LA SALLEÃ‘O DECEMBER 2017
Feature Magazine of The Heraldo Filipino
LA SALLEÑO Editor Kelsey Telo Writers Paolo Lorenzo Salud, Christian Ralf Dugan, Anri Ichimura, Casvel Teresa Lopez, Bianca Isabelle Lariosa, Glazel Ricci Noceda, John Zedrick Simeon, Jomar Villanueva, Jason Christoper Paz Artists Camille Joy Gallardo, Marco Belarmino, Sheka Ignaco Photographers Justine Bea Bautista, Bermanie Doniña, Pia Marantan Layout Artists Mikaela Torres, Ricardo Martin Cabale, Stephanie Arreza, Yves Villanueva Contributors Angelica Aludino, Marielle De Guzman
The Official Student Publication of De La Salle University - Dasmariñas Founded: June 1985 Member, College Editors Guild of the Philippines
EDITORIAL BOARD AY 2017-2018 Anri Ichimura, Editor in Chief Jazmine Estorninos, Associate Editor Casvel Teresa Lopez, Managing Director Bianca Isabelle Lariosa, Copy Editor Glazel Ricci Noceda, Office and Circulations Manager Yna Marisse Sodoy, In charge, News Kelsey Telo, In charge, Features Shakira Mae Austero, In charge, Literary John Zedrick Simeon, Sports Editor Justine Bea Bautista, In charge, Photo Mikaela Torres, Graphics and Layout Director Edline Abigail Eribal, In charge, Web Dr. Lakandupil Garcia, Adviser
About the cover This is the root of our growth, the point of our existence—local.
Cover by Justine Bea Bautista Model Macauly Gary Löfgren
EDITOR’S NOTE There are too many stories to tell in this world. And with our tender tendencies, we often look too far outward that we forget our own stories—the ones of people who are at arm’s reach— those thriving within our circles, fighting their silent battles, and celebrating their humble triumphs. Thus, here comes the birth of a homecoming. The silver edition of La Salleño seeks the tales right at our doorstep—to tell stories that are the closest to us, yet often the most unheard. La Salleño Volume 25 explores the Local scene, specifically on campus, in Cavite, and in the country at a grander scale: music, film, art, and people. Before we started the process, I planned to give out certain writing construction styles in pursuit of being particular on how the stories were going to be told. But then, I realized that for this to leave an impact, it has to be real—because in the first place, the best stories tell themselves. For this issue, we feature a group lifting the dance scene in the south, an alumnus who recolors history through his art, a professor who holds a badass story of her early days of political defiance, a varsity chess player who finds in his sport both passion and purpose, and a student who shares his story of how he regained himself through his recent triumphs. Along the way, we also feature those thriving in the independent scene: bands from DLSU-D, student artists, award-winning Filipino films, performing artists who are now far from unknown—and a whole lot more. Telling these stories brings them out of the underground— like a long-planned jailbreak of our greatest and simplest tales. With the hope to be an issue of the magazine that’s bigger than the sum of its parts, let’s go local. It’s true that there are too many stories to tell in this world, but whether or not we plan to tell them all, it’s about time that we start with what truly belongs to us. After all, we are La Salleño.
Kelsey V. Telo In charge, Features
IT’S MORE FUN INDIE PHIILIPPINES Know your local independent artists Feature
CLINTON ANDRES ON PAWNS AND ENDGAMES Film
12 15 18
EXPOSING PH CINEMA'S HIDDEN GLORY Shut up and take my money! Feature
HUES AND HISTORY Ivan Bilugan on his ticket to the past, the discovery, and the youth Standpoint
THE ESCAPE WE NEED Feature
THE UNDRGRND ON ART, DANCE, AND FAMILY Of hassle and hustle Feature
LEGENDS AMONG US From lectures to leftist movements Cover Story
24 28 30 34 37 39 42 47
RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW Macauly Löfgren on blending in and standing out LS React
KABATAAN, KWENTUHAN, KASAYSAYAN Kung may babaguhin kang isang bahagi ng kasaysayan, ano ito at paano? Feature
PEOPLE, NARCOLEPSY, BOPEK AND BANTAYOG Feature
WHERE ARE WE HEADING, KIEFER? LS Playlist
OLD SCHOOL OPM ROADTRIP Writers' Trip
EN ROUTE: TAGAYTAY NIGHTLIFE Feature
ARTPH X DLSU-D Fiction
THE EXPERIMENT IN JFH308B
CONTENTS 4 4
IT’S MORE FUN INDIE PHILIPPINES Know your local independent artists words by Paolo Lorenzo Salud
The Philippine indie scene has been making waves for the past few years, and it just keeps getting bigger. With the tide of indie appreciation at an all-time high, you might want to ride that wave now— because OPM sure as hell isn’t dead.
Ang Bandang Shirley
Genres: pop rock, alternative rock
Genres: post-rock, alternative pop, punk rock
Formed in 2012 while you were busy in high school listening to your favorite pop songs, the rock band has since released numerous singles throughout the years, such as Close Your Eyes (2015), Gising (2016), Laro (2016,) and Languyin (2016). Currently, they only have one EP, Autotelic, released in 2013, and one album, Papunta Pabalik, released in 2016.
Aside from wanting to make you stop what you’re doing and bawl your eyes out, Ang Bandang Shirley is known for their ability to deliver songs with catchy tunes and romantically relatable lyrics. The band has released three albums so far: Theme Songs (2008), Tama na ang Drama (2012), and Favorite (2017).
As one of the most widely known indie bands in the Philippines, Autotelic’s distinguishing trait has to be in their kickass instrumentals. Made with the synthesis of Japanese vibes, alternative rock, and dance music, listening to their songs sort of makes you feel like you’re standing in the middle of a bustling city during the evening rush hour, with the city night lamps and blurred headlights lighting up your romantic urban imagery.
Dubbed as the “masters of romantic song craft,” Ang Bandang Shirley uses colorful metaphors to portray one’s innermost feelings, distinctly empathizing with the listener’s lovehighs and lows. Whether it be about heartbreak or falling head over heels with somebody, there’s bound to be a song of theirs that will hit you right in the feels.
December Avenue Genres: alternative rock, indie rock Formerly known as Sense of Sound, the band was founded in 2007 by four University of Santo Tomas students who wanted to produce songs people can easily relate to. At some point, they decided to switch to a new concept—thus the birth of December Avenue. Among all the bands having songs with high replayability (if that’s a word), December Avenue takes the cake. Some of their popular songs are Sleep Tonight, Eroplanong Papel, and Dahan— all which you may or may not recognize from the title, but the moment you hear it: “Ah, I’ve heard this before.” Cue the “headphone-wearing, screaming kid listening to music on full blast” meme.
The Ransom Collective Genres: indie rock, indie folk They say, years don’t define a relationship—well, that’s certainly the case for this band. The Ransom Collective was founded by Kian Ransom only in 2013 and the six-piece band already has undeniable chemistry. Compared to the other bands, you could say that this one has already found their collective sound. For modern music lovers, don’t let the ‘folk’ genre tag turn you off though. Their songs are the go-to tracks for windy daytime road trips or a sunny afternoon at the beach. Nothing boring like teaching the hardships of farming (which is totally educational, by the way), but just as iconic. Basically, the core of their sound is based on the experiences of the young, because according to the bassist Leah Halili, “Youth is what makes up our music.”
BP Valenzuela Genres: indie pop, electropop Making music since she was 12 years old, BP Valenzuela is the complete package. Singing, songwriting, producing—you name it, she’s done it. Valenzuela became widely known after releasing her EP, be/ep last 2014, which was, according to her, inspired by a breakup. Following that are her albums The Neon Hour (2015) and Crydancer (2017). If you’re familiar with the indie film Sleepless, the score of the film are Valenzuela’s songs, and they’ve done a bang up job in setting the insomniac vibe of the story. On one hand, the singer-songwriter’s music delves deep into the seemingly typical process of falling in love, and on the other, it’s a straightforward expression of raw affection. When it comes to local electronic pop, there’s probably nothing better out there than her music—at least not yet.
Jess Connelly Genres: R&B, soul Former PBB housemate slash millennial aesthetic personified, Jessica Connelly is popular not only in our country, but also in the international scene because of her collaborations with wellknown artists like crwn and fellow Filipino artist Curtismith. She maintains her SoundCloud account for updates with her latest music, and her collaborations can be listened to on Spotify. Connelly also has an apt taste in visual aesthetics that blend very well with her music’s vibes. While Jess Connelly does amazing in the R&B/soul department, her style also gives off a “midnight chill” kind of feel. Her songs set the perfect mood for a late-night roadtrip—one that can make you either gaze blankly out the window or simply close your eyes and feel the music (though both are recommended only if you’re not the driver).
Interview transcript with IV of Spades Q: What’s the most difficult part of being an indie artist? Lack of financial underestimated.
Q: What’s the message you wish to express through your songs? We always want our songs to be informative whether it's about a certain belief, an experience or a thought.
IV of Spades Genres: alternative/indie By all means, young bands are nothing to be underestimated. IV of Spades (pronounced ‘four of spades’) is an up-and-coming indie pop band that has so far only produced three singles, but is already showing promise in the Philippine indie scene. From a very OPM, Eraserheads-like style to an amazing revival of the good ol’ catchy 70’s music, this band has shown off their talent in making songs that—along with their growing fanbase—will launch them to the top of the industry. Looking at the pace of their rapid evolution, they have the potential to become the face of Philippine indie pop in the years to come.
We want to inform the listeners what we wanted to portray. Q: What do you love/enjoy most about being an indie artist? Having friends in the scene who experience the same struggle that we face and having the freedom to be creative and innovative with our own music. Q: Do you have any tips for aspiring and upcoming indie artists? Don't think too much. Music has to make you feel alive.
CLINTON ANDRES ON PAWNS AND ENDGAMES words by John Zedrick Simeon and Anri Ichimura photos by Pia Marantan
There are three phases in a chess battle. The opening game, when you strategize your first moves. The middlegame, when the battle really begins. And the endgame, when only the strong remain. Patriot Chesser Clinton Paulo Andres is far from his ideal endgame, but with the way his life is going, he’s making the right moves.
The opening game No one can choose what life they’re born into, but we can decide what we do with it. Clinton hasn’t had the best that life has to offer, but despite financial woes, he grew up finding solace in a game defined by circumstances—chess. Perhaps it was the small wooden pieces shaped liked they stepped out of a bedtime story, but for whatever the reason, the young Clinton found himself drawn to the game. Checkmate. He was captured. Some might assume that chess is a game of intellect, but in reality, it’s a game of power, strategy, and life—one that’s defined by the situation and what moves you can take to make the best of it. With Clinton’s early life choices, you can’t say he didn’t learn a thing or two from the game to apply in real life. At an early age, the now 19-year-old Clinton used chess as his financial sponsor throughout his years of studying. Once an official in San Agustin 3’s barangay justice system, Clinton’s father, Carlito Andres Jr., is now an egg dealer for Clinton’s uncle. Meanwhile, his mother, Thielda Andres is a former teacher who paused working in order to focus on their growing family. Being the eldest of four, Clinton knows that it hasn’t been easy for his parents to raise their family. But thanks to chess, he received a full scholarship in Immaculate Conception Academy in high school and managed to make it to the Southern Tagalog Calabarzon Athletic Association (STCAA)—a sports competition for provinces in CALABARZON. And now, the chesser is enjoying a full free ride in the University as an athlete-scholar. Suffice to say, he’s gone a long way from watching his father and uncles playing chess as a young boy to becoming the player who’s now the one being watched. And he won’t settle until all eyes are on him. A fourth-year Entrepreneurship student, Clinton is ambitious, and not at all ashamed of that. His goal: to be a grandmaster. The endgame of all endgames, Clinton’s driven to reach that level of chess playing where travel is free and respect is demanded, and he’s convinced that those dreams aren’t impossible to reach—the sort of mentality that a lot of us need. Playing the game for almost nine years, Clinton also dabbles in swimming, basketball, and soccer. When asked what the difference between these sports and chess was, he joked "'Di nakakapagod.” Or at least not in the physical sense. “Nagagamit mo 'yong utak mo. Nakakaubos kasi ng resistensya 'yong chess, kasi 'di naman nakakapagod pero parang 'yong sa loob mo na, manghihina ka, kakaisip,” the four-year Patriot chess player shared.
See, chess might not tire you out or have your muscles aching like other sports, but it’ll test every semblance of logic and intellect you have without forcing you out of a chair. And the struggle is never as tough as it is in the thick of the game.
The middlegame “Acads o chess?” This is the war waging in Clinton’s head right now. Like every student-athlete, or a student with an organization, Clinton’s in the thick of his middlegame of college—the never-ending struggle between academic requirements and extra-curricular commitments. In his case, that’s representing the school in local to national competitions.
"It’s a game of power, strategy, and life—one that’s defined by the situation and what moves you can take to make the best of it" "'Pag may laro kami, mami-miss ko [‘yong classes]. Kagaya no'ng sa UNIGAMES (2016), na isang linggong wala [ako sa klase]. Maghahabol ka ng mga lesson na namiss mo." he shared. All it takes is just mere three moves, and Clinton can beat the soul out of chess neophytes. Chess forces you to question every move your opponent makes, but hearing or seeing three words that question the priorities in Clinton’s life forces him into a corner he’s still trying to find a way out of. At this very moment, Clinton takes his time to think deeply on the question of acads or chess. “Paano 'pag wala?” he said very simply. As he puts it, we need to study, but at the same time, nothing can give him the same sort of satisfaction and fulfillment as playing chess. For in the game of strategy as old as time, every outcome is an opportunity—win or lose. “Kasi kapag nananalo ka, nage-enjoy ka, pero 'pag natatalo ka, natututo ka.” Clinted noted. Like any game, chess delivers failures, but Clinton knows going down sometimes means going up. After all, you have to experience the downsides in order to appreciate your successes. Eager and accepting of every experience that the game has to offer, Clinton adds “Lagi akong natatalo. Gusto kong mag-improve kasi gusto kong matalo sila tapos may bago na namang kalaban tapos gusto ko ulit sila talunin.” Humble yet ambitious, this chess player is aiming for an epic endgame, one full of victories and triumphs, and he’s still got a long way to go—but he’s not discouraged by that in the slight.
The endgame Weakness is the absence of strength, but sometimes, recognizing weakness can build your strength. For the ever-humble Clinton, he still considers himself a “bano” or a weakling in the sport, even after placing fifth in last year’s Private Schools Athletic Association (PRISAA) – Nationals after beating top opponents from all over the country. Maybe that’s why he would cry out for more converted-to-learning losses. Recalling his early years as a woodpusher, he recalls, “Natatawa nga ako no'n kasi ang bano ko pa dati.” He’s grown since his maiden years as a Patriot, but he’s still as humble as before. “Ngayon, bano pa rin… kasi hirap pa rin ako manalo sa mga laro ko... At saka may goal ako na gantong edad, grandmaster na ako…” Comparing himself to Norweigan chess player Magnus Carlsen who received his Grandmaster title at the early age of 13, Clinton aspires to reach that level of mastery despite still considering himself a bano. As of now, Clinton rates his strategic performance in the three phases of chess (opening game, middlegame, and endgame) as 80 percent, 50 percent, and 50 percent, respectively. Despite it all, Clinton emphasized his hungry appetite for improvements. "Madami pa kasi akong kulang sa skills,” he said. But through discipline and practice, Clinton is sure he can conquer his weaknesses and he won’t settle until he’s delivered nothing but the best. A pawn may be considered as the weakest link on the chessboard, but he knows every piece is vital in the Andres strategy. And for Clinton, this “bano” of the game is his favorite piece. "Kasi nakakalamang sa pwesto—sa space. Kasi 'di ba ang pawn, pinakamababa. So hindi mo ipagpapalit 'yong pinakamataas mong opisyal sa pawn lang.” he explained, knowing it’s the piece that dominates across the chessboards and the player that overruns the most space that has the upper hand. When asked which piece he compares his life to, Clinton still chooses the pawn. "Parang 'yong pawn, 'pag nakaabot 'yong sa dulo, sa goal—mapopromote" similar to his mindset in achieving his life goals: “Basta pagsumikapan lang tsaka paghirapan kasi 'di mo naman alam kung anong mangyayari." For pawns, levelling up is their endgame— showing that it’s not the end, but the start of another game, another thrill, and another story. Similar to pawns, Clinton’s drive is steady, consistent, and may very well win him the game when he reaches the end of the board. *** Our lives are chess battles against life itself. Pieces come and go, time is wasted, and sometimes, we are pushed to the corner in submission. Just like in Clinton’s sport, it can be won by checkmate, stalemate, or voluntary resignation. Clinton, however, refuses to let his castle be crushed by any of life’s tactics. After all, he compares himself to a pawn— and a pawn can only move forward.
EXPOSING PH CINEMA’S HIDDEN GLORY Shut up and take my money! words by Jomar Villanueva art by Marco Belarmino
Internationally acclaimed directing, praised acting, and dynamic storytelling—all of this contributes to the multi-awarded Philippine cinema scene. Aiming to satiate not only the eyes but also the mind, these acclaimed masterworks have never ceased to amaze audiences since the 70s. Sadly, few are the filmgoers who appreciate local cinema—not realizing that it offers a lot more than expected storylines and cheesy performances of many mainstream local films today. So, if you seek to find globally competent local films—with exceptional elements and impressive composition to boot—read on to check out these LS picks and find yourself going, “Shut up and take my money!”
Ganito Kami Noon, Paano Kayo Ngayon? (1976) Director: Eddie Romero
Filipino cinema nowadays is often bombarded by violent reactions—left and right come the bashing of hate on the cliché films we see on the big screen nowadays. However, traversing back to the 70s, we’ll witness an entirely different scenario as Filipino films are usually renowned locally and abroad—flooded with recognitions and compliments—including Eddie Romero’s cliché-free masterpiece. Ganito Kami Noon, Paano Kayo Ngayon? is a historical drama that unveils the identity of Filipinos by imposing a question where the central topic revolves: Who is the Filipino? Following the life of a young man named Nicolas ‘Kulas’ Ocampo (Christopher De Leon), it embarks on a journey of nationalism and courage in pursuit of discovering the heart of the people. On a more profound look, Romero’s take on the film is rife with suggestive messages that encompass patriotism, integrity, and heroism. This film possesses a simple yet well-organized plot—clearly revealing significant characters and purposeful details in a subtle and effective manner. Compare that to other movies that struggle for complex storytelling and we’ll simultaneously declare that this one’s the take. Certainly part of the film’s strength, the casts’ performance was an efficient intersection of shallow humor with symbolic acting and eloquent dialogues—usually poetic, but never boring. A cascade of film elements, this film will change the way most people perceive historical films as it’s far from being audibly monotonous and visually dull. Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences (FAMAS) Award for Best Actor: Christopher De Leon FAMAS Award for Best Supporting Actor: Leopoldo Salcedo FAMAS Award for Best Music: Lutgardo Labad
The Flor Contemplacion Story (1995) Director: Joel Lamangan
The film reveals the tragic life of a domestic overseas Filipino worker in Singapore named Flor Contemplacion (Nora Aunor) who was arrested for allegedly murdering another Filipino maid named Delia Maga (Amy Austria). It vividly unveils Flor’s life as a wife and a mother venturing in an intricate relationship with a husband consumed by temptation and infidelity. As the subject of the film suggests, it reveals the truth that life excuses no one from misery—even the most fervent and warm-hearted mother like Flor. There’s no questioning film legend Nora Aunor’s superb acting skills. She certainly possesses the eyes that evoke intense emotion and powerful conviction—and The Flor Contemplacion Story is only one of the films on a long list that prove her distinctly recognizable prowess. Aside from Aunor’s stellar performance, director Joel Lamangan presented the relentless story using his emotionally-stirring style. Backed with heart-wrenching musical scoring and figurative visuals, Lamangan presses the viewers with pure agitation and melancholy, from 1995 to today. Directed by an illustrious auteur and lead by a topnotch actress, The Flor Contemplacion Story is a reminder of how cruel the world can be and how one’s life can wake a nation against that very same cruelty. Cairo International Film Festival Golden Pyramid: Joel Lamangan Princess Pataten Statue For Best Actress: Nora Aunor FAMAS Award for Best Musical Score: Vehnee Saturno
Sister Stella L. (1984) Director: Mike De Leon
“Kung naririto lamang si Kristo, natitiyak kong kasama natin siya sa pakikibakang ito.” This is Sister Stella’s powerful statement during a rally seeking justice for Ka Dencio, an abducted union leader who was killed by an unknown group of individuals. As the title suggests, the film revolves around the life of a nun named Sister Stella Legaspi (Vilma Santos) whose social and political awareness sparks and eventually burns against the government’s injustice and oppression towards the workers and laborers. Arguably, Santos’ fierce and stunning acting is so timeless that it’s become iconic, establishing her title as the Star for All Season. Likewise, her performance, especially in the momentous rally, is a crystal-clear reflection of De Leon’s filmmaking principle— courage and vigor. From beginning to end, this film will fasten the audiences on their seats—every frame’s a cinematic experience of a revolutionary perspective. In a situation of tyranny not so far from the present reality, many would kneel and pray—but only few would stand and say “Kung susuko tayo ngayon ay parang isinuko na rin natin ang karapatan nating mabuhay ng marangal—parang isinuko na rin natin ang ating kinabukasan!” Venice Film Festival Golden Lion Award Nomination: Mike de Leon FAMAS Award for Best Supporting Actor: Tony Santos FAMAS Award for Best Editing: Jess Navarro
Star na si Van Damme Stallone (2017) Director: Arnold Longjas
Featured in the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino earlier this year, this inspiring and striking indie film presents a heart-warming topic that doesn’t come around in most films. Star na si Van Damme Stallone revolves around a mother named Nadia Zamora (Candy Pangilinan) with a son diagnosed with Down syndrome. She, like any other parent of the same circumstance, suffers anxiety from the denial of having a child with a congenital disorder. Though undeniably challenging for a long-time comedienne, Pangilinan managed to skillfully compel the audiences through her distinct emotional despair and maternal affection, portraying the loving mother we all know too well. Aside from that, the film also casts numerous youngsters with Down syndrome themselves, namely Jadford Dilanco (young Vanvan) and Paolo Pingol (adult Vanvan) among others. Director Arnold Longjas’ masterpiece is loaded with familycentered issues like a parent’s refusal, a sibling’s jealousy, and later on a family’s genuine compassion, acceptance, and care. An anticipated break from the ordinary themes we usually see on the big screen, this film invites us to change our views toward people with disabilities as there’s actually much more to them than meets the eye. Cinefilipino Film Festival Best Actress: Candy Pangilinan CFF Best Supporting Actor: Isaac Cain Aguirres
Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank (2011) Director: Marlon Rivera Audiences usually want films linear—once upon a time, conflict rises, problem solved, and they lived happily ever after. And most films fall prey to what the audiences want, resorting to ridiculously clichéd movies. But don’t expect the same from Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank. This Cinemalaya multi-awarded indie film showcases a puzzling story and an untouched theme—an indie film that conveys the creation of an indie film. It reveals three filmmakers Rainier (Kian Cipriano), Jocelyn (Cai Cortez), and Bingbong (JM de Guzman), who at first wish to create an O_scar-worthy indie film that exploits Philippine poverty. It then shows well-known actress and comedienne Eugene Domingo who comically plays an exaggerated and sarcastic version of herself. Finally, it tells the mournful venture of a desperate mother named Mila (Eugene Domingo) who sells her children for life’s comfort and ease. Directed by Marlon Rivera and written by Chris Martinez, the film pokes fun at its own kind through undeniably hilarious slapstick comedy. Under the witty humor and brilliant acting is the astute reality of the local independent filmmaking industry. All the more, it subconsciously exposes the gloom of poverty in the chaotic scenery in the Payatas dumpsite. Most films end with a redeeming factor—conflicts are resolved, lessons are learned, and the film is done. But Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank isn’t like most films. Staying faithful to its title and theme, it ends with Domingo immersed in a well full of filth, shit, and piss. Now that deserves an Oscar. Asia Pacific Screen Awards—Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (APSA NETPAC) Development Prize: Chris Martinez Asian Film Awards’ People’s Choice Award for Favorite Actress: Eugene Domingo Cines Del Sur’s Bronze Alhambra (Special Jury Prize): Marlon Rivera
HUES AND HISTORY Ivan Bilugan on his ticket to the past, the discovery, and the youth words by Christian Ralf Dugan photo by Bermanie Jean DoniĂąa art by Camille Joy Gallardo
When forgotten fragments are revived and colorized, it does not only induce nostalgia—it produces ambitions and surprisingly, hope.
“Perhaps this is not my ticket to fame, but this is something na puwede kong magawa as a starting point to do something for my country.”
He didn’t care much about art back then. He didn’t even read history books. But one day, Ivan Bilugan discovered he could combine and find passion for both, making a gateway to the past—a long yet worthy voyage. After all, he didn’t mean to revive history, except that he did—one colorized monochromatic photo at a time.
A ticket to the past
Prism discoveries Expressive eyes and a wide smile—that’s how Ivan welcomes you, warm and reassuring with lighthearted simplicity. He’s been in the art and design industry for 10 years—long enough to learn how to deal with his own complexity through passion and craft. But no, never did he think he’d be an artist; his bloodline doesn’t have a knack for art. Unlike other born-to-be artists, it was a discovery. He, himself, was a discovery. “I must admit na when I was a kid, I was drawing pero puro sketches lang. I’ve never dreamt of being an artist.” His fascination for design started when a professor commended his work and told him what he never expected to hear—that he had an eye for artistry. Since then, graphic design and photography drew his attention, and he soon started developing both passion and skill. The art industry is like a cake—fancy and frosted—but it’s not so easy to get a slice of it. Although his college mentors guided him, being a self-taught artist in a competitive industry is quite challenging. The basics and fundamental design, creative, and work principles helped him climb his own wall, and for him, it all boils down to being a creative, critical thinker. It was 2015 when he discovered that he could colorize old photographs after experimenting with his mother’s decade-old picture upon her request. Pursuing the craft years after he learned how to colorize photos, he discerns that colorizing is not just a simple Photoshop skill. The art, its essence—all hidden underneath those black and white hues—is something bigger than himself. For him, colorization is a noble project and advocacy that fulfills not only his own aspirations, but creates a spark that hopefully ignites the ideals of the Filipino people—an ember of truth that will illuminate grim ignorance.
Past is past, and its intangible relevance lies on how much we heed. However, little do we know that our history defines what we have in the present, while shaping what the future holds. After the success of his History in Color exhibit, Ivan Bilugan redefines history beyond its textbook context and simple lists of dates and names. The colorized photos emit an uncanny scent of nostalgia, tearing our present presence, and leaving us vulnerable in the wistful past. “Parang kapag sinabi mong history, it’s all monochromatic, it’s all black and white, so far from us.” A vintage photograph upholds evocative emotions, so Ivan believes that telling the story is the key to connect not only the history itself, but also its emotions, stories, and the people as he himself is a conversationalist and fact-oriented story-teller. “If you’re going to tell it like a story, mas naa-appreciate siya ng tao. Hindi lang siya systematic, parang creative way [din] of [telling] history,” Ivan shares. Perhaps our fundamental and stereotypical approach to history is to learn in retrospect. Although it is partially true, we can be unaware of how the silent essence shapes us and continues to mold us today. “If you’re going to look in the society from the past, it’s all connected [in our present],” Ivan explains. Though Ivan is no history geek, he is fascinated enough in history because for him, “we can learn more from our history than we can learn from our future.” However, the problem with the younger generation today, according to Ivan, is their failure to ask the right questions—the basic questions. We often jump either into the process or the product, abandoning how important the basics are in our present instability. “Kung titingnan [ang] perspective [ng younger generation] natin ngayon, all [they] see is the product na lang. Pero they’re not really digging in kung paano siya ginawa. Siguro nga marami pa tayong matutunan sa future natin kung titingnan [pa] natin ‘yong past natin.”
Colorizing the souls The art of colorizing black and white photographs has been in existence since photography was invented. Photographs back then were in black and white, so people asked for painters to colorize it through painting, until modern technology came and gave colorists a wider platform to pursue the craft. When Ivan discovered colorizing, he decided to focus on Philippine photos alone. He opts to show Filipinos that colorizing vintage photos manifests patriotism and nationalism, vitalizing these beyond the grave. “What would [it] look like if it’s colorized, if it has life? I’m not saying that black and white photos don’t connect us with reality. Black and white photos are the soul of the photos.” However, Ivan still has reservations. He believes not all photos can be colorized, as some are meant to be in black and white. “It’s not my intention to colorize everything,” he clarified. Some black and white photos possess morbid impression, and for people to feel the actual pain of these photos is what he aims. Nostalgia begets pain, and “If we want to appreciate history, we also have to see its destructive side.”
A lone magazine stand on Rizal Avenue corner Claro M. Recto Avenue, Quiapo, Manila, 1949. Collection: LIFE Photograph, copyrighted by © Time Inc. Photograph by: Jack Birns Source: John Tewell Colored by: Bilog Bilugan
The process of colorization doesn’t mean to disrespect or discredit the photos and photographers in the process of adding color. But it vies to reconnect and reattach memories from the past by bringing it to life with vivid colors, as if it happened just yesterday. This is exactly what Ivan dreams of—that through colorization, people will open their curiosity once more, and from there, endless possibilities will be rekindled. “Hindi ko naman sinasabi na ‘yong ginagawa ko can solve the problem of the society. What I’m saying is that I’m only creating a spark.”
A part of the so-called “Downtown Manila” before World War II, which included Plaza Lacson, Plaza Sta. Cruz, Rizal Avenue, and Escolta Street. Source: John Tewell Colored by: Bilog Bilugan
The following is a compilation of quotes from colorist Ivan Bilugan.
To the colors of the future, THIS IS MY PART, COLORIZATION. YOUR PART IS TO DISCOVER.
"Let’s be curious again, for we can only understand our society right now if we only learn about history"
Let’s be curious again, for we can only understand our society right now if we only learn about history. We have to research, relearn, and revisit it. We have to look at it in a vibrant perspective. Lahat ng ginagawa natin, eventually it will be in history. It’s all about connecting the puzzles, the dots. We’re not yet at the climax, but we’re doing it. Let’s not do something that may lead to nothing. I’m doing this because I want to do something bigger than myself. Although I’m not earning so much here, I am fulfilled. I am very happy about what I’m doing. Do what makes you happy. Fulfill yourself first. Imagine what would make you happy, and if that makes you happy, share it. If you really want to contribute something in our country, do the basics. [But still], you have to fail, for we are next in our history books. Sincerely, Your colorist
THE ESCAPE WE NEED words by Bianca Isabelle Lariosa art by Stephanie Ann Arreza
Let’s face it, we’re all guilty of sticking our heads up in the clouds every now and then. We possess the three golden qualities—young, student, and Filipino—that make us suitable candidates for constantly wanting to escape. We’ve been all too familiar with resting our chins on the palm of our hand, totally lost in the idea of going home, graduating, or finally leaving everything behind. It may be ironic to have a piece on escapism in a magazine centering on local talent and people, but focusing on our roots also comes with questioning these very roots in the first place. No matter how it goes, we can’t deny that there’s always the feeling that grander things await us, far away from where we are right now. Of course, this casual escapism is nothing new, as the vast opportunities in other countries have beckoned us all too much. But a different kind of escapism is starting to sprout—especially with the current national issues that feel too preposterous to be true.
"To stay and fight will decide everything" After all, we’d rather run away from those that expect more from and see the most potential in us—the places and people that need us the most. Case in point, the Philippines. The influx of issues such as the extrajudicial killings, martial law, and the current administration have created such a turmoil that it makes it seem easier to just get the hell out—to escape, log out of social media, and never return again. With this familiar urge to escape from a country that is constantly fighting among its countrymen, the best possible solution for a lot of young Filipinos has just been to shut up—eternally keeping a safe distance between the cancerous comments section or the risky rallies. But that’s where it all goes to hell. Escaping doesn’t literally mean packing your things and leaving; it also means breaking out of the chains that bound you and opening the windows that kept you in the dark. We must understand that to escape means to grow—to realize that you need to keep moving, and that means opening our eyes to every dirty truth rather than being fixated on the one clean and immaculate solution: escape. This goes for both our own selves and how we should see our country. No matter how much we try to run away from something, if we never face the root of that desire to escape in the first place, we’ll find ourselves stuck in an endless cycle of discontentment no matter where we are. With our heads in the clouds but our feet firmly on the ground, now is not the time to simply escape. Escapism is well and good when orchestrating how our life and our country should be, but to truly stay and fight will decide everything. There are a lot of people looking at the youth, and we should never let them down. Like how my favorite Hamilton quote goes, history has its eyes on us. There’s nothing wrong with branching out, but that doesn’t mean failing to fight for the roots that made us flourish in the first place. This is the Local issue, after all.
THE UNDRGRND ON ART, DANCE, AND FAMILY Of hassle and hustle words by Paolo Lorenzo Salud photos by Bermanie Jean Doniña It’s enough to pique curiosity when you mention their name among college students. When you hear someone say “UG 'yan”, it’s bound to turn heads. They’ve definitely made a name for themselves, but that’s not the end of it. Behind every fire performance is a story of both passion and perseverance powerfully combined to honor art and convey their message. But there’s more to it than what appears on the surface—they are The Undrgrnd after all.
The grind In a time when most the prominent dance troupes are Manila-based, founder Irish Paul Mendoza absorbed the then-obscure urban dance style and brought it to the South. Formed in 2012 with less than 10 members, The Undrgrnd was initially meant to be exclusive for Lasallian students. Later on, the group decided to welcome dancers beyond La Salle—or college, for that matter. Five years later, The Undrgrnd has opened the group for other creative fields such as music editing, production, costume designing, and more. Now it sounds like it’s all smooth sailing, but it goes without saying that an independent organization composed mostly of students will have a tough road ahead of them. The first problem on the list would be what probably every dance group experiences at some point: the lack of recognition and respect for their craft.
Choreographer Mavy Marquez expresses her discontent at the treatment of dancers (and rightly so), boldly comparing the differences in appreciation between them and student athletes, saying, “We have nothing against athletes, but we’re just trying to prove na we deserve din kung ano ‘yong natatanggap ng mga athlete.” Certainly, dancing is just as physically taxing as your typical ball game. Irish adds in his own gripes with event organizers demanding unreasonable last-minute revisions in their routine—not to mention the absurdly inadequate talent fee for all the time and creativity invested, a concern affecting artists of all mediums. The group has resolved to generate funds through selling merchandise, conducting dance classes, and sometimes, pitching in from their own pockets. But among all these, the biggest struggle would have to be finding time for practice despite their differing schedules. It’s a tough obstacle for a group that’s trying to gather people of different walks of life to do their theses in one room. But when asked about how they manage, the first response was “`Di ko rin alam eh,” and that’s probably something that all students committed to extracurricular activities can relate to. On a more serious note, Irish says that it’s all about believing in yourself and making sacrifices. “Kailangan mong mag-eliminate, technically. Eliminate ‘yong gala, vices…pagiging magastos” and so forth.
It all pays off at the end of the day—they can assure that even after everything, they’re still standing and proving it’s worth all the hassle to hustle. You could say that they’re achieving their dreams, one step at a time. (Get it?)
The grit A dance group is always a pool of vastly different people, each driven by their own purpose but brought together by what they all love—dancing. This was the case for choreographers Irish Paul Mendoza, Dune Stephen Mondejar, Cy Bayani, Mavy Marquez, and Vienne Belen who all use their craft as a means of expressing their individual beliefs. Irish sees dancing as a way to boost people’s self-confidence, and stands firmly on exercising the mantra of believing in oneself. Dune believes that dancing isn’t just a hobby, but a form of celebration and a way to “build positive connections sa lahat ng tao.” Cy raises the rainbow flag with outstanding pride, hoping to inspire other members of the LGBTQ community to showcase their hidden talents. “Mayro’n din kaming kakayahan. May talents din kami,” Cy shared. Mavy, on the other hand, dances for women empowerment, encouraging other female dancers to dance freely despite the seemingly “boyish” hiphop dance moves. “I dance for those girls na gusto nilang sumayaw nang ganito. They want to dance freely na hindi jina-judge ng mga tao,” Mavy added. Similarly, Vienne wishes to break the social norms and gender stereotypes about dance steps. He also incorporates fashion into dancing, with the goal of being unique and “very androgynous [at] sobrang iba sa paningin.” All in all, whether it be promoting confidence, peace, and love; or tackling serious social issues, dancing is the perfect avenue to propel their advocacies and make it known to everyone. Protesting in complete style, who’d have thunk?
The glory It’s already common knowledge from those who know what The Undrgrnd is—and what it does—that they’re good at what they do. But what
most don’t know is the amount of effort they put in and how much they value their camaraderie, mixing that with their motto, “We believe in God and in ourselves” to get where they are now. From performing in company anniversaries to TV commercials, their passion and hard work bring opportunities in return. Adding in the frequent and successful dance classes, you could say that The Undrgrnd has established quite a reputation as a dance group in the South. But despite already having enough talent to go around, they claim that these successes can be credited just as much to th eir tight-knit bond, ultimately setting The Undrgrnd apart from other similar organizations. Mavy describes their bond as “60 percent family, 40 percent as a group,” which explains why most of their members are frontrunners for the loyalty award. For their recruitment, Irish remarks that the team values character more than ability. “Kung magaling ka na sa craft mo, ‘yan ‘yong parang ticket mo para makapunta sa tuktok. And the one thing na makakapag-stay sa’yo naman sa tuktok is ‘yong character mo—‘yong attitude mo.” And as they branch out to other art forms, one can say that The Undrgrnd is an ideal environment for the passionate, dedicated, and creative millennial. Speaking of millennials, one of the primary objectives of The UG as an organization (besides enriching their own craft) is to inspire not just each other, or the youth, but people in general. It has been their goal to remind the public that—despite their ridiculously appealing aesthetic—art isn’t just about appearances. Art doesn’t always have to be easy on the eyes, but rather what you really wish to express without worrying about pleasing everyone. Like what Dune said, art is “not what looks good, but what feels good.” *** You know what they say about life being a huge struggle; it’s hard, everything’s a hassle, and sometimes you just want to curl in bed thinking, “uz2 q nah mmtaii”. But these guys faced the storms of having a double life with double the effort, grit, and never-say-die attitude to move past repeated failures and deliver a single important message: believe. Not just your typical dancers, now are they?
LEGENDS AMONG US From lectures to leftist movements words by Paolo Lorenzo Salud art by Sheka Ignaco
Dr. Marina Gamo fends off tanks, fights tyranny, and prepares for tomorrow’s lecture—all in a day’s work.
“Asan na raw?” I complained to my editor for the nth time as I looked at my watch. I was supposed to be in class at the time but this interview made me skip it, which was the only good thing that came out of me doing this—something I was honestly not that into. Or so I thought. Anyway, by the time we met with the part-time development studies professor we were to interview, she was about to head to her next class. We opted to follow her and hold the appointment in a classroom after she gave her students free time to study quietly. Well, as quiet as a classroom filled with a dozen college students can be. At first, I thought this was just going to be another typical interview: the kind where you have to ask a lot of questions and slyly jot down notable quotes the entire time. Truth be told, the lack of motivation had probably come from the fact that she was very hard to get a hold of in the first place. And on that lively note, the three of us started the interview. It didn’t take more than five minutes for my perspective to do a complete 180. She told us the tale of a woman—one that’s fearless and headstrong, and who’s been through a lot of tragedy, fought for her beliefs, and helped countless people without asking for anything in return. It’s the same woman who, with a snap of her fingers, silenced the idle chatter of her students inside the classroom so we could proceed with the story. Dr. Marina Gamo, formerly a high school teacher based in Silang, Cavite, told the story of how she had suddenly found herself in a kapit-bisig stance with village women, children, and even the elderly— while the men armed themselves with melee weapons in an effort to keep demolishers at bay. I tried to imagine the scene in my head— staying there day and night, blocking the path from huge machinery, putting themselves in the crosshairs of the law to protect the place they called home—a place they were being driven away from. Contractors and firefighters with heavy industrial equipment against a small but determined barangay with teachers wearing paldas isn’t exactly anyone’s idea of a fair matchup, but despite that, they held their ground. She said that this scene from the 1980s, in a place that is now called Nuvali, is one that Marina would later realize to be a “turning point” in her involvement in the resistance of the people against the Marcos government. This was around the time Ninoy Aquino was assassinated, lighting the fire in Marina and everyone like her. Even before the reign of dictatorship, Marina’s teenage years didn’t seem all that peaceful and smooth-sailing. She described Cavite back then as a chaotic province, and Silang, where she had lived, was a municipality rampant with lawlessness and bloodshed. She was in high school when Martial Law was declared in 1972, and what she’d hoped to be a solution for the towering crime rate instead became a bigger problem that gave birth to countless, unsolved tragedies in her bayan. Marina proceeded in telling us about how her early involvement with anti-government movements had already garnered attention from the authorities, thus her safety in Cavite was brought to concern. She was advised to study in Manila, and so she did. While enrolled in the University of Santo Tomas, she remained active in doing voluntary work with the informal settlers in Manila, mainly with the youth sector. In spite of hiding from the prying eyes of the law, Marina recalled avoiding the dangers of imprisonment, and the ever looming threat of los desaparecidos—or “enforced disappearance”—that many of her colleagues had fallen victim into. Steadfast and unrelenting, she continued to contribute to the leftist movement, something that she speaks of with pride even until now.
“And I’m proud to be called a leftist. At least mayro'n akong stand.” She answered every interview question without pause, as if she’d already told the story over a million times. Sometimes I wonder if it ever got exhausting, but then again, if I had a story like that, I probably would’ve told it a billion times more. Living the life of a resolute leftist isn’t easy, but Marina took it in stride. From how she expressed it, I could already picture her, fearless as she stood on street platforms, declaring her advocacies and anti-government beliefs. At one point, she spoke on the same stage as Lorenzo Tañada Sr., leader of the “parliament on the streets” and the longest-serving senator in Philippine history. Loudly and firmly, they spoke to thousands, instilling in their minds the possibility of change. Cue a whoa from me and my editor. When asked if she ever got scared, she said no without breaking a sweat. She even made a face, like she couldn’t fathom why the hell tanks, soldiers, and a pile of dead bodies would keep her from buying cigarettes at the nearest sari-sari store. She couldn’t help but smile as she shared that her past relationships at that time were with hardcore leftists. This gave me the weird idea of her having her own sitcom entitled, How I Met Your Father: Martial Law Edition. Marina fought for a lot of causes as she progressed on with the story with a gleam in her eye. She acquired boats for fishermen in Cavite City. She pushed forth the ideals of organizations like GABRIELA. Using money from her own pocket, she helped the social work scene for the street children in Silang. As she narrated all those achievements, she also shushed the entire classroom for the second time so we could hear her properly, which I appreciated. They must have already heard this before, as Marina is known for sharing her epic stories from yesteryear to her students. The elephant in the room couldn’t be ignored any longer. We had to ask what she had to say about the Philippines now, as she was more than vocal about her stand back then. As usual, Marina didn’t flinch when she claimed that despite the victory of the Filipinos in ousting a dictator, our “democracy” is—in her own words—nothing but a misnomer. She insisted that even as the administrations change, the system of leadership remains the same, and there is no remarkable change to how we are still nothing but pawns moving at the whims of the powerful. I couldn’t help but agree at how everything she said was spot-on. As the interview drew to a close, I was left impressed, interested, and a bit inspired. I also wondered if I should get her autograph or something. The part that struck me the most was when she addressed the problem of the youth—the so-called “culture of silence” that, according to her, is based on ignorance. “You cannot involve yourself if you are not well-read,” she stated firmly, her gaze steady on both me and my editor. We couldn’t help but nod in agreement—or maybe it was fear, both from her look and the brutal truth. Harsh as it may be, I don’t think anyone can refute it. From the moment we entered the classroom with her to the very last second of the interview, it was interesting to note that this was all in a day’s work for Marina. How casual her students were that a pair of student journalists could just waltz into the room with their professor and talk for a solid 30 minutes was something that I could fathom for only a few of my professors—even more so for a venerable and reserved-looking woman like Marina. At the end of it all, this country could use more people like Marina who didn’t just talk about or write about change (like what we’re doing now). She actually did it—and has a story to tell rather than just hopes to pass on. We’re hardwired to look for stories, but never really to venture out and make our own. But in times like these, we need more people to face the tanks rather than just stand to the side as they pass by. And for all we know, they might be reading this right now.
RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW Macauly Lรถfgren on blending in and standing out words by Kelsey Telo photos by Justine Bea Bautista
One of the things he learned is that you can never really know a person’s story until you hear it yourself. Here, Macauly Lofgren shares his own. The story that made him who he is right now. The story that will make him into whatever he wants to be.
Macauly, 19, can juggle modeling in between deadlines for plates—aside from posing in front of cameras as a model, he computes structural loads as an engineering student here in DLSU-D. He can rant endlessly about both the pressure and the pleasure, but before anything else, he’d like to begin where it all started. His sentences run spontaneously that he could tell his entire story in one sitting. But having him asked seriously, among all the wildest and the brightest personal narratives, there is one story he enjoys sharing the most.
Blending in He can clearly recall his past’s drama—“you know, life,” he starts. He attempts to be casual as he tells his childhood story—and of course, he would be. For someone who looks full of YOLO afterparty accounts, it’s not what you’d expect to hear. At six, in the phase of our lives when family and strangers pinch our cheeks, Macauly found it hard to be around just anyone, especially in school. It’s the place where he learned a lot—and he loved that—except that among the learnings, what hit him the most was the fact that because he is partly Swedish, he was different. He’s been bullied, laughed at, and called names. He’d shrug it off and say it’s a usual story of silly children playing around—which is normal—but he knows it’s not. “Actually, when I was younger, I was suicidal; the first time, I was six, the second time, I was eight. It was all because of the bullying and I also have stuff going on at home so it was all piled up.” It was distressing as a child to find no refuge from his pain in school—because his home wasn’t any better at that time. His traumatic experience didn’t make him the kindest and the brightest child he could be, as he was a troubled boy before he was ever anything else. When his grade school graduation came, he reaped no award aside from being Best in Performing Arts and the emotional bruises he earned from bullying. After graduating, he went to a camp where no one knew him—a new environment with strangers, a totally dissimilar scene where he felt like a different and new person. “It’s the very first time I felt that people liked me,” he shares. It might sound like he was too young to have a magical, emotional, and grand turning point in his life, but it was when he realized he wasn’t actually the problem. “I felt like I was reborn. It really hit me that the problem wasn’t me. And after all, I didn’t need to change just because people didn’t like me. It was just how they see me—it’s not who I am.” He then began building himself up in high school—getting involved with student councils and exemplifying leadership in any way he could. He didn’t become a different Macauly, he just became better. Because everything does get better, he knows for sure—like how he soared from being 19th in class to earning the award of batch salutatorian. “I had the feeling that ‘wow, I could do this’ and I thought, if I just really try hard and work hard on something, then I can really do it. And I think it applies to everything and everyone.” He began to feel that other people were right about how high school is the best part of life. But of course, college is a different story. When he entered DLSU-D, life didn’t become the “roller coaster that only goes up” ride for him. It’s one that flips down 90
"I didn’t need to change just because people didn’t like me. It was just how they see me—it’s not who I am." degrees to get to the 34-story vertical drop, with three 360-degree twists on its way to the top again and again. Safe to say, it’s been rocky. But no matter how complicated college gets, he is sure of his plans—to graduate and become an engineer. He had everything figured out except how to survive the interminable struggle for belongingness, which based on his experience, wasn’t the easiest thing to do—especially with the great whoops and hoops of adolescence. “When you’re a foreigner, and you’re in a new environment, it’s very hard for you to blend in. What people don’t know is a lot of times, no one approaches you, they’re afraid to talk to you in English, they’re shy. I was really worried that I wouldn’t be able to blend in,” he reveals. “But my block was really nice and I made many friends obviously. And, ever since then, my stay in Dasma has been very pleasant. Everyone has just been really nice, I’m actually really happy.” He eventually coped up with the ropes of the social circle but he admits that it was harder than he thought at first. It took time for him to find the people who are really his friends—the ones who helped him learn Filipino and have now turned into a family. It may all sound cheesy, he even cringes himself over the concept of belongingness. But only those who have felt lost will understand the importance of acceptance—among the most underrated pinnacle moments of adolescence. Even so, for Macauly, it doesn’t end with fitting in.
Standing out That one thing that can’t get any higher is the expectations from his family (see: and everyone around him). When you happen to have an engineer for a dad and an attorney for a mom, that’s a high hurdle to hop no matter who you are. Anyway, every student needs to have their own pressure, he bets, as this is the most selffriendly mindset to keep his sanity intact. As much as he can, he’d like to keep it down low. Has it ever. During one of those nights when a student can’t sleep, Macauly was deciding on something to do to help him hit the hay. He had two choices: a.) scroll through his Facebook feed or b.) count sheep. Good thing he did the former, as he found the national contest call for modelling: SM Youth Go-See. When he saw the post, he immediately searched for the program and watched all the previous episodes. There were two things that happened that night: 1.) He said to himself “Hey, I can also do this” and decided to join and 2.) He barely slept. “I’ve never felt that way before, but it was like a feeling that you know that this is meant for you,” he narrates, with zeal in his eyes, voice, and entire being. He’s a go-for-the-gold guy who gives no less than a hundred percent. But with all the expectations on him, he hoped that a good personality was the edge he needed to win the game. “When I got there, [I saw that] they (the other contestants) were all models and are already in the industry with managers—and everyone seems to know everyone, talking about commercials and movies [that they had].”
"So instead of thinking that ‘Oh, I’m not good enough’, there’s more of thinking that ‘Okay, I have to do better.’"
He felt totally intimidated to the point that he wanted to leave. He didn’t have any experience with modeling beyond the small pageants he’s joined in campus like Ms. And Mr. Frosh. He went as far as making it through the top 30 out of the thousands who attempted to test their luck (and patience and perseverance and personality). However, he had to admit that he didn’t have the biggest shot on the game ground. At that time, with the knee-weakening, stomach-rumbling, breathtaking nervousness he bore from the competition (no exaggeration), he felt that his victory was far-off. He wasn’t going to get the gold, he thought to himself. “I never really got over my intimidation,” he recalls “But I think in the end, I didn’t think about it too much because my focus was really on working hard and really doing my best. So instead of thinking that ‘Oh, I’m not good enough’, there’s more of thinking that ‘Okay, I have to do better.’” Sans the full-blown confidence, all that had was the skills for leadership, edge of genuineness, and eagerness to learn. He would ask ambassadors and other models advice on how to get better. At home, he spent almost half his time practicing his s mile in front of the mirror—and it was all worth it because he finally managed to perfect his smile—and win the title. That’s one full course meal of triumph served especially for him, which—in case he likes—he could give to his former bullies to have a taste of his victory. “If I had won and I was someone who was bullied, no one liked, was teased, and was called ugly and stuff like that—and became a part of something big—imagine how much of a message is that.” He didn’t have a lot of experience, professional managers, or even thousands of followers—but he had a story, and that’s what counts. “I am very happy that I got to share my story [through the contest], to tell those who’ve been through circumstances like mine or even
worse, that there’s also someone else who has been where you were, I was also really troubled.” Like him, he also learned that the people he met in the contest also had their own stories to share, “You know, it’s true that you’ll never really know a person’s story until you hear it.” It’s purely logical—but it’s the logic people always forget. “Everyone’s been through a lot and there’s actually no point with arguing.” If it’s not world peace, it’s understanding that he’d like to highlight—not because he is a people person, but because he’s no stranger to life being a jerk. Perhaps that’s also the reason why he always gets out of his way to make others feel better. One of the many lessons he learned from the contest is that you have to “treat others right. Don’t make them feel bad about themselves. We need more people who’d tell you ‘you can do this’, ‘you are good enough’, ‘you are amazing’”—the things he never heard growing up. “I’m never going to be the next LA [Aguinaldo], because LA is LA. There’s going to be people who would like you and who wouldn’t. But the point is, if they like you, they like you for who you are. Another thing, don’t sit around,” he clears his throat, “and hope like something’s going to happen.” In his case, he made things happen—many of which he couldn’t have even dreamed of. He means that his battle could have ended before it even began during his suicidal episodes when he was younger, or he could have just dropped school because of the bullying, or ran away from home to find home, or forced himself to sleep that certain night instead of discovering the gate to the biggest break of his life. But he made it. He did it and it all started with telling himself “Hey, I can do this”—a single simple action with a strong exclamation: do it. Right here. Right now. No matter what happened, no matter what will.
KABATAAN, KWENTUHAN, KASAYSAYAN Kung may babaguhin kang isang bahagi ng kasaysayan, ano ito at paano?
tayo ay mga hibla ng iisang kuwento ng pagkabigo tagumpay pagbabago binubuo, hinahabi, ang daloy ng kasaysayan pagkabigo taagumpay pagbabago binubuo, hinahabi
Mary Grace De Chavez ECE51 Aaron Rhei Villarica BSE32 “`Yong gusto kong baguhin sa Philippine history is yung sa Martial Law. Kasi maraming tao pa rin ‘yong hindi nakaaalam kung ano nga ba talaga ‘yong nangyari. ‘Yong mga pangyayari noon, tama ba siya o mali? Gano’n. Kasi sa history natin, biased tayo. May pinapanigan tayo. Kailangan pantay yung kaalaman natin para doon.”
Atom Pornel JOU42 Ren Abacan BSA42 “Sana November 16 na lang binaril si Rizal para walang pasok sa birthday ko.”
“Kung bibigyan ako ng chance para baguhin ang history, siguro aalisin ko ‘yong American colonization. Dahil kasi sa kanila kaya tayo nadamay sa World War II, kaya nasira ‘yong Maynila, tapos from there parang nagsanga-sanga na ‘yong problems. Pumasok ‘yong Japanese tapos nung umalis na sila ang nangyari ay parang naiwan ‘yong Philippines— tapos umaasa na lang sa US, ‘yong ganun. So siguro kung na-retain tayo sa Spanish period tapos lumaya tayo eventually, siguro nabago ‘yong takbo ng history.”
Jairo Tanyag ECE51
Danielle Salonga ECO31 “If I’m going to change one part of history, siguro ‘yong declaration ni Marcos ng Martial Law kasi on that focal point sobrang daming nangyari sa bansa natin na hindi naman talaga dapat mangyari in the first place.”
Nery Balatay COM31 “Siguro ‘yong era ni Marcos, lalo na ‘yong Martial Law kasi maraming nadamay na mga tao and maraming namatay. Hindi natin alam ‘yung dahilan dahil sa sobrang strict ng pamamalakad ni Marcos no’ng mga panahon na ‘yon.”
“Kung may babaguhin ako sa [Philippine] history, ‘yong hindi maging pangulo si Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Kasi marami siyang mga katiwalian, katulad ng Cha-cha, Hello Garci, and para sa akin hindi siya katanggaptanggap.”
“[Wala.] Kasi part ng history kung bakit at kung ano tayo ngayon; so it molded us to be what we are now and changing our history will lead to a change in what we are as of today. Kung may gusto talaga tayong baguhin, it’s not in the past, but it’s for today.”
AJ Litonjua HRM35 Rose Anne Bacos BSA42 “Siguro para sa akin ‘yong babaguhin ko sa Philippine history is hindi dapat pinatay ng kapwa Pilipino si Heneral Luna. Kasi alam naman natin, si Heneral Luna, isa siya sa pinakamahusay na militar dito sa Pilipinas and kung patuloy siya na naglingkod or ginawa ‘yong mga plano nila, siguro mas naging successful ‘yong paglaban natin sa ibang bansa or sa mga Amerikano.”
Isabella Marcos JOU31
Angela De Guzman BIT33
“I guess ‘yong babaguhin ko is ‘yong pag-alis ng America… ’yong base nila dito [kasi] pinaalis sila ng government natin. Ayoko maging [colony] ng America ‘yong Philippines pero I think yung presence nila dito [ay] importante lalo na dahil medyo dangerous yung world ngayon, maraming possibilities na magkaroon ng war. So I think na importante na mayro’n silang presence dito sa country.”
“If I change anything, I guess it’ll be the immense decrease in terms of respect for women when the colonial period started, since in the pre-colonial culture, they somehow managed to reach equality between both genders. However, when the Spaniards arrived in the Philippines and the western colonization started, women were treated as objects and that was not a very pleasant occurrence. So it’s one of the things that I would like to change.”
“Sa Philippine history, ‘yong babaguhin ko is ‘yong [pagpasa] sa Batas Rizal kasi bakit ‘yong buhay lang ni Rizal ‘yong kailangan aralin? May naitulong din naman ‘yong ibang bayani, bakit ‘yong kanya lang ‘yo ng kailangang bigyang halaga?”
Basilio Olivares PHI41 “Tingin ko [ang] dapat na maging pambansang bayani ay si Andres Bonifacio kasi no’ng in-elect si Jose Rizal upang maging pambansang bayani, ang mga Amerikano ang gumawa nito dahil si Jose Rizal ay pabor sa peace at sa impluwensya [ng] ibang bansa. Si Andres Bonifacio, sa isang kamay, ay hindi nakapag-aral sa ibang bansa at [isang] tunay na Pilipino.”
People words by Marielle De Guzman (contributor) photo by Pia Marantan
Daniel Domingo and Matt Perez (from left to right)
"We sometimes play na walang talent fee. It’s not all about the money. Money is not the issue. We just want to play our music, 'yon lang. [It’s a] passion"
No sugarcoating—just straight up playing fresh tunes and living out a passion for music. Originally intended to be a solo project, the acoustic duo People is an up-and-coming band composed of DLSU-D Biology students Matt Perez and Daniel Domingo, who both recently decided to be a duo to write songs about their own stories and what they’ve learned from other folks. Before People, lead vocalist Matt began pursuing music back in his high school years through songwriting, eventually producing their album’s first track titled “Set Sail”, an atypical love song with a ballad vibe fit for slow dancing. His deep interest in music spurred his current bandmate, Daniel, to venture into also pursuing music and songwriting. Their first self-titled album, People, is comprised of six originals, with four tracks played during their first gig at the De La Salle Health Sciences Institute event last August. People’s storytelling ranges from something as intimate as a love letter to something as painful as goodbyes. In their latest released track Drowning, Matt recalls how he wrote the song about a girl he chased who only dumped him in the end. He couldn’t compare the feeling to any other word but drowning. The duo relies heavily on their own vocals accompanied by acoustic and rhythm guitars and sometimes their friends for backing vocals, percussions, and other instruments. Surprisingly, People manages to produce very distinct acoustic tracks—surely something to hook you in with their calm, raspy voices, and endless, intimate guitar strumming.
For People, it’s all about envisioning. Working your way up the local music scene is a challenge, but they know that keeping the endless possibilities in mind helps. With almost a year and a half into making music, People has already scored invitations to play gigs outside of campus. To them, playing gigs and getting a silent crowd are the best because it makes them feel that their music perfectly does its own magic in overwhelming the audience. “Laging memorable yung pag sobrang tahimik yung crowd. Like, they’re actually listening to my voice. It feels good,” says the frontman. “And since some people don’t know our songs, yung iba parang, masarap sa loob yung nakikita mo silang taking a video or parang sinasabi nila na it’s good.” Just like regular students, these fresh talents juggle their dedication for both passion and academics. Even though these youthful storytellers are like your average students learning to balance passion and music, there are nights when they would stay up late recording songs, jotting down ideas, and daring their own creativity and art of rhythm. And just like any newbie band, this duo’s ultimate dream is to play somewhere quite ambitious, such as a music festival in London (pretty much Glastonbury, they say). People shares how they take their spark from experience and bring that same spark to the music they make. “We sometimes play na walang talent fee. It’s not all about the money. Money is not the issue. We just want to play our music, yun lang. [It’s a] passion,” People says. For Matt and Daniel, at the end of the day, just playing their pieces is what they’re after. And that’s what their band name is all about—writing and living out their youth. People
Narcolepsy words by Glazel Ricci Noceda photo by Pia Marantan
Simon Hernandez, Clarisse Umali, Christian Gali, Loris Trinidad (from left to right)
Narcolepsy started off like most—as a typical college cover band, but eventually they started giving unique twists to songs not everyone would even think of reviving. After a Glam Rock Christmas Party gig last December at a hotel, they relaunched themselves as an original indie band with original music. They laughed recalling their experience—a lively start to tell the story of their band. The impression of the band name is weird, but mind you, we’ve all somehow experienced this sudden feeling when we fall into a deep sleep while we’re talking on the phone or reviewing our lecture notes. At first, they thought it was an unusual word to name a band—a perfect fit for them, so they named it that way anyway. Like a self-fulfilling prophecy, the concept also moved them to be somewhat mental health advocates through their songs. “Malungkot ‘yong songs pero ang message, don’t give up [and] fight…kaya mo yan—depression, anxiety or kung ano pa—you can do better,” Christian Gali, a computer science student and the founder of the band pointed out.
“Iba kasi ‘yung feeling na tumutugtog ka tapos may kaba. Lagi ko ngang sinasabi na kapag kinakabahan ka, ayaw mo magkamali.” For the band themselves, they know the challenge of having to overcome the jitters is better than performing with no thrill at all. Aside from the shivers with each performance, the song writing process also comes with the package. Gali, who is also the composer of the band, shares that ideas usually come out of the blue like a firefly. And you need to catch and hold on to it while it glimmers before it flies away. Narcolepsy constantly tries to capture the concept of hardships and struggles, turning sadness to hope, and loneliness to art—simply put, that it’s okay to not be okay. One of their original compositions is called Nawawala, coming from the story of the composer’s grandfather who passed away. Two other songs, Alaala and Ann, also deserve a spot on your #senti playlist.
Forming a band is never easy, but Narcolepsy found their chemistry onstage, a bond that surprised even themselves. They’re not just a tropa during band rehearsals, but also a family outside the music room— and that’s where the harmony started.
The band is also mostly inspired by the mellow music of John Mayer with a touch of the melodramatic vibes of Up Dharma Down and upbeat thrill of Autotelic. It’s one musical circle with a poetic approach, blending slow alternative with indie pop music.
Although the band has experienced being onstage, even having the chance to showcase their talent on-air at Love Radio last August, they admitted that they still get nervous when performing in front of a crowd. Clarisse Umali, a community development student and the vocalist and keyboardist of the band shares,
With Loris Trinidad on drums, Simon Hernandez on bass guitar, and vocalists Christian and Clarisse on guitar and keyboard respectively— Narcolepsy aspires to be widely heard—especially by the long asleep and lonesome hearts in need of an awakening.
"Kasi may mga songs na ‘pag napakinggan mo malungkot lang, pero may songs na ‘pag nabasa mo ‘yong lyrics or napakinggan mo, ‘di lang siya malungkot, bibigyan ka talaga ng pag-asa" 31
words by Casvel Teresa Lopez photo by Kelsey Telo
Vincent La Madrid, Phoebe Ledesma, Patrick Simon, John Wilton Lopez (from left to right)
“Meaningless ‘yong life ko no’n,” shares Phoebe Ledesma, Bopek’s songwriter and vocalist, about her not-so distant past before finding refuge in songwriting. At the time, it still didn’t feel enough to pursue music just by herself—she knew she needed a band. That’s when she hit up Vincent La Madrid, a college friend from DLSU-D, to invite him to form a band with her. Vincent admitted that he had doubts at first. “Bakit naman kaya ako yayayain magbanda nito (Phoebe)?” he recalls, laughing.
“Importante talaga sa banda ang bonding kasi kapag gumagawa ng kanta, madali lang. Pero kapag nagpe-perform ka, ‘yong bonding kasi do’n mo mas naaalala ‘yong tao”
Already being the guitarist of Bantayog, he initially thought he didn’t need another band. But after hearing Phoebe’s composition samples,“Sige, buo tayo[ng banda]” was his answer. He felt that the soul of the songs she wrote as being something different—something worth the risk despite starting from scratch. And so, they did. Then came the birth of Bopek—actually a short term for “Boses pekpek”, a crude Filipino colloquial term for someone with an extremely high-pitched voice. “‘Yong mga senior ko [sa Teatro Lasalliana] tinatawag akong bopek parang as a sign of insult … Natuwa naman ako kasi kahit friends ko na ka-batch ko tinatawag na rin akong bopek kaya naisip ko lang siyang gawing name ng band,” Pheobe shares. Aside from their unique band name, what sets them apart from others is their experimental style. “Nagsisimula sa free-flowing music, parang nagsasalita lang si Phoebe pero maganda [ang
kinalalabasan],” Vincent tells. “Sobrang daming nang yayari sa kanta pero sobrang steady ng boses.” With Phoebe’s soft lullaby voice, their songs are also spontaneous in lyrics.“Sakay-kapit,” bassist Patrick Simon describes it. Performing together for almost four years, Bopek reminisces their first live performance held at the 2016 CLAC General Assembly’s Battle of the Bands. At that time, they performed two of their four original compositions titled “Ayaw Na”, “Paraiso”, “Dalawa” and “HNNP”. Despite enjoying the time together like any other circle of friends, drummer John Wilton Lopez admits that keeping up with each other is a challenge they have to battle with. Although Vincent reassures, “Importante talaga sa banda ang bonding kasi kapag gumagawa ng kanta, madali lang. Pero kapag nagpe-perform ka, ‘yong bonding kasi do’n mo mas naaalala ‘yong tao so alam mong sa ganitong sitwasyon, alam mo nang ganito gaagwin nito—di ka na magugulat.” As Bopek continues to share their music in hopes to be a part of the Cavite music industry, they are now planning to come up with a music video for their songs and continue to create fresh compositions. Though with this wishful idea, dreaming is the easiest part. When asked what their mantra is, Phoebe tries to collect her words as the rest of the band laughs. “Little water makes little rocks strong” according to Phoebe, “Mabagal man ‘yong progress namin pero pak-pak-pak ang result.”
Bantayog words and photo by Kelsey Telo
Ar-J Villanueva, Ryan Marquez, Vincent La Madrid, Dominic La Madrid (from left to right)
It’s definitely not “swag,” but this pack of four has got some serious unexplainable magnetism. These days, appeal can just come around with any band with cute smiles and that typical boy-like charm. But this Cavite-based band is unlike those heartthrobs, as Bantayog is the band you wouldn’t regret knowing. Even if you don’t bother to ask, these guys play music as good as those on our favorite OPM Spotify playlist. Except that we won’t find them there ‘cause there’s no way they’re putting their music on the Internet. They’re aware that some things are too good to be free, and these guys are just waiting for their big break before releasing their tracks. While waiting for the dream to happen, the band jives into gigs around Cavite and sometimes Manila. The band’s already been active for some time since 2004. Although most of the members have changed, each generation still continues to be DLSU-D alumni, including their newest member, bassist Ar-J Villanueva. Only the lead vocalist, Ryan Marquez, has remained from the pioneering days of the musical collective. When he’s not performing in front of the crowd, he’s most likely in front of a class teaching Spanish—just in case you didn’t know that we have a faculty member in DLSU-D who head bangs in his spare time. Being a linguist himself, Ryan is a lyrical master. There are songs that just come out of his mind and get done in a span of minutes—with the words, rhythm, and chords all furnished. Since then, he’s written countless of songs—perhaps hundreds, he can’t really tell. Despite how he makes songwriting sound easy, drummer Dominic La Madrid reveals that writing songs BantayogBand
takes time, “Doon [sa oras] kasi lalabas ang potensyal ng kanta eh,” he explains. And when it comes to potential, Bantayog is certain about their music. “Hindi masyadong [tungkol sa] love,” Ryan describes before the entire band laughs. “May mga [tungkol sa] love, pero marami kasing mga bagay na kailangan mong i-focus. Predicamental kasi eh, ‘yong mga pinagdadaanan ng mga tao—‘yon kasi ang gumuguhit sa kasaysayan.” Guitarist Vincent La Madrid furthers that their songs are never deep in terms of language and message, as they prefer it to be straightforward and practical, “Kumbaga sa inuman, walang chaser,” Dominic adds. Their songs are basically about the crazy life stories you’d rather hear personally from friends, staying away from the cliché.
“Marami kasing mga bagay na kailangan mong i-focus.‘yong mga pinagdadaanan ng mga tao—‘yon kasi ang gumuguhit sa kasaysayan”
Being different is their asset, but for them, that isn’t always equivalent to being wanted. As things go beyond art, in terms of money, it could be otherwise. Ryan shares that it’s hard to make a living in the industry. He also shares a little blunter in this untold side of rock-androlling, “Pera ang driving force,” he says—a reason why a lot of music artists continuously ride into the generic trend. “Sana isang araw, mapakita mo ‘yong art mo na gumamit ka ng isang mainstream element. Mas maganda siguro ‘yon— which is napakahirap gawin.” After everything, Marquez recalls where the name for the band came from. Once in his younger years, he wrote an article for a newspaper about the monument of Andres Bonifacio—which upon seeing he thought to himself “Hindi naman ito bantayog. Kasi ‘pag bantayog parang skyscraper—dapat ang sky ang background niyan dahil dapat binabantayog siya.” It all makes sense, but when asked what this story’s relevance to the band’s core and history was, the band looked at each other and laughed.
WHERE ARE WE HEADING, KIEFER? words and photos by Christian Ralf Dugan
With each step, I was moving unobstructed yet wary, closer and closer to his vulnerability—a heedful admission to his countless submissions. The stalls nearby were closing, and the service crew around us were rounding up the rattling tables and chairs. It’s past 9 PM, and the day’s almost over. Yet not the intangibility of time nor the howl of evening winds would dictate whether his day is over or not—only his choice. Only with his hidden agenda and desires.
DAY That day, Manila fell between humid and tough. He was sitting beside me. Across moderate traffic, he tried to recall the strange road heading to where his story started. He wasn’t sure if he could consider it his home, but deep inside, he knows that the life he had was enough for it to be so. The place is war-torn. And his enemy since then was not anyone on the battlefield—but the one retreating within him—himself.
We arrived at the metro, and as I asked, he brought me to places that remind him of who he was and what he has become, in his own predicament. It was long ago since the last time he had been here. His sunken eyes reflect the stray lights of day—hopeful, yet uncertain and cruel. As we approached the nearby mall where he usually goes, we were treading against other humans. A momentary sonder occurred—he escorted me to a public yet personal space where his narrative took place a long time ago, which propelled his mind to recollect what it had to. We visited the mall’s amusement center. The ambience of the arcade, the joy of striking wins, and the glister of gaming lights revitalized our energy. He was smiling widely as he told me how he spent most of his vacant time there—at the time when his days were as jubilant as those who won the programmable games; but life’s game isn’t fair nor programmable, just purely unpredictable. While we were heading to the cinema, he opened up about something deeper. Kiefer is in a paradox of normality and distinction. Meeting the ends of his own alternate universe, be it through writing his fictional historical context is an imperative part of his self-reliant agenda. “I like adventures, dreaming, imagining impossibilities, [and] aspiring to be great.” We strolled around further. As we paced, his familiarity with the place became evident. The grooming stalls, fashion boutique, and even his favorite art store, which we noticed was gone, traced every inch of his immeasurable memories. As we proceeded to our journey, he led me to the vicinity where most of his euphoric youth took place. The ride from the mall to where we were heading was a rough one. The close-packed journey prompted stern looks from other commuters. He was stern too; glancing from place to place, uncertain if he was just irritated with the dry air or skeptical to what we might find. The sun vividly approached the west as we sauntered through halls and crossed busy roads. It was a Sunday and Espanya is rarely so peaceful yet desolated. Our bodies immediately responded to the afternoon heat— sweat dripping and feet sore from walking. The paved road of T. Campa was where he pointed to his favorite food spots and bars nearby, where he spent ecstatic nights of the floundering yet blissful student life. We talked about pre-war buildings and history too. In that moment, I learned of his inexplicable fascination for history and its significance to his consciousness. Being a former architecture student spurs his fascination for dilapidated pre-war buildings, structural art, and modern infrastructures. Thrill and adventure spice up his sheer admiration for survival; and he is a dreamer too, like most of the youth battling their paradoxical cycles and convoluted choices. But now his dreams seem to fade down a little bit. Earlier this year, financial problems forced him to stop studying. So, walking along the same pavements while discerning what he used to be only induced his buried nostalgia.
NIGHT “I feel like a different person.” The sky turned into a majestic purple hue as the sun set. After roaming around Espanya, we went to a public mall nearby to eat dinner. For some, it was time to go home and ponder how their day went. But for Kiefer, his day only starts after the sun has gone—once darkness has devoured the atmosphere—murky and unpredictable. We ascended to the fifth floor of the mall. We occupied one of the benches at the corner, then after a few minutes, he stood up, told me to wait for him, and moved towards the crowd who all seemed to be waiting for someone. I knew what he was up to, so I calmly remained where I was sitting. I observed his gestures—he was casually standing from afar, recurrently checking his phone, and apparently peering through the crowd. He got tired, so he sat on the nearest bench. A few minutes later, a man in his 40s approached him. They shortly conversed—then they both disappeared from the crowd. I followed them until Kiefer asked me to wait. When he came back, I knew that something sensual happened between them. Kiefer seemed to detest what happened, as he spat his tongue out as if he was vomiting from swallowing the guy’s seminal fluid after giving head. He said he got paid, and I was also surprised to learn that he had already met the same man and did the same thing— right in the exact place with the exact rate around the cold breeze of November 2016. “I think there’s something wrong with me kaya ko ‘to ginagawa. I don’t know.” He was only 18 when he began engaging in sexual activities for money—a prospect of choice or a force that pulls him, with vast amount of unrelenting pressure, in his own vulnerable submission. It started during one of those ecstatic nights out partying when a man in his mid-30s spoke to him and insisted to bring him home, but instead brought him to a motel. At first, he was reluctant to the sex. The dizziness made him incapable of contemplating the situation, but the man offered him money—and with the plethora of troubles he was dealing with, he decided to accept the offer. The man was a professor from a known university and since then, they continued to meet almost every day, and every time Kiefer gets into a room with him, he leaves with money in hand. His dependence on the carnal industry started when he was waiting outside of the same mall in mid-2016. An old man approached him, and the prospect of the situation was too evident for him not to notice. They conversed and Kiefer was soon invited to the man’s condo unit where they got drunk. An invasion of sexual existence occurred, and Kiefer was paid with a large sum of money. Since then, the bed has become his workplace. “I wish kaya kong [gumawa ng iba pang bagay]. I wish hindi ganito.” It was fun, at least for him, but most of the time, he feels degraded and undignified with what he does. He wants to end it—no, not that he will slit his own wrists, but the very veins of his desperate desires and pumping blood of ceaseless guilt and regret. But the perpetuating financial issues force him to continue the flow of his self-made misery, making him part of the living dead every single
day. The pleasure, he admitted, also holds him back from retreating from this war-torn industry. It is more than the erotic moans, clawing fingers, and curling toes—it is a sole hope that engaging in this abyss would lead him to survival, regardless of what he has to go through. “Kung puwede nga lang ako bumalik sa dati, ‘di ko na ‘to ginawa, para may mataas akong value para sa sarili ko.” Going against precepts has never been trouble-free. Repressive reckonings from his environment prompts him to put a lower value to himself. “Kailangan mong gawin lahat para maka-survive, kahit labag sa loob mo.” As the night continued to fall and city lights illuminated once more, his choices became more explicit. It is his chase for survival that manifests why not all choices are deemed as choices. Kiefer wants to escape, he really does, but not yet—not when he hasn’t mended himself yet.
THE LS PLAYLIST:
OLD SCHOOL OPM ROAD TRIP Your barkada doesn’t need another playlist but the one you can all sing along with. Here’s to the choruses you’ll sing the loudest with lyrics heard from the old radio. Rage along with the undyingly nostalgic, old-school OPM—all while you rev the night away, full tank on the road to wherever.
EN ROUTE: TAGAYTAY NIGHTLIFE words by Kelsey Telo photos by Justine Bea Bautista
You need no Nevada for a nightlife, Manila neither. Here to give justice for all the nights you felt the impulse to put some miles on your wheels and go on a full-blown adventure in search of fine food, scenic sights, and some much-needed liquid confidence; but the hassle just couldn’t get you going. Acads before lakads after all. Well, better bid that madness goodbye and get ready for your dream night-out—because who says you can’t have it right here in Cavite? You already know that Tagaytay City has a lot to offer—you just don’t know that it could be this good.
Into the food loot Everybody’s down for food escapades, that’s why we all dig food parks that aren’t only perfect for barkada food trips but are also definitely Instagram-friendly. If you’ve been dizzily overwhelmed by the countless choices, the one that you might want to consider is in Tagaytay City—the Barracks. The array of food choices is wide enough to cater all your cravings. Just make sure to make your mind up quick as the overwhelming number
of stalls might take you a couple more minutes to decide on which meal to dig into. Savory burger towers, delicious kebabs, mouth-watering pitas, sizzling sisig—name it, you’ll encounter all these food finds around the two-story hub. Drinks like lemonades and shakes (plus beer, just in case) are available as well. Sure, this place promises you a worthwhile night not only with the guarantee of delightful food, but also with epic music performances onstage. But expect a flood of people to vie for the Barracks experience, especially during weekends.
Hold my beer There are plenty of choices in the city if you’re looking for somewhere to drink and chill. But among all, you’ll be damned not to try Papa Dom’s for a turnt and chillnuman type of adventure. Just imagine, you and your friends on a tabletop kwentuhan session slash confession session—swilling, chugging, chilling—under the foggy skies of Tagaytay. You can choose to drink in the open area or inside the bar where the music is loud and fun. A corner inside is dedicated for beer pong, and if you want to test your short-range shooting, the long tables and red cups are waiting for your best shot. Of course, this is only for those of legal age, but if you really want to try before your 18th birthday, take note that they serve hot chocolate too. At least you’ll have the warmth.
After the after-party If there’s one thing you cannot miss when you visit Tagaytay, it’s no other than their well-known bulalo. Served hot and savory, the slowly cooked to perfection beef is something you’ll find yourself craving for on cold nights alone. What’s even more beyond compare is to have it served on a cold night at around 4AM right after a drinking session. You won’t have a hard time if you’re looking for the bulalo experience as restaurants left to right serve this tourist specialty. Just sitting around the corner, it would be nearly impossible for you to miss a bulaluhan unless you mistake it for a KTV bar—honestly, most are. The staple favorite Bulalo Capital serves other meals than bulalo and they also offer Karaoke rooms you can rent on the second floor just across the dining area. Downstairs, red and blue lights fill the floor—and it actually looks too fun to be a simple beefy soup restaurant because of the live acoustic performances. It’s more than you’d expect, and it’s filling enough if you sign up for both bulalo and fun along the way. *** The adventure list is endless in the nearby city that’s ready to hold your most unforgettable moments. Night strolls in Tagaytay City can be your favorite escape—and you won’t get lost amid the shivering breeze if you bring along your warmest sweater and your closest friends.
ARTPH X DLSU-D words by Anri Ichimura Art is not dead—and definitely not in DLSU-D. Unbeknownst to most, our campus is home to a treasure trove of homegrown artists keeping the local art scene alive and kicking. From illustrators to painters using everything from watercolor to digital media, the resident art collective thrives under the radar, so it’s about time that we put the spotlight on some of the local artists to be proud of.
Chad Villar BGM42 | /chaduart Medium: Digital art, vector illustrations "Art is BANG!" Inspired by his older brother, Chad was only 10 years old when he found himself immersed in art. “All I did was watch him for hours,” says Chad. “It felt natural to me as I drew.” From traditional portraits to digital art, the young artist’s style has evolved over the years as he describes his current style as “vibrant, lineless, and geometric representations” of how he sees things in life. Chad explains that his art is unique simply “because it’s mine.” Enough said. In his work, he adds life to his artworks by experimenting with colors, giving a 3-D feel by omitting line art, and portraying edgy imperfection through geometric shapes. Setting himself apart from others, Chad illustrates his subjects with “God-like glowing eyes which represent power, authority, and control.” Just as his brother and favorite artist, Stanley “Artgerm” Lau influenced him, he also hopes to inspire a younger generation of artists through his work. “I make art not only for myself, but to other people who can relate to it. I want to connect with people through my art, even without the use of words or voice.”
Pauline Oderon BGM42 | /Plumage Medium: Digital illustrations, photo manipulation, vector illustrations "Art is a language that manifests, interprets, and manipulates your creative and sensual imagination." Peculiar. That’s one accurate way to describe Pauline’s art style. Daring to combine elements that most usually wouldn’t, the young artist finds her identity in the world of the surreal. As she describes it, her experimental approach is “a product of epiphany and creativity,” which combines non-realistic elements “that often scares my audiences.” But still, Pauline says that some of them appreciate her unique conceptualizations. Driving Pauline’s unparalleled brand of thinking is pure whim and spontaneity. “I am a type of artist na kumbaga: ‘Okay, gusto ko ng model na babae and I want it nude. I want it with [a] dinosaur’s head, tapos nakaupo siya sa bed full of anthuriums and red gingers.’” Whether that’s an elephant, plant pot, or a chaise, she’ll find a way to manifest her imagination and she won’t stop until she’s satisfied with what her mind has conjured. Starting at the tender age of five, Pauline’s passion for art has only grown since then. Nowadays, she’s inspired by avant-garde artists, surreal designers, and contemporary illustrators, like Leeory New, the Filipino mastermind behind the Aliens of Manila project, and Lady Gaga, conceptual artist and designer. But even with their influence over Pauline’s art, there’s no denying that her ideas and concepts are solely her own.
Kim Darlene Paras COM42 | /kaedparas Medium: Digital media "Art is so powerful it can heal all the things time cannot." Like many artists, Kim finds escape and solace in the multilayered dimension that is art—a place that led her to the path of self-healing and discovery. “I found myself in euphoria whenever I created something out of nothing,” she shares. Remaining her support system to release her suppressed emotion and struggles, art has become her avenue to slowly regain herself in the process. Raw and intimate, Kim’s art is composed of drafts and rough sketches—a style that left her with a profound impression unlike any other style she experimented with. “Probably because it still leaves me in awe how such things can resonate all the things I try hard to express,” she explains on the mood that sketches can evoke. Inspired by those who are also in the midst of personal struggles, “I feel like I have this responsibility to remind them that they are not alone,” Kim shares. With that in mind, her art promotes self-love and selfdiscovery, but also dares to dive into socio-political themes—mirroring the reality of the struggles in an individual and in society.
Chris Saldon BGM44 | /saldonchris Medium: Traditional (graphite, colored pencil, watercolor, ink) and digital painting "Art is a road without an end. It’s up to us to dream of reaching the end with the best of our abilities." It’s hard to believe that straight from our campus hails a young digital artist with the out-of-this-world (literally) imagination of Chris Saldon. With an approach he describes as “dark and stylish,” his fantasysci-fi-esque work is heavily influenced by Japanese Manga and western comic book artists. Clear from his artwork, each piece has a multilayered story as Chris focuses “more on character design and creating original characters” inspired by pop culture references and mythological creatures. Among his favorite artists include all (yes, all) local comic book artists and digital painters like Ruan Jia, King Jung Gi, Guanjian Huang, and too many more to mention. As to what introduced Chris into the world of art, he shares that at a young age, it was tracing illustrations in K-Zone magazine and being exposed to editorial cartooning in grade school that pushed his passion for art. While he dedicates his work to his family and friends, he mentions that it’s also to “my determination to exceed my limits.”
John Chesleigh Nofiel BGM44 | /alagadngsining Medium: Tradigital "Art is literally painfully enjoyable." “According to the law of attraction, if you want something, you can get it; but you have to work hard for it,” says Chesleigh. Doubtlessly, the self-taught artist has worked hard for it: “My dad who's also an artist didn't teach me how to do the basics because according to him, it's something you discover within you.” And within Chesleigh is a passion for plants, fashion, and people— which are all recurring themes in his art. As he describes it, his style isn’t just a style—“It's basically my way of life: how I paint, how I gossip with my plants, how I choose the clothes I wear from thrift shops, or how I eat my favorite Chooks-to-Go.” With that philosophy comes the need to make people contemplate over the country’s contemporary culture and social issues through his work. Aside from socially engaging artists like Lana Del Rey and Frida Kahlo, “Nature has always been my favorite artist,” says Chesleigh. Growing up surrounded by plants, they soon became his greatest muse. “I get inspiration from the smallest detail of a Waling-Waling up to the big root networks of a Balete tree,” shares Chesleigh.
Karl Corpuz BGM45 | /karlcorpuz Medium: Digital painting "Art is escape." When a young Karl lived inside a university with a community of artists nearby, he was exploring a manmade pond and happened upon tall walls covered in colorful graffiti. That sighting marked the beginning of his pursuits in art. Describing his style as a mix of traditional and digital, Karl finds inspiration from the likes of classic painters Claud Monet and Rembrandt. “I just can’t get enough of colors, textures and brush strokes on their works,” he shares. Influenced by this, his work reflects his efforts to depict rough textures through visible strokes, as if painted on canvas rather than digital. Faced with the reality of the industry, Karl recognizes the dilemma of artists nowadays: “As an artist in the digital age, it’s hard to be unique because design inspirations are posted everywhere, people are copying each other hoping to find identity.” That’s why it’s no surprise to him if he comes across artists with a style similar to his own. Despite this, nothing deters him from making art simply “because that’s what I like to do.
Zuriel Alaba BGM44 | /zurinone Medium: Paper and pen Art is a poem, but without words. Vibrant, playful, witty—Zuriel’s freeform art is a testament to the mind of an artist in all its mad glory. As he describes it, “My art is like water. There’s no specific style or anything—just a freeflowing ink in paper.” Freedom seems to be a common theme in his work—the freedom to pursue, explore, experiment, and most of all, seize the day. With a YOLO philosophy in life, Zuriel shares that “If it’s your last day, do everything to make it memorable.” He carries this carpe diem mentality to his art, “So when I create every artwork, it has to be from what I feel for that day.” Spurred on by impulse and willfulness, his art also reflects how he got started in the field. “Basta kumuha lang ako ng paper at pen,” and the rest, as they say, is history. Formed from intricate doodles and details with symbolism deeper than you could imagine, this young artist’s work is definitely high on life.
Paul Cedric Cruz ARC41 | /paulcedriccruz Medium: Watercolor, oil paint, acrylic paint "Art is about self-expression and communication through brush and papers." “Arki is life,” laments Cedric, but he doesn’t let that stop him from finding “adventure with my palette, knife, and paint.” Inspired by nature and influenced by Van Gogh and Vin Quilop, Cedric is still finding his style, practicing and experimenting in any way he can. Recently, he’s dabbled in spray paint and making art on canvases and iPhone cases for friends who grew to appreciate the effort behind each piece. “Pero `yon siguro`yong unique sa art, `yong flaws or weaknesses mo,`yun `yong nags-standout,” he notes. And beyond everything else, what stands out in art the most for Cedric is the expression behind the beauty and talent. “Walang pangit na art. Kasi it is your self-expression.” From the child addicted to crayons who found his happy place in the art supplies section of the toy store to the Arki student dreaming of vineyards in Tuscany, a lot has changed since then, but his constant love for the craft has remained.
John Edrick Alcontado COM31 | /mredrickalcontado Medium: Mixed media, acrylic "Art is a the greatest gift of the creator to the world. Art is creation. Art is contribution. Art is storytelling." Comprised of intricate details and colorful patterns, Edrick’s art is simply another form of “abstract storytelling” as each piece is held together by Philippine mythology. While some take inspiration from the present, Edrick digs back into the past to revive the Filipino deities and myths of days long gone. Driven by a cultural advocacy, Edrick explains, “We Filipinos should be informed, should be appreciative, and most all of should be knowledgeable about the existence of the Philippine Mythology.” He shares that viewers “won't easily get the storytelling behind [the] artwork unless of course they try to ask me about it” as each piece begins as visions in his mind—his dreams. Case in point is his piece titled “Tapayan,” a story of an ancient babaylan buried in a jar only to be awoken to discover a world outside the jar as a diwata. Edrick shares that the piece “Ang Sanggol ni Magwayan” is a tribute to a miscarried younger sibling and his family’s sadness, mirroring the grief of the Visayan deity Magwayan whose daughter Lidagat died in Philippine mythology. Through it all, art gives Edrick solace from his struggles in the past and present. As he puts it, “Art never fails to give me a shoulder to lean on in times of trouble, doubt and despair.”
Samantha Alarva ARC41 | /samanthakirstina Medium: Watercolor, marker, pencil, acrylic paint "Art is freedom." Samantha hasn’t discovered her style yet, but with her openness to experiment with art, she’s well on her way, thanks especially to her course in architecture that exposed her to use watercolor, markers, pencil, and acrylic paint. “I watch my style change almost everyday,” she says. “Bit by bit, a few details (themes, forms, colors) became more and more recurrent in my drawings.” With roots in art starting from grade school, Samantha used to paint on the walls of her home and help her father finish his paintings. Eventually, she grew to adopt the saying, “Art could say things with color and shapes that couldn’t say any other way, things that had no words for. ” With expression comes inspiration, and for Samantha, that inspiration is limitless. “It’s all around us and you’ll realize that it’s within us,” she notes. According to Samantha, it’s only upon getting in tune with your mood, situation, strengths, and weaknesses that you’ll discover the direction you need to take with your craft.
THE EXPERIMENT IN
JFH308B words by Jason Christoper Paz and Bianca Isabelle Lariosa photo by Angelica Aludino (contributor)
The excited chatter of the room echoed in Mark’s ears. He was never the kind of student to participate in after-school activities, but the curiosity of a Psychology test got the better of him. He was just about to join the conversation when a tall, burly man came in and silenced the class with his booming presence. He introduced himself as Mr. Galvin— no other formalities. “Shall we begin?” The lights were turned off as the lecture room screen flashed indistinguishable blots. Mark recalled this type of Psychological trial: the Rorschach test. He felt chills down his spine as he wrote down a particular interpretation. Water. The early excitement was draining out as the class had their eyes glued to the screen in silence, the students lost in the interpreting forces pulling at their psyche. Waking the students from their reverie, Mr. Galvin cleared his throat. “Phase one is done. It’s time for phase two of the experiment in JFH308B.” Mr. Galvin accompanied the first pair of students to the experiment room, and as the door closed behind him, the class released a breath they didn’t know they were holding. Mark couldn’t shake the nagging feeling off his chest, and he knew the others felt the same. After a couple of minutes, the first pair returned looking pale and weary. Mark whispered to ask what had happened, but only received quivering lips and silence. The class held their breaths once more as Mr. Galvin scanned his clipboard for the next pair to be called. “Next up are… Padilla and Cabrera.” Uneasiness crept up on Mark’s skin as his surname was called. The two of them walked out the room with Mr. Galvin’s meaty hands on the pair. Mark could feel the weight pushing his shoulders down. Reaching JFH308B, the pair was greeted with Mr. Galvin’s assistants and two mattresses in the center of the room. Neither Mark nor his partner was particularly excited about what was to come, that much was certain. Lying them down on the cold beds, Mark caught sight of himself in the mirror next to his mattress. His worrisome face was undeniable, but he couldn’t back out now. One of Mr. Galvin’s assistant stuck wire pads on Mark’s forehead and temples, and wished him good luck. Looking up at the ceiling, Mark had a flash feeling of vulnerability, as if the room would open into the abyss at any moment.
“Matulog ka na at dadalaw ako sa panaginip mo. Huwag kang mag-alala, nandito lang ako sa tabi mo.”
He closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and sank into the darkness. *** Mark was standing on the bridge of Botanical Garden. The bright and sunny exterior was replaced by the cold and unforgiving night. The moon was reflected in the waters and crickets were chirping in the trees that stood proud in the shadows. Trying to stay focused, Mark bent over the rail in the middle of the Botanical bridge and stared at his reflection in the water. All of a sudden, silence broke when a torrent of bubbles gushed in the water as if something—or someone—was alive and breathing under the cold dwelling of fish and moss. Pale hands appeared in the water, with brittle fingers reaching toward him. Mark backed away, his face frozen mid-scream not at the shock, but at the hands—hands too similar to a nightmare from the past. The fear of water began when Mark and his mother were travelling home via ferry from the province when he was ten years old. They were in the middle of the ocean when the boat abruptly stopped. Through the intercom, the captain explained it was a gear malfunction, but after a few nerve-racking minutes, all the passengers started to become uneasy—and then, all hell broke loose. The distressed voices grew into screams as the ship started sinking. Amid the fear, ferry staff distributed life vests. As they were about to pass one over to Mark’s mother, the unruly crowd pushed her out of their way—and into the water. The passengers, too busy worrying about their own lives, only ran by as Mark’s voice became hoarse from screaming for help. She struggled to stay afloat, and it took Mark a few seconds to move through the mass of people to jump into the water. Despite his desperate efforts, the current kept pushing Mark away—almost as if the ocean didn’t want him to reach her. His tears mixed with the ocean as he kept screaming for his mother, even as the water filled his lungs. Darkness seized his vision. When he came back to consciousness, he was rescued by coastguards. He immediately asked for his mother but it was too late. Her life was taken by the waves, swallowed by the ocean, and sunk into the eternal abyss. Her body was never found.
Mark spent endless sleepless nights blaming himself for what happened. Even if nine years had already passed, on some nights he could still hear his mother singing his favorite lullaby to him. With her soothing voice, she would croon, “Matulog ka na at dadalaw ako sa panaginip mo. Huwag kang mag-alala, nandito lang ako sa tabi mo.” And now, as he stared at the hands reaching out to grab him, he saw something else: his mother with her arms reaching towards him. Out of instinct, Mark started to pull her to safety, but the cold and grubby hands grabbed his wrists first— and yanked him into the water. Mark pulled back with all his might, breaking free by a hair. He saw his wrists covered with mud and horribly sore from the iron grip. The water started to form a whirlpool and from beneath the surface, this monstrous form of his mother levitating just above the now angry waters. Although she wore the same clothes she had on that fateful day at the boat, she was no longer the warm figure that Mark remembered; her mouth was twisted into a sinister frown and her hollow eyes wept black tears. Her hair, long, black, and matted, splayed across her face and she smelled of the decaying sea. Her body was no longer lost, and pale white face gazed at Mark almost as if she had been waiting for this—waiting for her son to rescue her. She suddenly let out the most blood-curding scream that Mark had ever heard, reverberating the Botanical and scaring away all the crickets to silence—and closed in on him. Mark couldn’t speak, but he knew had to run. He sprinted as far as his legs could allow, dashing past the Botanical to the only place he knew would get him out of this god-forsaken simulation: JFH308B. There was no soul in campus, and the night had turned into a pale gray, as if a spotlight was turned on him and the apparition. His legs were burning with fatigue, but he pushed past it as he raced to the steps and corridors of JFH. Soon enough, he reached the doors of JFH308B and pounded on the doors. He could no longer see his mother but the chill in his body told him she would appear any second. He slammed the door open with his foot and
stopped at his tracks. Right there, in the middle of the room, was an eerily familiar scene. Mr. Galvin and his assistants were watching two people lying down separate beds. Mark and his partner. He had become an outsider in his own life, an invisible entity. “What the—!” he exclaimed. But nobody could hear him. “Hoy! Gisingin niyo na ‘ko!” Mark slammed his fists down on the tables and made as much noise as he could, but to no avail. He was about to approach his motionless physical body—lying still and silently breathing, the shell of a young man—when a cold, wet hand wrapped around his throat. “Mama—” *** Mark sat straight up. Mr. Galvin and his assistants had smiles as he started to come back to reality. “The experiment was a success with this one, his instincts indicated the flight method when faced with fear,” one of the assistants said ecstatically, ticking a mark on a clipboard. “I thank you for your participation. You may go back to your classroom for a postbriefing.” Mr. Galvin said warmly, removing the wire pads stuck on his forehead. “And don’t worry, the experiment is over now.” His warm yet confident demeanor calmed Mark down. It was only a simulation—a bunch of ones and zeroes formulated to get a reaction out of him. Mark saw that his partner was still lying still on the mattress, wire pads intact. Who knows what personal nightmare she was going through right now, he thought. Getting up from the mattress, Mark caught sight of his tired self in the mirror. Before turning away, a flash of an apparition appeared behind him. Same demented stare, same matted hair— only no longer in a simulation. She had followed him. There was no escape now. She smiled as wickedly as ever—real and raw and smelling of the decaying sea. “Matulog ka na at dadalaw ako sa panaginip mo. Huwag kang mag-alala, nandito lang ako sa tabi mo.”
LA SALLEÃ‘O 50