Wish 1075 Music Awards to Honor Best OPM Artists

FM radio newbie Wish 1075 will honor the country’s best OPM artists as it holds its first Music Awards at the Big Dome.

wishPhoto Courtesy: Wish FM’s official FB page

The special awards night will choose winners from a pool of artists via people’s votes and judges’ critiques. Categories include Wish Promising Artist, Best Wish Cover and Best WISHclusive Performances. Nominees in these categories feature some prominent names in the music industry like Yeng Constantino, Gloc-9, Spongecola and Jed Madela. Rising stars such as The Voice alumni Jason Dy and Daryl Ong; teen idols Marlo Mortel and Paolo Onesa; and young artists Gwyneth Dorado, Sassa Dagdag, Esang De Torre and Darren Espanto are also in the pool of nominees.

Aside from the awards are live performances from some of the country’s hottest OPM talents. New and upcoming singers will do popular song covers and surprise guests will perform their original songs.

Robi Domingo and Gretchen Ho will host the event which happens Jan. 26, Tuesday at 7.

Bread Society Takes Part in Metro-Wide Public Service Campaign for UNTV’s 11th Year Celebration

On its 11th year of genuine public service to the community and the country, UNTV through the Bible Readers Society International (BREAD Society International) took part in a Metro-wide public service campaign in support of UNTV’s anniversary celebration.

Living up to its mission as the country’s premier public service channel, UNTV, on its 11th year, has teamed up with Members Church of God International (MCGI) and various youth groups to conduct public service efforts in universities and high schools.

Mobilizing its chapters all across Metro Manila in support of the campaign, public service endeavors such as Clean-Up Drives, Free Haircut Services, the donating of supplies to schools, as well as Free Book Covering Services benefitted schools and universities throughout the capitol, among these were Polytechnic University of the Philippines Sta. Mesa Campus, Taguig City University and Rizal High School.

Bread members and other youth organizations from Taguig City University pose for a picture with a UNTV 11th Anniversary banner after the clean-up drive session. Photo Courtesy: Bread Society International

Bread members and other youth organizations from Taguig City University pose for a picture with a UNTV 11th Anniversary banner after the clean-up drive session. Photo Courtesy: Bread Society International

Aside from the Bread Society, volunteers from the youth arm of MCGI also seized the opportunity to give back to the community. “As a student and member of Bread Society, I am grateful to God that even in my littleness, I am able to take part in helping fellow students in schools and universities,” expressed Mark Angelo Venus, a Bread member and officer. “We greet UNTV a happy 11th anniversary. We wish for more power in continuing their endeavors, and we from Bread Society are always one with the channel’s advocacy in doing good, and we are always here to help.”

A student from Rizal High School gets free haircut services from a volunteer barber, in cooperation with UNTV, Bread Society and Rizal HS Admin. Photo Courtesy: Bread Society International

Members of the schools’ administration also expressed their gratitude for the charity event that took place in their campuses. “We from Rizal High School are very thankful for the free services that you offered,” said Ms. Virgina Membrebe, Principal of Rizal High School, in remark to the Free Haircut Services provided to the students of the school. Ms. Membrebe added that it is already a huge help, especially since not all of the students get regular haircuts because of financial constraints. “We also greet UNTV a happy 11th anniversary. We hope that you will continue to reach out to students in public schools like ours.”

Eleven Years of Advocating Genuine Public Service

Starting out way back in 2004, UNTV has made a name for itself as the country’s public service channel,

For its 11th year celebration, UNTV has teamed up with various government groups and private organizations to conduct a Rescue Summit and Disaster Preparedness Seminar. With the goal to gear up Filipino citizens and raise awareness for upcoming natural disasters and calamities, the event includes seminars on rescue training, basic life and property saving, emergency responses and disaster preparedness.

Read here: UNTV’s 10th Anniversary Marked by Series of Public Endeavors Worldwide

With the goal to gear up Filipino citizens and raise awareness for upcoming natural disasters and calamities, UNTV has teamed up with various government groups and private organizations to conduct seminars on rescue training, basic life and property saving, emergency responses and disaster preparedness.

The anniversary celebration will be held on August 24-25 at the SMX Convention Center.

La Verdad Christian College – Quality Education at No Cost

The man in front of the computer was whistling a happy tune, but Brandon’s heart wasn’t pumping a rhythmic beat. As the man handed him his printed papers, Brandon felt his heart drop as he looked at the amount printed in bold, black ink at the bottom of the page. It was enrolment day; he had just got his subjects assessed and validated by his college. The paper handed to him was the form for payment which displayed his total tuition fees for the semester.

What an amount to pay for just a couple of units, he muttered to himself. He was studying in a public school were tuition was subsidized by the government but the fees he pay were still too high for what he can afford.

He makes his way to the cashier’s office, counting and recounting his recently withdrawn money to make sure they were enough and exact for payment. Upon reaching the office and finding a stream of students, his eyes wandered to a huge plastered sign sprawled to his side, directing students like him to the miscellaneous queue. Underneath the bold print were words like dorm fees, lab and library fees and more, screaming at him and making his heart sink even lower. His mind were occupied with thoughts about daily transportation fares he’s going to have to pay, the food he’s going to eat, the school supplies he’s going to provide. And buying a uniform too, he thought.

As he takes his spot on the long line to pay his tuition, he looks back at the miscellaneous fees queue and thinks to himself with a resigned look, “Is education now a privilege?”


Brandon’s experiences are something unrare. These situations and stories happen more often than we believe, prompting the debate as to whether education in our country is a right or a privilege.

It’s June once again, the month of weddings, of Father’s days and beginnings of school. School commencing would mean enrolment and enrolment would also mean money.

High Cost of Education = Out of School Youths?

According to recent figures by the National Statistics Office (NSO) and Annual Poverty Indicators Survey (APIS), a steady growth of percentage of out-of-school youths was listed from 2000-2011, with over 6.24 million youths out of school, or 16% of the country’s 39 million Filipinos in the age bracket between six and 24.

Aside from geographical and temporal reasons, one of the most cited reasons for this increase was the high cost of education. Moreover, the NSO’s 2014 Report of the Country’s Figures listed more than 23 million of the population as no more than elementary undergraduates, with 3 million having no education at all.

That is why in these times, government bodies and non-governmental organizations have conducted programs to help. Various scholarships are now made able to deserving youth, offering several chances for qualification. But there is one non-governmental organization that has taken steps higher than the others.

Free Education through LVCC

The Members Church of God International, through UNTV 37, the country’s public service channel, has established a college wherein free education is one of its services.

With campuses in Pampanga and Caloocan, La Verdad Christian College (LVCC) leads as the country’s first private institution wherein aside from free tuition, other expenses such as uniform, food and lodging fees are shouldered entirely by the school. This is inspired by Bro. Eli Soriano and Kuya Daniel Razon’s advocacy of helping poor but deserving students to earn their college degrees.

La Verdad Christian College is the first private institution in the country that offers free education along with free meals, uniforms, books and even lodging.
Video Courtesy: youtube.com/untvweb

“It’s a very good feeling to know that God has given us instruments in doing good — those who help the youth like me to be able to study. That is wy I thank God for Bro. Eli and Kuya Daniel for giving us the chance to go to college despite the lack of our financial ability,” says Kim Santiago, a Second Year AB Broadcasting student from LVCC Caloocan Branch.

“Here in La Verdad, aside from availing of the free services the school offers, we are being taught to excel academically and spiritually,” says Maryjane Largueza, a recent graduate of AB-Broadcasting in LVCC Caloocan Campus. “LVCC not only aims to produce capable students but also good citizens of the country. I am proud to be a LaVerdarian, and I am grateful to God and Bro. Eli and Kuya Daniel, because without them, this will not be possible.”

Aside from offering kindergarten until secondary schooling, LVCC also offers Bachelor degrees in nursing, computer technology, mass communications, culinary and many more. Moreover, extensive training and career opportunities are also given to students during their stay at the college with help of partner groups such as UNTV.

LVCCA shot of one of the main buildings of La Verdad
Christian College in Apalit, Pampanga.
Photo Courtesy: Rovic Balunsay of Photoville International

First established in 2009, the two campuses are always being improved and maintained by its administration. Citing Bro. Soriano in a speech during the inauguration of the LVCC Branch in Caloocan, he says, “We have spent much to establish this school, and much is to be spent still to sustain it. But we do not look at the amount, just as it is written in the Bible,” adding that, “This is our mandate from knowing the truth in the Bible. Students do not owe this to us. They owe it to God.”

On Being Filipino: Bro. Eli as Pinoy Pride

“Pinoy Pride.” What comes to your mind when you hear it or its variation: “Proud to be Pinoy”?

For boxing fans, the name of world-renowned boxing legend, Manny Pacquiao could immediately ring a bell.

For singing enthusiasts, the likes of Jessica Sanchez, Charice Pempengco and Lea Salonga may pop up in their minds.

Manny Pacquaio (right) and Lea Salonga (left) are both icons in their respective fields and are symbols of Filipino pride. Photo Courtesy: underdogboxing.wordpress.com | broadwayworld.com

Manny Pacquaio (right) and Lea Salonga (left) are both icons in their respective fields and are symbols of Filipino pride.
Photo Courtesy: underdogboxing.wordpress.com | broadwayworld.com

But people aren’t the only sole symbols of Pinoy pride. Even cultural things like customs, food and clothing also make it to the list of things which Filipinos are proud of.

We always hear these phrases often, something we might even say ourselves. But what do they really entail?

What is Filipino Pride?

Filipino pride or Pinoy pride can be defined as the symbols that bring good, international recognition to the Filipino race. Like the examples given above, and to name a few, persons like Manny Pacquiao and Lea Salonga have given good name for Filipinos in the world of their respective fields.

Only this previous month, Filipino “Miss Saigon” actor Jon Jon Briones had made rounds on the web for being the Best Actor nominee of the prestigious Olivier Award in British theater.

These are positive outlooks on Filipino pride, because these are really something to be proud of. These Filipinos have attained their status through talent and hard work — something that we, as a nation, naturally acquire.

Meanwhile, our hospitable culture is also something unique that defines us as a people. This quality of Filipinos being hospitable is also something that the world looks up to.

We Pinoys, are known to be warm and always willing to offer what is special, what is new and what could be their everything, just to make visitors feel comfortable and accommodated.

The Other Side of Filipino Pride

Looking at my abovementioned points, it would seem that Filipino Pride is something genuinely and solely good!

But too much Filipino Pride also has its downsides, and for me, it starts with the word “overkill”. Well, as the Filipino saying goes, “Lahat ng sobra, masama.” (Everything in excess is bad).

The urban dictionary defines overkill as, “More than what is needed. In gross excess of what is reasonably expected. An excess of something beyond what is required or suitable for a given purpose. “

"Overkill" as defined by the Urban Dictionary.

“Overkill” as defined by the Urban Dictionary.

There are countless examples of Filipino pride overkill and this serves as a reminder that even things intended for good can also be bad in excess. Riding in the bandwagon to claim famous people with little to no traces of Filipino blood or culture as Pinoy pride symbols is overkill. This kind of paradoxical “Filipino pride” will not bring appreciation to our country, but may seem more like a “confidence booster” and earn backlash from critics.

What I Am Proud of As A Filipino

What makes me proud to be a Filipino? Aside from some recognized personalities in my list, unique food and good customs, here are some:

(1) Close Filipino family ties (i.e. We are known to not abandon our elders in nursing homes, and make it a point to care for them in their old age)
(2) Honesty and morals (i.e. Good deeds like returning money that aren’t ours, debt of gratitude concept)
(3) Hardworking Overseas Filipino Workers (they are our modern day heroes!)

Then another person who remains under-recognized excels in the field of religion and spirituality. He is today making rounds across the world through preaching and changing lives.

 Bro. Eli Soriano.

Bro. Eli Soriano is a Filipino preacher making rounds across the globe for preaching the words of God in foreign lands. Photo Courtesy: facebook.com/Eliseo_Soriano

Bro. Eli Soriano is a Filipino preacher making rounds across the globe for preaching the words of God in foreign lands.
Photo Courtesy: facebook.com/Eliseo_Soriano

Hailing from the provinces of Pampanga, Bro. Soriano has been unrelenting in preaching the gospel for more than five decades.

Despite earning numerous accolades for his work and the great number of people who have found the truth through him, Bro. Soriano is also one of the most slandered men of all time, with the internet spewing all sorts of lies and defamations against him.

But what strikes me the most is his unfeigned attitude to continue to help, his glaring humility for those who malign him, and his God-given courage that strives to point out the errors of the mislead and the misleader.

It makes me proud to know that I came across this man in my life. With God’s help, through a simple man like him, I and many others have found truth in our lives.

That is one of the things that I am truly proud of. I am proud to be Filipino because of Filipinos who know how to look back to their roots, of Filipinos who do good deeds without asking anything in return, of Filipinos who work hard for their families and their country abroad. But most of all, I am proud of these Filipinos who work hard for the Philippines to be recognized and appreciated by the world. Filipinos like Bro. Eli who are proud of their heritage and their country even in foreign lands make me truly proud to be like them — a Filipino.


Some articles I’ve cited on Pinoy Pride and its cons:

https://stonegrenades.wordpress.com/2012/08/21/what-is-pinoy-pride/

http://getrealphilippines.com/blog/2014/01/mistaken-beliefs/

http://remarkablyweirdsyndrome.blogspot.com/2012/06/pinoy-pride-what-hell-does-that-mean.html

It’s not “Bonjour”, It’s “Au Revoir” For Sofitel PH

I am offended with Sofitel PH’s use of “Bonjour” in their statement. (Read a French version of this entry here.)

Sofitel PH's official statement ironically opens with "Bonjour" before being followed suit by their excuse.

Sofitel PH’s official statement ironically opens with “Bonjour” before being followed suit by their excuse.

In a statement released by the management of Sofitel PH regarding a controversy, they have opened it with the French greeting “Bonjour” meaning “Hello“. I find it a little offensive because what follows suit after the greeting are illogical excuses made by the management to cover up for their actions.

Sofitel is a chain of French luxury hotels known worldwide for their quality of service. Unfortunately, here in the Philippines, the brand Sofitel is not living up to its name.

Sofitel PH has removed the country’s public service channel, UNTV, from its program listings, citing reasons such as limited systems or guest feedbacks. Netizens, however, are quick to point out the faults in their statement, calling for a public apology instead.

It’s not just media discrimination the netizens are reacting to as well, it’s also their act of opposition towards UNTV’s public service efforts.

It is a sustained boycott for the supporters of UNTV. The hashtags #NotoSofitel and #BoycottSofitelPH have topped the ranks of Philippine Trends, even making it to Worldwide Trends.

The hashtags #NotoSofitel and #BoycottSofitelPH landed in the top 1 and 3 spots of Philippines trends, respectively.

The hashtags #NotoSofitel and #BoycottSofitelPH landed in the top 1 and 3 spots of Philippines trends, respectively.

But, instead of apologizing, Sofitel PH remains firm in their stand and offered instead illogical excuses for their biased actions.

That is why I find their use of “Bonjour” offending.

I have learned through my French classes that “Bonjour” is a cheerful greeting the French use; they use it to mean sincerity. However, in the case of Sofitel PH’s usage, it seems purely elitist to me.

 

Netizens in Outrage Over Media Discrimination, #NotoSofitel and #BoycottSofitelPH Trends

Netizens took to Twitter and Social Media the hashtags #NotoSofitel and #BoycottSofitelPH after UNTV CEO, Daniel Razon announced a sustained boycott of the luxury hotel in his morning show, Good Morning Kuya.

In its July 14 episode, Razon pointed out Sofitel’s biased move of delisting UNTV in its hotel programming.

In an official statement released by the Sofitel management, their removal of the country’s Public Service Channel was allegedly brought about by guest feedback and demand.

Netizens however, react negatively to the said statement and call for a reasonable explanation and a public apology, noting that it is not just about UNTV, but the act of media discrimination committed by the hotel’s management.

The hashtags #NotoSofitel and #BoycottSofitelPH made it to the 1st and 3rd spots of Philippines trends yesterday and have tallied more than a hundred thousands tweets registering the #NotoSofitel hashtag.

The hashtags #NotoSofitel and #BoycottSofitelPH landed in the top 1 and 3 spots of Philippines trends, respectively.

The hashtags #NotoSofitel and #BoycottSofitelPH landed in the top 1 and 3 spots of Philippines trends, respectively.

 

A Station with a Heart

For ten years, UNTV has made its name in the Philippines as a television network geared solely towards public service.

Home to many advocacies such as the Tulong Muna, Bago Balita (Rescue First, Report Later), Isang Araw Lang (Just One Day), free medical, legal services and free education, UNTV promotes doing good to everyone, especially to the marginalized members of the community.

To single out UNTV is not only an act of media discrimination but also an act of opposition to its public service efforts, its followers and its beneficiaries.

It is only but rightful for UNTV’s adherents to voice out their opinions regarding a matter where they are greatly affected.

“There are times when you need to speak up, you need to voice out your rights. You do not need to always let things go especially when there are people who are already being affected. – Kuya Daniel Razon”

Cult: Good or Bad? Dissecting the Meaning of a Misunderstood Word

As a student who majors in languages, we were taught to be aware of words that have connotative meanings which differ from their original definitions. The word “gay” for example in our time, would refer to people who are homosexuals or people who have different sexual preferences. However, back in the day, people who were feeling happy and overjoyed were described as gay.

Last Friday (May 9), while I was participing in the Ang Dating Daan Bible Exposition, a guest from Dubai wanted to confirm if the Members Church of God International was a cult. The Bible Exposition held by the MCGI is hosted by Bro. Eli Soriano, who is popularly known as the host of the longest-running religious program in the Philippines, “Ang Dating Daan“.

The visitor exclaimed that he had heard many rumors that the said church was a cult, and that particular information hindered him from affiliating himself in the Church.

Indeed, the word cult nowadays is being interpreted negatively. Citing the Merriam-Webster free online dictionary, a cult is defined as…

(1) a small religious group that is not part of a larger and more accepted religion and that has beliefs regarded by many people as extreme or dangerous
(2) a situation in which people admire and care about something or someone very much or too much
(3) a small group of very devoted supporters or fans

When most people hear the word “cult”, what immediately comes into their minds are weird, creepy-looking people wearing masks who practice some sort of insane, devilish ritual. This is emphasizec by numerous references in popular media like movies and books, wherein cults are portrayed as groups who seek out virgins and sacrifice them to demons, for example. This would explain the first definition.

The first definition holds true to certain organizations that indeed practice these extreme and dangerous rituals. An example of this would be the People’s Temple cult. Founded by Indiana-based leader Jim Jones, the People’s Temple is a :religious” movement most famous for their mass suicide in 1978 which resulted in 914 people dead from cyanide poisoning, 276 of which were children.

Image

 The mass suicide committed by the followers of Jim Jones’ People’s Temple cult resulted in 914 total deaths caused by cyanide poisoning. It is also known throughout history as the Jonestown Massacre.
Photo from: cbsnews.com

Secondly, extreme devotion to someone or something isn’t entirely new. Popular franchises like “The Lord of the Rings”, “Harry Potter”, “Doctor Who” and even famous celebrities and phenomena have gained cult followings.

On the contrary though, Bro. Eli, in response to the guest’s inquiry, stated that there is another meaning to the word “cult”. This other, more rightful meaning, however, is nowhere near today’s devilish definition. He said that in the Spanish and Portuguese versions of the Bible, Romans 12:1 has this to say:

“Así que, hermanos, os ruego por las misericordias de Dios, que presentéis vuestros cuerpos en sacrificio vivo, santo, agradable a Dios, que es vuestro racional culto.” (Romanos 12:1 ; Las Sagradas Escrituras) 

“Rogo-vos pois, irmãos, pela compaixão de Deus, que apresenteis os vossos corpos como um sacrifício vivo, santo e agradável a Deus, que é o vosso culto racional.” (Romanos 12:1 ; João F. Almeida Atualizada)

Both translations used the word “culto” when referring to “reasonable/rightful worship or service ” as stated in its English translation.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1 ; King James Version

When traced back to its original Greek counterpart in the Bible, the word “culto” came from “latriea(pronounced la-tri-ah) which means “worship; divine service. In fact, the Filipino word “kulto” is derived from the Spanish and Portuguese version. It is also defined by the UP Filipino Dictionary as,may natatangi o pinong pag-uugali, pag-iisip, o panlasa (having unique or refined demeanor, thinking, or taste)”, a definition that Bro. Eli agrees upon.

Bro. Eli implied that being called a cult isn’t something really bad. If it means being extreme devotion to something, brethren from MCGI are surely proud to be extremely devoted to God. If being a cult means having unique, specific and distinct qualities which makes us different, then MCGI members would be proud to fully adhere to the Bible’s doctrines regarding any matter in life, be it clothing, practices and lifestyle — something that other religions don’t do.

Similar to the word “gay”, the word “cult” also has its preconceived notions now, confining the word in such negative meaning that it’s other definitions become overlooked or forgotten. It is important that we recognize how to use its rightful meaning in rightful context to achieve clarity of thought and avoid misconceptions.

For more information about Bro. Eli, MCGI and the cult issue, read more here.