2015 is the year of fulfillment of some of the things that were in my heart a couple of years ago. Thank you Jesus for 2015! And thank you for the many years that is to come!
Highlights of my 2015
1. Acel @ 20
The concert marked 20 years in my music journey.
2. Who Would Have Thought?
Who would have thought I’d get to write and publish a book?! :)
I started writing my first book, WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT? Finding Identity, Love, and Purpose in Unexpected Moments in 2012. I stopped writing in 2013, then I rewrote my manuscript in 2014…Finally, I got it published in 2015. I had the launch last Dec. 5.
3. New friends, forever friends, and church community
4. Bigger space
6. New look
7. Seeing my friends get married
8. Tita Angeli, Tito Gary and the Manila Genesis Team
9. Opportunities to inspire and encourage young people through my songs and stories
10. Who Would Have Thought Moments
Who would have thought that my love story will be featured in Wagas
Who would have thought I’d get to sing at the John Maxwell event
For some, 2015 may not be a great year while for others it might have been their best year yet… However your 2015 or your past years look like, I believe that there are no wasted years... for each year has molded you to be who you are today. The past years have brought you where you are today. Learn from the mistakes of the past, and look on ahead with hope as you face the next years of your life.Life is a gift! Use it well Focus on the things that matter. Forgive those who hurt you… Forgive yourself. Live to love…. Love to live.
Consider the stars you see at night, the beautiful sunrise,and the majestic sight of the sunset; the numerous planets, galaxies and the infinite space. The terrifying power of a flash of lightning and the roaring thunder; the different scents, color and form of flowers and plants; the diversity of the animals, yet in all the splendor of the creation that leaves us in awe, God made us in His own image and likeness. He considers us as His masterpiece, the apple of His eyes.
You are loved by the Father. The creator of the universe that made the Earth conducive for us to live has not forgotten you.
Everything came to be just by His word…but you oh man, was formed from dust…like a clay being molded with special care.. and He breathed into your nostrils so you can have life…..this was done with the Son and the Holy Spirit ( Gen 1:26, Gen 2:7)
Letting go of something that has been a part of us.. or something that has defined who we are is difficult. .. but if we know that these things are keeping us from who we are suppose to be.. or keeping us to what truly matters, then it’s worth it. The only way to move forward is to let go. Fix your eyes on the one who is the author and perfector of our faith — Jesus.
Working with people with different personalities and different temperaments is a challenge yet it’s still the better way than working alone.
Photo by Jefford Secondes of ImajePix
I’m a type of person who would rather do things on my own, for I believe I can do things faster by myself, pero syempre I have my limitations. Working with people with other strengths can fill up your weak spots. Though I know there are things I can do by myself if I focus on it, but working in a team can reach a goal in a grand scale of things. Hindi pala ako si Superman.. or Darna Sabagay kailangan pa rin ni Superman ang Super friends niya sa Justice League if they need to accomplish a bigger task. My 20th anniversary concert experience is an example of that. I don’t think the concert would have that positive feedback if it wasn’t for the team behind it. It was not a guerilla type “rock and roll” kind of gig that I was used to, but I am sure glad I had this kind of experience of going through a series of meetings to plan and prepare the whole concept of the concert in line with my book, “Who Would Have Thought?”
Yes, working in a team means the tiresome arranging of schedules of every one else, working with people with different personalities that you need to adjust to, but when you reach the end result, it’s all worth it, and you can celebrate and rejoice together. The “We” is still better than the “I”. Now I understand why concert tickets have strange prices, it is because a whole lot of work from an amazing team was poured into it. From the concept, direction, lights, song list, musical arrangement, coordination of rehearsals, logistics, hanggang sa suot at buhok ko hehehe kasama lahat yun.
Thankful to my musician friends – Barbie Almalbis, Kitchie Nadal, Quest, Yeng C., Rj dela Fuente, Abby Asistio, Terence of Orphan lily and Moonstar88 who shared their songs that night.
I am grateful to the Manila Genesis team for coordinating, arranging and helping me market the concert. I am blessed with the sponsors who backed up the event. With John Apura’s musical direction and Jeff Hidalgo’s direction, the concert was excellent from start to finish, added with a superb light direction that made the over all experience “awesome” as @myxph Instagram post dated Aug. 29 described it.
I am also utterly grateful to Jefford Secondes for the photos and for the video coverage of the event…and of course my amazing bandmates – Sandy Baliong on drums, Stephen Lachica on bass, Josh David on rhythm guitars, Ryan Girado on keyboards, John Apura on electric guitars, Kristina Lim and Abby Asistio.
So blessed with tita Angeli Valenciano and the whole Manila Genesis team for making this happen. Thank you also to all who came that night!
20 years! I never thought I’d be doing this… if not for those people who believed and saw things beyond the externals.
My anniversary concert held at Teatrino last Aug.27 was my first ever “solo” concert! Yes, you read it correctly, even at the height of my “Moonstar 88” days, I have never experienced being at the center of a concert with the complete definition of what “concerts” are like these days — full blast choreographed lights and stage design, with professional musical direction from maestro John Apura, over-all concert direction from Director Jeffrey Hidalgo… I even had a script (that I might not have totally followed) and all the works over weeks and weeks of preparation with amazing staff and volunteers who made the whole thing happen so smoothly.
Back in the days, we would usually just play for underground-style even if it were for big events together with other bands and basically we’d just be given a slot to sing our songs, do a few covers here and there, but never be at the center of a consistent flow from start to finish like what we did last month. And so having to celebrate my 20th year through a concert that tells a story about my journey as a musician is truly a big thing for me. The experience left me in tremendous gratitude to God’s faithfulness in my life for last 20 years.
Photo by Imajepix www.jeffsecondes.com
For me, what made the concert more meaningful, was when my friends in the industry, also some of my contemporaries during the 90s, all joined in to perform that night. I am so blessed to have Barbie Almalbis, Kitchie Nadal, Yeng Constantino, Abby Asistio, Rj dela Fuente, Quest, Moonstar88, and Terence of Orphan Lily join me on stage.
That night was an opportunity for me to honor the people who had an integral part in my music journey.
Terence Teves was my village neighbor who took a chance on my “boses-ipis” voice. He says he saw potential in me on stage that I didn’t see myself, looking back at all my insecurites… I am grateful that he believed.
Way back in 1994 he asked me to be the vocalist of the band he was starting, that later on was known as Orphan Lily. We released an album under Poly East Records, then won Best New Artist in 1998.
In 1999, me and my friends Popo Pineda, and Paolo Bernaldo started Moonstar88. We asked Herbert Hernandez to be our lead guitarist, then later on his brother Darwin Hernandez became our manager. Most people know Darwin for being one of the most hard-working advocates of OPM. He tirelessly built his own management company, SoupStar and is the big brains behind some of OPM’s biggest achievements. Back then though, when we were all just starting, he worked hard in getting us booked and signed because he believed that we could make it big.
Darwin also wrote this ever so famous song that has completely captured the hearts of every single pinoy, our favorite, Torete. Thanks for entrusting the song to Moonstar 88 to interpret it. Torete paved the way for our other songs to be heard. As Moonstar 88, we won awards as we released hit songs after another and today, with Maychelle Baay they continue to resonate. Please continue supporting my Moonstar88 family.
Moonstar88 ( Herbert at the rightmost end in the photo)
In 2004, I left the band (story behind this is found in my book, Who Would Have Thought?) I thought I was done with music, but I just couldn’t stop writing songs. After working behind the scenes at LMP music, an independent recording studio and then taking a few years off to learn how to be a home-maker and a wife, I started performing again in 2008 and released my first album as a solo artist entitled, Silver Lining.
The back-story of Silver Lining was made out of a collection of demos we would record at LMP studios run by Hubert Cheock. Front-man of everyone’s favorite ’90s Christian pinoy rock-band, Pigs with Pearls. I am thankful for mentors like Hubert and Joanna who chose to believe.
In 2008, when I thought I was by this time long forgotten from any sort of main-stream limelight, a special man named Erickson Raymundo also chose to believe. Erickson is the genius behind who Sam Milby is today and who many other Cornerstone artists have become. Erickson got me projects in channel 2 (ABS CBN). My voice got to come out on TV every single day through my interpretation of “One Love”, the theme song of popular Korean-novela, Spring Waltz, and some of my songs became a part of other telenovelas including My Girl and Rounin.
As is always the case in showbiz where having babies and coming out on TV do not mix, by 2011 when I’d just given birth to my second son Yeshi and I had become busy with my independent projects, setting up RIGHT START with friends and also working on my independent music projects with my all-girl band SESA and also my HELLO TO HEAVEN project… I met tita Angeli Valenciano.
As a bionic-mother (yes she also has stainless steel rods in her back just like me), I am so glad tita Angeli chose to believe as well.
Even though I don’t have any of my new songs that is being played on the radio today, nor am I that visible in the music scene, she agreed to the idea of a concert for me to celebrate my 20 years.
I was actually doubting if it would be a success, let alone, be able to sell any tickets at such strange prices, but God is indeed faithful! The entire concert hall was full! I am so grateful to know that people who enjoyed the 2-hour concert went home feeling inspired, entertained and blessed.
My point is this… I don’t think I would make it this far, and I don’t think I will still be doing this if not for those people who believed. God has used some very special friends to see things beyond the externals that I do not see. It’s not really about what we can do... but it’s about what God can do through us.
If you are reading this, and if you feel people look down on you.. or if you yourself look down on yourself and all you see are your personal limitations… I’m telling you, God sees who you can be. Yes, we are limited, but God can do amazing things through you if you allow him to dwell in your heart.
Avoid people who are dream crushers. Surround yourself with people who will ignite you to reach what God has placed in your heart.
* To know more about my story, how I started in music, why I left, and why I came back read my book: Who Would Have Thought? Finding Identity, Love, and Purpose in Unexpected Moments.
What do you do when a “not-so-nice” unexpected moment happens?
We are moving house this Saturday, we saved and budgeted for the moving out expenses, but then unforeseen and unexpected things happen:
- Somebody deliberately put holes in our car’s left back tire. (need to buy new one so that we’ll have spare.. the vulcanizing shop said that the tire was beyond repair)
- Last Sunday our car won’t start. We left it at Ghills. I called the Motolite express hatid guy and bought a new battery .. still, it didn’t work. Yesterday, I walked to Ghills to Wilson to look for a car mechanic.. so happy to find Servitek at the end of the street. Went back with the mechanic.. walked from Ortigas to the Promenade where we left the car, then brought the car back to their shop. They said that they have to overhaul the starter (another unexpected expense)…and so we left our car there at the shop.
- Walked back with Danny from the end of Wilson to Ortigas and took a jeepney to go to Edsa.. walked through that scary foot bridge to cross edsa.. tried to hop on the bus but every bus is a sardine competition.. decided to just wait in line at the taxi cue …
I can feel so bummed out with all the unforeseen expenses.. and complain how tired I was walking back and forth.. but those not-so-nice unexpected moment can turn into a really nice one as well.
Danny and I stopped over at Bubble tea along wilson.. we just ordered the regular milk tea.. and we had a long and nice conversation (just the two of us hehe without the kids).. it became un unexpected DATE and I can say, that moment became an opportunity for us to really pray together (longer than our usual prayer time)
As we walk towards Ortigas, Danny and I reminisce our first few years as a married couple…. walking with an almost empty wallet in our pockets..hahaha..
and as we sat side by side on a jeepney, I was able to hold his hand and lean on his shoulder.. (we can’t do this if he is driving or if I’m driving) hehehe..
and so despite of all the “not-so-nice” unexpected moments, I decided to focus on the moments that truly matters and that makes it worthwile
I’ve learned that instead of sulking, and worrying, make the best out of the situation.
I love you Danny van Ommen I am grateful that we have a God who knows our needs
Let’s just worry about tomorrow when tomorrow comes..hahahah… bhala na si batman sa paglipat natin
Who would have thought that I would be singing at a John Maxwell event. As some of you know, I’ll be releasing my very first book entitled, “Who Would Have Thought? Finding Identily, Love, and Purpose in Unexpected Moments” and so being asked to open and end the event of a great man, John Maxwell who is also coined as a “leadership guru” is just so timely for me. It was so surreal. I thought I wouldn’t be able to attend that talk because the ticket price is beyond my budget, who would have thought I’ll even play a part in that event.
More than that great privilege to sing my original songs, I am so grateful to learn more from John Maxwell. He is already 68 years old, yet his energy and passion in teaching doesn’t show that he is retiring pretty soon. During his talk he even said jokingly that he will retire once our Creator brings him home. Despite of his age, it is just so interesting that he would talk about growth. This just shows that there is no age limit with regards to growth. If you are alive, then you should continue to grow.
Here are some of my notes from his talk about the different LAWS to GROW
1. Law of INTENTIONALITY. Growth is not automatic. You have to be intentional
Growth-oriented vs. Goal-oriented * we have to be growth oriented than goal oriented.. I’ll blog about this soon.. waah I have to be intentional with that too
2. Law of AWARENESS. What are you passionate about? What are your strengths. Focus on that.
3. Law of CONSISTENCY. Passion drives and motivates you to start something, but it is ‘Discipline’ that makes you successful and helps you to finish it.
4. Law of ENVIRONMENT. Surround yourself with people who are wiser, smarter and bigger than you. By learning from them, you’ll grow.
I wasn’t able to get the last one..sorry..because I need to prepare for my song to end the night.
Hope this helps you as you continue to grow to be the best version of yourself #wwht
“If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal is God, follow him… The God who answers by Fire, he is God…” – I Kings 18:21-24
The biggest showdown ever. Elijah vs. the 450 prophets of Baal.
Each one of us has free will. Even from the beginning, God said to Adam and Eve that they are FREE to eat from any tree in the garden.
God has given us free will. We can either follow him or not. He will not force us to follow Him, but He has already shown us who HE is.
He is LOVE.. and LOVE has WON 2000 years ago at the cross.
He has already shown His power, His might and His Holiness. The AMAZING thing is, He came down and endured the cross so we can partake that holiness and glory that he has. He has made us in His own image and likeness, and then came and died for us to wash away our sins and make us pure again. He knows that all of us will not choose Him, but follow our own ways. We are lost and blinded by our own wants and have failed to see God’s beauty and the relationship He is offering us. We have traded that holiness He is offering, to our so-called glory and pride that is nothing compared to the glorious richness that He abundantly give us.
We can either choose to receive that Holiness that can only come through a real relationship with God or choose our own standards, and act as if we are god.
Like Adam and Eve, we have the power to choose.. but God also gave them boundaries because He knows the consequences that may happen if one enjoyed the freedom without the boundaries… and so He said, “but you must not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” Sadly, the crafty serpent was able to deceive Eve as he said to her, “You will not certainly die, for God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” And so sin came into the world.. and made us all think that we know what is really good and evil.. defining our own good and evil, but leading us to a dangerous road.
Boundaries are made because of LOVE and for our benefit.. may it be on how we use our wealth, our bodies, how we treat our children and spouse, etc. etc. Imagine how this world can be in so much chaos if we are just free to just steal and get things that is not ours just because we want it.
Whatever we choose, it will be tested by FIRE.. and we will see the result in the end.
In the end, the true God is the only one who can answer by fire from heaven. He loves ALL OF US..and shows no partiality… but He is the only one who can purify and burn our faulty foundations off and present us as the pure bride… white as snow. He is offering us the GREATEST RELATIONSHIP OF ALL that no man or woman can ever satisfy. We are all invited to say “yes” to him but we can also choose to say “no”. He came to save and not condemn… but He will come again at the second time to judge the living and the dead.
Oh Lord, I pray that when you come, may you find my heart fully devoted to you… In my weakness, I have a tendency to do my own will, but please help me with the fire of your Holy Spirit to follow you in everything… following your ways… for you are LIFE, you are TRUTH, and you are LOVE. Amen.
Feb 14, 2015 - What a beautiful way to celebrate the day of LOVE by witnessing two of my favorite friends, Yeng and Yan say their vows before the altar in a “covenant of forever” on their wedding day.
Ang galing lang sobra kung pano sila nagkakilala at nagmahalan. I am blessed to have witnessed up-close how their love story bloomed.
Naalala ko kung paano tulala si Yan pag may mga meetings kami with the songwriting team sa church.. He has liked Yeng na pala for a long time.. haha. This was way back during the times of my 2012 “Hello To Heaven” concert.
I know Yeng has been praying for “the one”. But knowing her brave, fearless, and sometimes almost intimidating personality, I also knew that she was a “wildfire” kind of girl that no ordinary boy could handle. Yeng has never had a boyfriend. But there have always been boys who have tried to get close only to retreat with a burn.
But then came along Yan, the man.
There was one time Yeng and I had this conversation. Out of curiosity (di ko pala alam na gusto ni Yan si Yeng nito.. pero medyo may hinala lang ako), and so I asked Yeng if ever Yan likes her, would she “consider” him?
Yeng said, “E suplado yun..di nga ako pinapansin e..” but then she said, “pero kung manligaw siya, kikiligin ako! hahaha!”
And from there, I was happy.. because deep inside, super thumbs up ako if ever si Yeng and Yan ang magkatuluyan!
To those who don’t know this yet, Yan is the guy behind the Wildfire album, the prequel to the most talked about RADICAL LOVE album by Victory Worship.
If the man truly loves God, I am confident that he will know how to love Yeng… and so I was thrilled on that day when Yan texted my husband Danny out of the blue. They met in Dunkin Donuts over a Dunkin ‘ Yan and yun na nga, sinabi niya na he has feelings for Yeng! We’ll save the drama-love story for Yeng and Yan to tell… but talagang pambiharang pagkataon it is whenever we go to that particular Dunkin Donuts shop today to hear “Ikaw” being played over and over again. Who would have thought?
Lahat kaming magkakaibigan are truly happy for them. Yeng and Yan’s wedding is a picture of a complete joy made in the art of celebrating love.
Love is a journey with a START, it MOVES and there is always a beautiful happy ENDING.
I truly believe that like Yeng and Yan, we can live that in complete joy and celebrate love as well.
1. When LOVE has a RIGHT START
Yeng and Yan had a right start.
A deep and strong foundation is crucial in any sort of building process. In the same way, I saw how Yeng and Yan individually dug foundations in God’s word. They started honoring God first in their lives, making God the foundation of their relationship. I saw how back in 2008 Yeng passionately and wholeheartedly surrendered her life to Jesus. I so admired her humility in allowing me to speak into her life and for trusting God’s Word as she follows Jesus. Yeng has the purest and most teachable of hearts.
I met Yan way back in Victory Los Banos as a youth leader and a few times at gigs during his Indios days. But really got to connect with him in 2012 where he worked with Victory QC serving as a worship leader and worship director. He had just finished the Wildfire album that helped raise up support to build the incredible facility we see today at Victory Katipunan. More than the position or the platform he was on, you could see the humility and the love for God that he had to be so willing to serve Him.
In 2012, together with other worship leaders and song writers from around Victory Metro Manila we would have regular workshops and classes.
I just want to share this one time when I asked Yan to play guitar for me for an impromptu gig when my main-stay session guitarist wasn’t available. Just as my husband Danny opened the door to let Yan in and unload his equipment, I get a random phone call from Yeng. She asks me if she can come over to the house because she had nothing else to do that day. It was so random.
Now just to clarify: Yeng is one of the busiest people ever. During that season we hadn’t seen each other as often as I’d like because of her Music Museum concert and everything else going on with her life. It was me having a hard time setting a date with Yeng so this caught me by surprise.
I told her “um, sige come over, but I have rehearsals” and I didn’t know she was already on the road and already at my village gate when she’d let herself in. She entered our home not knowing I had a “visitor” without any make-up, without her usual glam TV/showbiz look that we are all accusomted to seeing.
I know that Yan was already introduced to Yeng during her “Ok Lang Maging Single Sa Valentines” concert in Music Museum back in 2012.. and even if Yan had back-stage passes from a friend-of-a-friend, Yeng hardly knew Yan. Yan admits, he already had “stars in his eyes” after that concert encounter. hahah
But what were the chances of him meeting her again, let alone, in a private, casual laid back setting like my living room!?
It was just so amazing, how God orchestrated it all. Nobody planned this moment. But I know as Yan just wanted to serve God through music, and Yeng just wanted to continually be accountable with me with regards to her walk with God, they got to know each other at our house in a setting where they could just be who they are, with no pretension. Nag dinner kami sa bahay, at dun sila nagsimulang magkwentuhan at magkakilala.
I think it started with a conversation about cats. “Mahilig ka ba sa pusa?” … “Mahilig din ako sa pusa!” hahah
Ako naman – honestly, hindi masyado. So I let them talk.
They got to know more of each other during the rehearsal times of the HELLO TO HEAVEN concert and I am so forever grateful to Yeng for producing that concert that has served the underprivileged children from RIGHT START
We had just opened up our new center during that time and pambihira – Come to think of it, a big part of the whole Yeng-Yan love story all started with RIGHT START!
As we seek to honor God first, we are actually positioning ourselves to be placed in the right times and right situations for God to move in incredible ways.
2. When LOVE journeys with the RIGHT MOVES
Yan and Yeng are incredible movers for honoring their parents even from the beginning of their relationship. Honoring the family of your future spouse speaks volumes on how you truly value each other. It shows importance and respect to those he/she loves. Yan and Yeng sought the favor of their parents in their relationship from the very beginning.
They moved in honor and respect.
Yan met with Yeng’s parents to clearly lay down his intentions to Yeng. The goal of entering into an exclusive boy-girl relationship is always marriage. Hindi siya laro. Love is a decision.
Yeng and Yan honored their parents, as they honored God, by also choosing to stand and fight for purity. They chose to follow the narrow path of God’s original design of physical intimacy. Sex is God’s idea. Contrary to what the media is communicating, God designed sex in the bounds of marriage. Sex without commitment is basically just lust. True intimacy is communion – the two becoming one.
(*side note to singles: You are made in the image and likeness of God. God designed sex in the context of marriage for the purpose of permanence , procreation and pleasure..it is sacred.. It is a special gift that can only be enjoyed truly within the bounds of marriage..2 becoming 1. If you want real intimacy and if you want ultimate satisfaction of sex, it can only be experienced within the bounds of marriage. Having sex outside marriage can destroy your sex life and your marriage.)
To truly fight for purity, Yeng and Yan waited for their first kiss to be in front of the altar. It actually takes more strength to wait. Yan truly acted like a man as he chose to value Yeng and present her pleasing unto the Lord, to only kiss the bride after pastor Larry declared “you may now kiss the bride” and not before. They said “I do”. Not “I did”.
3. When LOVE has a glorious RIGHT ENDING
In the end, “Marriage” glorifies God, because it symbolizes the pure love of God (groom) to us – his church/his people (bride). He loves the bride so much that He willingly laid down his life for her.
The wedding of Yan and Yeng is a covenant of forever. This is just the start of their journey together as husband and wife, and as someone who has been married for almost 11 years now, I know that Yeng and Yan will go through a lot of trials in their marriage. They may come a time that they fall short of each other’s expectations, but with God in the center, they will be able to continue this walk as a married couple with complete joy.
Though we might have failed to have a right start, or even failed to choose that right move, the amazing thing about the grace of God is that Jesus who is forever faithful can help us start again. He is the only righteous one who can make things right for you and in you. You just have to allow Him to work in your life.
You can start right now.
Jesus said, “Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” – John 15:10-11