Thursday, December 29, 2011

The gift of music--for my Dad

For Christmas, we gave our Dad a portable electronic keyboard. Things like this don't come cheap, but we had to invest on it because Dad's 86-year-old memory has deteriorated a bit more lately. He's been grunting or moaning almost continuously, and our bit of research showed that the grunting could be one of the signs of more memory loss. Especially when the thinking faculties aren't used that much anymore, or something like that, our research showed. And since my Dad really doesn't do much these days, or can't move as much as he did before (he was a tennis player and a sportsfisher in his younger days), I thought then that we were racing against time--to not lose more of his memory on the succeeding days. So I convinced some siblings of mine that we should get a portable keyboard for Dad so that he could be busy with something that he really loves. And listening to or creating music is one of the things he loves. He plays the piano by ear (as seen in the video below that I took early this year when he was 85 years old) and also plays the guitar. So as soon as my siblings and I made the decision to buy the portable keyboard, I hurriedly went to the mall one day to purchase it, braving the horrible traffic and the throng of holiday shoppers at the mall.

Now, Dad is slowly enjoying to play his new toy, as I place it on the dining table where he usually sits. At least now he can play tunes on the keys, as he is slowly remembering the tunes he used to play on the piano. Sometimes, we need to coax him or encourage him by clapping or nodding our heads to him to play the new portable keyboard, and play some more. And he does, slowly but surely. This is a good development because it's become quite hard lately for us to guide him to sit on the stool of our piano that's on one end of the living room. And making him leave the piano stool to go to the dining table for dinner is another long story--not only of his slow movements but also because sometimes he doesn't easily understand anymore what's being said to him.

But, curiously, I've observed that my Dad has so far played the new portable keyboard only with his right hand. Could it be that he doesn't quite remember anymore how to use his left hand? Because even in eating, he rarely uses his left hand. But we're happy to note that his grunts or moans have now turned to hums. There's melody already to most of his grunts. Maybe because he can now play more (although still quite slow but with tone) his favorite tunes on the keyboard and, hopefully, his memory is improving. In fact, for at least two nights now (he sleeps very late), I could hear him (I sleep quite late, too) also playing his guitar in his room already with a tone or melody. This is also good because just a few weeks ago, he seemed to have forgotten already how to play the guitar because he was just plucking it without producing a strong melody.

Having said all this, my profound conclusion is that: Music is really good--and for the enjoyment of everyone, especially of senior citizens :)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011--and a disappointment at the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Project 6, Quezon City

Merry Christmas to all! Hope you enjoy celebrating this big day with your loved ones. And also with other people who may need cheering up on Christmas Day.

And let's always remember that on Christmas we celebrate the birthday of Jesus. Christmas isn't really all about the nice trimmings and the fabulous gifts, the great food and fantastic parties. Christmas is a level playing field for the rich, the not-so-rich, and the poor. We're all meant to celebrate the big day of the Big Boss, the One who choose to be born in a simple manger despite His stature, whatever is our status in life. It's as if to say, hey, material things, especially an extravagance of material things, don't make a Christmas celebration. All we need is LOVE. :)

Sometimes, it makes me a bit sad that people seem to be so caught up on all the stressful external preparation for Christmas that we forget the internal preparation of ourselves for the celebration of His birthday. Perhaps, there may be even times that we forget for whom Christmas is really.

This afternoon, I went to Christmas Mass at the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Project 6, Quezon City, Philippines. After the priest gave the final blessing to the Mass goers, the choir sang "Happy Birthday" for, of course, Jesus's birthday. I was greatly shocked when my fellow Mass goers didn't stop from leaving the pews to go home while the choir sang the birthday song. Only a handful of us remained in our pews to sing along, in honor of Jesus. Maybe just two or three of us? And it is a big church, mind you.

I'm now trying to ask myself why most of the people in the church this afternoon didn't even stop to sing along with the birthday song. They weren't even singing as they walked along the aisle to the church's door on their way out. Did they think that the choir was singing the birthday song for someone celebrating his or her birthday from among the choir or maybe from among the Mass goers this afternoon? Hence, maybe they thought they didn't have to stop to sing "Happy Birthday" for that person because they didn't know him or her anyway? Or, maybe, they had forgotten that Christmas is Christmas because it's Jesus's birthday, thus they failed to realize that the choir's birthday song was FOR Him. Or, perhaps, those people were hurrying to go to their next Christmas party, thus they had to hurriedly get out of the church. No time any birthday song, sorry. Indeed, has Christmas for those people in the church this afternoon them become a mere ritual, or perhaps an excuse to go on a partying binge and exchange gifts throughout the season?

But I would like to give the benefit of the doubt to my fellow Mass goers at this afternoon's Mass. I still hope that perhaps that my fellow Mass goers at church today only had a temporary lapse when they didn't join in singing the birthday song for Jesus. I hope that deep in their hearts, they still know what Christmas is all about.

Happy Birthday, Jesus! :)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Relief for victims of Typhoon Sendong that kills hundreds, displaces many in Mindanao, Philippines

For those who want to help the victims of the strong typhoon Sendong that hit the Mindanao region of the Philippines just a few days back this 2011, please direct them to the following organizations. These groups are making sure that your donations will be sent to the right needy victims in Mindanao (particularly Cagayan de Oro and Iligan Cities). More than 400 people have been reportedly killed and many more are now without food and shelter. For more details about this calamity, please see
Donations can be in cash or in kind (ready-to-eat food, clothes, water, milk, hygiene products, etc.)

1. News5 Action Center (tv and radio network)
cash donations accepted at Banco de Oro (BDO) Peso Account (Philippines)
Account name: TV5 Kapatid Foundation Inc.
Account No. 005310-410164


Bank of the Philippines (BPI) Peso Account
Account name: TV5 Kapatid Foundation Inc.
Account No. 1443-05333-2

2. GMA Network (tv and radio network)
Send donations in kind to GMA Kapuso Foundation
2/F Kapuso Center, GMA 7, EDSA Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines

3. ABS-CBN Network (tv and radio network)
Cash donations to: Banco de Oro (BDO) Peso Account (Philippines)
Account name: ABS-CBN Foundation Inc.-Sagip Kapamilya
Account Number: 39301-14199
Swift Code: BNORPHMM


Philippine National Bank (PNB) Peso Account (Philippines)
Account name: ABS-CBN Foundation Inc.-Sagip Kapamilya
Account Number: 419-539-5000-13
Swift Code: PNBMPHMMBPI Peso Account

4. Gawad-Kalinga (Philippines)
Cash donations to Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) (Philippines)
Philippine Peso Current Account # 3101 0977
56 BPI EDSA Greenhills at Gawad Kalinga


US$ Savings Account # 3104 0162 34
BPI EDSA Greenhills Swift code: BOPIPHMM

5. Philippine Red Cross (PRC)
Cash donations:

Text REDAMOUNT to 2899 (Globe) or 4143 (Smart)


You can donate the following denominations:
Globe: 5, 25, 100, 300, 500 or 1,000
Smart: 10, 25, 50, 100, 300, 500 or 1,000

Deposits can also be made to the PRC’s Banco De Oro peso account 00-453-0018647, dollar 10-453-0039482;
Bank of the Philippine Islands peso account 4991-0036-52, dollar account 004994-0103-15;
Metrobank account 151-3-041631228, dollar account 151-2-15100218-2;
Philippine National Bank peso account 3752 8350 0034, dollar account 3752 8350 0042; Unionbank of the Philippines peso account 1015 4000 0201; dollar account 1315 4000 0090.

6. Philippine Daily Inquirer (newspaper, internet, and radio network)

Drop off donations in-kind at the Inquirer office, 1098 Chino Roces Ave. at Mascardo and Yague Streets, Makati City, Philippines.

Cash donations may be deposited in the Inquirer Help Fund account, which is the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) current account No. 4951-0067-56, under the name Philippine Daily Inquirer Inc. For inquiries, call PDI corporate affairs at 8978808, and ask for Bianca Kasilag or Connie Kalagayan.

7. LBC Foundation


LBC will deliver goods for free to the hardest-hit cities and provinces. Donations may be dropped off at any LBC branch nationwide.

For inquiries, call the LBC hotline at (632) 8585-999.

8. One for Iligan

Name: Iliganons Sa Manila Inc.
Account Number: Checking Acct 5308004019 Asia-Tower Paseo Branch
Bank: Banco de Oro

9 *Iligan Bloggers Society
3553 Durango St., Palanan, Makati City 1235. For inquiries, contact Migz at 09065777812 or 09227130006 or 6-D Cypress Gardens Condo 112 VA Rufino St., Makati City, and look for Meikah Delid.

Berkeley Residences, Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City. For inquiries, contact Jamie Steffani Mijares at 09157744244

Madison Square Condominium, Taft Avenue, Manila, right in front of De La Salle University, beside Kenny Rogers . For inquiries, contact Roden Lim at 09228446777

10 Xavier Science Foundation with Xavier University

Account Name: Xavier Science Foundation, Inc.
Account Number: 2041-0394-45
Bank: Bank of the Philippine Islands, Main Branch, Velez St., CDO

Account Name: Xavier University
Account Number: 9331-0133-63
Bank: Bank of the Philippine Islands, Divisoria Branch, CDO

For those who wish to seek an official receipt for their contribution, you may email a copy of the deposit slip at or fax to (088) 858-8062 / 858-3116 local 3100 and specify the details of your remittance (name of donor, contact information). You may also call (08822) 72-7701.

12. Dela Salle University

Account Name: La Salle Academy Iligan
Account No. 0820-016221-030.
Bank: Development Bank of the Philippines

Donations in cash may also be received at Gate 2 of La Salle Green Hills at 343 Ortigas Avenue, Mandaluyong City 1550. You may also call any of the following telephone numbers for further inquiries: Aluimni Office — 721-2729, 722-7750, 725-4720; GS Principal at 721-2482; HS Principal at 721-8914; Buildings and Grounds Office at 721-8904 (Telefax)
La Sallian Mission Office at 726-5851 (Telefax)

13. Akbayan
Cash or in-kind donations:

Madasalin St. Sikatuna Village, Quezon City
4336933 for more details.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Philippines's 2012 holidays listed

According to news site, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III has declared a total of 16 official holidays for 2012. The following are the holidays in the Philippines next year. Take note especially if you plan to visit my beautiful country to enjoy the wonderful beaches, food, and hospitality of the people :)

A. Regular Holidays
New Year’s Day: January 1 (Sunday)
Maundy Thursday: April 5
Good Friday: April 6
Araw ng Kagitingan: April 9 (Monday)

Labor Day: May 1 (Tuesday)
Independence Day: June 12 (Tuesday)
National Heroes Day: August 27 (Last Monday of August)
Bonifacio Day: November 30 (Friday)
Christmas Day: December 25 (Tuesday)
Rizal Day: December 30 (Sunday)

B. Special (Non-Working) Days
Chinese New Year: January 23 (Monday)
Ninoy Aquino Day: August 21 (Tuesday)
All Saints Day: November 1 (Thursday)
Additional special (non-working) day: November 2 (Friday)
Last Day of the Year: December 31 (Monday

C. Special Holiday (for all schools)
EDSA Revolution Anniversary: February 25 (Saturday)

The proclamations declaring national holidays for the observance of Eid’l Fitr and Eid’l Adha will be issued after it is determined in accordance with the Islamic calendar.