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

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The Truth Will Set You Free: Tarlac City Jail Inmates Hear God’s Words through ADD Bible Exposition

Words of God transcend boundaries as inmates from the Tarlac City Jail were given the opportunity to consult their Biblical queries through the Ang Dating Daan Bible Exposition, as hosted by Brother Eli Soriano and Brother Daniel Razon.

Bro. Eli gave time to our truth-seeking fellowmen locked behind bars to answer their questions and restore their faith in God, adding that not all people behind bars are evil; some of them are just victims of injustice, or lacked the capacity to defend themselves.

The first inmate asked Bro. Eli a question by citing from personal experience. “Nananalangin po ako bago matulog, tapos isang beses, pagkagising ko, nakagawa po ako ng kasalanang di ko naman sinasadya. Mapapatawad po ba yun?” (I pray before I sleep, but one time, when I woke up, I unintentionally sinned. Will that be forgiven?)

Bro. Eli responded that there are two kinds of sins, (1) Unintentional and (2) Intentional, reading the verse of 1 Timothy 1:13 along with many others. The verse talked about Paul’s previous life as a persecuter of the Church, but he was forgiven, because he did it out of ignorance.

“Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief”
1 Timothy 1:13 (King James Version)

The second inmate asked what was the first thing the Creator has done. Bro. Eli answered that even though God created the heavens and the earth, those are not the first things He created. He read Proverbs 8:22;31.

(22) “The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.”
(31) “Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.”
Proverbs 8:22; 31 (King James Version)

The first thing that God created was His earth.

ImageLive Twitter feed using the #ADDBibleExpo hashtag last
Ang Dating Daan Bible Exposition.
Photo Courtesy: @TheOldPathTV Official Twitter Account

At the end of the session with Tarlac Provincial Jail, Bro. Eli called upon the inmates to attend the Ang Dating Daan’s Mass Indoctrination, a two-week long event which had already started last Monday, December 2. Workers will be sent to them to conduct the sessions. He said that there they will learn the true doctrines of Christ based from the Bible, citing that, the truth of God’s words will set them free. It may not set them free in the material jail cells of this world, but it will set them free from the bondage of transgression.

Got Milk? ADD through UNTV Holds Simultaneous Breastfeeding Activity

When I was a kid, most of my time was spent in front of the television. When I’m not watching cartoons with my brothers, the clear, piercing voice of a man I was so thankful I knew, would ring in my ears. That man was Brother Eli Soriano, the host and speaker of the popular religious program, Ang Dating Daan.

Those were the year 2000s, two decades later after the program was established through Philippine radio. Now, the program is being broadcast across six continents, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week through speakers Brother Eli Soriano and Brother Daniel Razon.

With the celebration of its 33rd Anniversary, the Ang Dating Daan rallies on with the theme “Building a Prayerful Nation, through Broadcast Evangelization.”

ImageIn line with the celebration were numerous activities geared towards public service, good works to nature and promoting health awareness.

Just last week, I am grateful to be part of the tree planting activity held in Tranca, Laguna, where nearly a hundred youth volunteers planted seedlings to help the environment. It was a simultaneous activity tied up with clean-up drives held all across the Metro, and other more key locations nationwide.

Image                                                                                                                         Photo by: John Tanez

And today, October 24, Ang Dating Daan through the Members Church of God International, in partnerships with Nurturers of the Earth and UNTV, is hosting a Simultaneous Breastfeeding Event nationwide in an effort to promote breastfeeding awareness towards mothers and babies alike.

Time and time again, medical research and scientific studies continue to give proof that breastmilk is indeed the best for babies and their mothers. According to the WebMd, breastmilk “provides the ideal nutrition for infants“. It is also the “optimal way to feed a newborn“.

Breastfeeding also proves to be beneficial to mothers as they have long-term health benefits like the risk reduction of obesity and diabetes in their older years.

The event also aims to break the Guinness World Record for Simultaneous Breastfeeding in Multiple Sites.

Calling all the attention of breastfeeding moms! Join the Simultaneous Breastfeeding Activity for a cause! Join the online buzz by using the official hashtag #ADDforBreastfeeding

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!

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.