Saturday, January 29, 2005
Thursday, January 27, 2005
Haven't planted a church. Haven't brought anybody back to Jesus. Haven't lost 80 pounds. Haven't made even close to a million bucks. Haven't done this, haven't done that.
But see, ultimately, what we know is that works - good or bad! - don't matter in this life much. What matters is that we are saved by Jesus, through His grace, simply by faith. Everything else follows. :)
So I'm turning 28 and haven't accomplished much. Big deal. I have a beautiful wife, a wonderful son, health, and years of plenty ahead of me. That, by far, is the best gift I've gotten thus far.
Since I'm wishing anyway, I don't recall having ever made a wish list, so, seeing one on Wifely's, I decided to make one for myself. Why not?
1) The South Beach Diet, hardbound. P788 (20% discount right now at National on all imported books). If I'm going to be on this diet, I wanna do it right. God bless you, Jaq, for saying I've lost weight. 15 pounds and 65 to go.
2) Chairman of the Board package at Pranav New York at the Galleria. It's a male spa - the only one in the Philippines! - and I could use the break.
3) Gift certificates at National Bookstore, Goodwill, Powerbooks, Rustan's, or Music1. *sniff*
4) The Golden Girls on DVD! "I'm givin' the meatloaf a thrill!"
5) A way to distribute the remaining 2,000 copies of LIVEtheLIFE. :p
6) A chance to meet some A&R people at any of the major record labels. I'm telling you, my songs are good, give it a chance.
7) A job teaching English or literature abroad. Seriously. If I had a chance, I'd grab it.
8) World peace. Yeah, everyone wants that, except Dubya.
Galleria called Fuzion! It's a smoothie cafe that serves mouthwatering fruit smoothies that have no ice and no sugar. Pure fruit! They also serve salads and sandwiches; I tried the Very Berry
Good smoothie and the Ginger Upper (which they're taking out the menu - sayang!), and they're both excellent.
The flavor is loads better than Big Chill or Fruit Magic, plus you can sit down!
It's on the 3rd floor of Robinson's Galleria (entering the area with Kitchen and Body Shop, right across Sushi-Ya), and you can't miss it because it's so brightly lit with comfy yellow and orange chairs and a great fruit selection.
A great alternative to the coffee shops, grabe. You should check it out at least once. It's really fun!
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
My son's gonna be a pianist!
My son's gonna be the next American Idol!
My son's gonna be a champion mah jongg player!
Too cute, hangin' out in the car.
Praise the Lord! Amen! Yehey!
Too, too tired.
GANNS AND CATHS
I love my baby.
The cover for the first single of G3, the duo of myself on keyboards, and Gene Bagano on guitar. He rocks the house, y'all, and refuses to stick to my slick marketing idea. It's like Bob Marley meets L.A. Lopez.
Me in the driver's seat. The car wasn't moving, I swear.
Saturday, January 22, 2005
The government and the Bureau of Internal Revenue make it so difficult for small-time businesses to survive. Just to start off the business, for instance, there are nine - count 'em, nine! - forms to fill out. Places to go. People to pay. Fees to pay. Transportation to pay. I had a truly difficult time setting my business up, and I'm a college grad. Can you imagine what the small-business entrepreneur has to go through? How is your run-of-the-mill manang who wants to open a sari-sari store and pay her taxes because she's an honest citizen, honestly expected to remember all this stuff?
NINE FORMS. In the US, I heard it's basically one. In Sweden, it's two.
Then they penalize you for not submitting something on time. For someone working with virtually no income, that's a slap in the face! Thank God for the underground economy that keeps this nation alive! The government makes it so difficult for entrepreneurs to do business because there's this form and that form, and... argh!
The Philippines ranks second overall in terms of corruption, according to a study published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. I'm not surprised! With all the places one has to go, and the grease money one has to draw out to pay for all these stupid fees, it's only natural! I'm not an accountant, how am I supposed to remember all these fees and cut-off dates?
Naturally, these are all complaints, and I just have to suck it in. Sometimes, I wonder what it would be like to say, "ah, screw this, I'll just make the money and not declare the income." Other times, I wonder, "maybe I should just go back to getting a nine-to-five, to pay off all the debt accummulated in the course of printing one issue of LIVEtheLIFE, that, in the end, will just end up online because I never had the marketing power to really support its vision." Yet other times, I wonder, "would I have this kind of trouble if I were teaching in America?"
Then, I think, "God, please, talk to me. Let me know things'll be okay." There are days He comforts me; there are days when He doesn't answer at all. There are days when I beg Him to make the people in government honest, so we can bring this [Christian(!!?!)] nation back to Him; there are days I ask him, like Jonah, to smite the Ninevites off the face of the earth; there are days when I just tell myself, "You're alive to show people God is alive in your life." Panindigan mo ang pananampalataya mo.
Then I snap myself back, and beg forgiveness for doubt, then forgive the government, then make appointments to sell my kidney so I can pay these penalties.
No one said everyday we'd be superblessed. ;)
Check this out:
1) Chandler is extremely sarcastic, and relies on humor to overcome personal insecurity. Ahem!
2) Monica is wonderfully organized. So's Cathy.
3) There was a point where Monica made a sacrifice and allowed Chandler to quit his job so he could find the one thing he liked to do most and do it so he could be happy. My baby loves me so much that she's actually stood by me for more than eight months while I developed Superblessed Media.
4) Monica doesn't generally like to sing. Cathy can't. (Joke, my love!)
5) Chandler and Monica eventually have kids... and love them to bits. Nathan is overloved. LOL
Anj picked up on an idea that I had two years ago, and maintained a site based on the stores she saw in Davao. Well, finally, we'll put that to good use, because I've managed to put most of the pictures together already, so that ought to be out in about two months.
Two books out by end of March. Not a bad start for Superblessed Media's publishing arm. :)
Friday, January 21, 2005
Which brings me now to this question: is it even worth it to market an EP of contemporary Christian music, knowing most Filipinos' aversion to blatantly God-affirming fare? I got burned the first time.
Hay! One at a time. Libro muna.
Thursday, January 20, 2005
I think it's safe to say it now:
So here's what I'm up to:
1) We're revamping LIVEtheLIFE Magazine to become a kick-butt online Christian presence for Filipino teens.
2) Perfect Proposals is coming along swimmingly. We've gathered up several proposals, and will lay out the book by next week. :) God be praised.
3) My mother's launching an amazing skin care product line that blows me away. It's pricey because the ingredients are top-of-the-line. I'm helping her develop the packaging, and we'll launch the website in due time. Will keep you all posted. It's really good stuff.
4) Will record a new batch of demos in February. Will hopefully have an EP ready for release by my birthday.
Isn't God awesome? May He be praised.
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
I'm sorry. I can't do this. I respect John Kerry, and believe he should blog because it's important America knows of what he believes, without the flipflopping etc. I can't in all conscience make fun of this person, knowing he has the potential to make good things happen in America... and consequently, the rest of the world.
So, why should John Kerry blog? The main reason why everyone else should: to make a difference.
I won't get any hits this time around, but believe me, as a Christian, I feel a lot less remorse at playing it clean. Tell that to Dubya.
Sunday, January 16, 2005
Friday, January 14, 2005
It was hectic, but fun. I miss hosting and being a DJ. There's a narcissistic dimension, admittedly, but I like piecing everything together and being able to crack the occasional bad joke or two, or fifteen. It helps that A.G. and Claire are both solid Christians, and it's a prayer that God will work mightily in the lives of all people involved at last night's production.
I also ran into Kathy Chua Chiacco, who I hadn't seen since graduation from Ateneo in 1998. Her skin art is fantastic. I miss not getting new skin art. :p I met Vim Nadera, who is simply amazing, and Lourd de Veyra of Radioactive Sago Project. I don't get out that often, so it was a blast and a half. God be praised.
I've held the Superblessed Christian Blog Awards for five years running now (wow!), and in that span of time, been given the opportunity to bless dozens of Christian blogs that have encouraged and kept me going throughout the years as a Christian blogger.
That I'm blessed by these blogs is blessing enough. That they would care to bless me outside of what they do as bloggers - whoa! - that's icing on my Sugarhouse turtle pie. I've been given two blog awards of my own: the first, from Christopher Wright, who elected me Blogger of the Month on What in Tarnation, and the second from Jax of Jax Place, who awarded me her Filipino Christian Blogger of the Year, a prize I've cherished equally.
Now, it's a pleasant surprise to learn that I'm up for Blog of the Month (or something to that effect) on Chette Dizon's blog. Thank you to whomever nominated me, and to God always be the glory.
Thursday, January 13, 2005
Calling all engaged and married men (and women)! Perfect-Proposals.com, where love is expressed in endless ways, is publishing its first book, and we want you to be a part of it! Simply titled "Perfect Proposals," this unique collection is home to dozens of Philippine wedding proposals, including proposals we have coordinated.
There have been a lot of proposals, though, that are incredible, that also deserve space in this book! Share the love! We're inviting all engaged and married men and women to submit their unique proposal stories for inclusion in "Perfect Proposals."
It's your story, so how you choose to tell it is up to you! Please try to keep it as detailed as possible, though: include dates and places, food choices, and whatever additional information you feel appropriate.Submissions may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Each text-only (no Word documents, please) submission should be 500 words or less, subject to editing. Accompany the submission with your name, email address, landline contact number (daytime and nighttime), and mobile number.
The senders of selected proposals will be informed via email of their proposals' inclusion in the book. A picture of the couple may be required for publishing as well. Senders of selected proposals will be invited to the booklaunch, where each sender gets a free copy of the book.
Please feel free to pass this information around to people who you know have had fantastic proposals. Share the love!
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
What a loving and amazing God!
Saturday, January 08, 2005
Even back in the day, when diabetes wasn't the byword on everyone's lips, and cookies were okay, and popping lollipops and candy bars continuously into one's mouth throughout the day wasn't seen as too life-threatening, I loved sugar.
As a chubby child, I was privy to a wide selection of sugar-laden, energy-boosting, bounce-off-the-walls-type treats in which to indulge. Goya and Serg's were the manufacturers of the day, and they came out with all the best stuff. One particular treat was my favorite: an ice cream cone filled out with marshmallows, and topped with an ice-cream scoop-size lump of marshmallow, and coated in chocolate. That little sugar bomb cost P5 at the time, and I would have two, along with an eight ounce bottle of Coca-Cola.
The sari-sari store near my home also sold ridiculously sweet treats, and one particular favorite was what we called Milo, but was in essence a chocolate bar made of cheap chocolate that was chewy and oh-so-wonderfully sweet. That would be the finish to a marathon run of salty treats, including the now-defunct Cheezels and Chickadees from Royal(R) Snacks.
As I grew older, the sweet tooth grew. I discovered Cookie Monster cakes, and Violet Crumble candy bars, and Maltesers, and Knick Knacks. I found Iced Gems, Milky Way, Three Musketeers, and Cadbury chocolates. I became privy to the secrets shared exclusively to me by pecan pie, and ice cream, and bread with butter and sugar.
Red Ribbon has the good stuff nowadays. Honey cake. Coffee Crumble. Chocolate mousse. Blueberry cheesecake. Then there are sylvanas from Goldilocks, and canonigo from Alba's, and chocolate cake from Polly's in Merville, and to-die-for rhum cake from this woman that my mom knows, that is so wonderfully buttery, and rhummy, and sweet.
Now, there are more refined treats, albeit sugar-free. Don't believe that junk. Go legit sugar, and none of the aspartame, Splenda, or Nutrasweet crap. Go sweet, sweet sugar! The other day, I bought a slice of Turtle Pie from Sugarhouse, immediately after a three-hour gym workout, and it was better than those 30 minutes on that stupid treadmill.
I want to be thin, but I also love sugar. Maybe a compromise is in order, hopefully before I get diabetes. Meanwhile, there's chocolate-coated polvoron at home with my name on it, and Oprah's on in an hour, so if you'll excuse me, I have to run.
Wednesday, January 05, 2005
Cathy and I were talking last night, watching some of the wreckage on CNN, and we were saying it was only by a miracle of God that the 7,100 islands of the Philippines were somehow spared from the raging seas. We didn't even come remotely close to death. Praise God for His mercy. We were also saying it was a sign of the endtimes, having started with September 11. Not really sure about that, but the Bible does talk about these things.
Rather than philosophize, I pray for the families of those left behind. In the light of the tragedy, the readings I have on Job seem particularly appropriate. Why do bad things happen to good people?, my New Devotional Bible translation asks in a related reading. We, naturally, have no answers, but I do know this: people learn from tragedy (for the most part). In efforts to prevent similar disasters from reoccuring, people build things bigger, stronger, faster, safer.
The irony is, in light of all these, the best recourse, found by millions of people all over the world, is often to turn to their faith. People find their way back to God in the midst of trial and tragedy, a pinch, really, to snap out of their own selves and turn to the Maker for solace and help.
People will die - that's a given. But when something of this magnitude occurs, and people turn to God, and start up a relationship with Jesus that will save them from the tsunami of a lifestyle that stands to destroy them, that's a good thing.
Meanwhile, I'm saving up to donate some money to the Quezon victims.
Tuesday, January 04, 2005
Regardless, our God is a God of second chances, and I know He's willing to give me another shot. So, in 2005, here are the goals:
1) Get 10 schools subscribed to LIVEtheLIFE by June 2005;
2) Get a record deal for me / Sell songs to major labels;
3) Release Kartoonista's comic book under Superblessed Media's publishing arm;
4) Put more emphasis into Perfect-Proposals.com;
5) Read twelve spirituality books in one year, and the Bible twice;
6) Lose 40 pounds more; and
7) Bring the praise and worship ministry of my local church to that next level.
I have concrete plans of bringing each of these plans to fruition, and I need to meet with God daily to ensure I'm getting those instructions right. :) What a great year up ahead, the perfect opportunity to do great things for Jesus!
I pray that God also gives y'all great direction this year. Be superblessed!
Saturday, January 01, 2005
1) Christ in your center;
2) Cuddles and kisses;
5) Chips; and
Here's to God using us each mightily to do great things for Him in this New Year! Failure is not an option!
I'd never dined before at Alba's, and neither had Cathy, apparently, so we were looking forward to the meal, especially because the paella was supposed to be out of this world. We had a buffet meal once at Uno Mas (sic?) in Greenbelt, and did not enjoy it much because the rice was cold and the meats oilier than expected. Would Alba's live up to its reputation?
In a word: Yes!
While no buffet selection stands to beat the Ultimate Buffet of the Triple V conglomerate (c'mon, Dad's, Saisaki, and Kamayan for P450 on weekdays? Yum!), Alba's did provide a welcome respite from the weathered buffet of the buffet juggernauts. I'd go back.
Appetizers consisted of a selection of breads, truly tasty sliced salami's and assorted cold cuts, the hottest spicy sardines Cathy's ever had (so good, we bought a can of it so she could eat it at home!), and wonderfully garlicky button mushrooms! There were also mini-potato tots stuffed with relleno, and calamari, but these were run of the mill.
Main dishes consisted of the paella valenciana and paella filipinas, fish fillets, oh-so-tender lengua, and a baked two-cheese eggplant casserole that drove me crazy. There were also callos, of which I did not partake because I dislike chickpeas and all essences of it, as well as roast beef and suckling pig.
What took the cake, however, was the incredible canonigo. I have never had such delicious, melt-in-your-mouth canonigo in my life! Combine that with the sweet hollandaise sauce, and well, I took four trips to the dessert tray just for that incredible dessert. I'd pay P450 just for the right to polish off the entire tray of canonigo. I'm not kidding. Brazo de Mercedes has nothing on this canonigo. Calling all sweet teeth: you must try Alba's canonigo.
Service was exquisite (the waiters were the most attentive I've seen in a while), ambience was topnotch (it felt like dining at someone's home), and parking wasn't difficult, thanks to valet services offered. It was not a bad experience at all, no, no, no. It was the best dining experience I've had in a while.