blogging), and looking for me when I wasn't online, Bene has played older sibling and trusted friend my entire stay on the blogosphere, and I look forward to the day when we can actually meet each other and I will finally answer that elusive question: Is Bene a boy or a girl? LOL

Be superblessed, and check out all the winning blogs! God bless you!

The one with the weird photos

I've been going nuts with my new digicam. :D Praise the Lord for this gift of technology, and God, I apologize and repent for the blasphemous photos.

This is my favorite Nathan shot. Isn't he cute?

Some brothers and sisters of my church's praise and worship ministry. Yeah, they're crazy.

Hey, I got hungry!

I have got to lose some weight! The worst part is, there's no camera trick here!

Sunday, October 24, 2004

The one on the Burger King stereotype

For everyone's information, I'm on the South Beach diet. I've enrolled at Slimmer's World, and have full intentions of making my body God's temple, not His America's Mall. Problem is, there are few places in most malls that have South Beach diet-friendly cuisine. So, I walk into Burger King Greenbelt with the full intention of buying myself a corned beef breakfast meal to tide me off until the afternoon.

COUNTER GIRL: Good morning, Sir!
ME: Good morning.
COUNTER GIRL: Whopper meal, Sir?
ME: (to myself: Huh? Does she offer a Whopper meal to people right off the bat?) No, I want a...
COUNTER GIRL: Whopper Jr. meal? Two-piece beefsteak meal?
ME:(to myself: Why is she offering me all these large meals?) I would like a corned beef meal.
ME: (to myself: And?? That's it!) That's all.

I am never going back to Burger King. How presumptuously rude can you get?

Saturday, October 23, 2004

The one with the exasperation with our government

I have totally had it with our government! The [righteous] anger I feel at the inefficiency and gall of our elected leaders is beyond fury - and while I hesitate to malign those in public service who have remained honest despite all the thievery around them, it would not be without reason to blast every single hypocrite who dares to call himself a public servant! Mga walang-hiyang buwayang walang utang na loob!

Jesus preached love. How can you say you love your country when you squirrel away hundreds of millions of pesos in accounts abroad for your own self-gain? Were those taxes not paid for by me, and millions like me, to help serve the people, not fatten your bank accounts?!

The Armed Forces are supposed to protect us, not steal! To keep us safe, not terrorize! To defend, not kill!

Jesus preached sacrifice. How dare you tell me to sacrifice when you won't even lessen the number of cellular phone calls and outrageous bills that you charge to the Filipino people?! How dare you fly to other nations for your own agenda, and charge it to our account? Your people are dying from eating garbage, and you are safe in your ivory towers, built off our blood and sweat!

Jesus preached acceptance. How dare you support a war on innocent civilians, and support a hypocritical American president who justifies the mass murder of other human beings and dares call himself Christian?!

Jesus preached morality. How am I to respect the hallowed halls of government when secret families are being harbored, trysts happen on regular basis, and I am made to pay for their support?!

Jesus preached forgiveness. Am I to swallow all this bile, at being slapped in the face and being robbed blind right here and now, because one man died for me?!

Yes, I am.

Lord, it is the most difficult task You've had me do! What happens to my nation? What will happen to my son? What is to become of this land I call home?

Many questions, no answers. But yet, we trust. It doesn't make it any easier, but we forgive you. We will forgive, and support, with our hands clasped in prayer, and our trust in a God whose actions have proved more trustworthy than yours.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

The one on the announcement of the winners

The winners of the Superblessed Christian Blog Awards 2004 will be announced on Tuesday, next week.

God superbless you!

Sunday, October 17, 2004

The one with the thoughts on blog awards

God bless the hearts of those who bless other hearts! I've received encouraging email from some people who've discovered the Superblessed Christian Blog Awards for the first time (it's nice that if you Google or Yahoo the search words Christian blog awards, you get Mere Madness, the very first Christian Blog Awards I started, which will correspondingly link you to this blog).

Yet, I also received some not-so-nice mail from folks who said certain blogs were left out.

Here we go again.

My Favorite Christian Blog of the Year 2002 Bene Diction pointed out that when I launched the Christian Awards, it was during a time when the "blogosphere was in an uproar over other awards and issues." 2002 was a year not without controversy - one of my favorite and most respected blogger links chastised me for not recognizing Martin Roth, who was the man who started organized God-blog tracking with his site; eventually, the list became Blogs4God, which has blessed me immensely in the sense that it's found me many God-bloggers, both local and international. 2003 was also controversial, when Best Feeding Frenzy Blog winner Joshua Claybourn questioned the way I wrote up his triumph.

I've learned many things from this tiny little award-giving exercise, and one of the most important is this: you just can't please everyone.

The funny thing is, that isn't the point behind the Superblessed Blog Awards. There are so many blog award-giving bodies out there, and I'm one tiny little fish in one gigantic ocean. My awards seek to honor those who've blessed me, those bloggers whose sites I visit in times of joy and sorrow, because I desire to know that there are others going through similar situations like mine. That I'm not alone in the race. That Jesus makes Himself manifest through my online friends.

Imagine how I look forward, for instance, to visiting Wifely to learn about how the simplest things make her happy. Or how I always, always laugh and cry with Michael Main when I read about what he and Amy go through. I am inspired by Tray, and humbled by Michael's search for God. I've only recently discovered Real Live Preacher, and find him to be a blessing in every way!

We're blips on a radar screen, and let's face it, sometimes, we need a little pat on the back for our effort. I'm just patting some backs, and telling 'em, "well done."

These people matter to me. I love every person on my blogroll. If you're on my blogroll, it means you're important to me, and I value you and your blog.

Wanna hear the most hurtful thing? Someone said I was doing my awards just to increase my hits. That stings, you-person-who-knows-who-you-are. I don't care if my hits plummet past the 5th bolgia of Dante's Inferno, and I'd be thrilled minimally if I ever got more than 100 hits per day, but I'm not doing this for the attention.

I'm sorry I can't superbless everyone. But God can. So praise the Lord, because His love endures forever!

* * *

If you have time and want to visit more Philippine blogs, do swing by the 2004 Philippine Blog Awards. I did a random search, and found at least three blogs that profess to being Christ-centered, so swing by the blogs of The Son of Thunder (that title's a little too Norsey to be Christian, but, hey, whatever), Marius, Chette, and Christine Beltran, and give 'em quick prayer that they make it to the finals. Christian blogs should stand out in these secular awards.

I've only won two blog awards in my life. One was Blog of the Month from Christopher Wright. The other was Best Christian Blog from Jax Place. Both awards are treasured immensely.

Be superblessed!

Update: A visitor named Lmae referred me to Blessed Chette, whose blog blesses immensely, and is also in the running at the Philippine Blog Awards. You must all visit this site; it's truly amazing, and she's really on fire for Jesus. She will be a force to reckon with next year - must contact her for Bloggerhythm.

Lmae, I'd like to point out though, that the initial set of referrals came from a random search with the words "Jesus" in it. It's not that I purposely left your friend out; it was based merely on what they wrote in their summaries. I hope I didn't offend you by leaving her out, but the point is this: we all love and continue to serve Jesus Christ. :) So, while I'm happy to promote Chette, I want you to know that to imply that she is "a Christian compared to the other 3 blogs [I] mentioned" is uncalled for.

Update: God bless Lmae for her heart. She has apologized, and proclaims her Jesus-love as well in her own blog. So visit and encourage her, why don't y'all?

Friday, October 15, 2004

The one with the nominees for the Superblessed Christian Blog Awards 2004

Best Designed Blog.
BrownPau, BrownPau.com
Mikks Maducdoc, Mikkan
Ricky Manzano, RickyManzano.com
Silv3r-Lining, Silv3r-Lining.org
Keren Tan, KerenTan.com

Most Humorous Blog.
Ariel Atienza, In Between Panels
Drina, Sonafide.com
Mack, Pray Naked
Michael Main, Michael Main.com
Christopher Wright, What in Tarnation?

Most Educational Blog.
Mark Byron, Mark Byron
Andrew Careaga, Bloggedy Blog
David Heddle, He Lives
Martin Roth, Martin Roth Online
Craig Tanner, Avoiding Evil.com

Most Introspective Blog.
Ailene, Dalsol
Tanya Gartamaker, 7 Day Holy.
Irene Q, IreneQ.com.
Deb Sawyer, Constantly Abiding.
Susan, What a Beautiful Day!

Most Useful Christian Resource.
Bible Gateway.
Christian Answers.net.
Relevant Magazine.

Best Blog with Online Discussion.
Joshua Claybourn, Joshua Claybourn.com
Esteban Francisco, Crystal Clear
The Rowster, The Rowster
The men and women of Spare Change
Wifely, Wifely Steps

Most Inspirational/Encouraging Blog.
C. Bowles, Can You Hear Me Now?
Elijah Fan, Fanster.net
PM Pilgrim, Wanderings of a Post-Modern Pilgrim
Darren Rowse, Living Room

Most Enjoyable Male Filipino-Christian Blog.
Daxi Arellano, Daxi
Arnold Gamboa, Better Than Life
Mikks Maducdoc, Mikkan
Ricky Manzano, RickyManzano.com
JM Tuazon, God of Irony

Most Enjoyable Female Filipino-Christian Blog.
Jax, Jax Place
Kat, Sikat Online
Maan, My Silverchair
Phisch, In That Number
Tina Mats, RefineMe.org

Most Enjoyable Male Christian Blog (International, Non-Filipino).
Bob, Mister Standfast
Elijah Fan, Fanster.net
Darren Rowse, Living Room
Galvin, Galvin
San Antonio, San Antonio Blog

Most Enjoyable Female Christian Blog (International, Non-Filipino).
Tracy Apps, ThisRoad.org
Jan, Shalom's Web
Susan Prince, Sister's Weblog: It Bloggles the Mind!
The ladies of Under the Juniper
Valerie, Kyriosity

Favorite Christian Blog of 2004.
Bene Diction, Bene Diction Blogs On
Mikks Maducdoc, Mikkan
Susan Prince, Sister's Weblog: It Bloggles the Mind!
Darren Rowse, Living Room
Christopher Wright, What in Tarnation?

The one with the search words

It's disturbing to see some of the searches that lead people to Superblessed.

Elena Juatco nude. You sick people. Sick, sick, sick. Naked Canadian-Filipino images? Oomph. I'm 7th on Google for this one.
Panasonic DMC- LC 80 review. Yeah, I should probably post my comments on my fabulous new digicam. 6th on Google.
email at kornets-chips.com. Yeah, I should write those guys and tell 'em they rock. 3rd on Google.
"house of sylvanas". These guys rock too. 3rd on Google.
Rolly Dizon. This is unjust! I'm 1st on Google for the CHED Chairperson! Brother Rolly deserves his own website!
Pata tim recipe. I should pry this one out of my mom. 33rd on Google.
Nathan's pics. 7th on Google. My question is? Which Nathan was this person looking for?

The one helping Michael Main

I would never want to be labelled as untrustworthy, because I consider myself relatively trustworthy, not untrustworthy. In most of my dealings with people, I am not untrustworthy, I am quite trustworthy. So, there.

The one with the thoughts on my half-brothers

I want to apologize for my inability to post the past few days. [It's not like I'm getting hits through the roof anyway.]

When my father was young, he led the expectedly promiscuous lifestyle that came with the uncertainty of war (no electricity, no lights, the possibility of death lurking around every corner, what was a 14-year-old to do?). The end result: I have six half-brothers and two half-sisters from two different women.

I've never been close to my half-brothers. I can't say there is resentment, nor can I say there is a great deal of love, given the fractured family history endured by my siblings, who were pretty much overpassed by my father in favor of marriage to my mother. We've just never been close. As the eldest son of my mother, the responsibility fell upon me to love my younger brother; I can't say I really received the kind of secure, 'I'll take care of you' love from my elder brothers, of which there were several who could've reached out, but didn't.

Now, two days ago, I received word my eldest brother, Freddie, a former world darts champion, has been diagnosed with cancer - twice. He has lung cancer, the result of years of smoking, and brain cancer, the result, I assume, of the spread of the lung cancer. I don't know at which stage it is, but I can't deny that a long life in the presence of his family seems bleak at this point.

Last night, Cathy accused me of insensitivity towards my brothers - and a lot of other people. Admittedly, I, like Friends' Chandler Bing, use humor as a way of dealing with uncomfortable situations, and I may have made a couple of jokes that some would interpret below the belt. I don't mean to be insensitive nor crude; mastery of Christian speech and control of a sarcastic and acerbic tongue are not things I can put on my resume anytime soon.

I do worry about Freddie, though, and about another half-brother, Sandy, who had undergone double hip replacement surgery yesterday, the result, I suppose, of severe lack of calcium (well, that's a no-brainer).

Meanwhile, I am trying my darndest to work my magazine off the ground. Here's to the inevitable headache that will ensue at around 230pm, and to the healing that God will deliver me. I pray that my brothers can be as forgiving.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

The one with the prayer request for Melissa Etheridge

Melissa Etheridge has been diagnosed with cancer. I suppose many of you aren't particularly fond of her music, but I grew up listening to classics like Come to My Window, I'm the Only One and I Want to Come Over, so this information distresses me.

Prayer for her speedy recovery is requested.

Friday, October 08, 2004

The one on everyone needing a spoonful of sugar

This afternoon, I met up with Nines to explore possibilities of how we could help each other, she with my magazine, and I with some aspects of her design business. The meeting went very well, and as I type this as I wait for Caths, I can't help but dwell on how God makes everything work out right when one works for His purposes.

Nines is one of my columnists; hers is titled Spoonful of Sugar. What she has is an optimistic, positive outlook. While she may define herself as a spiritual person, I see a lot of Christian virtue in her, and that she shares my enthusiasm for wanting to improve the country is icing on the cake.

Here's hoping that we can pull this baby off the ground.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

The one with the political slant

Raul Pangalangan makes some extremely interesting points in his October 1 opinion piece in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, titled Why Filipinos Sacrifice for Family but not for Nation. It provides valuable food for thought in many areas, and you would do well to browse it, if you'd like to get into the Filipino psyche.

I could provide colorful discourse on why it's so hard to trust my country's leaders and its history. When I was born, the peso was roughly P15 to US$1. Now, it's barely holding on at P56.30 to US$1. That's a drop of P41 in just a little less than three decades. Inflation takes its toll, but our money is virtually toilet paper. When I was born, the cost of a college education was in the mid-teen thousands. When I went to college, it cost roughly P35,000.00. When Nathan is old enough, based on today's inflation rate, it will cost me P75,000.00 to send him to a state university. As for a Lasallian or Atenean education, we will have to rely on our savings, plus help from the college education plan we've gotten for him.

Everyone - and I mean, everyone - is telling me to find fortune abroad. Pangalangan notes overseas foreign workers are the ones slogging away, "forfeit[ing] the best years of their lives, doing work beneath their education and past jobs in Manila, to live among cold strangers for whom they are invisible, easily replaceable help so they can send siblings to school," and dreaming of appliances that Westerners take for granted, a television set, a VCD player, a refrigerator that can provide cold water in the heat of a summer's day.

And for this, I am tremendously disappointed in the government, because instead of trying to patch up the infrastructure to make the country self-sustaining, the Arroyo administration seems to be giving off the impression that we should go abroad. Even if every newspaper in the country were to trumpet doomsday prophecies, an allegation given off by the hotheaded, irritable, and terribly self-aware Office of the President itself, the fact remains: there is too little good news to keep us optimistic about our country's future. In the midst of all this, we are encouraged to make money by going abroad, to further support our heavy economy and because our money is worth nothing. 15% of our population are starving.

When public school teachers, the heart and soul of this nation, the men and women who raise our children and defend the vote during elections, requested a raise in their salaries, not only did the Department of Education not increase this, they were insulted with an increase in the amount of money that can borrow from a DepEd fund. They don't need money to borrow, because they don't have money to pay the loan. Come on, Madame President, you're an economist. How can poor people pay back a loan if they don't even have money? They sink deeper into debt. Food coupons won't work. Give people jobs, and give them jobs on local soil!

Fact: no one will trust the government. Period. Corruption is such an integral part of Philippine government culture, and short of "sweeping reforms," which in the past have proven mostly cosmetic, will continue to thrive and prosper. We are to blame, as well. Instead of paying the P500 for the parket ticket, most drivers will pay P250 to the cop who pulls them over. I won't stand for it, though. If you knew what I've had to endure these past six months trying to set up my company, you'd be shocked. I'm playing by the rules, and it's been six months.

So how do we start to trust the government? Get fresh people in there, people who aren't afraid to kick some butt, and kick out the corrupt. Good luck making that happen, but I agree with Pangalangan: government has always watched for itself, and we need to bring in people with altruistic virtue and value, whose work history has shown a love for the improvement of life all around.

Meanwhile, I choose to stay here, because I believe the country needs me. I believe God has determined my mission and that of my family's is to help my nation here. If the Gokongweis are to be believed, then Ateneans and Lasallians owe it to their country to start businesses, companies, jumpstart the economy, and not bail the sinking ship. As Mike has discoursed before, the brain drain will kill the economy. It's not like the B and C classes suffer from hunger. No, they're comfortable. No, they're not in immediate danger. It's just uncomfortable. But if the literati of the country abandon the nation, who will help those left behind?

The one with the sore throat and Smart SIM

My throat hurts. :p Typical, as I always get scratchy tonsils whenever I'm about to lead in praise and worship at my local care group. It just stinks, that's all.

Today, I picked up my new Smart SIM at the Smart Wireless Center in Alabang. I lost the SIM more than a month ago, but the folks at Smart were only able to provide me a new SIM today. Oh, well. To their credit, their service personnel were extremely accommodating. If you'd like my mobile, please email or YM me, and I'll gladly give it to you.

Meanwhile, Rodney Dangerfield has moved on. I hope Saint Peter gives him more respect.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

The one with Brother Rolly Dizon in my car

So I report to work today at 1030am with full intentions of getting down to work and finishing up all the papers so the Annual Report can be ready by next week. I guess it wasn't to be. Brother Rolly was to announce his resignation at 12nn, and he was in La Salle Greenhills (my old alma mater!), and needed to be fetched. There wasn't a CHEd car available, so I was asked.


Me, drive CHEd Chairperson and Lasallian Brother Rolly Dizon, FSC, PhD, in my clunker of a car?!? I was stunned. Highlight of my week. My month. My year! Driving Brother Rolly. I could make a screenplay!

It was the biggest blessing! We talked, about Lasallian values versus Atenean values, about my magazine, about his fight with cancer. Everything the press says about this man is so wrong: he's a gentle, learned, eloquent man, whose inner strength radiates throughout his body, in his smile, his demeanor, his countenance.

Brother Rolly was responsible for the Zobel housing project that, in December, will be home to family. Brother Rolly spent 18 years serving La Salle Greenhills. Brother Rolly's thumbprints are all over my life as an educator and as a Lasallian.

I love this man, and the fact that CHEd people are thanking me for driving him around is ridiculous. I should be thanking them!

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

The one with the bills

This is the part that makes being self-employed suck. :p Upon arriving home last Saturday, I saw bills waiting for me; apparently, Standard Chartered, Bankard, Nippon Life, Sun Life, Toyota Insurance, and Smart Communications don't like to be kept waiting. I don't mind having to pay for these bills (since - hello! - I racked them up in the first place!), but with CHED being the typical government agency (grrr!) and delaying my salary, it takes quite a toll on Cathy's savings.

It can get really annoying. For instance, my Smart SIM was stolen when my mobile was stolen a few months ago. I made requests at two separate Smart centers for a new SIM, and I still haven't been given it. Meanwhile, since it is a postpaid plan, I continue to pay the monthly fee. Simply amazing, my butt. It's simply amazing how they rip me off! I'd buy bread to throw back at them when they throw these boulders at me, but I can't even afford to buy my Gardenia 5-grain wheat loaf because the South Beach diet won't let me have them.

Grr. I hate it when I complain, but even I have to blow off some steam. Argh! Argh! Advertisers, where are you? How can Relevant Magazine and Fish overflow with ads and I can't swing five?

Yet, God is good, and I know all will be well. Bills, begone!

On a side note, I see that JM has moved. Go swing by and see him.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

The one on my being around... and announcing the 2004 Superblessed Christian Blog Awards

When I first started blogging in 2000, I was among the first Filipinos, to my knowledge, to actually do so, and four years later, I find myself a ripe old coot on a Frodo-like journey. My blog has survived at least three incarnations (this one is the fourth), I have seen friends' blogs and rise and fall, yet through it all, I and my integrity have remained relatively intact.

Hey, I'm still here! I don't know where I am on the blogging ecosystem, but I've been around for almost four years, and I'd flatter myself to think that I'm one of the grand daddies of the Philippine-Christian blog phenomenon. My hits may have hit rock bottom, but I'm still flying high.

The fact of the matter is, I blog for me, for my Jesus, and for the Family of God. I stand firm testimony to God's goodness, and I will continue to trumpet it until my dying day or until the Philippines loses Internet connection. LOL

Now, I transformed the Mere Madness blog into a Christian blog after I accepted Jesus Christ in 2000. Slightly more than two years later, I first launched the Christian Blog Awards in January 2003 to honor the God-bloggers who blessed me immensely in 2002. At the time, when it was known as the Mere Madness Christian Blog Awards, it created little buzz but did bless Christ-bloggers who were in my immediate circle of blogs.

In 2002, these were the winners:

Most Inspirational/Encouraging Blog. Craig Tanner. Avoiding Evil.com.
Most Educational Blog. Mark Byron (MarkByron.blogspot.com) and David Heddle (He Lives).
Best Designed Blog. BrownPau. How Now Brownpau?.
Most Humorous Blog. Mark. The Gospel According to Mark.
Most Introspective Blog. Irene Q. The Musings of Irene Q.
Most Feeding Frenzy Blog. Esteban DaCubanGuy. Bakura.org.
Most Enjoyable Filipino-Christian Blog Keren. Keren.
Favorite Christian Blog of 2002. Bene Diction. Bene Diction Blogs On.

In 2003, I transferred to Superblessed and renamed it the Superblessed Christian Blog Awards. I added more categories and expanded the nominees' list; I also introduced a People's Choice option for regular visitors of the blog. I further remember a bit of controversy in the Feeding Frenzy blog category, but that's all water under the bridge, and I'm sure we're all raring to look past that. These were the winners in 2003:

Most Inspirational/Encouraging Blog. Tanya of 7 Day Holy. People's Choice: Tanya.
Most Educational Blog. Craig Tanner of Avoiding Evil.com. People's Choice: David Heddle.
Best Designed Blog. Mikks of The Son Seeker Chronicles and Keren Tan of Keren Tan. People's Choice: Mikks.
Most Humorous Blog. Michael Main of Michael Main.com and Christopher Wright of What in Tarnation.net. People's Choice: James Watson.
Most Introspective Blog. Irene Q of Irene Q.com. People's Choice: Irene.
Most Useful Christian Resource. Blogs4God. People's Choice: Bible Gateway.
Most Feeding Frenzy Blog. Josh Claybourn of Josh Claybourn.com. People's Choice: Josh Claybourn.
Most Enjoyable Filipino-Christian Blog. Jax of Jax Place. People's Choice: Rick Manzano.
Most Enjoyable Male Christian Blog. Darren Rowse of Living Room. People's Choice: Darren.
Most Enjoyable Female Christian Blog. Susan L. Prince of Sisters' Weblog. People's Choice: Irene Q of Irene Q.com.
Favorite Christian Blog of 2003. Christopher Wright of What in Tarnation.net.

This year, the categories are as follows:

Best Designed Blog.
Most Humorous Blog.
Most Educational Blog.
Most Introspective Blog.
Most Useful Christian Resource.
Best Blog with Online Discussion.
Most Inspirational/Encouraging Blog.
Most Enjoyable Male Filipino-Christian Blog.
Most Enjoyable Female Filipino-Christian Blog.
Most Enjoyable Male Christian Blog (International, Non-Filipino).
Most Enjoyable Female Christian Blog (International, Non-Filipino).
Favorite Christian Blog of 2004.

It will be my pleasure to announce the nominees on Monday, October 4, 2004, with the winners' announcement at the end of October. I want to thank everyone for their support of God-blogging, and pray that there will be less controversy this time around. :p Thank you for loving me, and praying for me. Do know that I too pray for y'all.

God bless!

Friday, October 01, 2004

The one with throwing out all the VHS tapes

Last weekend, I managed to speak to an aunt who now lives in New Jersey. She used to own the house where my family and I are temporarily staying, and left behind a ton of stuff, including a library of VHS tapes.

Now, I don't know how popular VHS cassettes still are internationally, but here in Manila, they're virtually phased out in the advent of VCD's, DVDs, and CD-Rs. Nevertheless, Cathy and I got a VCR for a wedding gift, and Nathan got two Baby Einstein VHS tapes from his godfather Anthony (that's just so Mafia), so it made sense to keep the VCR and just throw out the uninteresting VHS cartridges.

In the course of the throwing out, I discovered such gems as Dumbo and Aladdin, such duds as Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and La Cage Aux Folles (didn't like the remake, don't care for the original), and stumbled a tape marked Coming of Age. Puzzled, I popped it in.

The sight of two naked bodies writhing in the throes of passion, accompanied by blaring cheesy music, greeted me. Shocked, I dropped the remote and scrambled to find the mute button on the TV set (when one is under that kind of pressure, one tends to forget there is also a mute button on the remote). Who would have guessed that the library played home to pornographic material amidst Down and Out with Donald Duck?

After I got over the initial shock, the next phase came in. Do I watch it? *teehee* Well, temptation made itself manifest, but I dumped it as fast as I could into the garbage bag with all the other VHS tapes before I could get tempted any further, and continued through the library without incident. After all was said and done, I had thrown about 50 tapes into the bag and thrown it out.

What a day.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

The one with the peso drop

Yesterday, the peso dropped to a record low, plunging to PhP56.45 against the US dollar. Immediately, middle- to lower-class Filipinos started criticizing the Arroyo administration for its seemingly ineffective monetary control efforts, while the administration itself defended the move, citing a great demand for dollars combined with the sharp rise in the cost of oil.

Meanwhile, a full tank of diesel for my car now costs P950.00, and I am wrestling with God in prayer against a return to the work force. I do not want to give up my mission for God, not at the cost of making money, since Cathy is making enough to barely scrape us by. We do not wish to go into debt, and this is a solid test of how God will provide.

Prayers for my country are requested.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

The one with Nathan's pics

With my new digital camera, I'm like a father gone mad! I've been taking pictures of Nathan left and right. Naturally, I don't have any instinct for this yet, and I trust good buddies Harold and Rick will train me well. :p

Nathan got his first haircut during his real birthday, September 23, 2004. We took him to Cuts for Tots, where he bawled his eyes out while seated in a red Corvette chair. Now, I would bawl my eyes out if I were seated in a Corvette, but for different reasons entirely. Since I didn't have the Panasonic camera at the time, we used a film-based camera, and are now waiting to finish the film so we can have it developed. How funny.

The one on my new digicam (and Name It contest!)

I have a new digital camera! The Panasonic DMC-LC 70! Thank God for 0% interest on my MyDream JCB credit card! At slightly more than P1300 per month, I can afford it. Oh, and Rick, you don't have a thing to worry about, since I am still nowhere near your caliber, dude.

Here's a review, and here's a photo:

Taking a tip from Tracy, I'm holding a contest. What name should I give my camera?

Friday, September 24, 2004

The one with the nervousness

It's September 23 today (Manila time), which gives us approximately a month and a week to roll out the magazine and its website, get at least ten schools to subscribe, secure fifteen advertisers, and launch.

With God, all things are possible. I'm pretty nervous, though.

On a more relaxed note, from Bene Diction, I note at least four Filipino-Canadians in the top 32 of the recently concluded edition of Canadial Idol. Elena Juatco (the highest-placed finisher at #6, and eerie Jasmine Trias doppelganger), Annabelle Lumayag, Bernard Quilala, and Jerrica Santos.

I am so frustrated they never had this kind of competition when I was young enough to compete. Not like I stood a chance, but still, you know. Dreams. I'd sing gospel all the way.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

The one with freebies galore

Today, I purchased color and black Hewlett-Packard ink cartridges from Electroworld. I realize I could save a ton of money by refilling my ink cartridges from one of the refill stations that have popped up like mushrooms across the Paranaque and Taft Avenue landscapes, but I know that I may pay the price months later, should sloppy worksmanship rear its ugly head, and ink explode all over my printer. It happened to my brother-in-law, and the poor printer was ruined.

Thankfully, I get little perks for paying the premium price. Around my wrist is my brand new B.U.M. USA wristwatch, which came free with my purchase of the black ink cartridge. I can also collect two free dinners from Shakey's Pizza Parlor, in exchange for the boxes of the two ink cartridges.

That's how to do it, HP. Bribe me, you corporate hooligans. If y'all must rob me blind, I appreciate the little perks.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

The one with the Live the Life debut cover

So, about 80% of the first issue of Live the Life is complete. I should upload the website by the first week of October in preparation for schools to visit for further information, but to whet your appetite (and get your feedback), I'm posting the tentative cover.

What do you think?

Can't see it? Click here.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

The one on our first subscription

I want to give praise to God for our first Live the Life school callback! I won't mention which school called until we officially book them, but I'm very, very excited for the possibilities. If this school subscribes, believe it or not, that's 1/10th of our total press run!

Prayers are requested.

The one on Nathan's birthday party

Catherine and I celebrated our son Nathan's first birthday party last September 18. His birthday actually falls on the 23rd, but we couldn't hold the celebration next Saturday because the second day of a church seminar leading to the church's 7th year anniversary falls on next Saturday.

Decor. Martha Stewart would have been proud. We decided to go with a Veggietales theme, given that it is Nathan's favorite show. We created thirty Bob the Tomato headbands for each child to wear around her/his head, and one giant Bob the Tomato to welcome guests into our home. We borrowed approximately sixty adult chairs and thirty kiddie chairs (with corresponding tables) from the village association (free! There are perks to being homeowners in South Green Park Village), and set them up around the garage area. We inflated ten long balloons and scotch-taped them to the walls; aside from that, we had happy birthday banners all over the house. We ordered thirty stick balloons, half red, half blue, and stuck most of them into the earthy soil of the garden.

Games. Next, we strung banderitas around the place, along with a pabitin and a palayok. Banderitas are triangular pieces of paper that are strewn along straw rope, and hung high above the ground, tied to trees and posts; they are standard decorations during Filipino celebrations. To picture a pabitin (which comes from the Filipino word, bitin, meaning short), picture a tic-tac-toe grid, made of bamboo. From the wood are hung toys, bags of candies, and money. The pabitin is tied firmly to straw rope and swung over a wooden rafter so an adult can adjust its distance from the ground with a pull of the rope. Children stand underneath the pabitin to grab the items of their choice when the adult lowers the pabitin suddenly, only to pull it up again out of the children's reach a few second later. The game ends when all the items are gone from the pabitin. The palayok is a Filipino version of the pinata: candies, money, and other items are put into a clay pot, which is then suspended from a straw rope. Children are blindfolded and given a wooden rod, and they try to break the pot.

Aside from those three, we also had balloon relays (for both children and adults!), which featured four kids in a team, with each kid having to run to a chair on the opposite side of the road to burst a balloon by sitting on it. Each child would then have to run back to the starting line, then the next child would have to run across the road to burst his balloon. We also had a "Bring Me" game and a Trip to Jerusalem game.

Food. The proudest feature of any party at the Deen home is the food. When we throw a party, the most time and effort go into the preparation of the food to be served, and Nathan's party was no exception. My grandmother and mother, along with a team of five domestic assistants, prepared pancit molo, a flavorful broth with meat dumplings, chicken, onion sprigs, and garlic; tenderloin steak with a mushroom gravy sauce; lumpia ubod, which is fresh spring rolls with garlic and chickpeas; spaghetti italiana; fried chicken; buko pandan, a coconut and pandan jelly dessert; and birthday noodles, which is essentially an egg noodle fricasee. We had a nice cake and Blue Bunny ice cream.

The celebrant. Nathan was pretty cranky, because he doesn't usually like noise, and believe you me, was it noisy! We dressed him up in a red "Number 1" tee and denim shorts, along with these adorable red rubber shoes that Caths bought for him at SM. He also wore one of the Bob the Tomato hats, but he wasn't able to make the rounds because the noise was simply too much for him. When you're one year old, you don't really care that much for a party, now, do ya?

Guests. We expected around 60 to 80 guests, excluding children, and got close to that number. What thrilled me were the arrival of some of my friends from college, and some bloggers even came to the party! So, thanks to Mikoid, The Rowster, Wangie, and Jay, because y'all thrilled me by showing up! God bless!

And that was the party. I hope to upload photos; I'm waiting for them to develop. Digicameras weren't part of the gifts given to Nathan, so I guess we're just going to have to save up a wee bit more. :p