This year marks International Rice Research Institute's 50th anniversary.
And Philippine Rice Research Institute's 25th.
But our project Palay, Bigas, Kanin (PBK) had nothing to do with IRRI and Philrice.
Not yet o nyet, we began our rice craze last year.
First of July, to be exact.
After a series of meetings, halfway and otherwise, with singer/songwriter Joey Ayala we were able to decide on what we really want before we could get a grant from National Commission for Culture and the Arts, specifically its National Committee for Music, which he heads to this day.
In came our Foundation for Advancing Wellness, Instruction and Talents, Inc. that was chosen to serve as our conduit or implementer.
This musical-in-progress survived -- Phase 1: Creation – we as the initiating author prepared lyrical seeds and turned them over to Joey, our musical director.
Originally, we followed the historical path, by writing poems from the indigenous period so we first began with the oldest form – tanaga – only to come up with Hindi Lang Ang Ifugao. Joey showed us the way via a hair-raising, spine-tingling composition using gongs and chants as if immortalizing our wife with: “Ay, elay, elay, elay-lay...”
Since she is also the president of Foundation A.W.I.T. so it got her nod.
Seriously, every track in the compact disc has a unique life of its own.
A riddle, Sagot Na o Sirit Na? took a totally different dimension when it was interpreted by the Cebuano heatthrob in Errol Marabiles, a.k.a. Budoy. Last February, during the 2nd Taboan Writers Festival in the Queen City of the South, we met the said Visayan reggae exponent who was very unassuming, down-to-earth, and humble and even without our long and winding interview we could already know why he became an urban legend like our eyeball host, Bambi Beltran of Kukuk's Nest Garden Restaurant and Pension House.
Then, our island-hopping became complete when a dalit-cum-lullaby,
Dalit kay Dalacdac, was transformed by Davao's pride, Popong Landero, who was then sleepless for days after winning an Urian for the Best Music Award for our friend Arnel Mardoquio's Hunghong sa Yuta, where he played the film's villain.
All of a sudden, it was again back to Manila when Noel Cabangon, who was mistaken for Pres. Benigno Aquino III's vocal coach and Yellow Cab member for saving the Inauguration Day program, sent us his auit Aking Paaralan Ang Aking Palayan which our executive assistant, Gayle Adaya Pacquing, considered the soundtrack of her lovelife.
For whatever reason, Belen Constantino, a Foundation A.W.I.T. volunteer as University of the Philippines Open University student, could not help but look forward to Onie Badiang's Halina at Hain Na when we left our compact disc playing on and on while she was making Ching Abad Santos' Fabric of Life in her Arterapi gallery.
Initially, we thought our “traditional bible” would end up predictable and Palm Sunday-ish however, when it had itsMaricris Joaquin touch, Pasyong Mahal ng Maylupang Panginoon Namin became a serenata of sorts.
Frank Englis did the same magic to Ambahang Sambahan when it transformed this Mangyan poetic form into a Gregorian chant which Antoon Postma will hopefully appreciate.
Dr. Ramon Santos, who wrote his reaction when we delivered our paper on July 9 at the University of the Philippines' College of Arts and Letters' Faculty, alluding to Dasal na Ghazal as one of the most remarkable compositions, certainly not because its composer, Mlou Matute, was his student when he was teaching and colleague when he used to be the U.P. College of Music dean.
U.P. Open University's Multimedia Center covered this year's Likhaan: U.P. Institute of Creative Writing's first Panayam for 2010. Dr. Teresa de Villa saw the significance of using our Palay Bigas Kanin material as an instructional material for General Education courses like Humanities and introduction to Philippine Literature as well as in some courses for the Diploma in Language Literacy. So Chancellor Grace Javier Alfonso agreed with a video recording of our lecture in order to start gathering materials for the course materials. Likhaan, within the year, will once more team up with U.P.O.U via Akdang Buhay to document the lives and works of our Philippine literary greats.
One of the Music alumni, Fer Edilo, had an earlier take on our Ako Ay May Lupa as part of our poetry collection –Kayumanggi – which was approved for publication by the new University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, Dr. Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo. Nevertheless, when the aforementioned parody of Atin Cu Pung Singsing, was attacked by Rene “Chong” Tengasantos, it could drive Ziggy Marley to believe his father is a Pinoy.
Kasal, Binyag, Libing – which had the Joey Ayala signature – impressed Dr. Alexander Cortez, making think naughtly that unconsciously he would associate it with best Kabataang Barangay buddy, Rep. Imee Marcos, not only for its initial – KBL!
A scarescrow named Balyan spoke on our behalf last Friday.
While we were inside the Pulungang Recto booth, we with Lourd de Veyra had a Name That Tune kind of game inasmuch as almost all those who set our 19 poems to music were not able to meet and greet each other formally.
When Eat All You Kan-on was on, Lourd praised his lord in Onie Badiang whose works he trulyl admired and that would include his comeback gig with his Bagong Lumad bossing, Joey, in both Kakanin and Gluten as well as with hisPan pal, Dong Abay, in Noon Po Sa Amin.
Then it was Radioactive Sago Project's turn and they were planning to be interactive, like what we did during Francis de Veyra's recital at Abelardo Hall where Khavn de la Cruz accidentally damaged its grand piano. Our gift in the form of a tapuy got in the way, perhaps, so they chickened out. Nonetheless, the crowd of around 100 still loved their
Ang Bansa ng Pambansa equally with Sheilbert O. Manuel a.k.a. O.G. Sacred Sheilbert O. Manuel who rappedMagtanim Ay Di Biro.
National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera's fingers were reportedly tapping while listening to May Mito, May Totoo and that was enough to make Jun Latonio's day!
And Pio Pataganao's day, too, when his Bankakawan appeared to National Artist Virgilio Almario's favorite in the same breath with Madonna Ma's siopao, Erin Palomares' puto, Pauline Salvaňa's suman, and Zonito Torrevillas' malunggay products!
In the end, we could not deny our admiration for Cynthia Alexander, not only for her contributions -- Oryza Sativa! Oryza Sativa! and Kahit Palay, Bigas, Kanin Ay Kaunti -- but for her collaboration with us ever since. When our son died in 2006, Cynthia recorded our compositions with Teta Tulay: Kay Laya which we used as Awit's funeral song and Kabakathat became our wedding march a year after for our 10th wedding anniversary.
Last July 10, we celebrated Awit's 8th birthday at the Tayabas Cemetery which our Mama rehabilitated when she was our Municipal Health Officer in the 70s. Little did she know that after 30 years her grandson would be buried in a place which we used to call Paalam Mahal Ko. Sad to say, we also learned about our mom's classmate, Carmelita Yap, whose remains we visited while we were in our hometown. Four years ago, when we had our Panayam during the 100thdeath anniversary of Alejandro G. Abadilla, Awit was then so alive and kicking literally to the ethnic music of Kalumad.How time flies!
To be happy with a man, you must understand him a lot and love him a little.
To be happy with a woman, you must love her a lot and not try to understand her