25 taon

Dalawamput limang taon na ang nakalipas mula nang magtapos ako sa high school. Dahil may ibang gawain, di ako nakapunta sa pagdiriwang. Tiningnan kong muli ang aming yearbook at nakita ang aking isinulat upang ibahagi noong araw ng pagtatapos. Kayrami kong tanong noon. Mga tanong ko pa rin sila hanggang ngayon.


Sechskies shines anew with Another Light

First, a disclaimer, because some who might stumble upon this post might find the title misleading: This is not an album review. Well, maybe sort of, but not exactly an objective one because I totally love Sechskies. There, I have finally announced it haha.

Second, a digression. It has been more than a year since I have followed this first-generation Korean boy group. Sechskies had made me cry with their emotional reunion through the MBC variety show Infinity Challenge, but they have been making me smile–heck, make that laugh until I cry–with their variety skills. They have been working hard since regrouping, holding concerts (Yellow Note), releasing new songs (“Three Words,” “Sad Song,” and “Be Well”) and remastered versions of their hit songs, and appearing in music and variety shows.

Despite being active for a relatively short period (Sechskies debuted in April 1997 and disbanded in May 2000), they had managed to release four albums that spawned a number of hit songs. I actually find it quite difficult to choose a favorite Sechskies song (from the first four albums). The songs they have after their reunion are well-produced (as expected of Tablo and Future Bounce 🙂 ) and well-received, earning them year-end awards (for “Three Words”) and top spot in music shows (for “Be Well”). But a fifth full album with all new songs after 18 years, how would it sound? How would it be received?

Another Light is indeed something special and something to smile about

With Another Light, its double title tracks “Something Special” and “Smile”, and seven equally title track-worthy songs, I dare say that Sechskies has further solidified its place in the current Kpop scene. They are already legendary, but with this album, their music evokes not only nostalgia but fresh vitality. From one track to another, we get to listen to each member’s distinct vocal tone as the group challenges different genre.

I have always been impressed with Eun Jiwon’s versatility as an entertainer, but this album is a showcase for his singing skills. Kang Sunghoon is Kang Sunghoon: ever reliable as a main vocalist, nailing all his parts effortlessly. Of course his voice has matured, but its characteristic sweetness remains. Jang Suwon has improved tremendously; his and Kim Jaeduck’s hard work to keep performing as a duo after their disbandment is now serving the group well. A revelation (to me) in many ways is Lee Jaijin. I am no music major so I don’t know any technical words to describe his voice. Evidently Jaijin has great range (Watch: his aegyo song in Weekly Idol). But I just love how he can deliver power/softness with his voice in this album. All the members convey emotions well when they sing–it’s one of the reasons I have been drawn to them as a group.

Now, the songs. As I’ve posted in Twitter, there is no such thing as album filler in Another Light. Each track could stand as a title track. I like how the album starts with “Something Special” and ends with “It’s Been a While,” which is among my personal favorites along with “Backhug” and “Drinking Problem.” The upbeat tracks may sound a lot more “quiet” than the dance tracks the group has been known for, but they are as energy-filled. But really, one can jump around to one’s heart’s content to “Vertigo” or dance to “Something Special” or “Feeling.” Feeling lovesick or sorrowful? There are tracks for those times too. Better yet, just listen from Track 1 to 9 and be moved physically and emotionally.

I cannot possibly say this enough: Another Light is awesome, like really really :). Now if only YG promotes it more like by having Sechskies in variety shows, wouldn’t it be more awesome? 😛


Tropang Gutom: A year of fellowship, food, and everything fun

Last January 31, Tropang Gutom turns a year old. Somehow I feel like we have been together much longer than that. I have known Mia and Cel since 2002 when the three of us first joined the SMCM high school faculty of which Ma’am Noems has been a member since forever hehe. Badong and I were among the first batch of ISO internal auditor trainees. Benjie was my fellow first year adviser when I was a substitute teacher for Miss Javier. I would see Vhong, Rheena, Ele, and Marianne around whenever I came to SMCM to visit during the period I was not teaching there and when I rejoined the school from 2011 to 2014. Actually, TG has been formed before I became part of it, but our love for food and adventure has forged our bond. Though there are times that some members (read: me) would miss meetings (aka food trips haha), TG keeps everyone updated through Facebook.

In 2015, TG embarked on two major adventure: a camping trip to Nagsasa in Zambales in April and a nature trip in Baler, Aurora (which I have yet to write about, sigh) in November. With TG, planning a trip is as much fun as the trip itself. No stones would be left unturned; hence, the numerous meetings held. Just imagine the amount of calories consumed in all those meetings lol.

To Tropang Gutom, because our kind of hunger leads to happiness, may we always be hungry for the next adventure.

We are Tropang Gutom and we are hungry for the next adventure!
We are Tropang Gutom and we are hungry for the next adventure!

Take a feels trip with The CompanY’s Nostalgia

This 2016, I am turning 40, to which I attribute my frequent bouts of nostalgia. Seeing a boxful of old cards and letters, watching old films or a new film based on an old one (Star Wars The Force Awakens, yeah!), hearing old songs on the radio, they just bring, you know… So. Much. Feels.

Among the songs that never fail to make me nostalgic are those of The CompanY, their “Everlasting Love” particularly so. I was a high school freshman when it came out and I remember my classmate Claire giving me a copy of its lyrics. I remember listening to The CompanY’s album on my cassette player.

Isn’t the album design neat? 🙂

Listening to The CompanY’s 25th album, aptly titled Nostalgia, is a feels trip. The opening track “Times of Your Life” takes me back to second year high school and makes me remember my Values Ed teacher and class adviser Ma’am Tina Romano. Most of the songs are actually older than I am, but I am familiar with them because of Sunday radio shows, the kind my parents listen to haha! My favorites are the mouthful “Waters of March” and the very emotional Jose Mari Chan classic “Here and Now.” Confession: I really thought that the song whose first line goes “A stick, a stone, it’s the end of the load” was originally a commercial jingle for a local shopping center. Thanks to The CompanY, now I know it’s based on the Brazilian song “Aguas de Marco” composed by Antonio Carlos Jobim.

The CompanY is turning 31, and they are still bringing on the vocals and touching people with their music. I’m just happy that I finally got to see them perform live and even meet and greet them after their show at the Shang last January 24.

In good company (sorry, couldn’t resist haha!)

Because I have yet to find the person I would want to sing “Everlasting Love” to, I will sing it along with The CompanY whenever I hear it on the radio. (Also, I can sing along to the songs in Nostalgia as it includes minus one of the whole album. Awesome, right?)

SMCM at 100: Random thoughts of a Marian teacher

Since becoming a teacher, I have worn many school colors. Understandably, I would always identify myself primarily as a Fighting Maroon (although the university hymn says luntian at pula) but wherever I teach, I proudly wear the school colors. This 2016, aside from gold and green, I wear blue for St. Mary’s College of Meycauayan (SMCM) for the third time.

St. Mary’s College of Meycauayan (formerly St. Mary’s Academy) in City of Meycauayan, Bulacan turns 100 this 2016.

The first time was in 2002. I was a late addition to the highschool faculty as classes had already started when I joined to replace a member who decided to teach in a public school instead. I must admit that it felt a bit strange to be teaching in the school I had considered to be my high school’s rival. Obviously, I had some preconceived ideas about Marian students. Those would of course change over the course of my stay at SMCM. Marians would be among my closest friends, fangirling buddies, and travel and foodtrip companions. My first year of teaching at SMCM was not exactly a walk in the park but it was a memorable one. For one thing, as a young teacher at that time, I felt supported, valued, and loved. I would stay another year, and even when I decided to take a break from teaching to pursue another path, I came back for a few weeks as a substitute teacher in 2005.

The second time was in 2011. SMCM was the first to give me an opportunity to teach in the college level. Now I have former students who are members of the Integrated Basic Education (IBEd) faculty. Seeing them in the school never fails to make me smile.

I am just happy to be back for the third time since November 2015 on time for the centennial celebration this year. Now I declare myself a centennial junkie haha! Kidding aside, I think I will always think of SMCM as more than a school. To me, SMCM is like home. It is like my old neighborhood, always warm and familiar. This is why I am looking forward to see other Marians and Marians at heart to come home and celebrate 100 years of faith, service, and excellence with us. See you February 8 to 13 Marians!

SMCM at 100: A Centennial of Faith, Service, and Excellence



SM x Chan Lim: Ushering in A New Light of Prosperity

Over 100 Chinese paintings on lanterns by the Chan Lim Family of Artists and Students are on exhibit at The Block Atrium until February 11. The exhibit launch held last January 24 kicked off SM City North EDSA’s Chinese New Year celebration.


Meeting and learning from the master: Alex Chan Lim

Before the exhibit was formally opened to the public, there was a Q&A with and an on-the-spot demonstration by Alex Chan Lim. Like his siblings Felix, Rolex, and Jolex, Alex is an engineer by profession, but he has kept painting since he was 11 years old. The name Chan Lim is formed by combining the last names of the siblings’ parents. The family patriarch, whose real name is Jose but signs as Chan Lim, has dabbled in Western art, specializing in oil and watercolor.


Alex Chan Lim finishing his Chinese painting on rice paper.

The Chan Lim family of artists have conducted numerous art classes, workshops, and on-the-spot demonstrations, and have joined several art exhibits locally and internationally. To date, they have held 14 family exhibits.

Experiencing Chinese painting

I have always been interested in Chinese painting but never gotten around to attending a workshop until yesterday. The Chan Lim Family of artists and students helped us participants set up the materials (paper, Chinese brush, ink, water) and patiently guided us in making our first brush strokes.

This is me with Chan Lim painting student Ma’am Linda who became my teacher for the day 🙂


More activities to celebrate the Year of the Monkey at SM City North EDSA

Aside from wishing all its visitors a bright future with the grand collection of beautiful hand-painted lanterns at The Block Atrium, SM City North EDSA has lined up other exciting activities in celebration of the Chinese New Year:

  • Oriental Culture Market, February 2 to 15, mall hours, City Center East and West Mall 2nd Floor
  • Astrological Forecast with Marites Allen, February 7, 5 PM, The Block Atrium
  • Golds of Fortune, January 24 to February 11, The Block Ground Floor and the Annex Ground Floor
  • Oriental Classics, January 31, 5 PM, The Block Atrium
  • Chinese Wushu Arts, January 31, 5 PM, The Block Atrium
  • Chinese Arts in Letters Calligraphy Workshop, February 6, 2 PM, The Block Atrium
  • Chinese Court & Folk Dances, February 8, 2 PM, The Block Atrium


Thoughts on KCON2015 I’m Coming Home

Back from blogging hiatus! 🙂

I’m writing this on a Thursday, November 25, a week after the KCON 2015 was supposed to have started. Originally, my plan was to participate on Thursday, then have my friend Ku attend on Friday and Saturday because I couldn’t take a leave from work, and then come to the Grand Feast. Due to APEC road blockage, however, the four-day event was shortened to two days—21 and 22—with the Thursday activities moved to Saturday and Friday activities to Sunday morning. Though I could only attend the Grand Feast on Sunday afternoon, it felt like I have really come home.

I have been a Kerygma reader since 1993 when my second year HS adviser gifted me with a subscription for my graduation. I renewed that subscription, but stopped after some time. In 2000, I met a Kerygma shepherd during one of my daily commute to the office. That shepherd eventually became my soul sister. Ate Mhean introduced me to the Light of Jesus Family, and invited me to my first Feast in Camp Aguinaldo.

Though I haven’t been attending as consistently as I did back then, LOJ is indeed like family—warm and welcoming. There were thousands of attendees, all friendly faces. Like home, there is something very comforting with the old and familiar (although there were also many new things). Because I came late, I was expecting a general admission ticket but a member gave me his upper box ticket (Salamat, Kuya!)

The messages were all moving—from the homily to Bro. Justin Fatica’s “You’re amazing!” reminder, from Bro. Alvin Barcelona’s thoughts on coming home based on the Parable of the Prodigal Son to the reps (Bro. Eng Si, Bro. Jon Escoto, and Bro. Velden Lim) of the three generations of Feast Builders’, and Bro. Bo’s “You already have it!” I got all the affirmation I ever needed to overcome the challenges I am facing, and for that I am immensely grateful.