Footnotes & Fillings

Worth your second glance

From the Big Dome to the World: Largest Gospel Choir Performance of Ang Dating Daan Chorale Earns Global Recognition

The performance of the Ang Dating Daan Chorale at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum or the Big Dome has sent social networking sites abuzz after it bagged the new Guinness World Record for the title Largest Gospel Choir.

The choral group, which belongs to the Members Church of God International (MCGI), broke the record on October 12 during the 35th year anniversary celebration of the religious program Ang Dating Daan at the coliseum.

The official tally of participating choristers reached 8,688 as announced by Guinness adjudicator, Ms. Fortuna Burke Melhem. The number was counted via turnstile counting and barcoded ticketing method, and was validated by external auditing firm Punongbayan & Araullo. Iloilo Representative Niel Tupas, Jr. served as the event’s witness.

While the topics “Ang Dating Daan” and “Ang Dating Daan Chorale” landed on the Philippines trends on the event itself, the hashtag #ADDLargestGospelChoir also entered the list after the performance’s online debut on October 18 on the ADD’s English format Youtube channel, The Old Path.

The 15-minute video was also picked up by the popular entertainment site, 9gag.com.

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Celebrating through Music

Months before the celebration, Bro. Eli Sorano and Bro. Daniel Razon, hosts of the longest-running program, called for the participation of choristers across the globe to offer praise songs to the Lord.

The two, who also serve as the Overall Servant and Assistant to the Overall Servant of MCGI, are adamant ambassadors of the music genre as they see it as a way to extol the Creator’s loving kindness.

“Singing for the glory of our Lord is our pride,” Bro. Eli remarked before the huge Araneta crowd.

Bro. Daniel receives the Guinness World Record plaque on behalf of MCGI (Photo from Ang Dating Daan's Facebook page).

Bro. Daniel receives the Guinness World Record plaque on behalf of MCGI (Photo from Ang Dating Daan’s Facebook Page).

Bro. Daniel also emphasized that bagging the Guinness World Record is only a bonus. “This is something that we did not intend to do – to get the Guinness Book of World Records.”

“Our hearts intended to give thanks to God and we believe that this is an additional blessing that came from the Lord tonight as we thank Him for the 35 years of Ang Dating Daan…and so for that we will always say, ‘To God be the glory!’,” he added.

Choir members in Edmonton, Canada rehearse and prepare a special video presentation for the Ang Dating Daan anniversary (Photo from Photoville International).

Choir members in Edmonton, Canada rehearse and prepare a special video presentation for the Ang Dating Daan anniversary (Photo from Photoville International).

Praises sang from the western soil. ADD Choir members in Porto-Alegre, Brazil flock to an MCGI chapter in their area to partake in the program's anniversary revelry (Photo from Karol Rusczyk Klein).

Praises sang from the western soil. ADD Choir members in Porto-Alegre, Brazil flock to an MCGI chapter in their area to partake in the program’s anniversary celebration (Photo from Karol Rusczyk Klein).

Apart from the choristers at the Araneta, choir members abroad also gathered in key areas to celebrate the momentous occasion. From the Big Dome to as far as North and South American nations, the ADD supporters rendered songs of praises composed by MCGI affiliates such as “Enrich the Spirit,” “Praise the Name,” and “Hallelujah, Amen.”

The Ang Dating Daan Chorale performed a total of 18 songs in at least five languages.

Taking the Global Spotlight

The recent feat achieved by the group has also earned global recognition after getting featured by over 20 websites and publications.

The Wall Street Journal included in its “photos of the day” selections an aerial shot of the Ang Dating Daan chorale members filling the Big Dome to the brim.

This photo by EPA member Francis Malasig gets a feature from The Wall Street Journal.

The news also made it to The Straits Times in Singapore, and in the English edition of the Chinese media outlet, Yibada.

The Straits Times (Singapore) features the Ang Dating Daan Chorale.

The Straits Times (Singapore) features the Ang Dating Daan Chorale.

Meanwhile, the program’s supporters around the world also posted on their respective social media accounts photos of the news printed on foreign newspapers.

The news about the new world record title for the Largest Gospel Choir bagged by the ADD Chorale appearing at a German publication.

The news about the new world record title for the Largest Gospel Choir bagged by the ADD Chorale appearing at a German publication.

In this video, a Portuguese-language television program also featured MCGI’s record-breaking event.

Besides the gospel choir performance, the celebration of Ang Dating Daan’s 35 years of broadcast also highlighted charities for an estimated 1,700 persons with disabilities.

“Those with ‘disabilities’ are important before the eyes of God,” shares Bro. Eli Soriano (Photo from Ang Dating Daan’s Facebook Page).

Bro. Eli and Bro. Daniel doled out cash gifts and grocery items to all the PWDs and their aides. This is apart from the financial assistance and wheelchairs they gave to 30 raffle winners, and the Php 100,000 they handed to each of the twelve PWD institutions who attended the event.

Haikus of a Ballerina

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She dreamt of dancing to the music of time

She learned the routine

The clock stopped ticking

She perfected her arabesque, her pirouette

She took her final bow and cried

The curtain never opened

She stepped down from the stage

But gathered the courage to return 

She braved to dance again

The clock ticked

The curtain opened

She woke up

(Artworks by Ferdinand Cacnio)

Ang Dating Daan Celebrates 35th Anniversary with “Truth, Charity, Praise”

The program

The program “Ang Dating Daan” celebrates its 35th anniversary with the theme “Truth. Charity.Praise.” (Photo from Ang Dating Daan’s Facebook page).

The Ang Dating Daan, the country’s longest-running religious program hosted by International Evangelist Bro. Eli Soriano, is all set to celebrate its 35th anniversary this October with the theme “Truth. Charity. Praise.”

The program will hold a commemorative event on October 12, Monday, at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum. The revelry’s highlights will include a roster of praise song performances and a tribute to selected persons with disabilities.

The Ang Dating Daan is produced by the Members Church of God International (MCGI) where Bro. Eli serves as the Overall Servant.

More Than Three Decades of Relentless Truthcasting

A known fact to avid fans, the Ang Dating Daan commenced its humble beginnings as a 30-minute radio program in 1980. Though operating in a shoe-string budget, the program was able to establish a name among the Filipino households with its segment, “Itanong Mo Kay Soriano, Biblia ang Sasagot (Ask Bro. Eli, the Bible will Answer).”

The segment gives the audience the opportunity to ask various questions about faith and salvation, and receive answers straight from the verses of the Bible.

Apart from radio and television broadcasts, the Ang Dating Daan also holds regular worldwide Bible expositions (Photo by Christian Mercado/Photoville International).

Apart from its radio and television broadcasts, the Ang Dating Daan also holds regular worldwide Bible expositions (Photo by Christian Mercado/Photoville International).

In 1983, the program debuted on Philippine television and has since then reached more people who seek biblical truths. The show, which currently airs on public service channel UNTV Life, is also available in other language formats such as English (The Old Path), Spanish (El Camino Antiguo) and Portuguese (O Caminho Antigo) to expand its audience to a global scale.

In its effort to relentlessly broadcast the teachings of the Bible, the show has also received various recognition such as the 2011 Gawad Amerika Awards’ “Best Religious Program” and the 2014 Dangal ng Bayan Awards’ “Best Longest-Running Religious Program.”

Beyond Broadcast, Ang Dating Daan Advocates Charity

Ang Dating Daan host Bro. Eli Soriano is also known as an advocate of public service. Hence, the program and its supporters continuously mount an array of charitable endeavors across the globe.

Among the philanthropic initiatives sustained by the program are free medical-dental-legal missions, mass blood donation activities, clean-up drives, feeding programs, and charity homes for abandoned babies, orphans and the elderly.

The Ang Dating Daan, in partnership with UNTV Life, conducts medical missions for free in key areas around the globe (Photo by Frederick Alvior/Photoville International).

The Ang Dating Daan, in partnership with UNTV Life, conducts medical missions for free in key areas around the world (Photo by Frederick Alvior/Photoville International).

Kuya Daniel Razon, the program’s co-host and its first director, also took inspiration from Bro. Eli and launched programs in line with his advocacy. These include the “Isang Araw Lang” campaign which encourages people to do good as acts of charity will yield no harm.

For the much-anticipated revelry, the two have invited groups of persons with disabilities to grace the event. According to the organizers, financial assistance and special gifts will be doled out.

Honoring the One Behind the Program’s Success through Praises

For Bro. Eli, the program owes its success to God. “Like what we always say, if we are able to do something, and if there is any glory attained, it is always for God – to God be the glory!,” he said in one MCGI thanksgiving service.

Citing Bible verses, the International Evangelist has always emphasized that a way to honor God is to offer Him songs of praise. Hence, the continuous campaign of the Ang Dating Daan host to craft more hymns dedicated to the Creator.

Thousands of Ang Dating Daan supporters rehearse for a special presentation for the upcoming anniversary celebration of the program (Photo from MCGI's Facebook page).

Thousands of Ang Dating Daan supporters rehearse for a special presentation for the upcoming anniversary celebration of the program (Photo from MCGI’s Facebook page).

In line with the upcoming anniversary, Bro. Eli and Kuya Daniel lead the program’s supporters in preparing a special presentation composed of praise songs that highlight the mercy and loving kindness of the One behind the Ang Dating Daan’s triumph over the past 35 years.

Dear Kuya

Kuya Daniel Razon

Dear Kuya, with all our heart, we speak

How blessed we are to have you in our midst

A God-sent man, dedicated and meek

And taught with values that the Bible speaks.

Kuya, through your many works of love

We feel the kindness of the One from up above

Through your melodies we are warmly embraced

By God’s mercy, helping us remain unfazed.

Kuya, we are thankful for the one and thirty

Years of your service to God and humanity,

And so, with all our heart, again, we speak

May He use you, as an instrument, continually

To spread hope and to multiply charity

Through your acts done in faith, genuinely.

Dedicated to the learned man who genuinely plays the role of a Kuya (Big Brother) to his fellowmen. This November, he is celebrating his 31st year in service to God and to humanity.

#NotoSofitel, #BoycottSofitelPH Outpour on Social Web: UNTV Supporters’ Campaign vs Sofitel Manila Bias

Netizens, using the hashtags #NotoSofitel and #BoycottSofitelPH, filled every corner of social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook to support the UNTV’s boycott campaign against Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila.

#NotoSofitel and #BoycottSofitel, the official hashtags of the boycott campaign of UNTV against Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila, made it to the Philippine trends and peaked at the number 1 and 3 spots, respectively. (Photo grabbed from UNTV's Official Facebook Page)

#NotoSofitel and #BoycottSofitel, the official hashtags of the boycott campaign of UNTV against Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila, made it to the Philippine trends and peaked at the number 1 and 3 spots, respectively.
(Photo grabbed from UNTV’s Official Facebook Page)

During the July 14 episode of UNTV’s morning program, Good Morning Kuya (GMK), UNTV-BMPI Chairman and CEO Daniel Razon revealed that the hotel allegedly removed the station in its TV programming.

On the same episode, Razon called on the supporters of UNTV for a massive social media campaign that will echo their cry for justice against this media discrimination. Hence, the outpour of the hashtags, #NotoSofitel and #BoycottSofitelPH.

#NotoSofitel and #BoycottSofitelPH Trend, Campaign goes WorldWide

The #NotoSofitel debuted at the 6th spot in the Philippine trends before 12 noon yesterday. At 2 p.m., it landed on the 1st spot (Philippine time) and the hashtag #BoycottSofitelPH entered the list at the 5th spot. #BoycottSofitelPH peaked at no. 3.

Here are some tweets posted by UNTV supporters:

Fighting for our rights!!! NO TO MEDIA DISCRIMINATION!!#NotoSofitel#BoycottSofitelPH#NotoSofitel#BoycottSofitelPH                          – @hilarygale_17

We won’t fight for nothing. This is a battle against discrimination to nannies,elders and charitable station.#NOTOSOFITEL #BoycottSOFITELPH – @officiallyjenny

A big NO to discrimination! Everyone deserves equal access to opportunities for public service. #NotoSofitel #BoycottSofitelPH –@ryanjavier

The station, having a loyal audience around the world through its satellite monitoring centres and online streaming facilities, also gathered the support of its fans abroad. Below are a few tweets coming from UNTV supporters across the globe:

All the way from Queens, NY, I am outraged over the media discrimination of @SofitelManila towards Public Service channel UNTV. #NotoSofitel – @polarellano

From Montreal, Canada we support @UNTVweb @gmk_untv37 @BroEliSoriano Kuya@DanielRazon #NotoSofitel #BoycottSofitelPH – @marchcelebrant

No to Sofitel Movement, Sustained

Earlier this morning, on the recent GMK episode, Razon stressed out why he is sustaining this social media movement. He said,

“There are times when you need to speak up, you need to voice out your rights. You do not need to always let things go especially when there are people who are already being affected.”

UNTV-BMPI Chairman and CEO Daniel Razon stresses out the need to speak up for your rights, especially when there are people who are already being affected.  (Photo grabbed from Good Morning Kuya's Official Facebook Page)

UNTV-BMPI Chairman and CEO Daniel Razon stresses out the need to speak up for your rights, especially when there are people who are already being affected.
(Photo grabbed from Good Morning Kuya’s Official Facebook Page)

In support to this statement, netizens eye to prolong this outcry against media discrimination for at least a week. The boycott campaign is making a huge impact on the social web for two days now.

Two days in a row: #NoToSofitel hashtag trending. Black Monday and Gloomy Tuesday for @SofitelManila . We are gunning for a week! – @verybradryan

Let us sustain the trend of #NoToSofitel #BoycottSofitelPH for at least 1 week so that they’ll know how supporters of UNTV unite for good – @kasangbahay

Bro. Eli’s Bible-based Reason for the Campaign

Through his official Twitter account (@BroEliSoriano), host of Ang Dating Daan, Bro. Eli Soriano, expressed his straightforward sentiments about the removal of UNTV from Sofitel Manila’s hotel program listing, the root of the on-going #NotoSofitel and #BoycottSofitelPH campaign.

On July 14, the same day the movement was launched, he posted a Bible-based reason why the followers of UNTV should not keep mum about the issue.

Bro. Eli shares a biblical perspective about the recent social media campaign of UNTV supporters against Sofitel Manila's bias move.

Bro. Eli shares a biblical perspective about the recent social media campaign of UNTV supporters against Sofitel Manila’s bias move.

Ang Dating Daan, the longest-running religious show in the country, is one of the flagship programs of UNTV.

The International Evangelist’s posts encouraged more people to join the online movement. He is also one with the sustained campaign against Sofitel Manila.

“Let us sustain the trend that was established yesterday; Boycott those that ban UNTV, the public service channel in the Phil.”

 

 

Morning Poem No. 10

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Standing here, by the lavenders’ nest
Breathing in beauty, sighing admiration
Seeing the sun cresting in the fresh,
Bluish sky — Ah, Inspiration! Inspiration,
You fail never to enfold me every morn!

There’s More to Music, I’ve Learned from Bro. Eli

Music is interesting and very much enchanting. Words woven with notes, or notes woven with words, or just the notes themselves can tickle your heart and bring about a multitude of feelings. It can touch your mind and launch a thousand memories, even relive a long-forgotten dream.

It has been with us- enchanting us- since time immemorial. Odes to triumph and losses, hymns of love and sorrow, symphonies of bliss and melancholy– men have enveloped a plethora of emotions and themes in musical pieces.

Music’s irrefutable charm has enthralled many, including me, and perhaps you too.  Personally, I have viewed music as a way to connect with others, a way to confirm that “Oh, the writer has the same sentiments as mine”. And as I tried to craft songs too— on plain papers, on edges of lecture notebooks, and on my phone— I realized that it is a wonderful outlet for my emotions.

But, throughout the years, I have learned that music can be so much more than that. Bro. Eli Soriano, a man of music and a much-loved evangelist celebrating his 50th year of service to God  this year, has taught me important things about this well-adored indulgence.

Music, how old is it really?

You have probably come across this question once, in one way or another: How old is music, really? I love music, but I do not know its history, and it seemed quite absurd. Knowing its history can make me appreciate it more, I thought. But for a long time, I have this question left unanswered.  Even the answers provided by the superb searching prowess of Google were not much of a satisfaction. But thank God, one evening, during a music festival’s grand finals night, I was able to hear the answer.

“Music is older than the world and praise songs are the oldest of musical kinds,” Bro. Eli shared citing the Bible verse Job 38:7:

When the morning stars sang together, and all the songs of God shouted for joy?

It was a joy to have a question answered, and I even got a bonus— I learned what was the oldest among all sorts of music!

Why sing praise songs?

Today, one pressing fact is that praise songs are not the ones considered by many as LSS-worthy. Scan someone’s playlist, and more often than not, praise songs are not included. But why? Are there too few artists composing such kind of music? Is there no market for these songs? For whatever reasons that may be brought about, the point is, men have been missing the great bounty singing praise songs brings.

Bro. Eli is always adamant in emphasizing the benefit of making and singing songs dedicated to our Creator’s works and loving kindness. In one musical summit of the Members Church of God International (where he is the Presiding Minister), he revealed that “singing to God is one of the few things that we can do directly to Him. We cannot serve God with our hands. But we can offer him the fruit of our lips, praising His name.”

Below, I share some words that Bro. Eli himself posted through his Twitter account. These are few reasons why we must keep our “devotion of singing and writing songs of praise to God.”

Bro Eli and Music 1

Bro. Eli and Music 2

Through these words, I have found the ultimate inspiration to go on humming praise songs every now and then. Anyway, as what Bro. Eli also told, it is not the voice from our vocal chords that counts— it is that voice from our hearts.

Bro. Eli and Music 3

 Music, for the benefit of others

Indeed, music, praise songs especially, offers us a grand meed, but it does not end there. Being a philanthropic man Bro. Eli is (he maintains orphanages and an infant care center and regularly mounts medical and legal missions), he used music as an avenue to help others.

Through the proceeds of the albums he made through the years, he was able to sustain the charitable projects he initiated and launched. Aside from the albums that serve as a compilation of his beloved songs, he has also held concerts that nonetheless aid in the maintenance of his public service programs.

With these albums and concerts celebrating good music, I, along with fellow supporters, am also given the opportunity to reach out to the needy alongside having relaxation and entertainment.  Having music icons such as John Claude Gummoe of The Cascades, The Platters, Air Supply and the Asia’s Queen of Songs Pilita Corales, seen live on stage is just one big bonus.

The Platters with Bro Eli

On the stage of the Ang Dating Daan Convention Center in Apalit, Pampanga, Bro. Eli Soriano sings with the vocal group, The Platters, during the evangelist’s 49th birthday concert last year (Photo by Jason Consigo).

 

Bro. Eli released albums ("Dala Kong Nakalimbag", "The Songs That I Love", "B-Side", "Bro. Eli Soriano's Wonderful World", and "Songs from My Heart") not only to share well-loved songs like "And I Love You So" and "La Historia de un Amor" but more importantly, to use the proceeds in maintaining his charitable programs.

Bro. Eli released albums (“Dala Kong Nakalimbag”, “The Songs That I Love”, “B-Side”, “Bro. Eli Soriano’s Wonderful World”, and “Songs from My Heart”) not only to share well-loved songs like “And I Love You So” and “La Historia de un Amor” but more importantly, to use the proceeds in maintaining his charitable programs.

Music truly is a precious treasure for us. Its “magic” has given refuge to men who seek to express their emotions and feelings stylishly, and has provided sanctuary to men who look for sense of belonging, a confirmation that what they feel is universal. More importantly, through the things I have learned from Bro. Eli, I realized how music can bring us closer to God, and how it can bring our charities closer to people.

 

 

 

 

Ingkong

Bro. Eli

Ingkong, your senescence has taught us how

From our youthful years we ought to meekly bow

Before our Creator, remember Him and with faith,

Growing to perfection, trust Him each of our fate.

Ingkong, those past years, to you He dearly gave,

You spent wisely, to us have this deeply engraved:

Life is meaningful if served with no reservation,

If deeds are done with love of pure intention;

Ingkong, as you go on with your faithful fighting,

We look beyond the horizon with utmost hoping–

The strength to go on, may He continually lend

And may he let us walk with you until the end;

To Him, our Creator, we pray with ardor and fervor,

May we be worthy to reach that blissful forevermore.

This poem is a tribute to a much-loved Filipino evangelist, Bro. Eli Soriano. This man who holds God’s words very close to his heart is fondly called by his friends as Ingkong, a Tagalog word for grandfather. As much as he is a loving Ingkong to his relatives, he is also devoted in his service to humanity. His philanthropic efforts – free education, medical-dental-legal missions and blood drives among others- reflect his care for his fellowmen, notwithstanding their color or religion. Above all, Bro. Eli puts prime esteem to God whom he owes his wondrous journey here on Earth.

On April, our dearly cherished and beloved Ingkong will be celebrating his 50th year of service to God and to humanity. May the coming days bring more fruitful opportunities to this man who has touched and will touch more lives through his works of charity! Happy 50th Birthday Ingkong!

(Photo from Marc Buena‘s Flickr Account)

Pahinga

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Rest if you must, but do not quit.

Kuya Daniel Razon, philanthropist and veteran broadcaster

Morning Poem No. 3

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the wintry sigh of the morning
clouds, its eager embrace
with the warmth of the rising
sun, a sight to behold, great
to savvy, seize, this scenery
of beauty and austerity
loudly whispering, “It is
another day, by God’s grace,
for us to live worthily.”