Wednesday, November 3, 2010

NIPAF 2010 NEWS (2) (November 01, 2010)

Way ahead, we already learned our lesson in Japan while we were still in front of check-in counter's scale at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2.

That our not necessarily bad lifestyle is contagious: our bag, like us, is overweight!

But, a Nuestra Seňora de la PAL, or Philippine Air Lines, forgave us for our sin.

So she let us in even without paying, including our travel tax from which we were exempted by virtue of the letter of the University of the Philippines Diliman Chancellor Sergio Cao who helped us get into the 15th Nippon International Performance Art Festival.

Fictionist Jun Cruz Reyes and poet Wendell Capili-- after attending the Poets Essayists Novelists (PEN) Conference in Tokyo two weeks ago -- advised us to travel light.

Last week during our sendoff at Sarah's with Raul Funilas and Pinggot Zulueta, Tupada Action and Media Arts (TAMA) Core members Thom Daquioag, Boyet de Mesa, Mitch Garcia, Ian Madrigal, Sam Penaso, Ronaldo Ruiz, and Mannet Villariba did the same, by sharing their NIPAF experiences centered on short talks and long walks.

While killing time before boarding, we could already imagine our Holy Week penitencia in October and November – by dragging our 24-kilo bag, plus our 11-kilo backpack and 2-kilo beltbag -- on our way to our calvario in Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagano. Right then and there, we felt like Lorenzo Ruiz suffering in fighting for his belief!

No matter how we justified that we had to bring with us costumes and props and stuff, we could reconcile the fact that we could no longer return our excess baggage.

Our family? Well, Ellay, Psalma, Wika, and Sulat were busy enjoying semestral break in Fairview, attending Manang Beth Pacquing's birthday party spiced up by our seafaring nephew, Ballong, who was coming home for Gayle and Jade!

And there we were, all alone at the internet station, suffering for our deaf ears.

In came Dr. Amparo Adelina Umali, the U.P. Center for International Studies director who was responsible for making noh nothing new for the now generation.

Suddenly, too, her mother of all bags made ours look like a baby billiken!

Compared to us, she will be there until next year though! So we simply consoled ourselves with her load, this time, as a Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology's Japan Student Services Organization's Followup Research Fellow at the Japan Women's University. She obliged us to visit Dr. Galileo Zafra who is currently a Visiting Professor at Osaka University's Department of Philippine Studies. The said former U.P. Sentro ng Wikang Filipino director celebrated in his birthday with National Artist Virgilio Almario and Eilene Narvaez's joint blowout exactly on the same day we were insecure about securing visa to the land famous for packaging.

Anyway, we parted ways when we saw our name written on a cardboard by our sundo, Koji Ohike, who took us to a dinner with Seiji Shimoda, the NIPAF director who arrived earlier from Hongkong, after attending the round-table seminars at the McAulay Studio in Hongkong Arts Centre. Aside from tackling The Challenge of Archiving Performance Art, they talked about The Future of Performance Art in Asia with Aye Ko (Myanmar), Lee Wen (Singapore), Mok Chiu Yu and Yuenjie (Hongkong), Yuan Mor'o (Philippines), Chumpon Apisuk (Thailand), Shu Yang (China), and Wang Molin (Taiwan).

Back in Tokyo, there was familiar face, Midori Kadokura, who performed with us in Baler during the TAMA 2009, together with Hasna Porosh from Chittagong, Bangladesh who cried when we told her that our son, Awit, died young so she gave our wife a gamsa.

It was only during breakfast, the following day, when we met others.

Last Sunday, we got to know a bit about everybody through our audio-video presentations at the 331 Arts Chiyoda, or used to be the old Rensei Junior High School.

Like a bunch of reality show wannabees, each and everyone wanted to survive.

Our Big Brother Seiji's expectation? Perhaps, the audience members'?

For us, after exposing ourselves to different forms and styles, it was personal.

Or political if we consider the personal as political.

We were fortunate, or unfortunate enough, for being free from torture and the like.

Should we lean towards the direction of 20-year old Japanese Ryosuke Tanaka who sang The Happy Birthday Songwhile in his birthday suit inviting the paying guests to put on his naked body you can find in their am/pm or 100 YEN store from butter to banana?

Or follow the path of 39-year old Indonesian Iwan Wijono who continued his “struggle,” via his Farmer Series, even if his MTV about imperialism had technical problem, by scribbling graffiti on the floor with sticky dollars, rolling on them as he assumed an assassin's position with his toy gun and play money clinging to his military shirt and shoes from the French army, and then do the Statue of Liberty act with burning bills as his torch?

Since we somehow had that been-there-done-that uphill climb at 46 -- we tried to reach for the latter -- performing aboutcollaborators, comfort women, and cosplayers.

Not because he can be mistaken for our own Blakdyak or his American Brand M-16 rifles he brought all the way from Jogjakarta are both Philippine-made. Or he, among us, was the jetsetter, from Canada to France to Thailand, getting all the grants and the girls. But because we share a common goal. Call it infotainment or what, that thing we have been doing can be better expressed through art. He is with his paintbrush and we with our pen.

Yet we both rely on action to demonstrate what we want to say. It is not that we resist what rehearsals, just like what sensei Seiji has required every artist since the 80s, more so from his students who happily paid USD100 to get into his three-day workshops on performance art (four times in Tokyo and four times in Osaka so far) this year alone.

Looking back, what we all aspire for is nothing but unpredictability.

This supposedly secret sauce separates performance art from, say, theater or film.

Just like the surprise made by the Blanket Act of Burmese Thwe Thwe Aye who is only an 18-year old English sophomore from Dagon University in Yangon yet she does magic aside from installation art with the New Zero's Next Generation while documenting performances. Or suspense built in combining the principles of Cheom (or beginning) and Bujory (or absurdity) of Korean Cho Eun Sung who actually studied A.B. Entertainment Business at Seoul Digital University in between her Joongcheonmu or a traditional Korean Kangryeong mask dance and her Ginseng soap-making on the side. Or the shock created by Indian Aishwarya Suultania when she took her ego-sized Eiffel Tower replica to Ecole Nationale Superioure de Beaux Arts where she had her M.A.Fine Arts.

Last Tuesday, at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, we got lucky to catch such major, major exhibits as the Japan Photographers Association's from the basement up. At last, we thought we found the portrait of an artist in theHuman Images of 20th Century's August Sander's photo of fatigued hod-carrier with an empty pocket.

Then we reached Love's Body: Art in the Age of AIDS, where we discovered a more meaningful metaphor for us, or for our search for our worth or whatever value we put inside our heart, or mind, in William Yang's Allan from the Monologue SADNESS, a series of pictures taken between 1988 to 1990 when his ex-, a Person with AIDS, died at the Sacred Heart Hospice in Darlinghurst that July: “Back in 1980 when I first met him, we were lovers for a year or so. For me the attraction was mainly physical and even then I wondered if I'd still like him when he lost his boyish looks. Anyway as it turned out, he left me. Now when I looked at him, his youthful attractions had evaporated but I found I could still love him. My feeling for him was deeper than I had thought at the time.”

Instantly, we realized the price we had to pay for taking more than we could give.


The State with the highest percentage of people who walk to work: Alaska


The key to succeeding in marriage is not finding the right person; it's learning to love the person you found.

NIPAF 2010 NEWS (October 25, 2010)

Upon the recommendation of Tupada Action and Media Art (TAMA), we were invited to the Nippon International Performance Art Festival (NIPAF) Performance Art Shinsyu (Nagano) Autumn Seminar 2010 by its organizer and director, Seiji Shimoda, to represent the Philippines beginning Saturday, October 23, until November 6. Aside from performing, we are supposed to deliver a talk thrice: on 24 October in Tokyo, on 28 October in Osaka, and on 2 November in a mountain cottage in Nagano. More or less, we are preparing a country report of sorts. Thus, in our own little way, we would like to give them the brand of our performance art, through our powerpoint and audio-visual presentations, focusing on the silent yet consistent efforts of TAMA, an artist-organized performance art event here.

Since July 2002 at Kanlungan ng Sining in Rizal Park, TAMA has offered time and space for visual artists, poets, cultural workers, activists, sound artists, professionals from various industries, students, among others.

TAMA constantly aims to create meaningful visual performances, to converge artists from different countries around the world, and to immerse them in living conditions in the Philippine context by continuously exploring such media as sound art, video art, computer graphics and other forms of artistic electronic permutations in performance.

Through the years, TAMA has been in partnership with NIPAF since its inception, the relationship between the two organizing bodies staying strong for eight years.

To date, these performance artists who have participated in NIPAF are Maki Calilung, Sherwin Carillo, Thom Daquioag, Boyet de Mesa, Rommel Espinosa, Mitch Garcia, Marlon Magbanua, Sam Penaso, Kaye O’Yek, Ronaldo Ruiz, and Mannet Villariba who eventually serves as our savior after taking over from Dominique James as our art director for our upcoming book Kayumanggi -- wherein our poems are set into music by Fer Edilo and turned into designer clothes by Lorina Javier – that would hopefully be included by Dr. Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo in the 400 titles of University of Santo Tomas Publishing House in time for the Quadricentennial Celebration of UST next year.

This year, TAMA selected us on the following grounds: “Mr. Nadera straddles both literature and the visual arts in his practice, creating works filled with historical references and endless permutations of the Filipino identity. He has brought honor to the country through his writing and other works, and continues to mold individuals into dynamic proponents of culture and the arts through his teaching and advocacies.”

For all the kind words, we would like to personally thank TAMA – especially its Artistic Director Boyet de Mesa – formaking us the first non-TAMA Core member to make it to NIPAF. By the way, Boyet is a socially committed visual artist who rocked the art world last 10 September at the University of the Philippines' Ishmael Bernal Gallery during the opening of the UGATLahi Artist Collective-initiated exhibit Nasaan? dedicated to such young artists and cultural workers -- who gave their lives in pursuit of social justice -- as Tanya Domingo, Ian Dorado, and Alexander Martin Remollino who will be remembered for his quotable quotes: “History for you was never a mere calendar of events / Your pen was a million megaphones, loud speaker upon loud speaker, / for the chorus of voices / silenced by official histories. / And now, / the last page of your life is writ. / But your annals are etched in stone in the people's history. / And so you will never be history.”

Joining us are other Asians: Iwan Wijono (Indonesia), Hasna Hena Porosh (Bangladesh) Aishwarya Suultania (India) Eun Sung (South Korea), Thwe Thwe Aye (Myanmar). American Morgan O'Hara of New York will be jamming with us only in Osaka. Mostly, performing with us and Mr. Shimoda are Japanese namely Saki Hayashi, Masaki Hirose, Noriko Horii, Midori Kadokura, Kashu Kashu Meba Kurata, Osamu Kuroda, Yumiko Masada, Leona Misu, Kanako Nagai, Noriko Ohashi, Koji Ohike, Bunpei Suzuki, Momo Takahashi, Ryosuke Tanaka, Harumi Terao, and Arika Yamaguchi.

At least, for this experience seems surreal to be so real.

Or ideal?

Come to think of it: people from Nagoya who want to watch us are all ready, willing, and capable of spending the following: JPY2,000 or PHP 1,000 (student, advance, one day) or JPY 2,200 or PHP 1,169 (student, door, one day), JPY2,500 or PHP 1,342 (adult, advance), JPY 2,800 or PHP 1.472 (adult, door), and JPY 1,500 or PHP 779 (high-school student). Likewise, in Tokyo and Osaka, there are expected to pay JPY 6,000 or PHP 3,203 (student, door, 3 days) while JPY 7,000 or PHP 3,722 (adult, 3 days). In Nagano, JPY 4,200 or PHP 2,207 (student, 2 days) and JPY 4,800 or PHP 2,554 (adult, 2 days) will be charged.

Wow, this practice alone sets Japan apart from other countries, including our own.

Here, nobody would pay that much, then as now, to get a glimpse of, say, Yuan Mor'O's body protected by a mere G-string, gyrating to some inaudible music created by a choir of head-banging silkworms, tired of and retired from spinning cocoons the said artist loves to cultivate in his typhoon Juan-flattened hometown in Isabela.

Which is why, only the rich and famous Syjucos can afford to produce a performance art series, almost monthly in and out of galleries -- like their recent family show Picasso Boutiqued Residences at Salcedo Village in Makati City -- without begging for financial assistance from the Japan Foundation or the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, for instance. Or the likes of Baldemor family whose middle child, Monnar, can get away with his flight of fancy, whimsy, and humor in his 6th solo exhibit Ethereal, that ran until last week at SM Megamall's Galerie Y!

So you can just imagine the challenge.

That brings us to our Philippine High School for the Arts' Advisory Council meeting at the Cultural Center of the Philippines' Board Room. Fr. Carmelo Caluag, the new PHSA Executive Director, reminded us that most of the scholars' parents discourage their kids from taking up art-related courses in college. And the most common denominator among their reasons is economic in nature. So, in the end, we came up with a proposal to do what the Philippine Science High School has been doing with its graduates. Part of the contract with Pisay and its scholars is the agreement to pursue science courses upon graduating from high school. Upon approval, this payback scheme could see the light of day starting June of next year. Then, only those qualified PHSA hopefuls -- who agreed to take must say yes to study, say, Fine Arts or Arts Studies -- can get in!

However, being a hungry, or angry, Filipino artist that we are always try to exert extra effort not just to entertain but enlighten our audience as well, paid or not.

Last week, Mr. Shimoda forewarned us that NIPAF is not a wealthy organization, merely an artists' group. He asked us to be more patient about our accommodation, food, and transportation.

We replied with a smile and an assurance from his favorite Rabindranath Tagore: “I carry in my world that flourishes the world that have failed.”

Then, he opened up his new plan to have a NIPAF Tour in Asian countries like Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, and the Phillippines. He is thinking of having performance art exchange between NIPAF and TAMA by April 2011.

Fatherly as ever, he ended with a weather report: “Now in Japan getting colder. Of course not like winter, but sometimes you need long sleeves shirts or sweater.”

Well, we simply shrugged it off, knowing that with the company of high spirits united by a forward-looking leader with a vision, we can stand the test of autumn.

While remembering our own father and son on All Souls' Day, away from home.


At least 75% of people who read this will try to lick their elbow!


When someone shares something of value with you and you benefit from it, you have a moral obligation to share it with others.


While the Blue Eagles are soaring high with their first three-peat, the Golden Tigers are silent as ever, in devouring its upcoming bigger and better prey – the 13th overall University Athletic Assocition of the Philippines overall crown!

Like the athletes, the artists from the University of Santo Tomas are quite quiet in helping not only themselves but others as well.

Typical Thomasian trademark, right?

Through Inkblots 2008: the UST National Journalism Fellowship, we once again will get the chance to see ourselves in those aspiring writers.

This series of journalism seminars and workshops conducted by so-called country’s veteran journalists was organized by the Varsitarian, UST's 82-year-old official student publication of the University of Santo Tomas, from October 20 to 22 at the UST Thomas Aquinas Research Complex.

Open to all campus journalists, campus press advisers and journalism enthusiasts, it will tackle news writing, opinion writing, lifestyle writing, sports writing, feature writing, cartooning and campus paper management.

We were asked to talk about opinion/editorial writing with such distinguished roster of lecturers.

Today, Day 1, its founder, Christian Esguerra, will do the opening salvo at 10 a.m. through News Writing to be followed by our contemporary (with Manila Bulletin Lifestyle editor Isabel de Leon), sports editor turned priest, Fr. Nick Lalog (Catholic Journalism) and Manila Bulletin's Mr. Moviegoer himself, Nestor Cuartero (Feature Writing), both in the afternoon. Tomorrow will be the feast for the eye with GMA 7's Cesar Apolinario (Broadcast Journalism) and Jun Veneracion (Investigative Journalism) in the morning and then, after lunch, it will the visual artists and literari's turn in a parallel session with Manix Abrera (Cartooning); Rebecca Anonuevo (Literary); Ruel de Vera (Lifestyle); and Dominik Dumaraos (Layout). For the day's finale will be no less than Quinito Henson (Sports), first-ever Olympism Award from the Philippine Olympic Committee for excellence in journalism in 2004 and the first-ever Philippine Catholic Mass Media Award in the sports column category in 2005! On its last day, we will take the first hot seat right before Felipe Salvosa (Campus Paper Management) and Michael Coroza (Filipino Writing).

Mike -- who took over from us as speaker for National Book Development Board's Booklatang Bayan from October 27 to 29 in Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental -- will do a balagtasan with Teo Antonio and us during the reunion of all the Varsitarian staff on the UST grounds on the night of December 11.

More popularly known as Valik Varsi, it began during our term as its editor-in-chief when the Varsitarian turned 60 in 1988. (And we celebrated its 80th anniversary exactly on our 44th birthday two years ago with National Artist Francisco Sionil Jose as our guest of honor!) What made this reunion memorable was not only the post-event party in Goodah but also the phenomenon when UST pool turned gold -- all because a former Varsitarian art editor, who probably thought he was already a drunken master -- pissed on it.

Perhaps that is our Tigersharks' secret for success!

Anyway, the venue where we used to meet and greet our Varsitarian ancestors, will be the right on the site of the dream UST Alumni Center to be inaugurated in 2011, the 400th year of UST celebration.

We discovered that upcoming project last Friday, October 15, during the opening of first Thomasian Global Trade Expo (TGTE) that ran until yesterday.

At the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, proud UST students, professors, and alumni gathered together under the leadership of our Rector, Fr. Rolando de la Rosa, who proposed a toast of what is called the Quadricentennial Drink.

TGTE was supposed to be a showcase of the outstanding ventures UST alumni have made in the fields of science, business, sports, and culture and the arts but we were there doing our job as one of The Outstanding Thomasian Alumni (TOTAL) awardees in 2007.Coming from the field of arts and letters, though we graduated from the College of Science with a B.S. in Psychology degree in 1984, we felt like lost in space at first. Until we were remind ourselves that only last month, we were there as master of ceremonies who performed our poetry for the Manila International Book Fair 2010 opening. Last week, we found ourselves in the midst of an equally wide yet totally different range of industries such as food , franchising, information technology, pharmaceutical, retail, and tourism with over 50,000 business contacts and visitors expected.

Aside from lectures by outstanding UST alumni and performances by Thomasian talents, there were pre-Christmas bazaar; jobs fair; IT and trade services; food, health and wellness festival; arts, design and construction show, to name a few.

But the highlight happened last Friday when our beloved Alma Mater recognized

its Outstanding Thomasian Alumni Business Leaders.

Among them are Andres Ang (Nutri Health); Jenny Ang Chan (Sanyo Seiki Stainless Steel Corporation); Clarence Aytona (Skynet Travel Corporation); Vivian Que Azcona (Mercury Drug Corporation); Judy Kiu Bactat (Mossimo Philippines); Dr. Carl Balita (Dr. Carl Balita Review Center); Charlie Ching (CLC Marketing Ventures Corporation); Ma. Cristina Coronel (Poinwest Technologies); Engr. Florante Cruz (BC Net Inc.); Joel Cruz (Aficionado/Joel Cruz Signatures); Juanito de Asis (IBC 13); Jose de Jesus (DSP Advantage);Jonathan Dee (Netessentials); Gabriel Dominguez (Green Circle Realty Sales Inc.); Hassan Fard (Trends and Technologies); Dr. Ray Gapuz (R.A. Gapuz Review Center); Dr. Miguel Geronimo (Gerry Geronimo Productions); Dr. Mary Jean Guno (Home Health Care); Allan Ibisate (Highrise Rice Ventures); Henry Kho (Omni Petroleum Corporation); Charity Ngui (Goldtech Hyundai Appliances); Henry Steve Olonan (Starand Properties Inc.); Christopher Ong (Baker's Fair); Arch. Felino Palafox (Palafox Associates); Richard Po (Century Pacific Group);Arch. Jose Siao Ling (Jose Siao Ling and Associates); Atty. Robin Sy (Asian Shipping); Dr. Robert Sy (Imageworld); Penk Tan Ching (Pastry Basin), Arch. Edward Co Tan (Edward Co Tan and Architects); Eping Te Ao (Technopark Hotel); Angeli Sobremonte Tuazon (Asia Adproducts Ltd. Co./ Pinnacle Technologies Inc./ JAC Automobiles); Francisco Unson (Albergus Catering); Jacinto Uy (Moldex Group of Companites); Engr. James Velasquez (IBM Philippines); Engr. Norberto Viera (Texas Instrument Philippines); Manuel Villaroman (Villman Computers); Emma Yeung (Greenstone Pharmaceuticals HK Inc.); and Rosemarie Yu (Value Care Health System Inc.). Come to think of it, the list contains less than 40 awardees, which is absolutely too short for 400-year old Alma Mater that gave birth to God-fearing, environment-friendly, law-abiding sons and daughters.

Offhand, we are looking for names of, say, Ma. Regina Bautista-Navarette, the former Varsitarian editor-in-chief who is the president and general manager of Red Ribbon Bakeshop, and the like.

When we say TGTE, we are reminded instantly of ZTE scandal whose whistleblower is also a Thomasian engineer – Rodolfo Noel Lozada Jr. -- or Jun Lozada.

And our claim to fame is that we both appeared on The Thomasian 1984.

By the way, whatever happened to our reluctant hero?

Isn't that another typical Thomasian trademark?

Again, ask Jose Rizal.


Q. What is the only food that doesn't spoil?
A. Honey


God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called.

FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT! (October 11, 2010)

October 2 is just another day for women.

Except for some, who consider it a D-Day, or perhaps a B-Day as in Britney, since it was when Ms. Spears was ordered to give her children to her ex-husband Kevin Federline after a judge orders her to submit to alcohol and drug testing and give up her joint custody privileges three years ago!

However, our University of the Philippines students tried extra hard to make our October 2 historical.

Or shall we say hysterical.

Before we could explain why “hysteria” comes from the Greek word for “uterus,” we were able to start turning last Saturday into our extension of the International Day of Older Persons celebration last Friday.

Our project was in Proj.3, Quezon City.

Our destination, or destiny, was the Lila Pilipina, or Liga ng mga Lolang Pilipina.

Not just to recognize the contributions of the elderly there, we were there ever since to examine issues that affect their lives.

And our lives, too.

Almost less than a hundred Gen Y, or Z, teenagers, from the U.P. National College of Public Administration and Governance to the U.P. Asian Institute of Tourism, enrolled in our Filipino 25 and Malikhaing Pagsulat 10 classes, trooped to #120-A Narra Street.

Thirteen years or so, while its office was still along Matimpiin, when we started with our personal advocacy, we were usually expecting around 50 lolas to welcome us.

Lately, it would be impossible to see them all, or at least half of their number.

Now, whose species are endangered?

According to their Executive Director, Mrs. Rechilda Extremadura, all in all there are 178 Filipino comfort women, but only 113 of them are still alive.

One of them is Felicidad de Guzman, or Lola Fely, who was born on 23 November 1927 in Masbate. When the Japanese Imperial Army invaded the Philippines, she was able to attend a class handled by a Japanese teacher. She enjoyed his class. However, her mother could not take it, especially when she began to speak Nippongo. A good student that she was, she became her teacher's pet. After taking part in a program for the soldiers who recently arrived, she was invited to go to their garrison right at the back of their school. Alone, she was nervous as she followed her teacher's instruction to enter a room. There, her hands were held forcibly by those militarymen whose kicks and slaps rendered her unconscious. When she woke up, it was a nightmare! She stayed inside that dark hell for three days as a sex slave. Her molesters allowed her to leave the moment she fell ill. As Lola Fely quietly cried as she picked bits and pieces of her sad story from her bad memory, one of our students tearfully made a promise to herself to teach others the lessons she learned from her newfound grandmother: “Bilang bahagi sa mga taong nagkaroon ng pagkakataon na mapakinggan ang mga kuwento nina Lola Fely, malaki ang papel na magagampanan ko sa pagpapaalala sa iba. Kung darating ang panahon na mapaglipasan na sila ng paghihintay, nasa ating mga kabataan ang susi upang ituloy ang kanilang nasimulang laban.” Her name is Ai Katagiri, a daughter of a Filipina who fell in love with a Japanese. Like Ai, Agnes Uzochika Aja is a product of a mixed marriage. She, a Fil-Nigerian taking up European Studies, cried a river outside after listening to Narcisa Claveria. Lola Isang admitted that she was raped not only by the Japanese soldiers but also by their Filipino collaborators in 1943 when she was barely 14 years old. Agnes, who grew up in the United States during the infamy of weapons of mass destruction, was torn between tears of joy and sorrow: “Masaya ako dahil nalaman ko ang kuwento ni Lola Isang dahil sa kaniya ko nakita ang masasamang epekto ng gera. Nasaksihan ko rin sa umagang ito ang katibayan ng loob ng mga lola. Ito ay isang umagang mananatili nang matagal sa aking kaisipan.”At first, fear hounded Mara de Guzman's heart and mind while all ears to the angry words of Ortencia Martinez, or Lola Orten, who was caged like a pig in a ship for three months. This Spanish mestiza -- who volunteered to go to Divisoria with her Tsinay friend, Julia Chu, to buy gifts for the lolas – tried to keep the faith to the lolas' cause: “Nakalulungkot na malaman na hindi pa sila nanalo sa kanilang laban sa korte. Sana makatulong ang aming pagpirma sa petisyon. Magkakaroon ulit sila ng laban sa Disyembre. Ipagdarasal ko na sana manalo na sila.” While some of them blogged or youtubed their stories, others published it in a literary folios. Our MP 10 students will their masterpieces tomorrow during the regular Conspiwriters' Tuesdays at the Conspiracy Garden Cafe. Only a dozen of the lolas made it to the Lila Pilipina's office that day. To this day, they are all benifitting from the sacrifice of Ma.Rosa Luna Henson, the very first Filipino comfort woman to surface, who in March 1993, attended the first International Public Hearing on Military Sexual Slavery by Japan, organized by concerned Japanese citizens, that urged the Japanese government then to admit, after six months, that the “Japanese military was directly or indirectly involved with the comfort stations. Lolas who are in their 80s or 90s are still weeping for justice: (1) from the Japanese government if and when if will issue a formal apology to the lolas dishonored by sexual violence; (2) from the Japanese government after it finally includes in their history books the reality of military sexual slavery during World War II as a crime against humanity; (3) from the payment of compensation as penalty to the lolas and their families. After 17 years, these 12 elderly women have been fighting for their lives to tell. The morning we visited the lolas, one of our students jokingly asked us: “Sir, why are you late?.” We simply smiled without telling them our own little battles. That before we could leave the house, we had to give a mom a bath. A doctor, our 81-year old mother is now a patient with severe Alzheimer's disease.

Recently, another group of strong women, led by curator Norma Liongoren and critic Prof. Flaudette Mae Datuin -- waged war against cancer.

Artists, students and other supporters have organized Go, Jigs, Fight! in honor of painter/professor Yasmin Almonte or Jigs who is battling an extremely rare Stage 3 sarcoma that originated from her jawbone. To help her carry the load of expensive chemotherapy procedures and reconstructive surgery, her friends create the following fund-raising activities: (1) nude and portrait sketchings at Liongoren Gallery on October 23, starting at 2 p.m.; (2) exhibit and silent auction of donated artworks, and the products of the said session on October 24-30; (3) an afternoon of socials and raffle of artworks, October 30, 2 p.m. onwards. Raffle tickets are now available at P5,000 each. Tickets are now available at Liongoren Gallery, 111 New York, Cubao. For more details, please call Erika at 912 4319. Some of the people responsible for this endeavor are the same good soul behind the success of Future Ko! A Fund-Raising Doll Fair at The Podium Activity Center 2008. One of the artists -- like National Artist Abdulmari Imao and Mauro Malang Santos -- who made the dolls for underprivileged kids was Prof. Almonte herself.

Dr. Gil Vicente, the Philippine Society of Oncology's Committee on Social Responsibility chair, told us that PSO is in fullsupport of the use of graphic health warnings on cigarette packages. He reminded us PSO believes in such activities as the implementation of the World Health Organization guideline of placing pictures of the ill effects of smoking; the banning of smoking in schools, hospitals, government and private offices, entertainment centers and similar places; and the conducting of anti-smoking campaign seminars for students and other interested parties. By the way, it was Dr. Vicente who in early 2000 fulfilled our dream of giving PSO-sponsored expressive arts therapy sessions for cancer survivors with the late Wilson Ma, another wounded healer.


Q. Most boat owners name their boats. What is the most popular boat name
A. Obsession


Go through life like a child.

Always trusting,

Always full of simplicity and humility,

Content with everything, and happy in all circumstances.


Countries like the United States -- where Pres. Benigno Aquino III managed to play Hewlett-Packard computer games in between his address during the 65th General Assembly of the United Nations and his seven-minute meeting with Pres. Barack Obama -- are anxious about childhood obesity that has tripled in the past 30 years and about families spending a fortune just to spoil a brat who, more often than not, end up as a fashionista!

Here, on the other hand, we worry about the opposite.

Instead, we are bothered by multiple deprivations.

Not only in terms of food, clothing, or shelter but also of health, education, water, sanitation facilities, electricity, and information.

The Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) reveal that 44% of all Filipino children are living in poverty. In other words, 12.8 million children under the age of 15 are poor. From 2003 to 2006, there was an increase of 4 percentage points, or approximately one million additional poor kids.

PIDS President, Dr. Josef Yap, after all is still hopeful: “Because children are most vulnerable, meeting their needs and helping them achieve their full potential is promoting human development and investing in the progress of mankind.” “UNICEF is keen,” its representative, Ms. Vanessa Tobin assured us: “to support a targeted, focused approach to ensure we achieve the Millennium Development Goals by lifting these children out of poverty, and in so doing, we help all Filipinos in building a country fit for all children.”

Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) has heeded that call since 1967.

To enrich and empower everyone, it has been successful in transcending age.

And, of course, race, gender, and class!

It does not limit itself to poor as in the destitute of material riches.

PETA – 13 years older than its namesake, People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, that celebrated its 30th anniversary last 25 September via its Humanitarian Awards -- has been extending their help to those wanting in vim, vigor, and value.

Or beauty.

Which is why, its heart is in the arts.

PETA has been actively involved children and youth advocacy groups in the past five years.

With child-focused non-governmental organizations -- connected with urban poor communities, street children, children survivors of physical abuse and sexual abuse, child labor, trafficking, or caught in armed conflict – PETA has been tireless in underscoring the importance of the role of the child in the Filipino family and in Philippine society.

Pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No.267, PETA is having art happenings in the name of Children's Month that ironically opens with the International Day of Older Persons last Friday, October 1.

Last August 26, PETA asked us, to conduct a trainors' training of sorts about writing at the PETA Theater Center. The following day, upon learning about our advocacy, Gail Guanlao-Billones, PETA's Children's Theater Program Director, invited us -- with our wife Ellay and our niece Gayle, our Foundation AWIT, or Advancing Wellness, Instruction, and Talents president and executive assistant respectively -- to The Building Resiliency Forum on 15 October. She expects us to share our experience and practice in working with children with special needs and other differently-abled persons.

Foundation AWIT is indeed honored to play Ding to the unsung Nardas and Darnas -- in Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Sexual Abuse (CPTCSA); Create Responsive Infants By Sharing Foundation (CRIBS); Medical Action Group (MAG) ; Museong Pambata; Philippine Against Child Trafficking (PACT); and PETA's Artszone, which was launched only last 9 July -- to identify commonalities and areas for collaboration in creating modules and activities in their respective centers and communities as well as to activate a network working on integrating arts towards healing. Our kids Psalma, Wika, and Sulat plan to join them on two Saturdays, October 9, for some performances care ofKaibigan Choir, Kaibigan Theater, PETAnino, End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography, and the Trafficking of Children (ECPAT), Sali Ka Bata, Teatro Balagtas, Dulaang Agape, or PETA’s Pandakotyong and Batang Rizal. And on October 16, for such workshops as: (a) Ilustrador ng Kabataan or INK's Kulay at Krokis; (b) Kuwentista ng mga Tsikiting or KUTING's Kathang Katawan; (c ) Anino Shadow Play Collective's Anino at Karilyo.

For inquiries, kindly call Anj Heruela at # 0927-3709581 about PETA’s Kayang-Kayang Kabayanihan that also include street painting, art walls and guerilla performances, art mart with books and products for kids, exhibit and sale of Museo Pambata’s Batang Bayani Series, and the staging of Liza Magtoto’s Palanca-winning play Rated:PG.

Last August 5, at Alliance Francaise de Manille in Makati City, Atty. Gizela Gonzalez launched her book Where The Children Are, which is a photo-documentary that features compelling images and stories of Filipino children from different parts of the country. Atty. Ging published two poems produced in Poetry Therapy sessions we conducted with Dr. Grace Brillantes, Aleah Taboclaon, and our son Wika at the Child Protection Unit-University of the Philippines Philippine General Hospital in 2006. And the child poet who wrote great poetry in Filipino actually hails from Cebu where he survives physical abuse. The said publication is reminiscent of Jay Lara and Cathy Paras-Lara's Everyday Warriors: The Faces and Stories of Breast Cancer that won the Gintong Aklat 2010 with Liberato Laureta's Compendium of the Economically Important Seashells in Panay, Philippines; Cecilia Manguerra Brainard and Marilyn Ysip Orosa'sFinding God: True Stories of Spiritual Encounters; Asia Society Philippine Foundation, Inc.'s Kulinarya: A Guide Book to Philippine Cuisine; Elmer Nocheseda's Palaspas: An Appreciation of Palm Leaf Art in the Philippines; Simeon Dumdum, Jr.'s Ah, Wilderness! A Journey Through Sacred Time; Gina Apostol's The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata; Rolando Tolentino's Pag-aklas Pagbaklas Pagbagtas; and Otto Van Den Muijzenberg's The Philippines Through European Lenses: Late 19th Century Photographs from the Meerkamp Van Embden Collection.

Also during the 31st Manila International Book Fair, where the Gintong Aklat 2010 awards rites took place last 15September at the SMX Mall of Asia, Edgardo Maranan, the winningest Carlos Palanca Hall of Famer who is now a columnist too, launched a dozen new works for children. Published by C&E Publishing Company, the 12 titles are: Si Pepe at si Pilar; Pangako ng Bayani; Ang Apoy sa Sambá; Halimaw sa Bundok, Si Kidlat, si Kulóg, at si Kilót;Hagdan sa Langit; Ang Ambahan ni Ambo; Bahaghari; Si Molok at ang Bangka ni Asok; Si Buhawi at si Bantay; Ang mga Buwaya ng Silangan; and Ang Alamat ni Hári Púti sa Buhay ni Búi Bagani.

How we wish the Children’s Month be more memorable and meaningful, sustainable yet less commercial like the well-planned World Vegetarian Awareness Month!

With public and private sectors to make it global as the United Nations Day or national as Buwan ng Wika, we as one must replicate such pioneering Oktoberfest of child-friendly projects as Health Education Congress for Children in Dagupan, Hugyaw Kabataan in Antique or Pista sa Nayon and School on the Air in Davao!

By the way, is our childless president, who cares a lot about his nephews, listening?

Or he is just deafened by the word war, ever-growing even during his First 100 days, between those against and in favor of informed choice when it comes to responsible parenthood or family planning like Carlos Celdran? Or do we really love unconditionally the hope of our country? Ask Jose Rizal.


Q. Which day are there more collect calls than any other day of the year?
A. Father's Day


An airplane on its return flight suddenly encountered a turbulence. Oxygen bags started to be dispensed so all the passengers started to panic. Except for one boy who was playing with PSP. They asked him why he was so calm and why he was not afraid to die.

He answered: “My dad is the pilot.”

MARTIAL (LAW) ARTS (September 27, 2010)

Last Tuesday, 21th of September, while the world was glued on television watching Charice Pempengco appear on the Episode 1 of Glee's Season 2, the rest of it seemed to be observing what Bayan Muna Party-list Reps. Teddy Casiño and Neri Colmenares probably had in mind in filing House Bill 3288 like a Khmer Rouge therapy by reenactment.

At the University of the Philippines, at least, two plays were mounted as if in response to the said representatives' proposal of keeping alive the memory of modern-day Filipino heroes and martyrs who suffered during Pres. Ferdinand Marcos' Martial Law regime. One was the Department of English and Comparative Literature's production of the deconstructed version of Griselda Gambaro’s Information for Foreigners by Anton Juan Jr. who transformed our College of Arts and Letter New Building every night, from September 20 to 26, into a torture chamber in an interactive play that features real family members of the desaparecidos who are still crying for justice to this day. The other was Reuel Molina Aguila's Alimuom and Walang Maliw produced by the Departamento ng Filipino at Panitikan ng Pilipinas at the Faculty Center or Bulwagang Rizal's Teatro Hermogenes Ylagan until tonight at 7.

It is directed by the busiest body in town, Chis Millado, who is also the moving spirit behind the success of Lloyd Suh's American Hwangap at the Cultural Center of the Philippines' Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino until October 3. He, too, is the reason why there are on-going fora from September 23 to 28 in selected areas from Ayala Museum to Philippine High School for the Arts featuring the Mellon Consortium (with May Adrales, John Eisner, Loretta Greco, Kate Loewald, Rehana Mirza, Jorge Ortoll, and others) and the Obie awardee playwright David Henry Hwang, whose upcoming Broadway musicals with composer David Yazbek and director Bartlett Sher include Bruce Lee: Journey To The West.

Set in a safehouse after the Edsa Revolution in 1986, Alimuom, is a classic monologue that challenges the caliber of Philippine Legitimate Stage Artists Group Inc.'s Gawad Buhay Award Outstanding Lead Male Performer nominee -- Jonathan Tadiaon – whose acting prowess we already noticed when he took multiple roles in Rody Vera's adaptations of National Artist Francisco Sionil Jose's Rosales saga.

Walang Maliw, on the other hand, happens during the 30th birthday of an abducted freedom fighter (played alternately by Julia Enriquez of Philippine Educational Theater Association and Kat Castillo of Tanghalang Pilipino) celebrated by her activist mother portrayed by ever-reliableSherry Lara, an Urian nominee for Best Supporting Actress for Crying Ladies, and Teroy Guzman, whose subtle yet substantial attack as the father with “good looks,” reminded us so much of the playwright who is also a faculty member that goes by the name Mario. We, with our seatmates Joey Baquiran and Luna Sicat-Cleto, could not help but remember in him Dr. Mario Miclat, too!

In fact, when the Mario the character said something about activist parents discouraging their kids from following their footsteps alludes to what Mario the doctor wrote to his opera singer/actress daughter Banaue: “We pass this world but once. I'm glad your passage is not as tumultuous as ours.” Well, the complete version of the aforementioned letter can be found as a prologue in his latest novel Secrets of the Eighteen Mansions, longlisted at the 2009 Man Asian Literary Prize, eventually published by Anvil Publishing.

Doc Mic, as he is fondly called, has carefully woven a 351-page tapestry about Filipino expatriates whose young and restless political exploits enable them to operate on the chance of experiencing the best (or was it the worst?) of both worlds in the First Quarter Storm and New People’s Army here and the Cultural Revolution in China from the late 1960s up to early 1970s. Indeed, a trip down Martial Law lane! And more, since the author at times can manage to take us back and forth at will: from the time of washbasin-size sunflowers to the time of Gov. Gen. Narciso Claveria 's decree in 1849 when he gave us Filipinos Spanish surnames in the name of tax collection to the time of Jose Villa Panganiban's 1363-page English Pilipino Thesaurus Dictionary to the time of Project 571 to the time of that urban Filipino in every way acting like an ignorant probinsiyano in search of a comfort room. It starts fromTalahib Plumes, a metaphor for the delegation of leftists in the winds' eye, with questions and comparisons: “In China, all gateways of importance must face south, while paintings and poetry depicted the rising sun. Would I now come back to my tropical isles, be Filipino and celebrate our sunsets?”

Alienation, and/or alien nation(s) of the protagonist, which he shares with almost everybody, are composed with a photographer's precision when entered Into the Vortexas he zooms in and out of the Movement Underground, Eighteen Mansions, and Quarter Storms. Vivid descriptions and verbal depth never fail to invite us to take part in travelling back into our history's critical, therefore crucial, moments, without getting hit by a bolo or by bullets, as if ever-advised by Chairman Mao: “An army without culture is a dull-witted army, and a dull-witted army cannot defeat the enemy.”

This time, we could recall Aguila's trash-talking reformist soldier seemingly tailor-made for such great actors as Joel Lamangan and Julienne Mendoza, more popularly known as directors today. The I persona in the book is not as loud as the I persona in the play but the former definitely can outsmart, or outlast, the latter anytime.

From cover to cover, we can read between the lines the oozing of toughness from within, the edge of an intellectual over a violent brute, the strength of mind over matter!

Being a thinker that he is, the main character can still afford to have a heart.

Alone, the last scene completes, or balances, everything heady and heavy in the beginning: “I am not sure if she noticed the tears beginning to swell at the corner of my reddening eyes. Maningning stared at me. After a while, she took my hand and led me to her room. She showed me a framed picture of my self.”

Myself means Mario.

Of course, his partner in “crime,” in fiction and in fact is Alma, his wife, who

reminisced the secret of their youthful years in 2004: It was a sultry day in August 1971 when Mario and I took the plane from Manila to Hongkong for an undisclosed mission. We were just three months married in underground rites. If we kept our marriage secret to both our families, our trip was even more secret and we never told anyone. I just disappeared. My parents tried as much as they could to gather even the faintest clues about my whereabouts. It would be reported that I have been sighted at this or that barrio in the province of Bataan. People assured them that I often covertly passed by our house in the town of Orani to get a secret glimpse of them. The legend grew that I led an armed band against the martial law regime. One day, they received news that I was killed in an encounter. My supposed remains were brought to the municipal hall of nearby Dinalupihan, ready to be retrieved by the family.”

And the girl, whose name's origin can be seen in Chapter 8, is Maningning.

Thus, it is fitting to launch Doc Mic's special limited collector’s edition during the 2010 Maningning Miclat Art Awards, now on its eighth year, to be held on Wednesday, 29 September 29, 6:00 p.m. at the 3rd Level Exhibit Area, Shangri-La Edsa Plaza Mall.

National Day of Remembrance, if it becomes a law, will help us heal in immortalizing what went beyond the September 21, 1972-February 25, 1986 timeframe.

Hopefully even beyond the generation of Martial Law Babies' baby like Charice.


Only two people signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, John Hancock and Charles Thomson. Most of the rest signed on August 2, but
the last signature wasn't added until 5 years later.


Executives from rich countries who communicate with their counterparts in poor countries show that there is no significant intellectual difference. Race or skin color are also not important: immigrants labeled lazy in their countries of origin are the productive power in rich European countries. What is the difference then? The difference is the attitude of the people, framed along the years by education, culture, and tradition.