DA 25

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He’s one of the few artists I call my “idol” (and well, it’s in the name of the competition he came from).

One of the artists that has always had a huge impact on me, like seriously massive I can’t even begin to explain.

This guy’s a genius. His passion for what he does is too incandescent it becomes infectious and contagious.

Most importantly, his voice is his most powerful tool. It’s moving, it’s uplifting. A real soul supreme.

And despite his long hiatus in the music industry, he remains to be that great artist I will always look up to, and wish to take after. And I do remain a rabid, Archie-hungry fan.

He turns 25 today.

Praying that he gets to have more fruitful and victorious years in the industry doing just what he loves to do; producing magnificent music, communicating God, and inspiring countless people with his passion and brilliance.

Happy birthday Archie!

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R.

Image by Arlu Gomez, Ivory Music, 2012.

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Matthew 1:23

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“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). (Matthew 1:23)

It could a little too overwhelming when you sit down and reflect what we really celebrate during Christmas. And essentially, it can be summarised in this very word, “Immanuel”.

It’s about God coming here to be with us, to dwell among us.

That the King of kings, the Lord of all lords would come to live with us so we could live with Him.

That the almighty God, the giver of all things would come to be so close, so near, so personal with us.

That Heaven’s most precious Son would come to reconcile us to the God Most High, ransom us, and bring us back to life.

There aren’t enough words and expressions we can use to convey the weight of these truths. And that the best thing to do in this season is to be thankful, to celebrate the goodness and the graces we have experienced, and we continue to receive.

Our King is with us, our Saviour is with us. He loves us and is always for us. He fights for us and He justifies us. He is always near.

Wishing you all a merry and glorious Christmas! And here’s to wishing you a successful year ahead!

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R.

Five years ago

(This photo showed up on my Facebook memories newsfeed for the 15th of December. That’s been five years before the present.)

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Five years ago, I was working very hard and dreaming to get enough marks to make it into the Encore concert and pass the uni auditions. The Encore bit never happened, but uni came to pass. I succeeded and finished.

Five years later, I’m in the position of teaching and helping kids create and fulfil some of these goals, and importantly, create more and fulfil more for myself.

Rie Manaloto

R.

Port Stephens Experience Pt. 2

At long last! Here’s the part 2/2 of our Port Stephens vlog posted on Filozart’s Facebook page.

Heads up though, it includes a few scenes and themes that might be too weird or random for a regular person’s perception. Do not be freaked out though, it’s just us.

Rie Manaloto

R.

A Black and White Finish

My friends know I am not very traditional. I am not festive. I am not into rollicking celebrations. I mean, it’s great and all but I have this general thought that parties and cookouts are somewhat superfluous. Maybe because my prudent nature automatically takes over. Indeed, it’s fun and sensational but I am not quite feeling it. Yes, call me ridiculous.

But here’s the thing: even if I’m not all fired up about festivities, it does not mean I’m not thankful. Dude, I am rabidly grateful and wrapped! It’s my most favourite feeling in the world. But most of the time, I’d like to keep it to myself.

I never had a graduation portrait done, primarily because it is just way too expensive to get one. I know, it’s very unfortunate. Interestingly, the people here are not very big on graduation photos, compared to the peeps back in Manila. They can’t seem to finish their degrees without such photos  in which they’re all dolled up (yes, men included), looking dignified and illustrious.

And so it might be a little too sad to think that I don’t have one to show my kids in the future. But I’d like to convince myself, or maybe I actually believe that I do not need those, because such fancy stuff do not reflect me and my preferences. What I’d like to show my kids is how crazy and creative I could be when it comes to these “festive” photos—that there are smarter alternatives.

Well, enough of that. I did not intend to start this blogpost like that at all!

I’d like to share a few photos from my Masters graduation about a month ago. The last few weeks have been so busy that I couldn’t spend enough time just sifting thru all the photos taken on the day of the ceremony. But after almost a month, they’re here! They’re not the most “creative”, or I don’t look convincingly “illustrious”, but they’re fun to look at.

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This was a few minutes before the ceremony began. It was all sunny and bright!

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Yes, my brother managed to capture this!

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Interesting fact: you’d literally have to queue up just to have a photo taken against this “prestigious” wall. The line was crazy long!

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My very proud parents. They exuded it. And I’m happy and proud that I was able to bring them honour, and give back to them now that I have started to carve my niche in the adult world.

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OK. The crazy shots start here. Our peg was some sort of a campaign for a brighter future. Seems like it worked!

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I made sure I got to take this doffing shot for my postgrad.

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My superb brother who was behind these fantastic shots. We can call him the event’s official photographer. A very well-dressed, good-looking one.

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Some of my fantastic colleagues. I honestly miss them!

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I was looking for Clancy the Lion all day, and I couldn’t find him! Maybe his shift was over. The standee didn’t quite hurt.

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This is my Moses shot.

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We surely maximised the photo opp! And I got no regrets.

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To be honest, my favourite photo out of them all!

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The Hogwarts jumpshot, of course.

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And finally, a decent looking one. I really made sure that the name of my uni was definitely included. This was the best. I feel very fortunate and privileged that I have experienced studying in an amazing scholastic environment, and met remarkable people.

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Soli Deo Gloria!

Rie Manaloto

R.

Some barbershop

I don’t have an extravagant, purposeful reason why I made this video. But I just really wanted to try this new Acapella app that has basically taken over my Facebook newsfeed.

This app is really cool. It allows people to record two or more video tracks of themselves singing different harmonic lines, and play them all simultaneously. It’s the modern way of recreating a virtual choir, or the likes of breathtaking Pitch Perfect or Rockapella tracks, right at your fingertips. There are great ones, some just make me want to get sick.

I’ve been (or I’ve started to be) on hibernation mode for the last couple of days having been off-work (which I’m honestly loving at the moment because I felt kinda frazzled by a lot of stuff in the last two months, although I’m really grateful). And so I decided to just download the app, and sing away.

I picked my absolute favourite, “Barbara Ann”, which was originally sung by The Beach Boys, in a barbershop quartet arrangement.  This song (particularly its arrangement) is very special to me because I have performed this tune with a group back in high school after we met the Musical Island Boys (my all-time favourite barbershop group, and seriously the best); and sort of adopted their style and arrangement into our own.

So, disclaimer: it is not my song, and not my arrangement. The only thing that I own in this material would be perhaps, my voice and my face.

I enjoyed making this one, and even listening to it because I just love the vibes and how the harmonies blend. It probably won’t be as shipshape as you might expect, but who cares? I’m not getting paid for it (HAHA! Kidding.)

Here’s the Finale part:

Rie Manaloto

R.

Port Stephens Experience Pt. 1

Last weekend was absolutely an unforgettable one! Our Filozart family went out on a trip going north. It was a holiday destination called BIG4 Karuah Jetty Holiday Park up in the Port Stephens region.

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It was a fantastic place to relax. Beautiful environment—very low key and nonchalant. Great cabin accommodation and satisfying facilities. The best part of it for me was just the air—it’s just different, a lot more pacifying. Very mollifying for my current state, really.

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It’s hard to sum up the fun and the experience. But it is well represented in this vlog, which will come in two parts. (It’s become a habit for us to vlog and document all the pleasure and enjoyment however random it may turn out to be.)

Rie Manaloto

R.