Hello? Can you hear me now?

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Sound-check-1…2…3, check! @The Fairmont York, Concert Hall. 2013 Nov 24

How about now? 

Now?  ^_^ Well hello there and welcome back!

Sweet Success.  We all want it: success in our family life and in our careers. We make goals: physical, mental, spiritual and everything in between. We may very well achieve every goal we set for ourselves. By the age of 28, I did.  Or so I thought.

The missing link is literally just that: The LINKs.  I was missing the connection. 

You see, embarrassing as it is to admit, I understood success all wrong.   I’ve learned the solo style, lone ranger version.  Long story short, it’s shitty and sad and downright dark and depressing because it’s so damn hollow, like the inside of a rusty old drum.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, I was blinded by the bling-y version life.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with going for the bling. You want bling? You go get it, darling! Except that you cannot be happy and I mean truly happy when you succeed and play with all this bling alone.

Sweet Connection.  Do you like sweets?  Me, too.  Here, I’ll give you life’s desserts with a cherry on top:  There are people who are willing, able and actually want to support and help passionate and committed you.  I’ve learned, later than sooner, that we must receive this help graciously because in bringing others in, we are helping them too!

To be clear, I am not talking about paid help. Not hired assistants, employees nor managers. I am referring to folk who will sit with you when you’re feeling drained and overwhelmed and confused.  (Read: dramatic and suicidal.)  Friends who will hold your hand and hug you and sometimes give you the much-needed batok when you’re in your level 7.2 bitch-mode.  Folks who will continue to love you even if you’re crying and whining like a fx#8ing baby because you had to bite off more than you can chew.

“You’re so afraid to take a bite off more than you can chew. Don’t be afraid, you won’t have teeth, when you reach ninety two.” – Doris Day, ENJOY YOURSELF (It’s Later Than You Think)

The Other Side of The Sweet.  I belong to the Just Smile Sweetly generation.  You know, the one where when things are bad, your folks tell you to just ‘grin and bear it’.  When things get worse, well, Just Add Syrup.  This made for a lot of very confusing and painful emotions growing up.  I’ve learned that we need to take the bitter with the sweet by not denying that it exists.  Too much candy’s not good for you anyway.  We take the good with the bad.  Hiding the bad behind a goody-two-shoe persona and a perfectly painted, albeit fake, scenario never works.  Not in the long term, anyway.  (See Brené Brown’s TEDTalk on Vulnerabilty)

What works for me is this thing called allowing for more openness.  Quite hard for one hardwired to keep it all in, lock it all up and throw away the key.  But I’ve proven, time and again, that keeping it all in makes for some very ugly implosions.

Word of caution though: Be discerning about whom to open up to.  It takes smarts – both from the head and heart – to choose whom to share life’s ups and downs with.  It’s not that hard to find them.  The right people, your peeps, are all around you. If you look with your heart.  For those of us who were trained in the more left-brain leaning, logic-filled reasoning, this isn’t more challenging.  I had to go through so much reprogramming in this regard. Here’s my solemn promise though: Trust your heart and the right people will show themselves to you.  If not right away, sooner than later.  Trust in that.

At this point in my blessed life, with all its ups and downs, I can honestly say I’ve found my peeps.  Funny thing is that they’ve been there all along!  Friends from way back nursery who I can count on any time, any season, I know they’ll be there for me and I for them.  Family, oh blessed family, most who I took forgranted during the bling-y years – sorry for my momentary blindness and thank you for your patience with me!

It’s been almost two decades of pig-headedness slowly unlearning the bad habits: holding back/off/away.   I’m just back from a full month and a half of playing the diva dervish, and yes, enjoying some of the bling that life brings, and here I am sharing my adventures with family and friends.  Some days were divinely delightful.  Other days completely damned and drama-ridden. Overall, a flipping WIN-filled last quarter of 2013!  Being able to share it with my most trusted and beloved connections is the best feeling ever!
Courage in Connected Creativity,

680d7-chiquisiggysmallsmile

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Project Bayanihan at Max’s for the ABS – CBN foundation international’s Sagip Bayan fund. Nov 22.

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(l-r) up: Joy, CP, Chriss, Bing, down: Oying, Maro

My New Beginning…

Don’t you just love plane rides?!  I do, I do!

1476158_10201063590531954_1003069799_n There’s just something about subsonic speed and being 30,000 feet up in the air, hurtling through the clouds that makes writing more exciting and grand.

So here I am!

Joy is our producer, Ms Gigi Borromeo’s cousin.  We’re a couple of excited mamas enroute to Orange County where we’ll be spending the weekend with friends and family for two reasons: 1) to celebrate the gift of music; and 2) to honor this gift by fundraising for super typhoon Haiyan victims. It’s a humble and most heartfelt effort that started with a very different story. You can follow the story here.

In two hours, we will be landing in sunny and warm California.  Buh-bye for now Toronto’s freezing weather. Buh-bye beloved kiddies, all three of them were still sleeping in their warm beds when Joy and I left home at 4:30AM this morning.

Buh-bye beloved asawa, who I missed as early as last night at the dinner table while having the sweet and sour noodles with beef and veggies.  I’ll be missing you for four days and three nights, my darlings.

I am declaring the official beginning of The Work todayIt is the sprouting of seeds I planted back in 2004. A full decade of many prunings and re-plantings blossoming into The Work.

It’s all about resonance. Teachers (and they come in all forms) hold up a mirror for you in just the right light, at just the right moment, and you just happen to catch YOUR reflection in it. They are strumming chords that are strung in your heart. You had it, they just tickled it. Your truth collides with their truth and you have an a-ha moment. – Danielle LaPorte

The deepest desire of your heart since Day One is alive and deserving of life and light!  I had to find this through sheer grit and gnawing at false beliefs and ideas.  Thing is only YOU can give your desires life. Inversely, you can let it wither and die in the cold.  The muses plant the seed, then free will needs to kick in. It’s up to us to water and care for the seedling.  Yes, my dear, I speak from my very own ups and downs.  My downs were so bad that I had unexplainable afflictions – like itchy, crusty eczema on my thumbs, just the thumbs (I know…weird!), sore throats every other month and this low-grade fatigue I felt daily whether I had full rest or not.  Living life without honoring one’s passion makes for a very blah*full (as against the bliss*full) existence.

 

My ‘wild ride’ began when I heard the four-letter command right there at the St. Mary’s church grounds alongside Jeanette who accompanied me. I have not gone to church for a while, make that a very long while. The clear-as-crystal command was: SING!

So I gave my three-letter word reply: YES. The see-saw, step-yes-step-no life was getting old anyways so I finally got tired of that and picked one.

Funny that, as soon as I replied in the affirmative, my Facebook friend, Ms. Gigi Borromeo offered an invitation: Come to Fullerton. I’ll help produce a show for you! We need to have a benefit show for the Marian Missionaries in SoCal. Are you in? (See how funny and punny God is? He even threw in the two Mary’s in the mix just in case I miss it again!)

There was no iffy-ness about Ms. G’s invitation. Oh, I’ve had tons of those in the past. (Something about water finding its own levels…me iffy = experiences iffy.) So, fresh from the Command order to SING just the weekend before, I said Yes!  That plan however went kaput due to US work visa issues. However, it morphed into something more expansive. And if I may humbly add, evolutionary for me. You see, I received another offer. This time to help raise funds for another church, St. Norbert, in Toronto. I subsequently inquired with a lawyer, a university schoolmate, for help regarding the US visa matter. He said, “That’s bad news, Chiqui. You’re not going to risk coming into the U.S. without a valid work visa.”  And as we were chatting about the recent earthquake in Bohol and Cebu (wala pang hangin ni Yolanda noon) he mentioned his fundraising event for the cause and suggested I do the same here in Toronto.

I believe that everything, in the grand scheme, happens for a good reason. We sometimes don’t see the good right away.  OK, I most times don’t see the good right away.  But it always flows towards that direction in the end.  The very pull to this page is a sign that there’s something here for you. And for me, too.

I believe it is this connection right here, and the many others like it, that will open us up to the next chapter of our lives. I’m ready. I know you are, too.

PS:  For tickets to my upcoming shows, please click on images on the upper right. Do RSVP @ https://www.facebook.com/events/227003374135206/

Courage in Creativity,

680d7-chiquisiggysmallsmile

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And now we’re starting over again…

Pardon the background noise.  And the lack of auto-tune/ing…and the un-perfect recording quality….

“One shouldn’t make excuses.” is the rule but I can’t help myself.  I’m recording at home on a Sunday.  Oh, that possible pick-up of yelling laughter in the background?  That’ll be the kids playing in the next room.

This song though.  This song can’t wait another day.

I was with my dear friend, Justin, yesterday afternoon. I told him, “Suggest songs naman, kapatid!” I want melodies that will bring back the most special of memories when I sing them at the upcoming shows. So right there, mid-cut&color, we came up with this one.

As soon as I heard the first words, the very first verse, that “hagod” that only Natalie Cole can pull and I am but a humble cover-maker here, I knew this was special. EXTRA-special because of the words.

verse 1

and when i hold you in my arms i promise you

you’reb   gonna feel the love that’s beautiful and new

this time i’ll love you even better

than i ever did before and you’ll be in my heart

forevermore..

verse 2

we were just too young to know we fell

inlove and let it go

so easy to say the words goodbye

so hard to let the feelings die

i know how much i need you now

the time is turning back somehow

as soon as our hearts and souls unite

i know for sure we’ll get the feelings right

chorus

and now we’re starting over again

it’s not the easiest thing to do

i’m feeling inside again

‘coz everytime i look at you

i know we’re starting over again

this time we’ll leave all the pain away

welcome home my lover and friend

‘coz we are starting over over again

verse 3

if we never leave alone

then we might have never known

all the time we spent apart

all we did was break each other’s heart

ohh..hooh..

and when i hold you in my arms i promise you

you’ll gonna feel the love that’s beautiful and new

this time i’ll love you even better

than i ever did before

and you’ll be in my heart forever more…

chorus 2

and now we’re starting over again

it’s not the easiest thing to do

i’m feeling inside again

‘coz everytime i look at you

i know we’re starting over again

this time we’ll leave all the pain away

welcome home my lover and friend

‘coz we are starting over over again

this time we’ll chase all the rain away

welcome home my lover and friend

‘coz we are starting over over again…

we are starting over over again..

Ready, 1-2-3-SING with me! (Unang una na si Justin Mills, my über- stylist/artist, thank you for the song suggestion!)

2013 Fundraisers

AFI Final Poster

ABS-CBN Foundation International and Ms Chiqui Pineda present
Project | Boholunteers Cebuiours + Typhoon Yolanda
Max’s Restaurant
1520 Steeles Ave W, Vaughan, ON L4K 3N9, Canada
Tickets: $35 (w/ Dinner)
For tickets, Contact Jeanette Baron  (416)786-3491 ; jomarie.barn@gmail.com or
Ms. Jo at Max’s Resto (289)597-9433

  • 100% of your donations go to Sagip Kapamilya (Save Families), a program under the ABS-CBN Foundation International

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Kat Toronto Poster copy

November 30, 2013, Saturday @6:30pm

A Christmas Concert In November
St. Norberts Catholic Church
100 Regent Road, North York, ON
Tickets: $15
For tickets, contact Becky @ 416-317-2390 or Cynthia @ 416-636-0213.

  • Proceeds go to the building and maintenance fund of St. Norberts Catholic Church

Updates on Diaspora Diva SoCal show, laundry, and 2 fundraisers!

I just posted this on my FB feed a few days ago:

“Not very happy to announce that the Dance Pavilion Show in Fullerton, SoCal is a No-Go. My co-producer informed me of the work visa issues. We don’t have enough time to take care of the problem. The best solution: Postpone the event for Feb, 2014. The good news: We’re still going to California!”

Grateful for the sympathy from friends, some dear ones even emailed me privately with an “Are you okay?” message. (I love you, and You, and YOU.) They know how hard I’ve worked to make this happen. But then, all in God’s time, which we’re hoping is Feb., 2014 for this show.

When something’s not ready, no matter how hard we try to push, it just won’t budge. Unless, of course, we’re talking childbirth and mom opts for a C-section. But that’s another story… :P

Back to the show. It’s been quite a ride.  Some days, more like being inside my washing machine… on spin cycle!  I was invited by a friend, Ms. Gigi Villavert, to do a fundraising event in California for the Marian Missionaries.  We’ve been hard at work, and by we, I mean my co-producer, Ms. Villavert, friends here in Toronto – Joy, Justin and Bing and there’s me.  We built ourselves into a frenzy of excitability only to find out that we can’t do the show. It turns out that I needed a work visa which takes a month to process and costs almost $2K to get! Thanks to a lawyer/promoter friend in LA, I got the vital information early enough. There was the alternative idea of using the “Bakasyon lang siya” line at immigration. But then, is it worth the risk?  The answer is a big “No way!”, of course.

The #1 lesson learned, among the many, is this: Due diligence, do the research! This experience subsequently jumpstarted a lot of performances. Now, I have not one, not two, but three shows in the next couple of months! Magic happened. I think it’s called media attention, and this blessed idea to help and so it goes…and the rest is history.

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To Be of Help, An Invitation to Kababayans and Other Kind Hearts 

I am partnering with the ABS-CBN Foundation International to raise funds for the Bohol and Cebu earthquake victims. This idea was hatched while talking to a schoolmate who is a very active community leader in the U.S. (Thank you, Adrian Lecaros! Wala kang pagbabago sa iyong serbisyo sa bayan, mabuhay ka!) So on November 22, Friday, at Max’s Restaurant & Lounge, together with other artists, we will be singing our songs to raise funds and awareness for our kababayans in Southern Philippines. It’s time to share the blessings we enjoy in the North Americas.  Many of our brothers and sisters are stripped of their very basic human needs of food, clothing, shelter, medicines.  Some of them living in tents!  If you feel a call to help out, please leave your contact information on the comments below and I’ll get in touch with you for further details.

I am both very happy, VERY and at the same time a bit nervous, this being my first fundraising event that I’m spearheading.  Basta iniisip ko na lang, tulong ‘to. This is first, to help, to be of service, and there’s no right and wrong when intentions are pure.  Basic of all intentions is it makes me happy to be of service to others.  Note to self: CP, you are getting old..er.  And older, thankfully, equals wiser.  I hope I don’t sound like a self-aggrandizing shmuck when I say that.  I simply mean that as I grow older, I realize there are other things more important than my own first-world pain.  Not that I am for ignoring one’s sorrows, if anything, I believe in venting and letting these hurts out and into the light.  It’s the wallowing in it that I believe we need to unlearn as we grow older.  I’m learning that there is great wisdom behind this: That when we feel most alone and broken, we simply need to go out and seek those that are more broken than we are.  There is and always will be those more shattered than we are.

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Wash AND Dry

In other news, the laundry is up to date! 😊 Surprisingly, after doing this for 12 years and counting, I realize that even twice a week of washing clothes works – once by me and the other by hired help.  As long as you dedicate the labada day – ok, not the whole day but focus, Chiqui, focus! – to washing AND drying and rally the kids to my most dreaded part of the job: folding! Agh. Just the thought of it sends the hairs at the back of my head rising. It’s when the wet laundry gets forgotten in the wash that all smelly hell breaks loose. Don’t’ forget the vinegar trick, (Salamat, Jeanette) if and when you do forget and it gets stinkypooey in there. 1/2 C white vinegar to a full load of the forgotten laundry, one cycle and this time, remember to take it out and into the dryer!

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I Invite You All, Part 2

If you’re in the area, I’d love to have you spend an evening of soft, inspiring music and celebrating early Christmas in November with us. Come help a church raise funds for their building’s maintenance. St. Norbert’s is a Roman Catholic Church in North York, ON (100 Regent Road). It’s always been a good experience, singing in and for a church. So much raised vibration, if you know what I mean. So along with Ms. Becky Cezar, head of fundraising activities and Tita Evelyn, a co-volunteer at the Kalayaan Centre, over lunch at Spoon and Fork (Yummy!) we planned out the details of the show. It’s only $15 for a ticket and the Couples For Christ Choir and Ms. Amsky Ramos Chan will be performing, too!

Here’s the poster for the event:

Kat Toronto Poster copy

To reserve tickets, you can call Becky @ 416-317-2390 or Cynthia @ 416-636-0213.

As always, I thank you and give you a deep bow of gratitude for keeping me company on this creative journey…

Courage in creativity,
680d7-chiquisiggysmallsmile