Saturday, December 22, 2012

UP Concert Chorus Korus 50

Concert Poster
One choir performance in a small hall by 28 disciplined and musically talented choir members is enough to send shivers down the audience’ spine. Imagine the magnitude of impact of hearing 28 carefully selected pieces sang by 128 musically trained sopranos, altos, tenors and basses in a 2,300 filled university theater. That was the UP Concert Chorus Korus 50 staged at the UP Diliman Theater last 21 December 2012 (21.12.2012).

This once-in-a-lifetime event is a gathering of star-studded alumni and members of the university choir performing ”hits, religious songs, show-stoppers and grand numbers captured” in 9 segments in 3 ½ hours.
Each segment intends to capture the spirit behind the batch and era starting with a strong opening building up to a grand finale.  Segments are memorable, carefully crafted to say a story ending with the house joining the talents on stage singing Handel’s Hallelujah and UP Naming Mahal. Transitioning to the next batch is a slide show featuring the group on tour, in a performance, on rehearsal accompanied by a recorded soundtrack. Highlights are described in poetic lines written by UPCC alumni Raul Castro.
Program Souvenir Cover
A fresh concept of the anniversary show is the insert of two memorable points of interest: death and wedding.  In Memoriam pays tribute to members who have passed away most prominent of which is Professor Rey Paguio.  UPCC Singing Sweethearts recognizes the pairs who pursued their relationships.

This anniversary creation directed on stage by Alexander Cortez pays tribute to the individual talents that make up the choir, their group, the college, the UP institution, the country moving up to the world, music in general and to ultimate almighty.

Programme. Click to enlarge
50 decades of music in a night with Egay Manguiat, Jai-Sabbas-Aracama, Ramon Santos and Kitchy Valedellon-Molina taking turns conducting the choir.  For that brief moment when UPCC was singing, heaven must have opened up to let their music in.
God gifted the members of the UP Concert Chorus with talents. With their sterling performance in UP Korus 50, they have returned the gift to the creator.

Links picked up from youtube.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The National Parks "Morning of Creation"

Four months after I viewed the 1st 5 of the 6 episodes of Ken Burn’s The National Parks, I finally got hold of the 6th and final episode entitled “The Morning of Creation 1946-1980.”

This series in high definition that runs for over 12 hours chronicles the creation, struggles and challenges in sustaining America’s 58 national parks and monuments with documented videos  and visuals as early as 1872.

In the final episode, filmmaker Ken Burn and writer Dayton Duncan  feature Mission 66, an infrastructure boost to cope with the increasing park visitors now reaching 62 million a year, Adolph Murie, a biologist with a radical view and approach to wolves and predatory animal treatment, the conversion of Alaska’s 56 million acres to state protected land said to be the largest expansion in history and the challenge facing the 21st century.

As in the previous episodes, “The Morning of Creation” shows video documentaries, old and digital photographs, historical newspaper clippings, poetry and quotes from stakeholders, historians, government officials, relatives and writers matched with appropriate landscape sceneries. Ending dramatically with statements from ranger park superintendents, writers and by others touched by the experience of the national park, the film left an impression that all the struggles in the past were meaningful because their children in visiting the protected national parks today had the same feeling their predecessors went through in the infancy stage of the national parks creation. The parks now have been creating memories for them lasting for a lifetime. They did so because the park preserved nature, history and their identity. The scenic sights and sounds only sensed at the park have been reconnecting the past with the present.

Towards the end, writer Terry Tempest Williams posed a call, “I think the challenge of our national parks in the 21st century will be the challenge of restoration. And not only are the national parks a gift but a covenant. They’re a covenant with the future saying, “this is where we were, this is what we loved and now it is in your hands.”
Poster from the Sierra Club John Muir exhibit site
The final message is appropriately left for John Muir which perhaps is the driver why we need to preserve parks because  . . .One learns that the world, though made, is yet being made, that is still the morning of creation.

This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never all dried at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset, eternal dawn and gloaming, on seas and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.”
After viewing the 1st set of episodes, I extended invitation to friends to view the film with me.  Completing “The National Parks,” I now extend the invitation to plan and to go and see the parks with me.
Photos lifted from

Saturday, December 15, 2012

89.5 Trekkers on 8-9 May 1999

89.5 Trekkers on 8-9 May Making a Lava Lounge Out of the Pinatubo Base Cause Another Explosion!

Put in 89.5 trekkers of various  orientations and aggrupations.  Of different clubs, age groups, sexual preferences, religions, drinking beliefs, eating patterns, trekking styles, geographical locations and nationalities, speaking tongues. From the silent, to the normal to the dominant, humble and the makukulits. Backpackers, trekkers, hikers, rock climbers or mere  walkers. Pediatrics to geriatrics.  Bankers, computer specialists, to students to out of school youths.  Retiring climbers to beginning  climbers.  San Marcelino to Katipunan, Luzon to Mindanao. Baliuag, Guiguinto, Valenzuela to Tarlac, Ayala, Binondo, Pasay, Fairview. Add a TL, a trail master, an ex-club president, a host in a dark suit as heavy as a single man's tent, a song number, getting to know you. What do you get? RIOT in LAVA!

From a simple climb planned by Globe Adventure Club Founder Regie Pablo and Chito Razon of PALMC last April 1999 to drag Jon Linao, ex-president of MESAU out his computer, the event turned into a monstrous, unforgettable climb of the millennium. 

How could this not turn out to be a grand climb? It promised Mt. Pinatubo, the world-renowned volcano notorious for distorting the climate system in Asia and in the world starting 1991. It came after the MFDI federation climb successfully organized by UPM that set the foundation for the bonding of most participants. Banny Hermanos of PAL MC whetted our appetite with his surreal slide presentation. Lakbay TV through its Balikbayan narrator Roel Torres showed us repeatedly on Cable TV that the crater is reachable, even with his  physical condition. Richard Rebada, ex-president of MESAU completed the trek this year and volunteered to lead the way. Rolly Villanueva, president of PNB Mountaineering Club brought his 22 strong delegation. Butch Sebastian, MFPI President recognized the event. Lastly, weather cooperated-no strong rains in the past few days.

The climbers themselves were no ordinary climbers. Most completed the Balbalasang Federation, went through a tune up climb the week before. Majority have gone to Halcon, Guiting-Guiting, Napulauan, Tawangan over the past few months. Youngest was Shab which accounts for the 5 counting. He turned 3 last Sunday. Eldest was Martin Chambers, a marathoner from New Zealand who is nearing the 60’s mark. His incredible performance and behavior in the socials make you think he certainly is a lot younger.

All were intrigued by the place as site of massive destruction: Pinatubo from the volcano eruption and Capas, our jump off town associated with the Death March. The heat  of up to 38°C on our way to the crater Saturday potentially fatal to our delicate brown  skin, the lava river trail, destroying our shoes and our soles, brand new or borrowed.

Nothing stopped the climbers from appreciating the weekend. Richard, Ronald and company of MESAU alumni pre-arranged guides and jeepney rides. Chito handled administrative  requirements through contact leaders: Regie for Globe, Rolly and Elmer for PNB, Jon and Jessie for MESAU, Jojo Cadungog for PAL, Teddy for Marco Polo, Jaja Reyes and Jenny Atienza for Loyola Mountaineer. Participants showed up at Capas Public Market before the targeted 8 morning departure. For many, it was their first time to see  this market place. Jeepney ride completed the travel up to the kubo reducing our trekking time. The 5 hour trek to the campsite was reduced to a mere 2 ½ on the way back. The dreaded socials just happened spontaneously. What happened next was simply deafening. 

Weekend was an enjoyable one perhaps because we were celebrating and thanking.  Celebrating that we were spared of death from the destruction that emanated from our trail sites and thankful that the signs of life are beginning to show at the crater and at the ridges. The hot lava waters are supplemented now with mineral waters flowing near the base of the crater. Green leaves are thriving at the mountain ridges.  Sounds of insects hover in the night. Best, there is laughter at the site.

The laughter we brought is our contribution in inducing life. Through the roaring noise, heckling, chasing, socializing, drinking, we were acknowledging to the 89.5 climbers, awake, or asleep or pretending to be asleep, the wasted and the unused that we are very much alive. Crashing Mt. Pinatubo also meant renewal-our renewed interest to nature, to our respective clubs, to the federation, to our selves. Just like the new greens sprouting at the sides, the wild trees growing near the crater rim and the wild insects building their habitats. The clothes, food and other functional items we donated to the Aeta community are our seeds to this renewal. There is always that company of 89.5 whom we will remember in time as the fertile ground for new friendship. Nothing more can better dramatize facing a new life through the Happy Birthday song we dedicated to Shah that Sunday. If we just get the message of the gift of life, that to me is the biggest explosion of the weekend. Simply it says, thank you we are alive.

Meeting MESAU in Pinatubo-Repost

MESAU 30 Years of Passion and Advocacy ADAMSON University Keeping the Legacy of Hope and Service

Congratulations to MESAU on its celebration of its 30th anniversary. Under the leadership of incumbent president Orven Honofre, it will cap its celebration with the 30th climb in Pulag this December after having climbed 29 mountains as of 15 December 2012 since the start of the year.
The theme of its pearl anniversary is “30 years of passion and advocacy”, interpreted as its strong desire for climbing mountains and the outdoors and its support to the causes for the environment, group camaraderie and the uplift of the medical conditions of the marginalized in remote areas accessible only by mountaineers. The anniversary program as in the previous years provides windows for members and alumnus to give testimonies on what the club meant to them. Witnessed by about 50 guests at the Rothman Hotel along Adriatico st. in Malate, young female applicants and members described the fun in getting together and climbing with the club. More senior member Paul Salvacion recounted the learnings and the discipline imparted by the climbs and the club and how it helped build confidence and competency facing the real working world.
Founding members from the College of Architecture shared with the incumbent batch the early years building the club starting with a memorable wall in the San Marcelino st. as the claimed private space of MESAU. Started by a group of fun-loving, street smart students 30 years ago, Demi Abarguez and Jimmy Memjie recalled their 1st climbs which was the 1st time they gained acquaintance with each other, how they were perceived as a noisy, rowdy group by the more established clubs as UPM, PALMC, USTMC which eventually allied with them, how they learned the ropes of climbing by mere climbing and not by the rigidness of training and knowledge by reading. During their time when they were eventually recognized by the school, a favorite priest would support their climbs by providing financial subsidy and recognition as the club carried the school name. The tradition of climbing Pulag after Christmas started in the early 80’s and was carried on by the succeeding batches. Disclosed too were the close encounter with the military in Pulag when they were mistaken as rebels threatening their lives with armalites poked at their faces. Food related anecdotes were brought to the forum by former presidents such as the “abodo” spilling incident of their packed lunch to a Bacolod bound co-passenger in barong tagalong and the spaghetti meant as a group food in Tupperware that rolled down in the soil and eventually eaten as it nothing happened. Like typical post climbing stories, chronicled too were the make shift equipment for instance framed back packs and casual outfits like maong and how they fared compared to the highly technical gears of this generation.

A guest of MESAU with Past President Jon Linao.  Foto by Jun de Vera
Past presidents such as Bart Bartolome, Rayan Reyes, Jon Linao, Jun De Vera, Queen Roma Pegarido, Jon Anista were recognized by the club for their contribution in keeping the club alive up to this day. Highlight of gatherings as in other mountaineering clubs gathering was the slide showing prepared by the organizing committee of MESAU in 2012 on how MESAU demonstrated it passion for climbing and advocacy. MESAU will undoubtedly cross its Golden (50th) Anniversary in December 2032 because what it does is consistent with the core values of the school inculcated to its students, “Adamson University-Keeping the Legacy of Hope and Service Alive."
 An Adamsonian Prayer
Dear Lord, Teach me the things that are important: To be generous with Your gifts, Compassionate to those who have less, Just in the face of unfair circumstances, True when the world's values contradict my own, Gracious when things don't go my way, And magnanimous when they do. May nothing else matter Except Faith in Your goodness, my neighbor's, and mine, Hope that things can get better, And Charity that always set things right. May Your special Love for the Poor, The mark of my uniquely Vincentian education, Be the work I excel in, The standard I constantly refer to, And my courage when I meet You someday. With Mary, our Mother, and St. Vincent de Paul, Amen

Fotos courtesy of Jun de Vera and Jon Linao
Meeting MESAU in Pinatubo
May 9, 1999 in Weekend Fun

You’ve heard about them. You must have encountered them in your regular weekend climb or in a jeepney ride from Maculot, Majayjay or Siniloan.

In the campsite, you will most likely spot them in a circle passing clear distilled looking liquid in a small glass. They stay in this position the minute they reach the flat land until early dawn or they’re down whichever comes first.

They say this socializing is what sets MESAU from other groups in their campus, other camps and in the federation. To them this is the tradition which is a non negotiable pre-requisite to membership for 15 years.

In Pinabuto Trek they listed 22 participants. 7 from the alumni with their Xs present. Call them the 3R’s: Richard, Ronald and Raymond. 8 from the incumbents led by their perpetual student and another X Jon. Then the missing 7.

 You know the novice from the hard cores-the alumni in their daypacks, the students in their full packs. Again, a tradition they say.

 What really are they? Not very different from the 67 other climbers. They take their tasks seriously.  See to the delivery of the basics as the jeepney rides, guides, trails, campsite and the return pick-ups.  But the difference is, they all show up in the socials and stay.

So when Viper of PNB put in his formal suit and long pants to signal the start of That’s Entertainment, it was socials to the max. PAL MC had an unexplainable presence that night: Aldo Velasco heckling with guest TJ, Joey Verzo explaining his new civil status, Dom Goduco recalling his college days, Jojoy Cadungog contemplating his retirement days, Bond Abad restaging his sacristan days, Jojo Ramos, Juno Moncada with Danny Moncada and Larry Honoridez simply wondering what’s going on, Barry Barcelo with Jun Timbol just enjoying and Chito quietly behaving. The place changed overnight. Mount Pinatubo turned to Barangay Ginebra.

Socials had the formula to be a hit:
·        There was quorum. After the group dinner and small socials, everyone just gravitated to the big circle to await what’s bound to happen.
·         Guests were open. Everyone gamely introduced himself or herself, associated with PAL, MESAU, PNB, Globe Telecoms, Loyola, Dennis, Omar, Jessie, Jenny, Jaja, Val, Chio, Joel, Elmer, Popoy, Regie, and Ronald. Lady trekkers gamely put in a romantic angle for the night.
·         There’s entertainment: Intros by Bong of PNB, song and dance by Viper and Henry, magic by Rolly, rated x night show of Martin Chambers, CD music by TJ and inspirational messages from the AETA guides.
·         Important to MESAU and to the others, stainless in various forms and sizes.

 As they was no imminent difficulty and danger the next day, socials went on and on up to early morning until no MESAU was left standing. The loud laughter started to fire at 8 PM, reached its peak towards 11 and slowly faded out before 3 AM.

Pinatubo was an exploration. The morning after, the mission was done. We explored Pinatubo, met new acquaintances: faces now have names, names match with faces, set new socializing and drinking levels and understood the “E” in MESAU’s initials, the Exploration Society. 

Soon, on some other time, in some other place, we hope to explore too Globe Telecoms beyond Regie and Martin, PNB beyond Rolly and Viper, MESAU beyond Ronald and Richard, PALMC beyond Chito, Jojoy and the rest, Loyola beyond Jenny and Bosch beyond spark plugs.