Truth, Beauty, Music

A Classical Voice Concert – Saturday, Nov. 30th @3pm

Enjoy a delightful afternoon of beautiful music with me…

My next concert is an offering from the heart… featuring Classical arias, songs, duets, Broadway tunes, and Christmas favourites – along with my fellow artists, baritone Austin Larussen and pianist Narmina Afandiyeva. Set in the warmly intimate acoustics of St. John’s Polish Catholic Church, a jewel of tranquility in the harried midst of downtown Toronto, our concert on Saturday, November 30th at 3pm hopes to soothe your soul and lift your spirits! Admission is free (voluntary donations are appreciated), and there’s plenty of free parking.

Come as you are, and see you soon!

LilacA Classical Voice Concert

June 10th to 13th, 2013 – Canada Philippine Fashion Week


Toronto, ON (February 21 2013) – Kol Hope Foundation for Children will serve as the beneficiary of the spectacular, inaugural launch of Canada Philippine Fashion Week, to be held from June 10-15, 2013 in Toronto Canada.

This dazzling week of Filipino fashion, culture, entertainment, and philanthropy, founded by Jeff Rustia, will feature a series of high impact events spread over five days, across a range of incredible venues in Toronto. The week-long event will feature headline fashion shows by top Filipino Fashion Designers from Canada and the Philippines, legendary exhibits ranging from the Fashion Statement of Jose Rizal, to a special Mangyan Tribes Exhibit, to Francis Libiran’s Famous 100 Dress Collection. It will also feature a spectacular array of Filipino performances, film screenings, live music, entertainment, culture, art and food.

“2013 will be an incredible year for Filipino fashion, as we present the very first Canada Philippine Fashion Week showcasing the best in haute couture, style, innovation, culture and creativity of Filipino designers in Canada and in the Philippines! And the best part is that it’s all for a great cause. We are partnering with the Kol Hope Foundation for Children, a charitable organization that reaches out to help and support children with disabilities in Canada and the Philippines. It’s truly fashion with a heart. We are truly blessed to have the help and support of friends and talented people from the Philippine and Canadian fashion industry, as well as the loyalty and commitment of our sponsors and benefactors, and the creative brilliance of an army of international designers, models, makeup and hair professionals all coming together with a single goal in mind. – to make a real difference in the lives of children through the Kol Hope Foundation for Children,” says Jeff Rustia, Executive Director and Founder of Canada Philippine Fashion Week.

“We are very honoured and touched to have the loving support of Canada Philippine Fashion Week and everyone involved.  This event will assist us in our mission to help and support children in Canada and the Philippines, ” says Melinda Rustia, President of Kol Hope Foundation for Children. “We are extremely grateful and we are waiting with bated breath for this pioneering event.”

Tickets for the event will be on sale beginning April 2013 with a complete list of fashion designers and performers to be announced.

About Kol Hope Foundation for Children

Kol Hope Foundation for Children was established in 2002 as a registered Canadian charitable organization that helps children born with Trisomy-related disabilities in Canada and the Philippines. Kol Hope Foundation for Children is named after Kol, a Filipino-Canadian boy, who was born with Trisomy 13, a fatal genetic syndrome. Kol was diagnosed to live only 3 months, but against all odds, he lived for 14 years. He was fed by g-tube, required life support, 24 hour nursing care, and was unable to walk or talk. He passed away on Oct 9, 2011, and has left behind an incredible legacy of love, courage and hope. He is the story and inspiration behind Kol Hope Foundation for Children.

Since its inception, to date, Kol Hope Foundation has raised over $500,000 CDN dollars and has donated a total of 1.85 million Pesos to the Philippines. The Kol Hope Fund at Easter Seals Canada helps children attend Summer Camps and has provided basic needs such as wheelchairs and respite care.  The Kol Hope Fund at Hospital for Sick Kids has helped fund the genetics clinic, which has provided children with the best care and treatment. In the Philippines, Kol Hope Foundation has provided financial support to the Bacolod Boys Home and the Holy Infant Home, two special homes that care for children, many of whom suffer from disabilities.

About Canada Philippine Fashion Week

Canada Philippine Fashion Week Inc. is a non-profit organization aimed at showcasing the fashion, culture, creativity and artistry of Filipinos in Canada and the Philippines.

Canada Philippine Fashion Week aims to enhance public awareness, image, and the rise of Filipino fashion on the world stage and open up the fashion trade between Canada and the Philippines.  It celebrates leading Filipino fashion icons in addition to supporting both young and emerging designers. Canada Philippine Fashion Week is committed to creating fundraising events that will help children in Canada and the Philippines.


Summit silliness

So the G8 and G20 summits are rolling into town…one up in Huntsville, Ontari-a-rio, and the other bigger one — right in my backyard.

You’ve read and heard the news…million-dollar fake lakes, the mounties and illegitimate imported security services, sonic sound-blasting anti-rioter machines, an armada of special services staff and media people to cover this über-expensive world get-together.

I just never imagined it could come SO uncomfortably close to home.  My backyard is the shared courtyard of the Rogers Centre Skydome, where on a good Blue Jays Game day, or rock concert evening, I can see streams of sports fans or concertgoers mingle outside of the big dome.  These days, there are platoons of OPP officers on horseback practicing their drills, or handfuls of event coordinators starting to put up metal fence posts around the perimeter of Bremner Avenue, all the way around to the south entrance of the Metro Convention Centre near Rees St. (where the bulk of the G20 summit activities will take place).  On Front Street West at the corner of Blue Jays Way, there are already cement barricades in place, I imagine to keep out the crowds a few feet away from the actual Metro Convention Centre front of building.

It’s surreal, and yes it’s history in the making, but what a spectacle!  Tomorrow I’m going to an information session for residents of this G20 summit zone, where hopefully some of our questions are going to be answered. As in, will we be able to survive this ordeal? And, what can we do, short of leaving town altogether, to live normally (as much as possible). Part of me wants to do just that: take a flight to a remote island off of Java (like the mysterious island in LOST). But another part of me refuses to be ousted out of my own home, just because the politicians decided they would use our taxpayers’ money and lavish it on our out of town guests, just to prove that we Canadians have a beautiful country.

I think I’ll stay and witness the silliness, and (hopefully) live to tell about it.

June in Swoon

Where did May go? Seems that, halfway through this Tiger year 2010 already, we find ourselves in one of the summerest months of them all–June. Around my neighbourhood (which is right in the midst of those iconic landmarks of T.Dot – the masculine CN Tower, beside the feminine SkyDome) – I can already see signs of what could potentially be a rather explosive G20 Summit. Normally a traffic bottleneck most weekdays around rush-hour, my ‘hood will soon be home to a few thousand delegates from around the “developed” world, who have chosen to come here to discuss…what? the economy? environmental concerns? fun ways to fend off some angry protesters?

I notice more provincial police officers decked in OPP Black & White uniforms, lurking with their Vespa-like scooters — parked at most corners of this quadrant, from King St. West and Bathurst, to right at my front door. Are they extras from a film-shooting of “The Matrix — Final Attack”?  Also, I see our taxpayers’ loonies being put to use whenever I attempt to drive anywhere on the Lakeshore or Gardiner Expressway…and, there’s construction. Or Bridge work, or widening of lanes, or any other possible form of blockage or delay to anyone who has to pass on these public highways.  I can understand the necessity — Toronto needs to be prettified for our international guests. But it’s beginning to feel a little claustrophobic.

Think I’ll take the bike out more often, to get around. Bound to be some rockin’ times ahead…

Tastes of Heaven 2010

CD recording in Cebu

July 22nd to August 22nd, 2010

The MQHM (Mary Queen of Heaven Missionary) Sisters have invited me to join them in their first-ever CD recording – an album of inspiring new songs by fresh local composers in Cebu, Philippines, which will feature the Sisters’ Choir and me as soloist on some songs.

We first met last January 2010, coming together for the fund raiser concert at the Waterfront Hotel in Lahug, Cebu City, to benefit women and children victims of prostitution. Thank God the event was successful…with the help of many generous benefactors, we were able to raise significant funds to help the rebuilding of their (recently fire-damaged) Home of Love – a rehabilitation and training center for over 50 women and children on their road to recovery.

How nice to see and work with the ever-joyful, highly-spirited Sisters again, and with amazingly talented Filipino musicians in this venture. The Sisters hope to create more awareness and to spread hope and joy with the songs on their new album, as they continue their work. This will also be my first time doing a recording outside of Canada…looking forward with gusto!


The struggle we are witnessing today in Thailand between the insurgent “Red Shirt” protesters and the government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva saddens me… I had just passed through this beautiful part of the world for the first time last February 2010, on a trip to Siem Riep, Cambodia, to explore the temples and history of this remarkable city. Bangkok was the main hub, going to Siem Riep from Manila and back again. How ironic that the centuries-old animosity between the two ancient cultures of Thailand and Cambodia — then called Siam and Khmer — is mirrored in the bloody scenes we see today. (Siem Riep literally translates as “the City where Siam was defeated”.)

Civil unrest and discontent will always find expression among people who are unjustly treated by those in authority who abuse their power. The protests in downtown Bangkok may have been violently repressed by the Thai soldiers for now, but the people’s rage could now be channeled into guerrilla warfare. The desire for necessary justice remains unquenchable.

Carrassauga – May 28 – 30, 2010

Carrasauga Festival of Cultures (May 28 to 31, 2010)

This year I will be performing with internationally acclaimed dance group Culture Philippines of Ontario, in the annual Carrasauga Festival of Cultures, from Friday May 28th to Sunday May 30th.  A dazzling blend of dance, colorful costumes, live percussion ensemble, and singing will greet audiences from around the world — all held in different locations in Mississauga.

Our performances will be held in the Philippines Pavilion, located at the Hershey Centre Community Rinks – Rink 1, at 5500 Rose Cherry Place, Mississauga ON L4Z 4B6 (North off Matheson, one traffic light East of Kennedy).

Catch us at any of these showtimes:

Friday, May 28th
8:00 pm
10:00 pm

Saturday, May 29th
7:00 pm
9:00 pm

Sunday, May 30th
4:00 pm
6:00 pm

For more information, call 905.615.3010 or visit

See you there!

World Youth Day

Lilac sings as soloist with the Sacred Music Society,  for Pope John Paul II, at World Youth Day 2002 – held in Toronto.