Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Red Horse MUZIKLABAN the Indie Film Challenge 2009 Winners!

Last Friday, Nov. 27, 2009, I got the opportunity to attend the awards night of the first Red Horse Beer MUZIKLABAN Indie Film Challenge at Nomnomnom Bar in Tomas Morato.

Without a doubt, Red Horse Beer MUZIKLABAN has successfully opened the stage for amateur rock band players from all over the Philippines to show their mettle, grit, and rock power. Now on its 11th year, Red Horse Beer MUZIKLABAN has pushed the envelope further by accomodating kindred "strong spirited" interests such as tattoo art, extreme sports, and yes, independent filmmaking.

This year, for the very first Red Horse Beer MUZIKLABAN Indie Film Challenge, the SMB group challenged Filipino indie filmmakers to come up with a 5-minute film around the theme: "The Legend of the Happy Horse". (I had my own encounter with the said "Happy Horse" myself in 2008. See my previous blog entry on it:

R.A. Rivera, one of the most sought-after video directors in the country and an indie film maker, joins Pepe Smith, Ricky Sta Ana, Armand Mariano in crafting this year's MUZIKLABAN component.

"“Red Horse Beer including the indie film category in this competition is already, in itself, a solid contribution to this field as it affords the opportunity for aspiring filmmakers to be exposed to new viewers and for their talent and skills to be recognized. This prospect of providing a platform to other fellow filmmakers was the deciding factor for me in joining this project. As most filmmakers would attest, it’s not just about being able to improve your art, but it’s more importantly about being able to tell a story and having people enjoy or relate or retell that story - and that is the biggest reward of making a film," explains R.A. Rivera.

The Winners are :

"Kwentong Gidiyap" by Miko Livelo
Winner of the OPEN CATEGORY
Age : 24 years old
School Graduated : Fine Arts & Design at University of Santo Tomas ‘08
Current Work : Motion Graphics Designer at Mad Banana

"Ang Inumin ng Tunay na Lalake" by Jet Leyco
Age : 22 yrs. Old
School : Far Eastern University 09
Employer : Wassacre Films
Watch the short film here:

"Pagtitimpi" by Jan Parma
Viewers Choice Award
School : Ateneo De Manila University , Communications, Film Production student


Friday, November 20, 2009

NAWAN: Peace Conference, Kalinaw-Mindanaw in Davao

Let me just put in this commercial:)
Peace Conference Nawan: Kalinaw-Mindanaw in Davao City!
NCCA 11.18.2009
The Inter-committee members from the Mindanao cluster of the NCCA and sectoral leaders from the region initiates and organizes a conference titled "Nawan: Kalinaw-Mindanaw" Advancing Co-initiatives for Peace in Mindanao in Regency Inn in Davao City from Nov. 20-22, 2009.

An exhibit of art works expressing the shared aspirations of the culturally diverse peoples of Mindanao opens the conference.

The project also features a simultaneous film showing event and live performance showcase, including a book fair.

The project aims to mobilize active support and participation from major stakeholders in the areas of culture, arts, and peace-building initiatives in Mindanao.

The keynote address will be given by Grace Rebollos, President of Western Mindanao State University.

For the first day, paper presenters are Col. Ernesto Ruiz Aradanas, Brigade Commander of the 603rd IB at Camp Iranun (formerly Camp Abubakar) in Barira, Maguindanao; and Shamira Gotoc, editor of Panel discussants to these papers include Era Colmo-Espana, tribal chieftain in Kidapawan; Mayor Alex Tomawis of Barira, Maguindanao; and Fr. Rey Jaectin of Pagadian City. Also presenting her paper is Irene Santiago, chair of the Mindanao Commission on Women followed by Dr. Mario Agujam of Mindanao State University-General Santos City. The sharing of experiences will be lead by Ma. Cecilia "Geejay" Arriola-Langlois of Mebuyan, visual artist Cris Rollo, Tausug artist Edwin Tantalie, playwright and filmmaker Arnel Mardoquio, Alma Uy, chair of the Tagum City Tourism Council, and Datu Docris Daug, Tagabawa local chieftain. The second day begins with the presentation of the draft conference output for incorporation into the sub-regional planning workshops of the participants. The conference is aimed at creating a strategic development and action plan for advancing arts and culture to achieve peace in Mindanao. At the conclusion of the conference, NCCA Commissioner Ricky de Ungria will lead in the reading of the NAWAN declaration crafted by the participants, capped by a solidarity message from NCCA Executive Director Cecile Guidote-Alvarez.

The exhibit, titled “Hulagway ug Kaamguhan: Dalit sa Kamindanawan,” shows traditional and contemporary visual arts in Mindanao, along with a film festival showcasing works by Mindanao filmmakers that celebrate the multicultural complexity of the homeland through “Tan-aw, Lantaw Mindanaw: Cinemagining Mindanao.”

In the evenings, participants are enjoined to watch CCP-Tanghalang Pilipino’s “Madonna Brava ng Mindanao,” Don Pagusara’s adaptation of Bertolt Brecht’s “Mother Courage and Her Children,” a searing indictment of war; traditional performances of the Teduray community of Maguindanao; and the showcase performance of contemporary dance artists from General Santos and Koronadal.

Nawan is sponsored/funded by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. It is organized also by the Filipino-Chinese Heritage and Cultural Society, Inc., of Davao City.

Conference Director is Nestor Horfilla, executive director of Mindulani, the cultural network in Mindanao.

For further details, please email Mr. Nestor Horfilla at

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Happily Sleepless in Galicia, Spain

At the moment, I am still pinching myself just to check if I am indeed here in Spain. I am deeply thankful to the universe for this gift. The power of dreams is great and so is the power of words. I remember that I had already told myself years ago that if I'd be going to Europe for the first time, then it would be in Spain. Years came by and I had forgotten about it. And then this Seminar on Sustainable Cultural Tourism here in Santiago de Compostela came, and then I am here, and I am awed. As soon as I held the invitation letter in my hands, my heart beat faster, and I knew then that I had to apply. I had to go through some seeming obstacles, but then a moment came when I knew that the universe is dead serious in proceeding with its gift for me, asserting itself at each opportunity, and is merely checking if it was indeed me at the other end receiving, wide-eyed and ready. And I realize that I am ready for it. And I am thankful that I've attracted back this dream at this point of my life when I am ready for it. And more than ever, I am deeply thankful.

So, I am here in beautiful Santiago de Compostela and I had the chance to connect with 20 plus other people from this side of the planet and from Asia (with my co-participants in the seminar from Vietnam, Cambodia, East Timor and Sri Lanka). Again, I am deeply thankful.

Interestingly, on Oct 25, on my 9th day here, I received this amazing email from my good friend Annie Luis (who also wished for me to get this Spanish opportunity), sharing a blog entry by Jason Mraz which resonated deeply within me:


Just wanted to share this blog entry from our gorgeous Jason Mraz! Hoping Spain's great! Enjoy!!!!

4 Leaves Left

“I thought about one of my favorite Sufi poems, which says that God long ago drew a circle in the sand exactly around the spot where you are standing right now. I was never not coming here. This was never not going to happen."
— Elizabeth Gilbert

I’ve never been lucky enough to find a four-leaf clover. I’ve been gifted plenty, but I never found one on my own accord down on my hands and knees. Then again, I’ve never committed to a long look. But I will admit that in all my years in this child body, whenever I found myself stooped in the grass, fingering between blades of green and those greener, I always hoped that that day’s first charmed discovery would be made by me.

In all of life, failure in the finding never got me down. The upset shows itself as a sign that that my luck would show up as something different, and perhaps a much larger version of itself. So, there was rarely a need to squander a precious moment and/or add a rare and mutant flower to the vision board.

I apply the same theory to never winning the lottery. I know I’m not supposed to get my millions for free. For this I am always eager to earn it.

There were plenty of jobs where I wasn’t hired, many of them in music and theatre. Rejection left me bouncing off of so many NO’s that I learned to be encouraged by the defeats. I found I had more talents to cultivate, more songs to write, more moxie to move. I was always complete in knowing I was moving in the right direction.

Yesterday I sprawled across an infinite patch of tropical clover on a near deserted stretch of one of Maui’s sacred shores, basking in a pink grapefruit sunrise. I warmed and awakened every sense and chakra taking sips of the new day, gulps of air and gasps of soul soothing ginger as tea. In my mind I harmonized with the crow of the cock and purred along with the hush and shush of the swaying palms in a Pakalani filled paradise. I pulled wild hairs from my eyes and allowed my body to dry itself of the sweat fostered a few minutes before in the steamy pre-dawn sauna.

Naked, I acknowledged the elements for granting me such a blessed life. With nothing to offer the world in that moment, my naked newborn self offered up love, laughter, and gratitude. From far out to sea, God, on a cruise ship perhaps, sighed as if to say “well done” and returned the love and gratitude in a breeze, and, on my behalf, cleverly kept the world as it is.

My gaze turned to the clover and I quietly remarked at how it wasn’t the traditional Irish Shamrock I usually familiar my eyes with. This tropical ground cover was so expansive you might miss it over its normalcy. Yet, what I noticed was how each and every little stem had only two pairs of pedals popping out of the sprout. The deeper I looked through the filter of appreciation, the more I realized I wasn’t just sitting on a grassy knoll, but resting rather, almost retired in the enlightenment, enveloped on a prairie in perfect company among thousands of 4-leaf clovers.

Luck is all around me.
Love is all there is.

May every situation be summed up in a smile.

Cheers to you Annie! Cheers to you Jason! And cheers to all those who find the love around them!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Beyonce Wins 2009 Video of the Year and Shows Real Class!

Wow! For those who watched the recent MTV VMA, we all know the stunt pulled by Kanye West over Taylor Swift, stealing her precious thank you moment when Swift won the Best Female Video. But before everything's completely ruined, Beyonce herself got the chance to go up on stage to claim her Video of the Year (Single Ladies)award, made her thank you speech short, called Taylor Swift from backstage, giving Taylor Swift her moment. Classy classy Beyonce!

Here's the video:

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Unique & a Joyful Wedding Entrance!

Wow! I came across this video of a wedding dance. And I was so happy watching it! The joy of the dance was so infectious it made me dance in front of my monitor. Haha. :) Am sharing it here and I wish you happiness as well! The title of the video is JK Wedding Entrance Dance.

Monday, June 22, 2009

On Loving

I was reading through an entry of Migs in his blog: titled "Twenty Four and Loveless Yet," and I was particularly happy to read about the response Migs posted culled from the blog

Here it is:

"its also sad that some people feel that romantic love is lacking in their lives. and some complain of being lonely, lonesome, alone...

perhaps some of these people focus too much on what they don't have, i.e. no love in their lives. and whining about it just makes the thought expand. always mentioning this will just reinforce it further, a vicious cycle.

so turn it around. stop thinking you don't have love. stop focusing on what is lacking in your life. start by recognizing that there are so many people around us who love us and whom we can love back! family, friends, people we work with... then you become thankful sincerely of what you already have: this wonderful people around.

Then start loving. It's an action word. start focusing your energies on making people you love happy: your father and mother, especially your parents, your grandparents, your officemates, your friends and barkada. spend time with them, make them laugh, make them feel appreciated. then extend to other people in dire need of loving: the poor, the elderly, the abandoned, the orphans and widows. just keep on loving and loving.

this way, you stop focusing on what you don't have and you start focusing on loving people around. you end up sending signals of love to the universe. and that is what the universe will give back to you. love, in all its forms, perhaps including romantic love.


All together now, say with me, "I love love love!" :)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

My Niece's Drawings

Last Sunday, I had a fun time with my niece Hannah, 4 years old. She had her pen and paper with her, and so I asked her to draw things randomly. After drawing one, she'd show it to me, and then ask me for another thing to draw. And I was amazed by the mental images she had of the things I told her to draw! Among other things, I was floored by her rendition of McDonald's! I try to take her there whenever I can, and she always waves a goodbye to the McDonald's arch post outside when we leave. And yet, for the local fastfood chain Jollibee, she opted to draw the mascot itself. Also, there is her perspective of the airplane (which now, I recognize as the plane that she frequently sees in the dreamboard of her Tita Erel pasted on the room's wall). And the horse! I taught she'd find it very difficult. But she showed me her horse and I was awed.

I am speechless. And proud. :)

Here it is (click image to enlarge):

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Camel in Ilocos

When I was a kid, I recall that my early surprises in my zoo visits were seeing a long necked giraffe, a tiger, a lion, a hippo, an alligator in Manila Zoo--these were never before seen animals for me, animals that were only seen in books and National Geographic tv features. They were all, should I dare term it, Overseas Animals (OA)! Then also, two years ago, I remember my very first sighting of a brown bear and a llama (a llama! imagine that!) in Tagaytay.

On my recent trip to Ilocos with my friends (April 15-19, 2009), I was surprised to see, this time, a camel! :) This was in Ilocos Sur, in Baluarte Zoo, the once private resthouse of Gov. Chavit Singson now turned into a zoo open to the public.

So, here's my photo with a camel. Yes, the one eating the grass. Haha.:)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Ivan Roxas

This last Lent, I took to reading the book Understanding Art and I came across a hundred and one artists (French, Italian, English and American) from the 14th to the present century. I was amazed, among others, by Paul Delaroche's The Execution of Lady Jane Gray, and specially by the virtuosity of John Singleton Copley for doing portraits that appeared so real. I wondered suddenly if there was any Filipino artist, dead or living, who even had a bit of Copley or Delaroche in him. Then I remembered my officemate and artist Ryan Arengo telling me about seeing an Ivan Roxas painting up close, one that made the hairs on his arms stand. And today, googling Ivan Roxas, I came across this self-portrait: Died Broken Hearted. The silk around the man's waist so fools the eye, I am reminded of the curtain painted by Adrian Van Der Spelt (Flower Still Life With Curtain,1658) that looked so real one could thumb it. And the red cloth on the woman in this Roxas' painting recalls a familiar painting. Running through the other works of Delaroche, I saw the painting: Joan of Arc in Prison, 1824.

Here, I've posted Roxas' painting and that of Delaroche's.

Ivan Roxas,Died Broken Hearted

Paul Delaroche,Joan of Arc in Prison, 1824.

Ivan Roxas was born in Tanay, Rizal, Philippines, on June 26, 1978 and graduated at the University of Sto. Tomas, (a fellow Thomasian), College of Fine Arts, Major in Painting in 2000.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Living Spectacularly!

I came across this message of Brazilian theatre director, writer and politician Augusto Boal (born April 16, 1931 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) for the World Theater Day this March 2009.

Brazilian theater director Augusto Boal developed The Theatre of the Oppressed (TO) during the 1950s and 1960s. In an effort to transform theater from the "monologue" of traditional performance into a "dialogue" between audience and stage, Boal experimented with many kinds of interactive theater. His explorations were based on the assumption that dialogue is the common, healthy dynamic between all humans, that all human beings desire and are capable of dialogue, and that when a dialogue becomes a monologue, oppression ensues. Theater then becomes an extraordinary tool for transforming monologue into dialogue. "While some people make theater," says Boal, "we all are theater." -(from an introduction to Boal by Douglas L. Paterson on Webster's World of Cultural Democracy in 1996.)

And it made a lot of sense. And among the things he said that resonated most with me was that we do not become citizens of our respective societies until we are able to change it, and always, of course, for the better.

So, here is the full text of that message:


"All human societies are “spectacular*” in their daily life and produce “spectacles” at special moments. They are “spectacular” as a form of social organization and produce “spectacles” like the one you have come to see.

Even if one is unaware of it, human relationships are structured in a theatrical way. The use of space, body language, choice of words and voice modulation, the confrontation of ideas and passions, everything that we demonstrate on the stage, we live in our lives. We are theatre!

Weddings and funerals are “spectacles”, but so, also, are daily rituals so familiar that we are not conscious of this. Occasions of pomp and circumstance, but also the morning coffee, the exchanged good-mornings, timid love and storms of passion, a senate session or a diplomatic meeting - all is theatre.

One of the main functions of our art is to make people sensitive to the “spectacles” of daily life in which the actors are their own spectators, performances in which the stage and the stalls coincide. We are all artists. By doing theatre, we learn to see what is obvious but what we usually can’t see because we are only used to looking at it. What is familiar to us becomes unseen: doing theatre throws light on the stage of daily life.

Last September, we were surprised by a theatrical revelation: we, who thought that we were living in a safe world, despite wars, genocide, slaughter and torture which certainly exist, but far from us in remote and wild places. We, who were living in security with our money invested in some respectable bank or in some honest trader’s hands in the stock exchange were told that this money did not exist, that it was virtual, a fictitious invention by some economists who were not fictitious at all and neither reliable nor respectable. Everything was just bad theatre, a dark plot in which a few people won a lot and many people lost all. Some politicians from rich countries held secret meetings in which they found some magic solutions. And we, the victims of their decisions, have remained spectators in the last row of the balcony.

Twenty years ago, I staged Racine’s Ph├Ędre in Rio de Janeiro. The stage setting was poor: cow skins on the ground, bamboos around. Before each presentation, I used to say to my actors: “The fiction we created day by day is over. When you cross those bamboos, none of you will have the right to lie. Theatre is the Hidden Truth”.

When we look beyond appearances, we see oppressors and oppressed people, in all societies, ethnic groups, genders, social classes and casts; we see an unfair and cruel world. We have to create another world because we know it is possible. But it is up to us to build this other world with our hands and by acting on the stage and in our own life.

Participate in the “spectacle” which is about to begin and once you are back home, with your friends act your own plays and look at what you were never able to see: that which is obvious. Theatre is not just an event; it is a way of life!

We are all actors: being a citizen is not living in society, it is changing it."

Augusto Boal

Monday, February 9, 2009

Working on a Mission

For a week in February, I had a fruitful week learning and immersing myself in new knowledge, allowing myself as well the company of people who have opened themselves in the areas of financial planning.

I met in person a qualifying member in the Million Dollar Round Table (yes, that premier association of financial professionals), and I became an instant fan. She has such a passion within her, plus enthusiasm, and sincere concern for her clients and even strangers, that I'd buy a policy from her outright anytime. Just like her, I see my position as a financial advisor more as a mission--a mission to help Filipinos be educated about their finances and to be responsible with their money and future.

I'm definitely thankful for this encounter!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Financially Marvelous 2009 for Me!

Happy New Year everyone!

I received this fab message from a friend during the holiday season: "The best use of our life is to love people and the best expression of that love is our time to do it."

I say thank you 2008 because it was also a great year for me and now I'm looking forward to this, as they put it, Ox (oks) na Ox (oks) year!