Men are like wine. Some turn to vinegar, but the best improve with age. – C.E.M. Joad
A lot has happened to me in 2016 and I believe it is time to show gratitude to the year that was. Allow me to enumerate these significant events in my life one by one.
Pangandoy was a recital concert of Koro Kantahanay’s conductress, Jessi Anne Nakol Aligato, as part of a national conducting workshop at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. In this recital, I had the opportunity to sing for the Philippine Madrigal Singers’ conductor, Mr. Mark Anthony Carpio. More than that, I had the pleasure to get to know him. You could just imagine the kilig I felt when I got a friend request from Sir Mark on Facebook.
Sta. Cecilia Choral (Kumpas)
I also had the chance to sing with the Sta. Cecilia Chorale of the San Pedro Cathedral. I went to one of their rehearsals to wait for a friend who’s a member of the group when then they cajoled me to audition and all of a sudden, I was part of the group. It was also my first time to sing with an orchestra. I can vividly remember our first rehearsal with the orchestra. Everyone sang on cue. I know I moved my lips. But I was just too happy with the experience I couldn’t make a sound. I was even tapped to sing and direct the concert of Sir Peter Buaya, Kumpas, with the world champs Voices of the South Children’s Choir and UM Chorale.
Sing Philippines Youth Choir
Sing Philippines Youth Choir (SPYC), which was a project of the Philippine Madrigal Singers and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), was a blessing I did not expect.
A nationwide audition was announced looking for 50 singers all over the country to form the second batch of the SPYC. These singers will go through a 5-day music camp with its conductor, no less than Mr. Mark Anthony Carpio and will end with a major concert with the Philippine Madrigal Singers and SPYC Batch 1 at the CCP main theater.
Most of the Davao choristers I know already prepared their audition video and documents. During the night of the deadline, I was with them as they struggled with slow internet connection. I had no plans to audition. I had no voice then. But the next day I decided to make my audition video at home and send it immediately. Luckily, I got in together with two resident sopranos from Koro Kantahanay.
Meeting Pope Francis
I was invited by an officemate to join the World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland. I said yes but the ordeal in applying and preparing for the trip was arduous. But everything was worth the effort. To be at the same place with the Pope is enough. But to actually see him up close was a gift. Of all the things that happened to me in 2016, this is definitely number one and this deserves a separate blog post. (But I listed significant events in chronological order so it is fourth in the list.)
First Europe Trip
I never imagined I could travel to Europe. I distinctly remember looking at a photo of the Vatican when I was boy. I wondered who owned that photo. My family definitely can’t afford to go to the Vatican in the 80s. But Warsaw and Krakow are beautiful. And to actually go to Toscana in Italy, was more than enough. Imagine Rome, Vatican, Venice, Pisa, Assisi, and a little of Florence? Who could ask for more?
Davao Digital Influencers
The Davao Digital Influencers, Inc. is a SEC registered organization composed of bloggers, vloggers, and microbloggers with the aim to promote Davao and Mindanao. If you ask me, I consider it a group of online warriors that, despite the negativity around us, this group will exert effort to give positivity a chance. I am happy I joined this group. It gives more meaning to the posts I write in my personal blog.
Digital Halohalo Hackathon
Lastly, the digital halohalo hackathon, sponsored by Facebook and Affinis Labs, was a good way to end my 2016. Although we did not win, it gave me ideas and inspiration to do more, that competitions will not really kill anyone’s passion.
With these significant events in mind, I only have 3 things to say based on what happened to me in 2016.
- Never give all your heart. This is one lesson I learned from the official soundtrack of the hit TV series SMASH. For what its worth, in all the things we do, we give our best but we should never give our “all”. You only give all your heart to yourself. Because how can you begin to love someone else if you ain’t gonna love yourself? That’s from Ru Paul.
- You are who you want to be. Gossips will not define you. Your job does not define you. The accusations will never define you. Why? Because only you get to define yourself. That is the beauty of life. You get to decide what will happen to you. (Sorry I do not have any pop culture reference on this one.)
- A little reward goes a long way. A simple acknowledgment that you did something good can help. It doesn’t have to be from someone else. It can be from you. Remember that song from The Sound of Music? The lyrics goes “Perhaps I had a wicked childhood. Perhaps I had a miserable youth… But somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good”.
I have to say it wasn’t all fun and games in 2016. There were a lot of negativity around me. But what 2016 taught me was to put myself first above all else. It is not good to always give your all to others. You have to leave some for yourself.
And I did just that.