Wednesday, November 3, 2010


A day before Monnar Baldemor opened his exhibit Constellations at Sigwada Art Gallery -- some areas in Caloocan City, Cavite, Las Piñas City, Malabon, Manila, Navotas, Parañaque City, Pasay City, Quezon City, and Valenzuela City began experiencing “drought.” In a country surrounded by water, the said Aquarian felt guilty of consuming too much water for his artworks just to pay to tribute to The Water-bearer and other Zodiac Signs along the flood-prone Oroquieta Street in Sta. Cruz, Manila till July 17.

Another water-dependent suspects would be the Bonafide Art Galleries Organization (BAGO). Why? Because it teamed up again with the National Commission on Culture and Arts (NCCA) for the 2nd Philippine International Art Fair orMANILART at the SMX Convention Center from July 30 until August 1. And, as you all know, MANILART 10showcases more than 1,000 paintings – from aquapasto to gouache to impasto to tempera to watercolor, of course -- by some 300 of the country’s talents who were able to impress the impressario in BAGO president Jonathan Sy: “While some sectors are still reeling from the devastation of last year’s strong typhoons and the economy has yet to recover from the effects of global recession, it is a consolation to know that the visual arts is not only alive but actually thriving.”

And The Saturday Group knew it all.

With its Art at the Shang, it has been witnessing the highs and lows of Philippine art. Like silent waters, The Saturday Group runs deep with its seven national artists in its lengthy roster of talented painters. This year, for instance, on display from July 14 to 26 at the Shangri-La Plaza Atrium, will be its members's way of commemorating its 42nd anniversay.

Last Saturday, multi-media artist Cesare A.X. Syjuco had a baptism of water (and fire, too!) for his cross-breeding – equal parts of poetry and visual art – in his The Ancestry of a Stone: New Literary Hybrid at the Galleria Duemila at 210 Loring Street in Pasay City. He reprises his landmark solo exhibition at the Main Gallery of the Cultural Center of the Philippines in 2004.

Well, while everybody in Luzon worries about water crisis, another city in Mindanao had been working quietly with a homage to a body of water. Entitled Sabangan sa Gingoog, it is a 22-song sing-through musical begins with trading at the sabangan or a river port. With music by Gingoognon composer Jed Balsamo and libretto and direction by Jay Rey Alovera, the musical featuring Teatro Gingoog artists and guests -- had its gala world premiere last 13 July at the Arturo S. Lugod Memorial Sports and Cultural Center in Gingoog City which, under Mayor Ruth De Lara Guingona, is celebrating its 50th jubilee! Gingoog is also home to the Higaonon -- one of the least known ethnolinguistic groups that inhabit North-Central Mindanao particularly in the mountainous regions of Misamis Oriental, Bukidnon plateau, the mountain borders of the provinces of Agusan and Lanao in the east and west, respectively.

Nature trips bring us back to Fr. Robert Reyes' art during the entire Holy Week.

Last March 29, he did his Pingga Kalinga Project, a water conservation run from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Quezon City to Ilagan, Isabela.

Today, in the same spirit, he will run again.

In fact, he is inviting everyone to join him in his latest brothers' and sisters' act, Running Water, after the flag-raising ceremony at the DENR grounds to the Congress.

Exactly the day before Iglesia ni Kristo devotees flood The Temple along Commonwealth Avenue, Fr. Robert asks Pres. Benigno Aquino III, before delivering his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) , to stress the primordial importance of water and the equally important and urgent challenge to change from our destructive, indifferent, consumerist and un-ethical lifestyles to that which is greener, more life-sustaining, and nature-saving.

Of sorts, the following is Fr. Robert's own SONA, or State of the Nature Address:



Water wastage

Water conservation

Excessive water consumption

Conscientious water consumption

Environmental Destruction

Forest, watershed protection and restoration

Exclusive dependence on motorized transport

More non-motorized, feet-driven transport

Improper garbage disposal

Recycling, composting, zero waste

Excessive consumption of animal protein

More vegetables and organic products

Addiction to indoor recreation (television, computer, etc.)

More appreciation of the outdoors/nature

Various addictions leading to unhealthy lifestyles

Cleaner, more wholesome, healthier lifestyles

Moral stagnation and indifference

Social and environmental involvement

Money politics, nature as commoditiy or thing

Green Politics, nature as spirit, ally, and friend

Before parted ways during our Lakbay Dangal meeting at Dr. Ruby Gamboa Alcantara's office at the Kalayaan dorm inside the University of the Philippines Diliman campus, he gave us his pasalubongs from Hongkong with the Old Cree Indian Prophecy:

Only after the last tree has been cut down,

Only after the last river has been poisoned,

Only after the last fish has been caught,

Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.

By the way, tonight we will try to stick to our water literature as our running theme at Rock Drilon's MagNet Gallery in Katipunan for our monthly O.M.G. or Open Mic Gig. Poet and professor, Dr. Ruth Elynia Mabanglo and the unsung heroes of Advanced Filipino Abroad Program (AFAP) -- namely Dr. Teresita Fortunato, Vangie Encabo, Ramil Correa, Gerg Anrol Cahiles, and Rouchelle Dinglasan of the De La Salle University -- will lead the performers from 7 p.m. onwards. Together with Dr. Mabanglo are her students: Karl Alcover, William Arighi, Modesto Bala, James Binauhan, Nikolas Bonifacio, Lara Capangpangan, Carmel Laurino, Marites Mendoza, Marites Mendoza, Lesther Papa, Marilola Perez, Alisa Ann Quezon, and Heidi Tuason.

Invited guests to jam with them are National Artist Virgilio Almario, Teo Antonio, Mike Coroza, Marne Kilates, Fidel Rillo, and the Linangan sa Imahen Retorika at Anyo (LIRA) poets. As we commend KM64' Tulagalag, a poetry installation remembering the Hacienda Luisita massacre during the SONA, we expect O.M.G. fixtures to do our own -- with the help of Alitaptap Storytellers Philippines, Rock Bato, Jkris Abaya, Diwa de Leon, Jeff Pagaduan, Siege Malvar, C.P. Abrajano, Dax Cutab and the Las Bungangeras, U.P. SPECA, and other usual suspects in Songwriters Night. For inquiries, please call 9293191.

TEXT SUPPORT: Most lipstick contains fish scales.

CONSIDER THIS: I am the eye / Of the ocean / Eye am the I /Of the see/ On the sea/

I see the moon /And it eyes me /Floating, seeing /Simply / Being. JOEY AYALA

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