Saturday, April 30, 2011

Philippines LDS Church Golden Jubilee Cultural Show at Araneta Coliseum

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

I just came home from a very successful Cultural Show at the Araneta Coliseum as part of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Golden Jubilee Celebration for the preaching of the gospel in the Philippines. The cultural show will be replicated in mini celebrations throughout the country this year.



I was part of the Jubilee Choir and the Selected Choir along with my two brothers Kuya Mike & Allan and sister - in - law Imee. My niece Mitch is part of the Novaliches and Quezon City Stakes Youth dance group and so the whole family was at the Araneta Coliseum. It was indeed a big family affair!



The event was also like a reunion with old friends and bonding with new found friends made possible by the more than a year choir practices of the one thousand (1,000) members of the Jubilee Choir.



I was happy that the event was very successful. It was worth all our efforts and time for the practices.

Here is the sequence of the show:

Seq.1 Opening/Introduction
Seq.2 Choir Sings "Philippine National Anthem"
Seq.3 Invocation
Seq.4 Intro of Hosts
Seq.5 Enter Host
Seq.6 Opening AVP and Map Formation
Seq.7 "Maskarra" Dance (Novaliches and Quezon City Stakes)



Seq.8 Choir Sings "The Morning Breaks"
Seq.9 Gospel in Luzon (Host Intro)
Seq.10 Choir Sings "Pamulinawen"
Seq.11 "Banga and Bumaya" Dances (Malolos and Valenzuela Stakes)



Seq.12 Choir Sings "Atin Cu Pung Singsing"
Seq.13 "Sayaw sa Bangko" Dance (QC South and Fairview Stakes)



Seq.14 Testimony - Sister Grimm
Seq.15 "Pandanggo sa Ilaw" Dance (Antipolo & Taytay Stakes)
Seq.16 "Tinikling" Dance (QC South and Fairview Stakes)
Seq.17 "Maglalatik" Dance (Antipolo & Taytay Stakes)



Seq.18 Gospel in Visayas (Host Intro)
Seq.19 Choir Sings " Called to Serve"
Seq.20 Host Enters-Visayan Dances
Seq.21 "Surtado" Dance (Makati, Pasay and Pasig Stakes)



Seq.22 "Subli and Kuratsa" Dances (Caloocan and Manila Stakes)





Seq.23 Selected Jubilee Choir Sings "Rosas Pandan"
Seq.24 "Carinosa and Mantones De Seda (Novaliches and Quezon City Stakes)



Seq.25 "Ati-Atihan" Dance (Makati, Pasay and Pasig Stakes)



Seq.26 Gospel in Mindanao (Host Intro)
Seq.27 "Tiboli and Bagobo" Dances ( Cavite and Dasmarinas Stakes)



Seq.28 Primary Choir Sings "I Am A Child of God" (Caloocan, QC & Valenzuela Stakes)
Seq.29 "Pangalay" Dance (Paranaque and Las Pinas)


"Kapa Malong Malong & Kumbong" Dances (Marikina and Montalban Stakes)



"Singkil"Dance (Paranaque & Las Pinas Stakes)

Seq.30 Growth and Development of Church in the Philippines
Seq.31 Video Elder Augusto Lim
Seq.32 Choir Sings " The Spirit Of God'
Seq.33 Leaders of the Future (Host Intro)
Seq.34 "Itik - Itik" Dance (Primary Children of Marikina,Antipolo, & Taytay Stakes)



Seq.35 Primary Choir Sings"I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus"medley (Caloocan,QC & Val.)
Seq.36 "Arnis Exhibition" Selected Young Single Adults
Seq.37 Audio Visual Presentation
Seq.38 Young Single Adult Sings OPM Songs
Seq.40 "Ballroom" Dance Medley (Selected Young Single Adults)



Seq.41 "Ako Ay Pilipino" Interpretative Dance(Selected Young Single Adults)



Seq.42 Choir Sings " Faith In Every Footstep"
Seq.43 Closing Remarks
Seq.44 Choir Sings "United" Jubilee Theme Song (Video of Jubilee Logo)
Seq.45 Closing Prayer
Seq.46 Choir Sings "I Believe In Christ" as Postlude

Thursday, April 28, 2011

LDS Philippines Golden Jubilee Celebration: VIP Reception Dinner

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda



I attended the Jubilee VIP Dinner Reception at the Makati Shangri-la hotel, accompanied by my brother Joel (coz my prince was on travel to Denmark and couldn't make it). We arrived at the Makati Shangri-la hotel on time and was greeted by the beautiful, spacious lobby and facade of this hotel at the heart of Makati.



This event is part of the LDS Philippines Golden Jubilee Celebration's exposure to make government leaders in the Philippines become aware of the 50-year celebration of the LDS (Mormon) Church that is taking place and the celebration happening in the Philippines through out the year.



Last April 28, 1961, Elder Gordon B. Hinckley (the same LDS prophet and world president of the Church from March 1995 to January 2008 ) was joined by about 150 servicemen and their families at the American War Memorial in Makati for the dedication of the Philippines for the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Then two months later in June 1961, the first four LDS (Mormon) missionaries arrived in the Philippines. Since then, the memberships of the Church grew and continues to grow. My whole family joined the Church April of 1987.



We proceeded to the exhibits and met BID OIC Commissioner Atty. Ronaldo Ledesma (not in the picture), former Church Area Controller Cynthia Llantada, new Area Controller Brad Anderson and Chinabank Corinthians Garden Branch manager Ms. Rian Gloria and her husband.



The event venue was just perfect. There were lots of attendees both Church leaders and government leaders like former Pres. Fidel V.Ramos, former Senator Santanina Rasul and Senators Allan Peter Cayetano and Miguel Zubiri.



I was seated at Table 28 with Brother and Sister Amistad of the Church Seminary and Institute, whom I introduced to my guests Fiscal Sinforoso Roque ( my law school friend)and his wife Bernz Roque. I also took picture with Stephen K.Iba, the first Church Institute Program Director in the Philippines while on queue for the food since the buffet table was just right next to our table. The food tasted yummy!



My other guests who attended is my favorite law professor RTC Judge Ma. Eliza Sempio Diy and Atty. Kristine Felix. I was able to introduced them to the Area Presidency and have pictures with Elder Keith R.Edwards & his wife and Elder Teh and his wife.



The program went so well with the music provided by Paolo Anton Antenorcruz ( finalist to GMA "Are You The Next Big Star"), Adam Seth Teh, Danel Beriong and Deo Divinagracia.

I also found this video of Paolo Anton singing the Jubilee Theme Song "United" which was composed by Danel Beriong.

Friday, April 22, 2011

2011 Holy Week In Bicol: Day 4 - Calaguas' Ultimate Beach Adventure!

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda


Henry David Thoreau once said "The sea-shore is a sort of neutral ground, a most advantageous point from which to contemplate this world."

Halabang Baybay Beach ( part of the now famed Calaguas Group of Islands in my hometown Vinzons, Camarines Norte) is such a place where I could contemplate the world. It is a deserted island (since you can only get there by boat!)and as such you won't find amenities here that you expect from the more popular beach destinations (i.e. no hotel,no restaurant, no electricity, no phones, no computer hookups, no flush toilets & no showers except for simple restroom and shower facilities, etc.).Despite the lack of amenities, Calaguas Island,is to date the best backdrop for my ultimate beach vacation... for many reasons!

I share My Ten and More Reasons here...

1. Swimming/Snorkeling In the Clear, Cool, Crisp, Water!



Clear blue waters of Halabang Baybay Beach is by far to me the best beach for real swimming! I love the fact that I can dip in the crisp water anytime of the day under the stunning blue skies,and the water is still cool.

Since there is no electricity in the area, no night swimming please!



With my diving mask and relatively little effort practicing before-hand my "peace" sign (peace man!) ( and taking tutorial from cute little Nino on how to wear my diving mask properly haha),I was able to observe wonderful underwater life.Oh!beautiful corals and coral reefs. Too bad I have no marine camera...

2. Playing in the Sand



When I don't want to hit the water yet, Halabang Baybay's wide coastline and soft powdery white sand was a great source of adventure. I lazed on it, slept on it, sat on it, or even sand written my prince' name on it! cheesy? No, you call that in love! hahha

3. Tent Camping At Its Best!



With its long, wide stretch of powder-like fine white sand, Halabang Baybay Beach(Calaguas) is a great place to pitch the tent! I slept through the night with the sounds of the waves and the fine sand as my bed (ooops and the cushioned mattress hehe...)

4. Meeting and Bonding With New Friends



"A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature.~ Ralph Waldo Emerson"

I totally agree with Ralph (naks, first name basis haha) because Calaguas Islands (which is the best that nature can offer) is now synonymous with the names Sally, Issa,Aya, Ruby Ann, Brian, Jeremy,Edward,Zaide,Chef Janjie,Nano,Aaron, and the rest of the Lakwatserong Kusinero and Byahe Adventours guests!!!



Photo Credit:Mariano Erwin Balane

5. Going on Nature Trails



Just a leisurely walk away from the beach front is Tinaga Hill.The hill with the coconut trees lined up provide the needed shade for our tents. Atop the hill, we were greeted by a majestic view of Halabang Baybay! Precious!

5. Experiencing Nature's Lullaby



Tinaga Hill became our sanctuary when the sun was its hottest! We had our (siesta time!) playing cards while enjoying the wonders of the seashore at a vantage point feeling the cool fresh air that sounded like a lullaby to our ears. After awhile,all of us were asleep - true commune with nature - zzzzzzz.

7. Rock Climbing or Pretending To Climb



Halabang Baybay has its share of unique rock formations on its shore, amidst the blue waters. These rock formations actually separate Halabang Baybay from the other smaller deserted beaches so I walked, posed, sat on, and climbed (este pretended to climb) the rocks.You rock!!

8. Fire Dancing, Wine Mixing, Star Gazing, Evening Talks and Slapjack

Yes there's no electricity yet in Halabang Baybay,but no need to fret! The activities on a dark night in the middle of a vast wilderness (with the aide only of the lights powered by generator)) is sky's the limit!

So how did we spend the two nights at the beach?



Last night I learned two new skills (I mean concepts because I can't do any of them) - fire dancing and wine mixing. I was impressed by the phoi dancing exhibitions because earlier yesterday I had my lame attempt into it and realized it isn't for me!



Tonight, since we have more time on our hands, we watched for shooting stars (yey! I saw one!), shared jokes (funny ones! hehe), and 'slapjacked' the evening away!!

Slapjack is a card game where the players race to be the first to slap a hand on top of the Jack. We modified the rules a little for eight (8) players to be able to play. Instead of determining one winner, we just need one loser (the player whose hand was the farthest from the Jack). The loser has to take a sip (except me and kuya Mike).

8. Feasting on Gourmet Meals



Who says you need to go on diet during camping? Not if you join an organized tour like I did.The Lakwatserong Kusinero prepared sumptous meals that I can't help but pig out!

9. Taking Sunset Photography



Calaguas Island will never run out of a good sunset especially during summer. It was here where I've seen a picture perfect sunset at the beach with the sun crossing the horizon leaving reflections on the water. I have captured a few moments in my camera. Good I have it handy!

10.Beach Bumming All The Way and Immerse My Senses Into Nature



Thursday, April 21, 2011

2011 Holy Week in Bicol: Day 3-Holy Calaguas!

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda


Calaguas Island Adventure
April 21-23, 2011
Lakwatserong Kusinero


Holy Cow! was all I could say stepping for the first time in the sparkling white sand and clear water of Long Beach located in Tinaga Island, one of the islands comprising the Calaguas Group of Islands located in my home province Camarines Norte. The place is just perfect to say the least!

I love Calaguas! And I'm glad I have seen it now than later (or earlier). Yes, it would be a shame to be called a traveler and I haven't been to my own paradise so to speak (since Calaguas Islands is just a two (2)-hour boat away from my hometown, Vinzons, Camarines Norte). But I am also no explorer to step on an uncharted path and braved Calaguas on a DIY or (Do-It-Yourself)adventure.

Good thing there are groups now offering either 2D1N or 3D2N Calaguas Islands tour packages. Since my family is scheduled to travel to Vinzons on April 18 (to send my grandma home in time for the Holy Week), I sent an email to Ms. Zaide Uy (contact information I found on the blog Leave The Cube ) for details and reservations for the Holy Week, April 21-23, 2011.

I found the 3D2N package (Php 3,200.00per person from Vinzons) to be very reasonable! I booked for two - brother Mike and myself.



Initially,I have the whole family in mind - 2 senior citizens (peace mama and papa!), 2 kiddos and my brother and I. Later,I felt it would be good for me and my brother Mike to check the water first(both literally and idiomatically) than to bring along the whole family not knowing what Calaguas Island is really like.



The jump-off to Calaguas Group of Islands is the Minaogan Port in Vinzons, less than 10-minute drive from our barangay.I was a bit scared when I saw the fishing boat that will take us to the island!No worries though, the boat is safe (despite the big waves)that greeted us early on. Glad, I was sitting next to a 3-year old boy Nino who did not show any sign of fear! He inspired me. When he slept during the sail, I fell asleep too. Holy Kid!



We docked at Halabang Baybay (Mahabang Buhangin in Tagalog or Long Beach in English) after two hours. It is just one of the sand beaches comprising Calaguas Group of Islands. Seeing the beautiful,long white beach and crystal water,I mumbled to myself: Holy Calaguas!



I waited no time to dip in the water, feel the sand, and take hundreds of pictures ( after I scored a Calaguas tee from one of the organizers! ( Thanks Aaron for taking XS shirt off and exchanging it with S size tee!).



Holy Calaguas! could well be my new catchphrase during and even after this Hoy Week!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

2011 Holy Week in Bicol: Day 2 - Beach Hopping and Birthday...

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda



Today is beach hopping as part of my gift to my nephew James who turned 10 yesterday! We went first to Mantigbi Beach which is only max of 10 minutes drive from home!



Well,I have never thought we have a beach nearby! I lived in my hometown Vinzons, Camarines Norte, until I was 9,and always try to come back at least once a year (with last year making there four times to attend family gatherings!). Still no one mentioned Mantigbi Beach until yesterday. Can't blame anyone. Only recently that tourism development is focused on this sun drenched beach.



With the construction of the roads leading to the beach and a few shades/cottages built, Mantigbi Beach is good enough to soak in to ease out the summer heat without spending a peso when you are already in Vinzons. For my family,it means being there daily during our stay in our hometown, enjoying the breeze, the wind and the sun without any cost!

With Mantigbi Beach' strong winds and waves and a few more development in the area, this beach could easily be a kite surfer's spot in a few years like our next stop - the Bagasbas Beach!



Bagasbas Beach in Daet,Camarines Norte is about 30 minutes drive from Mantigbi Beach.

I have frequented this beach when I was young,and always make sure to visit when I'm in town anyway it doesn't cost a thing to dip in the water. Now that Bagasbas Beach is being promoted as the Philippines kiteboarding/kitesurfing spot, there are resorts and cottages built around the area. Nothing fancy yet though, cottages fronting the beach is peg at Php 200.

Kitesurfing or Kiteboarding (according to Wiki)is an adventure surface water sport that harnesses the power of the wind to propel a rider across the water on a small surfboard or a kiteboard (similar to a wakeboard).



We arrived in Bagasbas Beach at 4pm, and experienced its strong winds and current. As a swimmer (who can't stand getting cold haha), such windy day is not a welcome thing. But oh well,I enjoyed,nevertheless, watching kitesurfing for real. Yea, my first time!!

I first heard the word kitesurfing from my recent couch surfer guest, Sascha from Germany. He is a kitesurfing instructor and has been doing lessons in Boracay. I will definitely bring him in Bagasbas Beach when he returns in October.



Back to our birthday boy James. Looked like he didn't mind the winds and the waves. He had fun in the water before and after his mini birthday bash.He will hop on to the next beaches tomorrow and Friday while my brother and I hop on to Calaguas Islands!

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