Musical Kids

Start them young and keep them motivated. It is easier said than done, of course. Children lose interest very easily. But the time and effort put through to keep the children playing will be worth the effort in the long run. This will also limit the bad influences in their young lives. Although it may not completely eliminate the negative influences, keeping it to the minimum will be quite an accomplishment already. So, here is a hat’s off for all the patient music teachers who sacrifice their time and effort to teach the young children the appreciation of music.

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Memory of a beach

This was a place where friends and family would get together to escape the hot summer heat. The children have now grown up and this old public beach at the back side of the Emirates Palace Hotel had long been closed. Change has again triumphed.

Memory of a Concert

My wife is a member of church  singing group called the Oasis Herald Chorale. The concert that was held last December 2009 was one of the last major concerts that the group had. It was intended for fund-raising for the church building project here in the U.A.E. The concert was entitled the Mystery and Majesty of Christmas. It was one of the most successful concerts by the group and a lot of people who attended really enjoyed the experience. All the preparation, the hard work, the expenses, the long practice sessions, and the tension were all worth it. Some of those who attended were already asking about the next concert of the group. Hopefully, the group will be able to participate in a concert organized by our church, which will be a multiple-singing-group concert that will be held late this year.

Annalyn Lorenzo, our female soloist with the exceptional voice

Love Solomon, belting out a solo piece

Betsy Samonte (left), Edzel Zapico and Lei Tabios

L-R: Gerdie, Cheryl (my wife) and Love

L-R: Jinky Baldeviso, Shem Postrero and Rowena Umapas

L-R: Rowena Umapas, Jonathan Corrales and Jeannie Diesto

Heber Tabios

Guil Maximo

L-R: Alevem Moralde, Nathaniel Llaguno and Guil Maximo

The church building has already been erected in Ras Al Khaimah, and the first anniversary of the building was celebrated last May 19, 2012. Since that concert, several members have already left the group. Some went home to the Philippines, others moved to another Emirates and some others moved to another country. There were also some who formed their own singing groups. But still, the group continues its ministry through music. New members have moved in and the core members of the group remain intact. The challenges that the group faced had only made the group stronger and more determined to continue its ministry by reaching out to people through music.

Dates: Desert Fruit

Out here in the land of hot sands, the Date is king of fruits. The date tree thrives in the hot and humid weather of the middle east. I am no expert on this tree, but in my observation, the people here prize this tree so much that if you happen to be unfortunate enough to accidentally kill one these trees, you are in for a really hefty fine.

The date fruit is sweet, very sweet and chewy especially those that are already way into the ripening stage. There are many varieties of the date fruit. The fruit is available all year round and one can purchase these in the supermarkets anywhere in the Emirates. The fruit doesn’t rot (I guess). Because the more advanced in the ripening stage it gets, the sweeter and better it tastes. There are a lot of date trees that are planted in the Emirates. Several of these trees can be found planted along the roads and in the parks. There is even a dates festival wherein dates of every variety are displayed and sold throughout the festival. (Shown above are dates served that are already very ripe. And no, salt and pepper are definitely not added).

Wife and Mother

It’s mother’s day! We all rush to greet our mothers. And amidst all this mad rush to greet our mothers, hopefully, we will not forget the “mother” who will be with us throughout our lives after we have “outgrown” our biological mothers. And who am I referring to? It is no other than our wives, the mother of our children.  And for some of us, the replacement for our biological mother.

I am struggling here. I am struggling to find the right words to honor my wife for her role as mother to my children and wife to me. I was hoping that a bunch of flowers would do that for me. Or, maybe a dinner date and a kiss goodnight to recall our dating days. I know that she would be thrilled and would love those gestures. So what is preventing me from actually showing those gestures if I know it would make her happy? Nothing, really, except my own selfish laziness. In that case, I might just do it.

What if I made the wrong decision in marrying another woman? I am sure I wouldn’t be as happy as I am now. And the opening statement of this paragraph already assumes that I made the right decision in marrying my wife. And which, I am proud to say, is absolutely true! I am truly a happily-married man and that is owing, of course, to the fact that I married the right woman. I am sure my children are happy as well for that fact.

Is their mother great? You bet she is! My oldest son wouldn’t even hesitate to say that his mother is one of the most beautiful mothers around. And he is very protective of his mother. He is “protecting” her for his father. He believes (must be deep in his heart) that his mother is so attractive that other men might find it hard to resist her beauty. So, oldest son to the rescue! He would stay by his mother’s side so that other men would know that she has a son, and therefore, very much married. This rubs off to his younger brother, too. Both of them would take turns protecting their mother. My older son would even “advise” her not to wear “inappropriate” dress so that other men will not cast meaningful glances at her.

Now, why would he act this way? What prompted him to think in such manner? There is only one explanation, I believe. He loves his mother so much, that’s why. There is simply no other explanation. He wants to protect his mother because he loves her and he wants her to stay happy with their father (credit to me, I guess). He and his younger brother believe that their mother is meant only for their father and that their father is meant only for their mother and they are meant to be together and live happily ever after… with them in tow, of course.

This speaks a lot about the kind of mother that they have. A loving but strict mother. She is not only a mother but also a friend. A mother that they can be proud of. A mother that they can talk to about their personal lives and not be afraid of ridicule. A mother who will nurture their talents and encourage them to excel. A mother who can be strict at times and yet they know that it is for their own good. A mother who will teach them the basics in life like cooking and ironing their clothes and washing dishes. A mother who will actually laugh at their jokes! They couldn’t ask for more, from a mother. And I can see that they are absolutely happy for it.

What applies to them, applies to me as well (well, up to a certain extent). I couldn’t ask for more from a wife. Anyone who looks at me walking with my wife would definitely exclaim silently, what a lucky man I am! I wouldn’t even try to tell them otherwise. Because truly I am the luckiest married man I will ever know. You know why? That is because I married my wife. And that’s a fact my children will definite agree 100%. I just hope that my wife feel that same way, too. But I have a positive feeling that she does. Because until now, after thirteen years of marriage, she still looks absolutely great. This speaks a lot about her family life. Don’t blame me for that. She does a lot of effort to keep it that way. I would definitely give her most of the credit. She deserves it. And, oh, I’m off to buy some flowers!

At the 124th Floor of Burj Khalifa

We headed to Dubai last April 27 to have the chance to be part of a world record. We went up to the 124th floor of Burj Khalifa, presently the tallest building in the world. My whole family and some close friends were with us to savor the opportunity. Who knows, a few months from now, we may not be here in the U.A.E. anymore. And the Burj Khalifa will surely be overshadowed as the world’s tallest building sooner rather than later. So, for a few hours “At the Top” we were part of the record-breaking building.

At the lobby, you will see this replica of the Burj Khalifa

At the bottom of the replica, you will see the relevant records of the building.

At the elevator lobby ready to go way up to the 124th floor!

My son Theo enjoying the Digital Telescope

My family at the 124th floor

Together with our friends

Dubai from the top of Burj Khalifa (124th floor)

A stranger in wheelchair enjoying the view

As you go out of the building, there is this hallway with a gallery of the people involved in the project.

Burj Khalifa from outside

50mm Project: Day 07 – Capturing the moment

All this time that I’ve been practicing and trying my best to improve my photography, I have always been attracted to capturing candid scenes. I love capturing people in their unguarded moments. This is not always easy because, once you carry a camera, people are immediately aware that you are going to take their photos and react accordingly. But I think that the trick is that to actually take their photos and just wait until such time that they will become so used to your presence and actually start to ‘ignore’ you. Then you can start taking candid shots. A fast camera with accompanying fast lens would really be a big help, but you have to be fast as well in capturing the moment. Be aware of the scenes that are developing and be ready to capture it once “the moment” happens.

Another thing that fascinates me is street photography. I have been reading some materials from the internet about it, and the more I read, the more I become interested. It is mostly about capturing the moment, but in a more intimidating environment (at least for me). You have to do it in the streets and with strangers as your subject. It would be capturing real everyday life moments. I would definitely want to try it but I honestly don’t know exactly where to begin nor would I know if I have the guts to do it. But I guess I’ve already did some form of ‘street photography’, only it’s not on the streets and I do it with people I know.

This guy wanted his photo taken while I was trying to get some candid shots.

A window reflection

This picture is not taken with a 50mm lens. But I like its candid nature so I added it here.