Category Archives: Spiritual

Happy 34th Anniversary GCF Ortigas

Inset: The bulletin announcing the 34th Anniversary of Greenhills Christian Fellowship.

” …stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel…”
Philippians 1:27, NIV 1984

I would like to take this chance to congratulate my home church, Greenhills Christian Fellowship, for the occasion of the church’s 34th Anniversary. It was 34 years since the power couple, missionaries Pastor Dave Yount and PJ Yount founded the church at an event for couples at Valentine’s Day. Since then, the church continued to grow, moving in three locations, two in Greenhills with a notable Medecor Building and finally settling at a permanent home in Ortigas Center, Pasig City. At the retirement of Pastor Dave, he was succeeded by Rev. Dr. Luis Pantoja Jr., ThD. who continued the growth of the church to it’s present.

Inset: The GCF Festival Choir and the commissioning of Pastor Mark del Rosario.

At the untimely death of Pastor Luis almost two years ago ushered in a time of uncertainty which challenged the church to the core but Pastor Dave came back to bring the church to its feet again. After months of ministry as a caretaker pastor, GCF finally chose a good doctor turned pastor, Pastor Larry Pabiona, MD. to be the new Senior Pastor. Today, the church still stands undivided to lead in the mission of help the people “Know Christ and make Him known”. As the dust settled, things are getting more exciting as GCF is on the track with its twenty one (21) satellite churches, more coming again in the country and in Canada.

Inset: Online sourced photo showing GCF Ortigas Building still shiny new.

In the personal side, I am very much thankful to God for giving me a church family that went with me through thick and thin. This church has helped what used to be a shabby-looking provinciano finally find his place in a hustle and busy worlds of Metropolitan Manila. Through all my dreams, aspirations, hardships and even those times I stumbled down and fell, this church and the fellow GCFers blessed me and my family in a special way. I have seen how the church fell on its knees and humbled, the hardships GCF’s taken. In the 34th Year of God’s Faithfulness to GCF, I pray more will Know Christ And Make Him Known.


Greenhills Christian Fellowship is a church family that meets in Ruby cor. Garnet Roads, Ortigas Center, Pasig City with Sunday Services at 8am, 10:30am, 3pm and 5:30 and in other satellite churches.


People on Focus: The Lady Behind “Petra Mahalimuyak”

Who in the world has not been amused with Petra M’s series of videos? Who has not yet seem her parody of “No Other Woman”? If you are a cyber-citizen, you would have already seen a friend, family or lover shared a video. Apart from Charice Pempengco or Mikey Bustos from the Maple Leaf, no other Filipino can be as sensational as Petra Mahalimuyak. Beyond watching and laughing, República Negrénse decided to find out more about Petra.

Behind this tantalizing, beautiful and skyrocket-rising online comedienne is Ashley Rivera, a 19-year old Filipina currently residing in Las Vegas, Nevada. At the first onset of Petra M’s videos, I smelled fame up hand for this lovely Filipina and I immediately sought to connect. Last week, she gave a nod for an email interview which surprised me even with a long list of questions which she answered patiently at hand. Ashley describes herself as a random shy being, capable of crazy but wholesome acts of fun, a lot like the character Petra minus the high spirits and “the” accent.

For the fans who have been following Petra M since the early days of her videos would recognize this one. She made the world laugh, at least the Filipino world that is, with her Make Up Tutorial in an artistically exaggerated “Filipino accent”. The character Petra was inspired by an inside joke between her high school friends while Mahalimuyak is a Tagalog word for fragrant which “sounds kinda smelly,” she quipped. Most of the scenes were shot in the bathroom or a random location in her house. Ashley is happy that she gets a lot of moral support from her Mom and her Sister who actually helps much in shooting the videos. While appearing random, acts are well planned but nevertheless, it is the random touch of ad libs which gives color to the videos.

Her efforts and good home production skills do not go unnoticed too. Another Filipino YouTube sensation, Mikey Bustos, a fellow online comedian and singer from the Maple Leaf Country of Canada got interested with a video partnership with Ashley. Mikey Bustos is known for his Filipino Accent tutorial which fans consider Ashley as his girl counterpart. Asking Ashley about it, she is very much excited. Mikey and Petra fans have been clamoring for a video partnership. A kind consideration with Mikey would be a step closer to this dream by fans and Ashley alike.

It seems that it was not just Mikey who took notice of her talent. A number of producers and scouting agents from Los Angeles approached her for an offer. It is Ashley’s dream to be in the acting career and took creative strides to achieve the dream. If given a chance to pursue a career back home, she would gladly accept the offer and fly back to her native land. For now, she is focused on polishing her acting skills by making funnier videos and as she said a diet regimen “for a sexier body minus the bebe fats”. Fans would disagree since “hot” and “sexy” is equals to Petra M.

Pretty, well-figured, talented and funny, a lot of guys have fallen in love with our Petra M character. Unfortunately for our dreaming bachelors out there, someone is already making the heart of Petra M beat. She is currently in a happy relationship with Miguel Noriega, an Air Force Pilot. Miguel’s duties in the Air Force takes him places so they are currently in a long distance relationship. Nevertheless, he has been a supporting boyfriend and readily shares his own ideas to the Petra M videos. As for any plans on the future, it is too early to tell. As our oldies say, enjoy your youth while it lasts.

Even as fame shot onto her doorstep overnight, Ashley never forgets to hold firm on the ground. With all her career movements and entertainment sidelines, her relationship with God takes precedence over her life, work and career. She defines faith as the full trust, loyalty, sincerity and obedience towards God, the ultimate Source of strength, Sovereign and Savior. Ashley is currently active in the Children’s Sunday School Ministry of The Crossing, a local evangelical church in her neighborhood. She was involved in the harvestfield endeavours in Mexico and is felt led to do so again, this time in Ecuador. Beyond online sensational fame, what inspires more is her dedication to follow God’s will by helping others in need, glorifying God in spite of success in troves and despite challenges in multitudes.

Celebrate Thanksgiving @ the Refuge

What is Thanksgiving Day? Thanksgiving is a holiday celebrated in Canada, United States and Liberia in various dates between October to November. Though they differ in dates and origins, the essence is the same, it is a celebration of thanksgiving by their respective immigrant forefathers for a safe travel and bountiful harvest. Among the Thanksgiving-celebrating countries, the most popular is that of the United States which the country was once a Colony and a Commonwealth of.

For that matter, Thanksgiving is gaining popularity in the country either trivialized into turkey-eating celebration with mall sales or ingrained in a deep sense of faith by thanking God for a wonderful year he has given as the year is drawing to a close. For the latter, my growth group in Greenhills Christian Fellowship (GCF), Refuge, celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday. Refuge is home to a number of transient Americans and expats who found a spiritual home in GCF Ortigas through Refuge.

Starting with a call last Monday by Sam, Refuge was able to gather other people to bring in Thanksgiving food (their innovations) for us to enjoy. You sure know by now that Refuge people really loves food and the fellowship bonding it brings. This Thanksgiving reminded me of how God has been blessing me and working by me even in my afflictions. Indeed, we must be reminded of His faithfulness not just in bad times but in good times too. The closing lesson on the story of Ruth was a reminder that no matter how things go against us, we should never be bitter for God is a witness to our sufferings and will always find a way to redeem us from the debt of our hearts in his best time.

After offering our thanksgiving to God, everyone had a sumptuous dinner. Cranberry “sauce” will always be present in every Thanksgiving celebrations but the turkey had a different twist. Instead of being stuffed with bread crumbs, this turkey was stuffed with pesto rice. Though chicken and turkey are both poultry products, turkey has a more distinctive taste with red meat parts on the legs and the wings which is my personal favorite.

Since our group has a resident vegetarian, we ought to bring vegetable-made food too. For me, it was a good break from all meat to have a healthy siding. Despite limitations and time constraints, Christina was able to bring a string bean cream topped with… crackers? I’ve seen string beans in cream of mushroom but that being topped with crackers is a new thing to me. The best of innovations do come out when ingredients are at its least, something I am happy seeing. Since Paolo did not have time to cook, he brought vegetarian pizza which I gladly feasted on. I love it!

Dessert was a filling treat too when Kuya Micah brought his “pumpkin” pie innovation. Pumpkin in the Philippines? Not really for it is a mix of pumpkin’s closest tropical relative, squash, and sweet potatoes. Pretty ingenious of an idea to add a traditional thanksgiving pie into the food mix. Pauline did her touch with mango pie with a kick of cinnamon which made it extra special. I wish I could’ve had more. RJ brought buco pandan for more of the Filipino twist to Thanksgiving. I could’ve made a debut of my peanut butter piaya there but my hands were too tired to mix more dough so I brought them piaya.

Apart from the food, what matters is the fellowship of friends and siblings in Christ that live a life of thanksgiving in the light of today’s celebration. Above all, I am thankful that God led me to a growth group that cares, understands and shares. Refuge is a cosmopolitan group of Singles/ Young Adults from various fields and professions meeting every Wednesday, 8pm at BM02 at the Mezzanine Floor of Greenhills Christian Fellowship, Ortigas Center, Pasig City.