Nelson del Castillon

Nelson Del Castillo – It’s Nice To See You on National TV Again

Just a quick and short post for one person who influenced my music in my early years of self-learning and playing the keyboards.

The video above talks about Nelson Del Castillo’s two songs that became hit nationally.

Readers please take note how Nelson without qualm or whatever stated that his composition “You’re My Best Friend” was written….”this is for our Lord Jesus Christ”, he said.

Nelson’s composition “If” was first heard on local radio In the 90’s in Iloilo City through Hiligaynon Records.

It became a nation-wide hit and garnered double-platinum status, reached number one in the Philippine music charts, listened to in Thailand and included in an American jazz album.

I had the chance of going with Nelson promoting his hit song “You’re My Best Friend” in malls around Manila in 1995. We played together in the praise and worship band of Faith Baptist Church for several occasions in that year.

Besides his raw talent in playing the keys and composing songs, I admire Nelson for his humility and generousity in sharing his talents.

Below is his jazz rendition of “It Is Well With My Soul”, as recorded and shared on FB by his wife, Grace on 28 August.

Keep the faith Nelson del Castillo!

Kind regards to Grace and the del Castillo boys.

multicultural believers fellowship

Let Us Sing Praises

The Multicultural Believers Fellowship had the chance to be part of a multi-ethnic Christmas concert that the Church Street Bible Chapel organised on 23 November at their auditorium.

One of the two songs that we sang was “Let Us Sing Praises” and its Tagalog-translation.

“Let Us Sing Praises” is the English-version of the song “Mag-Amba Sang Pagdayaw“, which is a popular Hiligaynon (or Ilonggo) praise song among Baptist churches in Western Visayas and some churches in Mindanao.

Please read the English and Tagalog lyrics below:


Let us sing praises to our God
For He created us.
Let’s give Him all our moments and our lives
Worship His Holy name!
For when we give our faith and trust in Him
We gain the joy of the Lord
Let’s forsake our sinfulness
And praise His Almighty name.

Jesus Christ has come to seek and save who are lost
He is coming back again, our final victory!

Let’s praise Him every day of our lives
Let’s shout out loud hallelujah
Let us be His witness into all the world
He is the Almighty God!

Raise up your hands in praise,
Believe in His mighty pow’r.
Go and tell it to the world
Go and tell it to the world
Go and tell it to the world
That God… God is love!


Umawit ng papuri sa ating Diyos
Diyos na May Likha
Mag-alay ng papuri sa bawat oras
Sambahin ang ngalan Niya
Sa ating pagpupuri at pagsamba
Nagagalak ang Diyos
Kasalana’y iwaglit at papurihan natin Siya

Si Kristo’y narito sa pagligtas sa atin
Siya’y muling magbabalik tagumpay nating lahat.

Purihin nation Siya sa bawat araw
Awitin natin ang Hallelujah
Sabihin natin sa sanlibutan
Ang Diyos ay makapangyarihan

Itaas ang mga kamay
Sa ating pagsamba
Isigaw sa sangkatauhan
Isigaw sa sangkatauhan
Isigaw sa sangkatauhan
Ang Diyos… ay pag-ibig!

Pastoring a multicultural church, it is my desire that this song will be translated to other languages.

Learning a song in many languages has impact on the unity and fellowship of the church.


History of “Mag-amba sang Pagdayaw”

Sambag Baptist Church circa 1990

Sambag Baptist Church during the ‘Mag-amba sang Pagdayaw’ years

The many years of singing and hearing “Alive, Alive Forevermore” in Sunday schools and gatherings made me pray that God would give me a tune that would somehow be an alternative song.

In first quarter of 1989, I recalled playing a melody at Sambag Baptist Church’s piano and suddenly the inspiration for lyrics came. Thus, I was able to compose “Mag-amba sang Pagdayaw”, which means “Let’s Sing Praises”.

The song was first sang by the Sambag Baptist Church choir in one of their services. The church congregates in the village of Sambag, Jaro, Iloilo City, Philippines.

Mag-amba sang Pagdayaw” was first taught among Sambag Baptist Church youth. Then they sung it in one program during the Iloilo Kasapulanan Baptist Youth Fellowship Union in Concepcion, Iloilo in summer 1989.

Teaching the song to some youth leaders.

Teaching the song to some youth leaders.

Each time I had the opportunity, especially during youth gatherings, I would teach the song. I remembered teaching delegates at the CBFYP leadership training in 1989.

The Bethany Baptist Temple choir in Bacolod City sang “Mag-amba sang Pagdayaw” in 1991 during their Original Contemporary Christian Song (OCCS) concert. I stayed at the household of Sherrie June and Nelson Convite for two weeks to teach the choir the Ilonggo songs that I composed.

The OCCS concert with Bethany Baptist Temple choir was quite memorable because it was my first opportunity to perform in Bacolod City. I also had the great chance to meet and befriended many brothers and sisters in Christ.

Joining the Original Composition of Christian Songs concert of Bethany Baptist Temple at West Negros University.

Joining the Original Composition of Christian Songs concert of Bethany Baptist Temple at West Negros University, Bacolod City, Philippines

My deep gratitude for Bethany Baptist Temple choir and congregation for their support and ministry.

Aileen Banasing, a co-officer in the Convention Baptist Youth Fellowship of the Philippines (CBYFP) suggested my name.

In September 1995, I submitted “Mag-amba sang Pagdayaw” to Far East Broadcasting Company who launch a contest for the “Pagdayaw” (Hiligaynon Papuri) album they were producing. Praise God, “Mag-amba sang Pagdayaw” became one of the songs of the “Pagdayaw” Album.

What started as an earnest wish to come up with an alternative song became true in God’s own perfect time.

Today, churches in Panay, Negros, and Mindanao continue to sing “Mag-amba sang Pagdayaw” or “Pagdayaw”. It is my prayer that they will teach the song from generation to generation.

All glory be to God, our Almighty Composer!

[button url=”” target=”blank” background=”#ccef2d” color=”#06096a” size=”4″ wide=”yes”]CLICK to view “MAG-AMBA SANG PAGDAYAW LYRICS WITH CHORDS”[/button]

Mag-amba sang Pagdayaw Lyrics and Chords

Central Philippine University Blog


Mag-amba sang pagdayaw sa aton Dios
Dios nga Manunuga
Ihatag ta sa Iya ang mga tinion
Himayaon naton Sia.

Sa aton nga pagtoo kag pagsalig
Nagakalipay Sia
Isikway naton ang sala
Kag Sia pagadayawon ta


Si Cristo ang nagkari sa pagluwas sa aton
Sia magakari liwat kadalag-an naton

(Repeat Chorus)


Amba pagdayaw, amba pagdayaw
Si Hesus ko buhi sa gihapon
Amba pagdaya, amba pagdaya
Si Hesus ko buhi

(Repeat Chorus)


Dayawon naton Sia sa kada adlaw
Isinggit naton ang Hallelujah
Isugid naton sa mga katawhan
Ang Dios Sia lang ang gamhanan

Ibayaw mga kamot, magtoo kita
Isinggit sa katawhan,
Isinggit sa katawhan,
Isinggit sa katawhan,
Ang Dios…Ang Dios Gugma!

*I took these lines from the popular Sunday school song, “Alive, Alive Forevermore”.

[button url=”” target=”blank” background=”#ccef2d” color=”#06096a” size=”4″ wide=”yes”]CLICK to view “MAG-AMBA SANG PAGDAYAW LYRICS WITH CHORDS”[/button]


Awakened! –CEW Theme Song mp3

Lyrics by Tessa Kwe
Music by Jonan Castillon
Vocals by Jen Joy Gandola

My heart rejoices in song O Lord,
My soul is glad and full of joy,
My lips shall praise your goodness and mercy,
My whole being glorifies your name;
For this child that once was lost,
Now is found!

I have come back home
Into my Father’s waiting arms;
As one soul comes back to You humbly,
All of Heaven rejoices.

I have given my heart to Christ,
My world once dark is now filled with light;
And now I know what I must do,
Live in God’s way and word;
For as my Savior died for me,
I must live for Him.

“Awakened” was the Christ Emphasis Week theme song in July 2010 at Central Philippine University, Iloilo City, Philippines.