Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Eraserheads, The Reunion Concert: Til The Next One (We Hope!)


My siblings and I decided to watch The Eraserheads: The Reunion concert just this Saturday morning, August 30th, this momentous event in Philippine musical history lost to us no thanks to work and other obligations. Giving in to our silent/silenced desire to watch the concert (the tribute CDs to the E-heads regularly blast in my siblings’ car!), in no time at all my brother in law got tickets at the Glorietta Ticketworld outlet. By 6.20pm, we were off to The Fort Open Field near Bonifacio High Street. Thank God we live in Taguig City =]

After a little difficulty finding a parking slot, we trekked to BHS, walking along aside a madding throng eager to be inside the concert area- it was a past 8pm already. The sides of the concert area was filled with posses of teenagers in various curious garb and getup. The lines through to the patron section was semi-kilometric but we got into our designated area soon enough. It was literally standing room only, no seats were provided, not one single rattan or Monobloc seat in da haus. Well, we were expecting NOT to sit anyway, if the Christina Aguilera concert last year was any measure. We were on our feet 90% of the time, singing and dancing to Ms Aguilera’s hits. But I wander.

When we got in, the crowd was a good mix of 20- and 30-somethings, those who most swam in E-heads mania of the 90s. They seemed not to be the rowdy type which assuaged the typical concert-goer’s concerns in me. The crowd was so dense beyond belief that we found ourselves somewhere in the middle with a view of the stage- somehow.

And then, the concert flashed a 10-minute countdown that got the previously tame crowd really excited. It was the longest minutes in musical history but the people gamely shouted outloud the last ten second 10… 9… 8… 3… 2… 1… of every minute, punctuating each minute with loud cheer. When the countdown breached the 1:00 minute mark, we all lost it.

3…2…1… The large videowalls flashed a minute or so montage of Eraserheads of the 90s, album covers, gigs, etc capping the clip with SA WAKAS (Finally). And then the show started with a most apt ALAPAAP.

The fireworks and pyrotechnics that lit the stage after Alapaap was no match to the unmistakable sound of the Eraserheads. For the next dozen or so songs in their first set, they hardly deviated from the way they sang their songs in concerts or how they sounded in their tapes or over the radio. It was vintage E-heads that anybody and everybody in the audience can sing with. The band's wry, no nonsense humor was also very much evident in the tiny spiels they had.

The concert was worth the wait, the queue, the terrible heat and humidity. The area we were standing in contained a mixture of REAL E-heads fans who shrieked each word, observed each pause, wailed each second voice note, stopped at each sigh of each song with pinpoint accuracy. Then there was us, the ones who are very, very familiar with the songs but only the chorus and some verses. It was such a thrill to be amongst kindred spirits nonetheless who jumped, pumped their fists in the air, gamely swayed, and rocked and rolled with the E-head’s hits like Alapaap, Toyang, With A Smile, Huwag Mo Nang Itanong Sa Akin (?), and a host of other portkeys into the past.

I can’t help but remember my high school friends Kristine and Justine who’d go to Sunken Garden in UP Diliman straight from classes in Ma Sci to watch the E-heads’ concerts. There was a time when they earned the ire of our teachers because they started writing their “E”’the other way around, vertically flipped a la the number “3”- the trademark way the E-heads wrote their bandname in tapes and posters…

The concert goers were really something else, they cheered and applauded ALL numbers, even the songs that were familiar probably to the hardcore fans alone. The band would sometimes take 30-60-second breaks inbetween songs to exchange guitars or fix a mic. The videowalls didn’t always display what was happening onstage for the sake of those standing somewhere between Mars and Jupiter. But nary a jeer or boo or clap of impatience was heard. The fans were apparently soaking in each and every second of this concert, imperfections and all.

Including the supposed 20-minute break inbetween two supposed sets.

We felt something was not quite right when Ely Buendia, lead singer, suddenly sat immediately after the last song of the first set. Some guys walked over to him but he seemed okay. That was around 9.35pm. My brother in law is connected with the property management office of Bonifacio Global City and he was being badgered because of the terrible traffic situation around the concert venue. About 15 minutes into the break, my brother in law received a text message from the venue security team whom he was asking to about the traffic mess outside. The security personnel apologized that they were being called (the security team) to the backstage because Ely apparently had a health concern.

Oh no.

We didn’t share the info with those around us. We just waited, like everybody, patiently enduring the heat and humidity, still expecting, hoping for a second set. After all, Huling El Bimbo, Pare Ko, Magasin, and Overdrive have yet to be sung.

Twenty minutes passed. Then fifteen more minutes passed. My siblings decided that we ought to move closer to the exits so that we would be the first to get out of the venue should a mad rush for the exits ensue. While we were several meters away from the exit near Fully Booked, members of the band and members of the family of Ely came on stage to inform the crowd about Ely’s condition, that due to physical stress and excitement, his previous heart ailment seemed to be aggravated and he was taken to a health facility, signaling the abrupt end of the concert.

The people clapped, no boos or hisses emanated from the hopefully partially satiated crowd, none that we know of as we exited towards Serendra…

The concert was true to form: it contained all the wonderful ingredients that fans of Eraserheads missed and have come to expect. It ended the way the band did, rather unceremoniously, which left many, if not all of us yearning for more…

Until the next Eraserheads Reunion Concert! Best of health to everyone, especially Ely.

(Photos to follow. I forgot to borrow the memory card connector thingy from my sister's camera to my computer :( but i'm sure you get the picture of how massive this event is- I think it handily trumps Christina Aguilera's 30k crowd...)

PhotoHunt: Beautiful


It's interesting how this week's theme is so common that the vast array to choose from renders me immobile. I've rummaged through my photos from various provinces in the Philippines, photos from Hong Kong, the USA, Finland and Sweden just to find the photo perfect for this week's hunt.

I still came back to my original choice, though, the one I've picked weeks ago.


He lives in one of the lower income communities our university works with. He's one of those boys who tease his female playmates but charm our medical students who serve in their village. His laughter echoes amidst poverty, his demeanor is never long nor fallen, his energy never diminished. He greets us with the glee of familiarity, but he always manages to evade us when he feels a "health lecture" is about to unravel. His a good boy with j-u-s-t that streak of mischief. And enough hope in his eyes.

(I love the graininess of this photo. It comes from the first roll of expired slide film I've ever used with my Woca, which I then had cross-processed. Those were the days, of dabbling in lomography...)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Ninoy Aquino: Filipino Martyr and More

For those younger than 25 years old who didn't have the chance to know who Ninoy was and for those more than a quarter of a century old and have forgotten what Ninoy stood for, here's our chance to get to know (again) the man and continue his mission.

Click on the poster below to find out where you can catch I AM NINOY: An Exhibit Commemorating the 25th Anniversary of Benigno S. Aquino Jr's Martyrdom.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

PhotoHunt: Wrinkled




PANA-PANAHON
In Time
ni Sylvia S. Okada
(translated by ian)

Sa taglagas
In the Fall
ng ating pangarap
of our dreams
natuto tayong
we learned
tumiklop
to fold
at sumayaw
and dance
sa hanging
to the wind
kumakandong
cradling
sa ating paglipad.
our flight.

Hindi takot –
Unafraid -
dahil kung mahulog ma’y
because even if we fall
may sasalong
our descent will be cushioned
unan sa lupa,
by the earth
tinakpan,
blanketed,
pinalambot
softened
ng mga dahong
by other leaves
tulad nati’y
who like us
natutong bumitaw,
learned to let go,
tumiklop,
fold,
lumipad.
fly.
At mahulog.
And fall.



Found these roadside in Iligan City, as our team made a pitstop to eat durian in the Philippine summer of 2007. I didn't partake of the fruit because I devoured something better with my camera's lens. I pray that the ongoing conflict in this part of Southern Philippines gets resolved soon- so that more people will enjoy the multi-layered peaceful bounty currently being drowned by political noise, gunfire and fear.

Apologies and thanks to Ms Okada for using her poem and freely translating it.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Call for Donations in Aid of the Affected Civilians in the Mindanao Strife

I was in Mindanao a little over a year ago so it is absolutely heartbreaking to hear of what is happening in one of its regions. Reprinting this email from Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan. Please help if you can.

Dear Friends in Christ,

Peace.

By now we are certain that you have heard of the ongoing conflict in Mindanao. Weeks earlier, what we thought to have been a solid path to peace has now become a spark that will surely re-open past wounds and hatred. A series of disturbing and tragic events unfold in Mindanao as a result of the amalgamated issues surrounding the stalled GRP-MILF MOA on Ancestral Domain.

The past week has seen the worst armed conflict in years as civilians have become the primary target of lawless groups. Sporadic fighting has been reported in Mindanao and sadly, the worst hit are the provinces of central and north-western Mindanao. As per reports that we have received today, August 20 (Wednesday), there are about 6,000 families in 18 evacuation centers from the province of Lanao del norte and Iligan City. The number continues to increase as civilians flee their homes to avoid being caught in the crossfire of the government forces and MILF troops.

As blame is being tossed around following the attacks by alleged members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters on villages in Lanao del Norte and Sarrangani, one sad fact remains – violence and hatred continue to take their toll on the lives of innocent civilians, Muslims, Lumads and Christians alike.

The Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro, together with the Dioceses of Iligan and Marawi, has called for aid especially for the towns in Lanao that have been attacked and burned.

In this light, we are appealing for any financial aid that you can extend to our brothers and sisters in Mindanao who are caught in this strife. They are in dire need of medicines, water and food supplies.

The funds received will be sent to the affected areas through the partnership of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro, under the leadership of Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, SJ, and the Xavier University (Ateneo de Cagayan).

Let us all be one with our brothers and sisters in Mindanao in their quest for genuine peace and development.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

SCHOLASTIC ISMAEL JOSE III V. CHAN-GONZAGA, SJ
Executive Director
Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan

=========================

*DONATION MECHANISM*

=========================

CASH/CHECK
Direct deposits may be made to:
SIMBAHANG LINGKOD NG BAYAN (Account Name/Payee)
Bank of the Philippine Islands(Loyola-Katipunan Branch)
Peso Checking Account Number: 3081-1111-61
Dollar Savings Account Number: 3084-0420-12

Or channel to:

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan
Loyola House of Studies
Ateneo de Manila University
Loyola Heights 1108, Quezon City

Contact Information:

Landline: 426-6101 loc. 3440/3441
Telefax: 426-5968
Mobile: 0922-8600-752 (SUN-8600-SLB)
Email: slb@admu.edu.ph
Look for: Ms. Marj Tejada

For proper acknowledgement:
Please fax a copy of the validated deposit slip to SLB through telefax 426-5986
Kindly indicate contact information: Name, address, email, landline/mobile
Those who wish to be anonymous may skip this procedure

FOR GCASH TRANSACTION:

Any Globe or TM subscribers should be registered first in Gcash before doing any Gcash transaction.

To register, just text the syntax:
REG_4 digit M-PIN/mother's maiden name/first name/last name/address and send to 2882
Example: REG 1234/Getino/Liwanag/Ferdinand/766 Metrica St. Sampaloc Manila and send to 2882

When the subs already done with cash in, he may now able to do donate or any Gcash transaction he wanted
To Donate: Just text the syntax
DONATE_AMOUNT_4 digit M-PIN_INSTITUTION CODE and send to 2882
Ex. DONATE 100 1234 SLB and send to 2882

Monday, August 18, 2008

Pilipinas Kong Mahal?!

The Filipino word “mahal” is so rich in meaning. On the one hand, it may connote “love” – ranging from the personal level to the love for country – and on the other hand, it may also come to mean as “expensive.”

Despite the government’s claim to an improved economic status which is supported by the strong value of peso against the dollar, pleasant stock market transactions and the like, why is Juan dela Cruz still drowning in the sea of poverty? Why has his country, which he dearly loved and fought for all these years, have slowly pulled him down in the sinking ship? All kinds of goods and commodity prices are drastically rising up-from rice and sardines to petroleum gas and electricity.


With all of these fast-paced economic depressions happening around us, we, the Filipinos, have the right to be informed and be heard. We all crave for answers to these disappointing truths. Do most of us really feel the positive effects of the growing economy as claimed in the popular t.v. advertisement “Ramdam ko ang Pag-asenso”? What could be the truths behind this?


Yet, on the other side of the story, we Filipinos have never turned our backs from hoping. Amidst these seemingly unexplainable economic dilemmas, we see that things could always get better. Somehow, we will lift ourselves from this fall. Somewhere along the way, there is still a chance to save our beloved country from the economic crisis that we are all experiencing through our collective efforts.


So, this coming August 30, 2008 (Saturday) from 1:00pm to 5:30 pm, all is invited to come together hand in hand to a bi-annual National Situationer forum entitled KWENTONG BAYAN: “Pilipinas kong MAHAL?!” This forum will provide the people with an objective reading of the situation of our country in order to gain momentum to push for the needed socio, political, and economic reforms towards a genuine democracy.


Organized by Simbahang Lingkod Bayan, a socio-political non-partisan Church-based organization of the Society of Jesus, it will be held at the Cardinal Sin Center , Loyola School of Theology inside the Ateneo de Manila University Campus in Quezon City .


The presence of well-respected experts concerning the economic, social and political situation of our country namely former national security adviser Jose Almonte, and Professor Ernesto Pernia of the UP School of Economics along with Bishop Pablo David (still subject to confirmation) of San Fernando will be the instruments for the Filipinos to deeply understand the current context and morally work towards the common good amidst this national crisis.


This is an excellent opportunity for Juan dela Cruz to voice out his socially and spiritually inspired opinion to help improve his fellow citizens and his beloved country!


For further questions and reservations on this forum, feel free to contact Simbahang Lingkod Bayan through the following:


Landline: (02) 426-6101 locs 3440-3441
Email: slb@admu.edu.ph
Mobile
: SUN-8600-SLB (0922-8600-752)

Manalangin. Manindigan. Makialam.

Simbahang Lingkod Bayan


Reposted from the SLB Multiply site.

Steer your way to a better car online

The only thing I know about cars is to drive them. And that I’m not the best driver is an understatement! So if and when my car gets into some sort, any sort, of trouble, I rely on the experts to take care of it. But many an expert’s store closes after office hours. Now, though, there is an online shop that can help car owners especially if their concerns are in the league of the steering box, steering rack, and steering gearbox.


Discountsteering.com is a car afficionado’s dream. The website runs 24/7, with a very user-friendly, no nonsense interface. It caters to the needs of owners of vehicles ranging from Acura to Winnebago, of models from the 50’s to as current as 2006. The pages in the site practically scream its customer-friendliness: you can get in touch with their team via email as well as toll-free numbers. What’s more, their quality products can get to you fast and safe and free! Your steering box, steering rack, or steering gearbox can be shipped to buyers at no cost to them via UPS. In the rare event that the items you seek are not available in Discountsteering.com, the site has links to sites which may have what you need.

Enjoy worry-free car maintenance at the lowest cost possible when you need it via Discountsteering.com.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Talk About Poverty - Blog Action Day October 15, 2008

Imagine a day, just an ordinary day. You go online, you hop from one favorite blog to another.

Your favorite tech blog is talking about a new low-cost solar cooker making lives better for Sub-Sahara Africans.

Your favorite Hollywood blog is sharing the latest charitable endeavor of Bono and Angelina Jolie.

Your favorite political blog is discussing a new piece of legislation that aims to put in more money to fulfill the country's pledge of support for the Millennium Development Goals.

Each blog seems to be talking about the same, usual stuff they discuss... And yet not quite.

After all it's October 15th, 2008- Blog Action Day, the day bloggers the world over will talk about POVERTY and its myriad forms, hues, challenges, and solutions to this massive global problem.

Be one of the thousands of blogs that will feature an article, a video, a podcast, or any other means to show solidarity with the world's poor. Let us show our genuine interest to see to it that nobody will be left behind.

No blog is too popular or too obscure to be part of this global event to raise awareness about our collective responsibility to lick the challenges of poverty.

Click on the banner below to see the many ways you can be part of Blog Action 2008 - Poverty.


PS- Happy 200th blog post to me! Yey!

PhotoHunt: Colorful



While in the city of Tampere in Finland last year, I came to see an exhibit of German photographer Michael Wolf. The title of the exhibit- The Real Toy Story- got my interest piqued.

When I reached the Vapriikki museum center, I came to know of The Real Toy Story through Mr. Wolf's 45-square meter installation art where at least 20,000 of the toys (just those with "faces," mind you) made by factory workers in China were represented. The toys are literally admixed with the Chinese workers' blood, sweat, and tears as they were subjected to almost inhuman working conditions in the production of these toys.

Most workers ate and slept no more than two inches away from their work stations. Under their tables, atop rolls of plastic scrap, contorted into impossible form they come to sleep. There were arrays of photos depicting workers who lost limbs as they engaged in these jobs that were far from being child's play.

If these toys were the ones that will make my life colorful, I'd rather live in a sea of gray drabness.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

PhotoHunt: Dark



I remember taking this photo using the camera of my Palm Zire 71 more than two and a half years ago. We were looking for the train station to take us back to Kowloon, after an afternoon of wandering on Hong Kong Island. We walked past this HK icon, hurrying in order to catch the next train back to the hotel. I turned, then boom:

The skyline of Hong Kong about to sleep is pierced by the illuminated outline of the Bank of China Tower, framed by foliage that somehow softens its tough countenance.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Never lost, always found (13) : Everyday IS my lucky day

Team Hoyt is a father (Dick Hoyt) and son (Rick Hoyt, b. 1962) in Massachusetts who compete together in marathons, triathlons, and other athletic endeavors. Rick has cerebral palsy, caused by loss of oxygen to his brain at birth because his umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck. Dick carries him in a special seat up front as they bike, pulls him in a special boat as they swim, and pushes him in a special wheelchair as they run.

Thanks to his parents, who ignored the advice of doctors that he would live life in a persistent vegetative state, and Tufts University engineers, who recognized that his sense of humor indicated intelligence, at the age of 12, Rick was able to learn how to use a special computer to communicate, using movements from his head. The first words he typed were, "Go Bruins!", and the family learned he was a sports fan. They entered their first race in 1977, a 5 mile benefit run for an injured lacrosse player who was a schoolmate of Rick's.

Dick is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Air National Guard. Rick earned a college degree from Boston University in special education, and now works at Boston College. They continue to compete in races, and are also motivational speakers.

As of January 31, 2008, Team Hoyt had participated in a total of 958 events, including 224 Triathlons (6 of which were Ironman competitions), 20 Duathlons, and 65 Marathons, including 25 Boston Marathons.[1] They have also biked and run across the USA, in 1992 — a 3,735 mile journey that took them 45 days.

When asked what one thing Rick wished he could give his father, his reply was "The thing I'd most like is that my dad would sit in the chair and I would push him once."

(From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Team_Hoyt)



The past few days have been hectic to say the least. There are times I'd wish that the clock would magically last 26 instead of 24 hours. Or that I'd have 2-3 clones of myself to accomplish all that is in my checklist. But no matter how much I wish for these to happen with all my might, they haven't happened. They never will. Despite that, I still tried to do things with just my best, relying too much on my own energy, swimming against the current, racing uphill alone. Things seem pointless. Defeat is imminent.

Then my father sends me this via email.

a a a a a a a a a a a a a I am broken into a million, million pieces... *sniff sniff*

Thanks, Pop, for this very timely reminder: that on this earth I can rest undoubtedly assured of two things: your love and God's.

I know that at times, a kid with physical disabilities would be far easier to deal with than me. But thanks for putting up with my... quirks. Then again, who would have I inherited them from? =] Thank you for being a pillar of strength, ardent fan, most welcome critic.

I always, always thank the Lord for you, you and mom =]

And to my Father in heaven, I am at your disposal =]

Sunday, August 03, 2008

PhotoHunt: Clouds



A sliver of sky successfully rises above urban blight. As seen from a light rail transit station, Pasay City, the Philippines.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

A Very Special Love (Star Cinema, 2008)

Amidst the frantic life in a publishing firm, effervescent recent-grad Laida (Sarah Geronimo) and her perpetually grumpy boss Miguel (John Lloyd Cruz) nurture A Very Special Love, another movie offering true to Star Cinema’s penchant for and expertise in creating quality romantic comedies.

The movie delivers what you would expect in a typical Star Cinema film- very Pinoy, very human, easy to relate to. (This review of A Very Special Love contains some spoilers. Proceed if you still wish to do so.)

Positive energy personified Laida tames her cantankerous man of a boss, Miguel “Miggy” Montenegro, the son of an industrialist (Dante Rivero). Miggy struggled all his life to be number 1 in whatever he does in order to erase the shame of being an illegitimate child. Laida enters Miggy’s life at a time when his men’s magazine, BACHELOR, is flailing and holding on for dear life. She becomes his editorial assistant and, through a series of fortunate events, ends up being more than that.

The movie moves fast. The three weeks Miggy has to re-launch his magazine is depicted clearly in the well-crafted scenes relating the rollercoaster life of the BACHELOR staff. There was sensible use of humor, witty one-liners, current lingo, and the proverbial permutations of declaration of love between lovers and among family members. The movie house rang with laughter, sighs, and sniffles, punctuating key scenes in the film with real human emotion.

The entire look of the film is tight, literally and figuratively; there were no sweeping vistas to ogle at. The BACHELOR office was a tiny, Laida’s room even tinier. Settings were almost always the same, as if a metaphor for the cramping misery of Miggy. But the main visual element of the film really has to be on-screen presence of John Lloyd Cruz and Sarah Geronimo. They look good and look good together. I can’t quite explain it; you have to watch it to understand what I mean.

The opening scene revealed a very angry, sarcastic, egotistical Miggy; John Lloyd Cruz disappeared entirely. The goodie-goodie boy has left the building. Miggy’s misery was in your face but not over the top. Similarly, Laida, by way of Sarah Geronimo, is a walking mini-silo of optimism, optimism she consistently effortlessly exuded throughout the film; she does not get tiring. Her fine comedic timing is a revelation.

The BACHELOR staff is an endearing mix of compact characters who move from tackling their monster of a boss to subduing their publication’s competition. Each staff member (ably played by Matet De Leon, Gio Alvarez, Joross Gamboa, among others) contributes a significant gear to the movie’s machinery.

In like manner, the characters in Laida’s family and Miggy’s family maximize the minimal screentime they have. Foremost are Irma Adlwan who played Laida’s mother- shoe magnate and wise counselor; Rowell Santiago, fiscally tight-fisted half-brother of Miggy, and; Dante Rivero, silently suffering but immensely loving father to John Lloyd’s character.

All in all, what I like about the film is its successful attempt to be subtle. The plot is simple, believable. The characters where developed enough to contribute to the story and not muddle it. The lines were human, replete with humor to complement the lump-in-your-throat moments. The minutiae- the chuwaripap in the videoke scene, the pizza merienda, inadvertent peck on the cheek, romping in the rain- all contribute to make the film a gratifying cinematic experience.

You can head home with your heart satisfied, with a silly sheepish grin in your face, thanks to the lovely rendition of Very Special Love by Sarah Geronimo playing in your head and the image of John Lloyd doing the sun dance.

(Photo of official A Very Special Love movie poster is courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Very_Special_Love)