Entry 102

SiningSaysay

Last year I visited the SiningSaysay exhibit at the Gateway Tower. For more information about this, you can visit here.

In a nutshell, the exhibit showcases Philippine history visually and artistically. It is an interpretation of our national historiography showing not only events but also cultures, beliefs, and scholarly discoveries that in many ways help define the Filipino.

Below are some of the paintings that I like. I suggest you visit the exhibit, too, at the 5th floor of Gateway Tower in Cubao, Quezon City. Each painting is 6 feet by 12 feet large. (I had to crop the images to exclude the bollards.)

by Junyee

 

by Simkin de Pio

 

by Gig de Pio

by Gig de Pio

by Gig de Pio

by Gig de Pio

 

by Randy Solon

by Randy Solon

by Abdulmari Asia Imao

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Entry 096

Mabining Mandirigma

Ang pag-aaral at paggunita ng kasaysayan ay hindi lamang nalilimitahan sa mga silid ng paaralan, aklatan, at pagbisita sa mga pook. Itinatanghal din ito sa pelikula, teatro, awit, at sayaw.

Sa mga ito, sa palagay ko, mas mahusay ang pagtatawid ng kasaysayan dahil nabibighani nito ang lahat ng sentido ng tagatunghay.

Nitong mga nakaraang taon, mapalad kong napanood ang dalawang musikal na pumapaksa kay Apolinario Mabini, ang tinatawag na dakilang lumpo.

Ang mga ito ay Ang Huling Lagda ni Apolinario Mabini (2014) ng Dulaang UP at ang Mabining Mandirigma (2015/2016) ng Tanghalang Pilipino. Kapwa nila itinanyag ang kahusayan at totoong matibay na paninidigan ni Mabini bilang isang rebolusyonaro, samantalang ibinubunyag din ang kataksilan at inepisiyente ng ilang tauhan sa kasaysayan, kabilang na si Emilio Aguinaldo.

Pangalawang pagkakataon ko nang mapanood ang Mabining Mandirigma. Una noong 2015 at ngayong taon. Kapag naibigan ko ang isang palabas, tiyak na panonoorin ko itong muli.

Ang libretto ay isinulat ni Nicanor Tiongson, ang musika ay inilapat ni Joed Balsamo, at ang palabas ay idinirihi ni Chris Millado.

Ang maganda sa Mandirigma ay ang paraan nito ng pagpapakilala ng kasaysayan sa mga manonood. Sa halip na history play, ginawang steampunk ang set design at pananamit. Sa halip na lalaking aktor, babae ang gumanap bilang Mabini (maging sa ilan pang tauhan).

Ayon kay Millado, “The casting choice also invoked multiple readings of the text: the Mabini ‘othered’ for his contrary political views and marginalized for his physical disability.”

Si Liesl Batucan ang gumanap bilang Apolinario Mabini sa ikalawang run Mabining Mandirigma (2016). Ang una noong 2015 ay si Delphine Buencamino.

Si Liesl Batucan ang gumanap bilang Apolinario Mabini sa ikalawang run Mabining Mandirigma (2016). Ang una noong 2015 ay si Delphine Buencamino.

Hindi lingid na laganap pa rin ang mababang trato sa kababaihan, na sila ay itinuturing na pangalawang uri.

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Entry 095

Snapshots Series 06

One late afternoon, I rushed to the Manila Bay to witness the popular sunset scene. Here are some of what I’ve seen.

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The golden disc seen from the mooring yachts

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A rowing boy shadowed by the gleaming bay

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A bird perched at the boom of a yacht on a sunset mileau

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View from the breakwater

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Wood and steel afloat

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This man was swimming a short span of the bay to his floating home …

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… and yes, this was his home.

 

Entry 091

Oblasyong Dumidingas: Oblation Flaring Up

A month before capping the year 2015, UP Diliman’s Oblation was made resembling a flaring torch, effectively illuminating a darkened scape.

The art installation, with the Oblation as the centrepiece, was the work of the prolific artist Toym Imao. Known for his large and intricate mixed media pieces of brass, bronze and wood, Imao employed this time resin, cellophane, bamboo, and ample illumination.

The conceptual design is explained by this note (in Filipino):

Mula sa temang Dingas: Adhikaing Diliman, Adhikaing Bayan, gumamit si Toym Imao ng apat na simbolo–ang Oblation bilang sulo, tatlong tore sa Bulwagang Quezon na animo’y mga parola o lighthouse, mga dingas sa Oblation Plaza na parang layag, at mga punong naaaninagan ng mga matingkad na pulang ilaw sa paligid ng Bulwagang Quezon na parang mga punong kabalyero o fire trees. Ang lahat ng mga ito’y simbolong pagpapakahulugan sa unibersidad bilang dingas ng mga kaisipan, gabay sa pagkilos, at liwanag ng paglilingkod na siyang humuhubog at nagpapaalab ng damdaming makabayan ng mga mag-aaral, guro, at kawani.

Four concepts symbolize the university as a source of light: burning torch, lighthouse, open flame, and fire tree. The Oblation serves part of the burning torch, the three pillars behind it are reminiscent of lighthouses, little white flames surround the area, and red spotlights illuminate some trees to resemble fire trees.

Here are the images.

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The Oblation engulfed in stylized flames.

 

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It stands on a torch-like rim.

 

 

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These flame-like shapes are made of resin; they also look like tear drops.

 

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Behind the centrepiece torch are the three pillars that symbolize lighthouses.

 

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Here is a view of the installation with all the four symbolisms present.

 

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Toym Imao is the artist and overall designer of the installation.

 

You can read more about this artwork here.

Entry 090

Snapshots Series 05

You see a different world when you are river-borne. Here are some images I captured while at the Pasig River–scenes above and under the bridges.

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This man lives under the bridge. He was clinging on the mighty steel frames to cross to the other side.

 

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A boatman afloat until sunset

 

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An itinerant man on a bicycle

 

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Stewards of a Pasig River bridge

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They crossed the bridge when they got there.

 

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Probably young lovers or just chatting friends

 

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Street urchin ready to jump off the bridge

 

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Playing with waste water

 

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Partially submerged

 

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A man and his dogs on a ship plying the river

 

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A river tugboat

 

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Probably bored

 

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Curious children at the riverbank

 

Entry 089

Sculpture 10: Art Depictions of Andres Bonifacio

This post is a compilation of figures of the great Philippine bayani (I prefer to use this term rather than the foreign concept of hero) Andres Bonifacio. I consider him a unifier of the “Filipinos” against foreign oppression, a catalyst for a defined national consciousness through revolution and arms, and an unfortunate victim of politicking and betrayal.

Today, 30 November, we are commemorating his birth. So much misconceptions surround his very figure and identity. It is up to the historians to unravel the obscured Bonifacio and put him to a better esteem by a new generation of Filipinos.

Arguably the most popular of the Bonifacio figures is this one by Guillermo Tolentino

Arguably the most popular of the Bonifacio figures is this one by Guillermo Tolentino in Kalookan

 

Guillermo Tolentino's Bonifacio at the Liwasang Bonifacio in front of the Post Office

Another Guillermo Tolentino’s work at the Liwasang Bonifacio in front of the Manila Central Post Office

 

A detail of the figure

A detail of the figure

 

Another work by Guillermo Tolentino; this bust is housed at the National Museum

Another work by Guillermo Tolentino; this bust is housed at the National Museum

 

Florentino Caedo's Bonifacio bust at the LRT Central Station terminal

Florentino Caedo’s Bonifacio bust at the LRT Central Station terminal

 

Close up of the bust

Close up of the bust

 

Eduardo Castrillo's metal relief at the Bonifacio Shrine between the Manila City Hall and Mehan Garden; here, he is brandishing a gulok and exposing his cut arm from a blood compact ritual

Eduardo Castrillo’s metal relief at the Bonifacio Shrine between the Manila City Hall and Mehan Garden; here, he is brandishing a gulok and exposing his cut arm from a blood compact ritual

 

Napoleon Abueva's Bonifacio at Balintawak; this is based from Ramon Martinez's iconic Homenaje del pueblo filipino a los heroes del 96 that many have mistaken to be Bonifacio

Napoleon Abueva’s Bonifacio at the Balintawak Cloverleaf Exit; this is based from Ramon Martinez’s iconic Homenaje del pueblo filipino a los heroes del 96 that many have mistaken to be Bonifacio

 

Detail of a painting by Romy Mananquil showing Bonifacio among other figures of the struggle against the Spanish; exhibited at a gallery in Gateway, Cubao

Detail of a painting by Romy Mananquil showing Bonifacio among other figures of the struggle against the Spanish; exhibited at a gallery in Gateway, Cubao

 

Here is good read about the iconization of Bonifacio, as presented by the Presidential Museum and Library.

(All images included in this post are mine.)

Entry 086

The Riveting Riva

Riva Ferrer, the alto beauty of the UP Madrigal Singers (Madz), spent more than a decade perfecting her craft. Below are images of her last recital, dubbed “OPM Squared”, on 4 May 2015. Her OPM stands for “Original Philippine Music”, quite different from the “Original Pilipino Music” that we are acquainted with.

She first enrolled as a choral conducting major at the University of the Philippines’ College of Music. Then she shifted as a composition major, and ultimately as a musicology major. Previously, she was an assistant choirmaster at her high school choir. “Wala akong pinagsisishan. Lahat iyon ay sapat lang para mas maging mabuting musiko pa ako,” she said, looking back at her seemingly fickle choice of specializations.

She joined the Madz in 2008, sometime after becoming inspired hearing them perform “Gabaq-an”. “Kinakabahan talaga ako noon. Parang napakalaking responsabilidad ng pagiging miyembro ng Madz,” she said in an interview I conducted. It was indeed a pressure as the Madz won the 19th European Grand Prix for Choral Singing a year ago she joined. “Hindi ko alam kung good enough siya [her skills] for the Madz para punán ang mga upúan ng mga inupuán ng nag-Grand Prix. I just tried my luck.”

“Pag-umaawit ako, ibig sabihin masaya ako. Pag masaya ako, umaawit ako. Ang saya lang kumanta kasama ng ibang tao, at gumagawa kayo ng musika. Masaya siyang experience.”

She still does compositions of various sorts, one of which is “Sa Aking Musika” that premiered at her last recital and performed by the Madz and musicians from the college. It is a fusion of ethnic, traditional, and contemporary music. These lines from the song are my favourite:

Wala ka man sa aking piling
Sa pakpak ng aking musika
Nawa’y malaman mong mahal kita!

These are some of the photos.

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Here, Riva plays the kulintáng in an ensemble comprising of native Southeast Asian instruments. In the photo are the kulintáng and the águng.

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Part of the ensemble are the babandíl (leftmost gong), the gandíngan (four hanging gongs), and the dabákan (drum).

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