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 :)

#pambihirangpagkakataon #unexpectedmoments #wwht


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What I learned from John Maxwell


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





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Freedom to Choose

“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.




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A Quest of Finding Who I am

In this video, my friend Abby Asistio and I shared how our insecurities were filled up by an amazing love.  That perfect love healed us and helped us to know who we really are.

This is a segment of the #RiseGenesis series found at ManilaGenesisTV youtube account.

Watch. Share. Inspire.


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Yeng and Yan’s Wedding: The Art of Celebrating Complete Joy in Love

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.

Yeng, meet Yan! Yan, meet Yeng!

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

This is the song that I wrote specially for Yeng and Yan:
Ang Simula Nating Dalawa

Watch Yeng and Yan’s Wedding Video

Yeng Yan ninong and ninang

Cha, Acel, Yet, Maricar, Sei, Thammie, Rica



Acel and Danny



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The Story Behind “PANYO”

PANYO by Acel

Just like a “Panyo” (handkerchief) that can wipe one’s tears, the Panyo in my song is a metaphor of someone who was there for me figuratively wiping my tears during my lowest times.

Looking back in my twenty(20) years of singing and writing songs, I can say that it’s truly a blessing to get into the mainstream without much difficulty during the 90s. I met new people, went places and won awards. The first ten years were pretty amazing, but during the time when I decided to take a break after that 10 years, I felt totally at a loss of what to do next. It’s like I was stripped from something that holds a big chunk of me. I realized that I actually didn’t know who I really am apart from being on stage. I got depressed and felt rejected.

I started singing again after almost a 3-year hiatus, but it was like starting from scratch. Many things have changed and it was now harder to get back from where I left off. I realized how true it is that everything is temporary. But during those times that I was in my lowest point, the only thing that I experienced that is constant and never-failing, is the love of the Father. I may not be on stage as often, and my songs may not have that much opportunity to be heard on the radio and TV, but one thing I do know, is that I am already approved and loved by my Father in Heaven. Siya yung panyo ko na hindi ako iniwan kailanman.

Because of Him, there is always hope. Alam kong di ako nag-iisa. I realized that first and foremost, I am God’s child. That is my identity that will be forever constant in Jesus. Tumanda man ako, nag-asawa at naging Ina, singer man o hindi, may hit song man o wala, hindi kailanman magbabago na anak ako ng Diyos. Knowing that I am already affirmed and approved by my God, who I can call “Father” empowers me to continue singing and writing songs to communicate that hope and love that I received from Him.

Nowadays, I don’t get to see people using a handkerchief, most people use a disposable facial tissue. Panyo then for me shows a deeper kind of relationship that is not disposable, and an affection that is not temporary. Maganda sana kung tayo ay maging panyo sa mga tao sa paligid natin. Para sa’yo sino ang naging panyo mo?



Kaibigan, kung may luha sa iyong mga mata
Kaibigan, kung may kirot at hapdi na nadarama ang puso mo

* Ako ang panyo na magpapawi sa’yong mga luha
Ako ang tanglaw na gagabay sa iyong bukas
At hindi ka na mag-iisa, andito lang ako
lagi mong makakasama

Kaibigan, kung may takot sa dilim na dinaraanan
Kaibigan, magtiwala ka lang ‘pagka’t ‘di kita iiwan

Hangga’t may bukas, may pag-asa
Lulubog ang araw ngunit sisikat din
sa Pag-ibig na daloy ay may kalakasan
Ito’y kakayanin natin
kakayanin natin

Ako ang panyo na magpapawi sa’yong mga luha.


MGEM New Media
and Ms. Angeli Valenciano

Directed by:
Nina Marie de Torres

Director of Photography:
J. Carreon

Edited by:
Joyce Bargan

New Media / Creative Consultant:
Miks Bersales

Production Assistant / New Media Representative:
JP Asis

Live Recording:
Adi Bersales

Boom Operator:
Adi Bersales

Sound Mixing:
Ed Ortega
Adi Bersales

Words/Music by: Acel
Percussionist: Karmi Santiago

Special thanks to:
Mr. Gary Valenciano
Ms. Angeli Valenciano
July Regio
GVPI – Antipolo
Mich Navoa
Tahnee Buizon

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Revisiting the Forgotten Word — MODESTY


modest clothes

There’s a difference between attractive dressing, and dressing in ways to attract men sensually.


  • the quality of behaving and especially dressing in ways that do not attract sexual attention
  • the quality of not being too proud or confident about yourself or your abilities  (Merriam-Webster)
  • regard for decency of behavior, speech and dress
  • freedom from vanity or boastfulness igetgivegrow.com

In a culture that says, “if you have it, flaunt it!” and a society with billboards of almost naked men and women along the highways, I can say that we truly have forgotten the word “modesty”.

Modesty is a big word. It is not just about clothing, but it is also about our conduct and our words.

In this blog, I want to focus on clothing, for I see a need to share what God has to say to His daughters on how we should dress up. I, myself have to be reminded of this truth.

 I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.” – 1 Timothy 2:9-10

With the fashion and trend nowadays, it is easy to be swayed to agree that everything the fashion ads present to society and what stylists tell us to wear is final, and that those specific clothes presented are “THE clothes” and “THE styles” that will make us look beautiful.

As a woman, we are created by the ONE who is the ultimate definition of Beauty – God. And because of that, there is a cry in our hearts that longs to be beautiful. There is nothing wrong to desire to be beautiful. It is part of our design as the image bearer of the ONE who is beautiful. We want to be beautiful and we want to give beauty and share beauty around us. Unfortunately, the definition of beauty has been perverted by sin that came into the world. We are now confused and lost to what is true and what is false. But thank God for His living Word that speaks what is true. This truth will re-align us to what God has called us to be.

Don’t get me wrong. I love fashion and I love dressing up. I love putting make-up on and I accessorize as well. I want to be beautiful, just like any other woman. But I believe there is an ultimate standard of what is truly beautiful and what is not. There’s a difference between attractive dressing, and dressing in ways to attract men sensually.

I believe the clothes that we wear speak volumes of how we look at ourselves, and our self-worth.

Modesty is not about fashion. It’s about the condition of the heart.

It’s not about hiding yourself with long sleeves or long dresses or even in a blanket, but it’s revealing dignity, and expressing love for others.

Some women might say, that it’s the problem of men if they have a hard time controlling themselves sensually. But we, as daughters of God are called to move in the way of love in everything we do. Even in how we dress up. We are called to be set apart.

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” – Ephesians 5:1-2

Are we helping our brothers to be drawn to Christ, or do we cause them to stumble in with how we dress up?

If you know that you are a child of “The King”, then you will wear clothes that would honor Him – clothes of a princess that would bring glory to her Father.

Dressing immodestly would definitely attract men, but the question is, what kind of men are you attracting?

Knowing our identity in Christ is important.  We are priceless because of the blood of Jesus that was spilled to save us.  Knowing your worth will affect how you dress up.

A beautiful woman dresses up modestly because she is secure in her identity in Christ. She knows her worth. She is not pressured to follow the trends of the world. She honors God in the clothes that she wears. She shows her love for others by wearing clothes that would not make them stumble. She draws not the attention of men to herself, but her true beauty draws men to God.

I found a list from Michael Hyatt to know if your clothes are modest or not.modesty 1


I also added another question.

How do I want women to dress up when they are around my husband?

Modesty is not an issue about wearing fashionable clothes. But it’s about the clothes that reveals how your heart is fashioned.


prayer modesty








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“So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female He created them” – Genesis 1:27
We are made in the image and likeness of God. Each one of us has a heart, a soul and a mind to think. We are not objects. We are not animals who can’t think. We are made in God’s image.
We represent the glory of God, His majesty and His beauty. When we look at the beautiful sunset, we just see a glimpse of God’s glory… But God made us — human being — to bear His own image. We are the pinnacle of His creation and He chose to call us His temple where His Spirit will dwell.

beautiful sunset

If only all people would live in this truth, maybe we’ll see more men and women secure in themselves, men and women who live with dignity and honor, men and women who know how to treat each other with love and respect.

Sadly, our world chooses to trade the crown of beauty that God gave us to a pig’s feces. The world chooses to throw away our identity to become an object of filth.

The reason that sexual abuse and sex trafficking is prevalent in our nation, is because of the message that is being conveyed that people are just objects of lust.

So sad about this celebrated pornography and promiscuity in our nation.

I hope our nation should do something about this.

What do you think God feels seeing that what He has made has been dishonored and treated like trash?

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Some things you might not know about Tashi

HAPPY HAPPY 6TH BIRTHDAY TO MY Tashi van Ommen  I LOVE YOU!! Time flies so fast. I vividly remember when I gave birth to you. God made me learn so many things because of you. Nagbago talaga buhay ko when you came  You are God’s precious gift to me. I love you!!


Here are some trivia about Tashi you might not know..Some conversations I had with him:

1.  Tashi: “Mommy, I don’t want to eat animals.. Why do we eat animals. They are so cute..” then he cried when I brought out the adobo. Ever since he realized that pork and beef came from animals, he stopped eating them.. This is how Tashi values life.. haaay.. hehe but he still eat tuna..and bonchon chicken fillet..hehe

2. Tashi: “Mommy, how come some kids doesn’t know Jesus” .
Mommy: “That’s why we have to tell them about Jesus.. Someone who shares Jesus to others is called a missionary.
Tashi: ok …I want to be a missionary

3. Tashi orders Tuna Croissant every time we go to Dunkin Donuts.

4. Tashi’s favorite food is Philadelphia cheese Maki with Salmon at KimonoKen, and the Salmon katsu from Yabu

5. Tashi: “Mommy, what will happen to me when I grow up?”
Mommy: ” You’ll be working at whatever God has called you to do, You’ll get married and have kids. You’ll leave Daddy and I to build a family of your own, You’ll have a nice house.. Just don’t forget to visit me and Daddy ok? ”
Tashi: “Mommy, I don’t want to leave you… I want to take care of you..

6: Tashi’s prayer: I want a super book DVD.

Here’s a song that Tashi wrote and sang during his “moving up day” last April..Arranged and recorded by our friend Jun Gomez.    https://soundcloud.com/user7518516/tashi


10400693_23085217423_4924_n 3243_71345217423_4336358_n


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Writing Victorious Songs of Worship

Last week ( June 17-19) we were so privileged to participate in the fulfillment of a dream. The first set of original songs written by Victory worship leaders and songwriters were recorded live over three days at Victory Fort. What an event it was!!! It was jam-packed and every single day was a new crowd. Can’t wait for the album to come out (pegged for August).

Singers: Jam Capistrano, Cathy Go, Teri Ho, Isa Fabregas, Barbie Almalbis, Yan Asuncion, Lee Brown, Joel Barrios


As one of the volunteer worship leaders in Victory Greenhills, I’d get involved in the process of preparing some of the most heartfelt, God-encountering, spirit-filled songs for our regular weekly church services. Together with our full-time worship director Charles Bautista, volunteer administrators, and my other co-volunteer musicians, we’d pool in the best-of-the best worship songs from all around the world.  I guess it is the same story for guys like Yan (Victory QC), Lee (Victory Malate), Jam (Victory Ortigas), Julius (Victory U-Belt), Archie (Victory Fort) and so many others.  But that’s just the thing, the songs we sing every Sunday that you hear at your local churches are pooled in from somewhere else, and not our own.

There’s nothing wrong with that, and I think we’re still going to be doing that. But for a long time now we have also desired that one day we would be able to have our own set of original home-grown worship songs. Yes, we’ve tried home-grown a couple of times before. But this time the desire has been all the more greater and I truly believe the timing is all the more relevant now than ever before to carry these home-grown songs and the message from one end of our very large family to the other end and make them go so much further beyond. Victory is one church in many locations and we are on a mission.

As someone who has had the privilege to take a sneak-peak and get up-close to witness how this particular project all got started (and I still don’t quite know the whole story), here are some things that I learned that one should consider in writing songs of worship:

  1. Christ- Centered

A great teacher/theologian who I was privileged to have learned from, Paul Barker, taught us that worship songs should be rich in content. And the content should always communicate the gospel. Worship songs should be centered on what Jesus has done and not on how we feel. How we feel would just be communicated as a response of what Jesus did, but it should not be the core of the song.

One of my favorite songs in the upcoming ‘Victory Live‘ album is the song “Your Grace Changes Everything” co-written by my very talented friend Jose Villanueva (the artist also known as Quest), Neli Atiga (our pastor in Singapore en route to Australia) and Fina Wowor from Indonesia. The song speaks about God’s grace that transforms and heals us. The chorus goes like this:

 There’s no sin too great

There’s no pain too deep

The cross declares it is done

There’s no shame too real

That His love won’t heal

Forever the victory’s won

Your grace changes everything

I so wish I could give you guys the Youtube link right now so you know how it sounds. Tell me if you see something in your Facebook timelines that I can post already? : )

  1. Carries the CALL of the Church

As a congregation, our leaders would always remind us that we are all about honoring God and making disciples. This has never been so overemphasized and over-communicated and that’s a good thing. We have to go back to the “why” we are doing what we’re doing. The vision and the mission should be clear and should be communicated. The songs of worship that will come out of the borders of Victory should carry that call of honoring God in every aspect of our lives, and the call of making disciples in every nation. It’s about going back to the heart of God, which is to reach and save the lost.

The opening song we sang last week during the live recording session is entitled “Faithful” co-written by Victor “Yan” Asuncion, A.Arcilla, M. Magsaysay, and M. Luna. This must have been written a few years ago because it is in Yan’s WILDFIRE album and the folks in Victory QC have been singing it for some time. But I’m so glad that it is catching on to the rest of the Victory family. I’m so glad it still sounds like a “new” song. That’s the funny thing about songs (and timing). The song “Faithful” talks about going out and stepping out in faith to follow God’s call.. because really, He is Faithful. So yes, “we will go” honoring God and making disciples everywhere.

Here’s the chorus and the bridge:

Oh, oh we’re giving You our praises

Oh, oh we’re living for Your name

Oh, oh we’re stepping out of faith, we pray

For your will to be done

We know that You have come before us

We have Your promise to proclaim

We are stepping out in faith

we pray for Your will to be done

We will go, we will follow you

As we hold on to, we hold on to you

I found the Youtube link to the original WILDFIRE music video. Here you go: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLnZJ64MoeA   and here’s a link to an unofficial video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KeYc1Pt2ds  – I’m a big believer in “unofficial” videos too : ) No copyright infringement intended ofcourse.

  1. Communal

The goal of a congregational worship song is for the church to be able to focus on God, worshipping Him in spirit and truth. The songs then shouldn’t alienate, but should give that atmosphere that invites the congregation to continue to soak in God’s presence. The songs should be sung by the people as one.

For some who attended the live recording, it may seem like Victory Music just started this year, and the only people involved are those seen on stage. But that’s far from truth. It takes a commUNITY to start something like this. Victory is so blessed to have a grammy awarded producer – Otto Price as the sound producer for this album , and so blessed with pastor Julius Fabregas  (dad of the beautiful Isa Fabregas who you saw on center-stage) as the Executive Producer of this project along with Carlos Antonio and so many others working behind the scenes.


With Otto Price a few months ago (fan girl photo with Otto heheh)

There were so many things that went on behind the scenes before the June 17-19 live recording. Somebody else needs to blog more in detail I think.

I can only imagine that the whole process over the last couple of months has been anything but easy. Songwriters from various local Victory churches and Victory hubs would meet to write songs and submit them to the core team. I had the joy of collaborating with next-genration artists like Sarah Bulahan (behind the song “Jesus My Saviour”), Elle Cabiling and Emman Camcam in this process.

The core team would then meet regularly, exchange notes to screen the song submissions – what a difficult time they must have had to say “no” to a lot of people heheh : ) Each selected song would then get arranged and demos would be recorded. Really, the events of the last of couple of months can be traced even further back.


Kasama ko sila Lee (Victory Malate), Charles (Victory Greenhills) and Yan (Victory QC)

Back in 2012, pastor Paul Barker and pastor Gilbert Espiridion (our pastor from Victory U-Belt and former keyboardist of Passage Band) would meet us once a week to pray, plan and start writing songs of worship that could match the preaching series every month. Most of the songs written during that period were not included in the live recording, but it started a momentum where muscles are stretched to continue writing songs, and pride being broken into pieces when songs are edited or thrown into the trash bin.


Pastor Paul Barker


I am truly grateful with the leadership of our church to train their people. In 2013, we went through a year-long course called “Staff Development for Worship Leaders”. Even if I was not a staff member, I am just so honored with the invitation to participate. We were taught by Paul Barker about the theology of worship and so much more.




August 2013. With Pastor Steve and Pastor Ferdie. Best birthday treat ever.


Then a few months ago in February 2014, we had the “Worship Writers’ Workshop” (called the “W3”) trained by Mia Fieldes, John Katina and Otto Price. So honored to hear from some of the best song writers and producers from around the world. Some of the songs recorded last week in the very first “Victory Music” were birthed in that workshop.


W3 – Worship Writers’ Workshop



kasama ko sila Kitchie, Moira and others, paki tag nalang :)

It is going to take a real large number of people, united as one, to continue promoting this project. This is for all of us, and for the rest of the body of Christ who share the same passion of lifting the name of Jesus, honoring God and making disciples.

I encourage every worship leader, singer, musician to rally around this project. Whether you are young or old or young and free, you will get to hear more and more of these songs in the coming weeks in your local churches.

 4.  Catchy

Finally before I get side-tracked, my last point is that the song has to be “catchy”. To be effective in communicating the message, the song should be relevant in this generation. It is such an honor to that I belong to a multi-generational family where the young (and free) get along just fine. It would greatly help the congregation, if the lyrics and melodies are catchy and ‘singable’.

The song by Joel Barrios “Shine Upon The Philippines” is such an anthem that has got thousands singing together in chorus. It was a big hit on cassette-tape back in the days but it is nowhere to be found on Youtube and so I’m thrilled that the next generation is singing it. There’s also a really good track coming up by Barbie Almalbis, Joey Benin and Kelvin Lim (from Malaysia).

But my all-time favorite song in the Victory Live album, is the song called “Radical Love” written by Yan and led by Cathy Go.

Cathy is just in her early 20s but what an amazing and powerful voice she has!!!

The chorus is so catchy that the melody kept on playing in my head over and over again for days. The chorus is so easy to sing and it captures the response of a person who has truly encountered the love of Christ.

Too bad there’s no way to let you guys listen over Youtube here, you’ll just have to wait till August to buy it on iTunes :) But I really really hope the lyric video comes out sooner!

Here are some lines of the verse and the catchy chorus:

 No one else can save my soul

No one else can make me whole

Jesus You have won me

Your radical love surround me

Now I sing

Take my heart Lord, it is Yours

It is yours, oh It is yours

Take my life Lord, it is Yours

It is yours, oh It is yours.

I believe that every one of us has a song in our hearts. It doesn’t matter if you are a songwriter or not. But if that song lifts up the name of Jesus, it would help us walk in victory in every aspect of our lives.

May the love of God burst a song of worship in each of our hearts and let the whole world hear it!

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