‘Elsa’ draws huge crowd anew, brings Ilocos Norte to national limelight

 

AUNOR: Still making waves 32 years after "Himala"
AUNOR: Still making waves 32 years after “Himala”

Around 3,000 extras took part in the filming of Himala, the 1982 Ishmael Bernal masterpiece shot in Paoay. Considering its limited budget, it was a miracle of sorts putting together what is now largely considered, both by critics and the viewing public, as the best film ever produced in the Asia Pacific. Last Saturday, May 10, the miracle happened anew, with a crowd ten times bigger witnessing the immortalization of the film’s iconic character, Elsa.

The unveiling of a fiberglass statue depicting Elsa was the highlight of this year’s Himala sa Buhangin, an offbeat outdoor arts and music festival staged in the Paoay Sand Dunes. Actress Nora Aunor, who played the lead role, graced the event to the delight of an estimated 25,000 revelers, including hundreds of die-hard Noranians from other parts of the country.

Created by visual artist Gerry Leonardo, the fiberglass sculpture depicts Elsa deep in prayer and kneeling in front of a withered tree. Erected atop one of the highest peaks in the sand dunes, the statue was unveiled with cinematic effect at around 9:00 p.m. There were bolts of lightning as music from the movie was played along with the classic line: “Walang himala! Ang himala ay nasa puso ng tao, nasa puso nating lahat! Tayo ang gumagawa ng mga himala!” As if it were a movie shooting, fans chanted, “Elsa! Elsa!”

Continue reading “‘Elsa’ draws huge crowd anew, brings Ilocos Norte to national limelight”

Tan-ok ni who?

The Tan-ok ni Ilocano (mini version) Dance Showdown was held tonight at a half-full Ilocos Norte Centennial Arena. ‘Mini’ because, unlike the full version held last December, the number of dancers are limited (only 12-16), performance time is shorter (3-4 minutes), and props are simpler and smaller. The show is also less budgeted.

The idea is to form groups that can be feasibly booked for events, including national and international gatherings held here in Ilocos Norte. All the 21 municipalities and 2 cities were expected to showcase their rich culture through dance. “Tan-ok” means great, so the contingents were tasked to highlight what their respective peoples and places are proud of and known for. All the contingents accomplished that, except one: the champion.

Laoag City’s routine, no doubt, was most entertaining. Thanks to top-caliber choreographer Christian Espiritu—whose talent I personally admire; and who we in The Ilocos Times chose as one of the Top 10 Ilocanos for 2013—the dance was well-executed, lively, and colorful. It portrayed “pallot” (cockfighting), and presented the vivid scenarios inside a cockpit. It was fun to watch.

But beyond fun and entertainment, many viewers—including Prof. Arsenio Gallego, vice president of the Dance Education Association of the Philippines—have raised the following questions: Is cockfighting the pride of Laoag City? And, is there verifiable evidence that Laoageños, or Ilocanos in general, are drawn to cockfighting more than other ethnic groups in the Philippines?

I am not, dear karikna, opposed to cockfighting and neither am I moralizing here. But is this really the story we want to creatively tell people who want to know us more? Is this really our story?

San Nicolas celebrated their pottery; Batac told their folk history; Pinili took garlic to the stage; and Vintar let out their Siwawer bird.

Cockfighting. Tan-ok ni who?

Continue reading “Tan-ok ni who?”

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE TAN-OK NI ILOCANO JUDGES

Dear Mesdames and Messieurs:

Thank you for accepting the noble task of sitting as judges in the Tan-ok ni Ilocano Festival of Festivals. You were, of course, chosen on account of your sterling credentials and unquestioned integrity.

I argue that no singular activity has raised awareness of and pride in Ilocano greatness more than the two-year old Tan-ok. With tens of thousands of people watching it live and many more witnessing it on television and online, it is no doubt the most witnessed event in Ilocos Norte history.

It is a wonderful activity worth every centavo (or million) spent for it, and Governor Imee Marcos is right to push for this showdown of the respective festivals of every Ilocos Norte town and city. Its return of investment cannot be quantified; in fact, it is priceless. The greatness of the performances on stage permeates the consciousness of our people, who in turn reflect and multiply greatness in their respective spheres of influence.

I have one concern though, and this is on truthfulness. Some groups have won in previous years because the performances were really artistic and entertaining though lacking in authenticity while some authentic festivals lost mainly because they were dull and unexciting.

Ilocos Norte Tourism Officer and Tan-ok organizing committee head Ianree Raquel wrote an article for The Ilocos Times when he was still an arts instructor in a state university. It was aptly titled “Awe inspiring but untruthful.” During a municipal fiesta, he witnessed a festival performance which, he observed, gave primacy to entertainment over truthfulness, artistic license over cultural integrity. His essay, excerpts of which follow, details the same words I wish to convey. Continue reading “AN OPEN LETTER TO THE TAN-OK NI ILOCANO JUDGES”

Going to the SPA and chilling out with young artists: a recital and exhibit at INNHS

Yesterday was toxic for me, having to shuttle from one place to another to speak in an event held in a vast hall teeming with dreamy eyed graduating students, do interviews and gather data for articles I am working on, and struggle to sit down, finally write, and beat deadlines.

And so, I decided to go to the SPA later that night. And no, not to a place of jacuzzi, rose petals, and scented air, but to a place even more refreshing and enlivening.

I have always been intrigued by the Special Program for the Arts (SPA) of the Ilocos Norte National High School. What do they do there? Are they a bunch of the stereotyped artistic weirdos? How artsy do they really get?

The school held its annual exhibit and recital last night, March 14. I was not personally invited, I just responded to a Facebook post informing everyone of the event. And, yes, it was a joy.

There was an indoor exhibit and a musical-theatrical recital at the school grounds.

I spent some time listening …to the inspiring talk of my friend Aian Raquel who I didn’t know was the event’s guest of honor and speaker, to a boy who made passionate love with his violin, choral presentations, a stage act, and then more. Organizers were offering me a good seat with the best view but I chose to stand at the back so I could gallivant at my wish.

Aian said something to this effect, and I am rephrasing here: “You are lucky to be educated formally in the arts… my initiation to the arts I, as a grade schooler, attained by watching beauty contests, concerts, and events held in Laoag and Batac, places away from where I lived: the island of Badoc… I was never really good at one particular art form. I am not a good singer, dancer, or writer… and some of my mentors and friends teased and chided me for being a ‘jack of all trades’, but one woman reassured me that I am on the right path. She referred to what I have been doing and which I should continue to hone, ‘art direction'”

That woman, dear karikna, is Imee Marcos.

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I spent more time inside the exhibit hall, marveling at multimedia arts, visual arts, and creative writing manuscripts. The kids were game enough to do “mini-recitals” inside the exhibit room, and just for me. I asked them about the stories their young, imaginative minds churned out. They seemed nervous at the prospect of storytelling in front of a shining, shimmering, widening forehead, but they carried on.

John Louis de la Cruz shared the plot of his still unproduced short film, “On a Sunday Afternoon”. The story is simple and the conflict may sound trivial, but who wants complications on a Sunday afternoon? It is about a boy who wanted to hang out with his friends.  But the friends were not replying to his text messages, and so he felt sad and was in a bad mood. Later in the evening, his friends paid him a surprise visit, and he was happy… and so is the ending of the story.

John Louis dela Cruz
John Louis dela Cruz

Chryztlerr Nicolas wrote the short story, “Marcus the Superhero,” which is about a man avenging his people from violence. Asked about his inspiration, the diminutive boy spoke of the crimes that befall us in real life.

Chryztlerr Nicolas
Chryztlerr Nicolas
It appealed to me as an art form: Chryztlerr's shoes
It appealed to me as art: Chryztlerr’s shoes

And this gallery brought me back to the BMX days of my happy, carefree childhood:

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innocence

Some students approached me for photographs and asked me to sign their book compilations which I would have borrowed and read at home if only I was not too shy to ask. I was glad to meet these young writers, my fellow writers, and, while there, as I was browsing through their works, I closed my eyes for a few seconds and wished that they would not give up on their literary aspirations.

Congratulations to the SPA program director Robert Caluya, INNHS principal Isabel Sison-Sandi and to all the mentors. I remember meeting last night for brief hellos Her Majesty the Beauty Queen Mahjang Pascual, Ms. Egdonna Legaspi, Mr. Sherween Cabrales (sans Sherberk), Mr. Johnstone Orteza Corpuz, NFA’s Marlon Martin, and INCAT’s Marlon Cubangbang, a fellow Y’er (YMCA member) back in high school.

Kudos to the young artists of Laoag City and Ilocos Norte. May our tribe increase in every way, all the way. And with these sexy bottles of beer, I say: Cheers!

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Tan-ok ni Edito, Tan-ok ni Vacie: Or why our Festival of Festivals is better off without ‘stage mayors’

Up, Sarrat Mayor Edito Balintona (left); Down, Bangui Mayor Salvacion Cimatu (center)

In her welcome remarks at the phenomenally successful Tan-ok ni Iocano Festival of Festivals, Nov. 17 at the Marcos Stadium in Laoag City, Governor Imee Marcos noted cheerfully that the delegations were well supported by their respective ‘stage mayors’, using the term in the same context as ‘stage mothers.’ Two mayors, however, went several steps further and took the stage, the center stage no less, and literally.

On a night of splendid dancing, heart-stopping stunts, and an overflow of Ilokano Talent, Honorable Edito Balintona, mayor of Sarrat, was no doubt the lousiest performer. Nearing the climax of his town’s Binakol Festival presentation, Balintona came out seated on top of a huge wooden structure, not unlike a parade float, together with a lady who, I would later learn, is his tourism officer, Dona Siazon. The mayor, who seemed at a loss, was seen being given instructions by Siazon as the performance went on, no doubt an insult to the efforts of dancers who attended painstaking practices for long hours so that they can perfect their act. But there was one thing the mayor did so well… wave at the crowd, a sea of humanity so huge it could have been impossible for him to resist the temptation of appearing on stage …to wave.

“What is their mayor doing there?” asked some spectators who also made comments that are too disrespectful to see print. Judges, sources say, gave Sarrat’s performance one of the lowest scores.

Honorable Salvacion “Vacie” Cimatu, mayor of the windmills town of Bangui, can surely dance. And I know she can sing as well. It was the second time she top-billed her town’s number. She performed, too, in last year’s inaugural edition of Tan-ok. Continue reading “Tan-ok ni Edito, Tan-ok ni Vacie: Or why our Festival of Festivals is better off without ‘stage mayors’”

The magic of Robert Caluya

It was one day when I decided to follow the example of Bruno Mars, the Filipino-American who performed “The Lazy Song” which goes, “Today I don’t feel like doing anything I just wanna lay in my bed…”

We spent weeks and months preparing for the September 1 launch of ilocostimes.net, and the days leading to the event had me deprived of sleep and the other pleasures I enjoy. At the La Tabacalera last Saturday, Sept. 1, when Governor Imee Marcos beamed a wide smile after her historic first to the website, and to a thunderous applause of an appreciative crowd composed of leaders from government, business, the academe, the media, and literary circles, I knew we have accomplished something. And I also knew I deserved to be completely lazy the next day.

I was in my bed comfortably doing Facebook yesterday, Sunday, trying to do nothing important, but while looking at pictures taken during the launch, a status update caught my interest and kept my mind working: Robert Caluya is writing a book. The musical genius who has led Ilocano students to international choral championships wants to pen a personal account of his twenty-five years as choral conductor. He has already written the first few pages.

I immediately “liked” his status update, but I felt it was not enough, so I also wrote a comment, “Superlike!” Continue reading “The magic of Robert Caluya”

Epikia for Pidol

Epikia (noun): A situation where one needs to break the letter of the law in order to achieve the spirit of the law; an exception to the general rule.

Ang mga batas ay ginawa upang magkaroon ng kaayusan, ngunit paano na kung batas din ang pumipigil sa pagggawa ng tama?

Sa tingin ko, sa kultura nating mga Pilipino, ang pagbigay ng nararapat para sa isang tao ay mas matimbang sa pagsunod sa proseso. Kahit sino sa atin ay babaliin ang isang proseso para sa isang bagay na sa ati’y mahalaga.

“Igawad na ang National Artist Award kay Mang Dolphy. Now na!,” sigaw ng nakararami. Pag-aaralan pa daw ang kanyang ‘body of work’ …pero sino sa atin dito ang hindi niya napatawa ni minsan? Nung bata ako, sabay-sabay kaming pamilya na kumakain sa sala upang manood ng John en Marsha. Ang sarap ng aming tawa, kasinsarap ng kare-kare ni mommy, at kasing-alab ng aming pagsasama-sama.

Sa isang bansang nagdarahop, napakahalaga ng ating kakayanang tumawa. Kapag sobrang seryoso ka sa pagharap sa buntun-bunton na krisis, baka masiraan ka na lang ng bait, o magbigti.  Napapamura tayo sa mga kabulastugan ng ating mga lider samantalang napapahalakhak tayo nang malakas sa mga patawa ni Mang Dolphy. Serbisyo publiko din talaga ang pagpapasaya.

Subalit may tatlong mahahabang stages pa daw na pagdaraanan for the award. Dapat daw sundin ang mga panuntunan. E nasa critical stage na nga ang tao, di ba? Paano na ‘yan?

May punto din naman ang mga may agam-agam sa pagbibigay ng naturang karangalan nang ura-urada. Kasi, ibig bang sabihin nito ay lahat na ng maghihingalong alagad ng sining ay gagawaran kaagad ng National Artist Award? Will this set a precedent? Hindi naman po sa ganun. Hindi taun-taon ay may isang Dolphy. Minsan lang siya sa isang siglo. At sa kanyang husay at katapatan bilang isang tunay na alagad ng sining sa loob ng pitong dekada, he has gained a right to be an exception to the rule.

Also, ang situwasyong ito ay bunga pa rin ng mga anomalya ni Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, pati na sa sektor ng sining. Noong 2009, hinirang ni Gloria na National Artists ang mga kakampi niyang sina Cecile Guidote Alvarez at Carlo Caparas kahit na may lubos na mas karapat-dapat sa kanila. Kinontra ng iba’t ibang grupo ang kanilang panalo sa Supreme Court kung saan ang kaso ay nakabinbin hanggang sa ngayon.

Maliban sa komedya, isa pang talagang nagustuhan ko kay Mang Dolphy ay ang kawalan niya ng yabang. Hindi niya ginamit ang lanyang kasikatan upang magkaroon ng kapangyarihan sa pulitika. Noong may mga kumukumbinsi sa kanyang tumakbo para sa isang posisyon, ang sabi niya: Madaling tumakbo, pero pano ‘pag nanalo? Hindi siya tulad ni Manny Pacquiao na pinasok na ang lahat sa labas ng ring: mapashowbiz, relihiyon, at pulitika.

At nang dahil sa lahat ng ito, President Aquino must make a brave decision on behalf of a most grateful nation. Ang kumontra, kilitiin hanggang maubusan ng hininga.

*****

Bilang parangal kay Mang Dolphy, narito, dear karikna, ang ilang mga jokes. Sana mapangiti kayo, kahit kaunti.  Hehe Continue reading “Epikia for Pidol”

Not so tempting

The saving grace is that it was partly shot in scenic Ilocos. Aside from that, there is nothing else much.

A remake of Joey Gosiengfiao’s magnum opus, Chris Martinez’s Temptation Island is like a China phone: substandard, pretentiously glittery, disposable.

Let’s begin with the acting department.  The main stars—save for Ruffa Mae Quinto who was outrageously funny as usual, and Lovi Poe whose physical sensuality is matched by a most promising talent—were wanting in the acting department. The boys, for their part, delivered their lines in a manner inferior to a grade one pupil. Aljur Abrenica was mismatched with his part as a rich and smart college rascal, and I surmise Mikael Daez and Tom Rodriguez, the other two beefcakes, are cut out for the role of actors who simply do not know how to act. John Lapuz’s performance did not help. He played the role of a sophisticated bakla but his parlorista side refused to be subdued. It did not help that Martinez is really known to be more of a brilliant writer than a good director.

Also, the sequel was not as sensual as the 1980 campy film about four beauty queens and a few company stuck in an island-desert. Sex is an important component of the movie, and there was lack of it. Whatever love scenes were there lacked steam, and this we blame on SM which refuses to show R-18 movies in their cinemas. Any movie not shown on the country’s biggest mall chain fares miserably at the box office.

Other aspects of the production, particularly production design and cinematography, were good though, and this is in no small measure because of Rainier Alvarez, son of Tata Pepito and Nana Linda, whose family is very close to ours. Kuya Rainier, a Laoag native, is production manager of the movie co-produced by Regal Films and GMA Films. Kudos to Kuya Rainier for his big leap from events organizing in Ilocos to playing a major role in mainstream movie making.

Still, the 2011 movie seriously pales in comparison with the original Temptation Island, which attracted a cult following and which is considered a classic, so classic that the following lines of 32 years ago still bring much joy to moviegoers’ ears.

Here are some strange, biting, and quotable lines:

1. Careful, careful now. Mahirap atang i-achieve ang golden tan!

 2. You see, I’m a crook and a damn good crook. And I can tell another crook when I see one – tulad mo.

 3. OH, it’s a bright sunny day! O, bakit nakasimangot kayong lahat?Maria, ang sun tan ko nga!
As I was saying, it’s a bright sunny day. A day in the light of the sun. This is how I begin my day, an hour of tender loving care in the 8 o clock sunshine. ‘Yan ang secreto ng aking youthful complexion. Parang nasa tabi lang tayo ng swimming pool!

 4. Ang lalakas naman ng loob niyong sumali, e hindi naman kayo magaganda!

 5. Walang tubig. Walang pagkain… ‘Di magsayaw na lang tayo!

 6. Mag-alis kayo ng panty kung gusto ninyo, but my panty stays right where it is!

 7. Maraming klaseng puta. May big time, may small time. Puwes, big time ako!

 8. Everybody needs a shipwreck once in a while.

 9. Kung sabagay hindi rin kita napansin, pandak pandak mo kasi eh, tatabi tabi ka sa towering height ko. Must have been my fault, bitch!

 10. Hay, who knows? Kasalukuyang kumakain ako ng pagkalaki-laking hotdog ng sandaling ‘yon. Sabotage, an accident, and a twist of fate, who knows?

In the final analysis, that Don Teodoro… pagbalik natin sa Maynila, naku, idedemanda ko ang matandang yan for constructing his yacht with cheap materials.

 11. What about my flat, my Mercedez, my money, my jewels, my gourmet’s kitchen? My God, kahapon lamang kumakain ako ng pagkasarap-sarap na fried chicken and cold rose wine. And now, I would sell my soul to the devil for a glass of fresh water.

 12. Why don’t you be yourself for a change! There ought to be a law against social climbers. You ought to be executed!

 13. What are beaches for than to bitch around with fellow bitches?!

 And my favorite:

14.  “Rub-a-dub-a-dub, two bitches in a tub.”

Martinez consciously tried to make his movie a faithful copy of the first, but how can you equal, much less outdo, a classic? With nothing substantially new in it, the copy turns out forgettable and is headed to oblivion. As Temptation Island 2 did not say anything new, the lines, at least, could have been delivered in ways better than the original.  This did not happen. I am happy though that it is doing well in the box office–27.5-M in the first five days, coming in second to the 341.92-M Transformers 3 has grossed in two weeks.

There is an apparent lack of creativity in the country today, which I suspect is why moviemakers just settle with lousy remakes instead of churning out new ideas.

And this is why I am happy with the success of “Looking for Johnny Moon,” the First Ilocos Norte Digital Arts Festival, held July 14-16 at the Plaza del Norte, formerly Ilocos Norte Hotel and Convention Center. Attended by artists, teachers and students from the northern regions and Metro Manila, the event jumpstarted the province’s bid to be a hub of digital creativity. The stellar pool of speakers in the search for new Juan Lunas were led by award-winning directors Soxie Topacio and Mark Meily.

Leave it to Manang Imee, who would really just produce movies and other creative stuff if the world were not on her shoulders, to initiate events that celebrate the madness that is human artistry.

And why not, we have scenic locations that even Hollywood finds difficult to ignore. All we need are people crazy enough to record on film, and in a manner amazing, the many temptations they struggle against or fall into in their own islands, imaginary or real.

“Uleg”

In the interest of fairness, dear karikna, I talked to Mrs. Elizabeth Madarang Raquel, former president of Gumil Filipinas, regarding the ‘Stupid Quezon’ controversy that has haunted concerned parties in the past two years.

To the uninitiated, just some background. Headlined “University of Hawaii prof calls Quezon stupid,” the news article was about Dr. Aurelio S. Agcaoili who, in good cheer, called the late president Manuel Quezon “stupid” during a Mother Language Education forum held at the MMSU College of Teacher Education. He felt that Quezon’s ‘one-nation, one language’ policy was a nineteenth-century measure that led to the decline of Philippine languages other than Tagalog. The news article said many participants, including teachers and students, were offended by the remark.

Raquel admitted that it was indeed she who wrote and contributed the news article bylined Mark R. Limon, published in the July 27-August 22 2009 issue of The Ilocos Times. She vehemently denied, however, that Limon did not have knowledge the article bore his name. “How can he not know?,” Raquel asked rhetorically in Ilocano, “he used to help me encode my articles, and he typed and emailed that particular article.” Limon, in an earlier interview, told your karikna that his former supervisor indeed used him as encoder but that he was informed of the news article’s byline only after it was published. Confessing to be an avid reader of this column, Raquel said she was hurt by my recent article, “The Lie of Eli.”

But did Limon really allow Raquel to use him as dummy? Definitely, according to Raquel, “Kinayatna met ta kayatna met ti agpopular.” (He agreed because he also wanted to be popular.) She described his former protégé as “ambisioso.” Continue reading ““Uleg””

Before Janjan, there was Mayyang

JANJAN, a six-year-old boy, pervades our national consciousness today after having done a tearful macho dancing in Willie Revillame’s show, Willing Willie. There is national indignation and disgust, yet again, against Revillame, who thinks he is God’s gift to the Filipino poor. Government agencies, the church, civil society, and netizens have done their share to not let this madness unchecked.  The show’s sponsors were pressured to pull out their ads, investigations are being conducted, and a child abuse case is expected to be filed in no time. The show has gone off air, but only for two weeks, as TV5 is all set to defend the actions of Willie—the duck who lays the golden, albeit rotten, eggs for the young television station.

This incident brings to mind the child performers in the talent show “Bukros a Bukangkang” of Harry Corpuz, a radio personality who became a household name in Ilocos, especially in the late 80’s down to the 90’s. The show, which title literally meant “nalalaglag ang sapin at nakabukaka,” produced a herd of singers who performed Ilocano songs, many of them of the novelty kind. Churned out by Alpha Records, the group’s albums sold like hot potatoes. They came out volume after volume, and were too many, probably over 30, for Corpuz, who wrote most of the songs together with his sister Nelly Bareng, to actually remember. Like Revillame, Corpuz, whose real full name is Harry Corpuz Doronio, also hopped from one station to the other.

The most popular Bukros song of all time, I argue, is “Nagimas kan Mayyang,” sung by Melchor Vallejo of Cabugao, Ilocos Sur.  Vallejo, who was named Mayyang after the song became a big hit, was a kid then, probably around Janjan’s age.

Corpuz is known to have a good sense of humor, and his jokes obviously had double meanings.  But this song did not just have sexual undertones; it was actually explicit in content. What follows are the lyrics of the song, the translations in English are mine.

Nagimaskan, Mayyang (You are so delicious, Maria.)

Dakkel ta patongmo (Your butt is big.) Continue reading “Before Janjan, there was Mayyang”

Song insults humanity

ON TOP of the radio charts today is “Who am I?“, a gospel song performed by a Christian rock band named Casting Crowns.

The other weekend when I had to stay in the office to help my students polish their degree papers, I listened to the song 43 times (yes, I tallied!) in two days, not exactly by choice, I assure you, as all radio stations were playing it incessantly.    To the vulnerable, it would seem a perfectly inspirational song.  For me, however, it brings much discomfort. The song insults humanity. It insults me… and you.

The musical piece sets off on a nice note though.  It poses the most important and meaningful of man’s questions.

Who am I?

“The unexamined life is not worth living”, posits Socrates. All inquiries must be rooted in the self, and so I honestly like the first line.

But then the insult begins… Continue reading “Song insults humanity”

Students stage “Mutya ng Saging”

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ACCOUNTANCY and Civil Engineering students staged a marathon run of Mutya ng Saging, March 9 at the CAS audiovisual room.

The play, which was under the direction of Herdy La. Yumul, ran for 40 minutes and was performed four times that day to appreciative audiences.

In a short message he delivered right before the presentation, Yumul said in Filipino, “napatunayan na sa ating kasaysayan ang bisa ng mga dula sa pagmumulat sa taumbayan. Bihira lamang tayong makasaksi ng mga ganitong pagtatanghal. Sana ay maging buhay ang dulaan sa ating pamantasan.” Continue reading “Students stage “Mutya ng Saging””

“Mutya ng Saging” on March 9

The Cast
The Cast
Ken Edra (left) and Gnez Macaraig play the role of Philip Parker, an American anthropologist.  Daryl Aglipay (center) is kapre.
Ken Edra (left) and Gnez Macaraig play the role of Philip Parker, an American anthropologist. Daryl Aglipay (center) is kapre.

Aside from teaching and writing, I am doing some directing these days.

Stage is my first love.  But there came a point when I had to choose between acting and debating, and I chose the latter–which should explain my theatrical debating style.

Witnessing people’s creativity gives me a different kind of high.  My students in Society and Culture, who are majoring in either Civil Engineering or Accountancy, are also thrilled to discover the actors in them.

I am beginning to think that I might be reaching for more than what my hands could contain.  Still, this artistic endeavor is worth squeezing into my daily grind, which has become terribly fast the past weeks. Continue reading ““Mutya ng Saging” on March 9″

Who is Bob Ong?

bakit-baliktad To say I have been asked this question over a thousand times is not an excess.

Eight years ago, the writer sent me an e-mail asking for my permission for the inclusion of one of my essays in a book project he was working on.

I said, “yes, go ahead”.  I was not aware then how big he was in the Internet and how phenomenal his first book, ABNKKBSNPLAko?!, has turned out.

Bob Ong was so thankful.  He said he had long been looking for me.

A couple of months after, BO e-mailed again to inform me that his book has been published.  He invited me to get my complimentary copy, and the rest is history.

“Sino ba talaga si Bob Ong?”, I always see a sparkle in the eyes of those who ask.   Continue reading “Who is Bob Ong?”

Burgis Conservation

photo courtesy of www.ivanhenares.com
photo courtesy of http://www.ivanhenares.com

OF COURSE, you’ve already read about the buzz created by conservationists regarding the construction of a mall in downtown Laoag. They claim that there are two Gabaldon buildings in the compound where it is to be built, and that the structures must be preserved on account of their historical and cultural significance.

It started when Ivan Henares—a travel blogger, heritage conservationist, and fraternity brod of Provincial Board member Kris Ablan—visited the province last December to deliver a lecture on blogging. Incidentally, he got wind of the issues surrounding the Laoag City Central Elementary School where the shopping monstrosity is to rise.

He immediately blogged about it at www.ivanhenares.com, and his post generated a moderate amount of comments. Here are some excerpts: Continue reading “Burgis Conservation”