Category Archives: Pinoy Living

Fathers in fiction

Observed on the third Sunday of June by a number of countries, including our own, Father’s Day is an occasion for us to salute our fathers for their efforts, to reflect on how they have shaped and sustained our lives, and to celebrate fatherhood in general, including your own, if applicable (the jury is still out on owners of virtual pets, though).

The list that follows below was prompted by a writing assignment for Father’s Day in which I sought to follow a line of inquiry that seemed to me suitable for the event: how are fathers represented in our fiction? While the assignment ended up being shelved, I found the results of my research—which, owing to time constraints, must be understood as highly preliminary and provisional—to be intriguing: in three major works of Philippine literature, the father, even if acknowledged as heavily influential, is a present absence, invoked only in thought and speech by the other characters. Whether this is a symptom of a more general condition in our landscape of letters remains to be seen, but it is certainly worth mulling over, both as a phenomenon unto itself and as an indication of how fathers and fatherhood are made sense of in the larger arena of Philippine culture. (Elsewhere in the world, the novelist Andrew Martin explored the same issue in the realm of British fiction when he was asked to write and present the BBC documentary Disappearing Dad, and found that, in his survey of the English literary tradition, fathers are often missing or quickly done away with, as in children’s stories: “In the course of filming, I looked at a whole library-shelf full of children’s books, and dad had been killed off in almost every one.”)

Aeneas' Flight from Troy (1598) by Federico Barocci. Oil on canvas. Courtesy of Wikipedia.org.
Aeneas’ Flight from Troy (1598) by Federico Barocci. Oil on canvas. Courtesy of Wikipedia.org.

Duke Briseo
in Florante at Laura (1838) by Francisco Balagtas

Brought to life by way of the recollections of his son Florante, who for a good part of the poem is tied to a tree in a dark forest, bemoaning the cruel fate that has befallen him and those whom he loves, Duke Briseo is characterized as a father who practiced what might be known today as “tough love”. Florante declares that parental love involves ensuring that a child must not be indulged, spoiled, or cocooned in pleasure away from the world, for—in line with the long-held notion that suffering leads to improvement—he will be unable to develop the necessary fortitude to withstand the trials and tribulations of life otherwise, citing his own experience of growing up in what are arguably some of the darkest lines in Baltazar’s metrical romance:

“Pag-ibig anaki’y aking nakilala,
‘di dapat palakihin ang bata sa saya;
at sa katuwaa’y kapag namihasa,
kung lumaki’y walang hihinting ginhawa.”

“Sapagkat ang mundo’y bayan ng hinagpis,
namamaya’y sukat tibayan ang dibdib;
lumaki sa tuwa’y walang pagtitiis …
anong ilalaban sa dahas ng sakit?”

“Ang taong magawi sa ligaya’t aliw,
mahina ang puso’t lubhang maramdamin;
inaakala pa lamang ang hilahil
na daratni’y ‘di na matutuhang bathin.”

“Para ng halamang lumaki sa tubig,
daho’y malalanta munting ‘di madilig;
ikinaluluoy ang sandaling init;
gayundin ang pusong sa tuwa’y maniig.”

“Munting kahirapa’y mamalakhing dala,
dibdib palibhasa’y ‘di gawing magbata,
ay bago sa mundo’y walang kisapmata,
ang tao’y mayroong sukat ipagdusa.”

“Ang laki sa layaw karaniwa’y hubad
sa bait at muni’t sa hatol ay salat;
masaklap na bunga ng maling paglingap,
habag ng magulang sa irog na anak.”

“Sa taguring bunso’t likong pagmamahal,
ang isinasama ng bata’y nunukal;
ang iba’y marahil sa kapabayaan
ng dapat magturong tamad na magulang.”

Florante reveals that at one point, Briseo risks the grief of his wife Floresca to send his son, then 11 years old, to faraway Athens in order to study under the eminent and kindly teacher Antenor for nearly a decade. Floresca passes away before Florante can return, but, in spite of this unfortunate incident, Florante does not seem to resent his father’s decision, and in fact hails Briseo for the lessons that he has imparted, as well as mourns his beheading at the hands of the treacherous Count Adolfo.

Don Rafael Ibarra
in Noli Me Tangere (1887) by José Rizal

Don Rafael Ibarra, the richest man in the town of San Diego, is widely known to be just and honorable, and so it is a shock to his son Crisostomo when he comes home from Europe after seven years and finds out from Señor Guevara, an old lieutenant, that Rafael died in prison, accused, among other things, of being a subversive and a heretic. Worse, Crisostomo eventually discovers that Rafael was denied a proper place for his final rest: though initially placed in a grave, his body was later ordered exhumed and transferred to the Chinese cemetery, but ended up being tossed by the gravedigger into the river, on account of the weight of the corpse and the inclement weather. Determined to continue his beloved father’s good work, Crisostomo strives as best as he can to avoid trouble, even when he learns that Father Dámaso, the former curate of his hometown, had precipitated the persecution of his father, and considers him an enemy as well. Crisostomo finds that he cannot help himself, however, when, at a dinner hosted by Captain Tiago, which follows the ill-omened laying of the cornerstone of the schoolhouse that Crisostomo orders built for the village, Dámaso, “getting fat from so much scolding and so many beatings”, appears  and makes a point of insulting not only him, which he already did from the pulpit earlier that day, but also his father: outraged, Crisostomo pounces upon the portly Franciscan and takes up a sharp knife as if meaning to kill him, condemning the friar for insulting “what is to a son the most sacred of memories”, and challenging the members of the gathering to do the same:

“You who are here, priests, judges, could you see your aging father go without sleep for you, separate himself from you for your welfare, die of sadness in prison, sighing just to hold you, seeking one person to console him, alone, sick, while you are abroad… Could you later hear his name dishonored, could you find his tomb empty when you wanted to pray over it? No? You say nothing! Then condemn him!” (From the translation by Harold Augenbraum)

Don Lorenzo Marasigan
in A Portrait of the Artist as a Filipino: An Elegy in Three Scenes (1952) by Nick Joaquin

Also referred to as “el Magnifico”, the same epithet associated with Lorenzo de’ Medici, the ruler of the Republic of Florence during the Italian Renaissance and patron of such notable artists as Michelangelo Buonarotti and Sandro Botticelli, Don Lorenzo Marasigan is a scholar, a patriot who fought in the war for Philippine independence from Spain, and an artist who is said to have been a rival to no less than Juan Luna. While he never appears onstage during the performance, which is set in a house in Intramuros just before World War II, his presence, indexed by the titular painting that hangs on the fourth wall and thus is invisible to the audience, exerts great power. The great canvas, painted about a year before the narrative present of the play, depicts a scene described in the Roman epic Aeneid by Virgil: Aeneas carrying his father Anchises on his back as they flee the doomed city of Troy (Ascanius, the son of Aeneas, is, curiously, not included). What makes the picture a striking and—for most of the characters—disturbing sight is that both figures bear the face of Lorenzo: one as a young man, and the other as an old man. Because of Lorenzo’s reputation, the dual self-portrait provokes fierce competing interests: Candida and Paula, the daughters who live with Lorenzo, refuse to sell the work despite the poverty that creeps upon them day by day, while their siblings and the other characters urge them to give it up, together with the decrepit family house and the once-glorious days that it represents. As their lives slowly unravel, Candida and Paula struggle to hold fast to their values, and they become estranged from one another for a time. Finally, Paula realizes that the painting reveals a path to emancipation, albeit not the kind that the people around them keep urging them to seek, and sets her feet firmly upon it, taking her sister with her—a bold, if not reckless choice that reunites them with Lorenzo:

CANDIDA: May God forgive me for ever having desired the safeness of mediocrity!

PAULA (rising and drawing her sister up): Then stand up, Candida—stand up! We are free again! We are together again—you and I and father. Yes—and father too! Don’t you see, Candida? This is the sign he has been waiting for—ever since he gave us that picture, ever since he offered us our release—the sign that we had found our faith again, that we had found our courage again! Oh, he was waiting for us to take this step, to make this gesture—this final, absolute, magnificent, unmistakable gesture!

CANDIDA: And now we have done it!

PAULA: We have recognized our true vocation!

CANDIDA: We have taken our final vows!

PAULA: And we have placed ourselves irrevocably on his side!

CANDIDA: Does he know?

PAULA: Oh yes, yes!

CANDIDA: Have you told him?

PAULA: But what need is there to tell him?

CANDIDA (rapturously): Oh Paula!

PAULA: He knows, he knows!

CANDIDA: And he has forgiven us at last! He has forgiven us, Paula!

PAULA: And we will stand with him?

CANDIDA: Contra mundum!

A Wish for Philippine Sports in the Hundredth Year Anniversary of the Far Eastern Championship Games

Boxing photo

Not many men can claim they’ve faced the best. Not many can say they grabbed hold of a doubting world’s attention, and for a few moments, humanity was gripped by their resolute exploits for a win, for grace or national pride, for the right to say I’ve faced the best. I have pulled off the unbelievable.

We saw in the 2012 London Summer Olympics the pure determination of 19-year-old boxer Mark Barriga. He was the shortest fighter in his division, and yet with brilliant footwork and a crisp right hook, he dropped his Italian opponent in the first round. Even when he was defeated by a single point by the Kazakh Birzhan Zhakypov, Barriga demonstrated the refusal to be dominated by ugly techniques that belonged more in a wrestling match. Despite losing, he was able to gain the crowd’s admiration with his resolve and clean punches. The audience made up mostly of people from foreign countries was won to his side. They started to chant “Phi-li-ppines! Phi-li-ppines!”

Our country’s campaign for athletic glory can be likened to Barriga’s Olympic story—an expedition fueled by an earnest passion for sports that has yet to make headway. The Philippines was the first nation from Southeast Asia to compete in the Olympics, the first Southeast Asian country to win an Olympic medal. And yet until now we only have two silver medals (boxer Mansueto Velasco in 1996 and swimmer Anthony Villanueva in 1964) and seven bronze medals.

In 2013, the task of gaining honor for Philippine sports is again upon us. This year brings about a milestone and an opportunity for Philippine sports as it marks the Hundredth Year Anniversary of the Far Eastern Championship Games—the very first international sports gathering in Asia, which was actually held in the country on February 4, 1913.

The Far Eastern Championship Games was a time of optimism and hope for Filipino athletes and sports lovers. It featured extraordinary performances from our athletes, including Luis Salvador’s 116-point effort to lead the Philippines over China to capture the gold medal in basketball. The Rizal Memorial Coliseum, which could hold 30,000 spectators, had also just been constructed to host the games. Gawking at the triumphant athletes and the newly built sports complex, one must have had this vision of the future of Philippine sports—brilliant, exciting, like sunlight illuminating a great trophy.

Our sports administrators

Olympic Council of Asia head Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah of Kuwait with global sports leaders

Nearly a century later, what has become of the hope and brilliance of the Far Eastern Games? 2012 was a year that brought both honor and defeat to Filipino athletes. What was the most striking Philippine sport experience in 2012? Was it our athletes’ gutsy though disappointing performances in the London Olympics? Manny Pacquiao’s unbelievable knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez? Or perhaps LA Tenorio’s clutch jump shot with just 20 seconds left to defeat the United States Team, 76-75, and win the William Jones Cup?

For this writer, an experience to remember was more educational than exciting as it provided the opportunity to see our country’s sports administrators at work at the Olympic Council of Asia General Assembly. The gathering of global sports leaders was held on October 8 last year at the Macau East Asia Games Dome.

Our country was represented by Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Jose Cojuangco, Jr., Robert “Dodot” Jaworski, Jr., and Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski. Known as a second generation sports hero, Jaworski is the son of basketball’s Living Legend, Sonny Jaworski, and was valuable member of the popular Ginebra/Gordon’s Gin basketball team in the 90s. His wife, Mikee, meanwhile is a popular television personality who won a gold medal for the country as an equestrian in the 2002 Asian Games in Busan, South Korea.

The two athletes addressed an impressive gathering of 400 leaders of the world’s Olympic associations global decision makers in sports, including the Executive Board of the Olympic Council Asia (OCA) led by Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah (former Minister of Oil of Kuwait and president of both the OCA and the Association of National Olympic Committees) and Lord Sebastian Coe (Life Peer of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, former Olympic Games world record holder for middle distance track events, and chairman of the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games).

DSC_0332Jaworki’s address was a firm declaration of the Philippines’ resolve to stand out in sports. He reminded the sports leaders that international athletic competitions in Asia actually started in the Philippines with the Far Eastern Games. He said the 100th Anniversary of the Far Eastern Games was not only an occasion for us to prove our mettle in sports, but as a nation that was ready to rise with the rest of Asia. Jaworski also spoke as an envoy for our tourism industry when he showed off the venue of the Anniversary—the powdery white sands of Boracay.

A wish for Philippine Sports

Today marks the 100th Year Anniversary of the Far Eastern Games, the time when Filipinos first looked forward to the feats and victories of our athletes. Like Jaworski, we may also see this as time when we can revitalize our faith and aspirations for Philippine sports.

When our delegates to the 2012 London Olympics returned with no medals last year, most Filipinos were not surprised—it was as if they had expected our athletes to lose. When Manny Pacquiao, our greatest sports hero, was knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez, some of the most disheartening remarks came from our countrymen. There were even some who said he deserved the defeat. These discouraging words prompted kickboxing champion Jerson Estoro to post on Facebook: “Ngayon maglalabasan na naman ang mga utak talangka.”

Estoro’s observation perhaps represents how Filipino athletes feel about their countrymen. Being an athlete is a lonesome endeavor—most days are spent at the sports center, tiring and pushing one’s self without anyone knowing. What our athletes yearn for are not the ostentatious celebrations that come after winning, but the steady source of inspiration and support whether they are just training, when they winning, and even when they are losing.

In the many years after the Far Eastern Games, we have criticized different people for our losses. We have blamed athletes; we have blamed sports administrators. We have not recognized the successes they have attained despite their meager resources. In 2011, the Philippine Sports Commission received a P400 million budget to support the programs of sports associations and athletes nationwide. In contrast, our neighbor Singapore had a sports budget of P7.4 billion. Our athletes have been competing each year against opponents who receive more than ten times their financial provision.

And yet, despite this obstacle, Filipino athletes have forged on with exemplary performances though it has not been recognized. For instance not a lot of people know that our athletes and sports and administrators have been delivering great results during Cojuangco’s term as POC president. In 2005 we won for the first time the Southeast Asian Games Championship. We have also been receiving the best results in terms of medals in the Asian Games, and have attained victories in global Muay Thai and Dragon Boat competitions. It is very disheartening that their hard work and successes have not been acknowledged, let alone appreciated.

This year provides an occasion for us to show our appreciation for our athletes, and renew our belief in their ability to succeed. POC president Cojuangco is organizing a celebration for our athletes in the Hundredth Year Anniversary of the Far Eastern Games. We must take part in this event to honor them and recognize their efforts. Another way for us to show support is by joining Gawad Kalinga volunteers who are building a retirement village for them this year.

This writer’s personal wish for Philippine sports in the Hundredth Year Anniversary of the Far Eastern Championship Games, however, is perhaps harder and more important than the construction of a retirement village, or an increase in our sports budget—it is for us to cast off the “utak talangka,” for us to stand again with, and believe our athletes. Our players also need the daily pat on the back, a smile when we see them jogging on the road.

Most of us have been fans of Philippine sports for a lifetime. We have been rooting for Team Pilipinas since we watched our first basketball game on TV, the day we first saw the wide breadth of a soccer field, the instance we first laced gloves. We have placed bets on teams, argued with supporters of other countries, prayed for sports miracles as if our lives depended on it. We are part of their expedition towards glory and Olympic gold.

If there is something that we can learn from our athletes, it is that we must stay the course despite bleak odds. Despite being shorter and having less resources, our resolve and faith in them can win medals and other countries’ respect. Much like Pacquiao or Donaire, our small, plain gloves can be the center of attention in a global arena of big names and glittering lights.

Piling up the (Philippine) Indie Landfill?

image credit: Brtipop.com.au

If Ian Urrutia of the blog site Vandals on the Wall is to be believed, 2012 marked the year in which aspiring tech savvy Filipino musicians discovered and uploaded their music on to Bandcamp. He provides compelling evidence for this by selecting from among them the top ten EPs and top sixty tracks for the year.

Considering the impressive collection assembled, a curious onlooker might conclude that the local independent music scene is vibrant and bursting at the seams. It is not just the volume but the breadth that strikes one when confronted with this cacophony of musical talent. And Ian does a fine job of establishing his hold on the jargon needed to review such work.

There is literally something for everyone’s musical palette and tastes. As the website boasts, whether it’s mainstream or independent, we surely got your music covered. Choice now seems to be endless, when it was not too long ago, that you could count with your fingers the number of acts that were genuinely into this type of music. The scene has indeed come a long way. The problem though is with this much on offer; a listener could get lazy, which perhaps creates a role for curators like Ian. The quality of their work could either help or hinder the cause.

If, as Simon Reynolds in the British daily newspaper The Guardian said, the start of the noughties was a time when indie was regarded as “the rubbish dump of contemporary music”, then could the start of this decade (the teenies?) be one in which the Philippines starts to produce its own version of “indie landfill” with the proliferation of heaps of local acts? As Reynolds noted

Once upon a time, long long ago, the shitness of indie actually had a point. Back in the 1980s – the days of Bogshed and Beat Happening, the Membranes and June Brides – indie was about defiant amateurishness and naivety. Its defects – shaky rhythm sections, weak voices, clumsy playing – were a refusal of the perfectionism and professionalism of 80s rock and pop. The awkwardness and abrasiveness reaffirmed the “anyone can do it” principle that many at that time saw as the crucial element of punk ideology. Indie’s flailing substandardness (as measured in conventional terms) could thus be felt by its fans as liberating and confrontational.

By the late 1990s and on into the noughties, though, indie wasn’t crappy for a purpose. In fact, it wasn’t especially inept or ramshackle anymore, so much as drearily adequate. Instrumentally, there was just a sustained absence of flair in the playing. This guitar-based music didn’t rock, but equally the songcraft wasn’t sufficiently strong, or forcefully sung enough, for it to make the grade as proper pop music. What was it for then? A vague aura of superiority to the commercial mainstream clung around it still, but really only as a hangover from the past: a set of received assumptions adopted by each new generation of the indie demographic, which kept on reconstituting itself in the same way that every year a fresh crop of first years arrive at uni. That inherited sense of undefined alternativeness crumbled on close scrutiny, since the music was not innovative by any stretch, and only rarely was it artistically adventurous in terms of its lyrical content, or expressive of bohemian values. A lot of indie wasn’t even released via independent labels. [emphasis mine]

He concluded by saying that by the end of the decade, the indie landfill had cleared somewhat in that

Looking back over the noughties, then, you’d have to say that indie produced a good proportion of the decade’s least impressive music. Yet indie also produced some of the most. Even on its traditional terrain – the songful guitar band with “interesting” lyrics, “attitude” and a decent shot at an NME front cover – there was a series of indie heavyweights, starting with the Strokes and the Libertines, who jolted the scene out of the dismal post-Britpop slough of the late 90s. And once you strayed beyond that narrow strip of indie-as-commonly-understood, there was a steadily accumulating ferment of activity that shredded the indie stereotype to the point where, by the decade’s end, the word was virtually meaningless. [emphasis mine]

Could local indie bands be taking the Filipino penchant for imitation to a whole new level? If in the 1980s, Filipino bands proved their musical worth by sounding what in the vernacular was termed placado or like an exact replica of the song they were covering, then at present, are musicians trying to earn their chops by hopping on to the indie bandwagon, and composing music that resembles what they have come across on Pitchfork, Stereogum or the like?

Contacted for comment, Toti Dalmacion of Terno Recordings who could be credited with starting the whole local indie scene from the early-90s with his radio show, Groove Nation Sessions through to the noughties with the development of such acts as Up Dharma DownEncounters with a YetiSleepwalk Circus and The Charmes under his label, says that the current state of play is good and usually bad at the same time. The man, who has seen everything before and worries that the scene he has helped nurture could become discredited, says the terrain could very easily be characterised as

a landfill when people accept everything “indie” as good and amazing… You have to remember “indie” here can mean Cynthia Alexander to Up Dharma Down and most of the time it’s the “process” and not the “sound”. While post-punk, post-rock and other age old terms are bandied about by these young-uns who want to show that they’re eclectic, I question the liking to just about anything as long as there’s some edge to it… It is inevitable though because of too many bands sprouting left and right due to technology and the web so you just need to sift through the landfill. [emphasis mine]

It’s a word of caution worth heeding. The scene could very easily resemble a pseudo-modernist rendition of post-modern pastiche. Luminaries like Toti can’t blame these indie acts though. Not really. As comedian Fred Armisen, whose impression of Ryan Schreiber the founder of Pitchfork in the show Portlandia was the topic of conversation, said to a reporter from that outfit, at least they were trying. But could there be such a thing as trying too hard?

Reprinted with permission from The Scenester. Read the rest of the article here.

Philippine Festivals You Should Not Miss

The Philippines is known as a country that is rich in culture and heritage so it is no longer surprising that various colorful and unique festivals are being held in different parts of the country all year round.

The tradition of fiesta came from the many Spanish religious practices that is why most Filipino festivals are celebrated in honor of it’s patron saints or any major events in the life of Jesus Christ and His Mother Mary.

So when planning your next travel in the Philippines, book a flight or schedule a road trip to your province of choice during its festival so you will be able to be hit two birds in one stone. To give you a taste of the diverse culture ad traditions in the Philippines when celebrating fiestas, I suggest you start first with the following Philippine festivals that should top your list to see and experience.

 

Moriones Festival
Image Source: Liz Reyes

1. Moriones Festival. Moriones Festival is being celebrated in the “Lent Capital of the Philippines“, Marinduque, every lent season. This whole week celebration starts on Holy Monday and ends on Easter Sunday.

Morions are men or women in costumes and masks replicating the biblical Roman soldiers during Christ’s time. They can be seen roaming around the streets of Marinduque for a week like normal people. Dressed in colorful tunics, scary faced masks and helmets, the mere sight of a morion is already enough to send kids scrambling back to their homes.

But don’t be deceived, morions may look snotty in the outside but they are not. In fact, these centurions are very much willing to join you for a picture taking. They also love engaging in antics or surprises to draw attention of tourists. So don’t be scared or surprised if you are walking in the town proper and see a morion coming near and trying to scare you.

Aside from them being a pleasant sight to see in the streets of Marinduque’s town capital Boac, the morions, as part of the Moriones Festival, also plays a crucial part in the Senakulo during Holy Week.

The Senakulo, a lenten play that depicts the life, suffering, and death of Christ, starts staging on the evening of Holy Wednesday and ends late evening of Black Saturday. Aside from Jesus Christ, one of the main characters in the senakulo is the Roman soldier Longinus, who also happens to be a centurion. When in Marinduque during Holy Week, be sure to specifically, look for Longinus. He’s easy to spot–he’s blind on one eye and is the most famous morion off all.

Aside from the afternoon lent processions, senakulo, Battle of the Morions and “pugutan” (reenactment of the beheading of Longinus), the main highlight of the Moriones Festival is actually the Via Crucis or the Way of the Cross which starts as early as 8:00AM of Good Friday. You have the option to go along with Christ, the other penitents, and morions or simply watch–though it is highly suggested that you go with the Way of the Cross since it is actually a one of a kind experience seeing every step of Christ’s suffering. Better be ready to endure the heat of the sun though and just consider it as another form of penitence. The Via Crucis ends with a “crucifixion” before lunch.

 

sinulogfestival
Image Source: Sinulog Website

2. Sinulog Festival. The Sinulog Festival is probably one of the grandest, popular and colorful festival in the Philippines. Sinulog’s main festival is held every year on the third Sunday of January in the province of Cebu to honor the Santo Niño, or the child Jesus, who used to be the patron saint of the whole province of Cebu.

Sinulog comes from the Cebuano adverb “sulog” which is “like water current movement,” as this is the best term to describe the forward-backward movement of the Sinulog dance.

The nine day celebration of Sinulog features participants in bright-colored and garbed costumes while dancing to the rhythm of drums and native gongs. Aside from the famous street dance, fluvial parades and SME trade fair which features Cebu export quality products are also some of the activities to watch out for.

Every year, Cebu is flocked with thousands of tourists from around the world just to witness this one of a kind celebration. In fact, getting a hotel to stay in Cebu City is actually a feat since most accommodations are fully booked already. Thus, if you are planning to street dance with the Cebuanos during the Sinulog Festival, be sure to book your flight and hotel a year before.

For more information on Sinulog Festival, please visit www.sinulog.ph

 

Continue reading…

 

 

Building Capacities with Armi Millare of Up Dharma Down

Reposted with permission from our friends at The Scenester an online fanzine that has been covering the local music scene since the mid-90s.

Image courtesy of Chico Limjap at Chicolimjap.com

ca·pac·i·ty /kəˈpasitē/ n. pl. ca·pac·i·ties

1. The ability to receive, hold, or absorb. 2. The maximum amount that can be contained. 3. a. Ability to perform or produce; capability. b. The maximum or optimum amount that can be produced. 4. The power to learn or retain knowledge; mental ability. 5. Innate potential for growth, development, or accomplishment; faculty. 6. The quality of being suitable for or receptive to specified treatment. 7. The position in which one functions; role.

To these definitions, we can now add: title of the soon to be released and much anticipated third album of Up Dharma Down under Terno Recordings.

The Scenester’s chief contributor, Kristo Babbler recently “sat down” with Armi Millare, keyboards and lead vocals for Up Dharma Down to take stock of the band’s evolution to date, their creative process in the lead up to their third outing, and Armi’s personal journey all throughout. A rather revealing exchange ensued.

Kristo Babbler (KB): Judging from Turn it Well (see video below), Capacities sounds like a very different album from Bipolar or Fragmented. I sense a more upbeat feeling from it, more life affirming, is that true of the rest of the album? And if so, was that by design, or did it just evolve that way over a period of time?

Armi Millare (AM): It’s part of our evolution as music-makers. I think we’ve consciously tried to re-interpret some things in a different way. Not because the theme is wrist-cuttingly sad, doesn’t mean it can’t be upbeat. There are ways around expression that we can toy with. I used to have the impression that anger was expressed with a lot of high register singing, but there is pent up anger, there are passive aggressive episodes and there are hopeful moments that don’t necessarily have to reflect into a fast beat.

KB: It’s been four years since you released Bipolar. Many of your followers are actually second and even third generation ones. Are you concerned that with this third album, your followers might not “get it”? Or are you fairly confident having road-tested the first track?

AM: We also wanted to explore new heights, always trying to do something new. We perform these songs at least three times a week and on a technical aspect, and so we want to keep ourselves inspired by creating new things (that) we haven’t done before. I don’t think that’s a crime. This is all we’ve got, so (we) might as well give it our best shot; might as well enjoy it. You can’t please everyone. And that’s been our mantra all these years. I think the reason why we stuck together was mainly because of that.

I realize that most people forget that even if we have not released a record in 4 years, we were relentlessly gigging since 2004 and a little before that. We were living the life of a performing band that hardly took any breaks because that’s how we want to spell out our commitment. In those 4 years before the actual CD was pressed, we have released tracks that kept us going. Most of them are only being heard now by a wider audience. Capacities has become a compilation of those 4 years and I would like to make sure that those singles do not go to waste when the album had always been on our minds soon after Bipolar was released.

We truly appreciate our listeners and we show that by interacting with them a lot. We feel grateful for their support, but I think the reason why they like the music is exactly because we don’t try too hard to please them. We’re pleased with our work, we’re mighty proud of it, because we wrote them from experience and there’s not one bit of a half-truth in this record. I bet all my chips on this one. Because in the next life, I’m going to be an anthropologist!

KB: There was a rumoured collaboration with Paul Buchanan of the Blue Nile, the Scottish band from Glasgow that UDD has been compared to. Did that actually materialise?

Read the rest of the interview here.

Free Seminar on Video Production for Organizations

Free Seminar!!!

Video Production
for Organizations
September 13, 2012
2:00 pm to 5:00 pm

If pictures are worth a thousand words, imagine the value of a video.   Moving images with accompanying sounds designed to sway emotions and convey messages.

Videos can increase the effectively of your organization’s internal and public communications.  It can document events, show actual systems and processes, induce sales, detail instructions and highlight important statements.  Videos are more than a marketing tool.  Take advantage of the accessibility the internet offers, the increasing distribution avenues available, the advancement of technology and lowering cost.  The potential impact a video can have in relaying your institution’s messages are only limited by your application.

Who should attend
Corporations, NGOs and Government Agencies
• Marketing Department Heads and Personnel,
• Employees involved in the Service Procurement, Accreditations and Approval Process

What to cover
Video Production – Overview
Uses of Video in Organizations
Setting In-House Video Group
Key People & Responsibilities
Basic equipment
Skills and knowledge
Hiring Outside Services
Full Production Service (Agency, Production Houses)
Independent Service Suppliers
Guides for a Successful Video
Bid Specifications and  Evaluating Proposals
Speaker
Czarina Sheela Alcasid completed the Master of Entrepreneurship program from the Asian Institute of Management.  She has her own business but her fascination and passion for production keeps pulling her to work in the industry.  She started in 2007 as the program host for NBN 4’s  “Kapihan ng Bayan” and occasionally, as on-cam commercial talent after.  She had performed various capacities such as production manager, assistant director and line producer for music videos, AVPs, video viral and commercial.

To register, email the following to <[email protected]>

Name:
Company (if any):
Phone number:
Email address:

Or phone us at (2) 759-3087 / 892-5281

Seminar Venue: Philippine Center for Creative Imaging (PCCI)
2247 Don Chino Roces Avenue,
Makati City, Philippines

Register early, limited seats available!

A captive of Captive

Gritty, in-your-face, a mirror of Philippine society. These are some of the words I associate with Brilliante Mendoza’s films. This director doesn’t mollycoddle the viewers that’s for sure. He paints reality as how he sees it – no more, no less – and hopes that by showing the ugly reality, his films would somehow serve as a vehicle for change.

Captive is no different from his other films. The 2 and a half hour film is based on the Dos Palmas kidnapping of missionaries and Filipinos by the Abu Sayyaf group more than a decade ago. Most of the events in the film really happened, about 25% were added for dramatic purposes and to help the story move but they’re mostly fictional characters and scenes. One of the fictional characters is Therese Bourgoine, played by French actress Isabelle Huppert, whose perspective it is we watch. Bourgoine is a missionary who was abducted together with her motherly companion Anita Linda, two other foreign missionaries, and tourists of Dos Palmas Resort. The story progresses with ransoms paid, captives freed, captives killed, and even a Stockholm syndrome which was surprising but actually happened between a tourist and one of the Abu Sayyaf bandits back in 2001. Brilliante Mendoza used many of his staple actors like Ronnie Lazaro, Coco Martin, Sid Lucero, etc. The acting wasn’t stellar for some however because they were overshadowed by Huppert and the more commanding Raymond Bagatsing and Ronnie Lazaro.

The film made me squirm the whole time as Brilliante captured the harsh realities of kidnap-for-ransom, religious fanaticism, terrorism, and the government’s indifference neigh shady cooperation with the kidnappers for a share of the ransom money because these facts are hard to swallow, but in the back of the Filipinos’ collective mind, they all ring true.

What amazed me about Captive is Brilliante’s research on what really transpired that ghastly 18 months and how he was able to show as much details in the 25 days he shot the film. That’s saying a lot about how talented and organized he is. My film experiences scream that such a film is impossible to shoot in 25 days but Briliante was able to do so. Not only that, he made everything seem believable. I thought the film was shot in Basilan but he admitted to us that the locations were in Batangas and Quezon.

Captive will premiere at SM Pampanga, Brilliante Mendoza’s hometown, on September 2, 2012. There will also be a Manila gala premiere in Greenbelt 3 the next day. Regular screening at SM Cinemas and Greenbelt will begin on September 5, 2012.

Pinoy Travel Writers and Photographers Chance to Cover France for Lonely Planet

some rights, reserved: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Montage_Toulouse_2.jpg

Editor’s note: this was sent to us via Email.

KLM, in cooperation with Lonely Planet Magazine Philippines and Digital Photographer Philippines, is proud to announce that On Assignment, one of the most prestigious photocontests of the country, is back for 2012!

Last year, the photography contest sent two photographers in the all-expense-paid trip to the Netherlands to do a travel feature published in Lonely Planet Philippines. This year, KLM has decided to up the ante: along with two photographers, it will now send a travel writer to fly to “le ville rose” (The Pink City), Toulouse, France, in September, for an exclusive travel article to be published in the Lonely Planet December 2012 Issue. The winning writer will create a travel feature on the culture, food, and city life of the Toulouse. The two photographers traveling with the writer will collaborate to determine the best photos for the Lonely Planet article.

You don’t need to be a professional to join this contest! Anyone – both photographers and writers – can join, as long as s/he’s 18 years old or older at the time of travel, and has a valid passport.

So how does one win a chance at France? Aspiring Lonely Planet writers must write an article entitled “Rediscover Manila.” The article must be 1,500-2,000 words long, and focus on Metro Manila – not just the
City of Manila. Upon reading the piece, locals and foreigners alike should want to visit and discover what the metro has to offer.

Likewise, photographers must submit a portfolio of 10 images – 2 images for each category. The categories are as follows: (a) Portraits, (b) Landscape, (c) Culture, (d) Architecture, and (e) Food. Aside from the portfolio, which comprises 70% of the score, the photographer must also pitch and state why they should be chosen. Be as creative as you want to be, simply be sincere with your reason; the pitch is 30% of the score.

All contest entires should be submitted at 12NN on Friday, 24 August 2012, to [email protected]

Don’t miss out on this exciting opportunity to travel to the South of France on an all-expense-paid assignment for Lonely Planet. Sponsored by our favorite European airline, KLM. Winners can definitely look forward to an unforgettable experience.

For more information, visit the contest website of onassignment.ph thread at the Digital Photographer Philippines
forum
.

Image credit: some rights, reserved.

Here’s something to SMILE about

With all the hassles and poor customer service (not to mention headache) that Cebu Pacific is giving its passengers lately (delayed and cancelled flights, getting bumped off, etc.),  here’s something good about this airline that Filipinos can really be proud of.

CNN Go, CNN’s travel guide website, recently released its World’s 12 best airline magazines and our very own Cebu Pacific‘s in-flight magazine SMILE bagged the seventh spot.

Now that’s something that to SMILE about, don’t you think? ^_^

 

7. Smile (Cebu Pacific, Philippines)

If only we looked this fresh a week into our Vietnam trip.

Basics: What? Who? We didn’t see this chipper little underdog coming either, but Smile’s youthful (and authentically Filipino) charm won us over.

Perfect reader: A fresh-faced backpacker as excited about checking out Kalibo by tricycle as s/he is about navigating the markets of Saigon.

Words: No great prose, but zest for adventure prevails. In a recent issue, a phrase-based Vietnam guide, a two-woman Southeast Asia travelogue and an alluring snapshot of Cebuano cuisine all had us reaching for our passports.

Look: Nothing special, but frequent portraits of ordinary people having a good time echo the magazine’s spontaneous, low-key voice.

Gold star: Capsule guides to every city on the airline’s network include slang and breakfast tips from locals.

Black mark: The layout smacks of a U.S. teen magazine.

Final verdict: Smile proves in-flights don’t need to pretend to be Esquire or The Economist — just to capture the spirit of the places they serve.

 

Read the complete list of the World’s 12 best airline magazines

 

 

Top travel website lists Tubbataha, The Canyons among world’s top 50 dive sites

Top travel website CNNGo.com has listed Tubbataha in Palawan and The Canyons in Puerto Galera, Mindoro as among the world’s 50 best dive sites.

Tubbataha occupies the #8 spot, after Barracuda Point in Sipadan, Malaysia; Yongala in Queensland, Australia; SS Thistlegorm in the Red Sea, Egypt; Blue Corner Wall in Palau, Micronesia; Richelieu Rock near the Surin Islands, Thailand; Gordon Rocks in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador; and the Great Blue Hole in Belize.

According to the website, “The main advantage to diving at Tubbataha is that the water is exceptionally clean, so the marine life lives much longer, making it grow to silly proportions.”

The Canyons, meanwhile, is listed as #45. It was cited for its “explosion of coral and plant life including beautiful delicate gorgonian sea fans and hollow barrel sponges; look inside for critters lurking within.”

To view the complete list, read “Into the deep: World’s 50 best dive sites”  in CNNGo.com.