Kalipay Playlist / July Edition

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I am an avid fan of rap songs. Growing up with a fondness towards a variety of musical genres, I believe rappers are people set apart for such musicality and linguistic prowess. They are blessed with a whole lotta different brand of creativity mixed with heaven-sent-lexicon. 

In another life, I think I’d pursue rapping.

Given that, I’d be all the more interested when rap songs are theologically sound and are filled with Christ-centered meditations. Here are 5 rappers I’d like to introduce to you.

  1. Chrys Jones

I found Chrys Jones through Shai Linne’s tweet. Chrys Jones offers us some Christ-centered hip-hop music.  (https://chrysjones.bandcamp.com)

 

2. God’s Servant

I am not really familiar with God’s Servant, but I like this one as it is all about Jim Elliot. 

 

3. Shai Linne

Shai Linne is so far my favorite among the Theologically-sound rappers. These two songs are my favorites:

 

 

If it wasn’t for the Spirit’s mysterious operation
We would all be under serious condemnation
I’d still be rejecting His Son
If God hadn’t said “Let there be light” like Genesis 1
And just like the light could not refuse to shine
Irresistible grace renewed my mind
Let’s exalt the King who died and truly is risen
The new birth is not the effect of human decision
But the cause- it changes our natural habitation
And situation, it’s a radical transformation
I was cursed and polluted so my dirt was inexcusable
With new internal pupils His Person is beautiful
His worth is indisputable- the Lamb is amazing
A standing ovation for His work in the crucible
So let us respond with true worship and love
To the God who has given new birth from above!

 

4. Trip Lee

To be honest, I’m not really fully into Trip Lee’s songs. It’s not as sound as Shai Linne’s or Chrys Jones. But here is a sample anyway.

 

5. Lecrae

I started with Lecrae. Background was the first Christian rap song I’ve heard. After that was Toby Mac, and then I began exploring Christian rappers. But throughout the years, Lecrae is in slow fade when it comes to the mention of the gospel and other biblical themes in his songs.  Makes me sad, really. Nevertheless, here are my top three faves:

 

If you have suggestions, please do drop me a message! Or comment!

Truth in the Time of Fake News, Fake Love

Truth in the time of Fake news

                   Ever since Digong became the President, the issue of fake news became a prominent feature in my social media feed. Intellectuals and Pseudo intellectuals would argue and present their cases.  Constantly, we are faced with legitimate questions, like: Why would fake news flourish? Are Filipinos too dumb to determine what is and isn’t real? Or are we, as people with natural depravity, naturally succumb to what isn’t true?

Do we naturally exchange the truth for a lie? 

Since the day I read the first two chapters of the book of Romans in high school, it remained in my head (And heart) like a sticky note that would remind me from time to time.

The verses terrified me. Paul’s repetition of the phrase ” God gave them over “ in Romans 1 sent chills down to my scoliotic spine.

He repeated the phrase three times.

And while reading the last part, my fourteen-year-old self, shivered. 

28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.

The thought of God giving you over to a depraved mind that you do what ought not to be done terrified me. The idea of God…giving up on me, terrified me. 

Almost eight years had passed, still, Romans 1&2 lingers in my mind and heart up to this day. It never left me even in my years of rebellion. Even when I shut the Bible off and removed it from my periphery. It stayed on me and became a terrifying reminder, an alarm clock I kept snoozing, an alert tone I resented.

Yet it remained. It faithfully remained. 

This morning, like my usual itinerary, I opened my social media and updated myself with the new things thru my feed. Fake news still occupied the Philippine Internet. People are still arguing. Martial Law is still happening. Lies are still spreading.

Where will I stand amidst this chaotic Truth War?

I have always been that kid who prefers to stay silent rather than argue for what I believe is true. Arguing exhausted me. Debating seemed trivial and useless in my eyes. I have been passive when it comes to fighting for what I think is right. Even processing the Truth war internally…tires me. Thinking no longer mattered. Truth seemed relative. Truth seemed surreal. Truth disappeared in my life.

People falling for fake news isn’t really fresh news. It isn’t a new thing. We have been falling for the same lies since time immemorial. Adam and Eve fell for the serpent’s fake news. The whole history of humankind is a long story filled with battles of the Truth War. 

In his book, Mere Christianity, C.S Lewis gives us a glimpse of why we are in this chaotic mess: 

“All that we call human history–money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery–[is] the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”

 

Why is this happening? Why do we obliviously fall for the fake? 

Paul would gently remind us again in Romans 1,

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.

28Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

Our depravity is the sole reason why we fall into this trap. Our wickedness inclines our hearts to lies. We suppress the truth because we are wicked (v18). We deny the very existence of the Ultimate truth. We exchanged the truth about God for a lie (v25). 

I no longer see this in a different light other than the Biblical perspective because it is the only perspective that makes sense in this truth-is-relative-kind-of-world. 

That is the very reason why fake news is spreading. 

We.love.lies.

because of this, our lives revolve around the preferred handcrafted version of things. Tailormade for our own liking. We cannot accept the Truth. In fact, we despise it.

In result to that, we spread fake news, fake love, and live fake lives.

I write this as a twenty-year-old millennial living in a time of fake news and fake love. I am writing this to make sense of my thoughts, to untangle the unresolved issues in my head, to unriddle the confusion in my heart. I am writing this because I know that I constantly exchange the truth about God for a lie.  I am writing this because my heart is inclined to fake things. I am writing this because my heart is prone to wander and that I, alone, cannot make my paths straight.

At the end of the day, I am comforted with the Truth,

that while I am in my wickedness, Christ died for me.  I rest in this timeless promise,

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    His mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
    great is Your faithfulness.

Lo, let us always remind ourselves, that 

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, 
 
 
This He will not despise.
 

Let us choose the Truth in this time of fake news,

and spread genuine love in this time of fake love.

(Yes, I’m talkin’ about you, Drake.) 

 

Eight year-old mudpie

Mommy bought me my first and only The Beatles’ song hits when I was around eight years old. A candy vendor was selling a bunch of em along a sidewalk near the old Gaisano.

I remember how ecstatic I was of my seemingly puny possession. Comparing to my joys right now, it felt like owning an iphone 7 or a new macbook pro. I remember scanning through its brown, recycled, pages. My fingers sifting through each printed song lyric, figuring out if I was capable enough to play the complicated chord given my being noob in the guitar world. I barely knew B-Flat minors. Barely knew how to use the capo. Barely able to carry dad’s acoustic guitar which he bought from Tel Aviv. I remember being frustrated with my hands being small and my arms, too short.

Daddy would play In My Life without even looking at the song hits. And there I was, barely able to to press the strings with my flimsy eight-year old fingers.

My favorite was Michelle.

Not because of the meaning of the song. Ha ha. I barely understood what romance meant way back. My eight year old mind only cared about the tune and melody. I loved the how the words rolled like honey in Paul McCart’s tongue.

“Sont des mots qui vont très bien ensemble
Très bien ensemble”

I became fascinated with the silent letters. The French language. The sound. The beat. The Rhythm.

“I love you, I love you, I love you
That’s all I want to say
Until I find a way
I will say the only words I know that
You’ll understand.”

My young mind loved the concept of love as introduced by Lennon and Paul. I didn’t understand Romantic feelings back then. Romance, for me, was the flittery feeling, but I didn’t really understand. But I liked it.

And just like that. The Beatles introduced me to the hippie love. The Mccartney, Lennon, Starr, Harrison, kind of love.

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year 2000

The sad kid that I was was pretty much delighted with the company of music. Dad introduced me to the music of his time. And humming Sting’s Fragile, James Taylor’s Up on the Roof, Billy Joel’s Vienna, became my normal.

Being a sad kid, I realize, was not my family’s fault. I never blamed them for it. They were imperfect, yes, but I lived in a home where a climate of  grace and forgiveness existed…and still exists up to this day.

Sadness was a state I created for myself. Perhaps, I have to admit that I loved the idea of sadness at a very early age. I relished the idea of being in that state. I loved my man-made world. My fantasies, self-tailor-made. That was my hamartia. A hint of my depraved mind.

And I made sure that I was always the victim. Atleast, in my own recollections.

And, No, this story is not a cutesy-story about a-kid-who-was-bullied-and-then-eventually-got her-revenge-when-she-became-a-beautiful-and-successful adult-story. No, this is the 21-year old Kim, who just realized that romanticizing things will get you nowhere near reality. Ofcourse, that is obvious. But realizing that…and deciding to change perspectives – isn’t really as easy as it seems.

Post-college-adulting-life will slap you hard on the face that eureka moments overflow every micro-second without you asking for it and it will still be useless because you cannot change yourself on your own.

The 21 year-old self will be able to “realize,”

but you will understand too, that “realize”

cannot equate with “changed behavior” or… a “changed heart.”

I started this with a story about my little joys when I was still an eight-year old.  My happies when I was eight are way different than my happies now that I’m twenty-one. Life is…precarious like that.

Whenever I try to assess my adult joys right now, I see too many shallow things. It is hard to admit that I’m slowly becoming what I feared to be whilst reading Antoine’s The Little Prince Way back in college – The Adult.  Now, I am more concerned with Matters of Consequence. I am concerned with numbers and likes and validation. My priorities have changed and is currently being changed. My wants and needs are sometimes misplaced and interchanged.

“We are far too easily pleased.” Lewis once wrote in The Weight of Glory.

We settle for mudpies in a slum when an offer of a holiday at the sea is offered.

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, and Other Addresses

As I am writing this, I am already a twenty-one year old adult, sitting here in my office desk, staring at the clock’s tic-toc, waiting for five p.m. I’ve never been too old and too young than this moment.

I will turn twenty-two in fourty-nine days. I’m not getting any younger. I still haven’t figured out how to use chopsticks. I still haven’t mastered the subject-verb agreement. I still hate tenses. My mind is still caffeine dependent. My hair is thinning and it has lost much of its muchness. Gravity is still pulling me down. I still catch myself humming  Tadhana from time to time. I still love highschool musical. I still resort to Hersheys whenever I’m miserable.

I filed my resignation from the company a week ago. I’m not sure where this decision will lead me. What I’m sure of is that I’m being a hedonist right now. And I’m not sure if that is right.

Retelling Subli

Subli is a bisaya term that means re-telling. And here I am, seven days later, retelling my memories from Subli – a Spoken Word Poetry Crashcourse-slash-workshop I conducted in Bukidnon.
This was not the first time I got invited to Central Mindanao University (CMU). In fact, almost two years ago, Scyra, the organizer for the whole event, invited me to visit their school to inspire the growing community of Spoken Word Artists at CMU – the Words’ Worth. I wasn’t able to come that year.
A year later, Scyra, handed me another invitation. And this time, I was ready. That’s what I thought. I was convinced that I possessed the necessary knowledge needed to be able to teach Spoken Word Poetry. And that I would be able to encourage these kids to hone their craft.
Well, I was partly right.
What I didn’t know was that the whole trip was a crashcourse for me also. Slowly, it is becoming clear to me that every time I visit Bukidnon, I get to see a different perspective, a different point of view. And I return to Iligan a changed person. Well, slightly.
There, I experienced the following:
  • Stopping the motorela because I found an ukay-ukay The Beatles shirt hanging at an ukay-ukay store. Special thank you to Kesh’s bargaining skills, I purchased it for only eighty pesos.
  • Eating Manna x Quail’s Matcha Lava Chocolate cake
  • Seeing the Musuan Peak a couple of times and every single time I feel the same feeling. Still in awe of it.
  •  Catching a glimpse of the Pulangi river at eleven pm.
  • Seeing migratory birds in the middle of the night in the middle of the street with Words’ worth.
  • Being wifi deprived that I had to resort to my notebooks and whatnot. I was forced to look and see. To stop seeing through things.

And these notable experiences aren’t notable at all without these people :

Iren – who I never expected to be that extroverted and wacky. A lady whose humor’s quite admirable.
Janine – who was seemingly quiet and reserved but whenever she speaks up, it would always be hilarious.
Mae Jane – who asked me to say her name because it would mean that much. Your leadership skills are admirable. Thank you for taking me to the bus stop.
Irene – who asked me so many questions and I didn’t even mind it because I like it when people are curious.
Peps the only boy in the team who spoke beautifully about ukay-ukay. Haha!
Almira – whose big warm hug felt like the hug I’ve always wanted to have.
Rizwho was always smiley and giddy but was as ecstatic when she performed on stage.
CMU Words’Worth, you make me cry. Sometimes, I wish I could duplicate you all or kidnap all of you so that I could bring you home with me sa Iligan. Your passion inspires me. Padayun mo.
and also,
the CMU Senior High.
The kids who were all bright-eyed during the workshop. You reminded me of my highschool self. I was as curious and excited. I can’t wait to see you all turn into passionate performers who are totally dedicated to the craft. Should our paths cross again, I know stories will overflow.
To Scyra whose name I thought was pronounced as /sky-rah/, haha. The one who noted my love for coffee that she’d bring me her home-brewed coffee every morning thru her thermos. Thank you for tolerating my request to make baklay to forestry even if it exhausted you and wala jud ka gasaba nga gihangak na diay ka magbisaya nako kay na guilty jud ko sala ni ni Kesh na wala ko niya gi-inform na di day ka pwede ug inato. Haha. Nevertheless, thank you for the constant invitation, and for the warm welcome you’ve given me. Just. Thank you.
To Joy whom I haven’t met yet but seems like someone I have been friends with for a long time already because of the stories I have heard about her. The kids would never miss a conversation without mentioning your name. Sugod sa Kape padulong sa books and then sa uban pang butang muingon silag “Hala, parehas jud mong Ma’am Joy.” Thank you pud for letting me borrow to some of your clothes during my last night. HAHA. I hope to have coffee with you someday and saka nata sa Musuan Peak. Thank you for starting Words’ worth, thank you for introducing the kids to Spoken Word Poetry.
To Kesh – who was not only my P.A, but my trip-bestie. The one who would accompany me wherever I go. Who would willingly volunteer for almost anything. Who would ask me deep existential questions at eleven p.m. Kesh took her P.A job too seriously that she’d wake up at 5 A.M just to check if I was breathing. You are such a sweet kid. You treated me as family. Thank you.
I remember a conversation with Kesh during a bus ride to Bukidnon. It was a question that never left my mind since that day.

Ate Kim, why do you call yourself curator?

I was not prepared to answer her question because people never bothered to ask anyway. In response, I explained it in a seemingly shallow answer – that I liken myself to a curator – that of a museum or an art gallery. That I would constantly curate my life. That I select which stories to tell. Because curators are selective storytellers. And we are all curators in a variety of ways. That we all curate our lives in a daily basis
We choose what we want to show and hide. We choose which story to tell.
And the challenge left here is what to

subli.

That we be discerning to choose stories worthy of retelling.
And this is me retelling my memories from Subli, because stories like this one are always worthy of retelling.

Para kang Island Boy

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circa 2015

2010.

Kahinumdum pako tong una tang nag-ila.

Ikaw tong batan-on nga naglingkod dapit sa akong bangko. Usa ratag lamesa sa convention, usa ra na grupo, pero, dili ko ganahan nimo. 

Nagsul-ob kag blue na sport shirt atong adlawa.

Pila ka-tuig nilabay, nagtagbo napud atong mga dalan. Na-ila tikag ayo. Nagkuyog buntag, udto, gabii. Murag sumpay najud atong tina-i. Kaila na kaayo ko nimo. Kabalo nako kung unsa imong mga ganahan ug di-ganahan. Nakabisado na kaayo tika, ug mao ni ang akong mga mabaw nga nahibaw-an sa imoha:

  1. mag lagot kag ignon kag feeling gwapo.
  2. lud-an kag maghisgot kog tae.
  3. maayo ka manlaba.
  4. Ang imong paborito na icecream na Jollibee kay ang strawberry sundae.
  5. safeguard ang brand sa imong deodorant.
  6. idol nimo si Spiderman. 
  7. Paborito nimo ang Pomegranates na hantod karon wala pako katilaw.
  8. Maayo ka mutaghoy.
  9. Maawat nimo ang tingog ni batman ug ni stitch sa Lilo and Stitch. 
  10. Dili ka kabalo musayaw.

Nahutdan nakog mga isulat. Hinay-hinay na nako nagakalimtan ang mga detalye sa imo. Di nako kahinumdum sa uban, kay kada adlaw, nagapulihan ug bag-o ang akong mga dapat huna-hunaonon. Pero kahinumdum pako sa imo, kahinumdum pako sa mga istorya nato, kahinumdum pako sa kung unsa ka mukatawa na murag pagaw-pagaw nga saba na maka-irita. Kahinumdum pako sa imong paboritong alot ug kung unsa nimo ka-gusto musul-ob ug aritis nga itom. 

Pero magduha na ka-tuig nilabay. Di na ko sigurado kung mao pa gihapon na ang akong mga nahibaw-an sa imo. Daghan nausab, ug daghan usbononon.

Ako pud. 

Daghan kog gusto istorya nimo. Apan, kabalo ko na naay mga dapat istorya nga wala nay pulos kung i-storya. Layo na kaayo ang agwat sa panahon ug lugar. Layo na kaayo ko, layo napud kaayo ka. Puhon, Puhon. Magtagbo ta usab. Ug kataw-an nalang nato ang tanan. 

Doc. Malak,

unta malipayon ka sa imong kinabuhi.

Salamat sa tanan.

Malipayong adlawng sa natawhan!

P.S 

Ay oh. Naa pa gihapon sa akong kwarto akong graduation gift para sa imo. Naningil ka atong naa ka diri. Pero gituyo nako na dili ihatag. Sa sunod nalang nimo na graduation, puhon. Unya nag ma-doctor naka.

Nahurot na akong kwarta sa kape.

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Sa may Bayug.

kay karong mga panahona, kape nalang ang nagapadagan sa mga tawo.

Kape nalay makapukaw sa tulog na kasing-kasing. Kape nalang ang rason nganong makabati kag buto-buto sa dughan. Kape nalay makahatag ug kalipayng ginagmay.

Kape nalay maka-tuklod na maghatag kag Pake.

Nahurot na akong kwarta sa kape, pero akong listahan, nagkataas:

  1. Muadto kog Central Mindanao University (CMU) karong February 26-27 para magworkshop ug essentials sa Espoken Werd. Kay daghan gaingon na maayo daw ko mu-balak. daw.
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Mao ni akong ginatawag na “how do I even?!!!?”

2. Thesis Proposal Defense intawon nako karong March 11. Wala pakoy nasuwat maskin wan pij.

3. Mag duha nako ka-bulan gapuyo sa 3rd floor building. Magduha napud ko ka-bulan sigeg mata kada alas dos sa kadlawon kay naay mga kabit ug palahubog mag-away.

4. Kulang kog tulog kada adlaw. Nangita kog pamaagi na madungagan ang ka-kulang. Ay, I mean, makulangan ang ka-kulang.

5. Karon nga semana, nahibaw-an nako nga ang mga balyena diay kay malumos pud. Mao rato.

6. Ang akong picture nakasulod sa US- Embassy #ArtInspires contest. Unta makadaog ko pero kabalo ko na dili. Nevertheless, paki like ko sa link :

img_0143
Ang opposite sa iconic Vietnam war photo.

7. Daghan kaayog nangimbitar na magjudge kog mga event. Hilasan na dayun kos akong kaugalingon.

8. Ang akong Whipped Cream na gipalit atong December kay naa pa sa balay. Wala pa natandog. Karon pako kadumdum na angay ko tong balikan ug lanlanon.

Mao ni akong ginatawag na life update.

Ug mao rato, nahurot na akong kwarta sa kape.