The Placebo Effect: Autism



If you could create a painless, inexpensive cure for a single ailment, what would you cure and why?

The recent advertisement of McDonald’s entitled “Kuya” that shows a conversation between a yuppie and his brother, who apparently has Down Syndrome. For those who have not seen the ad, or is living outside the Philippines, here’s its Youtube video (Sorry, but it does not have any English subtitles. But, if you just observe their actions, you would eventually get the point.):

Every time it airs on TV, it pinches my chest a little (in a positive way) how these two siblings can have a “happy day” together, despite the disability of one. And every time I see people with Autism, especially children, my heart is crushed – thinking why on Earth is life much unfair for these children. If only there is an easy possibility for them to be liberated from such condition.

They are just like us. They laugh. They cry. They dream. They love.

What if one of them might have been the next Albert Einstein or Isaac Newton? What if one of them might have been the agent to achieve World Peace? What if one of them might have been a great artist or musician? Yet, their condition somehow limits them. Somehow, their aspirations are far greater than what they can achieve.

So, if chances occurs that I would have the power to create a painless and inexpensive medicine for just one ailment, I would choose to cure Autism, because I believe that abolishing Autism from the world abolishes restrictions to what these children can dream of. I believe that if only a bit of miracle would help them live a life free from physical reservations, the possibilities of how they can change the world are limitless. I believe that a world without Autism is a better world.

If only such possibility is a reality…




The Voice US Season 5: My Picks


The Voice US Coaches

Since the Live Playoffs of the 5th season of The Voice US is getting nearer and nearer, I might as well give my opinions on some of the competing artists whom I consider as my favorites. I am not an expert of some sort, thus the content of my statements are purely based on my personal opinion on their performances and potentials as they perform live next episode.

This coming Monday 8PM EST, Tuesday 9PM EST, and Thursday 8PM EST(that’s on Tue 9AM, Wed 10AM, and Fri 9AM PHT), the Top 20 artists will battle it all out for their first Live Performances, where 2 artists from each team will be sent home, leaving our Top 12 to perform the following week.

To be honest, this season may not have the greatest talents in The Voice history, but I find it more interesting since most of my early favorites were lucky enough to head on the Lives. Unlike the previous seasons where most of my personal faves were eliminated during the Knockout rounds (Gah! I hate the Knockouts.), this season were gentle enough to let my picks be chosen to proceed.

Since I don’t want this post to sound very commentative or criticing, and since I don’t want to appear more like an evaluator than a fan, I would only suggest my bets for the Top 12, 3 from each team, who I feel would advanced on to the next level of competition. In addition, I would also be presenting a countdown of these artists, from my least to my most favorite.

So, let’s start the counting!

12. AUSTIN JENCKES (Team Blake)

Austin Jenckes

Being one of the great country singers in the group, Austin is such a powerhouse. His rendition of the Lynyrd Skynyrd hit “Simple Man” was really full of emotions. Though having too much dynamics, his “I’ll Be” performance in the Knockouts was pretty amazing.

11. JACQUIE LEE (Team Christina)

Jacquie Lee

Jacquie looks very young and full of life, and her voice definitely has a lot of potention into it, knowing that she is only 16. Having such a powerful performance in her Battles, as she sang “The House of the Rising Sun”, gave her a little advantage in the competition. Though she has a great vocal quality, she still needs to improve a lot on how she performs on stage, noting her awkward movements during her Knockout performance.

10. RAY BOUDREAUX (Team Blake)

Ray Boudreaux

Finally! A sensational soul artist in The Voice! Though I’m not much of a fan of Soul music, but I appreciate a lot about how Ray gives it all in his performance. In his Blinds where he sang “Use Me” by Bill Withers, I must say I was quite impressed.

9. JONNY GRAY (Team Cee Lo)

Jonny Gray

I have to admit, Jonny has that distinct way of singing that is very pleasing to the ears. His performance is very moving, yet the style he presents is very unique – something that you want to hear when you just chilling out. Though I was not quite impressed with the way he performs compared with the other artists in the show, I am looking forward for more invigorating and, if he is willing, reinventing performances in The Voice stage.

8. SHELBIE Z. (Team Blake)

Shelbie Z

When I first saw Shelbie Z perform, specifically in her blinds, I thought “Meh. Just another country singer who wants to give it a shot.” And, to be honest, that impression remained even during the Battle Round. But, damn, her Knockouts just threw me away from my seat! Her version of Carrie Underwood’s “Last Name” was definitely show-stopping. If I were to pick artists in the show who I believe has a great personality on stage, she would definitely be one of those on top.

7. JOSH LOGAN (Team Christina)

Josh Logan

This man definitely stole my heart during his Blind Auditions. I guess it is safe to say that his version of “Too Close” by Alex Clare is something I can say “Better than the original.” Not to mention his breathtaking performance of a Maroon 5 hit “Harder to Breathe.” I used not to like that some, but after Josh performed it in the Battle Rounds, the song just kept on playing in my head. The awesomely distinct quality of his voice can definitely turn any song into a rock and roll heaven.

6. PRESTON POHL (Team Adam)

Preston Pohl

With his voice that seems like coming from a different era, Preston Pohl can definitely make any song he performs as his own. He can also pull songs from any genre, as seen in his different performances in The Voice stage, including an electronic pop song for his Blinds (“Electric Feel” by MGMT), soul/R&B for his Battles (“I wish it would Rain” by The Temptations), and Reggae for his Knockouts (“No Woman, No Cry” by Bob Marley. This just proves that Preston is not just a unique singer, but a versatile artist, as well.

5. MATTHEW SCHULER (Team Christina)

Matthew Schuler

Being labeled as the “Mike Tyson” of The Voice, Matthew’s vocal talent can really give you a punch in the face. With his jaw-dropping performance and astonishing vocal range, he is definitely something to watch out for. The way Matthew sings is something that not most singers can do, and that makes him a very promising artist. Not mention that he has the fastest four-chair turn in the history of The Voice. Pretty interesting.

4. JAMES WOLPERT (Team Adam)

James Wolpert

James’ outstanding performance in the Blind Auditions, as he sang “Love Interruption” by Jack Black, still gives me goosebumps every time I listen to it again. For me, he has the best Blind Audition performance for this season, which is backed-up by his equally stellar Battles with Will Champlin. I love how he gives alternative rock songs more glow as he performs it, especially as you look at him and don’t see quite a hint of alternative rock in his appearance. It just gives me the shivers whenever James got shouty and guttural. Though his Knockouts were not as good as his previous performances, I am definitely looking forward to see James take the stage once more in the Live Shows.


Caroline Pennell

The cutest and quirkiest artist in the group, Caroline is more than just a teenage little girl singing like those high school kids during a Christmas Presentation program. She absolutely has the most magical performances in this season of The Voice. Her Blind Audition performance already grabbed our attention to her, as she sang Ellie Goulding’s “Anything Could Happen”. Much more when she, together with Anthony Paul, sang a Justin Beiber (Beiber? Meh.) hit “As Long As You Love Me”, which I believe was the best Battle Round performance for this season. There is just so much quality in her voice that each time she opens her mouth to sing, you would just want to melt in awe. Truly, Caroline is such a magnificent young artist.

2. TESSANNE CHIN (Team Adam)

Tessanne Chin

If you’re looking for a greatest powerhouse singer in the competition, it would clearly be no other than Tessanne Chin. With a very strong and powerful vocal quality, Tessanne can definitely belt it out like there’s not tomorrow. She proved the audience that she can perform without hitting any wrong note from start to finish – a very flawless performer indeed. Aside from that, Tessanne is also very versatile, since she started singing reggae music, and later on transcends to rock, pop, and ballad, which is evident in her song choices in the show. As she sings, she can definitely dominate the stage. Not to mention that despite this achievement, she is still very humble on stage. So much to look forward to with her vocal prowess in the Live Shows.

1. KAT ROBICHAUD (Team Cee Lo)

Kat Robichaud

The Tiger is in the House!

On every episode she is featured in, Kat never fails to surprise me with her performance. Not just that she has a wonderful voice, with all the raspy and gritty texture that adds spice to her performance, she ultimately owns the stage! There is so much character in her performance that she moves in the stage like a professional artist. And since she is the only glam rocker in the group, the way she performs definitely outshines the rest.

She prances around the stage like a beast on six-inch heels. Her ravenous eyes have an intensity that screams. And she has a roaring voice that is every bit as powerful as it is pleasing to the ear. She can definitely win this competition!

How about you? Who are your bets for this season of The Voice? Don’t forget to leave a comment. 🙂

On inspiration and talking black cats


Kiki's Delivery Service A few hours ago, I just finished watching a Hayao Miyazaki classic, Kiki’s Delivery Service, produced by Studio Ghibli and distributed later on by Disney. If you want to know, yes, there are a lot of cats in the movie!

Just to cut myself some time to explain to you the plot of the story, let me credit Rotten Tomatoes ( for the movie’s information and synopsis. For the information of everyone, the movie actually has a 100% rating from the critics of Rotten Tomatoes. Ha!

Veteran animator Hayao Miyazaki directs this buoyant children’s adventure yarn about a young witch striking out on her own. At her mother’s behest, 13-year-old Kiki sets out on a year-long apprenticeship with her black cat in tow. With a shaky command of her broom, she ends up in a charming little coastal town that looks like a cross between the French provincial and San Francisco. Unfortunately, the local hotels have a strict “no witches” policy and the police have taken a dim view of her recent aerial mischief-making. She’s saved from the street by a kindly baker’s wife, who offers her room and board in exchange for her delivering by broom the baker’s wares. Soon she befriends a college-aged artist, an old women who fusses over her, and a boy her same age who is nursing a massive crush. All is well until she wakes up one day and realizes that she can’t make her broom levitate nor can she talk to her cat. What will Kiki do?

While watching the Ghibli film, I can’t help but be fascinated with the warmth of each character’s personality, and the euphoric state of the town. It made me tour into a charming little world that I have been looking forward to go to even once in my life. The movie served as a portal that enters into a new realm.

But, what struck me the most is the 2-minute scene in the final quarter of the movie where Ursula, the artist, and Kiki were talking with each other before they go to sleep. You see, Ursula invited Kiki over to her cabin in the side of the town, so that she, on her stay there, may have a break from overthinking about her loss of witch powers.

In that scene, they were discussing a phase in Ursula’s life where she has to face almost the same situation as Kiki’s – she thought she lost her artistic ability to paint. Being too absorbed with the scene, I realized I can relate to the problem Kiki is struggling into. Well, we all do, don’t we?

There were moments in our lives where we felt we just lost something innate in us. A talent, a skill, a passion, sometimes we just say we don’t have the same set of gifts as what we had before. Later, we think we might not just be the same person anymore. We have changed, and changed for the worse.

Then, we start to stumble. We fail on moments we least expected it. We see our lives fall down to pieces right in front of our faces. Then, we ask ourselves, “Where have I lost the person I have known myself to be?”

Such moments left us miserable. They left us doubting ourselves. Heartbroken. Bitter. Confused.

And that’s exactly how Ursula felt at that stage in her life. That’s exactly how Kiki is feeling.

“But we each need to find our own inspiration, Kiki. Sometimes, it’s not easy.” -Ursula

As they all say, success is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration. But without that 1%, it’s hard to get off the ground. May it be in our academics, our careers, our relationships, or other things that are important for us, inspiration is a great key to make us survive all these things. Sometimes, inspiration is that thin wall that separates “being successful” from “being lost in the way.”

But, sometimes, we get caught up with all the hustles and bustles that comes with it, that we forget why we are doing this in the first place. We keep in moving forward without even looking back as to why we started. And that is how we lose track.

Because, sometimes, we just need to take a break. If we don’t feel satisfaction in what we are doing, try harder. If still we don’t, then stop trying. Just let it go for a while. Don’t even think about it. Find an avenue where you can detach yourself and look at your trails, so that you may know how to move forward. Pretty soon, you will be on your way again. Find that inspiration, whether it be within yourself, or in connection with others. Sometimes, it just needs a quick breath to keep you going. Then, try again.

But, sometimes, we don’t get the point of “finding” that inspiration. We often ask ourselves, “Am I ever gonna find it?” and “Will it be worth all the trouble?”

Because, sometimes, we just need to take a leap of faith. Right then, it would be impossible to say. But, as they say, in all things we do, we do it from our spirit. We don’t need cerebral explanations as to how we do it. We just do. And that’s exactly how we are going to stand back up.

And, in the end, it will all be worth it.

All Sleep’s Day


While majority of Filipinos were very busy today to visit their relatives who passed away in the cemetery, I spent the WHOLE day in my room, sleeping soundly on my bed.

Evil and unproductive, you say? Well, yeah, you may say that.

But, I love to spend this day just lying around and rest my body. It has been raining so hard, thus, making it very difficult to go outside and visit the cemetery.


It’s only a few days before the start of the second semester – my final semester in college (hopefully). Now, I am expecting a very jam-packed and dreaded semester, and therefore, plenty of rest seems more like a requirement than a luxury, to prepare for the “hell sem.”

13 hours of sleep will not sound unproductive anymore, when such slumber is the “calm-before-the-storm” moment for an Engineering student like me.

The bottomline is this: I DON’T WANT TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL YET!