Wednesday ∗ 26 Nov 2014

the last of kolchor for 2014

the days have been long, though filled with too many things happening, and certainly even more happening in the shadows, beyond public scrutiny: this is the Philippines after all.

so first a list, because there is also quite a lot of work to do, but also there is so much to talk about, and i feel like the three people who read this blog (haha!) might be wondering where i am, why so silent. well here i am.  Continue reading »

Saturday ∗ 08 Nov 2014

Kuya Joseph, Brgy. Burayan, San Jose, Tacloban City

Kuya Joseph. From Brgy. Burayan San Jose. Interviewed in early December 2013, less than a month after Typhoon Yolanda. He drove us around when we volunteered with Kusog Tacloban. His experience in his own words, just re-organized as this happened in various conversations. Will translate at some point, though will gladly let others do it. Because I still think there is no writing people’s stories that will do justice to their voices. Making it pretty is not just an injustice, it… Continue reading »

Wednesday ∗ 05 Nov 2014

Balangiga, Eastern Samar

there is a general sadness to this space, so historically vibrant, and such a measure of how we do not care about this history. the bells are missing from the church’s bell tower, and the church itself is closed and under renovation. in May its doors were open, masses were being celebrated, a choir practiced in between. in the plaza in front of the Church there is a monument by Napoleon Abueva showing how 500 Filipino revolutionaries launched a surprise ambush on… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 03 Nov 2014

Quinapondan, Eastern Samar

the show was missing an audience when we arrived. a huge tent had been set-up at the barangay hall’s basketball court, the monobloc chairs for a hundred arrived, but there was no audience. in Guiuan where our first shows were, our venues were filled to the rafters, many women arriving with their children who wouldn’t understand the show, and would be crushed in the crowd. it took one show to realize that unbeknownst to us, these women were required to watch the show as part of… Continue reading »

Saturday ∗ 01 Nov 2014

Guiuan, Eastern Samar

when I was doing reliefph.com at the height of Yolanda / Haiyan last year, one indication I had that things were really bad was the number of phone calls and pleas for help that we received through the site. this was when there was a news blackout about the aftermath of the storm, and very little was getting through to Manila. relatives had started getting in touch with the site to tell us about the last time they had contact with family from Eastern Samar… Continue reading »

Thursday ∗ 16 Oct 2014

Justice for Jennifer

But first we decide not to be confused about the fact of this death. Because media is truly messing it up, even with just getting Jennifer’s name right, as they refuse to call her by the name that she identifies herself with, insisting on calling her by her birth name Jeffrey. Worse, many put Jennifer in quotes, or say Jeffrey Laude alias Jennifer, which already layers her name with the idea of deception. Because Jennifer is transgender, a trans woman.… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 13 Oct 2014

Failing the figurative, a review of Bwaya

Fiction based on real stories – and especially ones that are of recent events – can easily fall into the trap of being like a cheap TV reenactment that seeks to teach the public a lesson or two about daily living. It also has to deal with an audience that has seen the same story unfold via sensationalist media, the kind that asks a mother who has lost a daughter to a freak accident: Ano pong pakiramdam ninyo ngayon? All… Continue reading »

Wednesday ∗ 08 Oct 2014

The National Historical Omission!

The mess that is the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) is something that’s become obvious not so much because of its involvement in Paoay Church renovations, or questionable engagements with heritage site reconstructions, but more because there seems to be no effort at all on its part to be more transparent about its projects, ones that the National Commission for Culture and the Arts has no choice but give it some money for. And this is the thing: we’re talking millions in… Continue reading »

Saturday ∗ 04 Oct 2014

the Marcoses’ embarrassment of riches

It is always with a heavy heart — yes medyo OA — that I read / listen to discourse about the Marcos’s wealth of art and clothes and shoes, the ones that history tells us we have paid for, but which is handled with nary care or creativity by the powers-that-be as we get these back from the Marcoses. 

Wednesday ∗ 10 Sep 2014

Storytelling and Dani Girl

I tend to veer away from stories that are out to clutch your heart, and then measure success by how much you bawl while watching. Elsewhere in the world texts like these are criticized for displaying sickness and passing it off as artistic work, or using a particular claim to an ailment and then celebrating the work as “new” or innovative. And so I could but be skeptical about Dani Girl, as I came in to see it on its… Continue reading »

Thursday ∗ 04 Sep 2014

No Junk In This Trunk*

Because there is plenty here that works: from the funky music to the fantastic lyrics, dramatic situations and imagery so vivid, emotions so raw it can only be yours. I knew it when I heard “Kapit Mahal” via Billy B.’s now-defunct UR radio show, but I know it even more now: that was no fluke. Top Junk released its indie debut last year, but I count it as one of my early 2011 finds, literally: I bought it at Route… Continue reading »

Tuesday ∗ 02 Sep 2014

thank you!

This blog was a finalist for the Lasallian Scholarum Awards this year, and I couldn’t be happier. We didn’t win the award but the greatness of being finalist is enough when one considers that the standard practice in this country is that you practically have to nominate your blog for awards, and then campaign to win anything. I sent my best girls Keisha Uy and Alessi Vilches to the awarding as I had my September 1 tied to a friend’s journey, but… Continue reading »

Thursday ∗ 14 Aug 2014

CinemalayaX: the year of self-indulgent film and creative conceit

I had started watching CinemalayaX with Carlitos Siguion Reyna’s Hari Ng Tondo, Joseph Alterejos’s Kasal, and Roderick Cabrido’s Children’s Show. It was two good movies out of three, and I thought it was portents of things to come for the rest of the week’s movie viewing frenzy. After watching all 15 full length films, I realize I had it good that first day. It was downhill from there. Click here to read the rest of it over at Vera Files.  

Monday ∗ 04 Aug 2014

The Fluid re-write

It seems the only way to start this review is to acknowledge – and praise – the Technical Theater Program Batch 111 students of Benilde for having dared and successfully staged and produced 2014’s Fluid. Were the technical aspects of the production the only point, then this was quite a successful theatrical debut for this batch of students. It would also, for the most part, be a successful re-write for contemporary times, something that playwright Floy Quintos talks about in… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 21 Jul 2014

Kleptomaniacs*

I tend to imagine that these times of political and socio-economic crises demand of creative work an amount of relevance, where it is easy to pinpoint films and TV shows and writing that tends towards escapism, refusing to speak of issues that are urgent and important. But escapism is also exactly what we need in times like these, when only the wealthy minority can live oblivious to the rising cost of basic goods and the utter lack of public services,… Continue reading »

Thursday ∗ 03 Jul 2014

Downward spiral*

On doctor-ordered isolation (nothing infectious, just radioactive, long story) and totally missed the June 12 rallies. I would’ve gone as an individual, probably brought along my parents, reminiscent of how we had gone to too many-an-anti-Erap- and anti-GMA-rally in the last decade or so. But maybe it was good to have been kept away this time around, to have watched it happening without knowing exactly what went into the planning and organizing. It allows for a sense, too, of how… Continue reading »

Saturday ∗ 14 Jun 2014

Freedom*

One rarely thinks about one’s freedoms until one feels it is being impinged upon, where one is being told of the price you pay for insisting on your right to free speech and independent thought. In the course of this government’s reign in Malacañang, and despite its grand proclamations about how this is a democracy – for look at how they let critics critique and rallies happen! – I have thought more and more about the mortality of the freedoms… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 09 Jun 2014

notes on Gawad Buhay, democratization, and the anxiety of smallness

this year was the first time i even cared enough to go to Gawad Buhay, and that is really because of a good three things: my love for Tuxqs Rutaquio, my love of Layeta Bucoy, and my new-found discovery of and respect for the kind of hard work that Tanghalang Pilipino’s Actors Company stands for. which is of course to wear my heart on my sleeve (obvious ba), and really to point at some of my good ol’ biases, the… Continue reading »

Thursday ∗ 05 Jun 2014

#YesAllWomen

i had watched the hashtag #YesAllWomen take a life of its own on Twitter, and was fascinated that while it didn’t trend in the Philippines, the tweets from elsewhere in the world (mostly the US it seems) resonated with this Pinay so removed from that context. i’m the last to imagine universality to be a valid enterprise, imagining as i do that we are always more complex than just being / standing for / standing against one thing. yet it… Continue reading »

Tuesday ∗ 13 May 2014

for Joelle: how are these days?

i’ve been out of this blog, mostly because i was writing like crazy for most of March and April, and i mean working on four columns a week (!!!) for The Manila Times. and yes it was as crazy it sounds. i’m glad it’s over.

Wednesday ∗ 23 Apr 2014

Lola Nita, 1923-2014.

“At a certain time of day, between the high heat of noon and the cool afternoon, the streets of Casay have a strange quietness — of a leaf arrested in its fall, or of a vacuum from which air and life have suddenly been drained — a quietness which seems to bide its time. Very infrequently, a car, a truck, or a cart may disturb the stillness, raising brown dust in its trail and sowing screeching echoes into the silence.… Continue reading »

Sunday ∗ 06 Apr 2014

rising to the occasion: on “Cock” and the text as king

My refusal to compare foreign texts with local ones is based on the notion of independence. That is, I’d rather grant a local work with as much individuality as possible, and save it from what — to me — would be a false because unfair comparison with foreign work that I (on most counts) would not have seen anyway. I imagine I can be criticized for having such tunnel vision, or allowing local theater such leeway when critiquing its adaptations.… Continue reading »

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