Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Supporting Filipino Animators

In theaters this December is an animated film entitled Dayo: Sa Mundo ng Elementalia. It is the first all-digital full-length Filipino animated feature film by Cutting Edge Productions, and a budget of no less than PhP 58 million was used in the film's production. Over 500 animators were involved in the project that combined 2D and 3D paperless animation. Two years in the making, the project cast some of the most respectable names in the entertainment industry: Michael V., Peque Gallaga, Noel Trinidad, Nova Villa and Johnny Delgado. It stars child star Nash Aguas as Buboy, a boy out to find his abducted grandparents in the land of Elementalia. Broadway superstar Lea Salonga sang the theme song of the movie, Lipad. Dayo was also given a grade of "A" by the Cinema Evaluation Board. Such a rating allowed the producers a 100% amusement tax rebate.

Despite the effort in marketing the movie to its intended young audience, the numerous sponsors involved in the movie, the endorsements from the CEB and the Department of Education (DepEd) the film did not do very well in the box office. To date, the film is seventh in rank among the eight entries in the Metro Manila Film festival. True, there are some flaws in the animation, but no one can deny the fact that the movie is worthy of praise and as such, is a breakthrough.

Animation in the Philippines has taken a stall, not because we lack animators, but because Filipinos do not take the effort to help out the industry. A couple of months back, another animated film released by APT Productions, Urduja, suffered the same fate. We have very good animators and artists, but will they forever serve foreign animation studios because their countrymen do not recognize their talents and support their works?

On the other hand, Korean animation is seeing a lot of support from viewers all over the world. The quality of their work now is comparable to major animation studios Disney, Warner Brothers, Pixar, Toei and Studio Ghibli. But just a couple of years ago, Japanese animation, or animé, was being outsourced to Korea because of the volume that the Japanese animators were getting. Soon, even the big American networks, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and Disney, were turning to the Koreans. The Koreans learned from the experience and put up their own studios. Now, Korea is proud to have produced animated series like Jang Geum's Dream and I'm Sorry I Love You.

Philippine animation will never progress unless we help out the industry. Our animators will be forever slaves, and not masters, if we do not support this dying industry.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Never Too Busy for God

There are twenty four hours in a day. Have you thought about how many hours do you actually spend for yourself? Just think: eight hours for sleep, eight hours for work, at least two hours for travel, three or four hours for recreation and two more hours for grooming--a total of almost twenty four hours as well.

But have you stopped to think about how long you have spent talking to God?

If we are to give our tithes to God for the time he has given us to spend, 2.4 hours should be devoted each day just for Him. Will the minutes we spend praying for our food, for ourselves, for our travel, for our loved ones, for praising Him and asking forgiveness for the sins we have done and for thanking Him for all He has done for us, add up to that?

Martin Luther once said, "I'm so busy today that I'll spend my first three hours in prayer." Regardless of how long we are to speak to God in prayer, let's take the time to talk and ask.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas and Jesus

There is only one reason why we celebrate Christmas.

Christmas is not about the giving. Not about the giver, nor about the gifts we give. Not about peace on earth and goodwill to men. Definitely not about Santa Claus, Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, King Wenceslas, or even the Magi--ideas that highly creative advertising and marketing individuals have devised to keep people shopping for expensive gifts each year.

Christmas is not about these things which we have for so long thought to be the reason why we celebrate the occasion.

Christmas is about Jesus.

Think about what life would be without Jesus. No hope for redemption from sin and death. No contentment or joy despite the chaos in this world. No salvation from eternal damnation.

Christmas is a tale of love, of sacrifice, of being selfless. Had God not given his only begotten Son to the world, there would be no reason to celebrate the season. But He gave Jesus, not to be worshipped by men, but rather to be killed for their sins and to serve as the sacrificial lamb by Whom salvation will be known by all.

16"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16, New International Version

Do you know Jesus? He knows about you. He cares about you. This Christmas, let's focus on the reason why we had the season in the first place. Get to know the reason for the season in your life.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Names of the Lord in Psalm 23

Psalm 23
A psalm of David

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,

3 he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.

4 Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

6 Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD

The most popular psalm in the Bible is also one of the most beautiful. Quite interestingly, it also expresses the names of the Lord in its verses.
  • 1a The LORD is my shepherd (Jehovah Rohi). Jehovah Rohi means the LORD is my Shepherd. We can rely on the goodnes of our God because he knows where to lead us, he knows how to sustain us, because after all, He is our shepherd.

  • 1b I shall not be in want (Jehovah Jireh). Jehovah Jireh means the LORD is my Provider. What more shall we ever want if we are in the Lord? All these things will follow, if we seek the Lord and His righteousness. He will provide all our needs and even our wants and will sustain our earthly flesh and spiritual beings.

  • 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters (Jehovah Shalom). Jehovah Shalom means the LORD is my Peace. In the presence of the Lord our God, we can expect peace and contentment. Even if we see all the chaos, disorder and war surrounding us in this world, we can rely on the peace that transcends all understanding, a peace given to us only by the Lord.

  • 3a He restores my soul (Jehovah Rophe). Jehovah Rophe means the LORD is my Healer. When we are weary, we can trust in our God to bring us healing to our wounded bodies and broken hearts. Restoration not only makes us physically healthy, but it ensures a complete wellness in our entire being.

  • 3b He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake (Jehovah Tsidkenu). Jehovah Tsidkenu means the LORD is my Righteousness. The Lord our God is righteous. And because of that, He wants us to be righteous like Him. But we can only achieve that righteousness through our Savior Jesus Christ.

  • 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. (Jehovah Nissi). Jehovah Nissi means the LORD is my Banner. Historically, armies put up banners in time of war to lift up their spirits and proclaim victory. We can be assured of victory in all of our battles with the enemy because we have the Lord, the true bringer of victory. It is interesting to note that while the Lord guides--hence the staff--He also corrects--hence the rod.

  • 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows (Jehovah Mikaddesh). Jehovah Mikaddesh means the LORD is my Sanctifier. Sanctification is the act of making one "holy" or setting him apart from the others. Traditionally, this is done through washing or anointing with oil as with the kings of Israel and Judah in the Old Testament. Thanks to our Lord God, we can proudly say that the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross will bring us sanctification.

  • 6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever (Jehovah Shammah). Jehovah Shammah means the LORD is there. He will be with us forever and we will dwell in His house when the Earth is judged and all those who have become righteous through Jesus Christ will be crowned.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Bayani Fernando or Chiz Escudero for President

Our country definitely needs change. Change in the way our government is led. Change in the mindset of those who run the government.

They say politics is a dirty game. True enough, the Philippines has had a long history of violent, corrupt and dirty politics. What we need now is a leader who can inspire people to change, and can himself be an instrument of change. We need a leader who is not afraid to challenge the norms and inflict discipline on the lazy people ruining our country. We need the rule of the iron hand--if it should resort to that--especially since many of our countrymen are no longer making themselves productive individuals.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

From God, Knowledge

Contrary to popular opinion, science and God do not conflict. Several Bibilical passages actually describe phenomena that people thought only science could explain--the water cycle, that the Earth floats in space, ocean currents, entropy, thermodynamics.

Science comes from the Latin word scientia which translates to knowledge. True enough, science claims it is the source of all knowledge in the world. What we know of the world, how it works, how it was created, how will it end, is all described and defined in terms of scientific and mathematical expressions and theories. Even documenting the world's population, creating a record of man's history, or explaining the rationale behind behaviors are now considered aspects of science.

Man by nature is taken by curiosity by the things around him. But if man were not created to be so, nothing in the world would fascinate him and inspire him to make discoveries of his own. Thank goodness man was made in the image of God--thinking, curious, rational.