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Saturday, July 31, 2010

How the CIM Hymn (Latest Arrangement) was Made

The original CIM Hymn was made by Dr. Rene Sitoy, a CIM alumnus and the original song was preserved in a recording made in an old cassette tape kept by the school.

Listening to the original recording, you would hear a single male singer delivering the lines of the song in its entirety accompanied by instruments which you can easily determine to be that used in the music recordings of the past. The song was quite long as the whole lyrics were sang twice, plus a coda part (if I remember it correctly).

Anyway, it was around the end of 2006 or start of 2007 and Cebu Institute of Medicine (CIM) was about to celebrate its 50th year. Preparations were all under way but something was missing...

Flashback during the early elementary days...Everytime there was a flag ceremony in the University of San Carlos Girls High and Boys High where I spent some of my early years, the USC Hymn was always played and sang. Everytime there is an event, the USC Hymn was sang.

Going back to the present...I still memorize the USC Hymn even if I was not a graduate of the said university.

I also noticed how my University of the Philippines professor for Masters in Health Professions Education subjects (Dr. Nem Fajutagana) beamed with pride whenever the "UP Naming Mahal" was played in his laptop. He would even let us hear it using his speaker.

I said to myself it would be nice to have a definite identity for the school, a theme or hymn that will showcase the school's pride...a song an alumni will feel like singing announcing to the world that he is an alumni of the school.

Before, the original CIM Hymn was seldom played even on occasions. (USC Hymn was even played daily why not our own school hymn during events?)

There was already this original CIM Hymn by Dr. Sitoy. It was truly a nice song with meaningful lyrics. But it was not easily reproducible since it was on cassette tape and was quite long to be played after the national anthem. The instruments also need to be updated to the times to appeal to the younger generation.

Thus the idea of a new arrangement for the CIM Hymn was born.

I suggested to the administration the plan for a new arrangement in time for the launch of the Golden Jubillee. I asked for their permission and financial support to rearrange and record anew the song by Dr. Sitoy. And they approved. I saw the beauty of the melody and the lyrics of the song and in respect for Dr. Sitoy, I did not alter the lyrics and the melody per se although there were still modifications to fit the times.

I went to a music studio and told them what I envisioned the song to sound like. The USC Hymn, Lupang Hinirang and UP Naming Mahal were actually the inspiration behind the arrangement.

I wanted it to be something that doesn't sound like a march but is actually a march with an accompanying orchestra of sorts and variations in the volume of the instruments during transitions. I did not want it to be too slow a march but not also too fast as in the original tempo of the Lupang Hinirang.

Like the USC Hymn, I wanted it to be solemn with flowing moments gradually building up to the climax of the song where the tempo is slower, deliberate but more powerful. (I did not have a proper formal Music education and training so forgive me for my use of musical terms).

I was working with the owner of the music studio figuring out the best mix. Luckily, the music studio got what I wanted after experimenting with various sounds and music with the synthesizer. We finally just got the proper mix. The minus one was ready and all I need is to assemble the group of singer-doctors. I got enough people to sing the song.

The "choir" members for the Hymn were me (Dr. Narciso Tapia), Drs. Shawn and Jackie Espina, Dr. Manuel Emerson Donaldo, Dr. Irelan Amores (now Evasco), Dr. Karen Batoctoy, Dr. Maryliz Ferolino (now Tejano) and Dr. Nelipta Lim.

Practices were held to master the song including the voicing which yours truly also made up. In the part which says "The richness of your vision...", I deliberately had the female voices serve as background dividing them into soprano and alto.

The recording part was fun. It was actually my first song to be recorded in a music studio. (Finally, one of my dreams fulfilled even if it is not a commercial music recording!) We looked like professional recording artists! Too bad, I was not able to take pics.

We had these big microphones and those things you put in the ears to block extraneous noise and to hear your own voice and the minus one as you sing. It was my first music recording and it will be part of history so in a way, it is better than a commercial song.

Now listen to the CIM Hymn and pay attention to the number of singers you can hear. Guess the number of people who actually sang...and listen to the voicing in the end.

Guessed already how many choir members during the actual recording?

Didn't I already tell you we were just 6? Magic, right?

That's the beauty of modern technology. The studio can multiply your voice severalfold so it would appear you are a choir of more than 20 when in fact, there were only 6 of us. Dr. Donaldo and yours truly both acted as bass and tenor at the same time thanks to technology also.

Notice the overlapping of different wordings?

In the last part which says, "Source of pride and inspiration", I had me and the guys chant aloud C-I-M, C-I-M" while simultaneously sounding like soldiers singing in a different timing "Source of pride and inspira-shun". Also going to the finale, you will notice as the words, "Your truly our one and only CIM" was sung, "My one and only CIM" was also in the background.

In the finale, I saw to it that the different voices for the last "C-I-M" will be sung in a prolonged manner and the music will really be climactic.

So I hope, CIM alumni will like this CIM hymn version and will play it each time there is a CIM-related event or celebration. Sing it wholeheartedly and with pride. Go CIM!

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Going to Mass also on Weekdays is Refreshing

Going to Mass does feel refreshing...spiritually nourishing. I can't explain it but it makes me feel good the rest of the day. Despite problems, PKD symptoms, the many things to do and the challenges of work,  I feel somewhat calm.

I started again to attend mass on weekdays just this week at the Velez Hospital chapel. My former classmate in medical school, Fr. Alfonso Suico celebrates the mass on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:30 noontime.

I used to go to Mass everyday as an altar boy from Grade 5 to 4th year high school. That meant waking up early at 5 AM, going to church wearing already my school uniform and bringing already my schoolbag which in the Philippines means bringing a "baggage" filled with textbooks and notebooks.

It took a lot of sacrifice on my part. My job then was to check the altar boy assignments and see if the assigned "mass server" "sakristan" or "altar boy" is present. If the assigned altar boy was absent I took his place. If everybody's present, I get the guitar from the nuns and provide the guitar accompaniment to the mass.

I got to have breakfast afterwards at the parish rectory or the sister's convent. As an altar boy, I was able to try various Filipino dishes during May when everyday is a feast day in Candelaria since all chapels within the Parish's jurisdiction hold Masses everyday. But of course, it's the spiritual benefits that matter the most.

From the altar boys or Knights of the Altar group during our time, a lot entered the priesthood although I did not know how many ended up as a priest except for one, Fr. Jojo Cantos. Going to masses then taught me discipline and provided me spiritual guidance.

Then reaching college until recently, I only attend Masses during Sundays.

But now I'm back to attending Masses and receiving the Holy Communion on weekdays too and I am glad I did. I even get to reprise my sakristan or altar boy role of ringing the bell chimes during the consecration and doing the readings. Having PKD is not easy and somehow the masses keep me strong spiritually, emotionally. If we need food for our stomach everyday, so does our soul.

I am inviting everyone to partake of the spiritual lunch during the Monday, Tuesday and Thursday Mass in the CVGH (Velez) Chapel. It's free.

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Is Mayweather Shunning Pacquiao?

Plush Lil' Cluck Chicken Mini Flopsie 8"This is the question that boxing fans are starting to ask as Floyd Mayweather Jr. remains quiet whether he will accept an offer to fight Pacquiao this November going past the deadline set by Bob Arum for him to respond.

Bob Arum is set to pursue talks for a Pacquiao fight against either Miguel Cotto or Antonio Margarito.

Too bad, there appears to be no obstacle for the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight prior to this development. Arum though is still leaving a small window open for Mayweather though even offering a possible explanation why Mayweather is not yet fighting Pacquiao.

Roger Mayweather, Floyd's uncle and trainer is said to be busy in relation to his upcoming trial where he is accused of assaulting a female boxer according to some reports.

Reasons, reasons. I am not buying it. Boxing fans want the Mayweather-Pacquiao match to happen. Not agreeing to this fight, damages Mayweather's reputation further. Even if Mayweather remains unbeaten, he needs to beat Pacquiao in order to be considered truly legendary someday.

And now a recent article (dated July 27) by Yahoo sports analyst for boxing Kevin Iole...Mayweather exposed as chicken.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Google Alerts to Increase Blog Traffic

Recently, a typhoon locally named "Basyang" hit Metro Manila and many parts of Luzon in the Philippines plunging affected areas to the "Dark Ages". Imagine... no electricity, no internet connection, no cellphone signal... Waaah!

Good thing the typhoon did not hit Cebu although we also experienced brownouts here a consequence of the summer drought perhaps.

Anyway, I am online now and I just wanted to share what I learned recently from various websites regarding the sue of Google Alerts.

Before, I did not realize Google Alerts' potential for increasing blog traffic. I just know that it pays to be active in online forums, comments, sections and discussions for these sites give you a chance to have your blogs known when you make meaningful comments on these sites and use as your signature of sorts, your own blog address or URL.

I forgot the source but I read somewhere in the net that one can use Google Alerts to target the sites where you would make comments on -- sites that are in the same niche as your blogs or sites with the same topics of interest as yours. In this way, you become popular in your own niche.

So what are you waiting for? Try signing up for Google Alerts.

Choose a search term. Choose the type of online content (news, blogs, videos, discussions) related to your your search term that you want to be alerted to. Then have the alert delivered to your feed through Google reader instead to your email. Create the alert and edit or manage your alerts as needed. You can have alerts for several search terms.

Read your alerts using Google Reader then choose the sites (example: those belonging to your niche) where you want to say something then affix your blog URL as your signature. Voila! Then wait for your blog traffic to gradually increase.

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Friday, July 9, 2010

Lebron James Joins Wade and Bosh in Miami

Dwyane Wade Jersey: adidas Black Replica #3 Miami Heat Jersey - Medium
I am disappointed...

Lebron James decided to join Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami. The self-proclaimed king made this formal announcement in an ESPN special.

Wade and Bosh teaming up is already fine for me.

Wade may be considered by many as less talented than Lebron but the former is a proven winner who carried the Heat to the championship even with a not-so-stellar cast. 

Bosh has good stats and could be counted on for points and rebounds. Wade and Bosh teaming up (for some) may not really guarantee a championship but I know the two of them will have a harmonious relationship as teammates which will make the Heat a title contender.

On the other hand Lebron already had a good supporting cast in Cleveland last season but he disappeared during the Celtics series. The self-proclaimed king let his teammates down during that time leaving the Cavs in the cold.

Now he is leaving the Cavs for good.

Lebron's ego also may be too big that it could pose problems to the team chemistry of his new team.

I want Miami to be Wade's team not Lebron's. I would have wanted Lebron to be on the side opposite Wade's.

But Lebron chose the easy way to a championship. And even if he wins a championship with Bosh and Wade he will never get the credit for getting it. He will never have the same winning legacy as Jordan or Kobe because of this move. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Mae Krua: Delicious Thai Food at an Affordable Price

I love Thai food. But eating in restaurants serving Thai cuisine may be expensive. Not anymore.

Mae Krua is a simple little restaurant which offers affordable but delicious Thai dishes that rival those served in formal and expensive Thai restaurants.

During a "despedida" get-together for a friend who in the coming days will travel to the United Kingdom, we had a nice and sumptuous dinner there at Mae Krua.

Reserving the top floor of the place was easy with its friendly staff. The place has a Thai feel with various items coming from Thailand and framed photographs that showcase anything Thai.

Looking at the menu, there is a wide selection to choose from.

I particularly like the Tom Yum Goong, a soup or broth made of prawns and various spices that I don't find in native Filipino dishes. I like the mix of flavors which can really be appreciated because the soup is not too spicy hot.

Tom Yum Goong

Another best seller is their Bagoong (Shrimp Paste) Rice although I have to content myself with watching my friends enjoying their rice since being a PKD patient, I am not allowed to eat food with a relatively high salt content.
  Bagoong Rice

They have fish-based, chicken-based and pork-based dishes which are all yummy! My wife for example, personally liked their Thai chicken with honey sauce. They also have delicious chicken pandan.

Their dish price range is from P75 to around P200 with relatively big servings. The choices are endless.

If you are dining as a group, then I suggest you opt for the pitcher of Four Seasons as your drinks. It will come out cheaper.

For dessert, I tasted their Thai sticky rice with mango months before but unfortunately, it is not always available.

Friends, this is not a sponsored post. I just like their food. Try Mae Krua.

Mae Krua is found in Ramos Street, Cebu City just a walking distance from Diplomat Hotel, Velez Hospital and Cebu Institute of Medicine. You cannot miss this place when you are going to the Velez College gym.

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

New Look for a Well-Known DC Superhero

Recognize this DC Comics superhero or superheroine?  Below is her former look.
Wonder Woman 2009
So, do you like her new look, the one shown first?

For years, wonderwoman's costume remained the same. But after many many years, it has been changed starting with Wonderwoman  issue # 600. Notice the changes in the outfit? Do you like the change? (I don't. It just doesn't look right)

I wonder what the costume will be like for the movie (non-animated) version? Assuming Megan Fox will play Wonderwoman, will she look good in the updated outfit? (I see a global mass protest brewing.hehe).

Read one of the source articles in DC Universe...Unveiling Wonder Woman's New Costume, Direction


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