CNN Hero Efren Continues to Inspire!

I’ve just finished watching a local Philippine TV show featuring a segment on CNN Hero Efren Peñaflorida and the Dynamic Teen Company.

It was truly inspiring! I was specially touched by the story of Cris Valdez, at only 10 years old the youngest volunteer for K4. This ten-year-old regularly saves money from his daily allowance so that he can give away slippers to children who are more needy than him on his birthday!

As a volunteer, he also helps in giving baths to the smaller children from the depressed areas and administering medical aid such as cleaning wounds and applying band-aids. When the episode was taped for TV, the DTC team was serving children of homeless families living in a cemetery, and Cris was very actively helping out.

Here’s a video of Cris showing how he was when he first came under the care of DTC:


(Note: I think the DTC people initially named the child “Kesz” when he first came under their care because that was how he pronounced his name at that time. But by the time he was interviewed for the TV program, he could talk very well indeed :).)

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What a HUGE difference Efren and his team have made in the life of this child! Thanks be to God!

Efren and DTC are very effectively instilling godly values in their volunteers and child beneficiaries. They are spreading not just education but solid character formation!

Kudos, blessings, and power to them. They make me so proud to be Filipino!

Go, Efren! Go, DTC! May God continue to richly bless and empower you. And as more and more people see your good works, may they also give glory to your Father in heaven Who is using you mightily to bless others.

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Related post:
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Filipino Slum Kid is One of the CNN Heroes for 2009
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Filipino Slum Kid is One of the CNN Heroes for 2009

Efren Peñaflorida rose from the slums of Cavite, Philippines to help other slum kids. Now his work is being recognized and supported by people all over the world, and he has been recognized as one of the CNN Heroes for 2009. His story is a very inspiring example of how one man can make a change, even with very limited resources.

The CNN print article on him is here, and the CNN video feature is here.

His story is also featured here: CNN honors Peñaflorida as modern day hero,

and at a TV Patrol episode:

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You can visit their group’s website at Dynamic Teen Company—Making a Difference.

He’s also part of the Facebook group “We Are The Change”—of which I am also a member :-).

We can do it, people. We CAN make the world a better place—even if just one starfish at a time :-). Efren is doing it. Let us all support him and others like him—and also do our part in making the world a better place wherever God has placed us.

May God’s rich blessings be upon all of you!

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(Acknowledgment:
I first became aware of Efren Peñaflorida, his work, and the CNN Heroes program through a post at Rico Hizon’s Facebook “wall”. Mr. Hizon is a Business News Anchor with BBC World News. He’s the first-ever Filipino broadcast journalist to work for two of the world’s most prestigious television news networks, CNBC and BBC World News. His Facebook page is full of good news and inspiring stories about the Philippines, aiming to unite and inspire nationalism among his Filipino FB friends. Kudos to you, Mr. Hizon!)
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Related post:
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CNN Hero Efren Continues to Inspire!
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Charice and Celine

This beautiful performance happened more than a month ago, but I still want to post it here anyway.

The extremely talented Charice Pempengco is given a star turn at Celine Dion’s concert at the Madison Square Garden.

Ms. Dion displays a very generous and humble heart in letting Charice take center stage while she stayed in the background during the high points of the song. God bless her!

A beautiful rendition of “Because You Loved Me“:

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The New York Post’s Dan Aquilante gave this very favorable review:

The Charice segment was the night’s brightest moment. The teen was able to blast notes with Celine-like power, but she was also able to get in touch with the song’s emotions.

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And Jon Caramanica of The New York Times had this to say:

They performed “Because You Loved Me,” though Ms. Dion mostly stayed out of the way as Ms. Pempengco explored the song’s heretofore unheard rougher edges, with ample gesticulations and melisma. As Ms. Pempengco brought the crowd to its feet, Ms. Dion struck poses behind her: awestruck wonder, heartfelt empathy, ambient triumph.

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Related posts:

16-year-old Charice Sings with Andrea Bocelli

Super Filipina Kid

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16-year-old Charice Sings with Andrea Bocelli

Yeah, yeah, I know, I’m late again 😦 .

But I’m still happy that Charice Pempengco got to sing with Andrea Bocelli. I’m sure that thousands of other Filipinos have already seen her videos on YouTube. So? I still want to post links to her videos in this blog. Hey, I’m a fan 🙂 .

In the Wikipedia article on Bocelli, the tenor is quoted as saying that he was actually looking forward to promoting Charice, whom he called a “force of nature” 🙂 . Here’s what he said, according to the Wikipedia article:

In an interview, Andrea Bocelli said that “In realtà il mondo è pieno di grandi voci e ho avuto la fortuna di cantare con tanti artisti, da Christina Aguilera a Bono. Ma, se proprio dovessi trovare una nuova interprete, punterei su Charice, una ragazza delle Filippine che a soli 15 anni è una versa forza della natura. Ne sentiremo parlare.” or “In reality, the world is full of great voices and I had the opportunity to sing with so many artists, from Christina Aguilera to Bono. But, if I would like to look for a new voice, I would push for Charice, a girl from the Philippines that only at 15 yrs old is a flush force of nature. That we shall be hearing.”

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So here they are, Charice and Bocelli, singing “The Prayer” (the video is a bit shaky, since it was just taken by an audience member, but their voices were sure and steady 🙂 ):


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For more news on this wonder kid, click here. There are also more and higher-quality videos of her various performances with different artists in other countries at this site (including her performance at the Paul O’Grady Show in England).
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The following news clip on Charice features a snippet of her fantastic performance at the tribute concert to David Foster, held last May at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas. The news is in Tagalog, but the praises heaped on her by the 14-time Grammy Award winner Foster and by Josh Groban (!) are, of course, in English. She received standing ovations for her renditions of “I Will Always Love You“, “I Have Nothing“, and “And I am Telling You“.

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And here’s an interview on a Philippine entertainment show:

 

Hats off to you, Charice! Man, if you’re this good at 16, who can tell where you’ll be, even just 5 years from now? I do hope you stay humble, and that you never ever forget the Creator who gave you your gifts. God bless you!

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Related posts:

Charice and Celine

Super Filipina Kid

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Is This What We Want to Teach Our Children?

It’s been a busy, busy, busy two weeks. Thanks be to God, our new project is set for launching in March.

But while Perry and I have been very busy with our project, we have also been quite occupied with following the latest news on the so-called NBN-ZTE scandal. For my foreigner readers, this scandal is about alleged corruption and bribery in the National Broadband Network project of the Philippine government, and it allegedly involves not just very high officials (and, according to two state witnesses, family members of high officials) in our government, but also ZTE Corporation of China.

Now, it even seems that there is much more to this story than first thought. News anchor Ricky Carandang reported in last Tuesday’s episode of ABS-CBN’s The Correspondents  that the deal might even be an offshoot of a 2005 agreement where the Philippines, China, and Vietnam agreed to work together for oil exploration in the Spratly Islands—a deal to which lawyer Harry Roque applied the word “treason”  (paying subscribers can watch that episode online here)!

Yup, the story gets curiouser and curiouser. The progression of events and much of the details regarding the NBN-ZTE deal can be found in the links below. However, what I wanted to share through this post is what I saw and heard on TV, when Jun Lozada, the main whistleblower regarding the deal, gave a short message during a Catholic Mass held last Sunday at the La Salle Greenhills. During his message, he narrated how his young son had asked him why their family had to stay in the La Salle premises and be protected by the La Salle brothers and by nuns, their movements and freedom severely restricted. Lozada said the following in Tagalog, which I’m paraphrasing from memory:

Is this what we want to teach our children? That, in this country, those who tell the truth have to hide and fear for their lives and for their families’ lives? That those who lie and steal are the ones who are free to roam freely, go wherever they want whenever they want, and rest in beautiful, expensive, air-conditioned homes? Is this what we want to teach our children?

Good question. What legacy do we want to give our children?

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For details on the NBN-ZTE deal, non-Philippine residents could refer to the websites of Philippine news organizations including, but not limited to:

Philippine Daily Inquirer

ABS-CBN News

GMA News

Philippine Star

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This is OBSCENE!

Obscene AND stomach-turning!

It’s incredible that people actually spend time and resources coming up with $1000 bagels and, now, a Guinness-record-setting $25,000 sundae!

This, in a world where 19.7 percent of the population of Europe and Central Asia, 24.5 percent of the population of Latin America, and 31.1 percent of the population in South Asia, live on $2 or less per day!

And where, in the Philippines, an 11-year old girl has committed suicide because of poverty!

 Mariannet (L) committed suicide because of poverty

Mariannet (L) committed suicide because of poverty 

(Here’s a Philippine newspaper’s account)
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The Bible gives a chilling warning:

Woe to you who are rushing headlong to disaster!
   Catastrophe is just around the corner!
Woe to those who live in luxury
   and expect everyone else to serve them!
Woe to those who live only for today,
   indifferent to the fate of others!
Woe to the playboys, the playgirls,
   who think life is a party held just for them!
Woe to those addicted to feeling good—life without pain!
   those obsessed with looking good—life without wrinkles!
They could not care less
   about their country going to ruin.

Amos 6:3-4 (The Message)
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Update  as of February 7, 2008: I’ve just discovered that the video of the obscene dessert is no longer available from YouTube. However, you can still view the obscenity at this Reuters News page:
http://uk.reuters.com/news/video?videoId=70447

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Related posts:

What Would Jesus Buy?

The Simple Life

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