Monday, January 4, 2010

HAPPY (NEW) LAND! (January 04, 2010)

Not “new” literally.
But literarily.
Happyland happens to come from a Visayan word "hapilan" or garbage dump.
Yes, it is the same old relocation site in Tondo, Manila.
However, recently it has been experiencing change.
Slowly yet surely for Lola Aurelia Tuazon.
She witnessed it herself in her grandson, Mark Punay, a freshie from Tondo High, who was an introvert, perhaps, since birth.
The first and the last time we saw her apo was when he became an actor!
How come?
He was one of the barefoot football players who starred in a short presentation FutKal (Futbol sa Kalye).
Together with other “Futkaleros,” he performed during their acting workshop's culminating activity at the Museo Pambata, its project partner, that lately offers Christmas card collection designed by Robert Alejandro, Beth Parrocha-Doctolero, Jo Ann Bereber-Gando, and Pepper Roxas for a cause.
It was last Jose Rizal Day and it was near, in terms of time and space, Gantimpala Theater and National Parks Development Committee's Luneta staging of Kapulungan ng mga Diyos based on El Consejos Delos Dioses, a play written in 1880 by Rizal that won first prize at Liceo Artistico de Manila.Compared to the cast and crew of Jeffrey Camañag who did the direction and libretto for the said Rizal musical, Futkaleros had to be trained from scratch by Aries Clemeno, Fredo Lazarte, and Danny Lopez in preparation for an indie film.
And the man behind it is a former print and broadcast journalist Jim Libiran.
After his first, the thriving Tribu, he is back with another, the first Filipino football film, Happyland!
Two years ago, Project Strykr was born to improve lives of young Filipinos from his birthplace Tondo.
After, gansta rappers, he is into football kids taught by Salesian missionaries for several generations from the 60s up to the present: “I wrote a 100-page screenplay about the story of poor kids picked up from the streets of Tondo and then taught a "strange" sport -- football. Eventually, through the game, the 12- to 17 year-olds learn some valuable lessons that will enable them to survive their situation and get a better chance at life.”
To this day, they are trying to raise 400,000 euro to be able to make an excellent film in the tradition of American Larry Clark's Kids (1995) or Indonesian Garin Nugroho's Leaf on a Pillow (1998) or Brazilian Fernando Meirelles and Katia Lund's City of God (2002) based on the 1997 semi-autobiographical novel by Paulo Lins about a favela in Rio de Janeiro called Cidade de Dios.
But it does not stop there.
Part of a three-pronged social entrepreneurial project is turn them into world-class football players.
Why not?
One of the greatest footballers in F.C. Barcelona's history is Paulino Alcantara, who is considered the first Asian and Filipino player to play in the European league at the young age of 15 and he scored a total of 357 goals in 357 matches in his career, making him one of the greatest goal-scorers in Barcelona's history.
Twenties and thirties saw the heydays of Philippine football until after World War II when De La Salle, not a university yet then, won the most number of trophies in National Collegiate Athletic Association with 21.
One of the La Sallian star soccer players was able to turn the Fulkaleros into a fighting semi-pro team after 24 months of training with its scientific module being compiled into a football manual or football book.
The mastermind, Peter Amores of the back-to-back champion Green Archer team during the late 90s, believes that Futkal aims to bring the game right in front of them: right here, right now with a ball, two rocks that will serve as goal, and a challenge, whether your are 2,4,6,7,8 or 9 players, as long as you know how to kick the ball and run, everything else can be learned during the game.
Amores once revealed Futkal's secret: “On the mental side of Futkal, we emphasize that physical strength is not as powerful as being analytical, using the mind and making the right decisions at the right moment. We practice sportsmanship, by accepting defeat, camaraderie by thanking your challenger for the great game, and use positivism as a tool that will push us forward to the next round. Socially, we will build bridges with all walks of life. It appeals to everyone from the upper-class to the middle-class, to the lower-class and even lower, from Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao to Brazil, Portugal, Argentina England, from the poorest country of the world to the richest. Because of Futkal or football in general, we will be able to build bridges with them, getting to know more about their people, culture and country, making us bigger and brighter in the map.”
These 25 or so teens will be the core group of what will one day be a real Tondo Football Club.
Recently, the first FutKal Invitational Championship was held for two days at Mall of Asia during Gawad Kalinga (GK) Expo's Power of We where Dapitan won the over other teams from Barangay BASECO (or Bataan Shipping and Engineering Company), among other GK villages. Two months ago, the legal incorporation of Futkal, Inc. became a non-profit educational organization, but their journey never ended.
At the Pusan Film Market in Korea, representatives of two different sections of the Cannes Film Festival -- Semaine de la Critique and Director's Fortnight -- expressed a possibility of a Cannes premier for Happyland.
Like them, we hope and pray you can satisfy their needs:
Foreign, and/or domestic, football teams and institutions and afficionados who may want to lend financial support, donate or invest in a socal entrepreneurial project;
Private institutions, non-profits, foundations, advertisers who may be interested in participating in the film;
Actors, artists, football players (19 under), friends, both local and abroad, who can help us connect with the right networks for funding, donation and/or lend their time, talent and support.
This month they ought to begin the soonest to beat the Cannes deadline and the World Cup season.
Well, that explains why there is no Jim Libiran in the amBisyon 2010's shortlist with other great Filipino filmmakers like Ditsi Carolino, Emmanuel Dela Cruz, Kiri Dalena, Henry Frejas, Jeffrey Jeturian, Jade Castro, Erik Matti, Brillante Mendoza, Ellen Ramos, John Red, Raymond Red, Jerrold Tarog, John Torres, and Paolo Villaluna who got a small grant from ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) to produce a four to eight minuter about their ambition for a nation in crisis.
Will his fellowship at the 49th University of the Philippines' National Writers Workshop this summer get in the way of his Futkal caravan in various communities and schools nationwide?
Meanwhile, we have to convince our president, Dinah Pacquing Nadera, and the rest of the Foundation AWIT board to prioritize direct service over capacity building as our thrust.
The "sixth sick sheik's sixth sheep's sick" is said to be the toughest tongue twister in the English language.
No one can go back and make a new beginning, but anyone can start from now and make a happy ending.

CHILDERMAS (December 28, 2009)

Last week, we got this text about yesterday's event: “You are cordially invited to a Christmas party to be held at our newly built resort on December 27.”
Unavoidable's an understatement: “We will provide you with free transportation and accomodation.”
Especially when it seemed so wholesome: “Please bring your whole family.”
But we had second thoughts when we learned about the venue: Sharif Aguak Maguindanao.”
“See you there!” sounded to us like “See you in court” to Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 84 presiding Judge Luisito Cortez who declined his chance of a lifetime due to fears for his and his family's safety.
Ironically, we got the message while we were in Timog, a post-Lantern Parade night cap, at the rooftop office of Atty. Redemberto Villanueva, one the Ampatuans' legal eagles!
Anyway, in mind, our December 27 was for the baptism of Nathan Kyle, Reinan and Letlet de Guzman's panganay, at Ching Abad Santos' Tilamsik ng Sining.
If not, the same date was for birthday of Josh and Iňigo, sons of our editor, Isabel de Leon, a schoolmate of Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes who would treat the Andal Ampatuan Jr.'s trial as an ordinary case that would require no special police security.
Normally, we charge that joke to our Niňos Inocentes experience!
However, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) is taking that seriously like such Christmas traditions as Mama's Ube Jam from the La Boholana Heritage Tours.
Or as dead-serious as NCCA Commissioner Ricardo de Ungria's challenge in his keynote speech during the Philippine PEN conference last December 6: "The silence of art and literature in the wake of the Maguindanao massacre is crushingly telling. Our realities in this country far outstrip our wildest imaginings, forcing us to dig deeper into our personal griefs and solitudes. Which is probably not the right way to go. For where does that put, pray tell, the literature it produces that ought to confront such realities at the same time that it celebrates life? And what does it say of the artists' and writers' engagement with the realities of the time?"
Are we going to take it or leave it?
Or live with it?
If you failed to stand up for democracy during KM64's Duguang Lupa literary reading at the Conspiracy Garden Cafe last Tuesday or during its December 26 deadline for KM64 Chapbook about Maguindanao – High Chair 12 is your second chance to respond to the following questions:
(1) What did you feel upon hearing about the massacre?
(2) How could poetry be written/art be made so that it has value to the event?
You can still submit poems and essays in English and Filipino – to its editors Conchitina Cruz and Adam David next year until January 15 and 30 – to highchair
Talking about Childermas or, rather, Childermassacre.
In memory of the innocent male infants and boys under two years of age who were killed by order of Judea's King Herod who was seeking Jesus Christ's death -- Presidential Proclamation 1207 was signed on December 28, 2006 declaring December 28 of every year as the Holy Innocents' Day.
The rationale is to address the problems of the youth today, as "the abandoned and neglected children of today are the Holy Innocents of our times."
Thus, the Street Children's Day is today!
NCCA now opens the first CinePambata Festival at its Auditorium in Intramuros.
Prizes will be awarded to the best filmmakers among Rica Arevalo, Carlos Corpus IV, Jedd Chris Dumaguina, Noriel Jarito, Donnie Sacueza, Vic Tiro, and Milo Tolentino who agreed to show their works to streetchildren under the guidance of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) headed by Secretary Esperanza Cabral and the City of Manila.
Filmshowing will be followed by a series of participative programs of NCCA Chair Dr. Vilma Labrador and Executive Director Cecile Guidote Alvarez up until the finale wherein at least 300 kids are expected to walk to Fort Santiago for a heritage tour with Intramuros Administration's Bambi Harper to commemorate 113th Jose Rizal Day.
In cooperation with the National Council for Children’s Television (NCCT) and the Kapitbisig Laban sa Kahirapan (KALAHI) Cultural Caregiving Program, NCCA will also conduct intensive visual arts, music, dance and theater arts workshops -- for the differently-abled, indigents, orphans, youth in conflict, street kids, children of farmers and fisher folks, and victims of trauma through armed conflict, sexual abuse, and disasters -- simultaneously in a resettlement area in Bohol and in Datu Piang, Maguindanao.
KALAHI Cultural Caregiving Program -- anchored on the Earthsavers DREAMS Methodology and the holistic approach accepted within the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) voc-tech ladderized curriculum -- is a poverty alleviation program aimed at achieving the eight United Nations Millennium Development Goals.
After its launch in Bohol during the National Arts Month (NAM) celebration in 2005, it had prioritized the 28 poorest provinces in the poverty index of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) in Luzon (with the Mindanao State University's Sining Kadidilimudan from Maguindanao and Kabpapagariya Ensemble from General Santos), Visayas (with the Maribojoc Punta Cruz Cultural Collective of Bohol and the Cebu Pasundayag Cultural Network and Kapunungan Ni ‘Noy Kiko), and Mindanao (with the Consortium of Young Artists and Indigenous Group from Isabela and participants in the aborning Baler Academy for Performance and Media Arts).
Observed Sining Kambayoka founder and KALAHI national coordinator Frank Rivera, who trained young and old thespian talents at the Datu Odin Sinsuat Refugee Center last September, long before he was appointed as the NCCT Executive Director: “It is about time that films and television shows not only be geared toward entertainment. More importantly, these films and television shows should contribute to positive behavior, culture and values among Filipino children.” UNICEF lists 250,000 street children living and working in the key cities of the Philippines.
Lucena City is one of them.
Sadly, we had bad experiences in Quezon Province's capital.
Our house there, along Herta Road in Iyam, got ransacked again as if to celebrate the 3rd anniversary of our son Awit's death!
Once more, the tiniest tot passed through our window which they sawed, perhaps, to tune of Stille Nacht.
When we texted last December 14 our classmate, Elizabeth Mape, she immediately sought the assistance of our batchmate, Nelson Antenor, who came to the rescue with other cops.
Unfortunately there is no investigation report about the crime to this day.
Right then and there, another waiting game just began.
Our previous cases had not been acted upon since 2007 .
Was the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 a big factor?
Your guess is as good as ours.
We exerted efforts to help administer psychological assessment and other tests to seven of 12 thieves, the youngest being 9 years old, who did us wrong the first time.
Through our Foundation AWIT, which we formed to keep our departed son's memory alive, we provided the services, even fed them and the accompanying adults.
It came to a halt when the other offenders were not brought to Philippine General Hospital for the scheduled assessment since our city could provide no transportation for them.
We were asked to transport them to Manila, and then when we went back to Lucena to administer tests for the suspects, we were also asked to assess other children in conflict with the law.
Where does this lead us then when we are still looking for the clear-cut capacity building activities for social workers and police investigators or livelihood projects for parents, among other programs?
Diversion is said to be an alternative process in determining the responsibility and treatment of children in conflict with the law.
Yes, we did not resort to formal court proceedings but what about its mechanisms like conferencing, mediation and counseling.
Should we help them do their jobs or do their jobs ourselves? It appears to be that the government agencies are never ready to properly implement the three-year-old Republic Act 9344! Parents, too, should also be involved in the treatment.
The law should also make them culpable and responsible.
On the other, we the aggrieved party has to keep on praying to St. Anthony, or Santa Claus, to return the things we lost.
Our innocence included.
Jesus and Satan were having an on-going argument about who was better on the computer.. They had been going at it for days, and frankly God was tired of hearing all the bickering. Finally fed up, God said: “THAT'S IT! I have had enough. I am going to set up a test that will run for two hours, and from those results, I will judge who does the better job.” So Satan and Jesus sat down at the keyboards and typed away. They moused. They faxed. They e-mailed. They e-mailed with attachments. They downloaded. They did spreadsheets! They wrote reports. They created labels and cards. They created charts and graphs. They did some genealogy reports. They did every job known to man. Jesus worked with heavenly efficiency and Satan was faster than he ll. Then, ten minutes before their time was up, lightning suddenly flashed across the sky, thunder rolled, rain poured, and, of course, the power went off. Satan stared at his blank screen and screamed every curse word known in the underworld. Jesus just sighed. Finally the electricity came back on, and each of them restarted their computers. Satan started searching frantically, screaming: “It's gone! It's all GONE! 'I lost everything when the power went out!” Meanwhile, Jesus quietly started printing out all of his files from the past two hours of work. Satan observed this and became irate. “Wait!” he screamed. “That's not fair! He cheated! How come he has all his work and I don't have any?” God just shrugged and said: “JESUS SAVES.”
There are times when prayer is the only gift we can give to the people we care for.
C-hrist gave
H-imself as a
R-eward so that
I-ndividuals know the
T-hat He did for
M-ankind to
A-chieve the gift of

ARTS PRODUCTIVITY (December 21, 2009)

The University of the Philippines' College of Arts and Letters (CAL) Week began last December 8, a week after the much-awaited Oblation Run, and ended December 18 when the annual Lantern Parade celebrated its 75th birthday as an institutionalized university tradition, though it really took off in 1922!
Last Friday, too, the U.P. Board of Regents approved the appointment of U.P. Artists 2009 to 2011 -- counterpart of the U.P. Scientific Productivity System (SPS) that rewards outstanding achievement in the arts by faculty members with the rank of Artist I, II, or III, with corresponding honoraria – upon Pres. Emerlinda Roman's the recommendation.
Among the so-called Artists III are National Artist Virgilio Almario with U.P. Institute of Creative Writing director Jose Dalisay, former Dean Nicanor Tiongson, and Josefino Chino Toledo while Artists II are Janet Aracama, former Dean Leonilo Doloricon, Josefina Estrella, Eugene Evasco, J. Neil Garcia, Vice President Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo, Gerardo Rey Lico, Dean Rolando Tolentino, former Dean Rosario Torres-Yu, Basilio Esteban Villaruz, and Patrick Flores, the Jorge Vargas Museum and Filipiniana Research Center's current curator.
We got lucky to be chosen with other Artists I such as Dean Ramon Maria Acoymo, U.P. Open University Chancellor Grace Javier Alfonso, Fernando Austria, Jonas Baes, Yason Banal, Alexander Cortez, Ruben Defeo, former UP Mindanao Chancellor Ricardo de Ungria, Cesar Hernando, Raymundo Maigue, and Raul Navarro.
U.P. B.O.R. approved the proposed U.P. Arts Productivity System (APS) -- during its 1239th meeting on December 17, 2008 -- to motivate outstanding productivity in the creative arts or in arts scholarship for national development.
Based on the S.P.S., the U.P. Artist rank has monetary awards -- P120,000, P144,000, and P180,000 yearly for U.P. Artist I, II, and III respectively -- from a U.P. A.P.S. Endowment Fund!Earlier that day, CAL had its first Christmas party with the new dean, Dr. Elena Mirano, from the Department of Arts Studies, now enjoying its 50th year anniversary via such festivities as Divination: Brenda Fajardo Retells History which will run until 10 January 2010 at the Vargas Museum's Lobby and West Wing Galleries.
As visual historian, Dr. Brenda Villanueva Fajardo recounts our collective past, more often than not, from a female perspective, or “herstory,” as proven by her collectives on specific subjects or narratives, say, in The Baraha ng Babaylan Series, The Babayi Series, The Babaylan Series, The Gininutuan Series, The Sangandaan Series, The Labaw Donggon Series, The Baraha ng Buhay Pilipino Series, The Mitong Filipino Series, The Filipina Migrant Workers Series, The Philippine History Series, The Apocalypse Series, and The Ynang Bayan Series (Philippine Centennial works) that included her design for our U.P. Press-declared Centennial Literary Title -- Mujer Indigena -- four stanzas of which were performed by the Dulaang UP during its opening last December 10.
Our artistic collaboration with Dr. Fajardo dated back a decade ago when she agreed to do the cover for our said epic that placed second during the Philippine Centennial Literary Prize in 1998, the year when she received the CCP's Centennial Award for the Arts honoring 100 outstanding Filipinos who have contributed to building the Filipino nation through art and culture in the last 100 years.
A Ph.D. Philippine Studies holder, she planned to take up agriculture at U.P. Los Baños, but she changed her mind to study art seriously until she got her M.A. Art Education at the University of Wisconsin in 1967, after obtaining a painting certificate in 1962 and before training during 70s under Manuel Rodriguez, Sr. whose retro at U.P. Bulwagan ng Dangal called Re-viewing Rodriguez runs until December 31.
Dr. Fajardo's star was noticed in her exhibits: Baraha ng Buhay Pilipino (CCP: 1989); Mitolohiya (Casa San Miguel, Pundaquit, Zambales:1993); and Buhay Pilipino (Galerie du Rond Pointe, Paris, France: Small Gellery: 1994).
And it continued to shine through Ang Epiko ni Labaw Donggon (Hiraya Gallery, Manila:1995); Recent Works (LIVE: International Art Festival, Tachikawa, Japan: 2000); Daloy (West Gallery, Quezon City: 2001); Recent Works (Atelier Haus, Munchen, Germany: 2004); Padayon (Nineveh Artspace, Sta. Cruz, Laguna: 2005); Lawas, Kalag, Ispiritu (CCP: 2005); Pagitan, Nineveh Artspace, Sta. Cruz, Laguna:2007) to this day.
Aside from Professor Emeritus, U.P.'s lifetime conferment in 2006, her other achievements include Artist-in-Residence (Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore: 2005); Gatpuno Antonio Villegas Award (City of Manila:2004); CCP Outreach PILAK Award (CCP, 2004); Philippine Representative (The 2nd Women’s Art Festival, Seoul, South Korea:2002); Artist-in-Residence (Foundation of Gold, Melbourne, Australia: 2001); Lifetime Achievement Award in the Humanities (National Research Council of the Philippines: 2000); Philippine Representative (Kwang-Ju Biennial, South Korea: 2000); Philippine Representative (LIVE International Arts Festival, Tachikawa, Japan: 2000); Artist-in-Residence (Vermont Studio Center, USA: March-April, 1999); Philippine Representative (ART DOCUMENT 99, Kanazawa, Japan: 1999); Gawad Chancellor Award (UP Diliman: 1997); Outstanding Women in the Arts (Quezon City government:1995); CAPA Award (Diamond Legatee, Philippine Women’s University: 1995); Philippine Representative (Fete Philippines, Galerie La Rond Pointe, Paris, France: 1994); Philippine Representative (1st Asia-Pacific Triennial, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia: 1993); Thirteen Artists Award, CCP: 1992); Women of Distinction Award (YWCA Quezon City Chapter: 1991); Philippine Representative (Tercera Bienal de la Habana 89, Havana, Cuba: 1989); Philippine Representative (IX International Art Biennale, Valparaiso, Chile: 1989); First Place, Intaglio Print / Third Place, Intaglio Print (PAP Annual Graphic Arts Competition & Exhibition: 1975); Philippine Representative (2nd International Biennial of Prints, Seoul, Korea: 1972); Philippine Representative (2nd Triennial of Prints, New Delhi, India: 1971); Philippine Representative (International Biennial, Tokyo, Japan: 1970); and Fulbright-Hays Grantee (University of Wisconsin: 1964-1967).
At 69, she garnered almost all major awards an artist could get but what sets her apart from others was her ability -- as visual artist, painter, printmaker, graphic artist, art scholar, educator, production designer, even actor and director in theatre – that has been paralleled by her active involvement in community work and cultural organizations.
“Fajardo’s life work would be hard to categorize by specific phases or ‘artistic periods’ to define the order of her varied vocations. The fact is that she thrived in these fields of interest, always and inseparably as artist, teacher and organizer, and most often in collaboration with others, having co-founded the Philippine Art Educators Association (PAEA) in 1967 and being an active exponent of Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) since 1970.” CCP's Visual Arts and Museo Division head Karen Flores once wrote: “Beyond her artistic production, Fajardo is a cultural leader who has contributed immensely to the development and organization of Philippine art, most potently by way of workshops and conferences throughout the regions with her involvement in the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). She is also a nurturer of artists and cultural workers, focusing specifically on women by co-founding the Kababaihan sa Sining at Bagong Sibol na Kamalayan (KASIBULAN) in 1987, and on the active sustenance of culture by establishing Baglan Arts and Culture Initiatives with other cultural activists in 1993.”Divination features works of Brenda Fajardo in her own collection consisting of early prints and tarot-inspired paintings. For inquiries during the holiday break, you may contact them at (0927) 497 3528 or send an e-mail to The Museum’s official website may be viewed at
The most common name in the world is not Jesus but Mohammed.
God does not disappoint, but He surprises us because He gives us gifts that are not exactly what we expect but are greater than our expectations.

BUNGA IN BALER (December 14, 2009)

The moment Baler governor, Hon. Bellaflor Angara Castillo, joined us last December 10 at Bay's Inn after coming all the way from China, she asked what any captive audience would ask us: “What is performance art?”
During that opening ceremonies for the Tupada Action and Media Art (TAMA) International Performance Art Festival delegates she was seated fortunately next to Israel's Adina Bar-On so we passed the query to her.
Why not.
After performing in 1973 as a junior student of Bezalel Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Jerusalem, she was labelled scandalous.
Mind you, there was no Hebrew term for her or for what she did when she was just 21 years old!
Eventually, after 36 years, she was recognized by the American Israeli Cultural Foundation for her contribution to Israeli art in 2001.
Idit Porat -- one of the most respected curators and writers in Israel who did her biography entitled Adina Bar-on Performance Artist – considered her as the grand dame of performance art in her country.
“Performance art to me is all about spaces,” she almost whispered to our host, “trying to reveal, to unravel that which is not necessarily seen, attempting to be vivid or intimate that will make people connect.”
While the good governor was trying to figure out who Vito Acconci is – or Buňuel, Godard, Fellini as Adina's influences – we seized the night as if by doing a survey or sorts.
“For me, performance art is a reaction, a body movement,” Aye Ko, the director of New Zero Art Space in Myanmar, admitted, “I am fond of expressing my emotion through it.”
“I love it too,” Singapore-based Chinese installation and video artist Cai Qing seconded, “because it is the most strange of all mediums.”
“We can't express ourselves well by using language, music, or painting alone,” Japan's Midori Kadokura, while consulting her Obunsha's Study English-Japanese Japanese-English Dictionary, added, “performance art is purer, stronger, more direct and dangerous.”
Her fellowman, Tanaka Teruyuki who is no columnist: “I feel that performance art is my opinion, my editorial.”
“Yes,” smiled Thai photographer Aor Nopawan, “performance art is an alternative way of telling my story.”
Before she stormed towards the piano on stage to sing Streisand, Luzern- and Zurich-educated Barbara Sturm was her usual wildwoman self when she concluded: “I do it to let others share my thoughts.”
Hongkong's Sally Ng, a choirmaster who uses music to empower kids, does not limit to her ideas only: “By chance, I started as a performance artist by healing my personal pain. Then I see it as a platform to show something and get connection to my audience.”
All in all, performance art allows them to show the public their concern.
They stimulate people to think about certain issues, private or otherwise.
For his part, Yuan Mor' O's finale number appeared to side the former through his mantra: “Life is hard. Not here. Not for me.”
While Ateneo de Manila High School in commemorating Ateneo’s sesquicentennial year was presenting the eclectic multimedia show IGKAS last December 11, we were busy conducting a workshop before around 70 participants, including our local and foreign delegates, who served as facilitators, in a learning-by-doing activity at the Aurora State College of Technology (ASCOT) where we also performed in between Adina and the trio of Yuan with Patrick and Sherry Chong.
Aurora National Science High School how a Jewish professor teach performance art on December 12 when almost everybody performed by the Baler Bay.
Solidarity Night took place in the house of their TAMA Baler leg coordinator, Rommel Espinosa, who led them to nature tour, after their performances at the Museo ng Baler and Ermita Park.
Looking back, Bunga or Fruition was the most perfect word for their 6th TAMA International Performance Art Festival that formally kicked off as early as December 7 at the Samba-Likhaan followed by jamming at the Ateneo Art Gallery, Ayala Museum, and the University of the Philippines' Jorge Vargas Museum.
After their experience with Philippine International Performance Festival in 2000, Jeff Carnay, Mideo Cruz, Thomas Daquioag, Kleng de Loyola, Boyet de Mesa, Ronaldo Ruiz, Jevijoe Vitug, and Sam Penaso founded the group called Tupada or “illegal cockfight.”
TAMA, as it is more correctly christened today, will never survive without the sacrifices of its active members like Daquioag, de Mesa, Ruiz, and Vitug who opened doors to Maki Calilung, Espinosa, Mitch Garcia, Ian Madrigal, Kaye O'yek, Sam Penaso, and Mannet Villariba, who designed all their souvenir programs and posters since 2006.
Since then they had been letting us in with such Filipino artists as Patrick Bacolor, Sherwin Carrillo, Jhay Colis, Bunch Garcia, Ceej Gomera, Marlon Magbanua, Trix Syjuco, Wire Tuazon, Bumbo Villanueva, and the likes of EXIST Sound Art Group (Erick Calilan, P.J. Soliven, Cris Garcimo and Roger Lopez) and SORO Performance Unit.
As expected, they had been sponsored by the Artists Helping Artists Collective, Aurora Provincial Governor’s Office, Center for Community and Cultural Development, Center for Community and Cultural Development, Japan Foundation Manila, Embassy of Israel, Embassy of Switzerland, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Heinrich Boell Stiftung, and Tourism Department of Baler that is presently celebrating its 400th birthday!
Yesterday, we celebrated the 4th death anniversary of our son, Awit.
Without any fanfare, we launched the certain projects of our Foundation AWIT (or Advancing Wellness, Instructions, and Talents) that included our collaboration with singer/songwriter, Joey Ayala, via a compact disc production of Palay, Bigas, Kanin which will hopefully have concert component come National Arts Month on February 2010.
All of a sudden, while we were planning for our wife's partial nephrectomy with our children, Adina Bar-On's words resounded from nowhere: “Family is the nucleus of humanity that we have to sustain.”
By then, she should have been in Israel taking care of her husband, Daniel Davis, suffering from brain tumor, which he got during his training days with their Navy's Special Unit from a polluted river.
Adina, aside from the support of their son Shahar and daughter Yasmin, will surely be assisted by her kasambahay, Emily Tomelden, from the Philippines, whose ability to give is said to be formidable and whose family watched her perform in Manila!
Before we parted ways in Baler, we with Yuan gave her a tubao and a Philippine flag pin, and she declared: “I am the most Jewish-looking Filipina in the world.” Was she performing?
No, she was not wearing any costume and makeup and mask.
Each king in a deck of playing cards represents great king from history :- Spades - King David, Clubs - Alexander the Great, Hearts – Charlemagne, Diamonds - Julius Caesar.
Prayer teaches us to wait.
It clears our vision.
It calms our heart.
And it activates our faith.
Grow like the sunrise and be humble like the sunset.

HALAD (December 07, 2009)

Since we already succeeded in bringing home our five living National Artist for Literature – Francisco Sionil Jose in Rosales, Pangasinan and Bienvenido Lumbera in Lipa, Batangas in 2007; Alejandro Roces in Makati, in 2008; and Edith Tiempo in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya and Virgilio Almario in San Miguel, Bulacan in 2009 -- this could be the last Pagpupugay sa mga Pambansang Alagad ng Sining.

Composer Lutgardo Labad had us with an offering.

Or, halad!

For Dr. Sionil Jose and his wife Tessie, Gardy was able to welcome them home more than Bohol's long-lost child, say, in Pinoy Big Brother housemate Cathy Remperas.

At the Tagbilaran Airport last December 2, we were greeted with a tarsier necklace and a Your Guide to Bohol by Queenie Sanchez-Bronce, et al.

We checked in and out we went for our Visita Iglesia during the birthmonth of Jesus!

Our first stop was Nuestra Seňora de la Luz Church made of coral by Domingo Escondrillas in 1853 in Loon with our guide, Reigh Monreal, who was the co-founder with Rene Ponte of Bol-anong Arte Halad Alang sa Namat ang Dagang (BAHANDI) or “treasure.”
We failed to finish the snacks Annie Jabines gave us when we entered the 213-year old Punta Cruz Watchtower the moment their play with a pangalay, Tawag sa Bantayan, opened.
Watching Geraldine Pancho chant was enough for us to drop our jaws.

After our Aup-Aup Restaurant's seafood trip, we could not help but fall asleep in the van.

Our siesta was interrupted by a “fiesta.”

Elderly kuratsa and kuradang dancers gyrated to the music of a banjo-led rondalla.

Smiling Balilihan mayor -- Victoria Chatto, mom of Bohol's first district Rep. Edgar Chatto -- compensated for it, though, when she showed us – not only their budbod and moron -- but their 174-year old Mt. Carmel Hill belfry and the shortcut to Antequera whose leader is also a lady in Mayor Cecilia Rebosura.

At the aforementioned basket capital's municipal hall facade, 20 or more actors, dancing and singing, told us the 1621 uprising of babaylan Tamblot, played by Frex Tongco and penned by Rey Chiu, who also wrote Abatan ni Wadji, that introduced us to the graciousness of their prehispanic princess and the gracefulness of Dianne Baliog and Leonardo Planas at the Cortes Central Elementary School.

Witnessing their creative industry's success via the Abatan River Tour that will formally run in 2010 was a prelude to the Writers' Symposium.

There, we met Dr. Cecilio Putong High School's Necitas Ibarra, our Special Program in the Arts trainee at the Teachers' Camp in Baguio City.

It was also the turn of Bohol Arts and Cultural Heritage Council (BACH)'s to show us their literary richness via Ramon Boloron's The Traditional Literature of Bohol and Socorro Revilla's Boholano Culture in Literature, How Are You?.

For one day, Dr. Sionil Jose interacted with 50 writers and 200 teachers and students .
At the Cultural Center of Bohol, too, later in the evening, we had more than just the Pagpupugay kay Francisco Sionil Jose.

Last December 3, he celebrated his 85th birthday with us!

As their halad, the world-renowned Loboc Children’s Choir sang, Diwanag Dance Theater danced, and Teatro Bol-anon staged Sionil Jose's The Rosales Saga through a review and a re-interpretation in Visayan of Balikbayan directed by Philippine Educational Theater Arts' Melvin Lee and assisted by California-based Center Theater Group's Lorely Garrote Trinidad.

BACH never ran out of halads as its Executive Director, Marianito Luspo, led us to the classic heritage tour of Baclayon Church, Loay Ancestral House, and Loboc River Cruise before we caught Bohol's pride, Cesar Montano, at the arrival area.

Dec. 5 saw the Poets Essayists Novelists (PEN)'s Philippine chapter founder, Dr. Sionil Jose, on time for the PEN Conference at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

And us, as our other baby, the Gawad Ustetika Annual Student Awards for Literature, turned 25 on the same day – with no Playwright of the Year, Sanaysayista ng Taon, and Mandudula ng Taon.

However, this year, our Poet of the Year is Jacob Dominguez; Makata ng Taon is Paul Castillo; Kuwentista ng Taon is Julie Ann de Leon; Essayist of the Year is Camille Johnson; and Fictionist of the Year: Sarah Aurelio, who also bagged the Rector's Literary Award institutionalized by Fr. Roland de la Rosa.

Dr. Sionil Jose's classmate at the UST Faculty of Philosophy and Letters, fictionist and essayist Nita Umali Berthelsen, as well as the “Hari ng Balagtasan,” poet Teo Antonio, received the highest halad from the Varsitarian, the University of Santo Tomas' official student organ, with Ang Parangal Hagbong for their contribution to literature just like Rolando Tinio and Rogelio Sicat (1997); Genoveva Edroza Matute (1998); J. Elizalde Navarro (1999); Erma Cuizon, Reynaldo Duque, and Ponciano Pineda (2000); Lilia Pablo-Amansec (2001); Bienvenido Lumbera (2002); Sr. Delia Coronel, ICM (2003); Ben Villar Condino, Nick Joaquin, and Wilfrido Nolledo (2004); Zeneida Amador, F. Sionil Jose, and Magdalena Sayas (2005); Gloria Garchitorena-Goloy and Doris Trinidad-Gamalinda (2006); Bella Angeles-Abangan and Cirilo Bautista (2007); and Ophelia Alcantara-Dimalanta (2008).

Talking of greatness, JCI Philippines has its own halad in awarding at the Malacaňang tomorrow, at 10 a.m., The Outstanding Young Men 2009: Mary Joy Abaquin (Education); Jose Roberto Alampay (Human Rights Advocacy); Ma. Anthonette Allones (Government Service); Raymond Laurel (Arts/Fashion Design); Eliseo Prisno (Maritime Health) and Victoria Morales (Broadcast Journalism).

By the way, join us in Writers' Night 2009 on December 11, 5 p.m. at the University of the Philippines' Balay Kalinaw with the Madrigal Gonzalez Best First Book Award forum and, finally, the ceremonies for its awardee -- Adam David.

Operation Libreng Libro will be launched as well as the third Likhaan Journal featuring the works of Dr. Lumbera and Palanca Hall of Famer, Edgardo Maranan, whose award-winning children's story -- Si Sibol at Si Gunaw – had been transformed by Ballet Manila into Alamat, that will run until December 12 and 13 at the CCP Complex's Aliw Theater.

See if you can figure out what these words have in common.


Are you peeking or have you already given up? Give it another try. Look at each word carefully.
Answer: In all of the words listed, if you take the first letter, place it at the end of the word, and then spell The word backwards, it will be the same word. Did you figure it out? Just send it to more people and stump them.

We immediately become more effective when we decide to change ourselves
rather than asking things to change for us.


As we overtake Somalia, Iraq, and Pakistan as the most dangerous place for journalists, we undertake, on the other hand, the task of paying tribute to a Roces – a name synonymous with the Philippine print media.
Finally, we can declare December 1 as the Alejandro Roces' Day at the Far Eastern University which was founded by his uncle, Nicanor Reyes.
We did it after a series of consultations with FEU President's Committee on Culture, headed by its Executive Director, Martin Lopez, who ably represented such distinguished members in Dean Adelaida Fronda, Dean Barbara Fernandez, Dr. Isagani Cruz, Dr. Jaime An Lim, and Dean Ireneo Jose.
No less than Pres. Dr. Lydia Echauz will open the Alejandro Roces Conference.
Dr. Cruz will talk about the aforementioned National Artist from the international perspective while Dr. Victor Torres will explain how important Dr. Roces is nationally.
Dr. Azucena Grajo-Uranza's sharing as a former student during the time when FEU was the largest university in Asia with 50,000 student population in the early 1950s.
Dr. Rustica Carpio and Dr. Buenaventura Medina will act as reactors while
The Earthsavers Dreams Ensemble and Tanghalang Ateneo will do the intermission number with San Pedro Manok.
After we explained what our project is all about, FEU Theater Guild will breathe life to Dr. Roces' Of Cocks and Kites. Dr. Roces is expected to reminisce on his FEU Years as a faculty member who eventually became the dean before serving as the Department of Education Secretary known for promoting local customs and traditions like feasts which he heralded in his classic book Fiesta (1980).
In her speech during the FEU's 75th Founding Anniversary on 29 January 2003, Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo recalled: “In its 75 years, FEU gave two secretaries of education to two president Macapagals -- Alejandro Roces to my late father Diosdado Macapagal, and DJ De Jesus to his daughter, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. And that is an indication of the quality of the faculty of FEU.”
As a prelude to Celebrations -- the STEPS Dance Studio and the FEU Dance Company's graceful way of thanking Dr. Roces for helping them when he was the Institute of Arts and Sciences' main man.
Then, the climax will be the unveiling of Dr. Roces' bust by sculptor Raul Funilas -- whose Neo-Angono Artists Collective's 6th Public Art Festival exhibition ends today at Maysha Hotel in Angono -- with Jovert Aguilar, Aga Francisco, Franz Java, Kim Oliveros, Meilin Ricohermoso, and Paula Regine Tantoco.
During the first Pagpupugay sa mga Pambansang Alagad ng Sining in 2007, Dr. Roces was hailed at the Capitol University in Cagayan de Oro through the Integrated Performing Arts Guild's interpretation of his Of Cocks and Roces directed by Steven Patrick Fernandez.
Last year, Makati City welcomed him home where the University of Santo Tomas Lithurgikan Choir presented his musical Something To Crow About at the University of Makati Grand Theater.
Talking about returning and returning favors, Lea Salonga, will do her concert Echoes of Dreams tonight at 7 at the Araneta Coliseum.
The future National Artist will be performing with the Manila Symphony Orchestra and other artists including Angelos, Bayang Barrios, Mike Chan, Kid Camaya, Guia Comia, Allan Dale, Dingdong Dantes, Nicole and Carla David, Julian Duque, Frenchy Dy, Stella Ignacio, ILLC Kids, Dan Lasher, Fourte, Karel, Pinky Marquez, Myrus, Peryodiko, Pilyoz, JM Rodriguez, Self-Black Theater, Fatima Soriano, Jenny Villegas, U.P. Concert Chorus, and other gifted and talented youth like Thara Santiago, Vell Baria, Tum Tum Mendoza, Clark Gamul, Samara, and the Hope for Children Choir, the world's largest children's choir!
Sponsored by the Center for Arts Foundation, Inc., Hope for Children, and Fusion Excel, Echoes of Dreams is for the benefit of Autism Society Philippines (ASP), Self Enhancement for Life Foundation (SELF), Immaculate Heart in Memoriam (IHM), and the Independent Living Learning Center (ILLC). On the New York side of Cubao, another art with a heart is set. Collaborating with the Operation Blessing Foundation Inc., the Liongoren Gallery houses the visual arts bonanza entitled Unos at Banaag for the Pepeng victims in Pangasinan. Running until December 4, it will also inaugurate the new Liongoren Gallery in Dagupan City, Pangasinan from December 7-20, 2009.
Unos at Banaag is also dedicated to the late Odette Alcantara and Cristina Castro Crisologo, Norma Liongoren's mom, a zarzuelista with a green thumb. Some 48 masters will join forces with Pangasinense artists in the Dagupan circle namely Gus Albor, Willy Alicdan, Yasmin Almonte, Remy Boquiren, Elmer Borlongan, Marina Cruz, Simkin de Pio, Norman Dreo, Marge Garcia, Manny Garibay, Renato Habulan, Winner Jumaon, Mark Justiniani, Alfredo Liongoren, Julie Lluch, Joel Mahilum, AJ Omandac, Alma Quinto, Rodel Tapaya, Nestor Vinluan, Ann Wiser, and Federico Aguilar-Alcuaz whose proclamation as National Artist remains to be seen. University of the Philippines' College of Fine Arts and the Office for Initiatives in Culture and the Arts sponsors will have an exhibit called Re-Viewing Rodriguez – a homage to the 97-year old Father of Philippine Printmaking, Manuel Rodriguez Sr., another future National Artist -- at the UP Diliman's Bulwagan ng Dangal last Friday. November 27, too, is the 77th birthday celebration of Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino -- a former Manila Times war correspondent in Korea in 1950 -- who waxed poetic with The Candle of My Life: “if someone will only gather / the melted wax, reshape it / give it a new wick-- / for another fleeting moment / my candle can once again / light the dark / be of service / one more time / and then -- / Good-bye.” Sen. Aquino finished it on 12 March 1976, but his poem appears to be dedicated to the power of the people that has liberated Mindanao and other spaces supposedly “democratic.” Last Saturday, we seemed to be extending the national day of mourning for the Maguindanao Massacre martyrs, through an afternoon of poetry and music. Though it was actually the 10th year of passing of another defender of democracy, National Artist Nestor Vicente Madali Gonzalez.
TEXT SUPPORT: It is physically impossible for pigs to look up into the sky.
CONSIDER THIS: A big jar full of water gets emptied by just a small hole. Even little anger and pride will drain all the nobility of a good heart. Stay humble.

ANAK NG PALIG! (November 23, 2009)

November 15 saw us caught in an approach-approach conflict.
After coming from our panganay Psalma's Sports Day – when her Team Ruby won – we were torn between fetching her Ina at the airport and judging for Palig 2009.
Though we missed the former, who attended the Workshop on Mental Health System Development for the Severe Mental Illness in Asian Countries in Taiwan, still we opted to heed the latter's song as if from our favorite group, Apolinario Mabini Hiking Society, that got its name from AMHS, or Ateneo de Manila High School!
Coming from a Dominican-run university, we had to consult their “Jesuitic historian,” Jonathan Balsamo, who is behind the website of the oldest school-based multimedia contest!
An important part of Jesuit pedagogy, theater had been empowering students and teachers in contributing to their total formation.
Ask Jose Rizal.
His play Junto al Pasig” (By the Pasig) was born in Ateneo during the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in 1880, six years after the so-called first play El Puñal del Godo (The Dagger of the Goth) was staged there in 1874.
Even since, plays were in Spanish until American Jesuits took over and took in Merchant of Venice (1910), Richard III 1917), and Julius Caesar (1921).
When they transferred from Ermita to Loyola Heights in 1952, they transformed their theater arts, too.
In 1955, the Ateneo High School Dramatics Society (AHSDS) started introducing other Shakespearean plays in English such as Macbeth and Hamlet.
It was through Onofre Pagsanghan when language shift happened in 1966 when Francisco “Soc” Rodrigo wrote Paa ng Kuwago (adapted from W. Jacobs' The Monkey’s Paw) and Sangkuwaltang Abakan (translation of Julian Cruz Balmaceda's Sino Ba Kayo? from Bicolnon in 1943).
This experiment -- that happened at the Ateneo Law School auditorium in Padre Faura in Manila – inspired AHSDS to rename itself -- Dulaang Sibol (DS).
From classroom to audio-visual room, DS blazed the trail in 1966 via adaptations until, after a year, when they wrote original plays in Filipino.
By way of a drama competition known as Palig!
After discovering landmarks, it had been re-discovering new ones after, say, Hoy Boyet Hatinggabi Na’y Gising Ka Pa Pala by Tony Perez and Puting Tigmamanukin by Paul Dumol who judged with us and whose Ang Paglilitis ni Mang Serapio was made into film by Khavn de la Cruz, another Palig alumnus.
We got lucky to witness raw yet rebellious talents.
From Timpalak-Awit that was initiated in 1975 to its present format formalized in 1991 as Timpalak sa Sabayang Pagbigkas for freshies (led by 1-O), Timpalak sa Dulang Panradyo for sophomores (headed by 2-A's Sa Hantungan ng Nazareno), Timpalak sa Dulang Pantanghalan for juniors (topped by 3C's Bangayan), and Timpalak sa Maikling Pelikula for seniors (dominated by 4L's Kapatid).
Among them, Miguel “Miggy” Azurin, who became the Best Actor (with his classmate Kevin Lopez-Vito from 3K and J.P. Tiongco and Nico Odulio from 3A) and the Best Writer who won the Best Music Award (with his tokayo Miguel Feria) for their musical Barbero de Primero.
Writers' Bloc opened its door to them for its workshop and, perhaps, for its Virgin Labfest 2010.
Speaking of the said playwrights' organization, Nick Pichay and Rody Vera served as reactors last Saturday with Glecy Atienza, Joey Baquiran, Judy Ick, Bobet Mendoza, Lulu Torres-Reyes, and Tito Valiente, in Tanghalan! sponsored by The Teatro Sambisig, Inc. and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts' Committee on Dramatic Arts.
Like the concert of Maguindanao kudyapi master Samaon Sulaiman at the Conspiracy Garden Cafe last November 19, we missed it last Saturday at the NCCA Building in Intramuros.
Another Palig 2009 judge, Ricky Abad of Tanghalang Ateneo, joined other artists Reuel Aguila, Walter Ang, Tessa Belleza, Frederick Castro, Alexander Cortez, Dennis Marasigan, Manny Pambid, Al Santos, and Corazon Villareal during this Philippine theater aesthetics discussion.
Also, characterizing the dynamics of literary and performative artistry is the Cultural Center of the Philippines' Ani Literary Journal.
On November 26, 6 p.m. at the CCP, Ramp its editor and managing editor, Herminio Beltran, Jr. and Betty Uy-Regala, will launch its latest edition.
Ani 35, or The Pinoy As Asian, features works of Mark Angeles, Lilia Antonio, Mae Aquino, Genevieve Asenjo, Abdon Balde, Jr., Janet Batuigas, Gil Beltran, Kristoffer Berse, Jimple Borlagdan, Raymond Calbay, Catherine Candano, Nonon Carandang, Christoffer Cerda, Joey Chua, Kristian Cordero, Genaro Cruz, Carlomar Daoana, Arvin Ello, Dennis Espada, Rogerick Fernandez, Reparado Galos III, Luis Gatmaitan, Joscephine Gomez, Malou Jacob, Ferdinand Jarin, Karla Javier, Phillip Kimpo, Jr., Ed Labao, Gexter Lacambra, Erwin Lareza, Jeffrey Lubang, Glenn Mas, Perry Mangilaya, Noahlyn Maranan, Francisco Monteseña, Ruth Mostrales, Jose Ogatis-I, Wilhelmina Orozco, Francisco Peñones, Jr., Scott Sabóy, Judith Balares Salamat, Edgar Samar, Louie Jon Sanchez, Soliman Santos, Dinah Roma-Sianturi, Rakki Sison-Buban, Jason Tabinas, Vincent Tan, Dolores Taylan, Rosario Torres-Yu, Camilo Villanueva, Jr., and yours truly.Similarly, ITIM ASU 1719-2009, awaits you from November 26 to 28, 8 p.m., at Dance Forum Space in Quezon City.
Directed and choreographed by Myra Beltran -- this dance and multi media production based on Virginia Moreno’s The Onyx Wolf / Itim Asu -- will highlight University of the Philippines Dance Company with Marielle Alonzo and Reagan Cornelio, videoworks by Sherad Anthony Sanchez and sound design by Teresa Barrozo.
Last Saturday, once more we were trapped in a dilemma: Psalma's Card Day at the U.P. Integrated School and her brother Wika's Family Day at Claret, plus her sister Sulat's Hinabing Haraya with her Raya School classmates at the U.P. College of Music's Abelardo Hall.
Or was it a trilemma?
But, this time, Ina was in her Caring for the Special Child class at U.P. Open University while we got back from the Forward Awareness Days 2009 at the University of San Jose Recoletos!
There in Cebu City, three nights ago, while all alone in the Talavera House of Prayer, we suddenly felt empty as a bad barber's shop, without such meaningful connectedness.
Anak ng Palig!
People say "Bless you" when you sneeze because when you sneeze, your heart stops for a millisecond.
Faith is believing in something you cannot see or hear something deep inside that only you understand and only you control.

OASIS (November 16, 2009)

At 45, we tend to liken ourselves to that pistol with a hammer that allows us to always move forward.
For more than four decades, there has been an institution that seemed to share the same positive or possibility thinking with us.
That is, Mga Agos Sa Disyerto!
In Philippine fiction, the said “literary barkada” made it.
More like the Gothics or the Beats with social conscience.
On November 19, from 1p.m. Onwards, at the University of the Philippines' Pulungang Recto they will be again committed!
Social realists Efren Abueg, Rogelio Ordoňez, and Edgardo Reyes (plus or minus the departed Eduardo Ordoñez and Rogelio Sicat) have consigned to preserve their legacy via a reunion made possible by U.P. Departamento ng Filipino at Panitikan ng Pilipinas' new chair Jimmuel Naval.
The U.P. College of Arts and Letters, Cavite Young Writers' Association, and U.P. Ugnayan ng Manunulat have collaborated for this historic event called Agos@45: Mga Kuwento ng Muling Pagtatagpo in which National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera, who wrote the introduction to their book in 1964, will contextualize everything with their colleague's daughter, Luna Sicat-Cleto, and veteran fictionists Fanny Garcia, Jun Cruz Reyes, and Roland Tolentino.
Ateneo de Manila University's Corazon Lalu Santos, will let us peek into her dissertation entitled Mulang Talambuhay Tungong Antolohiya: Ang Pagbubuo ng Kasaysayan ng Grupong Agos -- ang mga Dayo sa Siyudad at ang Pagsagka sa “Disyerto” ng Panitikang Filipino: “While writing for magazines like Liwayway was a form of relief of their desert-like existence in the city, they also encountered a new form of desert in Philippine Literature in the guise of commercialism and the concept of literary canon. The group of young writer-friends went through this desert after a collective decision to push for a common literary goal.”
Last October 27, at the Tomas Pinpin Memorial Elementary School in Abucay, Bataan we experienced another oasis in the desert also known as journalism!
However, this time, we with Dr. Luis Gatmaitan spoke during their Secondary Schools Press Conference care of Bataan National High School's pride, Madame Josephine Pagaduan, and her son James, president of the Bataan Campus Paper Advisers Association, Filipino Supervisor Liwanag Santiago, and English Supervisor Dolores Taňada.
At a glance, they do not need our guidance anymore.
Region 3 is the defending champion in the national level!
Last week, after handling editorial writing and cartooning, we were tasked to speak about newswriting before the second-place winners from Region 4.
Department of Education Region IV (A)'s big boss, Dr. Paraluman Giron -- through its Regional Supervisor Yolanda Gilbuena and its Regional English Coordinator Cherrylou de Mesa -- asked us to conduct workshops for the Regional Training of School Paper Advisers and Campus Journalists.
It was supposed to be in October at La Vista Resort in Pansol but it was devastated by typhoons so it was transferred to Luisa Ridge Resort, in Bucal, Calamba in Laguna.
This year is designed as a writing camp: more systematic but less structured.
On November 9, we spoke before eight elementary pupils and eight high school students from Batangas and Batangas City, Cavite, Laguna and Calamba City, Rizal, and Quezon while on, November 12, before the youngsters from the cities of Antipolo, Cavite, Lucena, Lipa, San Pablo, Sta, Rosa, and Tanauan.
For three days, they stayed with their groups led by Dr. Tess Fortunato or Nancy Almonte or James Galvez or Celso Jaballa, for instance, who focused on a series of critiquing sessions in writing editorials, features, sports articles, as well as copyreading and headlinewriting, respectively.
In this live-in writeshop, we had the chance to train about 20+ kid reporters the whole day.
School paper advisers continued what we did on the second and third day.
What was alarming was not just the content but the form of their writing, especially their language.
Should we blame our indispensable yet humble cellular phones?
Both in English and Filipino, these Generation X-ers, or Texters, are struggling with the correct grammar, spelling, and punctuations.
In our own capacity, we imparted to them some reference materials we have been using from gradeschool to graduate school.
We owe a lot from, say, Sir Ernest Gowers' The Complete Plain Words (1954) or William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White's The Elements of Style a.k.a Strunk and White (2000) or Modern Language Association's MLA 2009 Formatting and Style Guide – which can also and always be found in The OWL at Purdue.
U.P. Sentro ng Wikang Filipino's Gabay sa Editing sa Wikang Filipino, on the other hand, is definitive and definitely a great step in standardizing our national language.
Sad to say, it is out of stock and it would take two or more weeks to reprint thousand copies of this slim and significant book valued at P90 only!
Indeed, it is a must in editing.
There ought to be a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Education (or Commission on Higher Education) to use it as our bible in balarila!
Otherwise, if we take each and every orthography as negotiable, how can we say if a word is misspelled or not?
In the light of language-is-alive alibi, we can never have a National Spelling Bee competitions for Filipino!
Especially now that the so-called Education Highway is considered to be the new oasis?
In the meantime, we have to deal with real-life deserts like school paper advisers and campus journalists' exposure to major newspapers and other reading materials, need for internet access, or time management of talented students who are into other “extra-curricular activities.”
Not to mention, lack of funds!
Meanwhile, we have been tracing the trail of our professional fee for judging in one Regional Schools Press Conference.
Was it a year or two ago?
And written on the sand too?
TEXT SUPPORT: It is impossible to lick your elbow.
CONSIDER THIS: Old friends are gold. New friends are diamonds. If you get a diamond don't forget the gold.Only gold can hold a diamond.


You have exactly a week to catch one of the most successful National Commission for Culture and the Arts projects, in terms of “impact or effect on the community and the number of people who will benefit from it.”
are referring to Sungdu-an, a Waray word for “confluence,” the legacy of NCCA Committee on Visual Arts that started as a “supplement “ to the first National Visual Arts Congress at the University of the Philippine in Diliman, Quezon City from November 30 to December 3, 1995.
Formally, “Sungdu-an 1” was born after a year -- subtitled Pagtatagpo -- to nurture more than 100 works from all over the country at the NCCA building.
Then in 2000, Sungdu-an 2 evolved into traveling show of sorts to 11 sites in the Philippines from February to December 2000 when it became a major component of the Sambayan: Philippine Culture and Arts Festival 2000, an NCCA-initiated multi-disciplinary endeavor, featuring 40 artists with 10 artists from each major island group.
From 2002 to 2004, the longest and the most extensive Sungdu-an 3 was implemented under its theme Making the Local, with three significant components -- namely curatorial research, regional exhibition and national traveling exhibition -- visiting 12 sites and featuring five artists from Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao and NCR for a total of 20!
Two years ago in Cagayan de Oro City, Sungdu-an 4 was scaled down to just one national exhibition known as ExTensions – extending to 12 projects (three each from the four regions) that were encapsulated inside the Museum of Three Cultures at Capitol University from August 17 to September 18, 2007.
Now, on its 14th year, Sungdu-an 5 is participated in by 20 artists (five from each region) at the North Wing, 4th floor of the Museum of the Filipino People , National Art Gallery of the National Museum of the Philippines until this coming Sunday!
Called Current: Daloy ng Dunong, it features a dynamic mix of installation, mixed media (including soil as pigment from Bukidnon), painting, video, and sound art on current issues such as poverty and the environment.
Aiming to develop artists and curators on a long-term basis, the series – that was a product of research and consultations with artists from the different regions -- has provided a platform for trailblazing works of young artists across the islands.
It is curated by the crème de la crème in art studies namely Dennis Ascalon (Visayas), Irma Lacorte (Luzon), Cris Rollo (Mindanao) Claro Ramirez (National Capital Region), and U.P. Vargas Museum's new curator Patrick Flores, who will be with us in an Asian art conference on Public Art that dreams of Angono, Rizal to become one of the creative cities in the world!
Yes, a Multi-lateral Country Conference and Feasibility Workshop on Public Art as a Step towards Creative City Development will be held on 17-24 November.
The Neo-Angono Artists Collective and Japan Foundation-Tokyo will sponsor a three-day art seminar/conference in cooperation with the University of Rizal System-Angono and the Office of the Municipal Mayor Hon. Aurora Villamayor.
According to poet Richard Gappi, first and founding president of Neo-Angono as well as its project director, the conference -- that revolves around the theme “Ciudad/Pueblo: Beyond Folklore and Surface Painting” -- is open to scholars and academicians, artists, delegates and speakers from Asian countries and the Philippines.
Cultural Center of the Philippines' 13 Artists awardee Rommel “Wire” Tuazon, this year’s director of the art festival, added: “The public art festival, meanwhile, presents various art performances, painting exhibits, poetry and music, and theater and film showing usually done in public spaces such as national road, bridge, river, public market and town plaza where the town “perya” or Ferris Wheel is located.”
We, as practitioner of expressive arts therapy, got an invitation talk about “Tapping the Human Artistry and Creativity” with National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera, art critic Alice Guillermo, poet Roberto Anonuevo, artist Nemesio Miranda Jr., playwright/lawyer Nicolas Pichay singer/songwriter Jesus Manuel Santiago, and NCCA Bids and Awards Committee chair Marichu Tellano.
Expected to arrive, too, are Cultural Conservation architect Vijaya Amujure from India; media reporter Than Htike Oo and Nyunt Win from Myanmar; artist Iani Arahmaiani from Indonesia; scholar Dr. Mayasuki Sasaki and music scholar Shimoda Nobuhisa from Japan; artist, curator, and scholar Jang Un Kim and writer Kim Jang Un from South Korea.
The Neo-Angono Artists Collective Inc. was established in November 2004. It is both a movement and an organization founded by visual artists, writers, poets, musicians, theater people, film makers, cultural workers, art enthusiasts, critics, and researchers
totalling to 60, not exclusively from Angono but from other parts of the world, like Japan and the United States.
Ramon Zapata, its Chairman of the Board, stressed: “As a movement, Neo-Angono strives to render modernist visual and artistic language responsive to the times by articulating and invigorating contemporary Angono experience, sensibility and consciousness. It observes the intricate engagement and interplay of various creative art forms wedded in the local community and people.”
His vice chair, Carlos “Totong” Francisco II, grandson of National Artist Carlos “Botong” Francisco, did not simply second: “As an organization, Neo-Angono has been consistent in its annual Public Art Festival for the past five years. It is non-profit, artist-centered, committed to experimentation. It recognizes the need to contribute to art research and education so we give free art workshops. It was commissioned in 2007 to paint a mural on press freedom, which gained national prominence and controversial because it was altered and defaced.”
By supposedly freedom fighters?
You can't kill yourself by holding your breath.
Daily blessings are daily reminders of God. Worry ends where faith in God begins. In prayer, God hears more than words, He listens to your heart.

LET LOVE WIN (November 02, 2009)

Despite Storm Signal No.2, nothing like the Bulacan sun could be better as Virgilio Senadren Almario's guiding light to his birthplace in San Miguel last Friday during the third leg of Pagpupugay sa mga Pambansang Alagad ng Sining 2009.
As early as 8 a.m. we had to be risen and shining at the San Miguel South District (SMSD) Hall for the Kumperensiyang Rio Alma with the faculty members and students of Bulacan Polytechnic College, John J. Russell Memorial High School, Partida High School, School of Mount St. Mary, San Miguel National High School (SMNHS), to name a few, who all wrote and read a stanza or two in showing their love and respect for their cultural hero!
One-third of the Modernist Poetry in Filipino's so-called Tungkung-kalan o Triumvirate -- Rogelio Mangahas of the C&E Publishing Company -- was the opening salvo with his biographical criticism Ang Alam Ko Kay Rio Alma.
Koyang Roger was followed by the ex-president of Linangan sa Imahen, Retorika, at Anyo (LIRA) -- Prof. Mike Coroza of the Ateneo de Manila University – via his quasi-psychoanalytical approach entitled Ang Dalawang Mukha Mukha ni Virgilio S. Almario: Isang Pag-uusisa.
Like our Pistang Panitik 2 during the 28th Manila International Book Fair wherein we had an Araw ni Virgilio Almario on 1 September 2007, the last speaker was Palanca Hall of Famer Roberto Añonuevo through his Pagpapahalaga sa mga Tulat at Poetika ni Rio Alma.
Supposedly, there was an afternoon with the Bulacan Media Association and national print and broadcast media entities like NBN Channel 4, organized by one of the LIRA founders, Ariel Dim. Borlongan, and his partner, Mary Jane Olvina of DZRJ, through the Provincial Public Affairs Office.
Since it did not prosper, right after lunch we transferred to the SMSD Gymnasium for its Part 2 with special performances from St. Paul University at San Miguel, San Miguel Police, SMNHS Chorale and Rondalla, among others, before members of the family and friends of the Almarios.
Dr. Edna Zerrudo, the Division of Bulacan Superintendent and the Executive Director of Project JoSIE or Joint Systems Implementation in Education in the elementary level welcomed all of us before Hon. Roderick Tiongson, themunicipal mayor could shed light on the Sangguniang Bayan resolution.
After PESO Manager, Ian Tecson, serenaded his world-famous kababayan, Barasoain Kalinangan Foundation, staged its play Bagong Bayani ng Piedras Platas
(Dulang Buhay ni Virgilio S. Almario) directed by Armand Sta. Ana and written by Sonny Cristobal of the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
We, with the result-oriented dreamers, Eva Garcia Cadiz and the rest of Likhaan: University of the Philippines Institute of Creative Writing team, can finally claim that we have fulfilled our mission and vision.
Within three years, with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts as our inspirer, we have introduced or re-introduced all the five living National Artists for Literature to their townmates first.
In 2007, we brought Dr. Bienvenido Lumbera to Lipa, Batangas and Dr. Francisco Sionil Jose to Rosales, Pangasinan.
After a year, it was Dr. Alejandro Roces' turn in Makati City.
Dr. Edith Tiempo returned to Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya last August 10, after more than half a century.
And, now, Rio Alma is literally back to his hometown.
Balay Bulawan, his retirement home after serving the academe as the U.P. College of Arts and Letters dean, is where his heart is!
Talking about love of country and everything.
After almost five hours of travel and traffic jam, we reached Quezon City past midnight with a text from singer/songwriter Cynthia Alexander: “He was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. He is pals with the Dalai Lama. He has gone to Iraq, Sri Lanka, Cameroon, and Kashmir for conflict resolution. When he speaks, the United Nations listens. He has changed the hearts and minds of terrorists and prisoners. He has empowered women. He has been compared to Gandhi. And now he is coming to Manila. You have the opportunity to hear a living legend speak.”
We thought she was still referring to Rio Alma until she finished her message: “Don't miss Sri Ravi Shankar on November 3.”
So, to put our post-traumatic stress in order, we are extending her invitation to all of you.
Tomorrow, at 7 p.m. join in presenting Let Love Win at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia in Pasay City.
Yes, the 53-year old world-renowned humanitarian and spiritual leader will speak of inspiration and joy.
Saintly Shankar is the recipient of many awards, including the Dara Shikoh National Award for Harmony (India, 2005), the Global Humanitarian Award (USA, 2005), The Sant Shri Dnyaneshwara World Peace Prize (India, 2007) and most recently the Culture in Balance Award (Dresden, 2009).
What a way to celebrate our All Saints Day and All Souls Day late!
For inquiries, please visit The Art of Living Philippines' website or email at or call +6322166139 / +639178484898.
TYPEWRITER is the longest word that can be made using the letters only on one row of the keyboard.
Bettter than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

AGE AND HERITAGE (October 26, 2009)

Our Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas (UMPIL) vice chair, Abdon Balde Jr. blasted us to a Happy Beer Day shortly before the Rolex store robbery in Greenbelt 5 as if to celebrate the Ayala Center bombing's second anniversary last October 19!
Well, he just added three feathers in his cap:
receiving the 2009 South East Asian Writers’ Award from His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn and his Royal Consort HRH Princess Srirasm of Thailand;
bagging the 2009 Bikolinismo Regional Artist Award;
launching his Anvil-published book, 60ZENS: Tips on Senior Citizenship, at the National Book Store Glorietta 5 in Makati City last October 16.
In the same old vein, Brillante Mendoza, the 62nd Cannes Film Festival's Best Director Awardee last May for his Kinatay, reminded us about his latest big bang entitled Lola.
Opening the 11th Cinemanila International Film Festival last Thursday, it is all about two grandmothers – played by Anita Linda, 84, and Rustica Carpio, 79, both suffering from the consequences of a murder involving their respective grandsons -- one the victim, the other the suspected killer.
It was one of the 11 films considered to represent our country in the 2010 Oscar but another movie about the elderly, Soxy Topacio's dramedy Ded Na Si Lolo, was chosen by the Film Academy of the Philippines Oscar Committee.
Noted playwright Lito Casaje invited us to watch his new film, Dolores, and it was shown last Saturday, the day “poetician” Danton Remoto's dad, Francisco Sr., had an interment mass at the St. Ignatius Chapel in Camp Aguinaldo.
One of the Cinemalaya finalists, Casaje's story -- told from a soul's viewpoint --
was shown at the Market! Market! The Fort in Taguig City where another indie, Biyaheng Lupa, will have its world premiere tonight at 7:30.
It will be the directorial debut of award-winning screenwriter Armando Lao, our Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas recipient in 2008.
Now Direk Bing has revealed his experiment: “The voice-over device allows me to take a glimpse of the inner lives of the passenger characters as their minds wander off into streams of consciousness. It offers me an opportunity to use an impressionistic approach to film that acknowledges spoken language as the logical medium for telling a story and in a form that only voice-overs could effectively fulfill. In Biyaheng Lupa, I believe that only the use of language, together with occasional sound effects and music, can unify exposition and capture the immediacy of the characters’ random and intrusive thoughts.”
We were fortunate enough to be chosen as one of Biyaheng Lupa's voice talents.
While some are speaking of creating, others are talking about re-creating through preservation.
Starting tomorrow at 9 a.m. under the theme Fading Heritage: We Can Save It, for instance, the Society of Filipino Archivists for Film (SOFIA) will commemorate the UNESCO World Day for Audiovisual Heritage at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
SOFIA officers Makk Junio, Emma Rey, and Mary del Pliar will conduct workshop on on the basic handling and preservation of audiovisual materials covering storage, handling, restoration methods, equipment recommendations and disaster preparedness.
Aside from launching its website, SOFIA will also screen Richard Abelardo's 1950s classic Mutya ng Pasig in honor the memory of film preservation stalwart Alexis Tioseco
(who was murdered with his Slovenian girlfriend, film critic Nika Bohinc, last September 1 in their home in Quezon City. The said Fil-Canadian film journalist and university professor was credited as one of the Southeast Asian film advocates who had been championing the Philippine cinema via his webzine,, among others).
Dr. Clodualdo del Mundo Jr., SOFIA president, reiterates: “A minimal fee of 500.00 pesos will be charged per participant and is inclusive of a workshop kit, snacks, certificate of participation and membership to SOFIA. So, for inquiries, kindly contact Vicky Belarmino at 832-1125 loc. 1704 to 1705 or Monchito Nocon at 0920 2836393 or email”
Also, tomorrow, at 3 p.m., the University of the Philippines Press will launch, at last, Regarding Franz at the U.P. Diliman's Faculty Center's Pulungang Recto. The venue is right beside the library named after the said “short story as a lyrical prose-poetic form” pioneer who died on 1 August 2002, just 37 days before his 86th birthday.
When Dr. Zacarias Eugene Francisco Quino Arcellana was declared National Artist for Literature, the citation underlined his view, “the pride of fiction is ‘that it is able to render truth, that it is able to represent reality.’ And his reality is the universe of man, no matter how mundane or sublime. He believes that truth couched in fiction allays man’s fears and makes reality bearable."
Wow, was he able to foresee in 1990 the recent National Artist controversy?
Specific emotions that weaken certain organs in the body: anger weakens the liver; grief weakens the lungs; worry weakens the stomach; stress weakens the heart and brain; fear weakens the kidney.
Why is it good to make friends with teachers? Because they have a heart that never hardens, a temper that never rises, a touch that never hurts and a love that never fails.

ART 2 D RESCUE (October 19, 2009)

Yesterday marked the 20th year of the Filipino Chaplaincy in France.
UNICEF artist Manuel Baldemor was commissioned to do a study of a mural for the Basilica of St. Therese de Lisieux in Normandy.
His Philippine People Power of 1986, enlarged to a 3x5-meter mosaic, was installed last Sunday, too, coinciding with other celebrations:(1) Mission Sunday; (2) the first anniversary of the beatification of Louie and Zelie Martin, parents of the beloved Saint Thérèse; (3) the 12th year of her proclamation as Doctor of the Church by Pope John Paul II. There was a holy mass for the Filipino community followed by a presentation in the courtyard of the basilica, which is the second most famous religious shrine and pilgrimage site in France next to Lourdes. Philippine Ambassador to France, H.E. Jose Zaide, presented last May 7 the Baldemor paintings and archetype to the ecclesiastical authorities in Lisieux headed by Monsignor Bernard Lagoutte.
About 300 miles away from his father, another Baldemor, Marvin the eldest, is back after his successful solo exhibit Migration Of My Vision last April 17 in Donegal.
Now, with The NorthWest Artists Group, he is part of Shifting Fields slated to welcome you on the autumnal Irish evening of October 24 to its venue in Collooney, Sligo -- Marktree Castle -- set in 300 acres of stunning landscape and exquisite gardens built since the 16th century.
In his invite, Marvin, our pamangkin sa pinsan, wrote: “While staying as a guest Cecil Frances Alexander in 1848 wrote her most famous hymn All Things Bright And Beautiful, having been deeply moved by her beautiful surroundings. William Butler Yeats also stayed as a guest here when the castle was still a private residence. In the recent past, Markree was popular as an artistic retreat, so against this background of artistry, it is only fitting that the castle should stage the first of what is hoped to be an annual series of art exhibitions featuring the most preeminent artists in and around Yeats country.”
To be opened by Niall O Donnell, the moving spirit behind the Cristeph Gallery, one of the oldest galleries there, the show encompasses over 50 original works by professional artists like Stephen Bennett, Brigid Birney, Lisa Bond, Morgan Ferriter, Marina Hamilton, Geoff Kilpatrick, Maria Noonan-McDermott, Carmel O Callaghan, Cormac O Leary, Thomas Sheridan and Heidi Wickham are featured.
On October 22, Marvin -- whose wife is also a nurse in Ireland for almost seven years -- will be sponsoring a tea party together with the rest of the Filipino community in Letterkenny County Donegal via a cultural gig, on-the-spot painting and e-auction, among others, for the benefit of Sagip Kalinga!
In Manila, at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, on October 25, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., there will be a fund-raiser called SAGIP SINING: ART 2 D RESCUE !
Together with Dr. Luis Gatmaitan, we will host the opening ceremonies at 9:30a.m. via Bahay, Bata, Bagyo then our long Sunday will be divided into 12 see-all-you-can-give-what-you-can shows of 30 minutes each in every nook and cranny of the 40 year-old CCP!
Ticket price for this cause-oriented “Pasinaya” will start from P20 for such world-class acts as Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra Ensembles' SerenAID, Ballet Philippines' Tambol at Padyak, Philstage's Musical Theater Excerpts, or folksingers' Dangal ng Pilipino where “bluetoothan” and burning of compact discs are allowed until around 5 p.m. with visual artists' Anak ng Typhoon auction and filmmakers' Indie Ondoy which they are planning to re-screen in malls.
By 6 p.m., classical musicians' Salva Vida at the Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino and comedians' Comic Relief at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo will solicit donations starting from P500 for a two-hour show.
Rockers' Rock Med Philippines will also accept medicines and medical aids during their concert at the CCP Front Ramp until 12 midnight.
CCP Department Manager Chris Millado reminded us: “All day there will be opencam policy with free Wifi at the Little Theater lobby to encourage up-to-date postings to spread our charity virus!”
We, from the Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas (UMPIL) and Linangan sa Imahen Retorika at Anyo (LIRA) will read poems and do Balagtasan through what Hermie Beltran would dub as Dilang-anghel alternately with Alitaptap Storytellers Philippines at the Bulwagang Pambansang Alagad ng Sining. Invited to perform are poets and fictionists G.P. Abrajano, Teo Antonio, Mike Coroza, Dako Cutab, Lourd de Veyra, Raul Funilas, Vivian Limpin, Marne Kilates, Siege Malvar, Edgar Samar, Alvin Yapan, to name a few – who mostly suffered from Storm Signal #1 in Metro Manila that ironically brought worst flood ever recorded in history!
Talking about therapy.
After the Ondoy onslaught, while the two Baldemors were out of the country, we asked their youngest, now Mailah Balde, how was everything in their Pasig residence.
The said University of Santo Tomas' Painting Department chairperson, texted back: "Okey naman kami kaso wala na lahat! Ang tubig lampas sa bubong ng kotse. Pinasok din ang bahay nina Mommy. Lahat ng gamit namin sira. Karamihan ng paintings ni Daddy nasira."
By that, she meant the man behind all SM Supermalls GreenBags' new designs, who was quoted, during its last January 16 launch, as saying: “Personally, I’ve seen how our environment has deteriorated over the years. I really think it’s about time that people start taking better care of their surroundings.”
There are two credit cards for every person in the United States.
CONSIDER THIS: Love is the worst tenant: (1) it occupies our heart; (2) it pays no rent; (3) it does not vacate easily and when it leaves, the place broken.

EDUCATION IN GENERAL (October 12, 2009)

If you enrol in Malikhaing Pagsulat 10, a General Education subject, at the end of semester, you are expected to come up with a pasyon about student life, a love story about your mom and dad, and a monologue about an unknown hero.

Two of our MP 10, or Ang Hiwaga at Hikayat ng Panulat, classes did great.
Yet they are mostly math and science majors!
Our morning batch launched their literary folio -- Espesyal Halo-halo – edited by Camille Chua, Paulina Miranda, and Ibarra Poliquit and designed by John Perry Buhat -- at the Mag:Net Gallery in Katipunan during our Open Mic Gig last September 28.
Since Ondoy made it impossible for our afternoon batch to join them, they made up last Saturday during our semestral visit to Lila Pilipina!
Although Pepeng was threatening to ruin what they did during their rehearsal at the University of the Philippines Grandstand last Friday, they pushed through with it to the delight of the lolas who did not get the message that our arrival was canceled due to that supposedly Supertyphoon.
That Saturday they were able to get off the press their collection called Maharlika edited by Ian David, Crysthel Pamintuan, Lyle Prospero, and Ava Tan and designed by Jay Fidelino. Last Monday, they were able to create a site about their efforts at!
As if on cue, Commission on Higher Education's Richie de la Rosa reminded us about the consultative conference with professional organizations and professional regulations last Wednesday at the Sulo Hotel in Quezon City.
As the Technical Panel for General Education chair, Dr. Isagani R. Cruz spoke on behalf of other experts – Dr. Queena Lee Chua, Dr. Ma. Serena Diokno, and Dr. Cristina Padolina – about the so-called “Philippine Main Education Highway” wherein existing courses requiring licensure exams by the Professional Regulation Commission are proposed to last five years starting last June, supposedly, and starting 2010, even non-board courses will also be extended by one year!
Eight months ago, chairman Emmanuel Angeles promised to do this kind of consultation before CHEd could reform the college baccalaureate curriculum since “compared with other countries all over the world [except Botswana] our educational system lacks two years, we do not have Grades 11 and 12 … our four years bachelors program has two years only of professional courses because the first two years are devoted to general education courses.”
Dr. Alfredo Co, a TPGE member, had these harsh realities to share: (1) a tacit acceptance of the deficient primary and secondary education program; (2) CHEd is picking up the cudgel of the Department of Education; (3) the language competence, basic math and science must be the responsibility of the primary and secondary education; (4) taking these burdens that should prepare the students to a tertiary education can seriously affect the concerns of the tertiary education that should be preparing students to an area of expertise; (5) a consultation and comprehensive meeting between DepEd and CHEd addressing the concerns of preparedness/ unpreparedness of high school graduates for entry to tertiary education can lessen the burden now being absorbed by the CHEd; (6) the raison d’être of CHEd is precisely “Higher Education” but the heavy burden that it is now addressing is still “basic” and “fundamental” education, thereby stifling and consuming; (7) Technical Committees and Panels have been shelving all its completed works (regarding Center of Excellence and other Program and Standards, for example) that are supposed to be scheduled for consultation and implementation because of the unending changes that coming their way; (8) even if a new GE program is to emerge, out of simple eagerness, many things have to be seriously addressed; program review of the existing GE (reviewing the merits and demerits), methodic consultations, program development, institutional preparation, faculty development, textbook development, and financial appropriation (both from private institutions and government schools), etc. have to be seriously taken into consideration if we want our initiative (that could take years) to be put into serious implementation.
We were there, not just as a TC on Literature member but as Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas chair, a faculty member, and a father whose belt will be tightened if we agreed to follow the “10+2+3 formula,” i.e. 10 years of basic education, a two-year pre-university program, and then a final three years of specialization!
Our primary concern was simple: will Filipino and Philippine literature be a part of that “revitalized” tertiary education system that could make us at par with that of other countries?
And the relevance and significance of the said language and literature subjects came from our students' hearts and minds after taking MP 10 and Panitikan ng Pilipinas 12, among others, who admitted that those GE subjects made them more human!
During the program at the Lila Pilipina office where they learned about peace education last October 10 – the day after American President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize “because the judges found his promise of disarmament and diplomacy too good to ignore” -- what served as the ice-breaker was when they sang their own stormed version of Bahay-kubo:
Dami putik
ang pumasok doon
ay sari-sari.
Nilimas na karton,
sirang medyas at damit,
silya, basurang mapanghe.
Ondoy, parusa,
binura ang Marikina
at saka meron pa
lubog din ang Edsa,
Montalban at Pasig,
Taytay at Cainta
sa paligid-ligid
ay puno ng baha!
While we all laughed till we dropped, Maria Abulencia's surprise text reminded us of what great historian Fr. Horacio de la Costa of Mauban,Quezon once wrote about three gifts of Filipinos: LAUGHTER, MUSIC, FAITH.
Women blink nearly twice as much as men!
CONSIDER THIS: Lord, when I lose hope because my plans have come to nothing, help me to remember that your love is always greater than my dissappointments and your plans for my life are always better than my dreams.

ONDOYANT (October 05, 2009)

Dr. Bienvenido Lumbera was there during the press conference arranged by fictionist Jun Cruz Reyes last Tuesday, the day aneurysm took Odette Alcantara.
JCR reported that while he and his student assistant were in Tindahan ni Abot along C.P. Garcia Road, within the University of the Philippines Diliman campus, last September 13, around 8 p.m., a muscle man with fair complexion, 5'4” in height, wearing blue pants full of pockets, took his photo through a cellphone, then took a jeep after saying “This is Mike Enriquez reporting.”
This happened four days before the said National Artist found out that he was part of the military intelligence training exercises.
But, like most of us who had our share of Ondoy scare, we had to move on.
Ondoyant, we continued last September 30 our mission for Dr. Lumbera – after bringing Dr. Edith Tiempo to her birthplace in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya last August 10 -- for the third leg of the Pagpupugay sa mga Pambansang Alagad ng Sining to Davao.
The city -- that was crazy for its son Yam Laranas who directed his first Hollywood film The Echo -- is a second home to our honoree, Dr. Lumbera, who is married to his former student, Cynthia Nograles, who partly owned The Royale House, that hosted us!
U.P. Mindanao sponsored a forum the morning after -- opened by Dean Araceli Dans Lee and closed by Prof. Miguel Soledad -- before we proceeded to Davao Christian High School with their director Arthur Yap, Rubi Rosa del Prado, Fern Maraňon, Hazel Veloso, and their students led by their emcee Mara Ostique.
October 2 was a red-letter day for Dr. Lumbera but it turned blue when we visited the Ateneo de Davao campus care of their Humanities Division chair Godofredo Rojo. Like last May 17, 2008, when Dr. Lumbera talked about poetry and politics there, his poem Nabosesan, from his latest book with compact disc Poetika/ Politika, was a big hit. Over lunch, we learned about Dr. Lumbera's cultural activities at the Ipil Rehabilitation Center in Fort Bonifacio in 1974 with Romy Dizon, Ricky Lee, Rogelio Mangahas, and other detainees who found time to stage such collectively written plays as Iba Na Ang Nasa Laya, Hindi Ba, Ato? It rekindled Dr. Macario Tiu and Don Pagusara's Martial Law memories, too, so they passionately recalled how they put up plays, usually written by Ed Maranan and directed by Behn Cervantes. But what seemed to be as fresh as the tuna we were eating was their production of Aurelio Tolentino's Kahapon, Ngayon, Bukas as well as their recording of Kalayaan and other songs about the national democratic movement with Jess Santiago and the late Susan Fernandez.
That night of cheap durian, we from the Likhaan: U.P. Institute of Creative Writing fulfilled our promise to the National Commission for Culture and Arts in coming up with our third (Lipa City in 2007 and Laoag in 2008) tribute for Dr. Lumbera in collaboration with the LCB Performing Arts Center Foundation Dance Company – after two years with Dulaang U.P. doing the excerpt from Hibik at Himagsik nina Victoria Laktaw.
With Lu Chin Bon, the president LCB-PACF, we were able to do the excerpts from Dr. Lumbera and Ryan Cayabyab’s adaptation of Jose Rizal’s work via Noli Me Tangere, the Musical which was first presented in 1994 by Cultural Center of the Philippines's Tanghalang Pilipino.
This time, for the Davaoeňos, Josie Tejada directed it with choreographer Jasper Jan Lu, who admitted that it was their first time to produce a play on a national level in their company's 11-year history. “We are very honored and challenged to do a dance production of one of our National Artists', it has always been our passion to bring their works closer to the people, students and most specially to the younger generations,” Mr. Lu admitted, the selfless producer, who gave free tickets to schools for a show at the 600-seater CAP Auditorium.
Like a surface marked by waves or slighty depressed furrows, our flight back to supertyphoon Pepeng-worried Manila last Saturday was as risky as Dr. Lumbera's life as humanist who now serves as ACT (Alliance of Concerned Teachers) Teachers' Partylist.
Today, by the way, is Teachers' Day!
The name of all the continents end with the same letter that they start with.
CONSIDER THIS: Fill every thought with determination; every step with courage; and every word with love and you will enjoy life even more.