ASOP Goes Mainstream: Wish FM Plays Songs of Praise

Wish FM’s “Golden Sundays” got a little more golden as it started airing songs from the “A Song of Praise Music Festival” (ASOP) of UNTV Life on October 18, 2015 from 5-6 a.m.

Kuya Daniel Razon announced that the management of Wish FM agreed to broadcast ASOP songs during the recently concluded ASOP Grand Finals at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

UNTV CEO Kuya Daniel Razon stands before a Smart-Araneta Coliseum brimming with people during the ASOP Year 4 Grand Finals on October 13, 2015. (Photo courtesy of Photoville International)
UNTV CEO Kuya Daniel Razon stands before a Smart-Araneta Coliseum brimming with people during the ASOP Year 4 Grand Finals on October 13, 2015. (Photo courtesy of Photoville International)

“So your songs, all your songs, both winning entries and not…watch out and you’ll hear them air on Wish FM every Sunday,” Kuya Daniel told the 12 songwriters during the grand finals.

The event, which was held on October 13, 2015, was the culmination of ASOP’s Year 4, after choosing a winning song for each month of the year.

The Do-Re-Mi of ASOP on TV

The Philippines’ biggest Gospel songwriting tilt began as a Church-wide biannual event of the Members Church of God International (MCGI) in 2004.

Maestro Ryan Cayabyab, Chairman of the Board of Judges, expressing his sentiments to the crowd. "I felt like I was praying all night," he said of his ASOP experience. (Photo courtesy of Photoville International)
Maestro Ryan Cayabyab, Chairman of the Board of Judges, expressing his sentiments to the crowd. “I felt like I was praying all night,” he said of his ASOP experience. (Photo courtesy of Photoville International)

In September 2012, MCGI Overall Servants and ASOP creators Bro. Eli Soriano and Bro. Daniel Razon extended it to television. The contest is open to all amateur and professional songwriters.

ASOP is a first of its kind not only in theme but also in format with a live panel of judges commenting after each song entry is performed.

One of the grand finalists this year, Leonardo De Jesus III, told that he has no formal training in songwriting, but only applied what he learned from the ASOP judges every time he tuned in.

Leah Patricio raises her award in gratitude to the One above. She was hailed as the Best Interpreter of ASOP Year 4's Grand Finals. (Photo courtesy of Photoville International)
Leah Patricio raises her award in gratitude to the One above. She was hailed as the Best Interpreter of ASOP Year 4’s Grand Finals. (Photo courtesy of Photoville International)

ASOP airs its weekly eliminations on Sundays from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m., giving P20,000 to the winning song.

Monthly winners get P50,000 and are hailed as the music fest’s grand finalists. Consolation prizes to non-winning participants are also handed out.

Serious Money, Sincere Effort

The song-making competition, which recently debuted via radio airwaves, gives over P1M in tax-free prizes with half of it going to the Song of the Year winner.

Bro. Daniel remarked that the grand prize’s amount is equivalent to one who earns P40,000 per month, “That means, you can consider just writing songs of praise to God for the whole year.”

MCGI Overall Servant Bro. Eli Soriano speaks giving scientific and biblical insights on the importance of songs of praises via live video streaming. (Photo courtesy of Photoville International)
MCGI Overall Servant Bro. Eli Soriano giving scientific and biblical insights on the importance of songs of praises via live video streaming. (Photo courtesy of Photoville International)

Introducing Bro. Eli to the huge crowd, Bro. Razon said that he “is the man who really insisted that this [ASOP] be on television [through UNTV Life]. He is also the one who shells out [money] and extends his help for our composers to have a little token for their efforts.”

Bro. Eli, who spoke via live video streaming, shared his high regard for songs of praise.

“The thickest book in the Bible is the Book of Psalms, having less than 150 chapters,” remarked Bro. Eli. “It just shows that speaking of divinity, songs are important for God.”

Kuya Daniel Razon (center) and ASOP Hosts Richard Reynoso and Tony Rose Gayda sharing a candid moment on stage. The comedic chemistry of Reynoso and Gayda serve as tension-breaker before winners are announced. (Photo courtesy of Photoville International)
Kuya Daniel Razon (center) and ASOP Hosts Richard Reynoso and Tony Rose Gayda sharing a candid moment on stage. The comedic chemistry of Reynoso and Gayda serve as tension-breaker before winners are announced. (Photo courtesy of Photoville International)

The Old Path host added that praise music to the Lord does something for people. “It can strengthen our faith. It can give hope to us, and to other people as well.

“So I’m thankful for the continued participation of our composers, especially of our judges, here in the A Song of Praise Music Festival,” said Bro. Eli.

(Written by Rigor Arellano)

Newly Baptized Testimonials: September 11, 2015

Read short testimonials of faith from some of MCGI’s youngest brethren baptized on September 11, 2015 at the ADD Convention Center in Apalit, Pampanga.

Bro. Gilbert Loreto, 33, Former Born Again Member, Bulacan Province

On Joining the Church of God

I want to have a new life, and for my sins to be cleansed. I’m now ready to serve the Lord. I’m prepared already.

My neighbor invited me to a Bible Exposition at first. He just told me to listen to the topics, and I found it okay.

Everything was taken from the Bible. And that’s when I learned that if it comes from the Bible, you’ll see that there are the Lord’s commandments in it.

It’s different here than in my previous religion. I was a Born Again member and also got baptized in the Mormons’ religion.

Our neighbor told me to just continue listening, and that it would be better if I would be able to listen to the doctrines. Then, I decided that I was ready to become a member of the Church of God, of The Old Path.

On Being Baptized

It felt nice. I felt that it was easy for me to have mercy on others. Also, I was able to discontinue with my vices. Many bad things were gone away from me. It feels so light inside. I’m elated. It’s like I have this new life.

On Bro. Eli Soriano and Bro. Daniel Razon

Bro. Eli preaches well. He is truthful because what he teaches is from the Bible. He knows a lot and is so wise, because it is God who gave his knowledge.

~o~

Sis. Elaine and Elaisa Garcia, 16 and 15, Former KNCs, Laguna Province

On Joining the Church of God

Sis. Elaine: I want to obey God’s commandments, especially because we have our parents supporting us.

Sis. Elaisa: I want to obey the commandments of God.

Sis. Elaine: The lessons from the doctrines are in the Bible and are true. So thanks be to God.

Sis. Elaisa: Our parents are members of the Church. Ever since we were kids, my parents had always brought us to Church services. That’s why we went to the KNC [Kawan ng Cordero or Flock of Lambs] where we listened to Bro. Eli until we grew up.

On Being Baptized

Sis. Elaine: I was crying because of sheer joy. I was elated. It feels so light inside.

Sis. Eliza: I’m happy. I felt light.

On Bro. Eli Soriano and Bro. Daniel Razon

Sis. Elaine: Bro. Eli, I hope that I will get to see you personally, God willing.

Sis. Elaisa: May God keep you and I hope you will have more strength.

~o~

Sis. Lilibeth Magadia, 23, Former Catholic, Laguna Province

On Joining the Church of God

I love the teachings. Also, before my day comes, I want to have done something worthwhile in my life.

While surfing channels on television before, I was able to listen [to Bro. Eli]. I don’t recall what channel it was as it was since a long time ago already.

But it was in the recent Bible Exposition that I got to listen to it more intently, and it continued from then on.

I felt very welcomed [at the locale]. Actually, I’ve long been wanting to know someone who can make me understand what is in the Bible. And now I have.

On Being Baptized

I’m a new me. I feel like someone new.

On Bro. Eli Soriano and Bro. Daniel Razon

I wish you long lives that many more people’s hearts will be enlightened.

~o~

Sis. Lourdes Icban, 21, Former KNC, Pampanga Province

On Joining the Church of God

I wanted to join already. I was also moved by the songs of Bro. Daniel; I got encouraged by them, and also by the songs of Bro. Eli.

I was a KNC before as well; only, I wasn’t able to continue listening to the teachings. So now, with God’s mercy, I decided to pursue this.

When I was in Grade 4 or 5, I was in the KNC. I wasn’t able to listen for a long time. I guess, because also of my youth and vices here and there.

Lately, I’ve been pondering about it, and as I said, I got encouraged by the songs of Bro. Eli and Bro. Daniel. That’s why I became a member this day.

On Being Baptized

I was crying. After I got immersed, I felt okay already.

On Bro. Eli Soriano and Bro. Daniel Razon

I hope that they will be able to encourage many more to join and be members here.

To God be the glory

MCGI Breaks Guinness World Record, Promotes Charity for PWDs for The Old Path’s 35th Anniversary

With 8,688 choir members, Members Church of God International (MCGI) broke the Guinness World Records for the Largest Chorale Group during the Ang Dating Daan (The Old Path or TOP) program’s 35th anniversary celebration on October 12, 2015.

The Ang Dating Daan (ADD) Chorale graced the Smart-Araneta Coliseum, from the stage to its aisles, singing and dancing to 18 numbers of songs and medleys of praise in different languages.

The official praise song piece of the grand Ang Dating Daan Chorale is a 15-minute long medley composed of four MCGI praise songs entitled “Stand Up,” “Praise the Name,” “Hallelujah, Amen,” and “Enrich the Spirit.”

The four songs are original compositions of one of MCGI’s resident composers and conductors, Bro. Bong Rueda.

Guinness official adjudicator Ms. Fortuna Burke Melhelm confirmed the record-breaking feat on the same day of the event.

“It takes an organization that’s very special, very talented, and it takes the best in the world to get a Guinness World Records title,” started Ms. Melhelm.

“The record for the Largest Gospel Choir was 4,745. Today you have the brand new Guinness World Records title,” Ms. Melhelm gleefully finished, which was met with the deafening cheers of those in the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

For his part, Bro. Daniel Razon, the Assistant to the Overall Servant said the award is an additional blessing from God as the group thank God for the 35 years of the Ang Dating Daan program.

Bro. Daniel Razon proudly holds up the Guinness World Records plaque for Ang Dating Daan Chorale's musical feat of being the Largest Gospel Choir in the world, presented by Guinness Adjudicator Ms. Fortuna Burke Melhelm. (Photoville International)
Bro. Daniel Razon proudly holds up the Guinness World Records plaque for Ang Dating Daan Chorale’s musical feat of being the Largest Gospel Choir in the world, presented by Guinness Adjudicator Ms. Fortuna Burke Melhelm. (Photoville International)

“This is something that we did not intend to do – to get the Guinness book of world records [title]. But our hearts intended to give thanks to God,” remarked Bro. Daniel as he received the Guinness World of Records award. “And we believe that this is an additional blessing that came from the Lord tonight, as we thank Him for the 35 years of ADD television program.”

“And so for that, we will always say: to God be the glory,” Bro. Razon added tearfully, as he held the Guinness plaque up for the crowd to see.

The evening filled with songs of praise also featured Ang Dating Daan Hosts Bro. Eli Soriano and Bro. Daniel offering praise song numbers. Live via satellite, the MCGI Overall Servants sung “The Promise“ and “Through the Years” back-to-back before the entire crowd that filled The Big Dome to its limits.

Charity Work for PWDs

Witnessing the festivities from the front row were persons with disabilities (PWDs), or in MCGI lingo, “Very Important Disabled Persons.” The VIDPs are given special privileges like seating priority during concerts or events along with the elderly.

Not only were they witnesses to the grand musical event, they were also recipients of MCGI’s charitable endeavors. 11 PWD groups received Php 100,000.00 each to help start businesses or fund their operational expenses.

Persons with disabilities clap their hands in appreciation of Kuya Daniel Razon's heartwarming song rendition of the song "The Promise". (Photoville International)
Persons with disabilities clap their hands in appreciation of Kuya Daniel Razon’s heartwarming song rendition of the song “The Promise”. (Photoville International)

Some of the recipients are the Markina Persons with Disabilities Federation, Paranaque Association of Persons with Disabilities, and Samahan ng mga Magulang na Iniingitan ang Lahat ng Batang Espesyal (SMILE) Inc., to name a few.

“It is the first time for us to receive such help for our federation. As you know, we have a lot of indigent members, and this money coming from The Old Path can help us start a livelihood,” in an interview said Gil Flores, Vice-President of the Marikina Persons with Disabilities.

Bro. Eli Soriano also donated a number of wheelchairs for the PWDs, and gave additional financial assistance to 30 PWD raffle winners. On top of this, all 1,700 PWD guests as well as their aides and family members, received cash gifts and grocery bags before the event ended.

The record-breaking event which featured acts of charity, as well as audio-video presentations of The Old Path’s humble beginnings with intermittent praise songs sung by thousands of chorale members, was high on emotion.

Synchronized singing -- The Ang Dating Daan Chorale sings a lively choreographed four-song medley in their successful attempt to a Guinness World Record. (Photoville International)
Synchronized singing — The Ang Dating Daan Chorale sings a lively choreographed four-song medley in their successful attempt to a Guinness World Record. (Photoville International)

“The official Guinness World Records attempt that took place here today was really impressive; it was really emotional and it was also really powerful – there were lots of charity work that came about here today. And it was incredible to see so many people coming together and doing good and breaking a brand-new Guinness World Records title,” said Ms. Melhelm, Guinness Adjudicator, in an interview with local television channel UNTV.

“I am overwhelmed by the record that the Members of the Church of God set tonight,” expressed Bro. Eli Soriano, who joined the festivities via live web streaming from South America.

Bro. Eli added, “Singing and praising the Lord is older than the universe itself as recorded in the Bible. Now, having the record of the largest [religious] choir group, singing for the glory of the Lord is our pride. Thank you Guinness. May God bless you.”

(Written by Rigor Arellano and Pauline Arellano)

Congregants of MCGI told during 3rd Quarter International Thanksgiving: “Be A Blessing to Others”

“Christians are meant by God to be blessings to others.”

This was part of the message delivered by Bro. Daniel Razon during the Members Church of God International’s (MCGI) third quarterly International Thanksgiving at the ADD Convention Center and thousands of monitoring centers held on October 2-4, this year.

And a quarter of MCGI’s works attest to this remark by the Assistant to the Overall Servant of MCGI, which culminated to a three-day offering of thanksgiving by the whole congregation across the globe.

MCGI Thanksgiving

Three Months of Giving, Being Blessings to All

This past quarter, congregants all over the world united once more in charitable works in celebration of UNTV Life’s 11th anniversary. Church members took part in one or more of the mass clean-up drives, tree-planting activities, feeding programs, blood donation drives, and more that were conducted from the smallest of barrios to the biggest of cities.

UNTV Life, in partnership with MCGI, mounted mass clean-up drive efforts that covered the whole Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas and Valenzuela (CAMANAVA) district of northern Metro Manila.

Meanwhile, MCGI volunteers abroad participated in different public service efforts in their respective communities. Feeding programs and elderly care activities were among those done in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Quito, Ecuador and Colombia. In the United States, members volunteered in charity works in New York, among others.

A three-day public service activity was also conducted by UNTV Haiti and MCGI in cooperation with the Philippines’ 19th Contingent in Port Au Prince, Haiti.

Heightened Propagation Efforts Locally, Internationally

In addition to being blessings to the community via public service, MCGI congregants strove to bring spiritual enlightenment to more souls through heightened propagation efforts this past quarter.

For the past three months for example, attendance to MCGI’s monthly Worldwide Bible Expositions increased more than 250%. From a regular number of approximately 20,000, the event saw 30,000 more participants, totaling 50,000 attendees in a Worldwide Bible Exposition event during the quarter.

This is in support and cooperation to Bro. Eli Soriano and Bro. Daniel Razon’s call for each brethren to invite a guest, hence, the “Project 1:1.”

The Ang Dating Daan Chorale at the ADD Convention Center on October 4, 2015 practicing for the 35th anniversary celebration of The Old Path. (Photo courtesy of Photoville International)
The Ang Dating Daan Chorale at the ADD Convention Center on October 4, 2015 practicing for the 35th anniversary celebration of The Old Path. (Photo courtesy of Photoville International)

Aside from these regular monthly expositions, Bible Expositions in Spanish and Portuguese continue weekly catering South and Central American nations. MCGI also launched this past quarter regular Bible Expositions in Africa and the United Kingdom broadcast over The Old Path’s Youtube channel.

Propagation efforts in South America advanced as MCGI acquired new broadcast relay stations in the effort to reach more souls. The Church also established more coordinating centers in Mexico and other countries in Central and South America. Also known as monitoring centers, these coordinating centers are where brethren hold congregational and Church gatherings and activities.

The congregation also thanked God for the Church’s flagship radio, television and Internet program Ang Dating Daan (The Old Path) which reached its 35th year. The show, the longest running of its kind, has been one of the primary instruments and platforms used by MCGI through Bro. Eli and Bro. Daniel, in propagating biblical truth and widsom.

For this past quarter, more than 5,000 souls were added to the MCGI fold.

The International Thanksgiving celebration of MCGI is also called Thanksgiving of the Body, wherein Church members from all over the world simultaneously thank God for a quarter-full of His loving-kindness and deliverance.

(Written by Yanna Ferrera)

Ang Dating Daan Turns 35, Features MCGI’s Largest Chorale to Date

The Members Church of God International’s (MCGI) official Bible-based religious program Ang Dating Daan (ADD) commemorates its 35th year on Philippine airwaves with an official attempt to break world record with the largest gospel choir.

On October 12, 2015, MCGI’s ADD Chorale, composed of 13,000 strong choir members, will serenade the anniversary’s spectators at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum, as well as viewers via satellite and web streaming technology.

Incidentally, this is MCGI’s official attempt to break a Guinness world record for the “Largest Gospel Choir” category.

The MCGI Chorale practicing at the ADD Convention Center on October 4, 2015 for Ang Dating Daan's 35th Anniversary celebration on October 12. (Photo courtesy of Photoville International)
The MCGI Chorale practicing at the ADD Convention Center on October 4, 2015 for Ang Dating Daan’s 35th Anniversary celebration on October 12. (Photo courtesy of Photoville International)

For Ang Dating Daan’s anniversary this year, aside from the praise song festival, the celebration will also put on the spotlight several Persons With Disabilities (PWD) groups as honored guests.

“We have different groups of PWDs, that with God’s help, we want to direct good works to,” remarked Bro. Daniel Razon during a recent Thanksgiving to God celebration of MCGI.

“Our fellowmen will be the highlight of our anniversary,” stressed Bro. Razon, Assistant to the Overall Servant to MCGI.

ADD Chorale members in different continents such as the Americas, Asia, Australia, Europe and Africa, will take part in the grand event, joining the bulk of the ADD Chorale members who are to gather in the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

The Guinness bid is the latest among MCGI’s praise song endeavors.

On a weekly basis, MCGI’s locale and division chorale members lead brethren in the congregational singing during prayer meetings, worship services, and thanksgiving to God celebrations.

MCGI holds yearly Music Ministry chorale fests and workshops for the benefit of its thousands of choir members in the Philippines and abroad.

Realizing the great importance of singing songs of praises to the Almighty, since 2009, MCGI continuously holds 24/7 non-stop singing of praise songs, based on 1 Chronicles 9:33.

An MCGI Chorale member unites with the rest of the grand chorus that filled the ADD Convention Center during their practice on October 4. (Photo courtesy of Photoville International)
An MCGI Chorale member unites with the rest of the grand chorus that filled the ADD Convention Center during their practice on October 4. (Photo courtesy of Photoville International)

A year after, MCGI opened its A Song of Praise Music Festival to the public – a praise song composition competition open to both amateur and professional songwriters.

The Ang Dating Daan, also called as The Old Path, is one of the Philippines’ longest-running religious programs. It is now translated in different languages, and airs on the radio, television, web and satellite in various countries worldwide.

(Written by: Pauline Arellano)

MCGI Tops Off 3rd Quarter with Back-to-Back-to-Back Spiritual Revelry

Come October 2 to 4 this year, the Members Church of God International (MCGI) will once again celebrate consecutive acts of spiritual revelry.The International Thanksgiving to God (ITG) for the third year will emanate from the Philippines to different parts of the globe.

In true MCGI fashion, excitement for the much-awaited three-day event are piling up until the first day’s glorious program on October 2 commence at 6 a.m., Philippine time.

“First on our schedule is our combined Prayer Meeting and Worship Service that will be held, God willing, on September 30 and October 1,” announced Bro. Daniel before a live crowd of thousands in the ADD Convention Center in Apalit, Pampanga, and thousands more in different countries via live video streaming.

MCGI members in the ADD Convention Center in Apalit, Pampanga unitedly sing songs of praises to God during the second quarterly International Thanksgiving to God (ITG) celebration held on July 3-4, 2015. [Photoville International]
MCGI members in the ADD Convention Center in Apalit, Pampanga unitedly sing songs of praises to God during the second quarterly International Thanksgiving to God (ITG) celebration held on July 3-4, 2015. [Photoville International]
Also called as the “Thanksgiving of the Body”, Church members from across the globe will simultaneously offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving to God for a quarter-full of blessings.

As early as Saturday, September 26, 2015, Church members took their elation on social media accounts, such as Facebook and Twitter. The Church’s official Facebook page shares in the “ITG fever” by posting countdown posts, featuring Bible verses about the importance of offering thanksgiving to the Creator.

And just one week after the Church-wide event, MCGI will host another grand event.

Ang Dating Daan at 35

MCGI’s flagship religious program, Ang Dating Daan or ADD, will celebrate its 35th anniversary on the air. Its English counterpart is called The Old Path.

Hosted by MCGI Overall Servant Bro. Eli Soriano, the ADD program is regarded as one of the longest-running religious programs on Philippine television history.

“This is one big gathering of singing songs of praises to God, to show our gratitude for Ang Dating Daan’s anniversary,” said Bro. Daniel Razon, Assistant to the Overall Servant. “This will be held in different corners of the country, and the world, as well as in Smart-Araneta [Coliseum].”

Bro Daniel Razon updates Church members in Apalit, Pampanga and in different corners of the globe of MCGI's upcoming big events. [Photoville International]
Bro Daniel Razon updates Church members in Apalit, Pampanga and in different corners of the globe of MCGI’s upcoming big events. [Photoville International]
In celebration of this monumental event, MCGI will form a 15,000-piece chorale to sing songs of praises to God, and will also aim to regale some of the event’s very special guests.

“We have different groups of PWDs or persons with disabilities that we, with God’s help, want to bring happiness to, so that we can perform our duties in front of God,” said Bro. Razon before a live crowd of thousands in the ADD Convention Center in Apalit, Pampanga, and thousands more in different countries via live video streaming.

A Song of Praise Year 4

Immediately after the ADD Anniversary, MCGI and supporters of songs of praises will once more fill the Smart-Araneta Coliseum for the A Song of Praise (ASOP) TV music festival.

For four years running, the ASOP competition has established the importance of making original hymns of praises to God. Not only ASOP serves to showcase Filipino talents, but it helps promote the world-class musical craftsmanship of Original Pilipino Music (OPM).

12 new songs of praises will vie for the Php 500,000.00 grand prize.

“With God’s help, we will be able to accomplish all of these [events],” stressed Bro. Daniel, pinning hope that “we will be able to help one another in seeing our obligations in front of God through.”

(Written by Pauline Arellano)


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