Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Principle to Adhere

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As we wear our media passes for an event, we are also subject to be fair, un-
biased, responsible, and Godly in our reports. 
I first got my journalism experience when I was in high school. Although we are "working" at our school, we were taught that it's still unethical even for us student journos then to be biased in our report. Time flies, and now I'm working for two (soon three) online news sites and owning three blogs.

Now working for mainstream media, I have to abide by the rules, and one of the most important rules is to not have some biases. This is especially true in sports, especially if you use to cheer for one team. It may sound easier said than done, but as mediamen, we have to be impartial at all times.

I find it a privilege that my superiors (well, they're my friends) assigned me, an alum from a UAAP school, to the NCAA last year (curiously, they, alums from NCAA schools, reported for the UAAP then) probably so that no bias will be done.

However, some journos still get caught cheering for a particular team or player while flaunting the media passes they have, so it was a no surprise when TJ Jurado sent me and many more media reporters an email regarding this matter.

According to Joey Villar of Philippine Star, the email has something to do with what happened at one Shakey's V-League game when Jun Lumibao, the president of the Philippine Sportswriters Association, was heard getting upset at an apparent cheering of a mediaman at a certain team... with his media pass worn!

The email sent to us serves as a reminder. Here are some excerpts:

"We are journalists, never mind if we are campus journalists—a journalist is a journalist....we, as champions of the vocation, should at all times be neutral, that never should we display any bias before the scrutinizing public. This, however, does not apply to all. Perhaps some of us get carried away and suddenly shed our school colors in the heat of the coverage. Thus, I—a sports journalist for 28 years—appeal to you to uphold the ethics of journalism as you exercise the privilege of a courtside view of the action, and protect the sanctity of the press card."

As mediamen, we have to shed away being alumni of a school and fans of a certain pro sports franchise or athlete. We are the authors (or reporters) of the news people see on papers, websites, and radio and TV news programs, and we should serve as role models of impartial and balanced journalism.

For a mediaman, the press pass is his all-access ticket to the games, but it should never be abused by merely using it to cheer his team live in flesh for free. For my fellow scribes reading this, we are journalists, and we should always practice impartiality as we wear our passes. Keep in mind GMA's slogan: "Walang kinikilingan. Walang pinoprotektahan. Serbisyong totoo lang."

Leviticus 19:15a (ESV)-"You shall do no injustice in court."

Isaiah 52:7 (ESV)-"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, 'Your God reigns.'"

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Take a Break, Man!

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I was supposed to be at the press conference of Aaron Colton in Quezon City, but I got short of cash to go there. Then I found out that there was a Twitter Tweetup eyeball event at the Urbn Bar later in the night. That was two events I was forced to cancel.

But God has reasons behind these, and the quiet time devotional I got from Dietrich Bonhoeffer struck me.

"We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God, who will thwart our plans and frustrate our ways time and again, even daily..."

As Christians, we should be aware that God's plans are not our plans and that His plans are better than ours. I just remembered what He said in Matthew 11:28: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." It may not necessarily mean literal rest, but God just told me, "Chill out, man!"

I just came from a grueling (I mean that) coverage of the Palarong Pambansa in Sta. Cruz, and I was so tired that I even forgot about covering the Malabon fiesta on Sunday and the time of an MMA event the day after.

That rest became productive. I got one of the longest rests I had since I began my online media career. Indeed, God knows what I need. Thank you, Lord!

Final word: “Listen carefully to my words, and let my declaration be in your ears.” Job 13:17

Saturday, April 26, 2014

It's a Matter of Your Own Faith

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Greg Kinnear plays Pastor Todd Burpo in the movie adaptation of the book
"Heaven is for Real". Entertainment Weekly
(Warning: Some spoilers inside, so read at your own risk.)

When I watched "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" last month, I bumped at the full trailer of a movie entitled "Heaven is for Real". After watching the trailer, I said to myself, "I want to watch this movie." Good thing PLDT Home gave me a post-birthday gift as I and three other bloggers got a chance to watch HIFR at the Newport Cinema in Pasay City.

Greg Kinnear starred the film based on the Todd Burpo bestseller of the same title. The movie started with Todd (Kinnear) having a day in the office as a church pastor, wrestling coach, a volunteer firefighter, and a businessman. The movie continued with him, his family, and his church doing fine in their lives. The story took a twist, however, when Todd's son Colton (Colton Corum) got sick badly. Colton eventually recovered, but he told his dad that he saw Heaven, Jesus Christ, and even his sister who Todd and Sonja (Kelly Reilly) lost during pregnancy and his great grandfather, who died 30 years prior to his birth, while getting treated. That led to a series of events that tested Todd's family and even his church. In the end, he realized that indeed Heaven is for real. He preached that in the final scene, and many got moved with the message. The clincher was a statement of the psychologist portrayed by Nancy Sorel: "It's a matter of your own faith."

That's where the Lord moved me. As seen in the screen adaptation, even church leaders like Todd Burpo argue to the Lord about what's happening, especially when their kids tell them that they were in Heaven. But again, it's your faith in God that matters. God spoke to Todd through Colton, and the pastor responded.

However, I noticed that despite being a Christian movie, Tristar Pictures seemed to make it more secular in approach by minimizing the Scriptures used in the movie. While it may help in gaining audience, I think it also shrunk the point of the movie. That led me, though, to look for the "Heaven is for Real" book. Still, I would recommend "Heaven is for Real" movie to my pastor friends.

"Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.... By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. (Hebrews 11:1, 3 NIV)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

God is Always at Work

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I got accepted for an online news site, and currently, I am on training. A problem is that I still don't have a new laptop (since my previous laptop got stolen, I am updating my three blogs at internet cafes). Also, my training fell on Holy Week when virtually every remittance center is closed, so I have to be extra cautious of my budget. But God is always online 24/7. He knows my scenario, and He intervened. My training was moved to Monday.

But another trial came. Black Saturday and I only had a buck left. I really had to find ways to tell my mom that I need cash. But it came to a point that I was wrestling with God. "What? Am I about to go a full day of fasting?" I already mulled at it, but again God provided. My weekend money came just in time (with little trouble, though, as my mom gave me a wrong code, but the Lord is indeed in control).

However, God is also at work when it comes to handling what I am supposed to do. Someone invited me to the opening of a barber shop tomorrow. I wanted to come, but I was reminded of my pastor's preaching last week: God will provide the right amount you need. It turned out, my money may not be enough to come over the opening. Eventually, I have to back out (Or did he not choose me just because I don't have a phone yet?), but my friend offered that we can set up another date for that. Jesus said "no" because He is telling me that it's His day--the day He rose from His martyrdom that was intended to save us from doom (it's "was", not "is", meaning Jesus Christ died once for us). Also, He's preparing me for a Word that may strike me.

Holy Week is indeed God's special week. We commemorate Jesus' death and resurrection, and He is tweaking our lives to live according to His plan, a plan that will prosper us and not harm us (Jeremiah 29:11).

Here are some of the verses I read today that may help those who work like me:

"Whatever your task, put yourselves into it, as done for the Lord and not for your masters, since you know that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you serve the Lord Christ." (Colossians 3:23)

"The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him." (Nahum 1:7)

Monday, April 14, 2014

A Great Start to the Holy Week

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Last year, I found out that Christian band Jars of Clay performed for free at the Bonifacio High Street Ampitheater in a special Easter Sunday mini-concert. I missed it, so I really made sure that I'm not gonna miss its repeat performance this year. I went to the High Street, and the mini-concert is not just what I saw.

The mini-concert was actually part of Church Simplified's Holy Week project in which the group put up its own Stations of the Cross along the High Street walkway. Each booth, or station, has a Scripture, some insights, and an act written on it. The first stations will ask you to write your problems, frustrations, and mistakes you made on a red paper strip that you will "crucify" in the ninth station, symbolizing that Christ, through His sacrifice on the cross, has made you free from those.

There's another booth in which you will pray for the person or persons that helped you in your walk with God and another in which you will draw a prayer request written by someone who was there before you in a bowl and pray for it. To give others an opportunity to pray for you, you can write your own prayer request and place it inside the bowl. You can opt to write anonymously, just like the writer of the prayer request I drew.
At the last station (you are not required to visit all the 14 stations but it would be fun if you will), you will partake the Lord's Supper, a way of celebrating the victory of Jesus over our sins and the devil through the cross. Across the street was the mini-concert. I came just in time to watch the opening performance by Julianne. At the end of her performance, she and her band sang her latest composition "Ikaw Lang". Up next is American Christian singer Michael Gungor. His wife Lisa was supposed to join him and the band in Taguig but was discouraged by the doctor as she is pregnant. Still, I got mesmerized with the band's style of play. Michael even played the banjo in one of his songs. Then came Jars of Clay, and we got to our feet in worshiping God when the band played "I Want to Fall in Love with You".

It was a happy Palm Sunday for me as the worship concert made my night. Also, I was reminded of God's love for me through the interactive Stations of the Cross by the Walkway. I hope you can drop by there. The Church Simplified Stations of the Cross will be there until Sunday.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 NKJV

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Night With Iktus

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MCA Universal filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord... (Ephesians 5:18-19 NIV)

There's a new Christian band out. Its name is Iktus. The name of the band is a wordplay from the Greek term ichthys, which literally means fish and is a symbol representing Jesus Christ. The group of Andrew, CJ, and Andrei Paniligan and Augusto Mendoza (2nd from the right in the photo above), is more into alternative music. The band started during their high school days at the Christian School International in Los BaƱos in 2005, and now, nine years later, Iktus, fresh from winning the Sun Broadband Quest, is out with its self-titled first album featuring the carrier single "IMY". I got a chance to chat with them.

Me: Who are your inspirations in your music?
Iktus: Internationally, we're inspired by Switchfoot (Iktus' style of play is similar to Switchfoot's), Hillsong United, Planetshakers, and Flyleaf. Among the local bands, our inspirations are Eraserheads and Sugarfree. But despite listening to their songs, we decided to stick to our own style, because we already sold our soul to Jesus Christ.
Me: Aside from your gigs, where do we usually see you?
Iktus: At our church in Calamba City. We're also part of the music ministry there.
Me: Why did you join the Sun Broadband Quest?
Iktus: We want to have a bigger audience, so that more will hear how God loves them.

It's a rare experience to meet a local Christian band here, but I hope Iktus will make it big and spread God's love to everyone. By the way, Iktus' album is now available via CD's at Astroplus and Odyssey outlets, mobile streaming via, and via digital downloads on ITunes.

PS: As of press time, Iktus is performing at a fund-raising gig featuring Sugarfree's frontman Ebe Dancel at IC's Bar back in LB.

PS Again (Inserting my Sporty Guy-ness here): I don't usually tend to remember names of my teammates during pick-up basketball games at the Baker Hall ballpark, but I found out that Andrei, who answered most of my questions, was one of my teammates in some games there.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Keeping it Awesome Minus the Bad Words

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What wowed me more after watching Audie Gemora in Cock was that he del-
ivered his dialogues without mentioning cusses.
Warning: If you haven't watched "Cock" yet, some spoilers are inside this write-up.

Someone invited me to watch the play "Cock" at the Whitespace in Makati. I was free for the night, so I went there. It was a play about a gay man (Topper Fabregas) who is looking to cut his relationship with his boyfriend (Niccolo Manahan) after meeting a girl (Jenny Jamora) and fell for her.

So the play started, and then, the boyfriend started venting his frustration to John, the gay man's name, and cussed a bunch of times. John also had his own share of cussing. The girl made her own appearance, and to my surprise, she also had times when she said f***(ing). I know it's scripted, but you can't blame me if I was surprised that Jamora uttered NSFW words while watching the play. I'm not really into women who cuss. Then came the confrontation scene between John and his two lovers at the boyfriend's home, where a fourth character stepped in, the boyfriend's dad, played by Audie Gemora. The father became the "mediator" of the other three and had a very important role in how the story will end up.

The straight play ended, and I was amazed on how Gemora kept a clean sheet in my "f*** count", i.e., I did not hear him utter cusses during the entirety of the play. I believe he edited his script in such a way that he can still deliver a masterful portrayal while not compromising his faith.

I know for quite some time that Gemora is a Christian. I also know that he helped in building Trumpets, a theater production outfit featuring fellow men in the faith. However, watching "Cock", produced by Red Turnip, a theater production helped built by Fabregas, Jamora, and Zamora, was the only time I saw him act in person. And man, his performance was amazing despite his role just entering late into the play. Indeed, he is using his talent to glorify God.

"Watch your words," that's what my pastor said after I had a rough basketball outing one time ago. After watching Gemora on Cock, I remembered it. Your tongue "has the power of life and death... (Proverbs 18:21a NIV)" Good praises can inspire others. A bad word could destroy everything. Also, take note that "Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity. (Proverbs 21:23 NIV)" It's not just orally, but also in your written opinions. Whether you're a journalist like me, an actor like Audie Gemora, or a good speaker, you can make awesome points without saying bad words. Just pray to the Lord for the right words we should say.

PS: For more on Cock and the schedule of the performances, check it out here:

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Be In Faith

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Leprosy struck two people in the province of Pangasinan, and it was repor-
tedly "prophesied". Pangasinan Provincial Government
ABSCBN broke out a news about a mysterious "flesh-eating" disease affecting two victims in Pangasinan. As of writing, I am just watching how the network's late newscast "Bandila" reported the news. However, the Department of Health debunked the myths about the news and eventually declared them as leprosy victims. But what made it more viral despite the DOH release was how some connected the leprosy cases to a "prophecy" made last year. I tuned in to a Youtube clip of a certain Sadhu Sundar Selvaraja telling the people at the 24th National Prayer Gathering that certain calamities are coming to the Philippines soon, and one of them is a certain case in Pangasinan where a grievous disease "that will consume the flesh of men" will come from. Some also connected the recent storms that hit our country to his speech at the said conference. It was also claimed that he correctly foretold the Japan tsunami of 2011 the year before.

Contrary to what "Prophet Sadhu" said in his foretelling, the DOH clarified that the skin disease of the two people in Pangasinan is leprosy as stated above. However, I take this as a challenge, and hopefully this will also be a challenge for you. 1 John 4:1 (ESV) says, "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world." Even the Lord Jesus Christ warns us about this: "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. (Matthew 7:15, ESV)" Lastly, keep in mind of this: "For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. (1 Corinthians 14:33a, ESV)" In this time where we will hear a foretelling after another, let's continue to be in faith. Remember, God is in control. And yes, let's continue to pray for Pangasinan.

PS: This might also help especially if you received personal prophecies: