Wednesday, June 17, 2009

BALAGTASAN (PART 1) (February 02, 2009)

Yesterday was the beginning of the rest of our life as a Lakandiwa.

As early as 9 a.m. we had to be at the Cultural Center of the Philippines' Bulwagang Pambansang Alagad ng Sining.

By we, meaning our team, formerly known as OFW (or Overseas Filipino Writers) now informally called MTV (for Mike, Teo, and Vim).

CCP Visual Arts Department OIC, Hermie Beltran asked us to perform, as Literary Arts representatives, during the biggest one-day performing arts festival -- Pasinaya 2009: CCP Open House Festival!

With us were more than 2,000 artists who made CCP – Harbour Square and Star Theater included -- the most creative place on earth during the opening salvo of its 40th Anniversary celebration with at least 70 short previews of upcoming shows in its 2009 performance season were seen by the public who was invited to pay what they can and see all they can in one day.

Imagine if you give your bottom peso, in exchange you will get a world-class taste or two of the CCP Resident Companies namely Ballet Philippines, Bayanihan Philippine National Folk Dance Company, National Music Competitions for Young Artists, Philippine Ballet Theater, Philippine Madrigal Singers, Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group, Tanghalang Pilipino and the University of Santo Tomas Symphony Orchestra.

Different activities were held in different nooks and crannies like the Music Zone, Dance Zone, Theater Zone, Film Zone, Visual Arts Zone, Culinary Zone, Children’s Zone, and, for the very first time, Literary Zone.

Thanks to the Associate Artistic Director for the Performing Arts, Chris Millado, for opening its door to us in the Pasinaya 2009 that offered workshops, information booths, exhibits, Cinemalaya film screenings, puppet shows, storytelling, a culinary fair and cooking demos, an arts and collectibles market, and, at last, performance poetry!

It is never too late to buy tickets at the CCP Performing Arts Department through 832-1125 loc. 1602-1607.

Three of us had to catch the call time of Sining Gising: Ugnayan ng DepEd at NCAA sa Tinig ng Bayan aired every Sunday, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. over NBN Channel 4. Its host, National Commission on Culture and Arts (NCAA) Executive Director Cecile Guidote-Alvarez invited us to do a 10-minute Balagtasan for the 18-year old National Arts Month that started with Presidential Proclamation No. 683 in 1991. Now, the NCCA, led by Mrs. Guidote-Alvarez, and its Chair, Department of Education Undersecretary Dr. Vilma Labrador through the NAM Artistic Committee headed by Prof. Ricardo de Ungria, Commissioner of the NCCA-Subcommission on the Arts (SCA), is taking this artfest to the next level by calling National Arts Month the Philippine International Arts Festival (PIAF). Selected artists from different countries are expected to join in the different PIAF events through the PIAF Artistic Committee in coordination with the Philippine International Theatre Institute (ITI) through its Sec. General Malou Jacob, also concurrent NCCA Deputy Executive Director.

While waiting for our turn, we learned about the 17 DepEd Regional Schools for the Arts that gathered together for the 2nd Sining Pambansa in Baguio City, the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the Artists’ Housing Village in Angono, the launching of the newly-restored Metropolitan Theater, and the unveiling of the Urdaneta Park in Urdaneta City, Pangasinan, in commemoration of Fray Andres de Urdaneta’s 500th year, among others. Well, it was Joey Ayala, the National Committee on Music head, who got us involved with his brainchild -- Organik Muzik -- a series of four concerts showing the metamorphosis of elements of Philippine music from village roots to urban manifestations, from Cordillera traditions to Kadangyan’s world music, from Leyteño siday to Junior Kilat’s reggae Binisaya, from Gawad Manlilikha ng Bayan (GAMABA) Awardee Samaon Sulaiman’s virtuoso kutyapi-playing to the hard-driving neo-ethnic rock of Popong Landero, from oral poetry to the social realist rap of Tribu's actors and acid-jazz rants of Lourd de Veyra and Radioactive Sago Project. The real deal will happen on February 7 at SM Baguio; February 15 at SM Cebu; February 22 at SM Davao; and February 28 at Bistro 70s along Anonas Road in Quezon City. Right after our wink-of-an-eye television appearance, we rushed to Luneta with no chance at all in watching for ourselves during the delayed broadcast really meant for the Filipino community in Africa, the Gulf Region, Europe and the United States of America. On time, we were able to make it to Concert at the Park, once again, via a Balagtasan sampler during the formal launch of the Ani ng Sining which was simultaneously held in major sites in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao with the following ways of celebrating Filipino artistry:

PA(ng)LABAS on February 10 (4pm) with an opening and symposium at the Forefront Gallery and Aldaba Hall University Theater, University of the Philippines - Diliman; and from February 17 to 21 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP);

Walai-Vernacular Architecture of Mindanao from February 6-13 at General Santos City and Feb. 20-28 at the University of San Agustin, Iloilo City;

Sinerehiyon from February 18 to 22 at the CCP;

Sayaw Pinoy from February 6 to 9 for the Visayas and NCR regions; from February 13 to 16 for Mindanao; and February 20 to 23 for Luzon;

Tanghal! The 3rd National University Theater Festival from February 10 to 14 at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran-Calamba;

Philippine Visual Arts Fest '09 from February 18 to 22 at Robinson’s Place Ermita and Robinson’s Place Pioneer.

By the way, we are also part of the first Taboan: Philippine Writers Festival scheduled from February 11 to 13 at the University of the Philippines Diliman, Ateneo de Manila, and Cubao Expo to celebrate the word -- written, painted, sung, or performed – with writers from the regions and across generations. On February 11, 1:30 to 3:00, at Pulungang Recto, UP Diliman, we will speak with Christine Godinez-Ortega, Anthony Tan, Benilda Santos, Vince Groyon, and Lito Zulueta on how to organize writers about WORKSHOPPING THE WORKSHOP.

For details, please contact 0928-5081057 or call (02) 527-5529 / 527-2192 loc. 508, 612 to 615 or email at or or log on to or

ENGLISH TEACHER: How important is the period?
PEDRO: Very important po because when my sister said she missed her
period, my Dad cried, my Mom fainted, and our driver disappeared.
Regular naps prevent old age, especially if you take them while driving.

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