The 1st UNTV Cup: Shooting Hoops for a Cause

Who would’ve thought that a sport like basketball, commonly thought to be just a leisurely activity, can be means of promoting “unity, camaraderie and healthy living among public servants”?

These are the words of CEO and Chairman of Breakthrough and Milestones Productions International (BMPI) Inc. Kuya Daniel Razon, in a press conference held in the Mall of Asia as he talks about the up and coming, first UNTV Cup.

Celebrating its 9th Anniversary of genuine public service, UNTV continues to launch its massive public service programs which may be considered firsts in Philippine television history. UNTV, under Kuya Daniel and through partnerships with the Members Church of God International (MCGI) and Brother Eli Soriano, will hold its first ever UNTV Cup come Monday, July 29 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The UNTV Cup is a basketball sports event wherein players are local government officials and celebrities vying it out to win a 1 Million Peso grant to their charities of choice. This is not the first in UNTV’s history of sports-initiated charity work, Kuya Daniel is also the brainchild of the successful Takbo Para sa Libreng Kolehiyo (Run for Free College Education), a fun run held in the MOA Grounds aimed at raising funds for the construction of La Verdad Christian College, wherein education, meals and books are all for free. Not to mention the full-housed Big Dome during the Sing and Shoot 1 & 2, a concert-type event and basketball game, which aimed also to raise funds and support for the free education given to poor yet deserving students wanting to study in La Verdad.


There had already been press conferences and official signings with regards to the UNTV Cup participants and these are just some of the government officials that confirmed to take part in the said event: Col. Agane Adriatico of AFP, Reynaldo Agoncillo of PNP and Isagani Obispo Jr. of Department of Justice. There also these ‘news’ flying around about the boxing legend and Sarangani representative, Manny Pacquiao’s attendance and participation in the said charity work, but it’s still not yet confirmed by official sources.

Whether the country’s kamao will indeed come to shoot some hoops for a cause this coming Monday, we hope all our kasambahays and everyone else out there will support this wonderful initiative from our very own public service channel, UNTV. Until then, let’s all continue to watch and support UNTV through its 9th Anniversary celebration and live up to its theme of Inspiring Change and Building Better Communities, starting with ourselves.

Have a blessed day!

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Happy 9th, UNTV!

In a country where resources are scarce and good intentions are tinted with political agenda, what happens when you put together a man with ideals to serve the public and a television network? You come up with UNTV.

UNTV  is spearheaded by Mr. Public Service, Kuya Daniel Razon, along with continuous partnerships with the charity arm of Members Church of God International (MCGI) and Brother Eli Soriano.  It is the country’s first and true home of public service, evident by the numerous advocacies it had launched and is launching such as the Tulong Muna, Bago Balita, Dunong Gulong: Mobile School, Clinic ni Kuya, and the latest, Tulong Muna, Bago Pasada.

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Screenshot from UNTV’s coverage of its advocacy, Tulong Muna, Bago Pasada
Video Link here.

Known for the popular programs, “Itanong Mo Kay Soriano: Biblia ang Sasagot” and “Ang Dating Daan“, UNTV is so much more than a religious channel. It caters to a wide-variety of shows that are both educational and inspirational, such as Kuya Daniel Razon’s very own show, Get It Straight with Daniel Razon, wherein prolific members of the political community are being put to the hot-seat to give ‘straight’ answers to questions they wouldn’t dare entertain in normal circumstances. They also have A Song of Praise Music Festival, wherein amateur composers could send in their praise song entries and be evaluated on the spot by veteran people from the music industry, such as the likes of Mr. Noel Cabangon and Mr. Vehnee Saturno. Not only does it encourages the creation of more praise songs to God, (in which I babbled on about here), but also the promotion of more Original Pinoy Music or OPM. Then there are shows that cater to the youth too like Klasrum and Bread ‘n Butter.

ImageOne of UNTV’s signature shows: Good Morning Kuya
Photo taken: UNTV’s Official Site

All in all, UNTV is not your regular television channel brimming with mucky, overrated soap-operas or foreign-based gameshows. UNTV is all about genuine public service without hidden motives. True public service, which in consideration, is actually hard to do because of the scarce resource condition of our country. Yet, UNTV pushes on, armed with God’s guidance and a chock full of talented people, as well as those avid watchers who never fail to support.

So kudos to UNTV for celebrating its 9th Anniversary this July! Kudos to Our Public Service Channel!

You can watch UNTV via live streaming here.

Up Too Early or Up Too Late: Chronicling the Happenings of ITG Day 2

The sun had barely risen when Peter opened his eyes. He wasn’t awoken by the numerous pitter patter of feet on concrete, nor was he jolted awake by the melodious matching of pitches by the choir. He just simply opened his eyes and was awake. He was excited.

He got out of his make-shift bed that lay on the cement floor and started to fix himself. Having taken a shower the night before, he starts to comb his hair. He then falls in line in one of the little shops selling hot lugaw and some puto, then goes back to his seat to anticipatively wait the start of the program.

On the other side of the world, it’s 10:00 in the evening, but Anne and her family have no intentions of going to bed. Anne’s mother had already finished packing their rations for the day (or by this case, the night) and was now gathering her siblings, making sure their scarves were secured around their necks and their boots tightly snuggling their feet.

They would then make the short but cold night’s walk to their locale in London to join the countless number of peculiar people, either up too early or up too late, to offer the sacrifices of thanksgiving to the Lord, for the second day of their International Thanksgiving to God (ITG) has come.

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Peter and Anne’s experiences are only one of the few situations that brethren from the Members Church of God International (MCGI) experience every quarter of their three-day ITG. Unlike regular people who would spend their Fridays and weekends partying, relaxing or just spending the day off, these peculiar people from the MCGI would travel miles and miles to congregate in different coordinating centers all over the Philippines and the globe, transcending time zones and sleeping patterns. Today’s the second day of the ITG, and the congregation’s energy hasn’t dwindled. It heightened.

At the start of the thanksgiving ceremony, right after the Teatro Kristiano and the Music Ministry sang the opening song, Brother Eli addressed the difficult situations brethren experience all over the globe in order to participate live in the thanksgiving. Brethren situated in Apalit, Pampanga, Philippines (where the ADD convention center is located) have to endure the scorching heat a tropical country would offer, while brethren coming as far from London would brave the graveyard hours of 11pm onwards. Brethren in the Middle East, where Christian religious practices are highly suppressed, would stay in underground locales sometime between mid-afternoon and evenings while brethren in South America also experience difficulty with their time zones. Despite this, Brother Eli calls upon the brethren to “endure unto the end” to be saved (Matthew 24:13 KJV).

Unlike regular church services of other religions wherein pastors would take the stage, read a passage or two from the Bible and start to retell countless stories irrelevant and unrelated to the verse at hand, the brethren in MCGI are fed with God’s wisdom coming straight from the Bible, through the delivery of Brother Eli Soriano and Brother Daniel Razon, with God’s help and mercy. These are wisdom not typical for today’s pastors – all of them came from the Bible.

After being spiritually and physically replenished, congregants gathered onstage to offer their sacrifices of thanksgiving to God with the fruit of their lips. Dances, songs of praise and testimonies were given onstage from various parts of the country and the globe. It is indeed a great feeling to stand alongside brethren, uncaring whether it was too hot or too sweaty, being one in hearts with the goal to express their endless gratitude to the Lord.

The rest of the day and night were spent on talking about the history of the Church, to how it started and how it came to be what it now is, similar to what Luke had done during their time in the first Church. (Luke 1:1-3 KJV)

As the night tolls on and the second day of ITG has been wrapped up, brethren from all over the world will sleep with further more excitement, like Peter and Anne, in their respective parts all over the world, to await the coming of the third and last day of the ITG. More Biblical wisdom will be introduced to the fold and more dancing and praises and happiness will abound as the nation of God celebrates. But for the rest of the remaining night, Peter returns to his make-shift bed in the ADD Convention Center, Anne and her family will make their way home, and I will go to sleep feeling fulfilled, satisfied and hopeful as the following day approaches.

Not Just “Artsy” Music, But Faith-full Music

As a self-proclaimed ‘artistic’ spirit (in my own, Yanna-Faye-way of course), a day wouldn’t pass without me encountering or interacting with art. Whether it be a literary text, a trailer for a film, a painting I would pass by in one of the halls of a college building, or even music, I would take some time to digest it, to appreciate it or just simply look/watch/hear it.

ImageOne of the many paintings that adorn the halls of the new National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (NIMBB) Building.

Photo taken from: NIMBB Official Website

I like to think that most of these art forms were created with a much deeper meaning or essence to them. It might reflect what the artist, composer or director was feeling at the time of its inception. It might speak of words hidden in its colors, melody or story. Or there’s just something down there, something in between the written and/or the stroked lines.

But then I hear this ‘song’ from my eleven-year old sister:

Isa kang malaking libag na tinubuan ng pisnge! Alam mo? Mukha kang tuhod na may bukol, na may sugat, na may nana!

It has a far longer verse and chorus, from what I heard my sister sing, but these few lines really caught my attention. These lines are from a popular Philippine song called “Gayuma” by Abra. “Gayuma” in English, might translate into love potion, so the song simply talks about how the narrator is being hoodwinked by an extremely ugly girl that he can’t help but love.

I have nothing against the song. What I have against is the lack of better quality of music being played on the radio. The degeneration of music. The sad thought that today’s generation would only hear songs about scabby knees that look like faces. The extremely sad thought that today’s generation don’t hear enough of worthy, meaningful songs – songs from the old days – and more so, songs that praise God.

I remember Brother Eli Soriano, my favourite evangelist of all time, talk about songs. He says that songs are used to express people’s feelings. Like the fact that married people sometimes love another aside from their spouse, hence the song, “Release me, let me go. For I don’t love you anymore.”  Then there are songs about spoiled food, “Hopiang di mabili, may amag sa tabi.” And then there’s Gayuma as well.

He meant to point out the abundance of numerous songs all dedicated to numerous, mundane things. Why not make more songs dedicated to the One who made all of those? In this article, Brother Eli gives inspiring thoughts to attendees of a Music Summit held by the MCGI last May. To quote Brother Eli, he says:

“Singing to God is one of the few things that we can do directly to Him. We cannot serve God with our hands. But we can offer him the fruit of our lips, praising His name.”

Brother Eli and Kuya Daniel Razon, CEO of Breakthrough and Milestones Inc. are also behind the popular UNTV show, A Song of Praise Music Festival, which adheres to their vision in encouraging people to listen and compose music that gives glory to God, as well as promoting Original Pinoy Music. It airs every Sunday, 7:00pm Philippine time. You can watch it via live streaming here.

Like what I said about art forms having deeper meanings into them, aren’t songs that praise God speak about what our hearts might fail to say? Aren’t these songs greater means to express our gratitude to the Lord? If only today’s radio would take some time to play songs such as these, and we people would make the effort to listen to them, then everyday would not only be art-filled, art-inspired days, but also worthy, meaningful days – days spent in serving the Lord through the fruit of our lips.