Saturday, December 20, 2014

Advent prepares us for Christmas. 9 days of Simbang Gabi make us better understand the significance. Day by day, we deepen our faith. May this season transform our hardened heart into a heart of flesh

Simbang Gabi Webcasting at the Gesu 2014

1st Gabi celebrated by Fr. Jose Quilongquilong SJ, president of the Loyola School of Theology.  Choir: Bukas Palad. Prepares us for the main intention of the Simbang Gabi which is the perseverance of the nation in faith. How to persevere faith: Giftedness, Gratitude and Generosity. Faith is a gift and a blessing. Faith is a perseverance of gratitude of God’s gift, to remember the goodness and the kindness of God. Christmas is a celebration of the covenant. Faith is an expressed work of generosity, an open mindedness. Through the Simbang Gabi, deepen our Christian faith to a life of giftedness, gratitude and generosity.
Homily starts at 16:10

2nd Gabi with Fr. Jose Mario C Francisco. Featured choir was the Dorm Ministry. Are you ready for the coming of the Lord? Against the backdrop of the plight of the Israelites, who were not prepared because they did not listen to message and their heart has hardened they were not saved. How do we prepare? Those in the know will be saved. Hurt, disappointment, betrayal hardened our heart. When it does we do not hear the message of Christ. To soften, God took on a heart of flesh. This Christmas, look into our hearts. Look for signs of the hardening heart. Try to soften to turn into a heart of flesh. When it does, we are ready and our noche buena will be a feast.
Homily starts at 16:30

3rd Gabi Fr Aristotle C Dy. Featured choir is Aleron. Fr. Dy expounds on the lineage of Christ, the significance of 14 generations and the diversity of composition leading to the importance of family, memories and the linkage between God and humanity. This Christmas, we value family, its memory and its diversity and imperfection and how it set the foundation to where we are now. Christmas gives us time to reflect on memories with our families with hope for the future.

4th Gabi Presider is Fr Emmanuel L Alfonso. Singing led by the Ateneo College Glee Club. Life interrupted. When dreams and projects are derailed, life is interrupted. Relating to St. Joseph’s predicament that he is to have a family. But his expectation of the family is not what is given to him. Yet with God’s graces, whenever life is interrupted, open ourselves to the possibilities of greater plans for us. Life on earth is indeed an unfinished symphony. Pope Francis’ plan to retire was interrupted with a greater plan for him after being elected Pope.
Homily starts at 14:20

5th Gabi with Fr Peter O Pojol as presider and music singing led by Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation Music Ministry. Homily details further the Jesus story about the consecration and the significance of grape and growing the hair long highlighting the importance of several people to fulfill the promise of salvation. “Jesus story is the quickening and fulfillment of God’s plan for salvation for all humanity. Plan involves people who are heralds of God’s benevolence by being consecrated to God . . . “. It is His story where we have a role to play.
Homily starts at 16:35

6th Gabi presider is Fr. Xavier Alpasa with the Barangka choir leading the singing. Mary said “Yes!” That was the staging thought dramatized further in various anecdotes, paradigms and mindsets to convey the message of faith in God, the paschal mystery and the joy of Christmas. When we are on low bat, how do we cope? When resources are low and we are struggling, who do we turn to?  How do we encounter Christ goes through steps. Saying yes entails going through a cycle guided by the acronym P.A.S.K.O where P is permanent, A for alab, Sagrado, Kristo and OO for O. Christmas reminds us how Christ redeems us. Our life goes through two halves where the 1st is the coping part with our needs. When needs are challenged, we face a crisis. We doubt, we fear. Crisis presents to us a path with 2 options, either go back to the 1st half facing our needs or move on to trust and to accept God’s graces. Saying yes is the acceptance of the great “I am.” The feeling of accepting God’s grace is described in the gathering of a family together after several decades of separation as narrated based on a personal experience.
Homily ends with Christmas Bells, a poem by Henry Wadsworth “And in despair I bowed my head;
‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said; ‘For hate is strong,  And mocks the song Of peace on earth, good-will to men!’ Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: ‘God is not dead; nor doth he sleep! The Wrong shall fail, The Right prevail, With peace on earth, good-will to men!’"
Faith is a permanent call centered on Christ.  Say Yes.
The final intention of prayer of the faithful "For each one of us, that we may hear the permanent call, that we may be brought to the deep desires, that we may make everything sacred, that we may find Christ and that we may say Yes."
Homily starts at 15:45

7th Gabi with Fr. Antonio Moreno as presider. Be not afraid. The message of the angel to Mary was to accept in the midst of uncertainty and fear. Relating to the desire of a parish priest in Sierra Leone not to leave the ebola stricken community in an atmosphere of fear and uncertainly, he stayed to be with his parish. Not to cure, not to raise the death but to be with his people, provide a sense of solidarity and to  give hope. We face many fears one of them is fear of being poor. We face fear with courage. Not being afraid and accepting is to trust in Emmanuel. God is Emmanuel. God is love. He says to us “I am here!”
Homily starts at 16:14

8th Gabi with Fr. Raymund Benedict Hizon as presider and singing led by Hangad. We pray for various reasons, the fundamental and the genuine. We ask and yet eventually submit ourselves to His will. All prayers though with doubts are answered, the more specific, the better. Asking doesn’t make Him change how he looks at us but changes us on how we look at Him. Prayers follow a format. ACTS. Adoration Contrition.Thanksgiving. Say or Ask. Sharing a personal testimony experienced before Christmas 2013, prayer directed to Ina on the homesickness of a son and the comfort of a mother who suffered a stroke, demonstrated the power of prayer. Mary is an intercessor to our supplication. Let us approach the Lord. Prayer opens our eyes to giftedness. Be not afraid to ask.
Homily starts at 14:26

9th Gabi with presider Fr Norberto Ma L Bautista and Ateneo Chamber Singers singing. What's in a name? How the angel Gabriel influenced Elizabeth and Zacharias to name their son John contrary to tradition. How John lived an ordinary life contrary to expectation. The heroic deeds of a Tacloban military man and a boy during the storm surge, the cafe manager in the Sidney siege and the school teacher of the Pakistan massacre. How it shows God's mercy and compassion. What the theme of the pope's visit means.
Homily starts at 16:36

Webcast courtesy of

The ritual with incense as explained to me by Bien Cruz. In all the masses, the presider is accompanied by altar boys who carry the cross, candles and incense. Scattering incense scent is a ritual practice practiced when masses were celebrated at the catacomb to sanitize the stench. Now is it used to cast away evil.  It is done at the altar, on the bible and on the presider.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Linking with people, nature through a club

The 35th PALMC anniversary cum Christmas party organized by the current leadership headed by Chairperson Shirryl Goduco drew a sizeable turn out at the Escalades Tower function room in Barangay Murphy Cubao last 29 November 2014.

It generated even more attention online both pre and post event from members and friends all over the continent, thanks to the Facebook posting.

The gathering had the elements of a conventional Christmas party: registration with a modest fee, pre-prepared and pot luck food, program hosted by special friends, games participated in by member couples, gifts and prizes, musical numbers, Christmas decors among others.

Touches of artifacts of a typical mountaineering club gathering which defined the club were in place: a photo exhibit, awarding tenured members present with at least a decade and a half years logged as members, accomplishments for 2014, sampling of the program in 2015 to come, food and booze, LCD projector and audio system for the slide and video showing and most importantly, booze.

Important must-haves defined the event: an opening remark of founder John Fortes highlighting the message that membership is driven not by events and activities but by relationship which explains why linkages transcend time; club’s social responsibility tapping its affinity with nature through the organization of rescue operations shown in video by VP Francis Davantes entitled Flight of Hope ; a 20-minute slide showing of some climbing highlights from 2000-2014 created by Dom, projected with his son and the presence of members.

The President Russel Aguinaldo admitted that the club is facing some membership and activity situations partly contributed by the transitions or the corporate restructuring and other reasons. Sad, that a pioneering mountaineering club still has to overcome these challenges.

But towards the end, with more senior and illustrious members catching up with the gathering and the showing of the highlights of half a decade of PALMC, memories of ecstatic moments with club members, climbs, travels, camp site socials, assaults, land, boat and air transfers quickly triggered a flashback.  Strong memories of a past event that comes suddenly flashed into most members’ minds. This validated John’s message that the club built and nurtured relationship with people, co-climbers, community and with nature.

And if just a sight of a single photo in the past is enough to trigger those ecstatic memories, the club must really seeded a special linkage with its membership.

Happy Anniversary. Merry Christmas and Congratulations!

Some notes:
-John, typical of his colleagues was among the 1st to arrive and of course the 1st to leave. Know more about John and MFPI at this site:
-After the showing, it took some time for the guests to leave as stories were still narrated. The activity was followed up eventually with a post gathering at an undisclosed place.
-Credits to the organizers whose names escape me as of the moment.
-For an idea on the attendance, refer to the fotos posted by other members.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A hot welcome to visiting club members

On short notice, people came to a venue geographically at the center of the city. Not asking who would be there but by simple deduction from the invitation of ex President Banny Hermanos that ex President Jazz Aquino and wife  Xenia are in town, familiar PALMCERs would show up. True enough, call and people will be there and were there. Never mind if there was a suicide drama happening at the Guadalupe Bridge along EDSA on the appointed time and the zipper truck lane at C5 has been unzipped (lane dedicated to plying big trucks). Yet people showed up and stayed way past midnight at Silly Labuyo along Shaw Boulevard.

To the Buriwisan aficionados of the 90’s, the location was a familiar place as this was the area where weekend trekkers would hang around to wait for group mates before boarding a public jeep headed for Siniloan in Laguna. To the urban workers of the 21st century, this area called Greenfield is now one of the choices for night outs along the boulevard (among them are the Pioneer Center and the Capitol Commons developed by the Ayala and the Ortigas Group located at the Pasig Provincial Ground.) But the PALMCERS of the 90’s (or late 80’s), this was the venue where members from different continents of the world gathered just to be socially within reach for an enjoyable drink, eat and talk.

There were not much stories about climbs but about current events and other personalities particularly those not present that evening. Center of the talk about the recreation common to the attendees was the value of a club, the group and the associations with the climb. 

At the background are Tim Toledo, Jun Feliciano,
 Ding Cailipan, Tere Collado, Carol B. , Xenia A.
People gather on short notice because a shared experience on climbing mostly pleasant is forever remembered. The experience is memorable because it is a group activity which solo or individual climbing cannot replicate. Even if the club at current situation faces issues on membership as narrated by current President Russell Aguinaldo, it can always look back at its heritage and history as the very foundation why it is still here even with the changing climbing landscape and the shifting corporate structure.

Perhaps it is true that friendships built on climbs are the ones that endure. To think, there was even no discussion on when the next climb will be. Thanks to those who sponsored the drinks and for the guests from other continents.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Memories of Himalayas-Celebrating and Going Home

How does one reward himself for a successful feat?  Enjoy the moment.

Stealing socials. Drinking. At the Namche Bazaar lodge going down, deprived of socials on the way up, it was natural to crave for beer. Beer drinking was made more enjoyable with singing and dancing accompanied by a live guitar plucking. While conducted only a several minutes, it was memorable nevertheless as there was a true cause to celebrate. (View Banny Hermanos’ May2007 Filipino climbers jamming at Namche Bazaar Nepal).

Food trip. Every chance to try out a menu different from the Nepal staple food is looked forward to. When we bumped into successful Everest peak trekker Regie Pablo, we indulged in a food trip in a newly discovered outlet. KKB of course.

Shopping. No denial to a craving for a technical stuff. After all, who else deserves the finest equipment but those who survived the unknown. One must discern which is genuine or an imitation.

Partying. Thanks to the Filipino community based in Katmandu and the recognition earned by the successful summiteers, we too were accorded the same hospitality and courtesy. We are grateful for their extraordinary hosting.

Saying thanks and appreciating  the company, sponsors and fellow trekkers from Manila and Katmandu. Like any other completed tropical climb, an interaction with fellow trekker opens up a discussion on anything about the climb. It can be serious, comical and most of the time simply trivial. No talk was seen as off topic.

Communicating and documentingThis extends a 15-day trek to an open-ended period for as long as we talk about the trek. This expands the coverage from a motley group to a wider community especially with the advent of social network. Instantly triggering memories are photos from our colleagues both amateurs and professionals (Banny, Dom, Cesar, Larry, Rico among others).

Like a cycle, it starts with a plan and ends with a completion. Celebrating the completion opens up new opportunities to eventually provide reason to celebrate again. But before the glory was the humbling start.
 Fotos from the collections of Rico C. and Larry H.

Buo ng Loob article on Baga.  Sikmura,  Tuhod,  Bulsa at Gamit.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Memories of Himalayas-End of Day and Quarters

We were slowly walking, puffing, huffing and panting looking down at the trail so there is no perspective on the distance still to be trekked.
Priceless.  Kuha ni Banny H.  Ako ba ang nakaupo?
All of a sudden when we looked up, there was a formidable illuminated structure that blocked our sight 
signalling "that's it for the day." Panning to our right, the range was framed with a live person validating to us that we 
too can make it. Suddenly, the fatigue and loss of breath were transformed to ecstasy and recharged energy.

Medyo relax pa
At the end of the day, a place to stay, eat, clean, sleep and rest awaits us. It's a simple concrete enclosure with a table, a window, a small dark box that serves as a rest room and a sleeping room walled by wood with an elevated platform to sleep on.

At the far end of the lodge is a corner that serves as a kitchen. Power supply is minimal generated by solar panel. While arrangements have been pre planned, arriving at the lodge is met with anxiety triggered by thoughts whether the body can live with the temperature, pessimism for unappetizing food and doubts of insufficient energy to chew and to clean the plates. 
Wala yatang heater dito

In the deep of the night when nature calls, will the flesh have the inertia to move and to be erected? But the more difficult dilemma to face comes on the morning after.  Upon waking up, this question is repeatedly asked to the self, "Should I stay or should I go?" We did go and proceeded.
Si Rizal, Mabini o Bonifacio ba ang nasa isip ko?

The base camp is a tent camp. No more lodges, no more inns.  Shelter is contained within the fabrics of the structure framed by poles. Temperature is managed by the technical properties of the fabric and the sleeping bag. Between your back and the floor are thin layers of sheets that absorb the low temperature. What added warmth was the company and camaraderie.

Kampo kasama sina Rico, Cesar, Banny
Life at the base camp is living exposed to the elements.

Way back was a breeze. From Lukla airport to base camp took us 9 days. Going back was in 6 days. Less anxiety and with more confidence.
Ang ganda ewan ko kung sino ang may kuha

Stay at the lodges was more relaxed. No more concerns on the unpredictability of Acute Mountain Sickness. Destination was known, pacing can now be predicted.  

Somewhat the lodges were more homey. Windows with a view can be better appreciated.
Mga tambay sa labas

But has the relationship among us deepened? Not yet as the feat we have succeeded to accomplish has to still sink in.

Months and years later, what have I realized? Borrowing from Edwin Berbaum, writer of "Sacred Mountains of the World", "At Everest, we feel ourselves at the center of the world, not just Asia, not just the Philippines but the WORLD."

-Memories of a journey May 2007 recalled Sept 2014.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Oda alas gracias - Pablo Neruda

Oda alas gracias - Pablo Neruda
Gracias a la palabra que agradece, gracias a gracias por cuanto esta palabra derrite nieve o hierro
Gracias, gracias, que viajes y que vuelvas,que subas y que bajes. Está entendido, no lo llenas todo, palabra gracias, pero donde aparece tu pétalo pequeño se esconden los puñales del orgullo, y aparece un centavo de sonrisa.

Ode to gratitude
Thanks to the word that gives thanks. Thanks to the gratitude for how excellently the word melts snow or iron.  Thanks, gracias, you travel and return, you rise and descend. It is understood, you don't permeate everything, but where the word of thanksgiving appears like a tiny petal, proud fists hide and a penny's worth of a smile appears

Oda a las gracias Gracias a la palabra que agradece, gracias a gracias por cuanto esta palabra derrite nieve o hierro. El mundo paecía amenazante hasta que suave como pluma clara, o dulce como pétalo de azúcar, de labio en labio pasa gracias, grandes a plena boca o susurrantes, apenas murmulladas, y el ser volvió a ser hombre y no ventana, alguna claridad entró en el bosque. fue posible cantar bajo las hojas. Gracias, eres la píldora contra los óxidos cortantes del desprecio, la luz contra el altar de la dureza. Tal vez también tapiz entre los más distantes hombres fuiste. Los pasajeros se diseminaron en la naturaleza y entonces en la selva de los desconocidos, merci, mientras el tren frénetico cambia de patria, borra las fronteras, spasivo, junto a los puntiagudos volcanes, frío y fuego, thanks, sí, gracias, y entonces se transforma la tierra en una mesa. una palabra la limió, brillan platos y copas, suenan los tenedores y parecen manteles las llanuras. Gracias, gracias, que viajes y que vuelvas, que subas y que bajes. Está entendido, no lo llenas todo, palabra gracias, pero donde aparece tu pétalo pequeño se esconden los puñales del orgullo, y aparece un centavo de sonrisa.

Ode to gratitude
  • Thanks to the word that gives thanks.
  • Thanks to the gratitude for how excellently the word melts snow or iron. The planet seemed full of threats until soft as a translucent feather, or sweet as a sugary petal, from lip to lip, it passed,thank you, magnificent, filling the mouth,or whispered, hardly voiced, and the soul became human again, not a window, soome clear shine penetrated the forest: it was possible again to sing beneath the leaves.
  • Gratitude, you are medicine opposing scorn's bitter oxides, light melting the cruel altar. Perhaps you are also the carpet uniting the most distant men, passengers spread out through nature and the jungle of unknown men, merci, as the delirious train penetrates a new country, eradicating frontiers, spasibo, joined with the sharp-cusped volcanoes, frost and fire, thanks, yes, gracias, and the Earth turns into a table, a single word swept it clean, plates and cups glisten, forks jingle, and the flatlands seem like tablecloths.
  • Thanks, gracias, you travel and return, you rise and descend. It is understood, you don't permeate everything, but where the word of thanksgiving appears like a tiny petal, proud fists hide and a penny's worth of a smile appears.
Lines, translation, visual all grabbed from the net.

LRT MRT Connect. My recollection

LRT-MRT Connect. As an active city traveler heavily patronizing the mass transport system in Metro Manila, I keep track of expansions. When the Roosevelt station started to operate Oct 2010, I have looked forward to the moment when it would connect to North Avenue. Only now after over 3 years have I read a satisfactory explanation. It will still take years. The riding public will still have to bear the hardship. From Alex Magno's column

Originally posted 13 March 2014

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Process Based Ordering at a Fruitshake Stall

Blend of lychee, mango and melon
At Fruitastics, a fruit shake stall inside a fruit store at UP Diliman shopping center, it has a working operating system for ordering, paying and claiming.

As you enter the store, stall is at the entrance.

  1. Choose number of fruits and size and get a stub with price and code.
  2. Pay at a separate counter and get a stamped stub.
  3. When you return, present your stub and claim. If traffic is heavy, you wait a little.

At P 65 for a 22 ounce cup of a real fruit-based shake, who would not be trooping to Fruitastics. When there are many patrons, the simple system regulates the flow.
Center is at 63 which I reach by walking from Palma Hall at 24

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Stage on Screen

Indies have now borrowed the theater’s format for their medium. Indayog ng Nayatamak, the opening film of Shorts B directed by Joris Fernandez translates a dance of a relationship in a struggle in a digital format capturing in detail the human expression and movement visually and musically. Conflict is interpreted by young dancers Kelvin Joseph Barroso and  Chinky May Juntura.

Hari ng Tondo by Carlos Syguion-Reyna is a zarzuela on screen of two opposing factions. Lead stars are backed up with an ensemble acting and singing with distinct roles to play in narrating the story of an aging father facing a personal and financial dilemma.

The festival is a feast in diversity not only in themes but format as well. While I miss the intimacy of the theater, the effects made up for it. I enjoyed viewing Indayog and Hari at a price within reach.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

My Barber's Tales

I see several tales.  Tale, a story that may not be completely true. Or a story of someone’s actual experiences. First is the feminist statement on the role of the rural female in reforming society through underground means.
Second is the transformation of the lead female Marilou from a passive housewife subservient to her husband the community to a passive resistant supporter of a rebel movement to an active aggressor.

There are the tales of Father, Mayor, Mayora, the rebel, the fertile wife, the spinster, the military and the most colorful, the comfort women.

Beyond the tales, I see a setting in throwback days in Barber’s Tale, a movie of Jun Lana. A rustic idyllic place where pace is slow, day is long, air is clean. A place that is quiet where conversations disturb the sound of the river and the howling wind. When night falls, a single “hasag” is sufficient to illuminate the entire shack. It tells a story of setting and time. Where the center of action is in a barber’s chair whose seat is not made of foam but of an organic leaf. Razor used is not a thin razor blade but a hardened metal. This small barrio is set in a flat land surrounded by hills.  To gain access one crosses a river in a hanging bridge. To escape, one hides inside one of the chambers of a cave.

Access to the outside world is in a small box called a transistor radio powered by cell batteries and at times through an outdated tabloid and Panorama magazine. Control of the barrio is like any other community, through the Mayor, the parish priest and the commanding officer.

Those were the days when tales were told by a living creature called man where a story unfolds slowly tracing the transformation of the central character. Soon a tale will be told about the snowballing of the transformation of Marilou and Edmond to the barrio, the community, a sector and eventually to a movement.

Barber’s Tale is a creation of Jun Lana starring Eugene Domingo.  Movie was shot in Daraitan Tanay.  Photos lifted from mymovieworld.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

What is shared between 1st ko si 3rd and #Y?

Watching two Cinemalaya entries back-to-back representing extreme eras made me think commonality and differences. Y kids think of immediate pleasure and group reciprocity while the oldies have deferred satisfaction and solo contemplation. The Ys have the cono language and the oldies conversational tagalog. The oldies are thrilled by memories and simple situations while the Ys by more complex stimulus; drugs, sex, smartphones, social statements.

Both Ys and the oldies have the need to be appreciated, the oldies as simple as no denial of happiness and the Ys with someone to listen to their angst. The oldies derive support from longtime friends and immediate family and the Ys from nowhere and professional help. Both experience the pain of being human perhaps on the same destructing level but the oldies confronting them with tenacity and the Ys sadly with resignation through sex, drugs and the ultimate escape, suicide.

1st and Y are two movies with diverse approaches on the human spirit. One is on number and the other a letter. Number or letter, both broken wanting for redemption and eventual salvation.

Cinemalaya 2014

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Everything about Mariquina from actors, production to shoes is world class

Lifted from FB
Everything about Mariquina from actors, production to shoes is world class. Using analogy of shoe making and the search for the appropriate pair of shoes, Mariquina’s story slowly unfolds until Imelda Guevarra discovers her deeper self.

The transition from denial to grief is painstakingly detailed and is successfully engaging. Imagine an ensemble of great performances from Mylene Dizon, Bing Pimentel, Ricky Davao, Barbie, Che Ramos conveying the nuances of their roles in a polished production execution.

Film is not new breed but seasoned breed. A Pinoy showcase to the world!

Cinemalaya 2014

Monday, August 04, 2014

Dagitab. Idea seeded to further think about

Dagitab capitalizes heavily on the campus icon, logos, artifacts to give them permission to explore liberal possibilities even the extreme ones. Like "Ano ang hinahanap natin? Bakit di tayo masaya?"

Meaningful conversations between two parties may sound phony but could be sincere like talks in a static car, essay readings, Zara's bonding sessions, the beach, workshop, in the bedroom, at the barbecue stand, Los Banos and Avenue walks, barn reveals, breakfast and several others that after watching the movie.

One longs for a discussion group to thread all the various sparks together and to surface one again to the key message: explore life's liberal possibilities. (Even the actors' sensitive capture of the nuances of their roles is in itself an interesting topic for exploration, ranked in no particular order by Eula Valdez, Nonie Buencamino, Martin Del Rosario, Sandino Martin, Ronnie Lazaro and the ensemble at the professors' drinking sessions [it is said you get eureka moments in a beer garden] ).

Output of the Discussion. Post Script Thoughts:
  • The two key characters are in need of sparks to level them all: the husband from the search of a lost love, the wife from an interaction. When found, it spiked his sexual urge and zest for life starting with preparing breakfast for his wife. For the wife, the affair without a guilt leveled her up. The young writer wrote inspired.
  • Reset if you lose, at a loss and get muddled. Find it back, you get refreshed.
  • Only when one faces a similar encounter of the many moments staged can one internalize what Dagitab is really all about. The idea was seeded to further think about.
  • Eventually, there may never be a resolution because man's search for meaning has no concrete answer.
  • Thus "tuloy pa rin ako."

Cinemalaya 2014
Discussed with Yman M. 6 August 2017

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Joy, Pain and Hurt Feelings in Sundalong Kanin

I felt the pain the young characters go through. I related to the struggle of Badong choosing between friendship and revenge for a violation. I empathized with the love of an elder brother. I shared with the joys of bonding and friendship through common artifacts and object. I got hurt with the betrayal. That to me is Sundalong Kanin.

Pinatibay niya ang aking dibdib.

Cinemalaya 2014

Children's Story for Adults' Sensibility

Children's Story, an entry in Cinemalaya 2014 Festival on raw gladiator fight starring Buboy Villar, Miggs Cuaderno, Gloria Sevilla, Nathan Lopez jolted me for the boldness of the theme on grit and forgiveness with no closure.

The sleek technical craft deployed by Director Roderick Cabrido brings out the smell, taste, look and sound of raw grit. The initial presence of actors Nathan Lopez, Miggs Cuaderno, Buboy Villar, Gloria Sevilla effectively defines their characters to engage the viewers on who they are. Yet in spite of the grit, one feels for the humanity and the softness of their persons.

Two sentences that drive the Al and Jun to pursue "Sumusuko ka na ba?" and "Kakalimutan din natin ito!"

Beneath the tragedies, dirt and throbbing pain is hope from the tested brotherly love. Moving and thought provoking!

Cinemalaya 2014

Grit-courage and resolve; strength of character.
Clench (the teeth), especially in order to keep one's resolve when faced with an unpleasant or painful duty.

Bwaya, my opening indie film in 2014's Cinemalaya

Bwaya, a well crafted execution that captures the true sentiments of simple people. Humanity is dramatized thru tone and dramatization. The Agusan marshland, bwaya, a floating schoolhouse and a marginalized community were the novel elements to stage a universal message of a mother's emotion for loss, a sense of community and the concrete experiencing of the various stages of change from shock, denial, revenge and eventual acceptance.

Director Francis Xavier Pasion effectively puts across the message through the films' tonality, choice of actors and their interpretation and the technical technique. The slow pace, subdued lighting, crawling banca movement contribute to picture the character of the place and the theme.

While lifted from a true story in Agusan,it is presented not as a semi-documentary but as an interesting story with an intro,several highlights, conflict and a resolution.

Meeting Director FX Pasion and
Actor Karl Medina after the screening
Practitioners of change management will appreciate this 2014 Cinemalaya entry. A community with shared values can relate, a family moved and an individual touched.

Updates: Karl Francis

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Bohemia along Malingap St.

Bohemia is no longer just at Malate or in Cubao Expo. There is a destination at Malingap st. in Teacher’s Village Quezon City with a similar character. Like a Food Court in an outdoor setting, there is variety of food stalls representing various cuisines. Stalls have their distinct modest architecture and food specialties. Backyard, a stall serving pizza and processed meat is a creation of an assortment of second hand items.

Stall owner, a Norwegian-Filipino is in a hospital radiology construction venture. While the business arrangement among other concessionaires appears to have no written rules, there seems like a structure. Beer is available only at the beer outlet managed by the lot owner. There are no competing menus with other stalls. Rest room is shared. Cuisines available per stall are Lebanese, American, Thai, Vietnamese, Italian, Filipino and Mexican. Customers can cross order and stay in their favorite seating area.

This compound at 33 Malingap st Teachers Village
between Kalayaan Ave and Maginhawa has no identifying name except that it is a place with limited parking space, visited by students, young professionals and the adventurous. Its other main difference from the mainstream food outlets is the stalls are manned by the owners themselves. They talk with authority about their food line from ingredients to preparation including financials. It operates only late in the afternoon and stays open until early mornings.

When this Malingap outlet starts featuring a live band in one of the elevated stalls in the future, I wonder if it will add to its non-traditional character.

Grabbed from Luis B.
The compound now has a name-Z Compound. Visiting recently this 2015, a new find is a Mexican resto Hijo D Pita. Hijo fulfills the expectation of a food trip. Place is bike friendly but bikers are advised to bring their own chain.

Friday, July 25, 2014


A recent escapade in Asia is in a relatively small island at 704 square kilometers (and still expanding) and with its forest reserve intact. Population of about 5 million (changing depending on the taxi driver) is inhabited by a mixed Asian race primarily Chinese. This country is modern with a heritage. While strict and quite authoritarian, it is a bit tolerant.
• Taxi driver says to his next passenger by cell phone, "There is a major jam, allow at 20 minute delay, OK?"
"Next time you file for a GSF refund, do it before entering the Changi immigration so I can see the items, OK?   This time I will refund."
• 20 seconds before the pedestrian traffic sign turns from Red to Green, construction workers cross the street.

It is walk friendly with exclusive pedestrian lanes from end to end, foliage from maintained trees providing protection to trekkers from the harsh sunlight. The air is refreshingly clean.
Its compactness allows mobility North to South. Board the bus, call a center for a taxi or van, hop in the North South, North East and Circle lines to move around anytime of the day.
It is a shoppers’ paradise (which is a secondary in my interest for this trip.)
You feel at home and think like work when in the central business district.
But it is a food trippers’ ecstasy. As diverse as street food to formal dining, Asian to Continental, visualize it, you will see it cooking.

View with me the documentary of the “Roamer,” the intrepid traveler in Singapore. While a part of a group, every opportunity to see the other way is grabbed. Not that extreme though as I have to be on track for the appointed moments of the exclusive family festival.

Thanks to our (family) sponsors. While a stay in the city is relatively still affordable, their generosity upgraded me several levels higher making this memorable extended weekend quite a luxurious one.

Singapore and family, a great way to fly.

Chito 7 July 2010

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Taking a ferry boat ride again in the city

The over 20 kilometer MMDA Pasig Ferry ride from Escolta in Manila to Pinagbuhatan in Rizal costs me P 95 pesos and 90 minutes in time excluding stops and connecting land trips.

The full stretch was split into two trips, the 1st part at the upper urban section from Old Manila to Guadalupe and the 2nd from Guadalupe to the mouth of the Pasig River converging to Laguna da Bay in Pinagbuhatan. Operational stations were Plaza Mexico, Escolta, Sta Mesa PUP, Sta Ana, Guadalupe and Pinagbuhatan.

Boat used was matched with the number of passengers per trip.  6 passengers from Escolta to Guadalupe sat in an 28 seater open boat while the sole passenger from Guadalupe to Pinagbuhatan (me) was transported in a 6 seater boat. I was brought to Pinagbuhatan by 5 crew, the operator, navigator and 3 aides. Boat was manned by an all MMDA crew except for the portion in front of Malacanang where a coast guard joined the ride. Ride was well documented and properly communicated to a base. Passengers signed a manifesto, time of departure and arrival were logged and reported, life vests installed in every passenger's seat and head count regularly made. Schedule though was not strictly followed to the minute.

Speed was determined by the state of the water and the landmarks. It travelled very slowly at the Malacanan Palace, fast and slow in some bends and fast at the Pasig side. Sights of interest other than the traditional landmarks and ferry stations were the bridges the most popular are Jones, Ayala, Mabini, Guadalupe.

When launched, it was meant to provide the commuters an alternative means of transport from East to West and vice versa. However, with the patronage, schedules, waiting time and the boat sizes it does not seem like an alternative means of mass transport.

The experience was refreshing. Wind from the moving board provided the breeze. Ride provided a change of pace from the routinary ride of the metro rails. There were no turnpikes, no announcement on the stations and as of this ride, no mad rush to get out of the station.  For someone with an affinity for water, the Pasig river traverse was a relaxing and even a rejuvenating one.