Wednesday, October 13, 2010


When Rhex Arboleda sings praises at church lately, it won’t only be for worship but perhaps also to thank his good fortune after he was chosen for the hit TV series “Extreme Makover: Home Edition”.

Many Fil-Ams will be introduced for the first time to Arboleda and his family when the episode airs on ABC this Sunday.

He was a music teacher back home, went to the United States in 2002 to pursue a master’s degree in education at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and has been making waves ever since.

He composed the inspirational “Song of Moses” and posted it on MySpace in 2008. He wrote four more songs, then another four. A company named QuickStar Productions saw his song on MySpace and offered to include “Song of Moses” in a CD compilation of Christian music where proceeds would support a church and community in Uganda.

That CD was released last June. Arboleda is now trying to produce his first solo album of worship songs.

“Part of my writing is my desire to serve God and a way to give a good message out there,” he was quoted by the news website The Compass.

Thousands of American families vie to be in “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”, a reality show that provides home renovations for less fortunate families. It is produced by the same outfit that comes out with “Big Brother”, “Fear Factor” and “Deal or No Deal” that is associated with Disney-ABC.

Arboleda admits he’s an avid fan of the show. He described being selected as “a huge outpouring of blessings from God”.

Arboleda and his wife Claire have five children, four boys and a girl – C.J., Joshua, Calix, Cullen and J.R, ages 2-10.

“Every father wants to have the best for their family. We all work hard to provide,” he Maureen Wallenfang in “The News-Record” and posted in

Their 586 square-foot house on 770 Elm Street in Neenah was old and moldy, and told Wallenfang some of his children suffered from allergies and asthma. Their new home is 4,200 square-feet and reportedly valued at $300,000.

In a statement, Disney-ABC described Arboleda as one of “Neenah’s hometown heroes”.

“Rhex has distinguished himself by locally leading the movement to banish childhood obesity. In 2004, he created ‘Move to the Groove’ which is designed to get both teachers and students up on their feet and in shape. Less like gym class and more like play, this dance-fitness program is already being used in several local elementary schools,” they said.

So aside from getting a new house, the show’s producers have also redesigned an old ice cream truck to make “Move to the Groove” more accessible to school kids in the area.

The show promises to be an eye opener for many Americans as well as Filipinos. As an added attraction the Arboleda episode will also feature popular “Dancing with the Stars” dancers Derek Hough, Mark Ballas, Tony Dovolani and Chelsie Hightower.

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