Category Archives: Honor

The Historical Significance Behind South Africa’s Freedom Day

For South Africa, the road to democracy was a long and difficult one.

History states that South Africa’s freedom was hard earned, yet despite years of conflict, racial discrimination, and even bloodshed, South Africa continues to rise above its challenges.

April 27 also commemorates the first post-apartheid elections held in 1994. This was the first historical democratic elections where the first non-racial national elections was held. On this day, we not only remember the bitter history and wrongs of the past, but to celebrate just how far the country has come as a nation in building bridges to a better future.

Now, the country is on its 23rd year of commemorating its Freedom. Though South Africa is still in the process of achieving the truest essence of freedom, the need to acknowledge the good achieved keeps South Africa motivated and moving forward.

Last night, I was privileged to join the South African Embassy in celebrating the country’s 23rd Freedom Day Celebration.

To never forget one’s history, to fight injustice in all its forms and to see how far one has come – may it be for a person, community, or a country – is what makes freedom all the more significant and integral for humanity to thrive.

Thank you to the South African Ambassador to the Philippines, H.E. Martin Slabber for having me. I am one with South Africa in commemorating this milestone in your country’s rich history. Happy Freedom day my dear friends!

SA Freedom Day Celebration

Humanizing Noah

Have you watched the movie “Noah”? I strongly suggest you do. Though I do have my reservations about the accuracy of the characters called the “Watchers”, over all, the film was well done. Personally, the most outstanding performance in the film was Logan Lerman. As young as he is, Logan brought so much grit and authenticity to his tortured character. He is definitely someone to watch out for in future films. Given a saner schedule, I would definitely watch this movie again.

I requested a friend to do a review of the film, and she has done a fantastic job! I do hope that the film blesses you as much as it has blessed me.

Favorite Quotes:
Methuselah: He speaks to you. You must trust that He speaks in a way that you only can understand.

Tubal Cain: You stand alone and defy me?

Noah: I’m not alone.

 

Noah Movie Poster
Noah Movie Poster

(MAJOR SPOILER ALERT)

“Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The Lord was sorry that He had made man on earth, and He was grieved in His heart. The Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.” (Genesis 6:5-7)

Everybody knows the biblical story of Noah and his ark: After the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden, the land increasingly became barren along with man’s wickedness. God wants to erase everything He has made – mankind and all the animals—and make a new earth. Good thing Noah found favour in God. So God gives him the task of making an ark and saving a pair of each animal on earth, together with his family. After a hundred years of endlessly working on the ark, the flood comes and everything is swept away. Noah starts mankind’s history anew.
Darren Aronofsky, the director of Noah¸ has successfully shown this in a highly-animated film and more. Russell Crowe (The Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind) plays the rough and persevering Noah. In a land where food is scarce and one has to constantly guard against scavengers, he is still able to come across as a warm father-figure who is brave enough to fight in a hand-to-hand combat to save his family. Jennifer Connelly (Blood Diamond, Hulk) brilliantly portrays Noah’s wife Naameh, who resiliently stands by her husband whatever the cost of his decisions. Ray Winstone (The Departed, Hugo) is terrifying as Tubal-cain, the self-proclaimed king of man who stops at nothing just to get into Noah’s boat and be saved. Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs) is also in this film, though a little bit unrecognizable, and surprisingly charming in the lovable character of Methuselah, Noah’s grandfather. One of the highlights of the film is Emma Watson (Harry Potter series), who, despite living in a wasted land, still looks pretty and dainty as ever, playing Ila, the wife of Noah’s first son, Shem.


Brilliant Casting

Russell Crow depicted a very human portrayal of Noah. He is tough because he is hardened by living in an empty and dangerous land. But despite all the cruelty of the world, he is still able to appreciate the beauty that is left: a flower blooming should be left where it is because it is its place; a wounded animal should be treated and not be feasted on; and respect for man even if they are wicked inside and out. But high acting praises for this film goes to Jennifer Connelly, who is deeply moving as Noah’s wife. She understands that she has to be submissive to her husband, but she knows how and when to speak her mind. (Spoiler alert) When she learns that Noah has to kill Ila’s child, she spoke against it and confesses to Noah that it is her who asked for the children. “It was me, Noah! I asked for this!” she cries. She then proceeds to give Noah an ultimatum—she will leave Noah, regardless of whether the child is a boy or a girl. Her intensity truly radiates beyond the screen.


An Impressive Ark

This film undoubtedly uses a number of special effects: from the cartoonish way of telling the Adam and Eve story to the physical manifestations of Noah’s dreams. This approach is very effective in getting the message across, though somewhat a little bit base for a serious movie-goer. Setting all the animated effects aside, the rest of the technicalities of the film are amazing. The land is as inhospitable as how one would imagine the ends of the earth. The ark, shaped like a chest (because it’s Latin origin literally means “chest), is the most realistic ark ever. It is humongous and built only for two functions: to save the family and animals, and… to float.

 

Unbiblical storytelling

Some audience are showing concern that the film is “very unbiblical”. This could be discussed because some points of the film indeed are not mentioned in the bible. One of these is the fallen angels or The Watchers. According to Aronofsky, the Watchers’ design is inspired by three images: six-winged Seraphim angels, a seagull trapped in oil, and ballet dancers with blocks attached to their feet. Afronofsky continues on to say that “these are angelic forms captured, malformed, imprisoned by the earth; winged creatures who got encased and had to use their wings as arms and legs.” Source: (IMDB) There is no verse in the bible indicating that the angels had helped Noah build the ark. Perhaps, if angels did help, it wouldn’t have taken Noah 100 years to finish it?

A friend also raised the fact that since Ila had twin daughters and Noah’s two youngest sons are still unmarried, it could be speculated that these two couples might end up together to start the new generation of mankind. The friend expressed disapproval for this scenario and described it as “icky”. Well, if you think about it, mankind did start with Adam and Eve. Of course, mankind had to continue on from their children, and their children… and their children. Do you get the drift?

 

Christian Issues

Noah is certainly not a religious movie—with all the added elements of The Watchers and Ila’s twin girls—but it is a Christian film. This is to say that the film heaved a number of Christian issues taught in services and sermons today. Here are some of the issues raised:

1. God will speak to you in ways you will understand. When Noah seek the counsel of Methuselah regarding his visions, the old man assured his grandson that the Creator only speaks to them in ways they will understand. Pastors often advise Christians to ask God to speak to them—and He does. Of course, God will make sure that He gets the message across. “When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” (John 16:13)

2. Deciding on things without the counsel of God will always have lifelong consequences. Naameh asked Methuselah for help because she wanted her children to have their own wives and children. She did this without asking counsel from the Creator, or from Noah. Methuselah decided to touch Ila’s barren womb and made it fertile. Because of this, her babies became the bane of Noah’s mission – which is to end the course of mankind on earth. He is made to decide to kill these babies – a great consequence of Naameh’s plea to Methuselah. We must always remember to ask counsel from God for everything we do because “he who trusts in his own heart is a fool”. (Proverbs 28:26) Remember that “Through insolence comes nothing but strife, But wisdom is with those who receive counsel.” (Proverbs 13: 10)

3. When you ask God to put His desire in your heart instead of your own, you will receive it. Noah is ready to drive the knife into the baby’s heart. He is driven by his mission from the Creator. I am sure that he has prayed about this endlessly, being a friend of God. He has already uttered the words, “It is done”—pertaining to the Creator’s mission for him. But something in him stirs. His heart is wary because his desire has changed. Though he wants to fulfil God’s mission for him, something else has replaced this in his heart. It is God’s mercy—because he has prayed about this. “I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.” (Ezekiel 36:27) Christians must also bear in mind that “Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts. To do righteousness and justice is desired by the Lord more than sacrifice.” (Proverbs 21:2-3)

Aronofsky ‘s interpretation of Noah’s narrative is riveting and dramatic. It shows the human surface of Noah – he could hear the screams of people drowning outside the ark but he knew he had to remain steadfast to what the Creator had asked him to do. You could imagine the pain in his heart for every cry for help he had to endure. His character is in pain and sometimes anxious – which makes him relatable. Good job on that, Aronofsky. Though the idea of The Watchers is still far from convincing, Jennifer Connelly’s acting could make up for that. Reactions are mixed for the movie Noah, but nevertheless, it is a movie worth taking the time for.

 

 

About the Contributor:
Jihan Estrella is brainstormer for soap programs at GMA Network, Inc. She is currently involved in the primetime shows “My Destiny” and “My BFF”. She is also a social media operations analyst for a Singaporean social media services company.

 

 

Empowering the Future through Solar Energy

In a world where excess is a way of life, love for the environment  and the minimalist lifestyle is a dying breed. But Honorio “Rod” Tolentino, President of NickelPhil Consultants and LEDS Lighting Systems, Inc. stays optimistic.

A licensed geologist by profession, who also happens to be a strong advocate of responsible mining, decided to think of a way where he can harness energy from a source that is not harmful to the environment.  Seeing the destructive side of mining, he decided to take advantage of this free energy provided by the sun.

One of his inventions, a mobile streetlight (humorously called their Power Kariton) runs on solar energy, has already won an award in Singapore. He firmly believes that through renewable energy, we can help our environment avoid deterioration.

“Solar energy is the simplest form of renewable energy. It has the lowest need for maintenance, and it can be easily operated. All you need is a nice spot to catch the sun’s rays and you are ready to go.”- Rod Tolentino

One of the good things about going solar is that it can provide anyone with a reliable source of energy. From a corporate perspective, for example, having solar energy as your power source can also provide backup whenever there’s brownout. In other words, Meralco won’t cripple your business (or even your household) due to its loss of power supply.

Solar energy can also be stored in batteries for future use. When it comes to its disadvantages, Rod can’t see anything aside from the battery’s disposal. But even the batteries are recyclable.

Join MissTolentino.com  as we take a closer look at this ingenious way of harnessing energy.

 

Husband & Wife duo, Rod & Lyn, together with their team welcome us into their impressive solar powered home and office. Here the couple pose with solar panels and solar powered golf cart.
Husband and Wife, Rod and Lyn, together with their team welcome us into their impressive solar powered home and office. Here the couple pose with their Power Kariton and solar powered golf cart.
A sample of the solar panels used to light their impressive home.  These babies were currently being charged in their driveway when we took snapshots.
Introducing the Power Kariton. These are the solar panels used to light their impressive home. These babies were currently being charged on their driveway when MissTolentino.com arrived.
A geologist by profession, Rod Tolentino shows off his solar powered golf cart his kids use for small errands (and play) around their community.
A geologist by profession, Honorio “Rod” Tolentino, President of NickelPhil Consultants and LEDS Lighting Systems, Inc. shows off his solar powered golf cart he himself designed. Currently this prototype is being used by his kids for errands (and play) around their community.
The minimalist approach yet well powered home of Rod functions as showcase for clients who are interested in powering their homes and businesses with solar energy.
The minimalist approach yet well powered home of Rod functions as showcase for clients who are interested in powering their homes and businesses with solar energy.
A view of a hallway leading to guest rooms is well lit with solar powered lights. The transition to LED lights has significantly lowered their energy consumption by 30-40%.
A view of a hallway leading to guest rooms is well lit with solar powered lights. The transition to LED lights has significantly lowered their energy consumption by 30-40%.
True to its pursuit, the whole office and house of Rod Tolentino is powered by solar energy.
True to its pursuit, the whole office and house of Rod Tolentino is powered on solar energy.

The official story and interview with Rod and his journey towards energy sustainability will come out in the August-October issue of the Philippine Resources Journal.

Through Heaven’s Eyes

During the Holy Week, I was able to catch the movie “Prince of Egypt” on cable.  It’s been awhile since I last saw this film, but it always brought back fond memories.  The film is a wonderful combination of creativity, music and love.

A single thread in a tapestry, though its color brightly shine, can never see its purpose in a pattern of the grand design.

How can you see what your life is worth? Or where your value lies?

You can never see through the eyes of man.

You must look at your life through heaven’s eyes.

Whoah! Did you get that? A single thread in the tapestry of the pattern of the grand design. I am floored. Beautiful.

Aside from watching the movie, I also highly encourage you to see this live version of my favorite song in the film “Through Heaven’s Eyes” sung by Brian Stokes Mitchell together with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

He’s absolutely lovely here, especially as he sings with the choir!

Enjoy folks…

And remember to always look at your life through heaven’s eyes 😉

On the Scout for Real Talent

I am indeed blessed and I am thankful for it every waking day of my life.

And what better way to share the blessing but to give opportunities to those who deserve them.

I don’t believe in hand outs or charity cases. I have always taken pride in a hard day’s work. I am also a strong believer in professional work ethics. A man who toils with his hands is worth his keep.

Which is why I am on the constant look out for real talent: talent that I can grow and nurture and eventually, when they have strengthened their hearts, and sharpened their skills I can let them go and they in return, may become a blessing to others as well.

Ladies and gentlemen: my life’s purpose slowly unfolding before my very eyes.

I like the idea that I get to work with such talented people who deserve better opportunities than being presently handed to them. Everyone deserves a break. But not everyone can maintain that good fortune. You have to constantly improve on yourself and this does not only encompass skills and technical know-how but character as well.

If I were to choose between talent and character, hands down, I will choose character.

Talent and skills, as prized as they are in the professional realm, can also be learned.

But a humble and teachable heart who can be trusted in business, no amount of money can buy those qualities.

When I work with people, I try to make it a point that high standards of professionalism are observed.

I cannot work with stubborn and unreliable individuals. In business, my word is my bond. And if I cannot trust your word to deliver, what other assurances do I have?

My day to day goals are simple: Get exemplary work done, have a good stream of income coming in and relishing a peaceful night’s sleep. Too simple? But that is what life is all about.

It’s the unnecessary attitudes/mentalities that make life complicated.

Which is why, I absolutely cannot work with unprofessionals. My life is wasted on them. (Note that I used life instead of time. Reason? Time IS LIFE.)

I’d rather focus on the positive side of things and work with people who have their priorities in check, grounded on their goals, a team player and most importantly, are reliable.

I have been called a drill sergeant by some people because of being demanding at work, schedules, timeliness, deliverables, etc. but please understand my reputation is on the line. A good and reliable name is worth more than all the degrees in this world.

Also, I never force people to work with me. I am no tyrannical person who shouts orders back and forth or throws their weight around to show who’s boss. Totally unnecessary. Only insecure unprofessionals do that.

A real professional has quiet confidence. Gets work done with minimum to no fuss and makes sure her team gets to plow and reap the harvest with her.

I owe it not only to my clients but to myself that I deliver on time, all the time.  I was put on this world to create, and to create magnificently at that.

Are we on the same page here? Are you also on the look out for truly talented men and women as well?

And to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one. – 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12