Archive for Journal
Grace Nono with ensemble comprised of Bo Razon, Faisal Monal and Charles Wandag brought Philippine chants and music at the Asian History Museum last October 29. It was a great month ender for the Filipino Heritage Month of October.Grace Nono's interpretation of indigenous music from pre-Islamic and pre-Christian times is soul wrenching and captivating. Music then was part of everyday life. It's entrenched in religion, tradition, daily chores, festivities and rituals so experiencing it LIVE and performed by actual artists who hailed from the near-extinct Philippine tribes was an amazing spiritual experience. My male friend, a closet poet and activist, was teary eyed early in the show. He said he cried because the gongs and hegalong reminded him of the lost and beautiful culture we had before the colonizers came. I was weepy too but for a different reason. For a few minutes while listening to a Maguindanao chant and in between goose bumps and an unusual heavy feeling evoked by the ancient music, all that is beautiful and ugly about the Philippines came rushing back to me. I saw our rainforests and mountains, its rivers, animals, the illegal loggers. I sniffed the sampaguita florets of May, touched the shoreline of our warm, sandy beaches. I tasted the tears of children forced into prostitution/labor and I crossed the traffic-ridden and grimy streets of Quiapo again like it is not thousands of miles away. It was surreal! I am so glad to have been there last night. Thanks Grace Nono for musicians like you! This is the type of music we should keep alive and treasure because it is ours. On a side note, I'm also thankful to my Alma Mater, UP Diliman. I first saw Grace and another ethnomusician, Joey Ayala way back in college. In fact, all that I like, love, support and do stemmed from that unique UP Diliman culture and experience. If it weren't for that University I will be content watching prime time shows on TV, and youtubing past episodes of the original PSY series starring my fave hunk, Echo and Tin. And I still do quite often. Lol. It's not so bad. The bottom line is I am grateful and proud to be from UP Diliman like Ms. Grace Nono. Thank you Philippine tax payers for paying our tuition. Forever grateful 😉🇵🇭 Here is the YouTube link for the video I took of the show. Click the link below. Grace Nono in NYC, October 30, 2015 The compiled videos are just tidbits of my shameless unofficial recording of Grace Nono's performance. There will be two bobbing heads and stretching arms as I sit on the second row. I'm guilty and not guilty at the same time. I felt like I need to keep a piece of it with me. The first 3 chants with the Maguindanao gong ensemble was not captured at all because at that time I was in a trance-like mood I didn't realize I wasn't taking videos at all. I hope they do more shows in the future. This is what an expat soul needs from time to time.
Next Stop: BANKSY!
It is a very exciting for Banksy admirers this month. The anonymous British graffiti artist is going around town and leaving the brand of artwork he is known for, plus more!
At Highline, 2 Banksy paintings have been in exhibit since Thursday last week. Today (October 20) is also the last day of the art installation under the Highline Park at 24th Street and 10th Avenue. This is unusual because the artwork is guarded 24/7 and studio-made, so unlike Banksy's most popular works.
Then at a dead end street in Bushwick, Brooklyn, his celebrated '2 geishas crossing a bridge' graffiti has been covered in plexi-glass and enclosed in a gate by the owner after realizing the value of the graffiti.
At a roundabout road in Woodside, Queens his work has been defaced barely a week after it was done. This is close to Krystal's, a popular Filipino restaurant on 69th Street.
This one is at the corner of Delancey and Bowery streets in Lower East Side, Manhattan. Banksy's works are also political and social commentaries so when I was looking at this graffiti I was trying to understand what Banksy was showing. I didn't understand what it meant until my friend Nina read in an article that this graffiti is a snide remark on the quality of musicals in NYC.
We also visited old Banksy favorites from years ago and found out that the works are no longer there. Here's the site of the 'girl skipping rope' in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (2007?). I looked closely, and I saw the fading green rope under the wooden seats. The building is now an entrance to a private art gallery.
Here's another Banksy in Willimsburg, Brooklyn that has been painted over. This picture was taken in 2010.
Banksy is not done yet. He will be in NYC for the next 9 days. So watch out for more Banksy treasures coming next to your neighborhood! It might even be in your building. You never know!
(All pictures are all taken using an Iphone 5.)
When I was invited by a friend (Ms. Luchie DR) I didn't hesitate. We knew it was not a paid gig but the experience of working side-by-side (literally!) with THE Lea Salonga was priceless!After I excitedly told my mom that I'll be part of a small group of background artists for the ABS-CBN station ID filming at Times Square, her first response was, " ... But you can't carry a tune." And she's right.
SIDE NOTE. Thanks, ABS-CBN US correspondent Don Tagala.
In yet another facetime session with my mom that happened after the filming of the station ID, I jested, "See I told you, I get to sing with Lea. I performed a song and dance in Broadway district so you already have a daughter who is a Broadway performer." Always the bluntly honest one she answered without malice, "With all the ABS-CBN stars your face might not even be included in the final cut." Hahaha ... True!
But what the heck, Lea Salonga is Lea Salonga! It was the experience and the thrill of doing things so unique and so New York. Memorizing the lines was challenging and singing was humbling... Pretending to sing was very difficult acting! Although we knew only the images will be used we were told that they might use the actual sound recording for the news.
Let me write about Lea. That day she was the only one wearing red as we were given explicit instructions to wear bright holiday colors and never black, brown, red and earth colors. A lot of us had to shop for candy-colored outfits because in New York it is the norm to dress in muted colors. She arrived at 7:45am, just after daybreak and found us already rehearsed for our call time was at 6:00 am. Leah arrived with her 2 assistants, a stylist and her sister, from her apartment at West 54th Street. Like us she was worried she might forget her singing lines.
This experience goes to my alkansya of special memories!
Filipinos are lucky to be surrounded by numerous linguistic communities. Take advantage of this exposure! Let yourself and the children acquire the vernacular and the family language. It is never wise to inhibit the learning of another language even if it may be deemed as 'bakya'. A regional language or dialect is as important as the major and popular languages because aside from the sheer joy and cultural benefits of knowing another language, the exposure to any linguistic system creates a map for the future learning of other languages. The brain can accommodate more than we can imagine, but only if we allow it.
LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE TODAY! Promote your regional dialects wherever you are in the world!
Ilocano York is an advocate of ethnic empowerment and promotion of regional languages and dialects of the Philippines.
The place is one of a kind! In the middle of the long narrow beach are alternating marshlands filled with contrasting live green and withered gray pine trees that create an eerie yet enchanting feel. On the left side is Gardiner Bay and a great view of famous Shelter Island. Where there is no marshland are patches of cactus and other desert plants. On its right are several natural salt ponds that are teeming with life: sea gulls, ospreys, edible seaweeds (gurgurmot) and different varieties of shell fishes such as hermits, horseshoe crabs, clams, alimango, alimasag, etc ... There are also small ponds and swamps. This is a strip of land that can't decide what it wants to be. Parang Baguio na La Union, Pangasinan, Batangas at Ilocos all in one.
Nature-polished stones cover the entire beach. The island is so narrow that one can walk it for ten minutes from west to east. It is so long that it took us 5 hours to walk its entire length from trailhead to the tip and then back.