Friday, May 14, 2010


When the two Seans, together with their “classmates” -- Charles, Joemer, Johann, Luke, Mico, Niňa, Sophia, and Simeon -- recited this poem in unison during their “graduation day,” everyone was touched and teary-eyed:
Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder
Kami ay may AD/HD
Madalas kaming hyper at takbo nang takbo
Madalas wala kaming control at parang matigas ang ulo.”
Questions asked by our kids -- Psalma, Wika, and Sulat – even by their Granny, Zenaida Mendiola – were answered by the following stanza:
“Madalas hirap kaming magfocus at parang hindi nakikinig
Sa klase kami ay napapa-away at madalas nakatindig
'Yan ang sintomas ng AD/HD
Kaya dinala kami sa PGH para mag-Group Therapy.”
It also explained what their Ina was doing as president of the foundation named after their sibling, Awit, ably supported by Gayle Pacquing, Foundation Awit's executive assistant, with volunteers like Julie Gambala, Jonas Pacquing and his mom Roxanne:
“Sa therapy natuto kami nang marami
Gaya ng paggamit ng “Please, sorry, may I borrow?” at “Excuse me...”
Natuto kaming makinig at magpakabait
Para marami kaming dolphin at di matawag na makulit.”
And how art played its part:
“Natuto kaming sumayaw ng Who Let The Dogs Out? sa wii
Nadagdag din sa talent namin ang paggawa ng origami
Natuto kaming makipag-kaibigan at maglaro nang walang awayan
Higit sa lahat naintindihan namin na ang AD/HD ay di kasalanan ninuman.”
But, everything was made possible by unsung heroes:
“Sa tulong ng mga doktor gaya nina Doktor A, J, at S
Sa tulong ng teachers na mabait sa makulit
At lalong-lalo na sa love ng aming magulang at lola
Sa tulong ng lahat ng ito kami ay mayroon ng pag-asa.”
If they had their way, Doctors A, J, and S would hide behind those initials forever.
However, we deem it necessary to give due credit to Dr. Aileene Del Mundo-
Nepomuceno, Dr. Josephine Gatdula, and Dr. Joseph Sayo – Child Psychiatry fellows
at the Philippine General Hospital – who committed themselves to AD/HD.
And their big sisters – Dr. Cynthia Ramos-Leynes, former chair of Behavioral Medicine and Child Psychiatry Department,and Dr. Norieta Calma-Balderrama, current section head of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry -- who permitted us, through Foundation AWIT president, Dr. Dinah Nadera, to complete this nine-week module on group therapy for children with AD/HD which is a common behavioral disorder with a worldwide incidence of 5-10%, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
Affected were more than 3 million Filipinos, or four-percent of our population, which was 84 million then, when the study was conducted four years ago.
From 2006 to 2008, based on the PGH's Child and Adolescent Census, AD/HD had been in the top 5 diagnosis and ranks fourth among the common psychiatric referrals seen, comprising 8.81% of total cases.
Generally, PGH patients are charity cases.
So, by 2004, the Child and Adolescent section of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine put up an AD/HD Clinic in partnership with Janssen Pharmaceutica, a division of Johnson & Johnson Philippines.
As early as the last quarter of 2009, the team had been planning until they were able to finish the final draft of the module last January guided by these general objectives: (1) to help the children develop an awareness about their condition; (2) to help the children learn activities that can improve their attention span and impulse control and redirect their hyperactivity into meaningful actions; (3) to help the children integrate into the society by teaching them values and interpersonal skills such as effective communication and socially appropriate behavior.
For nine Wednesdays, at 1:00 -3:00 p.m. at the AD/HD clinic (or Room 301 of the PGH's Out-Patient Department), the kids took part in the activities that were compressed to maximize resources, time, and money within the three-month session.
Their significant others, though, were never left out since they were given parallel sessions: from dealing with hyperactivity, impulsivity, or inattention to developing talents and skills to expressing oneself.
From AD/HD awareness to self-awareness, art became a common denominator.
Literary arts for their logbook or journal writing and story telling, media arts for their radioshow, theater arts for their role playing or charades or body talk, visual arts for their origami making, even communication arts for their pass-the-message games, among others.
What sets the activities apart from others is the use of structured tools to evaluate the psychoeducation sessions of parents and of standardized questionnaires to measure symptoms of AD/HD after every group therapy session.
Evaluation after the completion of all nine modules discovered the artist in the children with AD/HD, whose evaluation sheets were accompanied with illustrations!
Based on the evaluation, the modules are now being revised as appropriate to be published as a resource tool for professionals and familes in dealing with children with AD/HD.
That makes Drs. A, J, and S artists too -- as authors of the poem and of this forthcoming publication!
The module ended last April 21, our Papa's birthday, and two weeks of practice were allotted for graduation in May 7 where they ended this literary piece with:

Kami ay may AD/HD
Pero ngayon kami ay bumubuti
At higit sa lahat – cute pa din kami!”
If indeed healing's goal is to make people happy, then we certainly succeeded.
And we will try to go beyond what Proclamation 472 declares being October each year as National Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Awareness Week!
Smart boss + smart employee = profit
Smart boss + dumb employee = production
Dumb boss + smart employee = promotion
Dumb boss + dumb employee = overtime
If people say something bad about you, judge you as if they know you, do not get affected.

DEAR MR. PRESIDENT (May 10, 2010)

Two weeks ago, while you were tied up with your cultural shows, or campaign sorties, we did not bother to ask you if you will eventually prioritize arts and culture.
The Artist Welfare Project Inc. (AWPI) called us last April 28 to pay the Cultural Center of the Philippines a visit to draft the Arts and Culture Agenda.
AWPI incorporated what we, with National Artists Virgilio Almario and Bienvenido Lumbera, presented as a gift for Francisco Balagtas' 222nd birthday last Good Friday!
This time, this one is for you:
We from the Arts and Culture Sector of Philippine society commit ourselves: (1) to support your new administration in its pursuit of social, political, economic, and cultural progress through the promotion of good governance, transparency, and moral ascendancy that will lay the foundation for national development; (2) to unite as a sector, as we become more vigilant and determined, to advocate for the development of a national Philippine culture we can all be proud of; (3) to be active catalysts in the moral transformation of our society through the promotion of Filipino values, customs, and traditions; (4) to be formidable partners in forging national unity by addressing ethno-cultural problems and by using the arts as instruments for peace and development.
Our culture of governance has been largely characterized in the immediate past by graft, corruption, patronage politics, divisiveness and lack of morals and that there is a need to restore good governance not only within the Philippine government but in all sectors of society as well.
As citizens, we look up to leaders who are ready, willing, and capable: (1) to set the example for good governance; (2) to promote transparency in governance and consult with our sector on a regular basis on plans and programs related to arts and culture, including the choice of leaders of cultural institutions; (3) to support programs that will promote arts for social transformation; (4) to protect freedom of artistic expression and safeguard academic freedom through national policy provisions such as the passage of the new Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) law.
You can count on us to become more vigilant as a watchdog and voice in bringing forth the ills in our society as well as to promote Philippine values and help in the moral transformation of our people.
Generally, we urge you to do what your predecessors failed to do: (1) to formulate a national vision and a unified plan for artistic and cultural development in consultation with our sector; (2) to recognize the value of artistic and cultural development in the context of peace, national unity, and progress; and (3) to consult our sector regularly on the formulation and implementation of policies and programs related to arts and culture.
Your honor, please provide the necessary support structures and mechanisms for the following: (A) creative industry, (B) arts and culture funding, (C ) development and promotion of arts and culture, (D) cultural heritage management and conservation, and (E) arts in education.
First, for creative industry, we commit ourselves: (1) to establish a system of networking and linkages among members of the artistic and cultural community; (2) to undertake more cooperative ventures that would help alleviate the plight of artists and cultural workers; (3) to professionalize our ranks to enable us to practice our art as viable careers; (4) to organize ourselves into equity groups that will protect our rights as workers.
Will you commit yourself: (1) to undertake a nationwide Creative Industry survey that will determine the contribution of the Arts and Culture Sector to the national economy; (2) to develop and implement a National Creative Industry Development Plan; (3) to review existing policies and laws on the various sectors of the Creative Industry and enact new laws or policies that will encourage the development of the Creative Industry; (4) to strictly implement the Intellectual Property Law specific to the Creative Industry and, in particular, to eradicate film piracy; (5) to provide more opportunities to members of the Arts and Culture Sector to avail of foreign grants for human resource development; (6) to encourage Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to give more focus on the creative industry through training programs on arts and crafts?
Second, for arts and culture funding, we commit ourselves to improve our capability to raise and manage funds from the public and private sectors through effective arts and cultural management.
Will you commit yourself: (1) to provide tax incentives for donations from the private sector, for artists who donate their works and importation of non-locally available arts materials and equipment; (2) to encourage local government units to establish arts and culture offices and utilize their CDF’s (Cultural Development Funds) for artistic and cultural projects within their communities; (3) to provide bigger budgetary allocations for government cultural institutions; (4) to encourage and support the development of infrastructure for the arts all over the country; (5) to improve and streamline the grant-giving procedures of government cultural institutions; (6) to provide healthcare, retirement and housing benefits for deserving Filipino artists?
Third, for the development and promotion of arts and culture, we commit ourselves: (1) to utilize the media and the info-com technology as a medium for creative expression and in cultural dissemination and promotion; (2) to cooperate with government cultural agencies and departments in the promotion of Philippine arts and culture.
Will you commit yourself: (1) to undertake more regional programs that will increase awareness, understanding and appreciation of our cultural diversity as a nation; (2) to encourage the promotion and support the production of original Filipino works; (3) to enact a law that will institutionalize the proper selection of National Artists; (4) to support the promotion of Philippine artists and their works abroad in order to promote Philippine culture and improve our national image among foreign publics; (5) to support the establishment of a public broadcasting channel for arts and culture; (6) to ratify the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions which shall promote our national cultural identity vis-à-vis globalization?
Fourth, for cultural heritage management and conservation, we commit ourselves: (1) to become more vigilant in safeguarding the preservation of cultural heritage properties of our nation; (2) to cooperate with cultural agencies in the conservation of these properties.
Will you commit yourself: (1) to work for the successful implementation of the Cultural Heritage Act; (2) to issue an official moratorium on the demolition of historical/ cultural heritage landmarks; (3) to expand the School of Living Traditions all over the country; (4) to encourage and support the establishment of more local museums and libraries.
Fifth, for arts in education, we commit commit ourselves: (1) to assist government educational institutions in teachers’ training, curriculum development and production of teaching materials for arts and culture; (2) to organize non-formal education programs in arts and culture.
Will you commit yourself: (1) to implement the Philippine Cultural Education Program (PCEP); (2) to strengthen the regional high schools for the arts; (3) to encourage the establishment of performing arts groups and support artistic and cultural projects as co-curricular activities?
More power and may God bless you.
Smart man + smart woman = romance
Smart man + dumb woman = affair
Dumb man + smart woman = marriage
Dumb man + dumb woman = pregnancy
I am moody like Squidward, a bit dumb like Patrick, a little cold-hearted like Plankton, and sometimes stupid like Mr. Krabs, but, I will be here for you, like Spongebob, my friend.

ROOT (May 03, 2010)

Wika, our second child, wondered why those big and bold acacias fell after the storm Milenyo struck University of the Philippines campus in Diliman in 2006, four months before his younger brother Awit passed away.
Astonished, we tried to explain that probably those trees were not deeply rooted.
“Rootedness” was the word he recalled when he accompanied us to the 6th Romblon Discussion List-CLEAR (Cultural, Livelihood, Education Assistance for Romblon) Writing Workshop in Sibale, Romblon last summer – and we learned that Ishmael Fabicon and Nikon Fameronag had been helping kids in reading and writing in their languages we were unaware of -- Asi, Unhan, and Ini.
After a month of toying with the idea of roots, he, together with his Ina and his sisters -- Psalma and Sulat -- took part in the 2nd Cordillera Creative Writing Workshop at St. Mary’s School in Sagada, Mountain Province upon the invitation of the former University of the Philippines Baguio’s College of Arts and Communications Dean Elizabeth Calinawagan who had been promoting literature written in Kalinga, Ifugao, Bontoc in the Mountain Province, Tinggian in Abra, Adasen in Apayao, and Pangasinan with other languages in Region II such as Ibanag, Itawis, Gaddang, Yogad in Isabela, Ilongot in Nueva Vizcaya, and Ivatan in Batanes.
Last May, our family missed how rooted was Uswag Kaakiang Basudeňo in claiming literarily their language in Basud, Camarines Norte as well as Buklurang Sining ng Lalawigan ng Quezon (BUSILAQ) in re-claiming Tagalog, far different from the Filipino others thought of, which urban dwellers were familiar with, say, in Ateneo de Manila University High School where we had a talk on Filipino Character or in La Salle Green Hills we tackled Paggamit ng Malikhaing Pagsulat sa Pagtuturo ng Kasaysayan.
Our summer this year was rooted on what we did last summer!
This April's heat saw us in Miriam College Grade School's Filipino Department chair Elizelle Hapatinga tasked us, through our thesis advisees Rose Antolin and Angelica Flores, to give a refresher course in Filipino for their teachers in preparation for the National Achievement Test last March.
And then, last week, we had been in two hot Certificate Programs in Cultural Education (CPCE).
First, we taught Poetry in Filipino last April 26 among public elementary and high school teachers from El Niňo-hit Region 3.
Under the Art Appreciation 2 with three-unit credits, it was offered by the Bulacan Arts Culture and History Institute (BACH) in consortium with the University of Regina Carmeli in Malolos funded by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.
Its administrator, Joseph Cristobal, also a Cultural Center of the Philippines' Senior Culture and Arts Officer, reminded us time and again that this certificate program will serve as an enrichment program not only for basic education teachers who teach MAKABAYAN but also for arts and heritage advocates in Higher Education Institutions and the like.
As a teacher, we were expected to imbue them with a strong sense of cultural and historical awareness, at least, in one whole day of their five-week intensive training designed to integrate understanding of our arts and culture as well as our national and regional identities while developing a deeper sensitivity to diverse cultures.
After two days, Rica Palis brought us to Colegio de San Juan de Letran in Calamba, where we brought The Literary Arts and its Practices in the Philippines to the nth root.
She, and Dr. Ruel Manuel -- the Graduate School and Professional Services dean who was literally overseeing everything when we were there perspiring while proving a point in an air-conditioned room -- reiterated that this scholarship is open not only to teachers but also to all cultural workers.
Unfortunately, not even a municipal or a provincial tourism officer from Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon (CALABARZON) area availed of this free 12-unit post-baccalaureate CPCE.
Rica, also the SJLC Department of Culture and Arts director, was also saddened by the fact that her co-faculty members did not even bother to apply.
To think, it would be a cure-all for teachers who could not even integrate, root and branch, all the functional understanding of the local and national history, culture, heritage and the arts into the five subject areas – Social Sciences, Languages, Science, Math and Music Art Physical Education Health (MAPEH).
The content and structure of the program is patterned after Malikhaing Guro and Tagputihan format developed by Arts Research and Training Institute in Southern Tagalog, Inc. (ARTIST, Inc.).
Before going to the said CPCE of 216-hour intensive training, we attended a four-hour consultation meeting at the Higher Education Development Center Building auditorium.
Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) chair, Dr. Emmanuel Angeles, discussed the root cause of his supposed legacy: the establishment of a Philippine prototype of a pre-university educational system!
As the lone member of the Technical Panel for Literature, we felt at home with Dr. Manuel Dy Jr., Dr. Zosimo Lee, and Dr. Jesus Rodrigo Torres (Philosophy); Bro. Rey Vargas (Catholic Religious Studies); Dr. Anacleto Carag (Christian Formation); Dr. Mashur bin Ghalib Jundam (Islamic Studies); and Dr. Marilu Madrunio, Dr. Ma. Milagros Laurel, Dr. Corazon Santos, Dr. Sheilee Vega, and Prof. Patrocinio Villafuerte (Language).
In less than an hour, we were able to produce certain “curricular reforms.”
A pre-university student, meaning after graduating from high school, must have taken in his or her two years the following: 9 to 12 units of History; 9 to 12 units of Art Appreciation; 12 units of Math (Algebra, Statistics, Trigonometry, and Calculus); and Science (Earth and Space Sciences, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics).
We proposed that if give 18 to 24 units to English, we ought to be fair with Filipino by sharing the same number of units.
Plus, the first two semesters should be devoted to reading -- from regional to national to Asian to World Literature, for instance -- while the remaining two should be focused on honing the student's writing skills – both in English and Filipino.
Our dear chair came back and began hopping from one table to another.
Until he reached ours.
Like a wellwisher eager to kiss the debutante, we did it formally by raising our hand.
But he appeared to be always looking the other way.
Perhaps, he could read our mind loaded with questions like: Whatever happened to the study Philippine Main Education Highway conducted by the former Technical Panel for General Education chair, Dr. Isagani Cruz, and his research team including Dr. Queena Lee Chua, Dr. Ma. Serena Diokno, and Dr. Cristina Padolina?
Or, maybe he could see the indio in us, rooting for whatever Filipino, when he answered right away what we were supposed to ask: “I’m a product of English instruction from Grade 1 until I finished graduate school. I don’t have to study Filipino, I can speak it.”
On our way home, Agua de Mayo fell freely, preempting the Labor Day.
So hard that the heavens seemed to be in grief.
As if crying for the Nueva Vizcaya State University's rooted, or uprooted, lady president, Dr. Marilou Gilo-Abon, who succumbed to cancer on her 55th birthday last April 23.
Stewardesses is the longest word typed with only the left hand.
It is amazing to realize that living in simplicity gives true contentment. We go as we come to this world. In the end, nothing is ours to keep. So share what we have: smiles, knowledge, hugs, good words, time, love... Love more. Hate less. Ignore critics. Love life.


Did you know that Filipinas Copyright Licensing Society, Inc.(FILCOLS) has discovered that we have collectibles from Copyright Agency Limited of Australia?
Australians and the rest of the world had no idea before where to give what they had received from the reproduction of materials from the Philippines.
For one, we had no collecting society back then.
Which is why, Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas (UMPIL) took the initial step to gather all the writers together.
Our General Membership Meeting, also known as UMPILAN, will take place at the University of Santo Tomas's Thomas Aquinas Research Center (TARC) on April 30.
This coming Friday, after the registration at 1 p.m., FILCOLS executive director Alvin Buenaventura will tell us first what International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organizations (IFRRO) is all about.
Then, he will introduce in a roundtable discussion the FILCOLS Board of Trustees – namely, National Artist Virgilio Almario, chair, Karina Bolasco, vice chair (publisher); Lirio Sandoval (foreign publisher’s representative), treasurer; Isagani Cruz (author); Abdon Balde Jr. (author); Mariano Kilates (author); Erlinda Panlilio (author); Max Gomez (publisher); and Roland de Vera (foreign publisher’s representative).Originally entitled Karapatang-ari, Ipapahawak Mo Ba Sa Iba?, this forum will concentrate on Writers and Copyright and will confront such perennial problems as unauthorized xeroxing, to name a few.
UMPIL will seize the post-World Book and Copyright Day by organizing its membership for its different programs and projects including the Second Edition of UMPIL Directory of Filipino Writers, which we co-edited with Romulo Baquiran Jr., Fidelito Cortes, Rafael Ma.Guerrero in 1991.
For non-members, you can download our membership form at and, after filling it out, kindly email it at with your latest photo and fee of P500 which can be paid cash or check through Landbank S.A. 3071-0317-20.
Members will be given the right to be actively participating in the following committees: Education and Training under Mike Coroza, Ethics under Mario Miclat, International Relations under Karina Bolasco, Finance under Rebecca Aňonuevo, Advocacy under Jose Wendell Capili, Welfare and Benefits under Ruby Gamboa Alcantara, Congress and Convention under Abdon Balde Jr., Publicity under Joey Baquiran, Awards and Grants under Marne Kilates, Publications under Fidel Rillo, and Procedures and Amendments under us. Or, you can join the regional coordinators: Beverly Siy is for Luzon, Charlson Ong for the Visayas, and Frank Rivera for Mindanao.
At the end of the day, we will ask everyone to group, or re-group, for them to problematize the future of Philippine literature, for instance, according to literary genre.
Fr. Roland de la Rosa, the UST Rector is also a writer, would love to grab the chance of having the largest writers organization in the country inside the oldest existing university in Asia, so he is inviting each and everyone of us to submit this coming Friday.
You can contribute soft and hard copies of any literary piece – from poetry to prose -- in English and/or Filipino about UST.
If approved by the Board of Editors, your works will be paid and published in a book to be launched as part of UST's Quadricentennial Anniversary celebration next year.
Two years ago, we, as the UMPIL chair, endorsed FILCOLS as the official national Reproduction Rights Organization of the Philippines.
Last Wednesday, April 21, marked the second anniversary of our partnership.
It all began in 2007 when the National Book Development Board and the Intellectual Property Philippines (IPP) backed up the Book Development Association of the Philippines (BDAP) in forming FILCOLS that was eventually incorporated on 8 January 2008.
IFRRO, after approving its membership on 3 June 2009, sent an invite to FILCOLS to its annual general meeting.
Dean Almario led the Philippine delegation to join some 227 participants from 59 countries in the said gathering last October in Oslo, Norway.
He signed bilateral agreements with the reproduction rights organizations (RRO) of Australia, Argentina, Colombia, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Today, by the way, is the first of the two-day World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Asia Pacific Regional Workshop on copyright documentation systems at the Ballrooms C, D and E of the Crowne Plaza Galleria Manila, Ortigas Center, Pasig City.
Its main aim is simply to increase awareness of copyright registration and deposit systems currently practiced in the Asia Pacific region, to learn ways of securing and identifying content in the digital environment, as well as to get acquainted with how copyrighted works can be preserved in the digital environment.
WIPO, in cooperation with the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines, invited the following experts:
Richard Owens, WIPO's Copyright Law Division director, to talk about Copyright Registries as Tools for Copyright Management: History and Increasing Relevance as well as update us on WIPO activities on Copyright Documentation; Christopher Creswell, a Copyright Law specialist from Canberra, Australia, to tackle Legal Deposit Systems: A Time-Honored Obligation with Modern Applications; Jørgen Blomqvist, a University of Copenhagen honorary professor, to discuss Rights Management Information (RMI) and Digital Identifiers: Legal Issues and Challenges and Digital Preservation: Similarities and Differences among Jurisdictions;
Atty. Jimmy Soriano from Creative Commons to deal with survey of emerging uses of RMI: Creative Commons; Ang Kwee Tiang, the Regional Director of International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) in Singapore to share with us International Standards for Creative Material and Documentation Systems of Collective Management Organizations: Projects and Applications; Prudenciana Cruz, the Director of our National Library, to teach us Preservation of Creative Material in the Digital Environment: Legal Issues and Challenges; Won-Sun Lim, the Director General of Korea's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism's Library and Information Policy Bureau, to lecture on the Digital Preservation Practices in Asia and the Pacific Region – The Experience of Korea; Amasi Manisekaran, a consultant of WIPO's Cooperation for Development Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, to speak about Activities of WIPO in the Field of Copyright and Related Rights in the Region.
Copyright stakeholders, publishers, authors, libraries, museums, computer software companies and organizations, Collective Management Organizations, Research and Development Institutions and IP associations -- from China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam -- will likewise give us country reports on registration and deposit systems, on one hand, and representatives from YouTube, Google Book Search and Flicker, on the other.
A registration fee of P4,500 will be charged.
For details, please contact Atty. Louie Calvario via 632-238-6300 loc. 206.
In Shakespeare's time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes. When you pulled on the ropes, the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on. Hence the phrase: “Goodnight, sleep tight.”
Three stages of life: 1. TEENS (You have all the time and energy but no money.) 2. WORKERS (You have the money and energy but no time.) 3. OLDIES (You have all the time and money but no more energy.)

DIA DEL LIBRO (April 19, 2010)

Last Saturday, Instituto Cervantes Manila commemorated El Día Internacional del Libro a week earlier.
April 23 was chosen by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization during its General Conference in 1995 to pay homage to books and authors.
It began in Catalonia where they gave a rose for every book sold during St. George' Day on the 23rd of April.
On this symbolic date, too, British poet/playwright William Shakespeare, Peruvian writer Garcilaso de la Vega, and, of course, Spanish poet/playwright/novelist Miguel de Cervantes died in 1616.
By the way, it was also the deathday of Catalan writer Josep Pla in 1981 as well as the birthday of Icelandic writer Haldor K.Laxness in 1902 (who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1955), French novelist Maurice Druon in 1918, and Colombian writer/journalist Manuel Mejía Vallejo in 1923.
Here, the International Book Day was celebrated for a week. And Instituto Cervantes Manila -- in cooperation with the Spanish Embassy in the Philippines, Ministerio de Cultura de España, Spanish Agency International Cooperation for Development (AECID), Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, Filipino-Spanish Friendship Day, Light Rail Transit Authority, Icon Graphics, among others -- did it our way. Via the Jeepney Poetry Tour! Together with world-famous Spanish poet José Luis Gómez Toré who flew from Europe, we travelled with Filipino poets Mookie Katigbak, Jose Lacaba, Marra Lanot, Ramon Sunico, Joel Toledo, and Alfred Yuson. Mike Coroza was present and Teo Antonio was absent. So they convinced us to face Mike in a friendly poetic debate or balagtasan. How can we say no to an innovative reading campaign that bagged the very prestigious Anvil Award of Merit – for Educational Public Relations Program on a sustained basis -- in the 45th Anvil Awards Competition! Yes, the keyword is “sustained.” Since three years ago, Berso sa Metro had been there at the Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Metrostar Express (MRT3) and had done the showcasing of Spanish poems with their Filipino translations. “Since October 2007, commuters taking the metro have been receiving their daily dose of Spanish poetry. With the combination of our Spanish heritage, Filipino love for poetry and the ubiquitous jeepney—this poetry tour is real innovation and true creation of culture,” says Instituto Cervantes director José Rodríguez. Anvil Awards, or the Oscars of Public Relations in the Philippines from the Public Relations Society of the Philippines, recognized such effort that aims not only “to strengthen the cultural bond between the Philippines and Spain” but also “to educate the passengers in Spanish literature through the wide array of poetic masterpieces by various Spanish, Latin American, and Filipino poets on a daily basis while riding a train.” For this year, Instituto Cervantes extended it and elected the King of the Road amidst fare hike crisis.
We had live poetry recitals in three different sites in Metro Manila while taking the jeep, or was it the jeep taking us?
Barcino Wine and Tapas Bar at The Fort offered us a hearty and heavy brunch before we could even begin our reading at A Different Bookstore in Serendra, also at Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City where the theme we touched was City Life. After lunch, our two electric jeepneys with two backup vans went to Powerbooks at Greenbelt 3 in Makati City where we dealt with Memories, Dreams, and Nightmares until 6 p.m. Quezon City was our last stop when our topic was open, at last, so we opted to go political.
To vote or not vote that was the question.
And we did not dare endorse the son of the senator whose favorite song was Impossible Dream.
It came into full circle, for us, when we arrived at Magnet Gallery in Katipunan last Saturday.
Instituto Cervantes' Deputy for Cultural Affairs Jose Ma. Fons and Ito Rivera, were there for our meeting with Rock Drilon.
The said Don Quixote and Sancho Panza of Dia Del Libro witnessed us, with Mike and our instant lakandiwa, Dax Cutab, in an impromptu balagtasan during the open mic portion of Happy Monday Poetry Night's third anniversary party last March 1.
National was our language there.
Nonsensical was our issue then.
However, they still requested for a repeat this time for Berso sa Metro.
Or la poesia viaja en jeepney.
Well, it must be the crowd's cheers and jeers which did the explaining for our pasajeros from Manila to La Mancha.
Like last April 17.
From 12 noon until 12 midnight, when the performance of neo-ethnic band Kadangyan finished, this was, indeed, a good trip.
And Cultura en Manila has this Poetry in Motion blog contest for those of you who felt the same.
Teams must document their experience during the Jeepney Poetry Reading Tour. They should then create a blog featuring their unique story, the joy that poetry reading brought them. The blog must capture the excitement of the event through pictures and videos. The more exciting the entry, the bigger the chance to win.
All entries must be made available online before April 23. The entry with the highest number of online votes in combination with the selection of the Cultura team as the entry with the utmost creativity and innovation will win the Grand Prize or free Spanish courses at Instituto Cervantes (any level for each member of the winning team), set of books, and mystery prizes to be announced on Día del Libro itself, plus its official T-Shirt if you follow the following rules: (1) The contest is open to all but is limited to groups with two to three members each, teams must be either in pairs or in a trio of people. (2) Photos/videos of subjects taken during the Jeepney Poetry Reading Tour should be the main highlight but contestants can use other photos/videos that are significant to their presentation. (3) All team members should be present, at least, two out of the three venues. If all three are featured, the more points. (4) The winners (both the team and the lucky voter) will be announced at 7:30 p.m. on April 24, and they must be present to claim the prize. (5) Employees of the Instituto Cervantes and their relatives are not eligible to participate. (6) Instituto Cervantes will have the right to use any of the submitted pictures/videos, always crediting its author. For details, kindly contact Instituto Cervantes at # (632) 526 1482 or visit and
Y tú, ¿qué opinas? ¡Hasta pronto!
The ant always falls over on its right side when intoxicated.
You always have enough joy to keep your heart singing.
Enough sorrow to give you understanding,
Enough hope to enrich your vision,
Enough trials to keep you strong,
Enough leisure to refresh your spirit,
Enough love to make your world beautiful.

HILL STATION (April 12, 2010)

Ibalois had a name for their grazeland – Kafagway – or wide open space.
By 1900, the Americans transformed it into a hill station also known as Baguio.
According to artist/anthropologist Padmapani Lim Perez: “Baguio’s early beginnings as a city are rooted in the two colonial eras of the Philippines. The Spanish colonizers first established a sanitarium in the Cordillera region in the 19th century. Europeans who traveled to the tropics in the 18th and 19th centuries found comfort in the pleasant climes of the mountainous regions.
They established hill stations as places of rejuvenation and as enclaves for the European lifestyle in former Southeast Asian colonies. In these hill stations the beauty of the landscape, the temperate weather, the rustic settings and good food combined to create a feeling of well-being for visitors and residents alike. Baguio was among the last hill stations to be established in Asia, during the Spanish and American colonial periods of the Philippines.”
Last month, another one was established in all caps.
Mitos Yňiguez, together with her photographer/director husband, Boy, put up a restaurant called Hill Station!
This new 3,000 square-meter haven, or heaven, is inspired by American colonial architecture frames through seven or so French windows with Brent school and the Bishop's Palace on its Leonard Wood Road side.
Hill Station is within Casa Vallejo, the boutique hotel built in 1909, along Upper Session Road.
Awarded by the Baguio Centennial Commission last 1 September as one of the 10 oldest institutions, it has new owners in the Bagatsings, after Salvatore Vallejo and Maribel Ongpin.
They wanted to offer an alternative to what is being served on top of them, literally and figuratively, at SM City Baguio.
They needed someone who can serve the best of both worlds -- from Old World Europe to New World America.
So what came to their mind was Mitos.
Well, she was no neophyte.
For the longest time, she had been managing her father's business -- Mario's!
In Grade 5, she had been exposed to the tricks of food trade.
When her grandmother, Titona Villareal, and her mom, Nenuca Benitez, started it all there in 1971, it multiplied into several branches, including its lone survivor along Tomas Morato in Quezon City.
Now, it is about time for her fulfill her own dream in Hill Station.And Mitos gave us all the reason in the world why 50th University of the Philippines National Writers Workshop should transfer next year to Hill Station.
“Aside from the 100-year old hotel with WiFi and wired to World Cup, we have everything home-made, from breads to pastas with sun-dried tomatoes to ice cream made of cheese from Puentespina Farm in Davao City to picorino to tablea cocoa to mojitos made from freshly plucked mint from our garden to other products like salad dressings, salsa monja or granola to pottery by Lanelle Abueva and Sagada potters. And, by mid-April, you should try our French toast or Saigon steak sandwich or baguette chistorra or chorizo de bilbao from Spain for breakfast.”
People in the know – Michaela Fenix, Margarita Fores, Beat Grassi, Roland Laudico, Ariel Manuel, Claude Tayag, even actor Tonton Gutierrez and actress/singer Banaue Miclat and her parents Mario and Alma -- can attest to its ambrosial secret.
In the meantime, we had to deal first with the 49th U.P. National Writers Workshop at Club John Hay's Igorot Lodge last Easter Sunday after we let our bunso, Sulat, catch her first Salubong.
Day 2 saw us having lunch at the hideaway of Far Eastern University's Chair of the Board of Trustees, Dr. Lourdes Montinola, but had to hurry back for her grad school classmate, Mabi David, whose poetry refreshed our “Comfort Women” memory.
Our break last Wednesday was made more meaningful when we had our merienda at BenCab's before he could celebrate his 68th birthday on April 10 with his exhibit entitled Draped Figures.
And, later, when we dined and wined at the Cafe by the Ruins where David, Kristian Cordero, Karl de Mesa, Marc Gaba, Alwynn Javier, and April Yap jammed with Junley Lazaga, Mavic Patawaran, Solana Perez, Rishab, Rosie Ventura, Sacha Weygan and certain Magda from Warsaw.
Workshop director, Roland Tolentino, with Romulo Baquiran, Chingbee Cruz, Neil Garcia, Faye Ilogon, Charlson Ong, and Jun Cruz Reyes stayed till midnight to seriously interact with Baguio Writers Guild led by Frank Cimatu and Grace Subido.
On the other hand, panelists National Artist Virgilio Almario, Gemino Abad, Jose Dalisay, Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo, and Mario Miclat opted to visit Cordillera Studies Center director, Delfin Tolentino, in Mirador Hill.
With them was the publisher of Baguio Calligraphy, Karina Bolasco of Anvil Publishing Inc., who came from the Philippine Political Science Conference at U.P. Baguio.
Kidlat Tahimik's Oh My Gulay was our next treat, after an all-veggie dinner, wherein our regular informal disscussion became special when The Present (and Future) State of Philippine Literature was predicted to end up as digital like the video diaries -- Guimaras, Roofs of the World, and Some More Rice which he showed afterwards.
Before Dada Felix's turn, filmmaker Aureus Solito, of Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros fame, presented his documentary, Basal Banar, and feature film, The Weaver, a prelude to his performance art and analysis of his upcoming Binger Filmlab project Sumbang: The Origin Myth of a Mother's Love, which was scrutinized to death by his roommates: Tim Montes whose novel is about his hometown Borongan as well as T.S. Sungit Jr. who hails from Bukidnon where his fiction about his Higaonon tribe was set.
Workshop evaluation and consultation time were scheduled before last Saturday's graduation ceremonies.
Yesterday we arrived home with another major program of the Likhaan: U.P. Institute of Creative Writing in our heart and mind: Likhaan: the Journal of Contemporary Philippine
For its fourth issue, the U.P. Likhaan will accept submissions in the following genres, in both English and Filipino: short stories ranging from about 12 to 30 pages double-spaced, in 11-12 points in Times New Roman or in any standard font; suite of four to seven poems; creative nonfiction (essays, memoirs, profiles, etc.); critical/ scholarly essays; graphic novels, or full short graphic stories, for reproduction in black and white on no more than 10 printed pages, 6” x 9” which should be accompanied by a synopsis of the full narrative. Everything must be original, and previously unpublished, with a biographical sketch of the author, including contact information.
You may e-mail no later than April 30, 2010 to likhaanjournal4@ as Rich Text Format (.rtf) files, or post to The Editors, Likhaan Journal, U.P. I.C.W., Faculty Center, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City 1101.
Eventually, after trooping to the 80th birthday and 50th wedding anniversary party of our adviser, Amelia Lapeňa Bonifacio, we will talk about the Yňiguez's Hill Station.
Nice having a cold drink after meals but cold solidifies oily stuff we just ate. It slows down digestion. Once this sludge reacts with the stomach acids, it breaks down and get absorbed by the intestines faster than solid food and coats the intestines. Very soon, this becomes fat and leads to colon cancer. It is best to take hot soup or tepid water after meals.
Kind heart is the soil.
Kind thoughts are the roots.
Kind words are the flowers.
Kind deeds are the fruits.
Enjoy your beautiful garden of life.

FROM PALMS TO EGGS (April 05, 2010)

Maybe they were alluding to the honest man, or woman, behind La Vida Loca.
Or, to the dishonest woman, or man, behind recent midnight appointments in the boards of the
National Museum and the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
They just decided to call themselves LuCa.
But, with or without donkey ride, they behaved as if they were under an inexplicable spell last March 28.
The moon watched in its fullness over the very tensed Tanghalang Mariang Makiling in Los Baňos, Laguna.
Everybody appeared to be at a loss in the midst of a twilight that seemed to be reflective, or was it reflexive?
There was an unfulfilled promise to a brownout that was supposed to end at 5 p.m.
There was no familiar Fernando Josef yet he agreed to speak before graduating Ateneans only because their alumni Godofredo Ramizo Jr. who finished summa cum laude, Lourdes Marie La Viňa aside from cum laude got the Mulry Award and the Loyola Schools Awards for the Arts for poetry while Ma. Danella Publico earned it too for dance.
It was the show of shows – during its world premiere -- in search of a director.
Good thing, both the faculty and non-academic personnel took over just to ensure the success of the Philippine High School for the Arts' 32nd Commencement Exercises!
As one of the advisers, we were even consulted about certain controversial issues.
When they began marching like saints in Filipiniana, last Palm Sunday night, lights came back, as bright as every proud parent's smile.
Senior Administrative Assistant Cleofe Cabauatan, who was reportedly one of principal sponsors when PHSA was born in 1977, put everything into its proper perspective when she introduced the first speaker as if shouting hosanna.
Like David's son, National Artist for Visual Arts, Benedicto Cabrera, inspired us all long before we gathered that the real knight, Sir Paul McCartney, bought one of his early works when the Beatles visited his Indigo Gallery in Manila sometime between 3 to 5 July in 1966.
But he still had this parting shot: “There are observers who consider my career a success. My own gauge for success measures the happiness and fulfillment that I find in my activities. But I have to emphasize that the greatest happiness comes from learning new things, and sustaining the excitement and interest in day-to-day life. My message is simple – live fully, never stop learning, and love your work. Your love for life, desire to learn and passion for work will be the inspiration, as well as the fruit, of your every action.”
Harvest time, indeed, was next when we, together with Philippine Women's University Dean Emeritus Rosario Bitanga, were invited to join the guests of honor in congratulating on stage all the 38 graduates led by those with honors such as creative writing majors Elvira Leonida Nicole Ferriols, our advisee, and Isabella Borlaza, who was represented by her mom since she was in Japan for the Youth For Understanding tour.
Others were from music (piano) like Gabriel Paguirigan; from visual arts like Chloe Dellosa, Gisella Gequinto, and Jeanne Rodriguez; and from folk dance like Gebbvelle Selga, Shea Montaras, Anne Monares, Camille Pagkanlungan, Michael Que, Yazmin Sehob, and Jezzreel Valeza.
Outstanding Student Artist awardees included surnames -- Borlaza, Dellosa, Ferriols, Gequinto, Monares, Montaras, Que, and Paguirigan – we ought to watch.
Then there was the much-awaited Makiling Academe and Research Institute for the Arts, or M.A.R.I.A., Scholarship that went exclusively to Dellosa, Ferriols, Geguinto, Paguirigan, Que, and another creative writing major -- Ma. Socorro Orlina – who launched her first book Pasahero with Borlaza's Ang Pagpapakilala ng Isang Batang Mangangatha at iba pang Dula, and Ferriols' Smashing Cities at Fort Bonifacio's Arts In The City last March 5!
Before they could dine, and wine, they had to listen to the message of their messiah in Dr. Bienvenido Lumbera, National Artist for Literature: “Kailangang tuklasin ng manlilikhang Filipino ang kanyang identidad bilang Filipino at sinupin ang mapagpalayang paglikha. Tungkulin ng manlilikha na iwaksi ang kulturang kolonyal at akapin ang kulturang mapagpalaya. Tungkulin niyang pagbuksan ang bago at tuklasin ang mga paksaing pinagsarhan ng estetikang dulot ng kolonyal na sistema ng edukasyon. Tingnan natin ang anim na likhang sining na maimumungkahing huwaran ng mga obrang lilikhain ninyo pagdating ng inyong kapanahunan bilang manlilikha ng inyong henerasyon. Para sa teatro, Pagsambang Bayan ni Bonifacio Ilagan; para sa musika, Klintang ni Ramon Santos; para sa sining biswal, Mga Madona ng Malayang Filipinas ni Egai Fernandez; para sa sayaw, La Revolucion Filipina ni Agnes Locsin, para sa pelikula, Independencia ni Raya Martin, at para sa panitikan, Huling Hudhud ng Sanlibong Pagbabalik at Paglimot para sa Filipinas kong Mahal ni Rio Alma.”
Marie Georgia Macapagal, their class president, did their Panunumpa ng Katapan, before their Awit ng PHSA. What was resounding for us was what Chloe Dellosa read as her Talumpati ng Pasasalamat at Pamamaalam: “Sa simula para tayong mga Lego na naghahanap kung saan o kung kanino tayo maaaring kumonekta. Tumungo man tayo rito nang may pare-parehong hangarin, hindi rin maikakaila ang ating pagkakaiba-iba. At dahil doon, hindi natin malaman kung ano ang mabubuo ng ating pangkat. Walang partikular na anyo ang kailangang buuin. Gayunpaman, sinubukan nating bumuo ng isang estruktura mula sa ating mga sarili. Ang ilan sa atin ay nagsilbing pundasyon, at ang iba nama'y tagapag-ugnay. Ngunit may ilan din namang tila hindi makahanap ng kanilang paglalagyan. Nang maglaon, naisip natin na ang ilan pala sa atin ay may ibang papel na gagampanan upang mabuo ang estrukturang iyon. At lumipas ang panahon, sa hindi maisip-isip na kadahilanan, nagawa nating pag-ugnay-ugnayin ang ating mga magkakaibang pagkatao at nakabuo ng isang pangkat na magiging permanenteng bahagi ng ating puso at ng ating kabataan ang Batch Lumbera-Cabrera, o di kaya'y LuCa.” The following day, we received an email from Tata Nanding: “In the light of the case filed against me by Mr. Bonifacio Ilagan, I am filing a leave of absence without pay for the duration of investigation until completion of the case. This is to ensure a fair and unbiased investigation and to avoid any accusation of undue influence if I remain actively serving as Executive Director. Needless to say, the Council will have to assign an Officer-in-Charge during my absense. May I also inform the Advisory Council and the Management Committee that whatever the outcome of the case might be, whether I am proven guilty or not, I will file my irrevocable resignation, anyway. In fact, I could have resigned immediately since my incompetence and integrity have been questioned, but I do not want to appear trying to escape from any accountability.” Well, we had to pray, not merely it was a Holy Monday then. Before we could rush to the United Architects of the Philippines building for our orientation as members of the Commission on Higher Education's technical panels -- we had to fulfill our promise to spiritually support Fr. Robert Reyes' project -- wherein he ran from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources office in Quezon City to Ilagan, Isabela where another victim, Gov. Grace Padaca, was an iron lady in waiting, counting bunnies after Easter eggs were hatched yesterday! The Running Priest's penitence for us was Run For Rain, Run For Renewal.
Rats multiply so quickly that in 18 months, two rats could have over million descendants.
God answers prayers in three ways: He says: (1) yes and gives you what you want; (2) no and gives you something better; (3) wait and gives you the best.


While the human race was all glued – passively -- like Joshua Clottey on just another Manny Pacquiao's WBO welterweight title defense, we were in Chater Garden in Hongkong two Sundays ago.
Actively, of course.
With Fr. Robert Reyes, we ought to be on our toes!
The said Running Priest baptized his own baby -- Lakbay Dangal – expected to bring out the tour guides in every Filipino domestic helper, or D.H., as in Dangal Habilin.
Women's Month was celebrated there by 30 female-dominated godparents, reminiscent of Lamma Island where we immersed ourselves in the Nocedo family's unica hija's bedroom and in the Order of St. Clare Portiuncula Monastery with its all-Mary nuns guided by Sr. Mary Anne Sevilla!
Around 10 a.m., we witnessed the launch of Airyn Lentija's Poems from the Heart published by the Hongkong-born British writer – J.S.Sloan -- who was threatening to print Tales of the Visayas for over 10 years.
Airyn -- a D.H. whose mom left her when she was six to work in Singapore and, later, in Hongkong -- has written almost 500 poems since 2008 when she arrived there!
Here is her After 365 Days of Writing Poetry to speak of her first chapbook that caught the eye of Women's United Nations Reporting Network's Lois Herman who is into gender issues related to occupation, finances, religion, violence, and health matters through reports, dialogues, artwork, and, yes, poetry:
in flickers of speed
of complete revolution of days,
splinter wounds hurt still
and my writings are crap as ever.
still, i don't belong here.
Sounds like a mantra of Overseas Filipino Workers like Rizal in the entire planet.
Last March 14, Lakbay Dangal took off with Gregoria “Oryang” de Jesus's 67th death anniversary in our mind, but it was Jose “Pepe” Rizal in our heart.
Like the Sun Yat Sen Trail, the so-called PhilTrail Project -- as proposed by editor Rex Aguado -- was totally Rizal:
All roads led to Rizal's clinic near the lamppost in Duddel Street (after auctioneer George Duddell) with granite steps reportedly built between 1875 and 1889.
After praying and pledging with Panatang Makabayan, we proceeded to the ever- busy D'Aguilar Street (in honor of Major General and Lieutenant Governor George Charles D'Aguilar) where we saw the first historical landmark made in Hongkong in 1997 at the former site of Rizal’s clinic occupied now by Century Square.
Finally, after taking the “travelevator” -- the longest outdoor covered elevator in the world -- along Shelley Street (for their first director of audit, Adolphus Shelley, after the colony became British in 1840), we stopped at Rednaxela (or Alexander spelled backwards made by Chinese streetsign painter who could not read English) where we found what they inaugurated in 2004 for Rizal's residence he shared from December 1891 to June 1892 with his most favorite patient -- Teodora Alonso!
For its second leg, we are planning to be back in May to flock to the second marker unveiled in 1998 at 535 Morrison Hill Road in Wanchai where the first Philippine flag was sewn by hand by Doña Marcela de Agoncillo with her daughter Lorenza and Delfina Herbosa Natividad, Rizal's niece.
Or investigate both St. Michael's Catholic Cemetery and English Cemetery where Josephine Bracken's remains were believed to be buried.
Every two months, we will visit Hongkong, courtesy of two presidents: Paz Alberto of the Philippine Travel Agencies Association and Rex Aguado of the University of the Philippines Alumni Association (Hongkong Chapter).
Our target: to professionalize our volunteers -- Gie Abuloc, Arleen Belen, Marilyn Banaga, Florence Belenario, Marjorie Bonilla, Leilani Campos, Novie Cheng, Grace Deloso, Marivic Domasig, Zenaida Dyogi, Maria Garma, Erma Geolamin, Jovy Giron, Alicia Layog, Rosennie Lentija, Melina Lugabre Balotte Mirefuente, Mary Jean Moquete, Lorna Morales, Amie Oncala, Liza Paje, Lorenzo Pendre, Lydia Ponce, Maribel Prudente, Babylin Ramos, Carina Roncesvalles, Ronalyn Sagun, Purita Selda, Julie Tabang, Junny Tang, Rose Taotao, Viola Ton, Marilyn Villasfer, Delia Yu, among others -- until the most qualified graduate on December 30, Rizal's 114th death anniversary.
Indeed, Lakbay Dangal had gone a long way since 2007.
Its seed, called Lakbay Lingap, was sowed in the streets with a handful of OFWs who walked around Central Hong Kong and Choi Hung and talked about a more productive alternative to trading cardboards and chismis during their day-off.
After a year, everything grew into acts of support, compassion, and solidarity.
Voila, Buhay Ka, a cancer support group for OFWs in Hong Kong, came to life!
Today, it has reaped a twin in Lakbay Dangal.
This journey towards respect was an offshoot of their weekly walks and talks with OFWs, Philippine Consulate's Vice Consul Joy Banagodos, and concerned citizens like Fr. Robert, sculptor Dudley Diaz, and the Rizal course professors from U.P. like Dr. Ruby Gamboa Alcantara and us.
Buhay Ka members asserted their existence when we had lunch with them at the Canossa School, where Lorie Caňeza, one of its pioneers, was honored.
Eventually, we went straight to the Philippine Consulate for our lecture entitled Have No Fear, Rizal Was Here before an attentive audience that included Pinoy Abroad's columnist Isabel Taylor Escoda.
Surprisingly, we discovered that even those over-staying in Hongkong were clueless about Rizal's stay there!
Rizal had his reasons why: (a) because Hongkong is near; (b) because his friend Jose Basa was there; (c ) because of "a group of enthusiastic young men not yet contaminated by these miserable passions that divide us in Europe.”
Hongkong was where on 20 November 1891, the 30-year old Rizal, in between his oculist job, imagined a Filipino agricultural colony in British North Borneo.
On 21 February 1887, at the age of 26, he was through with his novel Noli Me Tangere in Berlin and between February and July of 1890, at 29, he was wrapping up El Filibusterismo in Belgium and Holland.
A been-there-done-that Rizal felt it was high time for him to go East!
However, since then, Rizal became more persecuted than his mother.
But, come what may, what he successfully kept intact was his dignity, honor, integrity, nobility, principle, and self-respect.
And this is what Fr.Robert has been dreaming of.
OFWs or otherwise, we should bring along with us anytime anywhere such Rizal's Dangalangin as: “Everyone ends up as he or she deserves.”
TEXT SUPPORT: Butterflies taste with their feet.
If people say something bad about you, judge you as if they know you, do not get affected. Just think do not bark if they know the person.

ONE MOMENT IN TIME (March 15, 2010)

Some 114 years ago, when the Philippine Revolt erupted, another revolution broke out in Athens, Greece via the first modern Olympic Games of 1896!
When the First Philippine Assembly was convened, and the University of the Philippines was founded in 1908, it was also when ice skating was introduced to the Summer Games.
And when we sent Filipino athletes to the 1924 Olympics in Paris – making us the first country to compete and win a medal in Southeast Asia – that was the time when the first Olympic Winter Games took place in Chamonix, France.
During the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, historic events happened that could and should make us all proud!
First, there's J.R. Celski -- a Filipino-Polish speed skater representing the United States – who won the bronze in the Short Track Speed Skating category.
Second, there's Amanda Evora -- a Filipino-American who, together with partner Mark Ladwig, failed to make it to the figure skating pair’s finals but became “the first person of full Filipino ancestry to represent the US in a Winter Olympic event.”
Third, there's Novy Bereber.
Novy who?
What event?
Why and how?
Well, he was featured in The Filipino Channel's Balitang America last February 24 not as an athlete but as a dance artist!
Is dance now an Olympic sport?
How Novy and the rest of the Alberta Ballet wish.
However, he got the gold when the world witnessed him during its Opening Ceremony's ballet segment.
He performed Sacred Grove – a piece about anyone and everyone, even a Pinoy like him, could be enchanted by Canada’s forests -- while being projected on 50-meter x 30-meter horizontal screens that perfectly pictured him: “On the elevated stage, multi-platinum artist Sarah McLachlan played her hit Ordinary Miracle, while the Vancouver Symphony added pizzazz and gravity, but for one moment seen around the world the show belonged to a young Pinoy dancer/choreographer. It was another fascinating step in a journey that began years before in Pres. Roxas City in IloIlo.”
All Novy could say: “When I went out there that night, I put myself into a total trance, like my spirit was completely together with that huge forest…”
That forest could mean figuratively as his uphill climb to be the best.
Long before he would be described as one of the Philippines’ leading young dancers and choreographers, he was just another face in the internationally famous Dagyaw Theater and Dance Company of Iloilo City National High School.
It was not the end, for him, though.
It was more of his start.
And he ended up as a Ballet Philippines scholar.
In fact, it turned out to be the turning point for his special area of interest now.
What others may call fusion of modern, classical and folkloric styles, he considers it: Asian Contemporary!
After two years, he became BP's full member who did other things on the side.
Though it entailed hard work, he was able to follow the road by choreographing, say, CineMalaya's opening and closing gala at the Cultural Center of the Philippines or creating, for instance, for the WiFi Independent Dance Festival.
Two years ago, he did it on and off stage in Windows to Paradise: Pride of Country, the Independence Day Gala staged by the CCP and the Department of Tourism.
At home with anything and everything about dance, he had helped Ballet Manila, to name a few.
He toured China, Malaysia, Singapore, and Korea with the Broadway Asia production of The King and I.
Then he was featured as a principal dancer in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, Qatar.
That did it.
He was noticed by its artistic director Nacho Trápaga, who was born in Manila but bred in Australia where he was recognized as “Ignatius Jones.”
Nacho, or Ignatius rather, happened to be the artistic director of the Vancouver Games in 2007.
Novy paid Nacho a visit in 2009.
During that time – after the former served as a soloist in the Traces Independent Dance Festival in New York City – the latter introduced him to Jean Grand-Maitre, who is the Alberta Ballet's big boss.
“Jean still asked me to send him a video of me dancing although they already had a cast for the Winter Olympics,” Novy recalled.
Perhaps the role was really meant for him.
Somebody dropped out and they offered the job to Novy.
And the rest was histrionic!
His travels here and abroad did not drain his energy to conduct for the National Commission for Culture and the Arts workshops in Iloilo, Camarines Norte, Mindoro, and Quezon province where we had the chance to collaborate as facilitators for Commissioner Elmar Ingles' projects.
For awhile he taught at the International School before he was offer classes at the Kababayang Pilipino of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.
Recently, he had a hand at the Singapore International Kids Performance Festival.
Earlier this month, last March 5 to 7 to be exact, he was at the CCP Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (Little Theater) for the Neo-Filipino 2010 : Dance in a Time of Changeas the fourth and final offering of Ballet Philippines ’ 40th anniversary season.
From Denisa Reyes’ landmark New York concert, the Neo-Filipino series was transported to the Philippines through its first production in 1991 when the likes of Novy began collaborating with theater directors, filmmakers, visual artists, actors, sculptors, and musicians in coming up with a new Philippine dance.
Novy, who paid tribute to other Filipino dance artist suffering during the time of globalization via To Whom It May Concern, showed his stuff with such great choreographers as Carissa Adea, Elena Laniog, Alden Lugnasin, Dwight Rodrigazo, Tinnie Crame-Santillan, Ea Torrado, among others, under the artistic direction of dancer-choreographer Paul Alexander Morales.
As we write about Novy's contribution to history, we chanced upon a herstory.
It was when Oprah Winfrey did a no-holds-barred interview with the battered singer of the most favorite Olympics theme song of all time!
Silently, we pray that Novy could learn from her.
All polar bears are left-handed.
H-ow are you?
E-verything allright?
L-ike to hear from you.
L-ove to see you soon.
O-bviously I miss you.

ARE YOU STILL A VIRGIN? (March 08, 2010)

As a voter, that is!
If yes, you are one of the 5 million first-timers who will troop to 75,471 precincts clustered all over the country come May 10.
With other 50,086,054 registered ones, we will try and test if we ourselves are compatible with the Precinct Count Optical Scan machine in choosing our leaders.
We will be selecting our 15th president, among others, during this first national computerized elections in the country.
Indeed, we are dealing with our future, rather futuristically, but not in the Marinetti tradition!
Figures show that 70% of the voting population are below 39 years old.
Last month, we got an invitation from Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA)'s executive director, Melvin Lee, through Jennifer Bautista, the program coordinator of Casting Call: The Virgin’s Voters’ Campaign I Want My Vote to Count.
We were tasked to speak in a forum on The Role of Language, Media and Education in Cultural and Social Transformation towards Responsible Voting.
With National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Commissioner Elmar Ingles and International Institute for Film and Arts (IIFA) vice-president Dennis Marasigan, we flew to Tagbilaran – without Sentro ng Wikang Filipino director Jovy Peregrino -- but with a similar mission of educating, inspiring, and mobilizing Filipino youth to participate in the elections and in good governance.
PETA's vision, too, is to raise the power of one enlightened, impassioned young ones to the millions.
Last February 24, teen-age actors Aron Ching, Joanna Katanyag, Gian Carlo Enriquez, with sisters Faye and Tricia Husena (alternating with Jason Barcial, Lucia David, Elinor dela Cruz, Angelica Heruela, and Ada Tayao) introduced some 100 greenhorn Boholanos and Boholanas to an interactive play.
Entitled Bagong Bilang, it is about 18-year old Betty who decides to register and vote against her own parents' wishes. She meets the Barangay Captain wannabes: Kuya Mandy D. Igma (who advocates youth empowerment), Mara Rosas (who promises to give new jobs to alleviate the problem of unemployment), and Ron-Ron Ugat (whose flagship platform is gender equality). A born-leader, she even takes an active role in putting together the miting de avance by inviting other members of the community – meaning, the audience -- who have the chance to ask the candidates about their platform for governance. Betty and friends will eventually install a new Barangay Captain. After awhile, they discover that nothing has changed so they themselves will search for a way to better their situations. In the end, will Betty, the new Barangay Captain, and the entire community realize what good governance is really all about?
The workshop is framed within the said storyline with scenes and situations that give the chance for everyone to experience a process of discussion, reclaim their creative expressions, safeguard their rights and ultimately urge them to collective action.
At the Bohol Cultural Center, we discovered a lot of unpolished jewels who added to their acting skills their talents in singing:
Pagbabago ay ating makakamtan /
Tayong lahat /
Ang Bagong Bilang ng bayan.
In the afternoon, we delivered our lecture Paglilingkod Bilang Pagtitiwala in
between Commissioner Ingles' A Culture-based Guide to Voting in the 2010 National and Local
Elections and Prof. Marasigan's Understanding the Role of Mass Media.
And then the much-awaited mock election a la noontime show was held in which Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III topped Manuel “Manny” Villar and Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro.
Since we were in the Lutgardo Labad country (where Cesar Montano is running for governor) our trip would be incomplete if it was not down history lane – from Day 1 with his theater group based at Maribojoc Watchtower where the Punta Cruz Cultural Collective staged Reigh Monreal's pangalay-filled play Tawag sa Bantayan until Day 3 with the Center for Culture and Arts Development's “self-study” with Prof. Marianito Luspo in a roothouse at the back of the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, which was built after Fr. Juan de Torres and Fr. Gabriel Sanchez first settled in Baclayon in 1595!
The following Saturday, back in Manila, we watched Phil Noble-directed Si Juan Tamad, Ang Diyablo, at Ang Limang Milyong Boto with our kids.
Our 12-year old Psalma was so hesitant to come with Wika, 10, and Sulat, 5.
She thought it was just another folk tale with a twist.
However, after two hours of amusement and amazement (that ought to win Aliw Awards or PHILSTAGE Gawad Buhay Awards) our panganay became aware of the Vincent de Jesus' music and magic, more than our bunso, who happily felt they were mere willing victims inside a madhouse with a method!
Well, that's what PETA is for.
While we are all preoccupied with raising public awareness on the electoral process, others like Riya Brigino and Eloi Hernandez have been busy lately with raising funds for PETA artist Dr. Brenda Fajardo's heart bypass operation.
Everyone is invited to a benefit dinner for the heart – Ang Gaga -- on March 16, 7 p.m., at the Upper East restaurant, Ground Floor, NDC Building, 116 Tordesillas Street, Salcedo Village in Makati City.
Our Ina, who is also scheduled for nephrectomy on the same day, suggested to help Dr. Fajardo by buying her Mujer Indigena paintings based on our epic published by the University of the Philippines Press.
U.P. Press launched National Artist Virgilio Almario's book Muling-Pagkatha sa Ating Bansa last March 5 at the U.P. Pulungang Recto via a Panayam Bulawan.
Its first-ever lecturer was College of Social Science and Philosophy dean Zosimo Lee, a certified virgin in writing a paper in Filipino, concluded his Ang Pagbuo ng Katwirang Bayan: “Sa pang-kabuuan, ang pagbibigay-halaga sa katwiran at katarungan ay malaki ang papel sa pagkatha ng bayan. Hindi maiaalis ang kahalagahan ng mga ito. Saka lamang kung mayroong katwiran at katarungan, at iba pang mga mahalagang elemento ng lipunan, masasabi natin na tayo ay nakapaglikha ng isang mabuting lipunan.”
Before Prof. Romulo Baquiran could do his reactor's job, another dean, Dr. Mario Miclat of Asian Center, was able to prove his point: “Malakas ang naging dating sa ating hiraya ng mga sinulat nina Rizal, Jacinto, Bonifacio, Mabini at iba pa dahil sa mapagbuong hamon ng kapakanan ng bayan. Malamang na hindi nila mahuhuli ang imahinasyon nating kapilipinuhan kung ang binigyang-diin nila ay ang mapanghating tawag ng tunggalian ng mahirap at mayaman.”
More than 15 years ago, when we began teaching in college, we witnessed a typical election of officers that was dominated by freshies mostly wearing braces and other orthodontic appliance.
Intrigued, we asked them why.
Almost in unison, the majority of the class justified their votes: “E kasi po mukhang lahat sila ay mayayaman.”
Do you share the same old katwirang bayan?
TEXT SUPPORT: A snail can sleep for three years.
THE GOOD THING: Saying nothing lessen the tendency to hurt others. THE BAD THING: You realize how keeping quiet hurts you.