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Showing posts from May, 2009

Dumaguete Diary: Day 2

Lucky beggar! That's what a tita of mine would've said about my second day in Dumaguete. Lucky is an understatement. I tagged along with the fellows for a glorious day in Antulang Beach Resort . Annabel Lee-Adriano and her family were our gracious hosts. We went cruising through Tambobo Bay, where yachts from all over the world are docked. And then we stopped offshore to snorkel and revel in the sea. We were treated to sumptuous lunch, merienda, and dinner. I don't remember everything we ate but I won't forget the spicy native chicken soup, the ubod salad, the budbud and tsokolate, the halo-halo for dessert, the pandan iced tea, and the marvellous company and conversations with our hosts. In the evening I swam alone in the pool in Villa Alamanda while Ian stayed inside listening to music and reading. He had already had his solo swim earlier. I stared at the full moon and relished having the pool to myself, gliding back and forth and turning somersaults underwater.

Dumaguete Diary: Day 1

Silliman Campus I used to harbor a dream of living in Dumaguete, in a one-storey wooden house with a screened porch that ran all the way around it, surrounded by lush green grass, an ancient acacia up front with a swing dangling from one of its branches. I used to picture myself in the garden, watering the plants and watching rainbows in the spray from the hose. There was a child playing on the swing. The first and last time I was in Dumaguete was in 1993. I was a young and clueless fellow in the Dumaguete National Writers Workshop. Many things were said about my poems by the esteemed panelists. So much so that I came away somewhat afraid to write. Imagine, being afraid of something you love and live for. I got over the fear, eventually. No, that's wrong and sounds glib. I didn't get over the fear. When I write I am always afraid: Is this good enough? What will people think? Is this right? Can I say this? Have I broken any writing rules that I don't even know about? What

Flight 5J 625 MLA-Dumaguete via Cambodia

On the flight from Manila to Dumaguete my seatmates were Sister Vangie of the Daughters of Charity and Father Kevin of Maryknoll. The first thoughts I had as they took their seats beside me were: 1. It's a good thing the New Scientist Issue with the cover story ‘How Your Brain Creates God’ is still in my backpack; and, 2. "Oh god -- oops, hey thou shalt not take the Lord's name in vain! -- they're going to judge me and sniff me out for the sometime-Buddhist, Igorot-pagan-wannabe that I am!" But there was no reason to get my guard up because we shared an interesting conversation for the duration of the flight. Sister Vangie told me she was one of two Filipina nuns stationed in Cambodia, running a hospital there. Father Kevin is from the U.S.A. and also works in Cambodia. He helps run a hospice for children living with HIV/AIDS and when I naively asked him whether there were a lot in Cambodia, he said there were 300 under their care right now. Father Kevin also

BWG Art Writing Workshop

All year round Baguio City and her environs positively vibrate with the energies of the art world. It can be said that there is no shortage of creativity in our mountains. All this artistic productivity ought to be documented, not only for posterity, but also in order to nurture and enhance the engagement of local communities with art. Thus the Baguio Writers Group (BWG) and the Bencab Art Foundation are pleased to offer a writing workshop on art theory and criticism. Our esteemed resource persons are Lito Zulueta, editor of the Arts and Culture sub-section of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, known art and film critic, and UST faculty member; and Yason Banal, internationally-acclaimed young artist, columnist for the Philippine Star, and faculty member of the U.P. Film Institute. The workshop will be held at the Bencab Museum on May 23 and 24, from 9AM - 5PM. The workshop will be comprised of a series of lectures and writing exercises. Registration fee is a bargain at P1200, inclusive

Cycling Quote for the Summer of Rain '09

From Eric Caruncho's piece, The Art of the Bicycle, about Ave Medea, who builds one-of-a-kind bespoke frames out of his home workshop. If there's one thing that tree-hugging activists and conspicuous-consuming yuppies agree on, it's that bicycles are cool. Granted, the former ride them instead of SUVs to reduce their carbon footprint, while the latter like to drape them on the roof racks oftheir gas-guzzling Fortuners or Explorers as expensive accessories, oblicious to the irony of driving hundreds of kilomters so they can ride their mountain bikes on a stretch of pristine nature trail.

Mambunongs, Mumbakis, and National Artists

In today's Sunday Inquirer Magazine. It is early morning of February 26, 2009. Felipe Cornelio motions to National Artist Ben Cabrera to be seated. This man in leather shoes, jeans, collared shirt, and baseball cap is a mambunong, or an Ibaloy ritual specialist – a shaman, if you will. He looks up to the sky and back down to the hefty, black, native pig hog-tied at his feet and in a soft, almost inaudible chant, he lets the spirits of the land know that Bencab, who has built his house upon this land, is making this offering to them and he invites them to join the feast. In the same breath he also calls upon Jesus Christ to bless this sacrifice. The mambunong steps back as his assistants drive a wooden stake into the pig’s heart. The spirits will surely hear the pig’s cries, and they will come to grace the occasion. The mambunong pours tapuy, or rice beer into a glass, chants over it quietly, again addressing the spirits of the land and Jesus, and hands the glass to Bencab, motio