Friday, November 21, 2008

A Return to the Native: Ifugao Chronicles 2

I FOUND MUCH OF MY early November days organizing thoughts down to a Keynote presentation for a mixed audience scheduled for November 10-13, originally, but was cut short by one day: a workshop on newsletter writing and design in Banaue, Ifugao.

Day 1 session's first brave volunteer reading
news selection; trusty old MBP in the background.

Thrice postponed, this workshop was something that grew on me, as I intended my appearance mostly in support of my colleague's writing segment only; the design and layout component would be a postscript to that workshop, unless the participants relayed further interest in the design and layout aspect of publishing a newsletter, which meant I had to be prepared with something; I normally can give an impromptu talk on the publishing process, as I had done in some previous workshops anyhow.

A welcome banner is a nice touch.

This workshop later transformed into a tightly-planned, full-blown editorial and publications seminar because the organizers, the municipality of Asipulo, Ifugao, backed by funding from the UNFPA, intended a 3-day workshop to be participated in by 40 attendees from both the local government unit and selected high school students and their advisers.

Ready and attentive, the selected high school students
will be staff members of their school newsletter.
(Photo by Isabel Templo)

What transpired on Nov. 10-12, the final schedule, would be part of a series of workshops to the Ifugaos, the fourth held so this year in the province, by my colleague and I. What makes this different from the first three is that the activity was organized by the local government, with teachers and students formally attending alongside municipal employees.

The first of three batches from different national
high schools of Asipulo who made it to the first-day session.

This particular workshop's budget had to be reduced at some point: the intended 40 heads came down to about 33; the venue was moved from Isabela Province to Banaue, and the number of days reduced to two, from what would have been three straight seminar days. Having it in Banaue was probably the best decision the organizers made, especially since they also transferred the venue from Banaue town to a resort located in Aparanga-o, or 7 kms. north of the town center. There, I got to meet Doe, a female deer, yes, owned and tended by the resort owner himself, Andres Dunuan, a genteel and gentleman farmer who really was a former mayor of Hungduan. Mayor Andres married a softspoken Banaue lady and made their base there upon his retirement.

Andres Dunuan, former Hungduan mayor, farmer, resort owner
and articulate guide to the resort's living museum exhibit

Interacting with Ifugaos in formal and informal events is always fulfilling in the sense that not only are they warm and hospitable, they are also very polite and are eager learners who, in turn, share their lives through their stories.

No time wasted discussing an assignment during dinner break

From all workshops handled thus far, I found the majority of Ifugao youth inquisitive yet mostly quiet and go about tasks assigned to them without ado. They are keen observers who know how to enjoy themselves and be in the moment. The older ones are mostly quiet, too, preoccupied with physical work or wrapped in their thoughts, but answer queries in simple and direct terms.

Lunchtime chill outside of seminar venue, almost visibility
zero past the path going up to the highway.

We were billeted in a separate cottage because it is the only one equipped with hot shower. But the shower only warmed the water at best, and lasted only about 5 minutes when I used it. The heating device was a total no-match to the cold weather.

Grace, one of the resort's personnel, serves a full lunch;
our cottage by its lonesome in the background.

Even the Ifugaos themselves, the Asipulo attendees from the southern part of the province whom we expected to at least be acclimatized to the temperature, thought their protective wardrobe insufficient during the evenings. The teenagers, however, could still brave the 5 o'clock early morning chill as they wasted no time dipping in the icy pool water throughout their stay, a total of three chilly morning dips in one of the resort's amenities.

Veggie viand for us—fresh harvest from the resort's organic garden

When meal time came, we found out that one had better heed the invitation to dine because it did not take a minute to cool down newly cooked, steamy food in that weather.

It is interesting that the municipality of Asipulo had thought of reviving their community newsletter and the public high schools as keen in continuing theirs. Many of the selected student-attendees live in mountain farmlands without electricity; I attribute their diligence to school work to the fact that their lives still do not revolve around the latest urban celebrity gossips, or mindless telenovellas that take up a big chunk of their time which they devote to house chores and accomplishing family tasks. Reading among students, therefore, as well as writing and being able to understand information correctly, is taken rather seriously. So unlike many youths of their age from other parts of the country.

The fourth batch of students with their adviser (seated behind), travelling from the farthest barangays of Asipulo, took all day to get to Banaue for the seminar and arrived at dinner time. Here, they still managed to listen to an overview of the sessions they missed. Right after this short session, however, the student in black (front) briefly lost consciousness due to exhaustion from the trip and the sudden Banaue chill. Mayor Andres (the resort owner) and their adviser were in command of the situation and the student was fine and participating actively the next day.

They are, however, not nescient of current events and things related to the 'now': they have cellphones because it is necessary for communications, they are aware of, and know the benefits of having a computer or television; they are knowledgeable of current music beats and do have a sense of fashion.

Teachers and advisers from three high schools in their own tête-à-tête

Their advisers, the female teachers whom their parents entrusted their children to, still bear the focus and dedication of many old school teachers I have come to know: attentive, intelligent and caring. I believe these kids are lucky to still not have to lose their teachers to some domestic work abroad.

The teachers were not only there as guardians to their students, but were active participants in the seminar, too, fielding their own questions, raising points and sharing their own experiences from other seminars.

After my segment on our last day, they wrote something on the board and instructed the students to sing along to an impromptu farewell song for us. A simple but very meaningful and warm gesture that helped ease the late afternoon parting of ways.

Members of the Asipulo local government Community
Relations group huddle during dinner break

Gabby, Janno, Satur and the rest of the hardworking guys (and girl) from the local government unit of Asipulo, thank you for listening, for the opportunity to meet more new friends and the chance to impart some thoughts on media and visual literacy, media appreciation and news values.

I always look forward to trips to Ifugao province and bring home with me lessons and stories from fellow Filipinos. This event is no exception.

Credits and links
Venue: Banaue Ethnic Village and Pine Forest Resort, Aparanga-o, Banaue, Ifugao
Organizers: Municipality of Asipulo Community Relations Office and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
All photos by krvilla/nov.08 except where otherwise noted.

Monday, November 17, 2008


(Note to self)
Retiring old template to this new one with custom header.

(Nov 19)
Added Flickr slideshow to sidebar.

(Nov 20)
Revised header to include photo of my mug, notebook and pencil.

Friday, August 8, 2008


For good or bad, for better or worse, all eyes are on China now, this era of cable, cellphones and the internet.

Is the world order shifting faster at this hour then it ever did?


Ironic how the event is a showcase of _Chinese_ culture, that which was almost erased from history. It certainly is putting on a show for all to see.

Tomorrow's above the fold pic, everyone's office or cafe topic (no, not everyone; only those who watched):

Love the amazing harness work. Would also be interesting to know what the event's technical rider is like.

So, the Olympics opened, and at least the ceremonies ended without harm to anyone, except Brunei's opening events participation and possibly Sultan Bolkiah's face. Other than that, I think we really don't need more bad news than we've already been having. Or had, like in past olympics.

Tomorrow and each day of the event will be a different story. We'll see.

Lighting of the Olympic torch video grabs taken from the stream at

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


the truth is, there is no f*cking rest for the weary. nao.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

keep in mind the lessons of the lecture: randy pausch, 47

Again, no one is too prepared. Image from NYTimes' Tara Parker-Pope, from among many late breaking news and blogs. American college students — and the rest of humankind — are lucky to have had an inspirational, persevering and empowered human being live the way he did, in their lifetime. Our lifetime.
"You might be surprised by how little time you spend doing things you love most"


Wishlist: The Last Lecture book excerpt.
Related entry.

Wired entry.
His personal page is currently not accessible, probably due to high traffic. The cached page is here.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Cinemalaya 2008: continuing the "golden age" of Philippine Cinema

Ongoing at the Cultural Center of the Philippines is the 2008 Cinemalaya Film Festival which, as we know, has recently been the source of many good films that's done the rounds, have been recognized for their excellence abroad and have made us proud.

Cinemalaya is the current flame bearer of its forebear, the much maligned Marcos-era ECP — the Experimental Cinema of the Philippines — and of the ECP's counterpart, at least in support of independent production, the MOWELFUND. In any case, all three entities produced unparalleled Filipino film classics outside of the mainstream.

From being one of the most prolific film producers in the 70s to the 90s, our local film industry's output has slumped, thanks in no part to the short-sightedness of many 80s film producers that made film after film that were short on depth but overflowing with mediocre acting and production values.

The counter-culture persisted nonetheless. Now, it seems that the indies are the heirs apparent to Jose Nepomuceno (left) 89 years later, much more reflective of the Filipinos and the so-called "national consciousness", but sadly still in search of the Filipino audience and of genuine patrons.

Screenings, conferences, retrospectives, best-of schedules, meet-and-greet sessions, world premieres, awards: they've got it covered. Jim Libiran's Tribu, Solito's Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Olivares and Pisay: the Movie, Dante Garcia's Ploning (another good friend, he), Joel Ruiz's Mansyon and Big Time, as well as Manuel Conde's classic films will be shown.

Download the full schedule here. (10 pp. PDF file. Schedules written as of July 7, 2008. May change without prior notice. Please check with the venue for day scheds. CCP Box Office: [63-2] 832-3704 and [63-2] 832-1125 loc. 1409 - 1410.)

Useful references:
And lots of others, if you keep your fingers busy on the keyboard and can spare some time to read and watch, that is.

So, see you at the movies.

Friday, July 11, 2008

le Prix de l'Avenir 2008: Tribung Pinoy

A design colleague, a vice consul, and an invited director — ka-Tropas all — found themselves reunited at the ParisCinema 2008 rooting for the only Filipino feature-length film entry which was declared winner of le Prix de l'Avenir, the Youth Jury Award, at the 2008 Paris Cinema Festival in France on July 10, 2008.

Isabel Templo, Angela Ponce and Aureaus Solito, joined by Isabel's sister Margie Templo of Arkeo Films — an invited Festival workshop participant — were more than a happy tribe of Pinoys when Jun Libiran's Tribu was announced the worthy recipient of the jury prize.

Tribu, set in Tondo in the City of Manila, the 2007 winner of the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, is a digital film about the violence rapper gangs live through. Tondo is often featured in the news for incidents involving violence, and in many cases used as the example of slum life and urban poverty. It is also Jim Libiran's birthplace. Having two gangs in the film — fierce rivals in real life — enact their off-screen realities on screen is in itself an amazing tour de force.

Tribu is Jim Libiran's MA thesis at the University of the Philippines under Media Studies and Film and is his first feature-length work.

The Philippines is this year's Festival's country of honor represented by the largest number of Filipino independent cinema delegates so far.
This year, after Brazil, Korea and Lebanon, the Paris Cinema IFF will celebrate the notable and noted renewal of Philippine cinema in a special tribute. A chance to discover the new talents and the emerging creative energy of this Latin, Catholic island in the heart of Asia...

With a screening program of about 30 films and the presence of numerous guests, this event will showcase both young directors and great names of Philippines cinema.

Our entries, delegates and participants did our country proud, the international viewers have spoken; it's our turn to do our share by patronizing our own films.

Top graphic montage: krvilla08
Poster: ParisCinema 2008 official poster:

Links / References
Cinemalaya entry review, The International Herald Tribune, Nov. 1, 2007: In "Tribu", real life Filipino gangs collaborate on screen" by Carlos H. Conde

Tribu details, synopsis, filmmaker's bio and statement from the International Forum of New Cinema, 2007 in PDF format

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Telos (78)

"There are... things which a man is afraid to tell even to himself, and every decent man has a number of such things stored away in his mind." ~ Dostoyevsky, Notes from the Underground [1864]


Have given space to others who have passed on but who I do not know personally, except for beloved grandma (AFB), Sir Roger and Rene O., e.g., but today, I think it proper to give this space to RLV,Jr.

I do not know RLV,Jr intimately and the one chance of an encounter — kind of vague now — sits among other collections of childhood memories in my mind.

Having learned that after 78 years, his earthly existence has reached its end today (written "30", as they say), I wish to say:

Rest in peace. dismalgurl and I, or maybe mjb and you, will hopefully get the chance of another encounter, maybe a chat, someday.

Photo credits: Montage krvilla08| typebar and keys: Pawel Kryj and Jean-Pierre Ceppo /

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bagful of thanks

“I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver." ~ Maya Angelou

On May 2, 2008, after composing a letter (and, eventually, editing it into a forum post), I sent out an email to a selected number of people who I felt comfortable with, I thought will not prejudge the contents and who I thought I might receive a reply or two from.

The long letter goes like this:
To cut the story short, I am here, now, posting out of gratitude. To those who replied, pledged and gave, it has been a humbling experience.

The kindness of strangers

Over at the forum, the threaded replies to my post have been heartwarming. Strangers (my fellow forum members) they are not, even if we "know" each other only by our nicknames — I have met one of the members in person, though — and our contacts have all been virtual discussions. Still, reading their posts made me feel that each one was sincere. Some, as per my request, have mailed me directly.

"Dr. Anonymous" of, gracious donor, personally handed his 9 bags to Jod, our rep, in his office.

"FebruarySong" and "kate" have communicated privately.

"achtungbaby", "coolpix", "super_ed", "picoy", "penmanila", "treb22", "Macmon", "freelancer", "hungryalien", "rvaph", "tjgato", "assdoc", "rosea", and "bluegenes" have all been encouraging.

Thank you all.

What friends are for

Production colleague Marlette has prepared a couple of backpacks and a pair of shoes for pick-up. Marlette, thank you.

My cousin May's friend, GB, inquired about pretty much the same stuff as what Marlette has prepared to give. Friends of friends, friends of relatives have all been responsive.

To May and GB, Gerald, the recipients' organizer, said that they will welcome whatever is voluntarily and openly given.

The joys of family and hearth

An awesome response has been from cousin May dV, who decided to make her forthcoming birthday celebration a Bag Drive event.

Initially replying to say that she'll try her best to gather her collection of conference bags:
"yes, in fact i do have unused and slightly used conference bags. i will endeavour to look for them this weekend. and will ask my officemates if they would spare theirs, too."
she followed her letter immediately with an offer of not just helping with solicitations but making the drive a birthday event:
"hey manang,

i think i would like to help you with this as part of my birthday celeb this May 2008. kahit na sa pag-solicit lang ng mga bags for the schoolers..."
and eventually furnished me a copy of her birthday email:
"mga friendships & relatives,

as part of my birthday celebration this year, am helping out my 1st cousin with this BAG DONATION DRIVE. grateful if you can spare some of your (unused/slightly used) conference bags for the highschoolers/grade schoolers in Asipulo, Ifugao - click link to take a virtual trip to Asipulo.

in lieu of your birthday gifts to me (hehe), kindly give your bags to me on or before 18 May (my brithday) for forwarding to my cousin's group. they have moved their trip to Asipulo on an earlier date, on May 25, before the children get busy with their [school] pre-registration/registration activities.

warm regards,
Trust May to connect fast with her network, she being the clan's one-person text brigade operator for family matters such as get-togethers, crises and milestones. May took from her mother, my aunt, and took over her mom's role as the alternative cornerstone of family gatherings and goings-on when my aunt passed on.

May has been in the NGO circuit for more than a decade now. Her work has afforded her direct contact with grassroots-based communities and its members. Thus, when my letter landed in her inbox, the concept of sharing touched a chord common to both of us.

May sent my letter to her friends and the responses have been great. In particular, another cousin, Ate Candy, has sent out word, too, and pledged to include some school supplies pooled from her friends and office mates and, as of this post, has had them already delivered over to May's office: a whopping 26 bags, 54 pencils and some notepads! Wow! That's on top of the 9 bags we got from Dr. Anonymous, some bags from my colleague, and two more found inside my cabinet, and whatever else will be received on the 18th at May's party.

Ate Candy wrote:
Grabeh May! Sa bahay ko pa lang, me 12 na akong conference bags dun, pero most walang sling. I have 3 decent ones which would really be ok sa highschool student. Dalhin ko sa Kamuning.
Thanks, Ate Candy!

It takes a village

What more can I say beyond thank you to all who read and forwarded the email, read and replied to the forum post?

That I have so much to be grateful for, foremost of which is the validation that people in general are innately nurturing and caring. Second, that it takes a village to make things happen faster and in a bigger way no matter how simple the request.

Close friends and relatives can attest to the fact that solicitation is not one of my strengths. When I mentioned at the start of this post that I was worried about my email being prejudged, it was really more of a fear that my email might simply be ignored. No matter, as even when composing the mail, however, I was totally resigned to the fact that people will have one reason or other for not responding, and, whatever the reason, I would understand why.

On the the other hand, upon hitting the 'send' button, I felt some kind of liberation and sense of achievement at being able to finish the letter and actually sending it out and posting it to the forum. That both were received positively was a total bonus.


The feeling of liberation is similar to how it felt like when I rode on the back of a motocross motorcycle last year on the descent from Pula to Lagawe on rough, narrow, steep and winding roads that turned 'round the mountain side. Dabert, of the Asipulo Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO), my knight on the not-so-shiny troublesome bike, was kind enough to accommodate my request for a ride back to the Lagawe lodge to retrieve our things so we can join the rest of the guests staying overnight in Asipulo at the JCAMPBELL Park last year.

I had fair warning that the only available ride to Lagawe was by a motorcycle in that late hour. It so happened that the only motorcycle available wasn't even Dabert's, and although he knew the bike wasn't in the best condition to make the dash to Lagawe and back, he tried. And the best of efforts he did, in spite of the fact that he felt my nervous grip around his waist a tad too tight for, like, the first 30 minutes' ride on the bike (he told me this later) and he read no real, physical sign of confidence and trust from me despite my putting up a gung-ho front. But that was just for the first 30 minutes or so, the equivalent of more or less 10 kms (or approximately the distance from the Quezon City Hall to the Manila City Hall): a coverage of just about a fourth of the entire one-way travel.

The circumstance was such that throughout this stretch, only about 12-15 percent of that initial 30-minute backride had roadside houses and pedestrians along the way. The rest of the trip was just Dabert and myself on the lonely, rough, winding and narrow downhill road with the mountainside to our right, and deep ravine to our left. No helmets and other protective gear for us both, just a tricky 2-wheel vehicle on the trickiest road there is.

After about 30 minutes and a lot of mental battle, I thought: Pirsig. Robert Pirsig. The essence of that Robert Pirsig moment: "Just let go. Whatever happens will happen, but trust that whatever happens, happens for a reason." I felt my grip around Dabert's waist loosening, slowly. When I finally let go and relaxed, only then did I feel the wind on my face and the empty space between my feet and the road (my legs were hanging from where I sat on the big bike the whole time).

The fact is, this post is not about me but about those who already were liberated ahead of me and have learned to trust.

After all, my colleagues and I are just a conduit to everyone's generosity in this effort.


We have so far received an assortment of bags. In particular, those from "Dr. Anonymous" were not just sling bags but big, sturdy, zippered tote bags. They'd be useful as personal carry-alls for those studying in other provinces and staying with relatives or in dorms.

Needless to say, we weren't prepared for the type of bags and the quantity received. May asked if we could share the other bags with others besides the kids.

Yes, we did think of other possible recipients in Asipulo: appropriate bags for the daycare center volunteers and health workers.

Our trip back to Asipulo is again moved ahead of original schedule because of the kids' participation in municipal and organizational activities. CLT, my colleague, will leave ahead of me on the evening of the 17th, bringing what she can.

I, on the other hand, have committed to be at my cousin May's birthday bag drive on the 18th, and will catch the last bus to Ifugao province right after the celebrations.

I will update this post with pictures when I come back.

To you all, thank you.


More from May | 6:13pm | 16 may 08:
1. Noemi Jacob - 5 black conference bags
2. Ding and Helen Espinar - 12 backpacks, assorted color/design (new)
3. Evelyn Daplas - 7 green&blue mailmanbag-type conference bags; 2 black conference bags; 1 chinese-design ladies handbag & 1 "Candies" shoulder bag.
4. May Reyes-De Vera - 3 black conference bags

more on sunday i hope... see ya!

Sunday, April 13, 2008


GJ dela Rosa

On April 8, 2008, GJ dela Rosa's fragile, physical shell gave up and succumbed to the call of angels in a hospital in Pasadena following a tragic accident, being critically hit by a car hours after he and his family arrived in America.

Like most Filipino children who dream of experiencing Disneyland in America first-hand, seeing their favorite super hero characters up-close, and sight-seeing with relatives, GJ's first USA trip came as a gift and a surprise reward from his parents for finishing 1st Grade.

GJ's case was brought to my attention by his uncle, a member of my Mac forum where he posted a thread requesting for prayers for GJ and his parents' recovery. GJ's dad was also seriously injured; his mom seems to be in a better condition to recover. Another unidentified pedestrian was also a victim.

There was ample coverage on the tragic accident at the corner of a busy Old Pasadena district, but of all the linked media coverage I read and watched, it was this local ABC News coverage that told most of the story.

I do not know GJ personally, except for the forum post and wishes of recovery and condolences as when I replied to his uncle's thread. The thread had reached nine pages in a short span of time and spawned an outpouring of sympathies and prayers. Subsequently, I discovered that the closest possible connection I have with this little boy is from a similar request for prayers and financial help when I received an email from my high school alumni YahooGroup: it seems GJ's dad and relatives are alumni of my high school.*

It is always a tragic event to lose a child because we hope for better prospects for the young. That is what forebears mould their children to be: productive, accomplished, caring. Parents give much of themselves so that their children will have a life ahead of them and carry on what they have learned and become better individuals than their forebears.

GJ, 8 years old, was cremated in America while his parents are still recovering. If you can spare something to help GJ's folks defray the cost of hospitalization and recovery, please go to GJ's World. There, you will know more about GJ's story and be able to leave words of comfort to his bereaved family.
April 15 | *I recently found out that the family were old-time residents of the same street in San Juan where we used to live.


A year ago this month, on April 7, US Peace Corps volunteer Julia Campbell made a personal wish come true by spending her remaining R&R to visit the famed Rice Terraces of Banaue in Ifugao. Julia had read much about these natural wonders and allotted time and resources to personally experience the mountain phenomena.

Julia was at the peak of her active life. At 40 and an accomplished journalist, she chose to give two years of her life to helping the marginalized community members of Calamba, Laguna and Donsol, Sorsogon by becoming a volunteer teacher, solicitor of books for a local library, and ecology advocate.

Julia would have ended her 2-year tenure in the Philippines in June of 2007 and pursue further studies at the NYU in New York where she had been based prior to her appointment to the Philippines.

Julia, it seems, was not the typical American visitor. She had planned, among others, to set up a Tagalog-language group with fellow volunteers in the US, and, further, planned a return journey to the Philippines and Southeast Asia. Julia learned Tagalog in the US before coming here. She not only had a good command of Tagalog, but later learned and could converse in Bicolano as well, even learning how to prepare and cook Bicolano food, especially ginataan (food cooked in coconut milk).

Julia knew which of the Banaue terraces had the best vista and therefore took the route to Batad district. On the afternoon of her scheduled trek to Batad, she failed to contact friends and acquaintances whom she was with the night before. Not long after, she was reported missing by her Peace Corps family. After a few days, the unfortunate news of her brutal death stunned all of those who knew her and who kept vigil. It was later found out that a native guide, a non-Ifugao, had admitted to the killing. Her community members and adoptive families in Laguna and Sorsogon, US Peace Corp friends in the Philippines, and family members in the US were left to grieve for the loss of a caring and gracious loved one.

Julia's mother and friends were recently in Banaue, Ifugao to attend the second and last hearing of Julia's case. Juan Dontogan (or Duntugan) has confessed to and apologized for the crime, her case in court has ended and verdict will be out on June 30.

Julia's passing would have remained a low-key event. Like soldiers, their lives as volunteers were prepared for dangerous undertakings. However, Julia's death was a most unlikely circumstance. Ifugao, and Banaue in particular, had not had a record of crime of this nature considering the number of tourists, foreign and local, that the place receives annually. It is unfortunate that Julia's death seems to be the assonant contrapunto to the magnificent beauty of Banaue.

On June 2007, a symbolic peace offering by the Ifugao people, probably one of the most beneficent and peace-loving tribes of the Philippines — through another USPC volunteer of a younger batch, the energetic Dustin Butler — inaugurated the Julia Campbell Agroforest Memorial Park (JCAMPark) in Asipulo, Ifugao. Asipulo is historical, as is the whole of Ifugao Province. Asipulo's mountains are silent witnesses to the American and Japanese casualties of World War II. Today, the elder men and women of Asipulo still have stories to tell about the 'Million Dollar Hill', Yamashita's retreating troops and about the displaced mountain boulders scattered on the rice fields as a result of dynamite blasts.

Asipulo, where Dustin is assigned as a farming volunteer, is about 45 minutes south of Banaue, yet the distance is by no means a hindrance to the gratefulness of the Ifugao people in wishing to commemorate what Julia lived for: peace, love for others, care for the environment, and the initiative to reach out and understand one's fellow man.

The JCAMPark may yet be a fine example of an interstice between giving (of oneself) and the premature end of (the ability to give); a living offering of peace.


Two years ago today, Grandma passed on from this physical plane to the immortal and peaceful.

That Grandma lived a full life is an understatement. She passed the century mark and outlived some of her children and almost all of her contemporaries: fellow war veterans, co-teachers and students. She lived long enough to see great-great-great grandchildren born to this world. She knew our birthdays and milestones by heart, whose child, spouse or in-law is who's, at whose house or venue an occasion was happening, and why.

Grandma was a widow throughout the post-war years, bringing up seven children, putting them to school, feeding each throughout college and still had energy and compassion to spare when the grandchildren — my generation — needed to be taken care of.

In her living years, Grandma was wife, mother, sister, teacher, guardian, grandmother, barrio head and counsel, financier, adviser and provider all in one. Her memory is unmatched, her experiences deep and vast.

Grandma was a petite woman, yet she cast a long and dominant shadow. In her 80s, she beat up a poor garden snake with her cane after it made the mistake of springing an early morning surprise on my mother out in the yard in Fairview. In as much as Grandma did not spare the snake, so too was my mother not spared from her scolding. In her 90s, she complained about her failing eyesight and requested to see an eye doctor. By her mid-90s, she was adamant at letting her grade school great-grand kids know the difference between sucrose and fructose. When I stayed with her to continue my elementary studies, she taught me the "right way" to pronounce monocotyledon and dicotyledon as had been taught her by the Thomasites, completely different from how we were taught by the local teachers.

That Grandma was old school is another understatement. I, with other female cousins (if there were any for company), were forbidden to play in the afternoons with the boys or spend leisure time simply looking out the windows. Instead, she would say, insistently: the woman's place is in the kitchen. She tolerated the naughtiness of the boys, yet provided them the shoulder to cry on when their (adult) lives seemed headed for the rocks.

Grandma was well versed with current events. She was so old-school, in fact, that she opined Monica Lewinsky was as much at fault (that's short of blaming her), and Bill Clinton too weak to resist seduction. I was told that she, like many Filipinos of her generation, cried when JFK was shot, followed man's landing on the moon on the radio, and, when finally bedridden, did not request for a cellphone — no! — but politely demanded to have one so she could reach people when she needed to, "just like the kakadwa (household help) who had nothing else better to do than text their friends in between work". Grandma, therefore, actually owned a cellphone, courtesy of a cousin, sometime before she succumbed three months short of 104.

When Grandma passed on, practically the whole province came to bid her goodbye. Relatives who have settled in all the three major Philippine islands and the Americas came to pay their last respects. The whole event was overwhelming and totally unexpected.

On the day that we walked Grandma's mortal remains for interment, the line was incredibly long, starting from were she lay in state in my uncle's barrio house west of town, to the church passing the National highway, then southward to the town cemetery where we occupied half the narrow Maharlika Highway holding up traffic both ways for minutes. My sister would not miss this occasion for the world, meeting up with the entourage that was coming out of the last rites from church after she alighted from the bus, her trip the equivalent of the red-eye straight from lighting an Earth Day event in Manila the night before.

I saw Grandma's life in the nameless faces who walked with us that day or who came to say goodbye: old women and men in black, local folks who, when she was alive, dropped by for one reason or other at her big house along the highway; relatives and descendants of her students and friends, my relatives' friends and extended family; relatives from other provinces, and countless nieces, nephews and grandchildren — my generation's grandchildren, that is. And the last of the living World War II fellow veterans of Grandma, the unknown war survivors and defenders of the State who fought alongside the Americans, passing on clandestine messages at the risk of life and limb: they draped the Philippine flag over Grandma's coffin, said a prayer in silence and gave a fitting salute. Two years ago today.

So goes the story of three lives who, in one way or other, intersected at a common platform: a young, wide-eyed boy in the land of plenty, an American volunteer in a former colony, and my Grandma, a product and disciple of the American educational system who, despite her acquired privilege of a life in America as a war vet, chose to remain in Sto. Domingo, Ilocos Sur, to serve her town mates and be our guiding light. At peace they are all now. My heart knows.

Photo credits: GJ composite: 1, 2 | Julia composite jccinnyc | Grandma composite (c) kvilla.08

Monday, March 31, 2008

postscript to a global lights out

Participants to the Earth Hour have given out their local results posted all over the internet. In my neighborhood, my household and my cousin's observed an hour-long lights out. We were probably the only ones in a .5-km radius that did it. My sister texted that she continued her design, ironically, a lighting design draft, via candle light.

In as much as there were enough participants in the Metro – televised, for people's information and maximum effect – there were as many skeptics. I'd understand and forgive the uninformed, but not the unbelievers, those who refuse to pitch in their share or think that turning off a single, unused light bulb for the hour contributed to nothing.

(Photo: MotherJones)

That said, and with too much politics floating about in these shores, I'd vote for whoever will:
  • make alternative sources of energy a mandatory rule for all owners, builders, and contractors of shopping malls and other similar structures. All existing malls should be equipped with solar cells, rain-water recycling systems for flushing and watering plants, wind tunnels to help circulate air to avoid sick building syndrome (SBS) and other building-related illnesses (BRI) and redesigning certain areas to allow for natural light to come through.
    It doesn't have to be like the Gotz building (above). We have so much sun and solar power to harness that I cannot understand malls designed as boxes constricting the free movement of people – ever. Even as a child when SM Cubao was the biggest department store, I never enjoyed being brought there for shopping: perhaps one of the reasons why I grew up not becoming mall rat. Belated credit to those designing public structures who now fully understand their buildings' surroundings and have taken some kind of responsibility in implementing care and appreciation towards plants and air space.
    As an example, a better (as in, improved) building is the humongous Mall of Asia, with its approx. 40/60 ratio of air conditioned and non-A/C areas. A truly bad one is SM Baguio.
  • make solar energy panels and after-sales support of solar devices affordable and mandatory so that each household has at least one panel even if used only for cooking.
  • minimize, if not totally phase out, diesel-hungry and sub-standard jeepneys, old buses and 2-stroke motorcycle-powered tricycles. These do not deserve to be on the road, not even tertiary roads, and are a total disservice the public.
  • truly implement birth control and advocate responsible parenthood. After all, the Church will always blame government for poverty, and too many warm, lazy bodies in corner stores, under bridges, in abandoned buildings and in the streets not only contribute to global warming in some way but also in ruining any notion or form of public and individual safety.
  • punish motorists who insist on driving very old or defective vehicles and destroying public property. They should be made to pay for every damaged public lamp post, concrete barriers, chipped-off curbs and structures due to speeding, running red lights, running away from offense and other such reasons.
  • implement standards and professionalize the local backyard vehicle manufacturers so that they conform to public and transportation safety rules and regulations.
  • strongly support state-run educational institutions to encourage and challenge their students to make better use of their knowledge of gadgets and their time.
  • support replanting of coconut trees, R&D and construction of facilities for other alternative sources of energy; support jatropha farming in idle lands and non-agricultural lands, reward and support recyclers and indigenous farming and those into composting.
  • regulate the sale of motorcycles, limit the franchise of tricycles all over the country and implement a real driving test to prospective buyers and operators, besides jeepney and bus franchises. Not only do we hear about motorcycle-related accidents in the news almost every day, but late motorcycle and tricycle drivers and owners know no rules at all, including noise and environmental hazards.
  • relocate all factories and oil depots along the Pasig River banks elsewhere, possibly near other relocation projects where most of those relocated have difficulty going to work.
  • Encourage science and technology education and come up with an equivalent to the National Artist awards for Science so that recipients are not reduced to trivia and we move beyond Agapito Flores and his legacy*, sort of.
  • Total ban on the use, manufacture and distribution of the sando bag.
I really would rather not hear of any other empty promise from politicians. The criteria outlined above are not a 1-2 step to bloated, short-term commissions or merit TV exposure, so I highly doubt that any politician today will even be concerned. There is no real government and political participation, even in the local sector, to support the initiatives of private entities; more importantly, there are no true guidelines that ensure implementation of masterplans by whoever gets to be in power.

I suppose the first four entries are doable, with the fourth posing the biggest challenge. If there is any one politician who can come up with a plan for a sustainable future, starting with controlling population (rather, controlling the urge of the average Filipino male for procreation or irresponsible behavior (regardless of religion) by making them more productive in other ways), we are probably closer to some kind of an equitable life for all.

Photos from MotherJones, TenShadesofGreen, CSU, Sinag

Sunday, March 16, 2008


My grandmother always said that it always rains on November 1 and will always be hot — as in extremely hot — during the Holy Week. Whereas we were hitting lows of about 60°F-70°F on average last week, I anticipated this week's temperature to really rise, on account of Grandma's constant Lent reminder as had been told us year after year, as if to stop us from complaining of the heat and take the lazy, quiet, humid afternoons as a matter of Lenten fact and of sacrifice.

Grandma, it seems, was always right about her November 1 and Holy Week declarations, while we, as always, never quite too ready for the downpour — or the extreme heat.
. . .

In a brief visit to Ilocos Sur a few days ago, I was able to successfully squeeze in a very quick ocular of the altar of St. Dominic's parish in Sto. Domingo, my Grandma's hometown, for some lighting consultancy. It's still a work in progress, but I thought perhaps if Grandma saw how her hometown altar is like now — prepped for the Easter mass — she'd be most pleased with the workmanship of Mel Andino ("ikit (ko) a taga Vigan", she referred to him with a smile, although the relation is as distant as Vigan is to Sto. Domingo).

Another nice surprise is that the church court yard has been paved as well (thanks to the uncle, my mother's brother) — so unlike two years ago when we marched Grandma out from the necro mass to the cemetery and all our footwear, for those who were shodden, powdered with dust.
. . .

So this year's Lent is like all others past, largely unchanged, except that there are malls to provide comfortable distraction, cable TV to extend some degree of pleasure, the internet for continuation of work and leisure, and the proverbial (some say Biblical*) flies in the ointment in society and other such encumbrances that get in the way of modern living. And, for those in Sto. Domingo, a newly-painted altar and church interior to welcome them on Easter, none of which provide real [body/mind/spirit] relief from the Lenten heat.
. . .

9:16 pm | Accuweather indicates a high of 91°F (low of 76°F) today, enough to fry my hard drives.

* (search result) | (Photo of the Sto. Domingo, Ilocos Sur altar by clt)

hello, helvetica

irosa, friend of two decades plus, perpetual life-learner, Nu-yoker and fellow Pinoy élan vital follower, gave me this for Christmas, now among one of the very few but select movie discs I own. Salamat, kapatid. Sharing you my 'unboxing' pics.

I haven't gotten the chance to premiere this with the 'Weavers yet as I originally planned. Hopefully sooner-than-soon. Will let you know.

Anyhow, a member in one of my forums posted about seeing this film which I read today, and to which I left a follow-up comment, so I thought perhaps it's time to post about it here as well. It's nice to know of others who have seen the film.
. . .
The NYT has a review of the film Helvetica (one of many publications), but more than that, I'd like to borrow the accompanying photo to the article...

(Image by Plexifilm courtesy of the New York Times)

... and post a link about its [co-]creator, Max Miedinger:

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

TROPA, Pisay and UP Theater in the 90s

Back in 1989 in UP Diliman, a few people, common friends of a Philippine Science High School alumnus named Auraeus Solito gathered at his house to talk about forming a theater group that would stage plays supportive of original Filipino material and that weren't established norms.

I met Auraeus in early 1989 at a German puppet show in Abelardo Hall at the College of Music. Prior to that, my organization sponsored a twin production called Imoral/Isla Negra by the UP Third World Studies Center staged at the College of Engineering directed by him. Bimbi Verdadero, a fellow member in that organization, and myself, attended the German puppet show late in the afternoon and found ourselves enjoying the post-show talking to Auraeus that ended way past 10 in the evening at the Abelardo Hall grounds discussing theater, art, literature and revolutionizing the theater scene. Wow, such big ideas, such ideals!

Auraeus was then a Theater Arts major and I, a painting major at the College of Fine Arts with no theater background whatsoever, except perhaps participating in a declamation contest in grade school in which I lost, and a protracted membership to the UP Repertory Company. We parted with an invitation to his house in Sampaloc to meet with his other friends.

Apparently, forming an alternative theater group had been on Auraeus' mind for some time. When we finally met at his house a month-and-a-half later (summer of '89, was it?), there were his friends from other colleges and disciplines, none of whom I knew. It was bad enough that I overstayed as it was in UP in '89; therefore, most of those I met at his house were batches younger than I.

There is something infectious about Auraeus and the way our ideas jibed although I wasn't ready at the time to jump into another foray as I intended to finally finish my course that year. (Hmmm, think again.)

The combined energies of people in the performing arts are even more infectious, and together, we felt like nothing could stop us from achieving our goal. Thus was born the UP Tropa Experimental Theater Company, aka Tropa.

I had reservations about the word "Tropa" then. It was, I thought, too pedestrian, too un-theater-like and unconventional. However, since it looked like the majority of what would be its membership seemed fine with it, I did not raise any objections.

From Rene to Roger

Auraeus had been friends with the late Rogelio Sicat, the Filipino professor and playwright.

"Sir Roger" as we called him, our surrogate pater, guide and adviser, was requested—nay, forced into submission—by Auraeus to translate the Sartre play Hui Clos (No Exit) to Filipino as our maiden production. Auraeus had originally approached the late Rene O. Villanueva for translation but they were in some disagreement with the text. Hui Clos "is a minimalist play," Auraeus told me; "we only need three major characters and we will conduct the auditions next month." Wow, an audition!?

I had not come into the pre-production until after the auditions as I was preparing to enroll in the following semester yet again. I was given the task of designing the stage (what a dream it was for me to do stage design, then offered me on a silver platter!) but a rather unconventional one, however. And then started my crash course on theater terminologies, many of which I never encountered in my stretched-out Fine Arts course: raked stage, in the round, stage-left, stage-right, upstage, downstage, proscenium, mumbo-jumbo. No, mumbo-jumbo is not a theater term.

We had a few months to go and I was being pressured to come up with acting areas "to mask" (another new term), sofas and chairs to approximate, and a gigantic tilted door at the top corner of the diamond-shaped stage; a door at the peak of that diamond raked (tilted) stage that had no backstage to conceal whatever and that was supposed to open and close by itself. How was I to achieve that other than the self-opening and closing feature, I thought; it was an irregularly-shaped door that reached about 12 -feet high or so at its tip. At some point I felt the need to consult an engineer—someone, anyone—as requirements (more like Aureaus' requirements) started becoming too much to handle. Consult I did about the door mechanism. Rather late in the game, though, and all the ideas the engineers suggested required some kind of contraption or mechanism which the venue did not have; but even if it did, we as a starting theater group couldn't have afforded anyway.

Walang Kawala

The budget, or lack of it, was the next hurdle we all had to face. Our ideals were becoming reality alright, but was also kicking us all in the butt towards show time.

Our play had by then been announced to all and sundry — si Auraeus pa! — but money had yet to come in. (Ah, a slogan to add to theater mantra: the show must go on.) Soon, we found ourselves pitching in our school allowances to feed people and ourselves. There were pages upon script pages to photocopy and place in nice folders; we needed pencils for rehearsal notes and rolls of masking tape to have on hand.

When stage construction time came, we had to purchase lumber, plywood and nails, feed the carpenters and pay them. Rehearsals, mostly held at Auraeus' house, meant feeding the actors and staff. Oh, did I mention that on top of the stage design, I was tasked to make the poster and the program, too? And we had to print those as well. It was a good thing our lead actor Paul Quiaño (as Garcin), fellow visual artist and CFA undergrad, was around to do the company logo.

Members' relatives as young as high school, neighbors, some friends and their relatives' friends pitched in although in reality we felt that as much as people were excited for our new theater group and the upcoming play (by then given the title Walang Kawala) and had a lot of goodwill to share, just as many wished we would never even premiere.

And there was pressure, real and perceived. Two months hence and we were obviously past the getting-to-know-you phases, past the play readings and analyses, the bashed egos, the hard physical falls and stage acrobatics. Of raised voices and tears of disappointment, of fatigue. No more offerings of theories by this time, no chasing of ideals, just some vice and habits picked up along the way.

The afternoon of the opening day, Auraeus called on actress Elaine Eleazar (Inez) to the exterior backstage balcony of the theater and played some notes on his melodica that Elaine had to memorize in minutes. It was her character's swan song, something which Elaine had been bugging Auraeus about throughout the rehearsals in the past months. So finally her song had been composed—just that afternoon. Darn. And I had 16 square feet of bare stage to cover using the just-arrived cans of paint so graciously donated by some of Elaine's friends. But black enamel paint! Enamel, as the label indicated, takes 24 hours to dry (I didn't have that much time). Paint we still did for what else could we do? At some point during the painting, there appeared some electric fans gathered from god knows where while some of those who hung around or paused for a break started fanning the painted areas of the stage with whatever they could get hold of—with folded newspapers, mostly.

That very same afternoon, Manny Barias who played The Doorman (and who, with Susan Morales, were actually our production sound crew), was reviewing for a very important pre-med subject in one corner. He came on short notice to play the role in place of Jess Acullador who was in grief over the loss of his father two nights before. Just then, too, Wena Basco, our company manager-cum-other lead (as Estelle), jubilant over finally securing permission from her brother, arrived with his ultra-large loudspeakers for us to use. Confidant-to-all Paul Morales, our choreographer, was at least patient enough to understand that he couldn't rehearse the dance on stage as areas were still being painted or hadn't yet dried.

Meanwhile, members Custer Deocaris and Bimbi Verdadero (production manager) were arguing with each other in the hall, mostly about philosophical matters while dragging and fixing the school chairs at the top of the amphitheater-like audience area; Ralph Galan was keeping cool and refused to be unfazed. Nini Matilac and Tere Jamias had just finished wiring up the lights. We were to open in 2 hours, just in time for the walang kamatayang pan de coco merienda from the UP Shopping Center.

We were all touched to have Tony Mabesa come by for a rain check, but not without leaving, heaving, in usual Mabesa-esque fashion upon finding the venue still in total disarray. Clint Ramos, refusing to be unfazed like Ralph, remained cool while putting on the actors' make-up and pinning the costumes that were being tried on for the first time. And thus began our communal worship to Darna's stone (step aside, Ding!).

After a round of prayers just seconds into opening—it was a "finished-or-not-finished-pass-your-papers!" moment—and scampering to hide in our respective places where mine was beneath the stage itself directly under the door bolt, someone softly called out in the dark: "aaaannnddd...blackout! Music!".

Original poem by Ralph Semino Galan

All the world's a stage
Rogelio Sicat's Walang Kawala, like the other Tropa productions that followed it, became some kind of a trailblazer for other student theater productions in UP and other schools to follow: productions such as the world premiere in Filipino of Karel Capek's R.U.R. (trans: Rogelio Sicat, for the UP Tropa Experimental Theater Co.), our version of Nick Pichay's poignant Uyayi ng Ulan and the premiere of Cris Martinez' Freshman; the restaging of Sicat's Moses, Moses and some original short plays written by the new members.

Also memorable were the staging of the original works I'bun (Child), Maikling Buhay ng Apoy (The Brief Life of Fire, later made into a short film by Aureaus), Sisa, Maria Clara and Salome as trilogy, and our first and only musical, Manhid, which achieved some kind of cult status. It was Manhid that strengthened the bond between members of a dorm-based band named Eraserheads which was internally on the verge of a break up prior to being part of the production as our nightly live band and in which the song "Kailan" was first played.

Much of our audience attendance, our marketing, our reputation and our notoriety—it still baffles us to this day what we were notorious about—were from word of mouth. Throughout the years in Tropa, we did not make piles of money but collected many good reviews, many a heartache, many life lessons and even more memories to cherish. "Beg, borrow or steal" was some kind of motto that guided us when we needed props or sets. No excuse was acceptable for absence during production because in theater, the only sufficient excuses were if "you're either dead or dying." We put in every ounce of blood, sweat and tears for the sake of the audiences who bought our tickets or lined up to watch our plays. Most times, it felt like coming to the point of wringing one dry once one committed to the ideals of theater.

Post-prod in the 90s
When it became clear that we had, as a collective, achieved something significant that touched our audiences was the time the majority of the senior Tropa members shifted attention back to studies although not after giving up some subjects and semesters in favor of keeping Tropa alive. Less than a decade and many a production since Walang Kawala, we knew and felt it was time to move on.

In the early 90s, Auraeus dabbled in short film direction after becoming a MOWELFUND scholar. Always, he relied on the ka-Tropas for artistic input. Our first major commercial work together, Auraeus and I, was doing the Huling El Bimbo MTV (music video) for what by then was the very successful band, the Eraserheads. And, as like before, with many ka-Tropas involved.

We've been talking about restaging some plays—of Manhid, in particular—but that may not happen anytime soon yet. Currently, many ka-Tropas are still working together in various projects or other, or help each other out in some way.

There may never be another Tropa in UP for a long time as we were born of the times and we drifted with the times but the spirit of oneness and being carriers of the flame are kept alive. Kind of like what Inez said to Garcin: "itanim mo ako sa iyong isipan at buhayin mo ako" (from Walang Kawala, trans: Sicat), Tropa lives on in our memories.
You see, what made Tropa, the Experimental Theater Company of UP, so atypical was the fact that only two members were actually theater majors: Auraeus and Paul. The other members were from other diverse disciplines: Math, Molecular Biology, Tourism, Fine Arts, Business, Economics, Physics, Chemistry, Philosophy, Humanities (now known as Art Studies) among others. The majority of Tropa's second-wave members were from Auraeus' (and Clint's) own alma mater, the Philippine Science High School.
...the Movie!

"Pisay is a beautiful film, simple and sophisticated, direct and campy, one that gets better and better as it goes along. From the evidence gathered, the praise is valid for Filipino cinema as a whole, which is undergoing something of a renaissance.”

~ Emmanuel Burdeau Cahiers Du Cinéma

(L-R: Winning in France: Auraeus Solito, EJ Jallorina, Claudine Najera,
Carl Barrameda and Hai Balbuena)

Cahiers du Cinéma is the most prestigious critic's group in the world. They have declared that Filipino cinema is on the verge of a renaissance. But a renaissance needs hard work and in order to reach this renaissance, Philippine Independent Cinema needs an audience.

Pisay is the latest film of Auraeus Solito who also directed internationally award-winning films Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros and Tuli.

Pisay recently won two awards in the 14th Vesoul International Film Festival of Asian Cinema in France: The Grand Prix du Jury (Grand Prize of the International Jury) and the Prix du Public (Audience Prize).

Former Tropa members were an essential part of the production: Paul Morales (as executive producer), Erwin Navarro (line producer/Tropa actor and stage manager), Claudine Najera (film marketing, and appeared as the Geometry teacher/Tropa actress and artist), Wena Basco (as "Fanny"/Tropa actress and company manager), Carina Evangelista (as the SocSci teacher and Pisay soundtrack librettist/Tropa writer and Manhid co-librettist), Jobin Ballesteros (Pisay musical score) and bit roles by Elnora Ebillo and Ernest Mangulabnan, who, with husband Buddy Zabala, also set a Pisay song to music (/Tropa multi-taskers). Perhaps we shall have a company call on the opening night of Pisay's commercial run.

I join my ka-Tropas in asking for your support and help us reach the renaissance of Philippine Cinema.

Please watch Pisay the Movie.

Pisay will be shown February 20 –27 exclusively at the following SM theaters:
  • SM North Edsa Cinema 8
  • SM Megamall Cinema 9
  • SM Manila Cinema 4
  • SM Southmall
  • SM Fairview Cinema 6
  • SM San Lazaro Cinema

Read the review here. Trailer courtesy of direkmik Cahiers du Cinéma.

Added notes
  • On June 24, 2008, Pisay the Movie won the most number of awards (totaling eight) at the 5th Golden Screen Awards. These are:
      Best Motion Picture (Drama)
      Best Director (Solito)
      Best Original Screenplay (Henry Graheda)
      Best Supporting Actress (Drama, Musical or Comedy) for Eugene Domingo
      Best Original Song (“Ang Puso Kong Musmos”) written by Carina Evangelista, Buddy Zabala and Ernest Mangulabnan
      Best Editing (Mikael Angelo Pastrano and Kanakan Balintagos)
      Best Production Design (Martin Masadao, Regie Regalado, Dante Garcia and Endi Balbueno)
      Best Musical Score (Vincent de Jesus and Jobin Ballesteros)
  • On Aug. 30, 2008, the Eraserheads finally performed a one-night reunion concert at the Bonifacio Global City Open-grounds. Read about it here.

  • ADDED Oct 20, 2009: Some important MANHID notes related to commenter "daguob"'s below re the link he provided to the video of the favorite cult musicale staged in UP:
  • The character of "Muradugo" was played by livewire Michelle Reyes as seen in the video;
  • The video was shot and uploaded by Rodel Basco, the brother of lead actress Wena Basco;
  • The hooded actor in the scene is no other than the musicale's playwright and song libbrettist, Aureaus Solito;
  • Bandmaster and musical director was Vincent De Jesus, currently an award-winning film and television scorer and composer.
  • You can watch the scene mentioned by "daguob" in the comments below, as well as Rodel Basco's priceless footages of the musicale here.
    Thank you Erwin (daguob) and Rodel.


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