Wednesday, September 10, 2008

No Worries

Mark has left for Dubai last August 28 to work at a newly-constructed hotel inside that country's premier business district. Please join us in praying for his safety and for success in his career.

It seems that the previous post has stirred up some pretty serious discussion among our clients. After singing with the Children and Youth Choir at Holy Mass two weeks ago, Diane received some text messages that apparently voiced concern about the supposedly inevitable departure of our two beloved members.

Before anything else I would like to apologize, in behalf of the group if my preceding post lacked the necessary details so as to facilitate a growing anxiousness among our friends and our clients. It was certainly not my intention to do so, believe me. I started this blog so everyone can have as close a glimpse as possible in to what we do. So in the interest of Truth, I wish to clarify some things to put down any wild speculations some may have regarding the details that have just emerged.

We are not going away

No way! This group was not formed by mere individuals that discovered each other's gifts and talents and then, BOOM! Totally Mesmerized! One must simply understand that all of us in our group have served our Lord through the Holy Eucharist for more than eight years already. If for that span of time we still did not know the meaning and value of commitment then we have just fooled ourselves. Our foundation is not our gifts and talents. Our foundation is our love for God and His Church. Unlike band members (or any other group for that matter) who can only rely on each other for their survival (unless they believe in something higher and bigger than themselves) we have our Faith in God before us more than anything else and this has served as a foundation on solid rock that can never be shaken that easily.

Despite this, one may still ask, 'Why in the name of commitment does two of your erstwhile members have to leave the group?" We answer: Only Mark has left for the meantime. He has all the right reasons to. He has a wife and son to feed and the nature of what we do in this group can hardly supplement that need. Kuya Harold has taken similar steps to assure him of a future career abroad but as of now his focus is on securing a job here. So to be clear, only Mark has left and I urge you to pray for Him and his family. His departure does not mean he is quitting. In fact, he will still remain an honorary member while overseas and he will join us again after a couple of years when he has fulfilled his contract. He will be meeting with Kuya Joel who is one of our founding members and has worked there for almost two years. Kuya Joel will be singing with us when he takes a vacation here this December.

We are just getting better

We never jump into something we can't jump out of. We have singers most of whom are more experienced and more talented than we are, who are willing to sing with us when the need arises. Case in point: Kuya Arvin - the guy who will fill-in for Mark. Diane and I have sung and rehearsed with him during our short stint with the Our Lady of the Pillar Cathedral Choir in Imus. This choir is composed of parishioners/choir members from the Diocese of Imus. Kuya Arvin is a trusty but humble tenor who has a great voice, wide vocal range and has all the notes figured out. He would gently correct me whenever there is a note that I sang that was out of tune and that goes for all the other voice sections. He can also be counted on to sing bass 1 from time to time. He was a huge part of Himig Batingaw and a good number from their ranks have gone on to be successful singers and musicians. Just this evening, he joined us in our rehearsals and he was just awesome!

So for all our friends Totally Mesmerized is here to stay and be assured of our continued dedication to choral excellence for many years to come.

Welcome Kuya Arvin!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Double Blessing!

CelebrationI just want to thank God for being so gracious to my two good friends: Kuya Harold and Kuya Mark. Last Thursday Kuya Harold went to his review center to check the results of the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) exam he took a week before. Meanwhile, Kuya Mark went to the agency to check the status of his application for a job in Dubai.

That same evening they both went home with great news. Kuya Harold passed the exams with flying colors while Kuya Mark got the go signal from the agency saying that he can leave in a couple of weeks after attending a Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS).

For Kuya Harold passing IELTS will take him a step further towards taking the AMT (American Medical Technologists) Exams and fulfilling his plan to work in the US and be with his girlfriend. For Mark, his trip to Dubai will be a big help towards supplementing the family income. I know very well he needs this job because his son TJ is growing and pretty soon he'll be off to school and need a lot of things.

For Me, Diane and Shiela it would be sad to see them go because of all the times we've been together, sang together and even the times we fought with each other. Those seemingly dire and explosive confrontations have just made us stronger.

Now the time has come for them to seek new paths and find where God would lead them. They both promised to support us in one way or another by way of instruments and gadgets necessary for our performance or by helping to provide for new uniforms.

For our fans and clients the burgeoning question now is, who will replace them? Will the sudden change in membership affect the quality of our performance?

It is a good thing that we prepared well for what might happen. That is why we already figured out their replacements months before this. As to the implications the sudden change of membership may have regarding the quality of our performances we have made sure that the new replacements would either be at par or perhaps better skilled than their predecessors. I can strongly attest to this due to the fact that I already sang with these guys quite some time and I have been a frequent recipient of their genuine kindness and good camaraderie. I have no doubt we'll make a great team.


Saturday, August 9, 2008

Pretty Busy Day

Last Saturday we were at the Hagosojos-Monera nuptials. Unfortunately no one brought a camera :and I have to borrow these pictures from other sites to let you see how the church looks like.

Inside the Church

The glorious facade

We arrived two hours early. The Church compound is quite similar to St. Joseph's in Las Pinas (Bamboo Organ). It even has an historical marker which says that it was formerly called the church of San Juan del Monte. The Domnican priests of the Most Holy Rosary built this magnificent place of worship from 1602 to 1604. The original church was set on fire during the Chinese uprising of 1639. It was rebuilt in 1641 only to be burned by the British Forces in July of 1763. The present church that you see today was rebuilt in 1774 and it says that it became the refuge of the Katipuneros during the Philippine Revolution.

To set the mood I'm listening to Palestrina's Missa L'homme arme as I'm writing this. It's a typical piece that I would love to sing inside this august Church. Ate Glo had a difficult time picking songs for the ceremony because the church strictly forbade secular music (love songs for that matter) from the entrance of the entourage up to the recessional. It's a good thing that all of us in the group started out as choir members in our parish or else we would be in the same predicament as our good client. I think this was the only church among the many churches we sang as a group that has this policy. I really have no problem with it at all because I believe that the church is a sacred place and it is an edifice that is consecrated to God. I still remember when I was in my early days with the Children and Youth Choir I was reprimanded for singing a Rivermaya song with my guitar inside the church. There was no Mass during that time but the point is that song didn't belong there.

A Catholic wedding in particular is not a social event or private function. Christ raised marriage to the dignity of a sacrament and the wedding ceremony is part of the Sacred Liturgy of the Church. I'm not sure if the CBCP or the Archdiocese of Manila has its own guidelines for music used at weddings but I have a bad feeling that a lot of abuses have already taken place (us included). I shall dedicate my next post towards discussing proper music for weddings.

Now where was I? Oh, by the way before the start of the ceremony the Parish secretary thoughtfully asked us how many microphones do we need? Shiela answered four. However when we went to the designated place for the choir we found only one microphone. I guess they were expecting us to sing acapella? Hehehe. We were left with no other choice but to cram our faces - guitar included - in front of the mic. Despite the awkward setup we still managed to deliver everything beautifully.

Satellite View of Valle Verde 5 Clubhouse

The reception took place at the Valle Verde Clubhouse in Pasig. and everybody had a ball. The music we provided was great, the food (Josiah's catering) was awesome and Glo according to Mark gave us a thumbs up. It was a total success through and through. It was one of the rare occasions where most of the guests stayed long even after the program. Congrats and best wishes to the new couple!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Updated Repertoire

I have recently updated the repertoire section of our website to include more beautiful music as requested by our previous clients. Expect the list to grow with the passing of time.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Marriage Made in Heaven?

If this isn't heaven... then what is?
This time, I'll let the pictures speak for itself.

Another beautiful day as we head to the Ubalde-Policarpio nuptials. Frich wanted the perfect gift for his sister on her wedding. He chose us to fill her wedding with beautiful music. Our driver, Tita Nitz thought we were going to Tagaytay. But boy was she surprised. What is it about Caleruega that changes one's sense of place and perception? (Caleruega is located in Nasugbu, Batangas)

Administered by the Dominicans it is one of the most sought after venues for weddings, retreats and getaways.

The view from from the choir loft.
One has a sense of serenity and other-worldliness found
in monasteries and seminaries on top of mountains.

Kate Policarpio and Jerome Ubalde (holding a bouquet of flowers) with friends and family and another successful wedding. We were told that some guests were wondering why the couple did not hire a choir to sing for the wedding. They just thought some guy upstairs was just playing some CD's.

Outside, after the wedding ceremony.

Onwards toward the reception at The Tent outside Taal Vista with gear and all.

WOW! How can a tent be this beautiful?

Totally Mesmerized with the happy and satisfied couple

For inquiries and reservations here are some helpful contact details:

Caleruega Philippines

Address: Brgy. Kaylaway, Batulao, Nasugbu, Batangas


Calls or SMS: (Smart) (0921) 270-9890
Ask for Ms. Jackie, Ms. Melda or Ms. Cristalle

Taal Vista Hotel -
Km. 60, Aguinaldo Highway, Tagaytay City, Philippines
Phone: +63 (2) 886-4325; +63 (46) 413-1000

Thursday, April 10, 2008

So Busy

I know what you guys are feeling. This blog needs updating. It's just that I've been busy since my last post that I just can't find the time to update the website and this blog.

Maybe it's just how I manage my time.

But then again, thanks to Rich and Fritch for their recommendations and referrals Diane is already having an arthritis over her nonstop replies to text messages from interested clients.

Just now as I am writing this I am about to go to our rehearsals. Usually, we only rehearse at least a month before a wedding. Now we do it twice a week.

God has been so gracious to us. You see, all of us share the same passion. If we were given a choice of profession that we would love to do for the rest of our lives it is singing. Now our dreams are slowly being realized.

Hopefully this weekend I could update this blog with pictures from our last two weddings. Laudetur Jesus Christus!


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Another Mesmerizing Day at the Noroña-Hinto Nuptials

Usually the Catholic Church discourages weddings during Lent and Christmas. However, I wonder what mysterious grace befell our amorous couple for having received such a privilege?

It is after all the month of love. Amor vincit omnia!

Joy originally asked for Harold and myself to sing at her wedding. However, we decided to pitch in the rest of the group as a BIG THANK YOU for all the memories at CFC-Singles for Christ. By the way, she used to sing for the SFC Choir and the music ministry and she has a fairly good alto voice mind you.

Eric meanwhile is Joy's erstwhile co-worker at Intel and badminton guru. A remarkable fellow indeed

They both had the jitters before the big day which is definitely normal. Most of the couples that I have known always tell me that the wedding ceremony is the easiest thing a couple can go through. The biggest challenge starts the day after.

I am pretty sure though, that with lots and lots of prayer and sacrifice they can both face whatever trials and tribulations that may come their way.


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Valentine's Play A Huge Success!

Sorry it took so long for me to post back. I just made sure that the pictures that I have for this post were ready.

Thanks to Shiela who lent me her USB flash device last night.

The play where we performed by the way was a rousing success! Thanks to a little PR and teamwork. I gotta hand it to Ichi who displayed wonderful leadership skills as well as TALENT! He's got skillz! His play was shown at the Ernesto Palanca Crisostomo Hall (Auditorium) at 3:00pm.

Before show time we were urged by Mr. Alvarez, head of the Campus Ministry to perform outside the auditoriumnear the study hall. The half hour performance really helped spark interest in the play and played a major part in drawing a huge crowd outside the doors of the auditorium.

A few days before the performance when we visited the crew I was a little doubtful and uneasy because their rehearsal performance leaves much to be desired. But my instincts told me that the lousier the rehearsal, the nearer the playdate the better the outcome. I know it defies logic but I've seen my share of well rehearsed talents not giving a satisfactory performance on the play date itself. I guess its because the guys who are not doing well on their TDR (technical dress rehearsal) will do whatever it takes to make it right. Kung baga, panindigan mo na because you have no other choice.

I also have the same observations with our performances as a choir. There were times I wanted to suggest to our group that we should not include a particular piece at an event because I still saw the need to perfect and polish it and behold during the event it was a stellar performance. Usually it was the crowd (discriminating or otherwise) who appreciated it and we the performers who either abhor or detest it. I don't know. It just sounds better when you're part of the audience. In this performance though we loved it so much that we hated our guts for not recording it.

Back to the play these guys did not have the luxury of a huge sequence guide posted backstage nor the help of production assistants who were supposed to make sure that the play ran smoothly. But boy everybody knew their places and they moved like clockwork. Who needs PA's and huge sequence guides when you have Ichi running the show? Not bad for a bunch of Nursing pencil-pushers.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Weee're Going Back to School!

It has been a while since I posted because our old computer monitor (an old NEC 15" model handed down by my aunt) finally broke down.

We went to my ol' alma mater - University of Perpetual Help DALTA System in Las Piñas City yesterday to do our ol' friend and altar server pal, Ichi a big favor. This week the university is celebrating their 32nd Foundation Anniversary and Ichi along with his nursing buddies are planning to produce a play that is slated tomorrow, Valtentine's Day at 3pm and 6pm.

European Garden

We went there at around 3:30pm and lo and behold Ichi begging the guards to let us in! We went through all the usual greetings and then he led us in. Since it is University Week the school had a festive mood with all those booths with lots of food and refreshments. Walking past the former bookstore and inside the main college building, I realized the structures that I grew up with are still there only they're painted with the school's colors. They have enlarged the covered court and made sure it was really covered. The auditorium, small as it is was given a more refined touch. My former classroom during 1st year College was turned into a lecture hall for medical students where I saw Ronnie a co-household head of mine during our SFC days, watching and listening intently to his students one by one presenting their research report.

We finally went inside the classroom and we were introduced to the participants in the play. We were surprised to find out that all of them are nursing students from different levels. To be able to bring something together out of scratch is really something worth applauding. Ichi happens to be the playwright and his play is somehow a very musical way of making someone laugh and feel cheesy at the same time. He is actually dedicating this play (based on a true story of his love life) to someone he really admires and wishes to court. Their real status is still unknown to me for he wouldn't really tell. There are a lot of part in the play where we need to sing. The students were totally mesmerized and spellbound as we performed some of the songs we were thinking of adding to their line-up. To sum it up we both were happy with our ideas and after watching the entire progress of the play we decided to go home and do some more practice.

You can watch the play tomorrow at 3pm and 6pm at the UPHDS Auditorium. Admission is free. Don't forget to bring some identification

Images courtesy of the University of Perpetual Help DALTA System website:


Friday, January 11, 2008


Happy New Year! This is a start of a new adventure as we document our upcoming wedding performances. This is going to be exciting!