Thursday, November 30, 2006

buffet a la bisdak

NATIVE SPECIALTY. That's what the University of San Carlos dishes out starting today as the Dalit Bisaya 2006: Cebuano Cultural Festival kicks off with an exhibit featuring slide shows, among others, at the Trade Hall of SM City.

Vicente Sotto's play Elena will also be staged as well as a free concert-- featuring Pilita Corrales, Dulce, Jimmy Marquez, local bands and USC's choir and dance troupe-- that will wind up the three-day affair.

But the most delicious part of the whole feast will be the Symposium on Cebuano Heritage on December 2 at 1:00 to 4:30 pm at the Theodore Buttenbruch Hall, USC Main. Slurp up to your ears, here are the papers to be presented:

1) "Ethnography, Blacksmiths : A Glimpse of Cebu’s Past” by Jocelyn B. Gerra, Executive Director of Cultural Heritage Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc.

2) “Cebuano Tangible Heritage: Issues and Concerns” by Arch. Melva Rodriguez-Java, Director of the Conservation and Heritage Research Institute and Workshop (CHERISH) of the University of San Carlos

3) “The Future of Visayan,” by Dr. Francisco Nemenzo, former President, University of the Philippines

4) “Bisaya in the Global Filipino Nation” by Dr. Jose V. Abueva, President of the Kalayaan College in Marikina City

Kitakita ta, Bay!

Puzzle-Dazzle in a Poem

HEFTY AND FEATHERY at the same time, here's an airtight evidence of poetry's power to encapsulate anything of epic scope. One of my favorite poems from the anthology 180 More: Extraordinary Poems For Every Day (edited by Billy Collins), the following piece written by R.S Gwynn is simply nifty in summing up some of Shakespeare's masterpieces, whittling down the formidable canon to the level of a playful puzzle: a deconstructionist's romp through the ramparts of the Elizabethan verse structure that often looms like an enchanted jungle to many an English Lit major. Who says one can't graze through the wilderness of a poem, chew the cud of its subtleties, and lick one's lips with a flourish of a grin after reading? Consider this:

Shakespearean Sonnet

A father is haunted by his father’s ghost.
A boy and girl love while their families fight.
A Scottish king is murdered by his host.
Two couples get lost on a summer night.
A hunchback murders all who blocks his way.
A ruler’s rival plot against his life.
A fat man and a prince make rebels pay.
A noble Moor has doubts about his wife.
An English king decides to conquer France.
A duke learns that his best friend is a she.
A forest sets the scene for this romance.
An old man and his daughters disagree.
A Roman leader makes a big mistake.
A sexy queen is bitten by a snake.

Monday, November 20, 2006

In Search Of The City's Soul

TO MAKE Cebu worth the tourists' winks, those calling the shot for the metro have been at sixes and sevens about hosting the forthcoming Asean Summit. But there's more than meets the eye, or so fancies my recent column in the Opinion Page of Sun.Star Cebu (21 November 2006):

Where’s the Way to Sugbo Cultural Park?

What dreams may come for this so-called Queen City of the South remains to be seen, but City Hall is all eyes for no less than the spectacular. Never mind if the city’s overseer has been losing sleep in preparation for the Asean Summit; what matters is he wouldn’t wind up a somnambulist after going deep in trance for his visions of development.

All perked up for the forthcoming arrival of foreign guests and tourists this December, the city has been looking slick all the way. See, the center isle of the city’ major roads where the summit itinerary goes has been spruced up with the sleight of the landscape artist’s hands. Yellow paint has streaked out the sidewalk’s eyesores, too. And direct from France, a “state-of-the-art lighting technology” made of aluminum and glass will soon take the breath away of passersby and motorists along Fuente Osmeña to the Provincial Capitol.

Prospects are bright, too, for the relocation Department of Tourism (DOT) in a Banaue Rice Terraces-inspired edifice slated to rise at Kawit Point in the South Road Properties (SRP). With Cebu getting the President’s thumb-up as part of the Central Philippines super region, tourism is expected to take the city and the whole island by storm.

Upbeat about blazing cool sights in the city, the Mayor also mulls over the blueprint for improving
Linot-od Falls in the mountain barangays of Taptap and Tabunan. Streamlining the scenery around it by putting up cable cars and other amenities would make it ideal as a picnic spot.

It’s a welcome possibility, indeed, in a city so short of parks and public spaces for recreation. So far, what comfort the city can offer to its denizens and tourists smack in its hustle and bustle (Plaza Independencia, Fuente Osmeña, Cebu Business Park in Ayala, and the Family Park in Talamban) is niggardly compared to the breezy vista of Luneta in Manila, for instance.

Now that City Hall is in the mood to set up landmarks that would raise the stakes for the city’s pride, why not aim higher and pave the way for a long-overdue oasis for Cebuano culture?

On this site will rise the Sugbo Cultural Park, or so this column wishes to see a billboard announcing soon its realization right in the heart of the city (perhaps somewhere in the SRP). Where green is the breeze whistling over the verdure and grass as the harvest of finest Bisdak sensibility gets celebrated. Where tourists and locals alike would gather not only to laze the hours away, but also to visit the park’s museums, art gallery, mini-theatre for a showcase of art films as well as poetry readings, play productions, concerts, etc. Where the trees would be renamed in loving memory of Cebu’s creators of literature, music, visual arts, dance, etc. (For example: Narra Vicente Ranudo, Acacia Martino Abellana, Molave Minggoy Lopez, or Mahogany Sandiego)

Beyond the cosmetic change of the city, indeed, there are more meaningful and enduring metamorphosis that would also spell its soul long after it has realized its dream for progress.

His Highness

HEAVENLY, this pose after packing a knockout punch: an oblation of hands inverting the "V" of victory, of eyes rapt with gratitude. Such gesture, such grace of humility before a higher power, would have been out of sorts for one who rules in a sport steeped in machismo and vainglory. But there he is, showing us the stuff true champs are made of. Alleluiah, indeed!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Dossier For The Dopey

SOME blogger got me tagged for a ride en route to that netherworld of self-indulgence. So, take it or leave it, here goes the buzz from my upfront dialogue with the rear-view mirror:

Which actor would best play you in the film of your life? Takeshi Kitano.

What would the title of your autobiography be? Still Grinning and Scratching My Head After All These Years

If you were a country, which one would you be? Italy by day, Japan by night

If your philosophy in life could be summarized on a car sticker, what would it say? Walking is better, but having a chaffeur is best.

If you could choose your own nickname, what would it be? Geez, this question’s Einstenian enough to rumple the remains of my hair!

If people used your name as a verb, what would it be for? For telling everyone not to take themselves too seriously

If you had your 15 minutes of fame, what would it be for? For Scarlett Johannson to tell the paparazzi that it was me who devirginized her through mental telepathy

If you could be a fictional character, who would you be? Peter Pan. Or if I’d grow up, Zorba the Greek and Odysseus.

What three qualities in a woman would be essential for her to qualify as the love of your life? Hey, wanna meet my wife?

Which TV character do you most identify with? The voice-over in the commercials

How would you describe yourself in a lonely hearts ad? Thrives well in solitude. Envious of lighthouse keepers, librarians, carpenters, chefs, gardeners and landscape artists, and directors of blue movies. Addicted to beer. A frustrated guitarist and symphony conductor. Lured but scared of the sea. And, yes, I have a lifelong crush on Nora Aunor.

If you could be an animal, what creature would you be? Pegasus

In what era do you belong? Way back where the air of innocence was struck with the soundtrack of such televised fares as Hawaii Five-O, Six-Million-Dollar Man and Superstar.

When someone asks you, What do you do? What would you like to be able to say? I aspire to be St. Augustine, thank you!

Which fashion designer epitomizes your sense of style?
Would you haul me off to the nearest nudist colony, instead, please?

What car would you be? I’d rather be a tartanilla hauled by Pegasus.

What season is most like you? Rainy, the sort that drives me and my kids outside in the downpour while my wife prepares arroz caldo or pancakes and hot chocolate in the kictchen.

Where are you in life’s swimming pool? In the deep or shallow end, floating, sinking, on the diving board or in the changing room?
Swimming pool? Get real, life is either an ocean or a sewer.

What song sums you up best? Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana because it sounds barbaric and heavenly at the same time

What flower would you be? Dama de noche, if not a nocturnal sunflower

What are your three best qualities? I remember. I celebrate. I believe. (Otherwise, I’d be damned!)

What three words would your detractors use about you? What three words would your friends use about you? Who do you agree with? Guess what? Reading the minds of my friends and foes alike is too presumptuous for my own comfort.

Which of the seven deadly sins are you most likely to commit? Lust and pride. (If not, I would be a saint.)

What famous person, past or present, would most enjoy your company? Bert “Tawa” Marcelo, because he laughed a lot whether he meant it or not. Plus the cool fact that
he used to be an endorser of San Miguel beer. Swell!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Happy Birthday, Aegan!

TOMORROW, 16th of November, my youngest son Raphael Gandalf will turn one. It's been a year, and the hours still soar to where bliss and magic loom eternal in the light of his presence in our lives. God bless my children (and their parents, too, who are nurtured by them and are grateful beyond measure!)

Monday, November 06, 2006

Adrenaline Overdrive, Anyone?

WHAT WAS that again about all that fuss that flushes up waste? Well, the go-getters for Cebu do appear like they know no better, headlong into their goal with horse's blinders on, about the Asean Summit this December. Here goes my rub again in my latest column in the opinion page of Sun.Star Cebu:

In the heat of the haste

If it would make them look better, they could try jumping down the river.

Surge and swell up. Or so the pressure goes for the metro’s movers and shakers, flexing themselves for the forthcoming Asean Summit and hoping their heads would be above the flow.

Even the Niagara would fall short of the ferocity with which our leaders have poured out their resources just so that our foreign guests would be swept off their feet. A multi-million structure suddenly looms into view, and roads suddenly get spruced up with yellows enough to cause jaundice while shanties along the visitors’ way get coated over with cool green until the tourists’ eyes turn mint.

Hey, aren’t we so up to the challenge of making ourselves look cozy with urban development? But couldn’t we have done this entire proclivity for preening a long time ago and save ourselves of the nail-biting groan and grind of making things happen, spic and span, in the nick of deadline?

Ah, this adrenaline rush to level up to expectation. This would have served us in good stead if this were harnessed for honest-to-goodness urban planning for the Cebuanos’ benefit to begin with, and not merely because we have foreign guests to please.

Then again, with our “fiesta” mentality, hardly do we mind if we drown ourselves with debts as long we’re riding the waves of goodwill from our visitors until they puke their guts out of the glut of our preparations for their satisfaction.

Foresight, however, is a factor marked with X here this island now stooping its stressed-out head down its soles so it can prove what our foreign guests are coming into is no backwater. Yes, even if garbage clogs up the corpses of our rivers that abruptly rise with the downpour until they gorge up and gobble away youngsters along the rapids.

What happens when the Summit is over and done with? Would we still be as obsessed about making our metropolis look first-rate? Could we sustain this overdrive to appear decent even if only our homegrown eyes would be left staring? Would law enforcement still keep up with its level of hunger to pounce on and make mincemeat of felons who are ever so galling with their cold-blooded appetite whether or not guests are coming to dinner?

Hopefully, this burst of momentum to make sense of our urban muddle won’t be momentary. Flirting with progress is fine, true. It’s another story, however, to rouse ourselves with a band and tidy up for transients, to wink at them so we can make the most of our time together in the heat of a one-night stand.

If that’s sorely the case, wouldn’t we be better off jumping down the rampaging river?
(7 November 2006, Sun.Star Cebu)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Unbearable Lightness of Being With Golli and Aegan

THIS IS just to say, against uncertainty and life's black humor, these are reasons enough for wingedness and wizardry: Gabriel Ollivan and Raphael Gandalf.

A toast to Arlaine, mother extraordinaire as well as my lifetime conspirator of all things worth conjuring. Tip my hat: all the ice-cold San Miguel Pilsen has never been warmer down my throat to my heart.

"Who travels for love finds a thousand miles not longer than one." - Japanese proverb