Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas in the City: Light & Sound Show at the Ayala Triangle

Christmas time! but nothing like in the city!

When the ber-months finally set in, you can't help but notice the lights! the blues, reds and the malls, the roads, streets even houses. They all lit up at nighttime with all those christmas stars, lanterns, reindeers, santas, candy canes and giant christmas trees.  The city is alive and electric on Christmas!

I love spending the season in the metropolitan and gawk at what seems to be a contest for the best lighted street, or the most-decorated malls. Its nice to stay up late at this time of the year, the atmosphere really is festive! My special favorite is the city of Makati, with its large concentration of malls, no nook and cranny is dark at night.  And talking 'bout lights, the Ayala Triangle tops 'em all!!
Along Ayala Avenue in the midst of the city lies an open green space - the Triangle. All year round it serves as an oasis in the middle of the Makati skycraper jungle. a nice place to stroll, breathe air, jog, laze around and eat! During christmas, the whole park lights up!  lights dancing to the tune of old christmas carols to what makes out to be an entertaining Light and sound show!
Now the strollers are given a treat every night starting November? or even much earlier. The show starts at 7 pm, runs every 30 minutes up to 9 pm.
It can get really get exciting when the show starts. The only downside to it is the relentless traffic. But nevertheless, kids from all ages, 1 month to 90-plus years, come and enjoy the show!  

Wait till the whole park is lit up in alternating colors: red, blue, green, gold - looks like something straight out from pixieland!
Absolutely magical, like melting lights
AND did I mention it was free??? yup, just stroll around! 
Or stars scattered densely in the night
Awashed in red light
Now in cool blues
In red and green while jingle bell rock played

To green and white and shooting lights!

Now if christmas spirit is represented by'll be a rainbow. Merry Christmas to all!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Tribu K' Mindanawan: Jammin' with the Fire Dancers

The City of Davao never runs out of exhilarating things to do, appealing to all genuses of travelling folks. Be it the backpacker kind, the happy vacationist type, the extreme adventurer or the intellectual/creative sort, Davao City has lots to offer.

If you are looking for a kick that is very near the city, both the cultural and sizzling kind, a good place to check out is the Tribu K’ Mindanawan!

Being an adventurer by christening, I have my eyes set as far away from the city as possible. It was only due to time constraints (and budget) that made me consider looking for interesting places that is quite nearer downtown. That’s when I heard of Tribu. Tribu is located at the Davao Riverfront Corporate City, just 15 minutes away from the city proper. It’s a somewhat new commercial area along the Ma-a Diversion Highway.  Yup, it’s where you can also find the Davao Crocodile Park, the Davao Butterfly House and the booking office of the Davao Wildwater Adventure.  The thing is, the entrance fee actually covers the crocodile park, the tribu and an optional tour to the Butterfly house.

So after visiting our croc friends….

Got mesmerized by the flighty butterflies….
Then get yourself ready for tribu!

But wait, Tribu K’ Mindanawan is essentially a cultural showcase of the lives of the different indigenous people in Mindanao.  Going around the small park, it features replicas of the different huts and home structures that are characteristic of each tribe, their native garb, and their way of life. Cultural presentations of the tribes’ music, dance and rituals are presented every weekend starting at around 4 or 5 pm.  Next time I shall feature Mindanao's rich cultural diversity.  But for this trip, I was actually waiting for the finale!! Like taking a swig of a very refreshing and educational cultural quencher, you go lookin' for the fiery chaser. This is what made Tribu really exciting….the firedance.
As it turned out, its not just a play of fire by kids half my age (oops! you didn't catch that, did you??). But a real show of talent, guts and showmanship....
They are different from Boracay's firedancers. The kids' choreography is much more varied, and the wow factor multiplied a hundred times!

Their moves are fast, hippy and visually exciting! this is Boracay, with the hippy dance moves but without the alcohol!

Cant help clapping and jumping up and down my seat as I was thrilled and somewhat intoxicated by the fire!

A little worried by their confidence, but its just the cowardly me speaking...

Like literally walking through the fire...

I was speechless, a little scared...even my camera stopped blinking for a while.

Reckless? or just their signature daredevil moves. Argh! fiery!

The ladies are not so fire-shy themselves...

With their fiery hulahoops in hand...

The phrase playing with fire becomes visually entertaining...

Now, I have to remind myself to breathe from time to time...

And she looked like she is just having tea...

Is this the son of Hades? Vulcan himself or the Diablo's awakening...

Whatever imagery your mind can concoct by watching this fiery show...

...all are welcome and more! these kids mixed hiphop with fire! a fresh new look at firedancing!

The show lasted for 30 minutes, how fast time flies. By the time the show ended, the audience wanted more! me too! fire always got me scared, but not this time. definitely not...

Oh well, i was just joking. Fire still freaks me out. But I'm not gonna pass up the chance to pose with this pretty firedancer!

'Twas a fiery night cap! If you ever pass by crocodile park, dont miss out on this one. The firedance show is up every weekend, Fridays to Sundays at 5 pm.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The 32nd Manila International Book Fair: Filipino Literary Giants and Pinoy Pop Culture Icons for a Change

It’s Book Fair time again! 

The 32nd Manila International Book Fair 2011 is an annual event and one of the longest running in Asia. It’s not your regular sale where prices are slashed down and old inventories resurface from stockrooms. Though discounts still run like wildfires across every booth, the price is not all there is.  The Book Fair is being promoted as a special event where publishers, booksellers, authors, author wannabes and bookworms of all degrees and ages gather together to celebrate the power of the written word, the passion for reading and the thirst for knowledge. 

Surely, the MIBF has become a tradition for Filipinos. I can say that I am a regular, having attended three years in a row now. Year after year, I make my way to SMX (where it is held yearly) and hunt for rare finds. From science books to trade books, poetry to novels, economics to biotechnology, management to photography….my list is just endless. 

And year after year, I revelled at finding books by authors the likes of Friedman, Mohr, Drucker, Tushman, Bell to the more popular Meyer, Rowlings and Ward. This year, I thought it’ll be the same; making may way to National, Goodwill, A-Z, C&E, UP Press, Ateneo Publishing…until I found myself in Anvil.

I noticed a rather old, dignified man sitting alone at a table. Maybe it was just for a while till the Anvil staff or even the head sit down again to chitchat. But, he was there, signing the inside covers of, presumably his book.  I followed the staff, which carried his signed books, with my eyes raring to know who the lonesome man was.  In this crowded exhibition floor, with book launchings and interviews left and right, why was his booth not particularly….lively. I followed where his books nestled.  Beauty for Ashes: Remembering Maningning by Dr. Mario Miclat.  There, I came to know a gifted man and his equally gifted daughter Maningning…. 

Dr. Mario Miclat is a full professor of Asian and Philippine Studies at the University of the Philippines. I learned that he won the most outstanding lifetime award for literature in the 2006 Patnubay ng Sining at Kalinangan.  He is also a Palanca awardee in English Fiction and Gawad CCP para sa Panitikan award in 1989.  But what drew me most to this multi-awarded author, was his moving recount of the death of his daughter Maningning, herself an accomplished writer and painter at age 28, the stark realization, the heroic effort of moving on and the still lingering pain many years after.
What a story…how sad. I decided to buy his book out of deference to his love for his daughter, and admiration on the rhythmic prose of his book. I approached him, shook his hand and told him to keep on writing. I got an autograph, a smile and a picture in return!
Then I realized, I miss the old short stories I read when I was still in grade school and high school…stories written by Filipino writers.  I started my journey in reading by devouring the pages of my first children's book – Mga Alamat sa Pilipinas. Who have not read Bienvenido Santos’ “The Day the Dancers Came” or Nick Joaquin’s “Summer Solstice”? Little did I know that what I was reading then were works of some of the literary greats of our time. Reveries, but then again why not go back? Yes, I am going to look for my old short story books, look up Filipino short stories and novels and add them to my book-shopping list from now on. 

If Filipino readers can be avid fans of Rowlings, Meyer and Ward, why not of Santos, Arcillana, Joaquin and even Polotan? Yes, we definitely love their stories and they are all worth reading once again, but this time with admiration and pride.
My short journey to Philippine literature did not end there. I looked around and saw Pol Medina Jr. of the Pugad Baboy series.  Who did not laugh along the comical but witty lines of Polgas, Tiny and the rest of the gang? The strikingly Filipino illustrations of the comic strip are stories filled with truly Pinoy antics, spoofs and sometimes political satire. One reason why it became so popular is because it mirrors the sentiments of Filipino daily life. It’s part of Filipino pop culture.
The comic strip has been around since 1988, once exclusive only to the Philippine Daily Inquirer but has spawned numerous compilations, a live-action TV series and merchandise.  I bought the second compilation of the best of Pugad Baboy, missed the first one, but got an autograph! I would have loved seeing the original Polgas on the set.
I looked around once again and homed towards the table of what seemed to be an artist, sketching a portrait of a middle-aged lady sitting across the table from him.  Gee, he drew the woman well. But who was this artist? I learned that he is Danny Acuña, a Pinoy komik illustrator, helping promote a compilation of some of the greatest works of Pinoy komik heroes and their artists. The book entitled “Renaissance: Ang Muling Pagsilang”.  Let me share the Preface by Ruel de Vera of the book for I can not think of better words to introduce them….
“They were the first generation of Filipino comic book artists, islanders in the strange land of America, with names that buzzed with power like Romeo Tanghal, Nestor Redondo, Ernie Chan, Tony de Zuniga, Alfredo Alcala. Alex Nino, among others, working on comics with a C. They gave sinew to Barbarians, flight to superheroes, romance to the loveless.  Back home, with the sun rising dizzyingly high over an art form called komiks with a K, other masters drew and even wrote sagas and epics, names like Francisco Coching, Floro Dery and Mars Ravelo.  They were the immortals, and a new generation of demigods looked upon them in awe and aspiration.”

“From an archipelago surrounded by endless water but whose very veins are ringed by fire rose an amazing legion of creators. It did not matter if they were pure-blood or half-, if they are naturally born or foreign citizens by bitrth. It did not matter if they plied their wares in Manila or Manhattan, San Diego or San Pablo. On the Web or off it. Some of them have discovered the power of animation. They were Filipino comic book artists and their ascension had come.”
My artist is a veteran komiks artist who started sketching at a young age of eight (I asked!). He started his career as an assistant komiks illustrator to some of komik’s legendary artists such as Fred Carillo, Nestor Malgapo, Rico Rival, Elmer Esquivas and Mar Santana.  He eventually built his own name as an artist, drawing various illustrations for some of the top komiks nobelas in the Philippines.  Some of the komiks credited to his name are Orbot ‘D Robot, Buchicoy, Chutay, Satania (Devil Woman), Bangkay Kitang Hahakbangan, Domino Blanco, Killer Gay and Mabangis na Pagbabalik. He has a recently released graphic novel, Majarlica: Bayan ng Agimat and currently working on 3rd Eye.

I liked my portrait. It was a feat since I kept smiling at guests; looking at all the books scattered on the table, and just proved how impossible a model I was. But it didn’t matter to him. His experienced eyes and deft hands had drawn quiet a sensible portrait of me; though I would have loved a Darna-like diadem on my head for a change!

It was near closing time when I got up and left the Anvil Publishing Booth with a smile. I have never imagined myself going nostalgic over short stories of my childhood and teenage years and star-struck from my recent brush with the literary and pop culture icons of our country. I still will read the Inkheart series that I got my eye on, but my bookshelves will definitely have more space for our very own literary greats from now on.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Rizal-Laguna Loop Part 2: Palm Sunday in Antipolo

Palm Sunday at Antipolo

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