Sunday, January 3, 2010

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.

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