Category Archives: Quiet Time

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.

The Obsession for a Savior

News about religious groups disagreeing, splitting or filing cases would reach our laptops while we chat, surf or just simply check our accounts. These news often include as well persecution of thriving Christian communities in closed or far flung countries and decline of church attendances in the United States and Europe. We are given an impression that name-call Christianity or religiosity itself is declining in a grand scale around the world. The news of Atheist bus campaigns in Western Europe and recently Atheist jeep campaigns in the Philippines would seal off the veracity of these disturbing new developments, or should I recession? These recession of religious and/or spiritual values have been the subject of sermons from pulpits and cathedras yet what is the whole truth? Is the world really falling to recession or is it just their apparent denial of something they so longed themselves as well?

Yesterday, I watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 7 Part 2 in Trinoma Cinema. I had the pleasure of relishing the details of the movie being alone being seats apart from my stranger-neighbors. The movie was full of action and drama but what struck me was not the fight scenes or the battle between Harry Potter and Voldemort itself but the recollection of Snape’s memories encapsuled in his tear. It was not the fact that Snape had a “past” with Harry’s mother or his secret protection on him but the fact that Harry Potter really has to die for him to defeat the evil lord. Dying so that all men (muggles and wizards) may live? This seems so familiar and actually unsettling for this is a Christological theme in itself that the Messiah who will be the Savior of the world has to die so that all men may live. Even though the author JK Rowling identifies her membership with the Church of Scotland, her religious convictions are questionable. I should also mention that it is not only her writings that have a “Savior Theme” on it but many other writings by people that are in fact of other religious convictions? So, what does this tell us?

Literatures from across corners of the Globe have often been obsessed with an idea of a Savior saving them from harm or disgrace but often, they are treated merely as literature and not actual religious convictions or text. Harry Potter and many other writings confirm something I have been suspecting long before; people want a Savior but they do not know who that Savior really is. These obsession with having a Savior produced a pantheon of heroes that span from our very own Lam-ang for example to Captain Planet of our present time. The production of more fantasy heroes does not stop there as well for many more are being made along the assembly plant of imaginative minds. In the present time, this obsession has turned into denial. Some people such as some Jews who have undergone the Holocaust have given up on a Savior altogether. People know they need a Savior yet they do not know Him and deny Christ as their Savior. What happened here? They know they need a Savior yet they rejected the Savior Himself and instead drown themselves from these “saviors” that only exist in their minds. What did Christ save us from anyway?

This takes us back to the conversation of Jesus with Nicodemus, a teacher of the law in John 3:1-21. From her we get John 3:16 which is the ever famous verses that everyone seems to have memorized. From this single verse we get the answer to our question; Christ saved us from death but the question also goes; what kind of death? Don’t we all die anyway? Apostle Paul’s Epistle to the Romans especially in Chapters 5 to 7 talks about death, not just physical death but spiritual death that sin brought to mankind. This death is separation from God. Just as physical death is separation from the spirit which gives life, spiritual death is the separation from God which is the giver of all life. The ultimate penalty for our sin is eternal death in hell, a place of eternal separation from God. This is what Christ saved us from this kind of death. This same death is the very reason why we experience pain and suffering on earth, this we will feel as we continue on our life here. The very reason people deny the Savior over a man-made savior is because they only see salvation from the surface problems that men see, failing to acknowledge the inherent source of it all.

People need a Savior but they do not know Him. Oftentimes, they a rumor of a Savior and will often hear about Christ in passing but without someone telling them who the real Savior is and what He did for us, the Savior Christ will just remain as a dream for them. Religions fall but this pressing need of a Savior will continue to stir in their hearts. Why leave the people to dream and hear about Him in someone else’s form if you yourself can tell men Who He is? In the story of Harry Potter, Harry Potter assumed evil himself when a part of Voldemort (French for “flight of death”) was buried deep inside him, he suffered in the hands of people, he died, he lived again and he defeated death himself but he will continue to be just Harry Potter of fiction, the product of JK Rowling’s imaginative mind. If people can immerse their whole childhood in their fictional savior, how much more for a real one? Maybe its time for you to tell them that a real man lived, suffered, became sin for us, died, rose again from the grave and defeated death itself. He is real! He lived and still lives up to this day – He is Jesus Christ!