Diyos Ko! Bakit Mo Ako Pinabayaan?

"Nang mag-aalas tres na ng hapon, sumigaw si Hesus, 'Eli, Eli, lema sabachtani?' na ang ibig sabihin ay, 'Diyos ko, bakit mo ako pinabayaan?' - Mateo 27: 46

Marahil, karamihan sa atin ay nakapagtanong na minsan sa ating buhay ng mga katagang “Diyos ko? Diyos ko? Bakit mo ako pinabayaan?”

Sa mga puntong iyon ng ating buhay ay para bang nararamdaman nating wala ng Diyos o kung meron man, siya ay natutulog at nagpapabaya sa atin. O isang sadistang hinahayaan na lang ang kanyang mga nilikha na maghirap, magkagulo, at lamunin ng problema.

Totoo nga bang may Diyos? Totoo nga bang hindi natutulog ang diyos? Pero kung totoong nandiyan siya, bakit niya tayo pinababayaan?

Hindi kaila sa atin na sadyang mapagbiro ang tadhana. Dumadating ang mga pagkakataong para bang tayo na ang pinaka-abang tao sa mukha ng lupa. Na kahit ano mang bagay ang ating gawin para ito ay masolusyonan ay tila baga wala pa ring kahihinatnang malinaw na solusyon sa ating mga problema.

Dito pumapasok ang buhay at kaisipan ng kawalang pag-asa. Naiisip nating “Diyos nga ay walang pakialam sa akin at hindi ako tinutulungan, ako pa kayang hamak na tao ang makagawa?” Dito pumapasok ang buhay sa kadiliman. Ang buhay pagpapabaya. Ang buhay na malayo sa Diyos. Ilang beses na nating inakusahan ang diyos ng pagpapabaya sa atin? Kawawa naman si Lord, kahit walang sawang nagmamahal, lagi na lamang sinisisi sa mga hindi magagandang nangyayari sa buhay ng tao.

Ito ang isang klasikong halimbawa. May mga taong nasa banig ng karamdaman na halos isumpa na ang langit at lupa at ang Manlilikha. “Diyos ko! Bakit niyo naman ako binigyan ng ganitong sakit?”, marahil ang ilan sa mga linyang kanyang bibitawan. Ngunit naitanong na ba niya sa kanyang sarili, ano ang aking ginawa kaya ako nagkasakit? Ano ang aking naging lifestyle kaya ako nagkakaganito ngayon? May mga taong sinisisi ang Diyos sa lung cancer, chain smoker naman ng halos 40 taon; may mga sinisisi ang Diyos sa sakit sa puso, walang preno naman kung kumain at hindi nag-eehersisyo; sinisisi ang Diyos dahil sa karamdamang kung minsan - o madalas - bunga din naman ng sariling pagpapabaya.

Dahil sa mentalidad na “wala namang diyos” (kahit meron naman talaga) ay nabubuhay tayo sa isang buhay na walang direksyon at walang kaliwanagan. Sa pagtahak natin sa ganoong klase ng “trip” sa buhay, hindi maiiwasang may mga tao tayong isasama at hahatakin doon sa “kakaibang trip” na iyon. Imbes na maging tagapagdala ng liwanag at pag-asa, dahil nga tayo ay nabubuhay ng malayo sa Diyos, tayo ay nagiging instrumento pa upang mapariwara ng landas ng iba. Imbes na tayo lang ang nakakaramdam ng “pagpapabaya ng diyos” (kahit hindi naman talaga), ipinaparamdam pa natin ito sa iba. Ilang beses na ba tayong naging instrumento para ang ating kapwa ay “mabuhay sa kadiliman?”

Bakit nga ba kapag tayo ay malayo sa Diyos, tayo ay nabubuhay sa kadiliman? Ito ay sa kadahilanang Diyos ang siyang nagbibigay ng liwanag. Diyos ang talagang nagbibigay ng ilaw dahil ang Diyos ang ilaw, ang Diyos ang liwanag (1 Juan 1:5). Mas maliwanag pa ang diyos kumpara sa ilaw na ibinibigay ng Meralco. Mas Masaya, mas maganda, kapag may liwanag ang buhay. At ang liwanag ng buhay ay atin lamang makakamit sa diyos. Walang ibang nilalang ang makakapagbigay ng ganap na kaliwanagan bukod sa diyos (katunayan nga, ang Diyos ay hindi isang nilalang dahil wala naming lumalang sa kanya). Kung kaliwanagan ng buhay ang kailangan mo para sa madilim mong buhay, Diyos ang kailangan mo.

Sa katunayan, kapag dumadating ang mga “kadiliman” sa ating buhay, hindi naman ito talagang ganap na kadiliman. Sabihin na nating, isa lamang itong “kulimlim” ng buhay. Kung atin itong ikukumpara sa ating buhay at Diyos ang “araw”, hindi naman talaga nawawala o nagpapabaya ang Diyos, “nakakubli” lamang siya sa likod ng mga ulap ngunit hindi siya nawawala. Kung inaakala nating nawawala ang araw, o nawawala ang Diyos sa ating buhay, iyon ay isang pagkakamali. Tayo ang nawawala, hindi ang araw. Tayo ang lumalayo sa Diyos, hindi Diyos ang lumalayo sa atin.

Hindi naman kaila sa atin na may mga taong hindi naniniwala sa Diyos. At may mga taong walang pakialam kung may Diyos ba o wala, basta’t mabubuhay sila ayon sa kanilang kagustuha at kaginhawahan.

Minsan ay naitanong ko sa isang kakilala kung bakit hindi siya naniniwala sa Diyos. Sinagot niya akong, kung may Diyos, bakit may paghihirap? Bakit may nagugutom? Bakit may sakit? Bakit may namamatay nang hindi ma lang nakatikim ng hustisya at kaginhawahan sa buhay.

Kasama sa pag-aaral ko sa Pilosopiya noong Kolehiyo ang pag-aaral tungkol sa katotohanang may Diyos at ang problema ng imperpeksyon at kasamaan sa mundo. Madali sa aking intindihin kung bakit nangyayari ang mga ganoong bagay. Hindi naman kasi kayang ‘kontrolin’ ng Diyos ang kalayaan ng tao. Binigyan niya tayo ng kalayaan - o free will - bilang mga nilalang. Malaya ang tao na gawin ang gusto niya. Ika nga, maituturing na free will ang ‘kahinaan’ ng Diyos.

Ang mga paghihirap, pagkakasakit, at mga trahedya ay hindi dahil ito ay ginusto ng Diyos. O dahil walang pakialam ang Diyos. O dahil wala naman talagang Diyos. Ito ay dahil tayo ay may kalayaan ang tao. Maaaaring ang paghihirap ng isang tao ay bunga na din ng kapabayaan at pagsasamantala ng kapwa niya tao. 

E bakit pa kinakailangang magkaroon ng mga “kulimlim” na parte ng ating buhay?

Ang buhay ng tao ay hindi palaging puno ng kasiyahan. Natural sa buhay ng tao na dumadating ang mga problema at pagsubok ng buhay. Ang mga pagsubok na ito ang nagdadagdag ng “kulay” at ganda ng buhay. Masyadong “patay” ang isang buhay kung pare-pareho na lamang ang kulay at lasa nito.

Paano nating masasabing masaya ang ating buhay kung wala tayong punto ng pagkukumparahan nito (point of comparison)? Nakakasawa ang isang buhay na punong-puno ng kasiyahan at walang halong kalungkutan. Perfection is boring. Masasabi kasi nating mas nagiging ganap ang kasiyahan ng buhay kung ang kasiyahang iyon ay ang pakiramdam ng tagumpay ng paglampas sa pagsubok ng buhay. Nakakaumay ang palaging matamis na buhay. Paminsan-minsan, kailangan din nating makatikim ng maalat, mapakla, at mapait na lasa ng buhay.

Ang buhay ay parang tiklada ng piano. Hindi lamang puro puting tiklada ang ating pinipindot, kinakailangan din nating daanan ang mga itim na tiklada. At alam ng mga musikero na ang kombinasyon ng mga itim at putting tiklada – na parang kombinasyon ng kaligayahan at kalungkutan ng buhay – ang siyang mas nakagagawa ng kaaya-aya at de kalidad na tunog.

Bukod sa pagbibigay ng lasa at kulay ng buhay, bakit kinakailangan pa nating maghirap? Bakit pa kinakailangang magbigay ni Lord ng mga pagsubok ng buhay?

Ang diyos ay diyos na kahit wala ang mga nilalang. Hindi dagdag o kabawasan sa pagiging Diyos niya ang mga nilalang. Kung tutuusin nga, hindi na niya kinakailangan pang lumikha dahil diyos na siya. Ngunit dahil sa kanyang pagmamahal ay nilikha niya tayo. Nilikha tayo ng Diyos dahil sa pagmamahal niya sa sanilibutan. Bilang mga nlalang, natural lamang na ibalik natin ang pagmamahal na iyon sa diyos na siyang unang nagmahal at lumikha sa atin.

May mga pagkakataon kasi na sa kadahilanang masyado na tayong nagiging makasarili bunga ng ating tagumpay, nakakalimutan na nating magpasalamat sa diyos. Paminsan-minsan, kinakailangan tayong “kalugin” ng diyos upang magising tayo sa katotohanang mayroong diyos na pinagmumulan ng lahat ng tagumpay at ganap na kaligayahan.

Gayundin naman, ang Diyos ay umaakto bilang mga “traffic signs” sa “highway ng paglalakbay natin sa buhay.” Huwag natin itong ituring bilang mga balakid sa paglalakbay sa buhay, bagkus, ituring natin ang diyos bilang isang gabay upang makarating tayo sa ating paroroonan ng ligtas. Dahil sa bandang huli, Diyos din naman ang patutunguhan nating lahat. Ang diyos ang simula at katapusan ng lahat ng mga bagay. Siya ang Alpha at Omega ng sanlibutan at ng ating mga buhay.

Ang plano ng diyos para sa kanyang mga nilalang ay palaging “happy ending.” Kung sa istorya ng buhay natin ay para bang gusto na nating sumuko dahil sa mga pagsubok at problema nating hinaharap, alalahanin na nating hindi pa iyon ang “happy ending” na itinakda ng Diyos para sa atin. Iyong mga iyon ay ituring nating “pampagana at pampaganda” ng istorya ng ating buhay.

Sa bandang huli, nais kong sabihing hindi naman talaga nagpapabaya ang Diyos. Kung sa tingin nating parang “nilalayasan” tayo ng diyos sa ating buhay, sana ay sumagi sa ating isipan na “nagtatago” lamang ang Diyos ngunit palagi pa rin siyang nagmamasid at gumagabay sa atin.

Nawa, ang ating isigaw sa buhay ay hindi ang “pagpapabaya ng diyos” kundi “DIYOS KO! DIYOS KO! SALAMAT AT HINDI MO AKO PINABAYAAN!”

Ano pa mang mga pagsubok ang dumating sa atin, kakayanin natin ito dahil alam nating may plano ang Diyos sa atin.

Pag-ibig, pagkakaisa, at pagmamahalan ang nawa’y sumaating lahat. Padayon!

This was originally written in 2009 but I tweaked it this year to tackle the issues of today. I decided to repost this one to reach wider audience. Have a blessed Good Friday everyone!

Guilty Pleasures
After a stressful (yet fulfilling) week of facilitating a recollection and retreat to the High School students of Laguna State Polytechnic University last week, I decided to unwind and enjoy ‘the fruit of my labor’ yesterday.
I usually spend my paycheck, honorarium, salary, and stipend on just two things: Books and CDs/records. And here are the stuff that I purchased yesterday to add up to my colection:
The Sherlockian (Graham Moore)
I got addicted to Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes after rediscovering it through the BBC series Sherlock. The American version starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law is quite okay but the TV series starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman made me love the character more. Or shall I say, it made me to be obsessed on Sherlock’s character (my Facebook timeline cover and my Tumblr display photo is Sherlock as portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch.)
I first saw this book sometime last January during the time when the second season of Sherlock has just finished. I was looking for good books (read: window shopping) at National Book Store in SM Calamba when I saw this at the new arrival section. Hungry for a new Sherlock material (because the third season is scheduled to premiere on 2013), I decided to download an electronic copy of the book. But because it’s a pain in my eyes to read in front of the computer (I have no tablet nor an eBook reader) and I want a tangible, smelly book, I decided to save some of my earnings and buy this one.
Because I still have books that are scheduled to be read first, I have not yet taken it out from the plastic packaging. But I promise to make a review after I read it.
A Question of Heroes (Nick Joaquin)
I came across this book here on Tumblr. My good Tumblr buddies/idols Sir Nik (@iwriteasiwrite), Sir Kim (@ellobofilipino), Tita Marj (@margoism), Joseph (@brownmonkeytheory), and Myts (@marinjabin) either discuss this book or make this as a reference on their posts. I got curious especially when I learned that this book contains historical accounts/facts which are not discussed in school and it gives a different angle on how we view our heroes.
History is my favorite subject from Elementary to College (even though I suffered from teachers who did not teach history well).  I have been always fascinated with the stories of the past and how it continue to affect and shape the future. But I have been fed with the history of Zaide, Agoncillo, and Constantino in College so, according to what I have learned here, I have a biased and limited approach to history. (It’s funny to think that I have learned more about Philippine history after graduating from College by reading blogs and posts here on Tumblr.) 
I have painstakingly searched for this book for months here in the Laguna-Batangas area but to no avail. But I got my chance yesterday. This is one of the only two copies available on the bookstore (and this has a better condition compared to the other).
Simply put, this is Philippine History which was not taught to us in School.
Dalawang Mukha ng Pag-ibig (Ebe Dancel)
Five months after Sugarfree broke up, its front man and chief songwriter Ebe Dancel released his debut album as a solo artist with the title Dalawang Mukha ng Pag-ibig.
But my excitement for the album instantly fade away. It was the height of my, uhm, personal financial crisis. I cannot buy his 350-peso limited edition 2-CD debut album. Yeah, poor me.  I could have just illegally downloaded the songs then but no. I do not want to rob my favorite artist. I do not want to steal from the great man who created the anthems of my College years. Just as I supported his former band by buying their original albums, I must also give my full support for Ebe as a solo artist.
Painful as it was, I just let the months pass by without owning his album. But it was worth the wait. And my money. I have been listening to this album all day and trust me, this will not fail you.
________
I can be described by the Tagalog phrase mababaw ang kaligayahan. I don’t usually buy clothes, gadgets, food, and throw a party at an exclusive club (bitch please) whenever I get my pay check. It always go to books and records. And beer. And coffee. Or a good book over a cup of coffee/bottle of beer with a good music on the background.
I believe that books and music are terapheutic and they will teach you even after you finish school. The good things about reading books and listening to good music have  been repeatedly written and preached in the past. And I won’t dig any further.
Yeah, money can’t buy you happiness. But it can help you own great books and good music which is almost the same, right? Invest on it. And make it a habit.
So the next time you ask me what gift do I want for any (special) occasion, here, you already have a clue.
Nah, I’m just kidding.
But you can take it seriously.
Vaya con Dios!

Guilty Pleasures

After a stressful (yet fulfilling) week of facilitating a recollection and retreat to the High School students of Laguna State Polytechnic University last week, I decided to unwind and enjoy ‘the fruit of my labor’ yesterday.

I usually spend my paycheck, honorarium, salary, and stipend on just two things: Books and CDs/records. And here are the stuff that I purchased yesterday to add up to my colection:

The Sherlockian (Graham Moore)

I got addicted to Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes after rediscovering it through the BBC series Sherlock. The American version starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law is quite okay but the TV series starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman made me love the character more. Or shall I say, it made me to be obsessed on Sherlock’s character (my Facebook timeline cover and my Tumblr display photo is Sherlock as portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch.)

I first saw this book sometime last January during the time when the second season of Sherlock has just finished. I was looking for good books (read: window shopping) at National Book Store in SM Calamba when I saw this at the new arrival section. Hungry for a new Sherlock material (because the third season is scheduled to premiere on 2013), I decided to download an electronic copy of the book. But because it’s a pain in my eyes to read in front of the computer (I have no tablet nor an eBook reader) and I want a tangible, smelly book, I decided to save some of my earnings and buy this one.

Because I still have books that are scheduled to be read first, I have not yet taken it out from the plastic packaging. But I promise to make a review after I read it.

A Question of Heroes (Nick Joaquin)

I came across this book here on Tumblr. My good Tumblr buddies/idols Sir Nik (@iwriteasiwrite), Sir Kim (@ellobofilipino), Tita Marj (@margoism), Joseph (@brownmonkeytheory), and Myts (@marinjabin) either discuss this book or make this as a reference on their posts. I got curious especially when I learned that this book contains historical accounts/facts which are not discussed in school and it gives a different angle on how we view our heroes.

History is my favorite subject from Elementary to College (even though I suffered from teachers who did not teach history well).  I have been always fascinated with the stories of the past and how it continue to affect and shape the future. But I have been fed with the history of Zaide, Agoncillo, and Constantino in College so, according to what I have learned here, I have a biased and limited approach to history. (It’s funny to think that I have learned more about Philippine history after graduating from College by reading blogs and posts here on Tumblr.) 

I have painstakingly searched for this book for months here in the Laguna-Batangas area but to no avail. But I got my chance yesterday. This is one of the only two copies available on the bookstore (and this has a better condition compared to the other).

Simply put, this is Philippine History which was not taught to us in School.

Dalawang Mukha ng Pag-ibig (Ebe Dancel)

Five months after Sugarfree broke up, its front man and chief songwriter Ebe Dancel released his debut album as a solo artist with the title Dalawang Mukha ng Pag-ibig.

But my excitement for the album instantly fade away. It was the height of my, uhm, personal financial crisis. I cannot buy his 350-peso limited edition 2-CD debut album. Yeah, poor me.  I could have just illegally downloaded the songs then but no. I do not want to rob my favorite artist. I do not want to steal from the great man who created the anthems of my College years. Just as I supported his former band by buying their original albums, I must also give my full support for Ebe as a solo artist.

Painful as it was, I just let the months pass by without owning his album. But it was worth the wait. And my money. I have been listening to this album all day and trust me, this will not fail you.

________

I can be described by the Tagalog phrase mababaw ang kaligayahan. I don’t usually buy clothes, gadgets, food, and throw a party at an exclusive club (bitch please) whenever I get my pay check. It always go to books and records. And beer. And coffee. Or a good book over a cup of coffee/bottle of beer with a good music on the background.

I believe that books and music are terapheutic and they will teach you even after you finish school. The good things about reading books and listening to good music have  been repeatedly written and preached in the past. And I won’t dig any further.

Yeah, money can’t buy you happiness. But it can help you own great books and good music which is almost the same, right? Invest on it. And make it a habit.

So the next time you ask me what gift do I want for any (special) occasion, here, you already have a clue.

Nah, I’m just kidding.

But you can take it seriously.

Vaya con Dios!

Source: juanrepublic

Paalam Pilipinas: A Sugarfree Documentary

"Sila lang ang bandang hindi Hari ng Sablay"
-
Robert Javier, Musician, Producer, and Sound Engineer

It was January 7 of last year when I first heard the sad news. It came from a tweet from Sugarfree’s frontman, Ebe Dancel. He will leave his band. During that time, it was still unclear if the band is breaking up or its two remaining members, Kaka Quisumbing and Jal Tuguibao, will continue being a Sugarfree minus Ebe.

It was later confirmed in the succeeding days that Ebe Dancel would pursue a solo career and Kaka and Jal would do their own stuff. Sugarfree’s last weeks as a band were spent by doing farewell gigs on different bars and schools.

I was fortunate to watch one of their farewell gigs (which, unfortunately, my first time to watch them live) when they performed at the UPLB Feb Fair last February 17. 2011 (Technically, it was already February 18 when they performed). It was a ‘going back home’ performance for Ebe who was an alumnus of UP Rural High School. Together with hundreds of fans, I jumped to their opening song Kung Ayaw Mo na Sa AkinI joined the crowd in singing Mariposa, and I screamed when they played the crowd-favorite Hari ng Sablay. It was a beautiful night of celebrating the music of Sugarfree. I went home that night with a smile, thankful for having watched Sugarfree live before they part ways; but with a heavy heart because the gentlemen who made the anthems of my College years, would play together for the last time in a few weeks’ time.

And so the inevitable happened. On March 1, 2011, at the Eastwood Central Plaza, Sugarfree bade goodbye to their fans with the farewell concert, Paalam Pilipinas. I was not able to attend the concert but thanks to Jam 88.3 (who played an important role to stage this one) who aired the concert live, I felt that I was also there, drenched in the ran, singing, and shedding a tear for my heroes. 

During the entire concert, I stayed in my room, headset plugged to my ears, shutting the world. I also have a small piece of paper and a pen, scribbling the title of the songs from their set list. I did not let the other members of the household see me on the verge of tears. I sang. I cried. I smiled. After singing their last song Burnout, I told myself that’s it, we have lost another legend. Maybe because the members are too burned out and they need to rest. We never knew the exact reason of their breakup. It just happened. But at least, unlike others, they formally said goodbye. But as in all ending, there is a new beginning. Life must go on.

On August 1, 2011, five months after the farewell concert, Ebe Dancel released his debut album as a solo artist entitled Dalawang Mukha ng Pag-ibig. And as for the two (2) remaining members, Jal Tuguibao continued his studies while Kaka Quisumbing did his own stuff. I am hoping that the remaining two would resurface on the music scene but that thing is yet to happen.

From time to time, whenever I feel reminiscing the good old days, I still listen to Sugarfree. I have almost forgotten the farewell concert but not their music. I have almost forgotten the pain of my heroes’ breakup. It has been almost a year and Ebe is achieving great heights as a solo artist.

Earlier yesterday, while browsing the news feed of Facebook, I saw a post from AtTheWomb.com. the music hub of pelicola.tv, about the premiere of a documentary about Sugarfree’s farewell concert. And to add to my excitement, the premiere was yesterday (though they didn’t put the exact time). During the past months, I have resorted to the videos on YouTube to watch Paalam Pilipinas. But I told myself, there must be someone who documented the whole event. It must be shown for the benefit of thousands (or millions) of Sugarfree fans out there. I patiently waited (to the point of repeatedly refreshing the website) until they finally put up the videos at around 10:20 in the evening. And it was worth the wait.

Paalam Pilipinas: A Sugarfree Documentary, tells about the final moments of Sugarfree as a band - from the band members’ respective houses, to the soundcheck, to the events backstage before the concert, and up to the emotional final song Burnout. This is a documentary featuring how the band broke up and not why the band broke up.

The documentary is divided into four parts. The first part shows Ebe Dancel and Kaka Quisumbing at the start of the day. Kaka shares his experience on the band’s farewell tour while Ebe shows his preparations for the final show. The second part shows the soundcheck and Jal Tuguibao giving his thoughts on the band’s breakup. The third part shows Jal at his home and what his parents have to say about Sugarfree. It also shows the what was really happening backstage while the crowd was waiting for the concert. The fourth, and probably the most emotional part, shows Quark Henares giving introduction before the start of the concert (and the emotional happenings backstage) and the band’s final performance, Burnout.

I watched the documentary twice last night and the emotions I felt during the first time that I watched it was the same, if not more intense, than the first. It’s as if watching over a beloved on his deathbed. It’s as if seeing the love of your life for the last time. It’s as if losing a member of your family.

What moved me most, as what I have written above, was the last part. Though not the whole concert was shown in the film, it captured the emotional performance of the group. It also showed an emotional Ebe Dancel when he left the stage after the concert. But what broke my heart most (Spoiler alert!) were the lines ‘The band was immediately escorted out of the venue right after the show. They parted ways as soon as they were brought to their separate exit points. There was no after party’. With that, I broke into tears.

I am no film nor movie expert but I can say that the cinematography was good. It captured (almost candidly, which was good, in my opinion) the emotion of the members and the music fans very well. I also have a problem with the audio on some parts but to sum it up, the documentary captured the essential - how Sugarfree said their goodbye to the fans and how the fans were affected - and influenced - by their legacy.

This documentary is a must-watch not only for the die-hard Sugarfree fans but also to those who are affected, in a way, by their songs. Even Ebe Dancel jokingly offered this concert to those who illegally downloaded their songs. It shows us how to properly say thank you and goodbye to the people who supported us and help us be put at the top.

I was lucky to grow up with the songs of Sugarfree. I was lucky to be influenced by their music. Their songs were my anthem of my college years - the period of my life when I was discovering my passion for music. Their songs were simple and honest. They touch the lives of their fans. and in my opinion, that is what a music or a song is all about.

Sugarfree may have gone but their music is what keeps them immortal. Listening to their music will help us bring to the happy memories of being a Hari ng Sablay, having a good time at Mariposa, reminiscing our Prom, singing the lullaby Tulog Na, and telling to someone, Huwag Ka nang Umiyak.

Maraming salamat Direk King Palisoc at sa bumubuo ng AtTheWomb.com sa dokumentaryong ito.

Maraming salamat Ebe Dancel, Jal Tuguibao, Kaka Quisumbing, at Mitch Singson sa musika at alaala.

Maraming salamat Sugarfree.

_________

Paalam Pilipinas: A Sugarfree Documentary - I know that you did not read this lengthy post so here’s the link of the documentary. Enjoy. Reminisce. And spread the word.

Elsewhere:

Source: atthewomb.com

Remembering The Final Set

It has been three years since The Eraserheads gave us their final set. Three years after their record breaking concert. Three years since they formally bid us goodbye. Three years after their last bow. Three years after their last concert, and probably indeed their last.

Perhaps, this is one of my biggest regrets as an Eraserheads fan. I was not able to watch their two (2) post-breakup concerts.

During their first concert at The Fort in August 2008, there were doubts if the concert would push through or not. One of the major sponsors backed out a few days before the concert due to a threat of a criminal case from the Health Department. There were no formal announcement of the selling of tickets. There were no formal promotion on the tri-media - just a press release from one of the major broadsheets. I could have made it to the concert. If only I were not drunk somewhere in Calamba that night.

My first attempt to watch them turned out to be a failure.

But as we all know, the first concert was cut short due to Ely Buendia’s health condition. After that, there were speculations if the concert would still push through for a second installment. And the fans got what they wanted. The band will work on their ‘unfinished business’.

The second concert, The Final Set, happened on March 7, 2009, a day after the Master Rapper died, at the SM Mall of Asia concert Grounds. Compared to the first one, this has a bigger venue, a formal promotion, and more or less a hundred thousand tickets available to accommodate more fans. It is said that this is one of the biggest concerts in our history.

Did I make it to the concert? Obviously no. I was then stuck at the Seminary’s confines, punishing myself by studying for our comprehensive examinations. My College Diploma depends on the result of that exam. Bitter as I was, I just resorted to listening to the songs of the Eraserheads on the radio. (I think it was the now-defunct station NU 107 who played Eraserheads songs the whole day in anticipation of The Final Set.)

It was just a consuelo for those who were not able to attend the concert to watch  The Final Set on GMA-7. The network aired it a few weeks after the concert. And I did not waste that opportunity. I watched it with the whole family. But there is still something lacking, something missing within me. Regrets. I could have watched them live. 

And so it happened. March 7, 2009, Saturday, was an unforgettable event in Philippine music history. The Eraserheads, the music hero and inspiration of a generation, performed and bowed for the last time in front of their fans.

It was also during this date that Ely Buendia set flame to the famous “Sticker Happy piano.” You know, the one with the naked Joey Mead from the cover of their album “Sticker Happy”.

And for those who are asking the whereabouts of the sticker piano, the last time that I checked, it was at 70’s Bistro (46 Anonas Street Project 2 , Quezon City).

Photo courtesy of Sir Chris Linag. For additional information, please read the article by Aldus Santos here.

Thank you Eraserheads for being a part of our childhood. Thank you for being the soundtrack of our growing up. Thank you for the good music. Thank you for being our heroes. Thank you for the memories.

Maraming salamat Ely Buendia, Raimund Marasigan, Marcus Adoro, at Buddy Zabala! The Eraserheads will never be erased from our heads. That is influence at its finest.

Source: juanrepublic

Francis Magalona, Filipino

It was Friday, March 6, 2009.  I was still drained from a week-long written revalida/ comprehensive examinations in Philosophy. Our superiors allowed us to unwind outside the Seminary’s confines, take a breath of fresh air, and forget the hardships of the week. We still have an oral revalida on the Monday to come, but that would be easy. I can ace it, I told myself.

I went to Robinsons Place Lipa with some of my classmates. We dined out, ate like a pig, and laughed off the hardships of studying Philosophy. After that, I excused myself and went to Netopia to surf the net and to relax. It was the heydays of Multiply, Friendster, and Yahoo! Messenger. Just like a warrior who survived the hardships of battle, I updated my friends and contacts that I surpassed the first, and the harder part of the Revalida (I could have just tweeted it then but Twitter was not yet known that time). When I logged out my Yahoo! account, I immediately saw an image of the Master Rapper, Francis Magalona, on the news box. (Believe it or not) I just saw the photo, but I did not dare read the headline because I was in a hurry to go back to the Seminary on time. I thought that Francis is going well on his battle against the Big C.

I went back to the Seminary later that afternoon, did my usual stuff, and followed the usual Seminary schedule. After dinner, we went straight to the TV Room for our scheduled TV Viewing and recreation. We tuned in to 24 Oras and were all shocked to learn the news that Francis Magalona passed away. Almost of all of us fell silent, stunned by his sudden demise.

After our compline, I went to my room and turn my radio transistor on. Almost all the radio stations are playing Francis Magalona’s songs as a tribute to the beloved Man from Manila.  In silence, I said my prayer for the eternal repose of his soul, and expressed my regret for losing another Filipino legend.

I first met Francis when I was about four years old. My kuya, an artist, was busy then painting a portrait of Francis Magalona in a one-eighth illustration board at our old kubo. The face was familiar. He’s the man behind the infectious patriotic song Mga Kababayan Ko. And I have watched him on the movie Mama’s Boys with Ogie Alcasid, Michael V., and Anjo Yllana.

I saw Francis as a revolutionary young face that will achieve great heights. He challenged the conventional music style of his age. His music paved way for the unification of the then-opposing sides of Pinoy hip-hop and rock by experimenting on the merging of rap with rock music. After all, music is the language that should unite us, not divide us.

But more importantly, I saw Francis as a young man, whose heart is united with his beloved land. He redefined patriotism. He made it easier for the youth of this generation to appreciate and understand. And he showed us how great a race and nation we are.

Pride. Identity. Meaning. Perhaps, he saw that before we can shout to the world that we love our country, we must first know what it really means to be a Filipino.

I saw Mga Kababayan Ko then as an anthem which promotes Pinoy pride and identity along with the songs Ako’y Isang Pinoy by Florante and Tayo’y mga Pinoy by Heber Bartolome (and later recorded and reinvented by the Man from Manila himself). These three songs, together with our regular Monday school anthem Ako ay Pilipino, were my first inspirations to love my country, to appreciate my Pinoy identity, and to be proud of my ancestry. And this was long before Pinoy Ako by Orange and Lemons.

But he was gone too soon. Had he not died on that fateful Friday noon of March 6, 2009, he may have personally done greater things for our country and to our countrymen. 

But as in all war and tragedy, life continues. He may have gone too soon but his spirit, music, and legacy still continue. Thanks to her wife Pia and the rest of the Magalonas, the Francis Magalona Foundation was born.

The Francis Magalona Foundation was established to realize in each Filipino a true sense of Filipino pride, personal integrity and a commitment to positive change through awareness campaigns and personal development and skills building programs. Its tagline, Finding a Meaning in every Filipino, is an invitation to every Filipino to ask themselves the significance of their identities as a Filipino. How is it to be a Filipino? How do I promote my pride and identity to the whole world?

Up to this day, I still shed a tear whenever I see the videos of Francis Magalona’s death on YouTube. I may not know him personally but his patriotism was one of my influences. He is somehow responsible for what I am right now.

He may have gone at a young age but what is more important is that he had lived his life with meaning. He has influenced a whole generation. He has inspired many with his music. And with that, he is already immortal.

On the third anniversary of his death, let us remember The Man from Manila who have inspired many by his great music, who have been a good father to his children, who have been a good husband to his wife, and who have been a modern example of Filipino Patriotism.

You may have gone Francis but your legacy of music and patriotism will remain in our minds and hearts forever.

Mabuhay ka at maraming salamat Kiko!

Kickass photo courtesy of scarypet.deviantart.com 

Source: juanrepublic

Woman

Tempus fugit. It seems like it was just yesterday when we celebrated Christmas and Single Awareness Day. And now, we are entering the last month of this year’s first quarter. For some, it is just an ordinary month. For the graduating students, it is something to look forward to. And for the beach bums, uhm, the time to get rid of those love handles. (I refuse to do it though. I love my six-pack abs and I cover them with a thick layer of fats for protection.)

"Woman I can hardly express, My mixed emotion at my thoughtlessness, After all I’m forever in your debt, And woman I will try express, My inner feelings and thankfullness, For showing me the meaning of succsess.." 

Today, March 1, we officially start the Women’s Month and the Fire Prevention Month.

Fire. It creates and destroys. A very powerful element.

During the time of ancient Greece, a philosopher named Heraclitus considered fire as the most fundamental element (urstoff) of the universe. He considered fire as gave rise to the other elements and thus to all things. He saw fire as the element that transforms everything through its flames.

We’ve seen fire’s benefit to mankind. It gives us light and heat. It cooks our raw food. It transforms the most obscure ore into precious gold. But we’ve also seen its wrath and menace. It’s vital and at the same time, dangerous.

"Woman I know you understand The little child inside the man, Please remember my life is in your hands, And woman hold me close to your heart, However, distant don’t keep us apart, After all it is written in the stars..

Woman. Without her, we are nothing. She is the instrument of God’s creating hands to create us human beings by carrying us in her womb for nine months. She’s vital for the survival of the human race.

And just like a fire, she’s dangerous. Her charm and beauty may appear to be frail and enchanting but her real power rests on the inside. And history has seen women with legacy balls more powerful and more influential than men. And up to this day, we still do.

"Woman please let me explain, I never meant to cause you sorrow or pain, So let me tell you again and again and again, I love you. now and forever, I love you.."

I would like to dedicate this lovely anthem from my favorite Beatle, John Lennon, to all the women out there. Our mothers, sisters, friends, fiancees, and to the great women in history who helped shape mankind. Let it be known that although we are (still) living in the society created by men with balls and discrimination against you are still rampant in some parts of the world, your contribution to society and history is priceless. Thank you. And please forgive us.

I may not be the most gentle of all the gentlemen out there (or I maybe not a gentleman at all). I may not be a Knight who will save a damsel in distress. I may not be some cutie patootsie young man idolized by the kids and the tweens with a big banner ‘I Respect Women’ on his blog. but all I have is this simple song, just for you. again, thank you.

Happy women’s month to all the women out there. Grazie mille!

Note: The word art above was originally posted during my first year on Tumblr. It was inspired by a friend when I asked him why women’s month and fire prevention month are both celebrated on March. And he gave me that answer. For my non-Filipino readers, it is (loosely) translated as: ‘Perhaps, women’s month and fire prevention month are both celebrated during the month of March because they are both dangerous and vital for survival’.

Source: juanrepublic

Blue Moon (Unreleased Original Take) - Orange and Lemons/Clementine

When I first heard the Orange and Lemons’ song Just Like a Splendid Love Song on Jam 88.3 sometime during my early years in College, I thought it was song from a British group. I immediately fell in love with it and I thought of searching the group online and digging their other music. I was surprised to learn that the song was already two years old and it was from the Filipino group Orange and Lemons which was then rapidly climbing the steps of mainstream popularity with their infectious hit Hanggang Kailan dominating the airwaves.

And just like any other music lovers during the so-called Golden Age of OPM after the nineties, I immediately became a fan of the group. They continue to release other hits such as Heaven Knows (This Angel has Flown), Lihim, Pinoy Ako, and Blue Moon which was used as the soundtrack of the movie of the same title. But all things, even the good ones, must come to an end. Shortly after the release of their third album Moonlane Gardens (which, in my opinion, the best Orange and Lemons album among the three), the group disbanded and formed other bands. Mcoy Fundales and the Del Mundo brothers formed Kenyo while Clementine Castro formed The Camerawalls with the original OnL bassist Law Santiago. 

I have always idolized Clementine since the Orange and Lemons days, especially on the album Moonlane Gardens where he penned most of the songs. He’s a musical prodigy and he’s got good taste on music. Actually, music-wise, he influenced me more than any other musicians. I owe my love for Indie and British Pop to him.

I tried to give the other three OnL members a chance on my eardrums but they have failed me on their Radiosurfing and Maharlika albums. Those albums, in my opinion, are no match against The Camerawalls’ Pocket Guide to the Otherworld and Bread and Circuses.

Last night, while waiting for Kara David’s i-Witness documentary, I stumbled upon Clementine’s Facebook post (A link of his blog, Musings of a Commoner) about the original recording of one of the famous OnL hits, Blue Moon. Alongside with an excerpt of the song, he wrote a brief description of the song and how the client (the film outfit) removed him from the vocals and preferred the version that we know today. 

Most of us have heard the Mcoy Fundales-voiced Blue Moon and his version was good, catchy, dance-able, and the typical Orange and Lemons style that the general public loved. But as much as I respect Mcoy as a musician, I find Clementine’s version better. Though I am a big fan of the combination of Mcoy and Clem (they got one of the perfect vocal blending among the local bands), I find the latter’s voice more soothing, subtle, and good for my ears. (If you have heard the Clementine-voiced OnL songs such as Armageddon is Coming to Town, Pabango ng ‘yong Mata, Hey Please, and Let Me, then you know what I mean.) It has also a catchy Beatle-ish beat which was lacking on the popular version.

I hate doing comparisons among artists but I choose which music is more suitable to my ear and my taste. And Clementine obviously has got it. After hearing the version above, which do you prefer? the popular version or this one? You may choose what you want but the bottom line is, let us keep the music alive. Let us keep the OPM flame burning. Support our local artists.

A great artist may only appear once in a blue moon. But just like looking at the blue moon, listening to their works will be worth the wait. Padayon!

Photo Courtesy of Clementine Castro’s Facebook page.

Elsewhere:

SoundCloud / Dragonfly Collector

Ampatuan Massacre: Never Forget. Never Again.

This day marks the 27th month of the infamous Ampatuan Massacre, a horrible event in our history where 58 people were killed, 34 of whom were journalists or working for the broadcast industry. But do you still care?

It seems like the attention of the public on this issue is slowly going to the depths of the abyss of the forgotten. It’s in one of the infamous characteristics of the Filipinos. We have a short attention span. We tend to forget our past easily. Mabilis makalimot. Mabilis magpatawad.

Our attention may have been taken by the on-going impeachment trial of the Chief Justice. Or how some of us continuously rant about the trending topics on Twitter. Lady Justice and the men and women behind her must have been too focused on the impeachment trial.

But by letting this event just pass us by our consciousness, it will appear that we are condoning the perpetrators of this crime. Or depriving justice to the victims and their families. Or killing the fifty-eight victims repeatedly. Or allowing the culture of impunity in our country. 

Impunity. Kawalang pakundangan. It’s like saying "Go ahead, kill everyone who are against your plans! Shoot the story tellers! We allow murder in our country! No one is punished by the way."

And we don’t want it that way, right? So what can we do as an ordinary citizen?

Never forget. Let us always put the Ampatuan massacre into consciousness. One way of doing it is to post something about it every 23rd of the month for everyone to see (on Facebook, Twitter, and in your blogs). This will help those who have forgotten to remember.

Be an educated and wise voter. The Ampatuan massacre is an election-related violence which involves (an alleged) private army. Choose your leaders wisely. Do not be swayed by their goods during the campaign season.

Be vigilant. Stay on guard, be watchful. Let us be our brother’s keeper. And let us keep an eye on the proceedings of the trial (even if it takes 55,000 years, according to Atty. Harry Roque).

Let us offer a minute of silence to remember the victims of the massacre. And ask God - or the Cosmos or some Force, depending on your belief - that this would never happen again.

Justice for the Victims of the Ampatuan Massacre. Never Forget. Never again.  

Source: juanrepublic

#AshTag Wednesday

"It’s Ash Wednesday. Let us spread the #ashtag"

Today, the Catholic Church celebrates Ash Wednesday. This day marks the beginning of the Lenten season, or the 40-day period of fasting to prepare for the celebration of Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection (Paschal Mystery). It is the season where we are reminded to repent from our sins, to fast and abstain, and to do charity works for the poor and needy.

It is an open secret here on Tumblr and in my blog that I am a former seminarian (or more appropriately, a seminarian on regency or break). I studied in the Seminary for eight years - from high school to college, and I have been writing reflections about Lent and being of service to the poor and the needy since I was twelve (I entered the seminary at a young age, so there goes the explanation).

But there is something that I have to confess to you. Something that whenever I remember those events, I have a mix feelings of being ashamed and laughing at it. During my first years in the high school seminary, I look at Ash Wednesday as a punishment. You see, even the required age for fasting and abstinence is 14, there are no exemptions in the Seminary (for obvious reasons, of course). I treat Ash Wednesday then as a ‘hunger strike day’ for we are only served one full meal during the day without merienda. And if you personally know my eating capacity, you will know why I despise a meal-less day.

As I grow up and as I learn more in the Seminary, my perspective has changed. And I should, because Seminary is a place of formation - spiritually, academically, socially, and formation as a mature, young man with the direction to the Priesthood. And even after I left the institution last March 2009 after graduating in Philosophy, even now that I am living in the real world away from the comforts of her confines, I continuously live (and share) most, if not all, the things that I have learned inside. There are no clear indications yet if I would return and pursue my Theological studies but the important thing is, I should and I must strive not to forget those good things. 

Last night, I planned to attend the Ash Wednesday Mass at our Parish (outside the UPLB Campus). But when my mother told me that there will be a mass in their office (which is inside the campus), I decided to go there since it would be more convenient for me.

The Mass celebrant is Father Thor (Yes, Thor. He may not look like Chris Hemsworth but he is one of the nicest, and funniest priests that I know), the Parish Priest of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus Parish (the church inside UPLB). And I did not regret attending his mass. His homily moved me.

He started his homily sharing a stuff that he found on the internet. He said that a particular Christian denomination put up in their website that a mixture of ash and water burns the skin. As most of us know, the ashes being placed on our foreheads is a mixture of ashes (from the palms used on the previous year’s Palm Sunday) and (Holy) water. He consulted the Chemistry Professors of the University and they told him that yes, it is possible to burn one’s skin by a mixture of ash and water (he told us the name of the chemical compound but I forgot it) but the ashes used on Ash Wednesday have a very minimal effect to cause burning. So are they bluffing? Or scaring the faithful? We don’t know.

Why put ashes on our forehead? It is a reminder for us that we came from dust/earth and we would return to it after our death. Faher Thor told us that the mixture of ashes and water is very symbolic since ashes represents a lifeless man and water, the breath of God that created us (if you read the book of Genesis, this will be quite familiar to you). When God breathed to the earth, there was life.

So what is the challenge for us? Father told us that when the Priest (or the Minister) put ashes on our foreheads, this is a invitation for us to ‘return to the earth’. It is an invitation for us to be stoop down from our level, be ‘dirty’, and to be humble. After all, humility came from the Latin word humus which means earth or soil.

But how could we do that in these modern times where everything is fast and everyone is busy? That is where fasting and abstinence would enter. Fasting and abstinence is not just eating less and abstaining from meat. It is also doing less the things that we find addictive - television, alcohol, cigarettes, internet, and everything considered as ‘excess’ and not an essential. And when we have a free time after abstaining (and fasting) from these, then it would be the time to go back to the earth and be dirty.

And after all of these, during the celebration of the Easter Vigil (or the end of the 40-day preparation) and the blessing of fire and water, it is there when we would burn ourselves and walk to God, our savior. So basically, those who posted that a mixture of ashes and water will burn us, is in a way, correct.

Seminarians are known to Priests as omniscient creatures (it is a inside joke actually). I am guilty of this when I was in college since there are Priests and speakers who give us something that we already know and I (together with most of my brothers) would just fake our attention, pretending to be listening. I know, it is a sign of being proud and not being humble.

But I have learned my lesson today. Though I cannot say that I am totally doing it, I chose to listen and digest what Father has given us. I have learned that yes, we know things and sometimes, it is our expertise, but we should always be reminded. And we should see things from other people’s perspective.

The Season of Lent is about preparing ourselves. It is the period to give up something and be of service to the needy. Actually, as I have mentioned above, some of the things that we have saved during this season should go to helping the poor and the needy. Some would say that this is hypocrisy on our part, but should it be? I think doing something good at least during a particular period of a year is better than having done nothing at all. And as long as you know what you believe in, as long as you are steadfast on your faith, no hecklers, trolls, haters, and non-believers can shake you.

This is a period of giving up our excess. What would you give up? for me, I think it wold be extra rice. Aside from helping me lose wight, it will help those who are in need by giving them what I should have eaten for my excess consumption. (Lent, as they say, is the best way to lose weight and be of shape.)

In these modern times, is the celebration of Ash Wednesday still relevant? Yes. We need it more during these times when we seem to just think of ourselves and our personal gains.

Today is the beginning of the Lenten Season. Let us spread the #AshTag. Vaya con Dios!

Photo Above: A nun uses ash to mark a cross on the forehead of a believer outside the Baclaran church in Paranaque on the occasion of Ash Wednesday. The occasion marks the beginning of the season of Lent in the largely Roman Catholic country. (via ABS-CBNnews.com)

Elsewhere:

  • The Word Exposed: Ashes - Manila Archbishop Chito Tagle’s catechism and reflection about Ash Wednesday. This is very informative.

Source: juanrepublic

Bob Marley: The Life, Music, and Legacy
"It is mentioned in the Bible, that there should be one music that all people shall sing, and play, and dance. What music could that be? Reggae."
If there is one thing informative and fruitful about leaving your Facebook account idle on the news feed, it would be receiving updates from your favorite artists and filmmakers. Let us admit it. Though Facebook has drastically changed over the years, it is still one of the most useful tool to spread information and news.
It’s a blessing from some mysterious cyber force that when I refreshed my news feed, I saw this trailer from the upcoming movie/documentary about the revered God of Reggae, Bob Marley. 

I’ve seen other documentaries from other renowned artists like The Beatles (The Beatles Anthology and their movies) but I haven’t seen any about Bob Marley. Well, at least, thanks to my cousins’ VCDs, I was able to watch some of his live performances during my early teenage years.
Finally! There is something that will help us know him more. Let me share with you the gist of the documentary through their official website:

Bob Marley’s universal appeal, impact on music history and role as a social and political prophet is both unique and unparalleled. MARLEY is the definitive life story of the musician, revolutionary, and legend, from his early days to his rise to international superstardom. Made with the support of the Marley family, the film features rare footage, incredible performances and revelatory interviews with the people that knew him best.
 From Academy Award-winning director Kevin Macdonald (One Day In September, The Last King of Scotland) comes the story of a towering figure of musical history, whose music and message has transcended different cultures, languages and creeds to resonate around the world today as powerfully as when he was alive. 
MARLEY will make its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival this month followed by its North American premiere at SXSW. Magnolia Pictures will release theatrically and on VOD on Friday, April 20th.

I think it’s about time for this generation and era of uhm, not-so-good music to know the life, music, and legacy of the famous man on dreadlocks. It’s about time to educate those who wear Bob Marley shirts without knowing the story behind him (I hope they do a Che Guevarra documentary next time. Thank you very much.)
I hope this documentary will be shown here in our country. But if all else fails, there is always Plan B. I cannot wait to see this monumental and historical work.
Show some respect. Long live Bob Marley! Irie!
Elsewhere:
The official Facebook page/website of Bob Marley Movie.
Bob Marley’s official website.

Bob Marley: The Life, Music, and Legacy

"It is mentioned in the Bible, that there should be one music that all people shall sing, and play, and dance. What music could that be? Reggae."

If there is one thing informative and fruitful about leaving your Facebook account idle on the news feed, it would be receiving updates from your favorite artists and filmmakers. Let us admit it. Though Facebook has drastically changed over the years, it is still one of the most useful tool to spread information and news.

It’s a blessing from some mysterious cyber force that when I refreshed my news feed, I saw this trailer from the upcoming movie/documentary about the revered God of Reggae, Bob Marley. 

I’ve seen other documentaries from other renowned artists like The Beatles (The Beatles Anthology and their movies) but I haven’t seen any about Bob Marley. Well, at least, thanks to my cousins’ VCDs, I was able to watch some of his live performances during my early teenage years.

Finally! There is something that will help us know him more. Let me share with you the gist of the documentary through their official website:

Bob Marley’s universal appeal, impact on music history and role as a social and political prophet is both unique and unparalleled. MARLEY is the definitive life story of the musician, revolutionary, and legend, from his early days to his rise to international superstardom. Made with the support of the Marley family, the film features rare footage, incredible performances and revelatory interviews with the people that knew him best.

 From Academy Award-winning director Kevin Macdonald (One Day In September, The Last King of Scotland) comes the story of a towering figure of musical history, whose music and message has transcended different cultures, languages and creeds to resonate around the world today as powerfully as when he was alive. 

MARLEY will make its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival this month followed by its North American premiere at SXSW. Magnolia Pictures will release theatrically and on VOD on Friday, April 20th.

I think it’s about time for this generation and era of uhm, not-so-good music to know the life, music, and legacy of the famous man on dreadlocks. It’s about time to educate those who wear Bob Marley shirts without knowing the story behind him (I hope they do a Che Guevarra documentary next time. Thank you very much.)

I hope this documentary will be shown here in our country. But if all else fails, there is always Plan B. I cannot wait to see this monumental and historical work.

Show some respect. Long live Bob Marley! Irie!

Elsewhere:

Source: facebook.com

Prom

"Nanginginig na mga kamay. Ang puso kong hindi mapalagay. Puwede ba kitang tabihan? Kahit na may iba ka nang kasama.."

It’s prom season once again. They say that this is the most anticipated event in one’s high school life. A night of fun, glamour, good memories, and an unforgettable moment for teenage first love.

This is not a story for me to tell. I never had a chance to attend a Junior-Senior Promenade. I studied in an exclusive school for boys in High School.  And during my senior year, when we cross-enrolled at a nearby coed Catholic school, I was not able to attend the graduation ball (the nuns replaced the JS Prom with it for some reasons) because I was busy preparing for college then (nuks).

"Ito na ang gabing di malilimutan.."

Last Friday was a busy day for the parloristas here in Los Baños. Almost all high schools inside the UPLB Campus were having their JS Prom. And for my younger sister who is a junior in high school, that night was surely a memorable one.

She’s the family’s unica hija and the first among the siblings who will attend the JS Prom (My brother and I studied at the same high school.). So you can imagine how my parents, especially my Nanay, prepare for this once-in-a-lifetime event.

Days before the Prom, I ask her if she has already a date/partner for that night. She said yes but she won’t give us his name. My Nanay, with her awesome cyber espionage skills, managed to look for the guy and we found out that he’s nice. I jokingly told my sister that I’m gonna bring my zombie apocalypse kit on the night of her Prom just in case the guy mess up.

My sister was fetched in our house and went to the Prom with her barkada (not her date. Good for the guy, haha!). We basically let her do what she wanted on that special day. She went to the Prom while my Parents and I went to the muddy UPLB Feb Fair.

"Parang atin ang gabi. Para bang wala tayong katabi. Nang tayo’y sumayaw na parang di na tayo bibitaw.."

They say that high school is the happiest stage of one’s life (though there are some who would beg to differ). Even Sharon Cuneta immortalized the tears and laughter of high school with the song High School Life. This is the stage of one’s formation, transformation, and self-discovery.

I may have not experienced Prom but let me share with you some of my a priori thoughts on it. Enjoy every single moment of it. It only happens once or twice in one’s life time. It is also training ground for a bigger world after school. It is where you learn etiquette, decorum, and where you test your self-esteem ad self-confidence (by asking someone to be her date and not being a wallflower during the dance).

I know that there are more knowledgeable and credible persons out there to talk about this but what I only have here is a small story and a good music to share.

When I first heard this song by Sugarfree (with the Manila Syphony Orchestra), I was instantly amused by the David Pomeranz-penned King and Queen of Hearts introduction (a classic Prom song) before hitting the first drum beats and notes of one of the group’s famous anthems.

How was your prom? Is it nostalgic or a horror? And for the younglings reading my blog, are you excited to have one? I hope this song by Sugarfree help you reminisce on this cold, rainy weather.

Maraming salamat Ebe Dancel, Sugarfree, at Manila Symphony Orchestra sa napakahusay na awiting ito.

Photo Above: My sister and I minutes before she went to the Prom. And please excuse my ‘beer barrel belly’. Thank you very much.

Source: juanrepublic

"To Infinity and Beyond!"
Most people today are either celebrating Valentine’s Day or being a jerk thinking about how pathetic their being single is. Or having a genital wars at some branch of Sogo (So clean, So good). I was suppose to write something about Valentine’s Day today but because of the gloomy weather, nothing special, extraordinary, or Valentine-related stuff happened to me the whole day. And it’s too mainstream. So I decided to write about another significant event of today:
Manong Johnny Enrile’s 88th birthday. Yes, eighty-eight. Double infinity as some would say.
Back when I was a young little kid, I see to it that I always watch the evening news with my parents/ grandparents. Through that, I became familiar with current events and the different personalities from politics, sports, and entertainment. I may have not memorized all of the politician’s names but there is always one who I always remember - Enrile. Juan Ponce Enrile.
As I grow older and into maturity (hopefully), I indulged myself more in the matters of history, politics, society, government, and current events. And  I can still hear Manong Johny Enrile’s name every now and then. He is always there. Or should I say, he must be always there.
Time passed by and as we both grow older - me in my late teenage years and he, in his seemingly emergence into immortality - I got to know him more by reading history and news stuff related to his life. And he became one of my favorite law makers.
Perhaps he is best known to this generation as the Senator who wishes us to be happy. His "Gusto Ko Happy Ka" (I want you to be happy) campaign slogan in the 2010 elections made him won the hearts of the youth and the generation who were not yet born during the dark ages of our history - where he also played an important role.
I have been reading Manong Johnny Enrile-related news items the whole evening on the internet and I came across this article from Interaksyon.com that summarizes the man’s legacy:

Juan Ponce Enrile has seen, in 88 full years, the highs and lows, the tragedies and triumphs, countless political seasons, of the country. He not only lived through most of them, but also at every turn played a key role. The remarkable journey made his birthday, at the helm of a historic trial, so much more pregnant with meaning. Having been born in on the day of hearts, it seemed fitting he remained, eight decades after, still very much at home in the heart of history.

Eighty-eight years. For some, it is the age of retirement. A time to spend your last remaining years on this planet with your loved ones. And a bonus age for most of us. but Manong Johnny Enrile just keeps on going and it looks like he has no plan to stop as long as he is able to do his duty. He is the perfect example of the Filipino saying about being hardworking, 'Kalabaw lang ang tumatanda’.
Eighty-eight years. One is considered an immortal if his works and legacy continue to inspire and move others even after his death. But Manong is still alive and is continuously doing things for the future of this country.
Eighty-eight years. Just like his birthday wish, I wish him stamina to perform his duties well. Will he live until the 2016 elections and be our next leader? What’s wrong with a 92-year old leader?
Isa kang alamat Manong Johnny. Maligayang ika-walumpu’t walong kaarawan! At sa puntong ito, gusto ko, happy ka!
Photo Above: Senate President and presiding officer Juan Ponce Enrile is amused as Senate reporters present him with a cake with a miniature image of the impeachment court on his 88th birthday on Tuesday, before the start of the impeachment proceedings against Chief Justice Renato Corona. (via ABS-CBNnews.com)
Elsewhere:
"I Sense a Disturbance in The Force" - I always remember Manong Johnny whenever I see this villain from Star Wars. Seriously.
Manong Johnny Enrile’s Biography - Taken from his official website. This will take us back to the prehistoric times during the age of the dinosaurs. (Kidding!)
JPE at 88: At Home in the Heart of History

"To Infinity and Beyond!"

Most people today are either celebrating Valentine’s Day or being a jerk thinking about how pathetic their being single is. Or having a genital wars at some branch of Sogo (So clean, So good). I was suppose to write something about Valentine’s Day today but because of the gloomy weather, nothing special, extraordinary, or Valentine-related stuff happened to me the whole day. And it’s too mainstream. So I decided to write about another significant event of today:

Manong Johnny Enrile’s 88th birthday. Yes, eighty-eight. Double infinity as some would say.

Back when I was a young little kid, I see to it that I always watch the evening news with my parents/ grandparents. Through that, I became familiar with current events and the different personalities from politics, sports, and entertainment. I may have not memorized all of the politician’s names but there is always one who I always remember - Enrile. Juan Ponce Enrile.

As I grow older and into maturity (hopefully), I indulged myself more in the matters of history, politics, society, government, and current events. And  I can still hear Manong Johny Enrile’s name every now and then. He is always there. Or should I say, he must be always there.

Time passed by and as we both grow older - me in my late teenage years and he, in his seemingly emergence into immortality - I got to know him more by reading history and news stuff related to his life. And he became one of my favorite law makers.

Perhaps he is best known to this generation as the Senator who wishes us to be happy. His "Gusto Ko Happy Ka" (I want you to be happy) campaign slogan in the 2010 elections made him won the hearts of the youth and the generation who were not yet born during the dark ages of our history - where he also played an important role.

I have been reading Manong Johnny Enrile-related news items the whole evening on the internet and I came across this article from Interaksyon.com that summarizes the man’s legacy:

Juan Ponce Enrile has seen, in 88 full years, the highs and lows, the tragedies and triumphs, countless political seasons, of the country. He not only lived through most of them, but also at every turn played a key role. The remarkable journey made his birthday, at the helm of a historic trial, so much more pregnant with meaning. Having been born in on the day of hearts, it seemed fitting he remained, eight decades after, still very much at home in the heart of history.

Eighty-eight years. For some, it is the age of retirement. A time to spend your last remaining years on this planet with your loved ones. And a bonus age for most of us. but Manong Johnny Enrile just keeps on going and it looks like he has no plan to stop as long as he is able to do his duty. He is the perfect example of the Filipino saying about being hardworking, 'Kalabaw lang ang tumatanda’.

Eighty-eight years. One is considered an immortal if his works and legacy continue to inspire and move others even after his death. But Manong is still alive and is continuously doing things for the future of this country.

Eighty-eight years. Just like his birthday wish, I wish him stamina to perform his duties well. Will he live until the 2016 elections and be our next leader? What’s wrong with a 92-year old leader?

Isa kang alamat Manong Johnny. Maligayang ika-walumpu’t walong kaarawan! At sa puntong ito, gusto ko, happy ka!

Photo Above: Senate President and presiding officer Juan Ponce Enrile is amused as Senate reporters present him with a cake with a miniature image of the impeachment court on his 88th birthday on Tuesday, before the start of the impeachment proceedings against Chief Justice Renato Corona. (via ABS-CBNnews.com)

Elsewhere:

Source: abs-cbnnews.com

Memoirs of Inday and the Bodyguard

It was the nineties. Some would say that it is the best decade for music, movie, recreation, fun, and entertainment. For those who were born and who grew up in that era, it wil be remembered for its good old memories of nostalgia and fun (but of course, those who were born on a different era will beg to differ).

Nineties. It was the year when kasamabahay(s) are stereotyped by popular TV shows and movies with the name Inday and having an affair with a sikyu (security guard). And it was also the year when a song for every Inday - and every romantics - came out.

It was I Will Always Love You. Or for every pun-loving Filipino in that decade, it was Inday will always love you.

The song was so popular in the country that it became an anthem of almost every music-loving Filipino (long before Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On, but that’s another story). Though not a Whitney Houston original (it was Dolly Parton who sang the original), the song gained popularity after the former recorded it for the soundtrack of her debut movie, The Bodyguard.

Ah, that movie. It is considered one of the classic romantic-thriller movie of that age. I remember watching it in my grandparents’ house on their trusty VHS player. I did not care about the movie being a romantic flick then. What I care about is it being an action-thriller movie. And its theme song I will Always Love You.

This may sound not-so-manly but Whitney Houston’s  I Will Always Love you is one of the first songs that I learned to sing (aside from the jingle of cough syrup Tuseran Forte which I used to sing as 'Sa Tusenan Boteee..'). In fact, I even held a mini-concert during my fourth birthday party, singing and screaming the song at the top of my lungs in front of our house. (I still have a picture of it but I think it’s still in our old house. I’m gonna post it soon when I find the opportunity to get it.)

And just like any other kid, or a typical Pinoy, who sing that song, I used to sing it as "Indaaa-hiyaay! Will always love you! Huuwaaa..".

What made me sing a Whitney Houston song for cryin’ out loud? Perhaps it’s because of the song’s popularity during that time that it became the anthem of almost everyone. It became the song that everyone knew to sing and to love (unlike Frank Sinatra’s My Way that became infamous for it’s, uhm, fatal effects). Just like a young child singing whatever is overplayed on television and the radio, perhaps I just joined the Whitney Houston bandwagon then?

I woke up last Sunday morning, February 12 here in the Philippines, learning about Whitney Houston’s death via Tumblr and Twitter. And I told myself that’s it, another musical legend passed away, leaving her fans, listeners, and people whom she inspired in grief. The news about her drug addiction during the last years of her life may always be included in her story but that would not suffice to overshadow her fame, success, and legacy.

You may call yourself a die-hard fan who would weep because of her sudden demise. You maybe just an ordinary music fan who appreciate her music. and you may be just someone who recently listen to her music and joined the We-love-you-Whitney-Houston bandwagon.

But I will always remember her as someone who introduced me to Inday and The Bodyguard. Someone who helped me discover my love for singing and music.

Goodbye Whitney. Thanks you for the music. Millie grazie!

Source: juanrepublic

Buffalo Soldier

"Buffalo soldier, dreadlock rasta. There was a buffalo soldier in the heart of America, stolen from Africa, brought to America. Fighting on arrival, fighting for survival.."

There is always one particular song that will introduce you to the artist. One song that will lead you to know the artist more and listen to his other songs. And in my case, I met Roberto Nesta Marley through Buffalo Soldier.

I frst heard Buffalo Soldier from my cousin’s noisy component during my puberty age. (Remember the 3-CD changer type of component back then that boasts of 20,000 watts or more? You got the picture.) They have been repeatedly playing this particular song the whole day to the point that the lyrics woy! yoy! yoy! yoy! became my LSS at the end of the day. I asked them who the artist is because I find his music relaxing and comforting. And from that day, I fell in love with his music and started listening to his other songs.

"If you know your history. Then you would know where you coming from. Then you wouldn’t have to ask me, Who the ‘eck do I think I am.."

Aside from being the first Bob Marley song that I learned and its catchy and feel-good melody, Buffalo Soldier became one of my favorites because of its story and message. 

This song is written by Bob Marley and Noel Williams from Marley’s final recording session in 1980. The title and lyrics refer to the black U.S. cavalry regiments, known as “Buffalo Soldiers”, that fought in the Indian Wars after 1866. Marley likened their fight to a fight for survival, and recasts it as a symbol of black resistance.

I was able to listen and learn his other songs because aside from The Beatles and the Eraserheads, Bob Marley is always our companion whenever me and my cousins and uncles have an inuman sessions. There are also other Bob Marley songs that remind me of a particular story in my life. I will always remember Jammin’  as one of my drinking buddy’s drunk song; I Shot the Sheriff is my father’s favorite song during his youth; No Woman No Cry was my anthem during my emo days in college; Waiting in Vain is my favorite videoke song; and Three Little Birds was my comfort song during the time when my family underwent a serious crisis.

And in my opinion, there is always a Bob Marley song for everyone, for every event in one’s life, and for every emotion.

Too bad, he’s gone too soon. But I believe that one does not need to live an old age to live life to the fullest. By his music, principle, and influence, Bob Marley is already immortal. He has influenced many and up to this day, he is still considered one of the greatest man that walked - and sang -on this planet.

Happy birthday Bob Marley! Thank you for your legacy. One love. Irie!

Source: juanrepublic

Ang Alamat ni Jeric Raval

Noong isang araw, nabulabog ang mga angry birds ng cyber space nang sa kauna-unahang pagkakataon ay tumayo ang kilalang miyembro ng Senate Committee on Silence na si Senator Lito Lapid at nagsalita sa impeachment court. At dahil bihira ang pagkakataong iyon, nag-trending worldwide ang Senador sa Twitter. Kasama ang pangalang Leon Guerrero.

E sino nga ba si Leon Guerrero? Siya ang Pinoy version ng Lone Ranger na nakilala sa pinilakang tabing dahil sa pagganap ni Lito Lapid (pero mas naunang gumanap ang kaniyang tiyuhin na si Jess Lapid). Ang pinakanatatandaan ko sa kanya ay kung paano niya pinatay ang dalawang tumatakbong kalaban gamit ang iisang bala - sa pamamagitan nang pagpapaputok ng baril sa harap ng isang punyal (na kahit si MacGyver, hindi maiisip yun).

Gusto ko sanang magsulat tungkol kay Leon Guerrero at sa tahimik na Senador pero napagtanto kong sayang lang ang bandwidth. At neurons. Kaya’y naisipan kong ibaling ang aking atensyon sa aking paboritong action star noong dekada nobenta:

Si Jeric Raval.

Noong isang araw, habang naghahanap ng matinong palabas sa TV, ay napadaan ako sa Kapuso Movie Festival ng GMA-7 kung saan may nakita akong isang pamilyar na mukha na kasama nang noo’y payat pang si Beethoven Del Valle-Bunagan (Michael V.) - si Jeric Raval. Ang pamagat ng pelikula? Biboy Banal: Pagganti ko..Tapos Kayo (halimaw sa title!) na orihinal na ipinalabas noog taong 1994. At sa puntong iyon, bumalik sa aking alaala yung kabataan ko na tuwang-tuwang nanonood ng mga Pinoy action movies sa TV, VHS at sa Pinoy Blockbusters (Tatay ng Cinema One). At isa nga sa mga naging paborito kong bida higit sa ibang action stars ng henerasyong iyon ay si Jeric Raval.

Sino nga ba si Jeric Raval? Ang tunay niyang pangalan ay Jericho Buensuceso at inilarawan siya ng Wikipedia (ang hindi nagsisinungaling na bible ng henerasyon ngayon) bilang isang artista na nakilala sa kanyang leather jacket, leather pants, at shiny hair.

Una siyang nakilala sa pelikula ni Manoy Eddie Garcia na Valentin Zapanta Alyas Ninong: Ang Huling Kilabot ng Tondo kung saan gumanap siya bilang isa sa mga bata ni Ninong at ang kanyang kauna-unahang pelikula in a lead role ay ang Kalabang Mortal ni Baby Ama kasama sina John Regala at Willie Revillame (Oo, si Kuya Wil). Matapos noon ay naging sunod-sunod pa ang pelikula niya sa OctoArts Films katulad ng Boboy Salonga: Batang Tondo, Estribo Gang: The Jinggoy Sese Story, Beloy Montemayor: Tirador ng Cebu, Victor Meneses: Dugong Kriminal, Barkada Walang Atrasan, at ang personal kong paborito dahil sobrang pamatay ng pamagat na Bunso: Isinilang Kang Palaban.

Napilitan si Jeric na tumigil sa paggawa ng pelikula matapos makatanggap ng Temporary Restraining Order matapos ang hindi pagkakaunawaan sa OctoArts Flms na nauwi sa korte. Matapos maayos ang gusot ay nagbalik pelikula si Jeric pero hindi na gaanong naging maningning ang kaniyang kasikatan. Ang kaniyang pinakahuling pelikula ay ang Lapu-Lapu ni Lito Lapid noong 2002 (na sa tingin ko ay kakaunti lamang sa inyo ang nakapanood).

E ano ba ang meron si Jeric Raval na wala ang ibang action stars katulad nina Robin Padilla, Fernando Poe, Jr., George Estregan, Cesar Montano, Monsour Del Rosario, Ronnie Rickets, Bong Revilla, at Rustom Padilla? (Oo, gumanap na astig na sundalo si Rustom sa Mistah kasama ang mga kapatid niyang sina Robin, Royette, at Rommel bago siya naging BB Gandanghari)

Para sa akin, may ibang klase ng karisma si Jeric Raval. Hindi siya yung tipikal na action star noong dekada nobenta na sa unang tingin mo pa lang ay alam mo nang mambabasag ng bote ng San Miguel beer sa ulo ni Bomber Moran o kaya ay makikipaghilahan ng bigote sa magkapatid na Rommy at Paquito Diaz. Siya yung klase ng astig na action star na hindi mo aakalaing makikipagpatayan sa mga bata ng kurap na Congressman, pulis, at negosyante. Maamo ang mukha kaya may elemento ng surpresa at gulat kapag nakikipagbakbakan sa loob ng bandonadong gusali o warehouse.

Katulad na lamang noong pelikulang Biboy Banal: Pagganti ko..Tapos Kayo. Sa unang tingin, lalo na at kasama pa ang henyong si Michael V., ay aakalain mong isa na namang pelikulang comedy ng OctoArts ang palabas. Pero matapos na mapatay na ang kaniyang ama, gahasain at patayin ang kanyang kapatid , magkaroon ng nakakakilig na eksena kasama ang leading lady, ang kaunting pag-aaway sa loob ng beer house, at ang paglabas ng Mitsubishi L-300 na siyang sikat na sasakyan sa mga Pinoy action movies (samakatuwid, kapag lumabas na lahat ng cliche sa mga action films noong dekada nobenta), ay lalabas na ang kaniyang husay sa pag-arte bilang isang dekalibreng action star.

Masasabi kong isa si Jeric Raval sa mga impluwensyal na naghubog ng plikulang Pilipino noong dekada nobenta - ang huling dekada kung saan ang malaking porsyento ng masa ay gumagastos at pumipila sa mga sinehan (Siguro ay dahil mas mura pa ang panonood sa Sinehan noon. At dahil buhay pa ang Seiko Films. Oh yeah!)

Pero lumilipas ang panahon. Namatay ang action genre sa pelikulang Noypi at kasamang namatay nito ay ang karera ng daan-daang movie crew, stuntmen, kontra bida, at mga action stars na hayun, huli kong nakita sa TV ay nasa drama o sa mga pa-cute na youth-oriented shows.

Nasaan na nga ba si Jeric Raval ngayon? Wala akong balita. Huli ko siyang nakita noong isang taon sa radio show ni Cristy Fermin sa Aksyon TV 41 kung saan sinabi niyang sabik na siyang magbalik-pelikula. At ganoon pa rin ang mukha, halos hindi tumanda. Parang si Ely Buendia. At ang namayapang si Francis Magalona.

Sinasabing kinakailangang magkaroon ng ‘kamatayan’ ng action films sa Pilipinas para magkaroon ng ‘muling pagkabuhay’ at para maitaas ang kalidad nito. Sa pagpapalabas ng Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story ni George Estregan at sa nalalapit na pagpapalabas ng Hitman ni Cesar Montano, masasabi nating unti-unti na ngang nabubuhay ang action genre ng pelikulang Pilipino.

Utang na loob, sawang-sawa na ako sa paulit-ulit na comedy at love story sa pinilakang tabing. Ibalik natin ang Pinoy action Films. At ang titillating movies ng Seiko Films. Biro lamang ang huli pero puwedeng seryosohin.

Hindi ako dalubhasa sa pelikula at ekonomiya pero sa tingin ko, ang magpapabuhay sa naghihingalong industriya ng pelikulang Pilipino ay ang masa. Gumawa tayo ng pelikula na hindi mang-iinsulto sa ating kakayahang mag-isip (katulad noong mga staple movies sa MMFF). Gumawa tayo ng de kalidad na pelikula na ikatutuwa at ipagmamalaki ng mga manonood. Gumawa tayo ng de kalidad na pelikula. Gumawa tayo ng de kalidad na action films - na sa aking opinyon ay ang genre na malapit sa puso ng masa.

Nalalapit na ang muling pagkabuhay ng Pinoy action movies. At iisa lang naman ang hinihiling ko - ang makita ko ulit na nakikipagbarilan at nakikipagbasagan ng bote ang idolo kong si Jeric Raval sa pinilakang tabing.

Isa kang alamat, Jeric Raval. Mabuhay ang pelikulang Pilipino! Respeto.

Elsewhere:

  • Video 48Ang mga larawan sa itaas ay dito ko kinuha. Ang blog na ito ay patungkol sa mga classic Pinoy movies. Asteeg!
  • How the metrosexual killed the action star - Kung dati, ang mga iniidolo ay ang mga lalaking may bigote sa action movies, ngayon, mga lalaking kung mag-ayos ay mas komplikado pa sa mga babae.
  • Guns, Goons, and GoreLourd de Veyra’s take on the Pinoy action movies.

Source: juanrepublic


This is a personal blog where rants, raves, and everything in between is written and posted.

About the Blogger: His name is Juan, a frustrated writer who hails from a sauna town at the foot of Mount Makiling. He spends his being an overworked and underpaid High School teacher and being a self-proclaimed superhero who is dreaming and trying to make a difference, one post at a time.

For correspondence, please email me at juanrepublica@gmail.com

You can also find me at these websites:



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