Thursday, December 29, 2005

The one questioning how honor can trump blood

In Pakistan, a 40-year-old laborer slit the throats of his three daughters, along with a step-daughter he accused of adultery, right in front of their mother who was cradling his son.

Far be it from me to question the nitty gritty of certain religions and whathaveyou, but what kind of philosophy leads a man to murder his own children to avert the "possibility of adultery?" Where is the honor in slitting your two-year-old daughter's throat when she has done nothing wrong? How much honor are you saving when you slay your three daughters - the oldest at 8! - in front of their mother?

In 2004 in Pakistan, more than 500 women were killed by family members in instances of "honor killing." Isolated case or not, this Pakistani individual is evidence of a deeper problems of a system that prizes honor trumping blood, logic, however twisted, over emotion, revenge over forgiveness.

My beef is not with the stepdaughter, although the news article does make mention of the double standard so blatantly evident in Pakistani society, where the woman has no rights. My beef is with the coldhearted murder of three little girls who could've been raised to not commit the crime of which their father accused their stepsister.

Human rights commissions have every right (pun unintended) to raise a ruckus over this wanton murder of little girls and women who have been judged guilty even before trial. Every person has a right to her/his own beliefs, but I believe the right to life in cases where no wrongdoing has been committed should hold universal.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The one with the Music Inspired by the Chronicles of Narnia



This is not the soundtrack of the Chronicles of Narnia featuring the Alanis Morissette single Wunderkind. Rather, it is a collection of well-selected tracks from well-known Christian artists, singing original songs inspired by the film and the theology behind the film and the book that inspired it, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (the second of the seven-part Chronicles of Narnia series, the first being The Magician's Nephew).

I'd like to believe I have remained strangely quiet on the hooplah behind The Chronicles of Narnia, even if the series is my favorite literary collection of all time. Even before Disney and Walden Media decided to snap this one up, and even before most Filipinos knew of the existence of the BBC series now available at most record bars for P150 a two-disc pop, I read the series and admit it strengthened my faith in more ways that I can think of right now - especially the triumphant The Last Battle, which I cannot wait to see on the silver screen.

That being said, is it possible to enjoy this collection of music without having read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe? I'd like to believe so. Most of these tracks stands on their own, both from a musical and theological perspective, although, admittedly, having read the book will prove useful in understanding some of the lyrics.

When I purchase Contemporary Christian music, I always listen to it first (which is why MusicOne almost always gets my business), ensuring that the music does one of two things: minister to me, or have the potential to minister to others (evangelization material). That said, this album caters more to the former than the latter.

Music Inspired by the Chronicles of Narnia opens with Jars of Clay, the quintessential crossover Christian pop-rock band (they've been around ten years!), singing the light and buttery Waiting for the World to Fall. First single, the mid-tempo Remembering You, Stephen Curtis Chapman, is accompanied by a video easily available for viewing and/or download on the Web, is a memorable ode to Aslan's sacrifice and the anticipation of his returning. Jeremy Camp's Open Up Your Eyes is certainly fetching in melody and lyric, and that Bethany Dillon follows this up with the anthemic Hero, makes for a phenomenal introduction to the album.

From there, however, Music Inspired by the Chronicles of Narnia stumbles a bit. Delirious does a strange turn with Stronger, which mistakes guitar distortion for strength, and while reminiscent of their edgier sound, deviates from the album's mid-AC feel thus far. Rebecca St. James, two of whose albums happen to be in our collection by sheer virtue of one of Cathy's cousins being a huge St. James fan, continues to bore us, this time with Lion, which is an excellent track, but is unremarkable in her rendering.

TobyMac, formerly of the redhot Christian rap-rock band DC Talk, takes us back on track with New World, the first of two tracks explicitly connected with the Chronicles of Narnia; his rap-rock brand remains edgy and exciting. Nichole Nordeman surprises us with an alternative-sounding I Will Believe; those among us who knew Nordeman for Holy and You are Holy will find this track decidedly different, and pleasantly addicting.

This brings me to the strangest track on the album, Turkish Delight by the David Crowder Band, the second of two tracks explicitly connected with the Chronicles of Narnia, referring specifically to the enchanted pastry that casts a spell over Edmund and leads him to try and lead his family and friends into the White Witch's clutches. Reminiscent of disco and Jamiroquai circa mid-90s, Turkish Delight doesn't seem to belong on this album with its infectious melody and toe-tapping rhythm. The lyrics betray Edmund's sinister intentions ("I would sell you out, I'd give you all away!"). However, this track works for me (it didn't for a lot of other reviewers on Amazon.com), and is arguably the best track on the album.

After the highlight that is Turkish Delight, a letdown is expected, and unfortunately, Kutless claims this unworthy distinction with the rather gentle but unmemorable More Than It Seems. The worshipful You're the One from Chris Tomlin, famed worship leader and Michael W. Smith contemporary, closes this album out.

Overall, Music Inspired by the Chronicles of Narnia is a decent album and an adequate companion to the other Narnia merchandise you've undoubtedly purchased. Go pick a copy up.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

The one with Carlos P. Romulo's 20th

Last December 10 marked the 20th death anniversary of Filipino stateman Carlos P. Romulo, who passed away December 15, 1985.

Romulo was a statesman unlike any other - and one of the greatest Filipinos who ever lived. Having read the tribute his wife Beth Day Romulo wrote for him and published in Reader's Digest (June 1989), titled Unforgettable Carlos P. Romulo, I realize we owe so much to this man.

Among many of Beth Romulo's anecdotes:

At the third UN General Assembly, held in Paris in 1948, the USSR's deputy foreign minister, Andrei Vishinsky, sneered at Romulo and challenged his credentials: "You are just a little man from a little country." "It is the duty of the little Davids of this world," cried Romulo, "to fling the pebbles of truth in the eyes of the blustering Goliaths and force them to behave!"

When the UN official seal, which depicts the world, was being seleted, Romy looked it over and demanded, "where is the Philippines?" "It's too small to include," explained US Senator Warren Austin, who headed the committee. "If we put in the Philippines it would be no more than a dot." "I want that dot!" Romy insisted. Today, if you look at the UN seal, you will find a tiny dot between the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea.

Romulo was a dapper little man (barely five feet four inches in shoes). When they waded in at Leyte beach in october 1944, and the word went out that General MacArthur was waist deep, one of Romy's journalist friends cabled, "If MacArthur was in water waist deep, Romulo must have drowned!"

Romulo received 74 decorations from foreign countries, and was the recipient of the UN Peace Medal, the World Peace Award, the Four Freedoms Peace Award and the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, American's highest civilian award. When he finally retired from more than 50 years of public service, he had already received all the awards and decorations given by his country, so a new one was created just for him.

Not too many politicians today are like Carlos Romulo, and on his 20th death anniversary, I pray we may all continue to love our nation like he did, to do great things for the country like he did, and to rise above all adversities like he did, that we may bring glory to our nation and ultimately, our God.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

The one with the Superblessed Podcast: Christmas Feast

Waxing philosophical on the blessing that is the abundance of food at the traditional Filipino Christmas celebration! :)

Title: The Christmas feast
Length: 1:59
Format: WAV file
Download here or visit Ganns' Ourmedia page.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The one with the Superblessed Podcast

Inspired by the work of Dan Johnson and Sue Prince, among others, I've decided to start up the Superblessed Podcast! Whee!

Since I'm not sure exactly how to work this thing out, just in case you can't access the file from the site, you can also click on the pilot here.

Title: The Pilot
Length: 1:59
Format: WAV file
Download here or visit Ganns' Ourmedia page.

The one with Love Won't Leave You



Mark my words: Avalon's new single Love Won't Leave You is a hit single just waiting to be picked up by CCM and pop-rock radio. I kid you not. Love Won't Leave You by Avalon is a pop-rock song that could turn your world around. It's an upbeat, jump-up-and-raise-your-arms-to-praise-God kind of song, and you'd do really well to request that radio on your hometown's CCM radio station.

Visit the official Avalon website and listen to the snippet of Love Won't Leave You. You can also visit the Avalon MySpace page and be added as a friend! Whee!

Love Won't Leave You is a really, really great song that could do well at AC outlets. I love how the lyrical hook of the chorus works: "Love is always true - God is love, and love won't leave you!" I am positive you'll like it too! Praise God! What a fantastic song!

What are you waiting for? Join the bandwagon of this great, great song and help take Avalon and Love Won't Leave You to #1 on the overall Contemporary Christian charts!


LOVE WON'T LEAVE YOU
I think I caught you just in time
I caught you trying to survive
Broken pieces in your heart, never mend
But every hope you’ve ever had
Can breathe again

Love won’t leave you empty-handed
Broken down and somewhere stranded
Love won’t leave you hanging on for life
Cause love is
Love is always true
God is love
And love won’t leave you

I wanna say you’ll be okay
Always doing things the hard way
Living paralyzed by fear
But you know
You can let it go today
And save tomorrow

Love is gonna free your mind
Love is gonna steal your pride
And even though the hard times come
Love is gonna make things right

I think I caught you just in time
Love is gonna save your life

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The one with Exodus - and taking Bong Revilla to task


When Leonardo was turned into a human,
all the other Ninja Turtles fled for their lives.


Exodus is the film being touted by many as the savior of the Philippine movie industry, what with its P70M budget, star power (Ramon Revilla, Bong Revilla, Iya Villania, Jay-R, Paolo Bediones, Aubrey Miles, yada yada), and special effect wizardry.

Exodus, apparently, is a film so big that three movie studios have combined financial forces to bankroll this puppy.

My only fly in the ointment: with Philippine Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla, Jr. in the lead role, I am even more convinced that actors should not be senators. How much time away from the country's woes did you spend to make this fantasy movie, senator? How much of the Filipinos' hard-earned money are you going to siphon off for people to forget their troubles and watch this otherwise stellar production? You are a senator of the republic, Sir - we pay you for public service, and creating a fantasy world to where we can escape for a few measly hours is not my idea of public service.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The one with my Favorite Christmas albums

Christmas presents an opportunity for music freaks like myself to raid the CD collection and gather up Christmas albums I only get to listen to (appropriately) once a year. This year, it felt so good to listen to these albums once again.


Merry Christmas by Mariah Carey
Released in 1994, this still remains as one of my favorites. Mariah Carey's Merry Christmas combines a balance of traditional and modern holiday music. My favorites include All I Want for Christmas is You, Miss You Most (at Christmas Time), Jesus Oh What a Wonderful Child and Jesus Born On This Day.


Joy by Avalon
Avalon is one of my husband's favorite CCM bands. Their Christmas collection, Joy, truly brings joy to those who experience it. For this recording, Avalon presents their adventurous side through their unique take on traditional songs like Joy to the World, Jesus Born on This Day and The Christmas Song. Song Number 10, We Are The Reason, reminds us of the true reason for the season.


Christmas by Hillsong Australia
For those who like their holiday music traditional, this album is a good one to have. If you're having a formal Christmas dinner party, this makes for great background music. My personal favorites include Jesus What a Beautiful Name, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Away in a Manger and Perfect Love.


Hey Santa! by Wendy and Carnie Wilson
The voices and harmonies of the Wilsons are truly a delight to hear. This Christmas album released in 1993 contains funky holiday tunes such as Hey Santa!, Jingle Bell Rock and I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus. Their version of Little Drummer Boy is so smooth, it feels like the drummer boy is in the room. This is a great Christmas album for those who like Wilson Phillips.

I'm so excited to fill my house with Christmas music, have a cup of tea and snuggle up with my husband and son! Have a great holiday, everybody!

The one with Soapbox Tees

SoapBox Tees is one of three local manufacturers of Christian tees. Looking for a good tee for your teen? Look no further.

The one with the 3rd anniversary

Last December 7, Catherine and I celebrated our 3rd year anniversary. We celebrated with a mid-week get-away at the Discovery Country Suites, a beautiful bed and breakfast in cool Tagaytay City (pictures for posting soon enough).

We've been together for more than six years, Cathy and I.

Last year, I posted the testimony below as tribute to the beloved, long-suffering life partner that is my wife. This year, with the help of many of her friends and family, I produced a handmade scrapbook of photographs and testimonials to her love and kindness. I should probably scan that to show y'all, but some of the photos there are private, so maybe not this time.

Regardless, God has superblessed me with many things, the best of which is having someone by my side to love and serve Him. I am terribly flawed, but by God's grace, I have been redeemed by the sacrifice of God's Son on the cross, and to be given such a wonderful woman as partner and co-heir in His blessings, well, it just overwhelms me.

Happy 3rd year anniversary, dearheart. I love you to pieces.

-----

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 six 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.

Monday, December 19, 2005

The one with Ganns' Christmas prayer list

2005 was a roller-coaster year for my family and me. Cathy and I certainly went through a lot - emotionally, financially, and spiritually - and it is by God's grace that we're still here, stronger than ever before.

This Christmas, thousands of Christian bloggers are imploring their readers to remember the reason for the season - the birth of Christ, naturally - in their blogs. I, for one, am just grateful for that sacrifice. Suffice it to say that, end of day, it is only by God's grace that I am worth anything. All the good deeds and accomplishments in the world are worth diddly squat if there is no love in one's heart that keeps one marching - not trudging - merrily on, doing great things for Christ.

Christ didn't come into the world on December 25, but we know He did come, and will come again. This Christmas, I pray that all of you will receive all you need to live a life that is comfortable and glorifying to God's greatness, in preparation and thanksgiving for that glorious day. I also wish upon you everything in my prayer list for myself. I think we all, at some point or another, need these.

If you need prayer, please post it in the Comments box and trust we will pray for you.

1. Courage. I have been a Christian for more than six years but can count the number of times I have shared the gospel, on two hands. The joy I feel for His goodness is tempered by how I do not spread His Good News. This Christmas, I pray for boldness and courage for all Filipinos to do what is right, to tell the world of His love (thanks, Trina), and be a beacon of light in a world that has grown dark with apathy and denial.

God doesn't want us to be shy with His gifts, but bold and loving and sensible. So don't be embarrassed to speak up for our Master. - 2 Tim 1:7-8, The Message

And He said to them, "Go into the world and preach the gospel to every creature. - Mark 16:15

2. Self-Control. Suffice it to say that I am no paragon of virtue, and the ease by which I succumb to temptation is embarrassing and shameful. I pray that the fear of God will lead us to stand strong in the face of temptation, to say "no" by the Spirit when our own spirit or flesh is weak, and for us to respect the law, even if those who implement the law do not respect the law themselves.

No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what other have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; He'll never let you be pushed past your limit; He'll always be there to help you come through it. - 1 Cor 10:13, The Message

3. Joy. Many people have complemented our online home for being a source of positivity and growth, and for that we are grateful, because we have reason to be joyful and acknowledge that with declarations of joy. I pray that all Filipinos will see the silver lining in the rainclouds, trust in God to deliver us through the storm, and be thankful and happy for the blessings we already have. When we have God, it's easier to handle everything else.

So thank God for His marvelous love, for His miracle mercy to the children He loves! - Psalm 107:8

4. Physical and Spiritual Health. We want to do great things for God, but don't take care of our bodies, His temple. I pray that whatever it is that is stopping you from serving God fully in your heart because of physical difficulties, including addiction to smoking, prescription drugs, pornography, and the like, I pray that in Jesus' name, all these evils that are harming you will be cast away! Be clean and holy, that in all things you do, God's name may be glorified!

Behold, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. - 3 Jn 1:2

And the final item on my Christmas prayer list...

5. Love. I don't mean one man for every woman, nor do I mean having someone to have and hold. I mean love in its purest form, the kind that makes you do things for other people without having to be asked or seek reward.

Just recently, Cathy and I were hoodwinked by one of our household help, who told us she needed money for something, but she had plans to use it for something else. We took pity and lent her the money, which was a significant sum, a big deal to a family like ours which barely makes ends meet. In the end, she left us, but not before she gave us the money back.

I'd like to believe we did the right thing - and God protected us from being misled by this woman. Let me encourage all of you: God sees what's in your heart, and if you do good because you want to bless God's people - on a year-round basis, especially - you will be protected as you bless them.

And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? - 1 Peter 3:13

Happy holidays!

Friday, December 16, 2005

The one with Cathy's swollen foot

A few days ago, Cathy wore a pair of white shoes that she claimed were the most comfortable she'd ever worn. The next day, her foot started to swell, and it's been uncomfortable for about three days now. The doctor said it could be either a sprain or uric acid buildup. Ouch.

She's getting varied advice, from hot compresses to cold compresses to mefenamic acid. Anyone know a surefire way to deal with a swollen foot?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The one with the Superblessed Christian Blog Awards 2005 winners

We want to thank everyone for their support in 2005. The love you've shown us - peaking, of course, with the Philippine Blog Awards nomination and subsequent runner-up finish - has been a source of much joy.

"Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." - 1 Cor 15:57

The winners of this year's Superblessed Christian Blog Awards are victorious in Christ Jesus. They are outstanding ambassadors of Christ's love, and we thank God for their fellowship and online presence, because they are great encouragers, great bloggers, and simply great people.

We love every nominee, and pray each of you continues to blog for Jesus. Be superblessed!

Best Designed Blog.
BrownPau.com. Brownpau is an amazing individual, with much going for him in life, love, and career. His blog shows a keen sense of design, wit, and panache. Never too much but never too minimalist, Brownpau.com is a testament to the great things one can do with a classic sense of design.

Most Humorous Blog.
What in Tarnation?! Christopher Wright is one of the finest Christian bloggers on the Web today, and with good reason. His heart for God, his love for children, and his sense of humor is truly an encouragement. Sarcastic, corny, heart-warming... What in Tarnation?! has it all.

Most Educational Blog
Real Live Preacher. I only discovered Real Life Preacher this year, and have learned so much from Gordon Atkinson. He has a gift for teaching, and can deliver his points in simple yet riveting commentary. He is funny, too, and I look forward to eventually meeting this great, great man.

Most Introspective Blog
What a Beautiful Day! Susan has superblessed me for the longest time, and with her pregnant, her joy continues to overflow! A member of the Hillsong Australia church, Susan's thoughts on motherhood and walking the Christian life has been a source of much encouragement and introspection.

Most Useful Christian Resource
Relevant Magazine. Live the Life Magazine, the ill-fated Christian teen magazine Cathy and I started in 2004, owes much to Relevant Magazine. As I continue to take active efforts to impact the lives of Philippine youth through God-music, God-content, and this blog, I am inspired by the wry tones of Relevant Magazine, a truly cool Christian magazine for mid-20s adults.

Best Group Blog
Under the Juniper and Two Sents. Why pick when you can have both? Great discussions from all members of these group blogs make reading them absolute pleasure. Whether they're talking about the latest fashions, or blogging about personal mishaps, or waxing philosophical on their pastor's latest treatise, these young bloggers - men and women - are good reasons to band in groups of two or three with Christ in the center.

Most Inspirational/Encouraging Blog.
Chette. Chette Dizon is a young Filipina with a heart of gold for God and man. Reading her blog, you can taste her joy and see how happy she is to have God in her life. She and her boyfriend, Philip, are both so cute and inspiring, and I know God will use her mightily to win more souls to Jesus.

Most Enjoyable Male Filipino-Christian Blog.
Chinito.org. This was actually one of the toughest blogs, because I truly enjoy every single Filipino male blog in this list. What eventually won this award for Boris are the following: 1) he's proud to be Bisaya, like me; 2) he's young and has many more years to do great things for Christ; 3) he was woefully underappreciated at the Philippine Blog Awards, and this young man deserves all the encouragement; and 4) he's good-looking, like me. Okay, maybe three reasons, but still...

Most Enjoyable Female Filipino-Christian Blog.
Tina. I discovered Tina's blog this year, and I know her walk hasn't been all roses and satin. What I do know is that she does her best to live that life at work and at home, being the ambassador of Christ that she knows she is. I look forward to the day when she will be strong enough to share the good news with everyone she meets, and I know God will make her strong and mighty in every area.

Most Enjoyable Male Christian Blog (International, Non-Filipino).
Tim Samoff. Tim has gone through a lot in his life, but his faith and his God have sustained him, and in the process, served to inspire hundreds of visitors and guests to his blog, including me. I know that with every day that passes, he continues to grow joyful in God, and I know God will superbless Tim as Tim has superblessed me. Gallstones, begone, in Jesus' name!

Most Enjoyable Female Christian Blog (International, Non-Filipino).
Notes in the Key of Life and Shalom's Web (tie). What I love so much about Cindy Swanson and Jan Bishop are that they are such encouragers at this point in their life! When you've been through so much and God has blessed you, there is a great possibility you can become complacent, but not these two, no! Cindy Swanson is a great encourager who uses her gifts to testify of God's goodness, and Jan Bishop's musings on life and her faith have always served to encourage me and challenge my own faith in positive ways.

Superblessed Hall of Fame Award
Bene Diction Blogs On

The Blog On! Most Superblessed Christian Blog of 2005.
Sister's Weblog. Susan L. Prince and Katie B. have been online sisters of mine in the faith since 2002, I believe, and they've always been honest and open with their life. God-blogging is a serious activity - one carries the name of Christ, and temptations to doctor one's online persona to fit a holier-than-thou attitude are great and plentiful. With Sue and Katie, you know that what you see is what you get. Every post is a heart-on-your-sleeve, barenaked commentary that brings you to the realization that God works powerfully, no matter who you are, if you let Him. Sue's and Katie's lives are so inspiring because they've allowed God to work in their lives. Sisters' Weblog is more than a blog: it is a moving, living, breathing testament to God's glory, and for that I am superblessed, honored, and privileged to have known the authors behind this glorious online testimony to Jesus' power.

Monday, December 12, 2005

The one with what we can do to promote Avalon

As some of you may know, I posted last week that Stand, the 6th album from Dove Award-winning vocal group Avalon, is set for release January 24, 2005. You can pre-order Stand from MusiChristian.com and receive an autographed cover with the CD!

Avalon has quite the reputation: 20 #1 CCM chart hits to date, over three million albums sold, major Dove and American Music Award wins, plus performances for over 500,000 people in 2005 alone.

Love Won't Leave You is the first single from the Avalon album Stand, and airplay is starting to pick up, so calling my friends and fellow Christian bloggers in the US, be sure to call up your local CCM radio stations and request the track.

I, for one, have already signed up for the Avalon Street Team, and once I'm sent a CD sampler (here's hoping!), I intend to make the rounds of pop radio stations to try to get airplay for Love Won't Leave You locally. The local distributor, House of Praise, is rather slow (The Creed was released, like, nine months after US release - but at least they made it, right?), so I trust that they'll rush things once Love Won't Leave You becomes a major hit here.

Go Avalon!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The one with Walter Sugar-free bread



Cathy and I recently purchased a loaf of Walter Sugar-Free bread. This bread is the best bread we've ever bought. High-fiber, low-carb, no-sugar, moist and soft, delicious with or without a spread or filling... it's the best bread you can get out on the market, bar none.

I kid you not - forget white bread and go for the whole wheat yummy breads like Walter Sugar-Free bread. We highly recommend it.

The one with some photos from Alex & Daisy's wedding

Two weeks ago, Cathy and I hosted a wedding for our friends Alex Lao and Daisy Liao at Sonia's Garden in beautiful Tagaytay. The place was quite pretty, to which some of these photos can attest.


Charming little outside dais.


My beautiful wife in a beautiful place.


A shot of some of the flowers at Sonia's.

My Flickr photo album for Alex and Daisy's Wedding.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The one with Miss World 2005

Okay, it's official. Miss Iceland is Miss World 2005. Carlene Aguilar, Miss Philippines, made the semi-finals but failed to advance, apparently. Nevertheless, it was a valiant effort from Carlene and we are proud of her.

Congratulations to Miss Iceland. Utot.

Friday, December 09, 2005

The one where it's down the wire

Two days to go before Miss World! Pray for Carlene Aguilar! Vote for Carlene! Spread the word for Carlene!

Go, Philippines!

The one with Discovery Country Suites Tagaytay

Ganns and I celebrated our 3rd year anniversary with a mid-week minibreak at Discovery Country Suites Tagaytay. All in all, we had a great time. The only glitch was that we were unable to use the complimentary wifi since we cannot set up our laptop right.

With only 7 suites available, Discovery Country Suites had a very homey feel and the service is very much personalized. They served us complimentary cheese and wine at 530 PM and warm milk and cookies at around 8PM. The breakfast was good but not exceptional. Still, the privacy and the beauty of view was well worth the trip.

Although the place is quiant and relaxing, the regular room rate is quite expensive. It's good that we were able to stay there at promo rates (50% off). :)

For Ganns. Thank you, my sweet, for a wonderful 3 years. As I said in my card, the most romantic place in the world is any place with you.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The one where blessings beget blessings

If this isn't proof yet that God is good, I don't know what is!

Fresh off posting the nominees for the Superblessed Christian Blog Awards 2005, we get congratulatory messages from people through email and the message board to the right that we've placed second overall in the Most Informative Blog category of the Philippine Blog Awards 2005!

What thrills me even more is that it's my good online acquaintance Dr. Emer who romps off with the award proper - and rightly so! A gentlemen with a heart of gold, Dr. Emer posts essential health tips at Parallel Universes, information that is certainly timely and essential in these difficult times. Ika nga, bawal ang magkasakit, and Dr. Emer does his part in helping us stay healthy, wealthy and wise.

Congratulations to Dr. Emer, and kudos to the truly amazing Major Tom, whose Prophet Daily romps off with the bronze medal!

Thank you, everyone at the Philippine Blog Awards! You've honored us, and in doing so, have proven, at least to all guests of Superblessed, that Christian blogs can be at par with the very best of what the Philippines has to offer. We give God all the praise, and pray that we can continue to bring Him glory through everything we do, online and offline.

THANK YOU!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The one with the nominees for the Superblessed Christian Blog Awards 2005

This year, the Superblessed Christian Blog Awards turns three. Those who've been around for the whole journey know 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.

This year, all categories stay the same, save for the Favorite Christian Blog 2005, which I am renaming in honor of Bene Diction, God-blogger and first recipient of my Superblessed Hall of Fame Award. In honor of BD’s favorite encouraging phrase, I’ve renamed this category to the Blog On! Superblessed Christian Blog of the Year 2005.

Again, thank you, all our friends (and foes) online for helping make Superblessed what it is today. We’re blessed by you in ways you’ll never know.

Best Designed Blog.
1. BrownPau.com
2. Keren.
3. Refine Me.org.
4. Riz.

Most Humorous Blog.
1. Bloggedy Blog.
2. In Between Panels.
3. Michael Main.
4. Sonafide.com
5.What in Tarnation?

Most Educational Blog
1. Ambergrs.
2. Avoiding Evil.
3. Bloggedy Blog
4. Dialog: Breaking the Bubble
5. He Lives
6. Mark Byron
7. Notes in the Key of Life.
8. Real Live Preacher.

Most Introspective Blog
1. 7 Day Holy.
2. Constantly Abiding.
3. Sinners Saved By Grace.
4. What a Beautiful Day!

Most Useful Christian Resource
1. Bible Gateway.
2. Blogs4God.
3. GenRev.net
4. J-Zone.
5. Relevant Magazine.

Best Group Blog
1. Under the Juniper
2. Two Sents.

Most Inspirational/Encouraging Blog.
1. 7 Day Holy.
2. Can You Hear Me Now?
3. Chette.
4. Char.
5. Frances.
6. Living Room
7. Wanderings of a Post-Modern Pilgrim
8. In That Number.
9. Pia.
10. My Silverchair.

Most Enjoyable Male Filipino-Christian Blog.
1. Bobby Jon C.
2. Better Than Life!.
3. Chinito.org.
4. Denz.
5. Jordan the Jesus Rocker.
6. Jake.
7. The Normz.

Most Enjoyable Female Filipino-Christian Blog.
1. Char.
2. Chette.
3. Clairest of Them All.
4. Frances.
5. Hazella.
6. In That Number.
7. Jax Place.
8. Pia.
9. My Silverchair.
10. Tina.

Most Enjoyable Male Christian Blog (International, Non-Filipino).
1. Bakura Chronicles.
2. Brownpau.
3. Fanster.net.
4. Galvin.
5. He Lives.
6. Living Room.
7. Michael Main.
8. Mr. Standfast.
9. Threshing Floor.
10. Tim Samoff.

Most Enjoyable Female Christian Blog (International, Non-Filipino).
1. Beautiful Day!.
2. He's the Reason I Sing.
3. Kyriosity.
4. Notes in the Key of Life.
5. Pia.
6. Shalom's Web.
7. Sonafide.com.
8. Sisters' Weblog.
9. Such Small Hands.
10. Tracy's Every Moment.

Superblessed Hall of Fame Award
Bene Diction Blogs On

The Blog On! Most Superblessed Christian Blog of 2005.
1. Better Than Life!.
2. Notes in the Key of Life.
3. Jax Place.
4. Sister's Weblog
5. Such Small Hands.
6. What in Tarnation?

The one where Bata Reyes could do us proud

Fresh off the victories at the Southeast Asian Games, Filipino athletes are lining up to do us proud. Leading the pack: Efren "Bata" Reyes winning at the money-rich King of the Hill billiards tournament in Florida, who took home a whopping P10.8M purse, beating defending champ Mike Sigel.

Mabuhay ang Pilipino!

Monday, December 05, 2005

The one with why we should remember 2005

A lot of good things happened for the Philippines in 2005!

In 2005, for the first time in history, the Philippines is the overall champion in the 2005 Southeast Asian Games, with more than 113 golds won in weeklong competitions.

In 2005, Manny Pacquiao defeated Hector Velazquez to win the WBC International Super Flyweight title.

In 2005, Precious Lara Quigaman won the Miss International beauty pageant.

I predict Carlene Aguilar will win the 2005 Miss World beauty pageant.

The Philippine peso is up, gasoline prices are down.

Yes, we still have a president in office who does not deserve to be there; yes, inflation is still high; yes, the economy has a long way to go before we can officially be out of this slump.

Above it all, though, we must remember one thing: GOD IS GOOD.

It's sad sometimes that we forget that we are a nation under God, a God who loves us and is waiting for us to rely on Him - not on GMA, not on our families working abroad, not on ourselves to take matters into our own hands in the name of survival, kicking out our leaders when we feel like it or breaking the law when we get a chance.

I propose we remember 2005 as a year of triumph over ourselves - our pride, our arrogance, and every single temptation to let ningas cogon, bahala na, and crab mentality take over - and rely on God.

It's time to let God take matters into His hands and let great things happen. Let us kiss goodbye the anger and bitterness of 2005 that came with GMA's tomfoolery. God allowed her there, and it will be God who will take her out, if it is in His will. We are in this situation because we don't respect those whom God has allowed to be put in power. He may not like it, but He has allowed it.

The Bible says "humble yourselves under the nighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you." (1 Peter 5:6)

We can work together towards bringing this country out of its doldrums. 2005 is a year we should remember for the good things, not the bad. 2005 should be remembered as a year we beat the odds as a people and showed the world we are a nation of men and women who don't cheat during sports events, respect our leaders, and honor our legacy as a people under Jesus Christ.

We are Christian and we are Filipino. That should be enough.

Update: Praise the Lord!

Cathy, Nathan and I will remember 2005 as the year we were blessed by God with health, a closer relationship with each other, and making the finals of the Most Informative Blog category of the Philippine Blog Awards! Thank you, everyone! God superbless you!

Congratulations to Y.B. Masdal, whose two blogs, The Daily Prophet AND Where is the Citizen on Mars?, both made the list of finalists! Man, you are amazing!

Congratulations to Jomar, whose Follow the Process also made the cut!

Congratulations to Benjamin Pimentel! Kuwento Kuwento is in the finals!

Finally, congratulations to Doc Emer! Parallel Universes is in the running for the competition!

We're so thrilled and proud to be part of such a worthy, exemplary list of informative blogs. You guys are all winners! Yahoo for you!

The one where Carlene is Miss Cyber Press World 2005

Miss Philippines Carlene Aguilar has emerged victorious in the Miss Cyber Press World 2005, strengthening our beliefs that she will be first Filipino - and Asian! - to win Miss World!

With a narrow victory over Miss Switzerland, Lauriane Guillieron, Carlene Aguilar is the first Asian to also win this fantasy pageant.

Carlene also continues to reign supreme as bookmakers' preferences, topping all charts, including Intertopps, which had her formally positioned with Italy and Namibia. She shares the #1 slot with Italy over at Sportsbook.com.

With only six days to go until the finals night, don't forget to vote for Carlene Aguilar in the Miss World 2005 beauty pageant! Send SMS "MW 114" to 2441 (Smart) or 2345 (Globe), or 2929 (Chikka.com)! You can also download wallpapers by sending "MW MMS114" to 2929 (and this adds 10 votes to Carlene's total)!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Lola da dida care bear!


Da! Lola di bicha whicha wa wa! Oh no!

Translation: Lola's hugging me to death! Oh no!


Dicha wa wa boo woo chawawa!

Translation: I love my Lola like Blue's Clues!

The Superblessed Guide to the Philippine Blog Awards Part 4

There are XX nominees in the Pinoy Blogger of the Year category, all worth a regular visit for pure enjoyment! Your run-through of the semifinalists, in order of listing on the Philippine Blog Awards semifinals page:

1. Batchoy. A blog worthy of recognition for its self-deprecating humor and creative design. Amusing!

2. SimplePipol. Mark's unique design and left-of-center thoughts on the world make this a blog worth your time. Do drop by!

3. Maning Burlesk. The author, Pnut Gritil, "ay isang promding naglalakbay sa pamamagitan ng kanyang pinakapaboritong sasakyan ang baby bus sa kanyang pinakapaboritong puwesto ang tabing bintana." Refreshingly promdi!

4. Captain's Log. Jepoy's blog reads like a personal blog highlighting his interests, often crossing the boundaries and crisscrossing topics, although science fiction is obviously a priority. Interesting!

5. My Scratch Pad. Reia's blog is a feminine, cat-oriented blog with thoughtful entries that reflect a charming nature and love for life. Lovely!

6. Kulotski Online. Kulotski witnessed a crime and claims to have done nothing. I disagree - she blogged about it. That's a brave blogger right there.

7. Gingmaganda. Ging's website stands out for its simplicity of design and frankness of blog. Hearts on one's sleeve always find others that beat to the same tune. Gorgeous.

8. Edmon and Anne. Two thoughtful bloggers, blogging from a tree. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

9. Idiotboard. Julsitos' wry, sarcastic, acerbic blog infuriates, tickles, challenges, and pleases. Not for the faint-hearted!

10. Jac Strips for You. Cartoonist Jac Ting Lim maintains a funny, thought-provoking blog. You gotta love that title. Excellent!

11. Fire.in.the.Gut. Chris Lagman posts quality entries on topics in general. Quite good! Interesting and engaging!

To be continued...

The one with the Miss Cyber Press World 2005 Update: Quarterfinals

In Round of 16 action, Miss Philippines Carlene Aguilar defeated Miss Bosnia-Herzegovina Sanja Tunjic. She goes up against Miss Martinique Moana Sarann Robinel in the final 8.

The other six quarterfinalists:
Miss Iceland against Miss England
Miss Puerto Rico against Miss Sri Lanka
Miss Spain against Miss Switzerland

Don't forget to vote for Carlene Aguilar in the Miss World 2005 beauty pageant! Send SMS "MW 114" to 2441 (Smart) or 2345 (Globe), or 2929 (Chikka.com)! You can also download wallpapers by sending "MW MMS114" to 2929 (and this adds 10 votes to Carlene's total)!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The one where Sparrow/EMI ruins my holidays



Avalon has a new album! Aaaack!

Titled Stand, their 6th studio album features 10 tracks and is bound to be another surefire excellent album. According to Sparrow Records, the carrier single is Love Won't Leave You (strangely enough, not on the track listing over at MusiChristian.com.

I visited MusiChristian.com to pre-order an autographed copy, and guess what?

I CAN'T! EMI doesn't ship outside the USA!

What kind of pseudo-capitalist imperialism is rearing its ugly head at me? Won't allow God-music to make its way to this pagan shore, eh, EMI?!

Phooey. Would've been the best Christmas gift, too.
Sue Prince has offered to help me out! Praise God for brothers and sisters in the faith! Love you, love you, love you, Sue! Thank you so much! I'm gonna have the best Christmas gift! Woohoo!

The one with the Miss Cyber Press World 2005 Update: Round of 16

In Round of 32 action, Miss Philippines Carlene Aguilar finished first in Group D, narrowly beating Miss Italy Sofia Bruscoli, and routing Miss Albania Suada Sherifaja and Miss Colombia Erika Queribin.

Aguilar advances to the round of 16, against Miss Bosnia-Herzegovina Sanja Tunjic. Miss Italy, her strongest competition, squares off against Miss Sri Lanka Nadeeka Pereira (expect an upset by the Italian beauty).

Other candidates with the potential to beat Miss Philippines Carlene Aguilar and their respective pairings:

Miss Iceland (1st in her group) against Miss Brazil (2nd in her group)
Miss Namibia (2nd, lost to surprise 1st placer Martinique) against Miss Puerto Rico (1st)
Miss Spain (1st) against Miss Costa Rica (2nd)
Miss England (1st) against Miss Venezuela (2nd)

Don't forget to vote for Carlene Aguilar in the Miss World 2005 beauty pageant! Send SMS "MW 114" to 2441 (Smart) or 2345 (Globe), or 2929 (Chikka.com)! You can also download wallpapers by sending "MW MMS114" to 2929 (and this adds 10 votes to Carlene's total)!

The one with the potentially embarrassing ad

Today, the Association of Schools of the Augustinian Sisters of our Lady of Consolation published a quarter page ad on page A4 of the Philippine Daily Inquirer congratulating Ms. Philippines-International Precious Lara Quigaman for her victory at the recently concluded Miss International 2005 beauty pageant.

They termed it a precious Augustinian victory. Couldn't resist the pun, right?

The chink in the armor, the fly in the paste, the pimple on the beauty queen's face, comes in the ad's reprinting the infamous Precious Lara Quigaman nanny speech that I wrote about a few months back as a hoax. I have yet to read of confirmation that Quigaman gave that so-called nanny speech, because from the looks of it, that nanny speech was never given by Quigaman. My post explains why.

If it is, in fact, a hoax, this could be a potentially embarrassing ad for the Augustinian sisters. I'm sure the last thing they want on their hands is to fall victim to a hoax that claims the beautiful Precious Lara said something she didn't.

I've gotten at least 50 hits from searches on that speech since Precious Lara Quigaman won Miss International 2005, so I tell you people are searching for it. The real writer of that speech must be laughing her/his head off right now.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The one where you can bless my Blog of the Year 2004

Bene Diction, whose blog BeneDictionBlogsOn.com was my Blog of the Year at the Superblessed Christian Blog Awards two out of three years, superblessing me more than any other blog online today, has wished me the best of luck at the Philippine Blog Awards, where Superblessed is a pleased-as-punch semifinalist.

It's my pleasure to turn the tables on Bene as the BeneDictionBlogsOn.com blog is a finalist as well at the annual Canadian Blog Awards, standing tall amongst other nominees in the Best Religious Blog category.

Now's your chance to show Canada that Canuck Christians have what it takes to win at one of these shindigs! Hie on over to the Canadian Blog Awards and vote for Bene Diction, please! This blog deserves to win.

God bless your chances, BD! Go, God-blogs!

Which reminds me, I should post the nominees for the Superblessed Christian Blog Awards 2005 soon!

The one where God blesses my music that glorifies His name

Last week, I submitted a demo CD of 17 original compositions (14 praise and worship, 3 secular) to some musical directors and influential people in the industry with one main intention: try to get some of my original praise and worship songs into their hands for possible inclusion in the albums of any artist in their roster.

This morning, I got a text message from one particular person who I shall call The Dreamer, who handed my CD to one musical director, and a portion of the message sent to him from this director said this:

"Track 17 I Desire has d most potential! :) ganda ng melody! :)"

Glory to God! My songs have potential! My love song for God has a beautiful melody! It's music to my ears!

I honestly hope they decide to take I Desire, as well as other tracks, because, well, as a lyric in I Desire goes, This is my desire: proclaim You awesome in this place. That by my music, His name may be glorified.

Praise God! I have so much joy in my heart, it'll carry me through the rest of this week!

The one with Miss Cyber Press World 2005

Initial disclaimer: no, there are no closet queens on this website. LOL We just like rooting for Filipino candidates, no matter which competition.

That being said in all defensiveness and tongue-in-cheek, let's move on to the point of this post. Ms. Philippines Carlene Aguilar, the Philippine candidate to the Miss World 2005 beauty pageant and one of the early favorites in Miss World, is in the running for another competition on Global Beauties.

Miss Cyber Press World 2005 is a mini-competition, a fantasy competition, if you will, that has adopted FIFA'S dispute system (in tribute to the World Cup). After two qualifying rounds of voting with the participation of over 20 webmasters, 32 candidates from Miss World 2005 made it to the next round. Eight groups of four make up the first round of competition.

Bb. Pilipinas-World and Miss World Philippine candidate Aguilar is in Group D, pit against three strong contenders: Miss Albania Suada Sherifaj, a towering beauty at 6"1; Colombian beauty Erika Queribin, and fellow early favorite Sofia Bruscoli. A strong group, this Group D. It's a shame only one will make it to the next round in the fantasy pageant Miss Cyber Press World 2005. Here's hoping Carlene Aguilar makes it through!

Don't forget to vote for her for Miss World 2005 by sending SMS "MW 114" to 2441 (Smart) or 2345 (Globe)!

In related news, it appears that Miss Philippines Carlene Aguilar's odds in Miss World are now very, very strong. All bookmakers listed on GlobalBeauties.com now have her unanimous as #1, save for Intertops, which tie her at #1 with Italy and Namibia, and Sportsbook, which ties her at #1 with Italy! Praise God! Go, Carlene!

Update: Noelle says "Star World is also showing commercials for Vote for Me, and they have another number you can text votes to. Type "MW 114" and send to 2929. This is a service provided by Chikka.com. You can also download wallpapers by sending "MW MMS114" to 2929 (and this adds 10 votes to Carlene's total)." All you people with MMS phones, you know what to do!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Superblessed Guide to the Philippine Blog Awards Semifinalists Part 3

There are 35 nominees in the Best Blog Site of the Year category, a veritable buffet of blogs to suit your taste and preferences! Your run-through of the semifinalists, in alphabetical order:

1. A Gelay Log. Angela Solis' blog is a witty and informative blog that deals with her issues. Charming!

2. Asteeg.net. Louie's charm lies in his own high school meanderings and ever-playful design. Youth rocks!

3. Beauty in Balance. Lizbeth's classic romantic design goes very well with her thoughtful nature and fine, upstanding Atenean demeanor. Intoxicating!

4. Chinito.org. I've known Boris as a blogger for a long time now, and he's a fine, upstanding young man. His blog is equally interesting. Madaug ka na gid!

5. Cluttered Thoughts. Daniel is thrilled to be a finalist - and I'm not surprised that he is. Cute layout, honest thoughts, and a quality about him make this blog a joy to read.

6. Crammer. Abi claims to be a crammer - but it doesn't show on this colorfully green (she's Atenean!), creatively jampacked blog. Yum!

7. Crazy World of Ayan. Ayan Deato, model/host/writer. The site's all about him, and I think the world should get a chance to know about him. Cheers!

8. Crimson Freak. Arianne's visually arresting blog provides stimulating and relevant content. Fun!

9. DearDiarya. Mr_D writes with the heart on the sleeve, and in Filipino, too! It makes me proud to be Pinoy. Mabuhay!

10. DesignLabProject. Michael Belleca's site is a frontrunner for sheer visual pleasure. A winner in every sense of the world. Must-visit-asap.

11. Digital Distraction. I'm glad Aaron made this category too, proof that this blog is definitely world-class quality. Great photos, great content, great site.

12. Dzune Online. Dzune is wonderfully honest, and there's nothing more refreshing. Swing on by and encourage him, especially now, since his sister's moved into Jesus' home.

13. Guttervomit. The site is about less than nothing, in author Luis' words. I think it's about a lot of things, and there's always something new to be learned from this site.

14. IntoOblivion.net is offline.

15. Ironwulf.net. I am such a fan. This site is one of my favorites - awesome photography, awesome site design, excellent blog. Wow!

16. Jem. Unabashed Christian Jem, Queen and Mestisa, is such a pleasure to read for her faith and her love of life! Yay for Christian teens!

17. JohnReyes.net features an irresistibly unique design and attention-grabbing photos that combine for a great blog experience. Mmm-mm!

18. Just a Smile. Benildean Lai Reyes makes us proud with this girly, heartfelt, painstakingly honest blog. One of the better younger bloggers out today.

19. Lucaret. Also known as Rhetorics of the Hopeless Lunatic, this site is visually arresting, content-rich, and, well, quite addictive. You've been forewarned.

20. Me Dot Inside. Me Dot Inside is beautiful on both the dot outside and dot inside. Take a look!

21. Memoirs of a Neophyte. I love NiƱo's blog - it's witty and sarcastic with touches of soul and sentiment. Must-read.

22. Munimuni. Jary is both contemplative and thought-provoking. The title gives it all away. Hmm!

23. Panibugho. Tauffer Ng maintains a stunning, classic blog with something for everybody. Mesmerizing!

24. Pepster.tk is offline.

25. PinayExpat. AnP is another blogger I've known from way back - and she's back and better than ever! MeinGotten!

26. Pink Pillows. Mary Sue's anime design underscores a bemusement with the world. Fluffy!

27. Quezon.ph. Manuel L. Quezon III maintains this astute political blog. Absolutely riveting!

28. Salt and Pepper. Yoj and Seph make a cute couple. Engrossing!

29. Sedricke/Skyscraper. Sedricke's photoblog is a semifinalist, and his blog is as well. The man is talented, talented, talented. Check it out!

30. SigawTahimik.tk. Myke's dark and brooding design stands out for its uniquel surreal feel. Chilling!

31. Solastralune. Jet/Sheila maintains a deeply introspective, classy blog with much to learn from. Thought-provoking!

32. Special Education Teacher in Washington, D.C.. Teacher Sol's blog is both informative and heartwarming. Awww!

33. StephenCuyos.com. To think a young priest is behind this simple site that glows with superblessings that come from a great God! Be blessed by this site1

34. Sweet Soul's Dream Ball. Lily is grace personified, and her blog just radiates with cheer and joy. Go, go, go!

God bless all semifinalists!

Update: Special thanks to MLQIII, who says this post contains "the nicest capsule reviews ever blogged." Thank you, Sir!

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Superblessed Guide to the Philippine Blog Awards Semifinalists Part 2

There are 24 nominees in the Best PhotoBlog of the Year category, every one of which is visually pleasing and absolutely delightful! Your run-through of the semifinalists, in alphabetical order:

1. All About Us. Cess Ong's blog features some head-on shots that display human emotion at its most raw. Oh and she's a Benildean, too. Must-visit!

2. Along Came TserYAH! TserYAH publishes one of the most refreshingly honest blogs I've visited in a long time. The images are pretty honest, too. A fresh blog to visit!

3. Annalyn.net. AJ Jusay's photographs are taken with a keen eye for detail and with a mother's love. You have got to give credit to that potent combination. Yum!

4. Byahilo. A dizzying araw of sights (and virtual sounds!), this blog takes you all over the Philippines. As the author says, your journey begins here. Sakay na!

5. Dubai Chronicles. Jeff's adventures in the Middle Eastern peninsula provide him much fodder for exceptionally professional photographs. Expertly taken. Drop by!

6. Digital Distraction. Aaron's blog features photographs provide a visually delicious range of colors and images. Fun fun fun!

7. Erik's Adventures. "Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time." Beautiful!

8. Eye Focus. Each stunning photograph comes with informative blurbs about the circumstance and topic. Breathtaking!

9. The Honeyspot. Wry and satiric, with some shocking photographs in there. Verrrry interesting!

10. Ironwulf.net. This blog's design and photographs take my breath away. In my opinion, one of the strongest contenders. You must visit this blog.

11. NocturnalAngel2. I envy Pam Pastor. She's a brilliant writer with the dream job (2BU Ed-in-Chief). She's beautiful and she takes great photos. Visit this blog immediately!

12. Photos from Sedricke. Stark in design, stunning in visual imagery. Photographs and not much else. If you're a minimalist all about the pictures, this is the blog for you.

13. Photoseko. Daday da Makulay lives up to the name, all right. All colors of the rainbow, photographs that stand out for beauty and vision... this blog has it all. Do drop by!

14. Pixel Pimp. "pixelpimp is all about graphic designs, photography pursuits, and their subtleties combined (with emphasis on this personal mantra: share something spiffy!)." Inspiring!

15. Psylocke's Paradise. Psylocke is still stunned by making the PhilBlogAwards' semifinals. I'm not surprised - each photograph is lovingly taken with the eye of an expert. Magical!

16. Puto ni Mimi. "Provinces, forests, beaches, the sands, shells, trees', grass', the wind and heat of the sun... hang sarap mag unwind." She's witty and sharp. Very impressive!

17. Retrospection. Cruise, as the author calls himself, does literally that, cruising along and snapping shots whenever he can. It helps to be quite thoughtful, as his accompanying blurbs show. Cool!

18. Rhodyl.com. Rhodyl accompanies each photograph with his own commentary that is often humorous and introspective as well. I enjoy his fresh outlook. Do visit!

19. Rhyme With Ralph. A razor-sharp sense of humor and a good eye for detail are the strongest reasons to visit this balikbayan's blog. Visit asap!

20. The Shadowkeeper is a Chick. Becky's shots are humorous and detailed - she has one shot with a bus passenger picking her nose! Ew! A laugh and a half, daan na!

21. Sightseer. Dr. Emer's photoblog is unique and thoughtful. Large photographs enable you to see the beauty of each individual shot. Glorious.

22. Son of Soy. Introspective and thoughtful, Son of Soy takes pictures with a precise eye and a child's wonder. Delightful!

23. Time Out! AL Bjornstad's Eurofocused blog is serene, with photographs that belong in a coffee table book. Divine!

God bless all semifinalists!

Friday, November 25, 2005

The Superblessed Guide to the Philippine Blog Awards Semifinalists Part 1

There are 14 nominees in the Most Informative Blog category, every one of which is definitely worth visiting on a regular basis. Here's a quick run-through of the semifinalists, in alphabetical order.

1. Captain's Log. Jepoy's blog reads like a personal blog highlighting his interests, often crossing the boundaries and crisscrossing topics, although science fiction is obviously a priority. Interesting!

2. The Daily Prophet. Y.B. Masdal's alias Major Tom operates one of two blogs nominated in this category (the other being Where is the Citizen on Mars?). This particular blog deals with prophecies from the author spanning a wide variety of topics. A fascinating read!

3. DiaryngIsangPogi has disappeared.

4. Filipino Librarian. Updates on librarian-related news and information, but with plenty more tidbits on scientific discoveries, pop culture, and Philippine interest topics. Focused and professional!

5. Follow the Process. In blog author Jomar's words, this blog "reveals how I follow the process of becoming financially free. Stories of how opportunities come and go, get analysed (complete with charts!) How I look for them (sometimes) and the steps I will do to obtain passive income as well as wrong turns too!"

6. Kuwento Kuwento. Benjamin Pimentel's political blog features interviews with Filipinos from all over the world including Sheila Coronel of PCIJ. It's also featured the folk group Asin, Apl De Ap of Black Eyed Peas, and Newsbreak's Glenda Gloria. Kuwento Kuwento will give you the story story. Enjoy this blog every day!

7. ManofMars. A pop culture blog, this music and cinema-focused blog keeps one updated on the local indie scene as well as on certain movies and pop culture undercurrents. Worth the regular visit, although by his own admission, he doesn't update as much as he'd like. Rockin'!

8. NewsRoom Barkada. Run by Glenn Omanios, this blog posts Philippine-relevant news and information. It sure saves you time running through Inq7.net! Daily read requirement!

9. Parallel Universes. Doc Emer's an online acquaintance, thanks to Wifely Steps, the one blog that should have made the semis but didn't. Luckily, Doc Emer's did, and rightly so! With useful, timely information on science and health from a Filipino perspective, this is one blog that is relevant and worthwhile. Visit it daily!

10. Pinoy Big Brother Philippines. The author of this page, Pinoy Idol, provides regular updates on the comings and goings of the housemates of season 1 of Pinoy Big Brother, the reality show that's sweeping the Philippines. Engrossing!

11. The Professional Heckler. The Professional Heckler provides a wry and biting commentary on Philippine politics. Always enjoyable and well-informed, the Heckler's sarcastic tirades on the current administration's idiosyncracies always make for a truly enjoyable experience. Must-read!

12. The Rocket Boy Chronicles. Another pop culture blog, The Rocketboy Chronicles updates one on pop culture in general, with movies an obvious focus. Lot of links to good movie posters and shots. Satisfying!

13. Where is the Citizen on Mars? Y.B. Masdal's alias Major Tom has two blogs nominated in this category (the other being The Daily Prophet). This particular blog, in his own words, is "envisioned to present socio-political issues in a manner that clarifies rather than complicates matters. At the same time, this blog also presents personal and other leisurely subjects thus broadening the scope of its subjects." Captivating!

That's only 13, you might say. Who's the 14th? Well, praise God. ;)

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The one with how to vote for Miss World 2005


Image courtesy of GlobalBeauties.com


If you want to vote for Carlene Aguilar, Miss Philippines at the Miss World 2005, here's how:

Smart Subscribers may vote by texting "MW 114" and sending to 2441. P2.50 per text. Send at least 20 times!

Globe Subscribers may vote by texting "MW 114" and sending to 2345. P2.50 per text. Send at least 20 times.

So don't hesitate and start voting for Miss Philippines at the 2005 Miss World! Vote for Carlene Aguilar! Vote for the best Asian contestant in years to become the first Far East candidate to win Miss World! Thanks to Noelle for the help.

Update: GlobalBeauties.com is holding its own Miss World poll. Vote for Carlene Aguilar, Miss Philippines

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The one with Jennifer Hudson beating Fantasia Barrino


Image courtesy of Ultimate Idol Home.

In news I can only deem appropriate and well-deserved, Yahoo! Entertainment reports season three American Idol finalist Jennifer Hudson has edged out Season Three champ Fantasia Barrino in the race to the big screen, bagging a crucial supporting role in the upcoming DreamWorks release Dreamgirls opposite Destiny's Child chanteuse Beyonce Knowles, Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx, Grammy Award winner Raymond Usher (yes, that Usher), and popular comedian Eddie Murphy.

According to the Yahoo! report, as well as news from USA Today, Hudson, Knowles and Tony Award-winning stage actress Anika Noni Rose have been cast to portray the three members of the Dreamettes, a a girl group whose story is somewhat based on the true goings-on behind Motown supergroup The Supremes. The film, set in the late 1960s and early 1970s, will feature the music from the Broadway smash, including One Night Only and And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going. It will be directed by Academy Award winner Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters, Best Original Screenplay, nominated for Chicago).

The role of Effie, originally played on Broadway by Jennifer Holliday, whose show-stopping version of And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going made her a bona fide star, landed in Hudson's hands. Even after Foxx had publicly endorsed Barrino for the part, Hudson bagged the role - and, hopefully, with it, stardom.

She deserves it. Hudson was my American Idol.

The one with Carlene's lead

Philippine bet to Miss World 2005 Ms. Carlene Aguilar appears to have increased her lead over the other candidates, praise God!

According to GlobalBeauties.com, which maintains strong and healthy coverage of the Miss World 2005 beauty pageant, Ms. Philippines Carlene Aguilar is the runaway favorite with online betting houses, leading the rest of the 100+ delegates on 10 out of 12 online betting houses (specifically, Centrebet 9-1 odds; Ladbrokes 10-1 odds; Skybet at 9-1 odds with Italy, England, and Albania; Bet365 9-1 odds; Bluesquare 8-1 odds, Betfair 9-1 odds, PaddyPower 9-1 odds, GameBookers 10-1 odds, SportingOdds 9-1 odds, and Sportsbet at 11-1 odds).

The two dissenting websites have her in the Top 3 (Intertops at #2 with 8-1 odds behind Ms. Namibia and CariBet at #3 with 8-1 odds behind Iceland and Costa Rica, tied with Italy).

Continue to pray for Carlene Aguilar as the coronation night draws near, and once we get news on how to vote (Noelle says ABC-5 has info - people with televisions, feed me news!!), flood the SMS lines, Philippines! Send Carlene Aguilar to the finals!

Monday, November 21, 2005

The one with the huge literary loss

The home of NVM Gonzalez, one of the greatest English writers ever produced by the Philippines, burned down last Friday, with it all his literary works, including his essays, fiction, poetry, and books, his certificates, medals, and entries to the NVM Gonzalez Award.

Having Professor Gonzalez as a fiction teacher was one of the greatest experiences of my life. He taught simply, inspired greatly, and had a passion for the written word that I had never seen to date. When he died, I traveled from my home in Paranaque to where he lay in state in the University of the Philippines, and as I sat at the back, remembering what he taught me, I knew I was privileged to have known him and been in his presence, if only for a semester.

I am no great writer. NVM Gonzalez was a great writer. And now all his work - gone.

My heart weeps for the loss. It is a tragedy - more of the Philippines' than anyone else's. When your nation is blessed with brilliance and genius, to have it all taken away - all, being the operative word, now that both writer and works are gone - is simply too much, too much.

Friday, November 18, 2005

The one with Mongolian Stop

There are a lot of good things to say about the Mongolian eat-all-you-can. Cathy and I are big fans of the Mongolian buffet. And why not? You prepare the ingredients yourself, choosing whatever you'd like to add to the mix, all the way up to the spices and condiments, and voila! You've got yourself a relatively healthy meal right there on your plate (or in this case, bowl).


When it comes to Mongolian eat-all-you-can's, Cathy and I love Mongolian Stop at the 2nd floor of Robinson's Place Ermita. The selection there is quite decent, but what we like about it is the fast service and the crowd - not too many to overpower, but not too few to make it strange to eat there alone.

This bowl is my standard Mongolian Stop bowl. Cabbage, lettuce, peanuts, bean sprouts, red and green bell peppers, chicken, beef, and pork, with six teaspoons of Mongolian sauce, four teaspoons of garlic water, three teaspoons of sesame oil. Trust me - it's delicious, and leaves a great sauce.

The best part? Only P199, eat all you can! Great deal, seriously. There's a Mongolian Stop at Robinson's Galleria, too, at the Food Court. Go, little ones, go!


This would be tofu. Mmm!


Cathy strikes a pose. My wife is truly beautiful!


Here she is again, looking all introspective.

The one with Carlene charming everyone into the homestretch

Global Beauties has released an update on the Miss World 2005 favorites, and Miss Philippines World 2005 Carlene Aguilar is still the odds-on favorite. I have to admit, I'm getting a little concerned, especially as more and more of the Miss World 2005 candidates seem to get their A-Game on, but I'm confident Bb. Pilipinas Carlene Aguilar will do us proud.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The one where the Deens are immensely grateful

The Philippine Blog Awards, an independent and non-corporate dotcom, has promoted and recognized Filipino Blog sites and bloggers for the past three years. I first heard of them in 2003, when my good Christian buddy Rick Manzano's old site, StarbucksCoffeeForFree, helped him secure a nomination for Filipino Blogger of the Year. I campaigned extensively for him with the Philippine community, and he won that year's Philippine Blog Award, praise God!, joining My Party Journal, which won Most Informative Blog of the Year, and GreenCapsule.org, Filipino Blog of the Year.

The Philippine Blog Awards' selections were topnotch: in 2004, the Philippine Blog Awards' Blogger of the Year was Mga Kuwentong Tambay ng Siraulo sa Timog Kalipornya, an engineer blogging of his life in Singapore. Technobiography, Most Informative Blog of the Year, focused on science and technology, and the Filipino Blog of the Year, Kutitots.com, was operated by a grandmother with a green thumb.

Today, in its third installment, the most prestigious national blog recognition body has released its list of semifinalists, trimming the selection down from an initial 667 entries to an impressive 110 entries for four categories:

Filipino Blogger of the Year
Most Informative Blog Site of the Year
Photoblog of the Year
Best Blog Site of the Year

May God be praised for His goodness, because Superblessed is a semifinalist in three of these four categories! The Philippine Blog Awards organizers apparently think we're good enough for Most Informative Blog Site of the Year, Photoblog of the Year (!), and Best Blog Site of the Year.

Nathan, Catherine, and I thank the organizers of the Philippine Blog Awards, for giving us "a place in the sun." Maraming salamat po!

Now, while it has always been our intention to blog about what is important to us, we've never made it a secret that we try to focus this blog and everything we do on bringing glory to Jesus Christ. Being a Philippine Blog Awards semifinalist is another blessing, a testament of God's goodness and how He works in our lives. Everything brings us joy, one way or another, even the occasional opportunity to rant (God forgive us).

For me, that's what blogging is about. End of day, it's about bringing some kind of emotion you feel to the international community. We're representatives of our nation (and our faith). For the most part, we choose to spread joy. [Except when we blog about GMA, who can go fly a kite, but that's another story.]

So, thanks you, organizers of the Philippine Blog Awards! While a Superblessed win is highly unlikely, given the extreme quality of the blogs we're up against, we thank you because, at least in your eyes, you've counted us among the best blogs in the Philippines. It's truly a humbling experience, nakatataba ng puso. Praise God, and thank you so much, Philippine Blog Awards!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Oddsmakers predict Ms Philippines will win Miss World 2005



Miss Philippines 2005 Carlene Aguilar is the odds-on favorite to win Miss World 2005, if online bettors are to have their way.

Carlene Aguilar, Miss Philippines , is solid with at least four online betting sites, including Paddy Power, which places Carlene Aguilar winning at 8-1 odds, Bet365.com, which has Miss Philippines winning at 9-1 odds, BlueSquare.com, which says Bb. Pilipinas Carlene Aguilar will take it home at 11-1 odds, and Centrebet.com, which predicts a Miss World-Philippines victory at 12-1 odds.

The only site that doesn't have Ms. Philippines as the front runner is Betfair.com, which places Carlene Aguilar winning at 10-1 odds, good enough for Top 5.

Don't forget to vote!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The one with "Times are Hard"

Last week, I went to SM Makati to find a dress for a wedding I am hosting. While waiting for my turn to use the dressing room, I commented to the saleslady: "Siguro ang daming tao ngayon. Pasko na eh." ("Since it is Christmas, there's probably a lot of people coming."). The saleslady politely answered: "Hindi nga po eh. Mahina po ngayong taon. Noon, kapag Biyernes, maraming tao. Ngayon, ganito na lang." ("Not really. It is quite slow this year. In the past years, many people come on Fridays. Now, it's just this number.")

This exchange made me realize that in general, Filipinos have very little disposable income nowadays. With skyrocketing prices and low peso power, Filipinos can barely survive. I realized that if it were any other year, I would be planning and completing my Christmas shopping by now. However, this year Ganns and I decided to limit our list to family and very close friends. Multiply us to the number of (lower) middle class young professionals and you'll realize how big a difference our "budget Christmas shopping intentions" will have for the industry.

Indeed, times are hard. We need to learn to use our resources wisely. 168, baby!

Vote for Carlene Aguilar!



You can now vote online for Miss Philippines Carlene Aguilar in the 2005 Miss World beauty pageant. Each vote costs USD1, so please tell your kababayan friends in the US to vote for Miss Philippines Carlene Aguilar!

Hey, Smart, Globe, Talk & Text, Sun Cellular, Touch Mobile, all y'all SMS providers, hurry your infrastructure so we can text Carlene into the finals!

VOTE: MISS PHILIPPINES CARLENE AGUILAR FOR MISS WORLD 2005!

Monday, November 14, 2005

The one with Jo Frost's Supernanny



Ganns and I recently bought Jo Frost's book, Supernanny.

We are very happy with this purchase since it contains practical advice on common parenting challenges such as toilet training, tantrums, feeding, naptime, aggression and others.

Supernanny's techniques are very practical and does not involve shouting or spanking. Aside from the valuable content, the layout of the book is absolutely beautiful. The book retails for P699 at Fully Booked, Rockwell. Worth every cent, I'd say.