DISCOVERING PUNING ON THE FOOTHILLS OF MOUNT PINATUBO EATING KAPAMPANGAN CULTURE AT APAG MARANGLE ‘PAMAGDARAME’ AS THE ULTIMATE FORM OF MOURNING SABUAGA FESTIVAL: A SHOWER OF PETALS APO IRO: PAMPANGA’S WONDER WORKER BEIN’ GEMMA GATDULA
Mixin’ matchin’ summer
VINTAGE BIKES ROLL OUT IN STYLE
BALE-BALAYAN: BUILDING A HOUSE OF HOPE
AUF REPERTORY REMINISCES LIFE OF SARSUELA QUEEN ATANG DELA RAMA
PRUDENCIO ‘PRUDS’ GARCIA
2 PAMPANGA PEP | APRIL 2011
thumb mb nails 5
CO GEMMA GVAER GIRL: TDULA
Pruds Garcia: Executive Class Pamagdarame: Ultimate form of mourning
How we wish
A shower of petals at Sabuaga festival
Eating Kapampangan culture at Apag Marangle
Apo Iro: Pampanga’s wonder worker
2 GLOBAL GATEWAY LOGISTICS CITY 4 SAN MIGUEL BEER OKTOBERFEST 7 ISLAND GRILL 8 MONTEVISTA VILLAS 11 MASAYA PAMPANGA 15 OB-GYNE & ULTRASOUND CLINIC 15 AMERICA HOTEL 15 BLUE GEMS + TOP VALUE 16 YES TO MABALACAT CITY! 17 ANGELES CITY OF ENTERTAINMENT 19 PHILLIES SPORTS GRILL & BAR 19 ROYAL AMSTERDAM BLACK ANGUS STEAK & RIB HOUSE 26 GOLDEN NILE ‘DADDY’S GIRLS’ LIVE ON STAGE 27 CASINO WIDUS’ “CASH WIDUS” RAFFLE PROMO 28 THE DOLLHOUSE GROUP PREMIER NIGHTCLUBS 29 OXFORD PRINCESS CASINO “WHEELS OF FORTUNE” 30 LEWIS GRAND HOTEL 30 ELLA BEAUTY SALON & BODY MASSAGE 31 PASHA GROUP “FIVE STAR ENTERTAINMENT” 31 THIS MONTH AT LOLLIPOP 31 THE FABULOUS CHAMPAGNE GROUP 36 ST. CATHERINE REALTY & DEVELOPMENT CORP. 41 THE HERITAGE PLACE AT CLARK
Mixin’ matchin’ summer
Vintage bikes roll out in style
On Scene: Angeles City ‘Culiat’ Jaycees
On Scene: Grandview Tower
Bale-Balayan: Building a house of hope
Reminiscing Atang dela Rama
Kapampangan songs: Alive & Kicking
PHOTO & GRAPHICS EDITOR
CREATIVE DIRECTOR & EDITOR
BINGSANGIL PRESIDENT & CEO
CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD
Published by PAMP PEP with business address at 372 McArthur Highway, Barangay Salapungan, Angeles City. For editorial and advertising concerns, please call or send SMS to 0917.510.6976 (BING) and 0920.951.2050 (JEAN). ©2011PAMPPEP. All rights reserved.
we could say that copies upon copies of Pampanga PEP have been selling like hot cakes. It’s true. But we can’t. We can’t because this province’s and this region’s one and only print and online lifestyle and leisure magazine is yours absolutely FREE. Crazy as that idea may sound, it is the plain, honest, naked truth. While the price of just about anything and everything in the market keeps on rising, Pampanga PEP keeps on dishing it out gratis. Well, in case you’re wondering, we have our list of generous sponsors and advertisers to thank for in all these. Because the equation is as simple as this: Without em’ means without us. This, too, is our way of saying “Dacal a dacal a salamat pu,” and hope you too, our Dear Readers, would reciprocate their generosity and kindness by patronizing and supporting their businesses or their advocacies, which ever the case may be. In this issue, we give you our Holy Week and summer specials rolled into one. First off, we take you into the successful world of Pruds Garcia— the unstoppable force behind Mekeni Foods conglomerate. A class in himself, Pruds Garcia proves that family and business may grow hand-in-hand, that home is where the office is, that sibling and rivalry need not make a single noun. Christine Nunag, one of few we may truly call as ‘food writer,’ writes about Apag Marangle— where one eats to savor both Kampangangan cuisine and culture. Then Mike Pangilinan, the haunting voice of everything dear and departed, ruminates on what should perhaps be the real intentions of Holy Week flagellants— blood, cross, nails and all. Next, we hear from Alex Castro the true-to-life story of Pedro Danganan “who achieved national fame as Apo Iro: Ang Manggagamot ng Pampanga.” Far from being a mere tale of miraculous faith healing, Apo Iro’s widely documented life and career also provides a valuable, if not intriguing, glimpse into prevailing social and economic conditions during early 20th Century Pampanga. And then there’s this issue’s main story and cover girl. Simply said, both are ‘sizzling,’ literally and figuratively. Puning Hot Springs provided us the perfect hot spot to shoot our perfectly hot cover girl Gemma Gatdula. And there’s more. Still a lot more: About riding vintage bicycles coming not only into fad but evolving into a serious stuff for serious collectors of old stuffs; about a nice little house run by a kind and talented man of the arts who help give young kids a reason to hope for a bright future; about the successful theater run of “Atang”— a tribute by the repertory group of Angeles University Foundation to the life and times of ‘Sarsuela Queen’ Atang dela Rama; about reinventing Kapampangan songs and composing new ones to ensure the survival of our lyrical heritage into the new millenium. Peace. —JAFP
PRUDENCIO ‘PRUDS’ GARCIA
EXECUTIVE CLASS WORDS: NOEL G. TULABUT PHOTOGRAPHY: RIC GONZALES
APRIL 2011 | PAMPANGA PEP
FTER EACH LONG day at work, hardworking executives would still find themselves soothed by either their hobbies or, of course, by the company of members of their family. Just before the sun sets or during weekends and holidays, they get to shed off office attire and concerns as they shift their attention onto something else— a book probably, a movie, gadgets and toys, practically anything. For Prudencio “Pruds” Garcia, president of Mekeni Food Corporation, he retires from each office day with an equally satisfying activity— in the same vein he starts it— being at home. His typical day starts at five in the morning by either a walk or a run around the vast track of land where their house and office (factory included) is situated in Barangay Balubad, Porac. He pumps some iron in a gym at one outdoor corner of their mansion.
It’s actually a leisurely walk with his four other siblings, whenever they are available. And it would always include the Garcia patriarch— Apung Felix— who started the now multibillion-peso business together with their late mother Apung Meding. He also takes time to visit his garden where he usually plants and waters vegetables. The regiment takes about three hours to complete before he buries his attention to running the multi-awarded food processing plant.
FAITH Comes the late afternoon when he could not wait to play with Faith, his two year old daughter after a marriage that is already turning silver April this year. The cute little girl is not an adopted child as what other couples would have done after prolonged barren years. It’s not the case with Pruds and lovely wife, the former Susana Mamaril from Olongapo City. They were gifted with a miracle baby, thus the name. “It’s actually suggested by my wife as I did not want a pioussounding name where our baby might be facing some questions about it,” Pruds recalled. Susan, a nurse by profession, prevailed upon him as they have had to pray hard to overcome medical problems five months into the high-risk pregnancy. Their doctors actually just gave them five percent for a successful conception and birth. “As you may have noticed, the name Faith has only five letters and the number was meant to offset five negative factors against the pregnancy like age and other medical reasons,” he said. Faith is now two years old via a full-term pregnancy that was
6 PAMPANGA PEP | APRIL 2011
spent in the U.S. where Susan and Pruds had to be near specialistdoctors for their rare case. With a lone child after 23 years of marriage that included two miscarriages, this writer was not surprised at all when Pruds said that play time with Faith could sometimes last until two in the morning. Dogs, books and all. If not bonding with the shy girl, Pruds would find time to play and train his five work dogs— Belgian Malinois and Golden Retrievers. While still clad in his Barong Tagalog polo shirt, Pruds proudly demonstrated some jump-and-catch show with one of his dogs that was trained to obey French commands. Anyone thinking to intrude in their finelymanicured grass lawn would end up being chased if not tackled down as he could command his dog to thwart and subdue a trespasser. The nightcap at home includes at least 15 minutes of book reading. Some books that are meant to enrich the soul— inspirational, motivational, and spiritual. Those of Bo Sanchez’ are one of his favorites “I grew up in a family that was founded in love and respect and I think I have to be anchored on that. I make sure that despite the busy schedule in corporate world, I have time to read books and pray,” Pruds said. There is also a time to watch movie at home. He loves classical movies which he buys at the malls and pops into their own home theater cum play area for Faith. With house helpers considered as part of his own family, he makes sure that they join him and Susan in the relaxing treat. Oh, they all love to watch movies filled with humor. “Kahit di ko minsan naiintindihan basta natatawa kami lahat, okay sa akin iyon. Ayoko kasi ako lang ang nakaka-intindi at tumatawa,” says Pruds. Does the top honcho of a top food corporation still find to do some household chores? “I get to cook once in a while especially when I have the time. And when I do, I make sure that my own recipes for the usually ordinary meal becomes really special,” Pruds said, adding that his favorite dish is pork or fish sinigang. “I can handle Pinoy meals like sopas, pansit. I leave the spaghetti to my wife. I like to cook. It helps me unwind too especially when I get appreciated.” “I may cook better than my wife,” he said in a jest.
PROFILES INSPIRATION AND INFLUENCE The boy who used to sell ice candy when he was six years old is now the top seller of hotdogs, bacon, burger patties and other meat products that are made with international certification. Mekeni Foods boasts of being only the second meat processing plant in the whole world to have an ISO 22000 certification. It is the first one in Asia and in the Philippines. And Pruds (and brothers) is responsible for it. Asked who has the greatest influence in his life, Pruds was quick to attribute his (and that of his brothers) success to the nurturing of his parents who nurtured them to become persons. He also remembers how the life of shopping mall magnate Henry Sy, Sr. has become an inspiration. While working as an auditor at SGV in his younger days, he noted of factors that lead to the success of top corporations. He remembers reading a book about an “ordinary person” who founded SM. “I remember reading articles about him and being motivated about how we should use 24 hours (of each day) and how they would make a big difference after 10 years,” “He may not know it but I was inspired by that.” Another person that greatly motivated him into leading a company of a thousand workers was Benjamin Punongbayan, one of the founders of another famed auditing firm. He remembers hearing him speak in 1981 in a gathering of top graduates of University of the East (where he graduated Cum Laude in Accountancy. He recalls that Punongbayan
urged them then to “not just be employed in top corporations but find ways to help the country by being the employer themselves.”
DISAPPOINTMENTS AND PROBLEMS Pruds and brothers Adrian, Lito, Doods and Nards were yearly fixtures on stage for ribbon pinning for outstanding academic performances. Especially during primary and secondary schooling, the Garcia brothers would make their parents proud for going up the stage at each school year’s end, being handed medals, ribbons and other commendations. Asked whether he still has some disappointments in spite of a very successful life and family, Pruds recalls that he originally wanted to become a doctor at first. He also wanted to go to Philippine Military Academy as the second choice. Being an auditor, much more running a corporation with him at the helm was never a dream. “I have no regrets though,” he clarified. Unlike other corporations where family members either dip so much of their fingers or are at each other’s throats in wresting control of the company, the Garcias really have such a unique breeding and situation. With his brothers all designated as vice presidents for a certain operation of the company, I asked Pruds if there is any sibling rivalry. “Oh that is my problem,” he quickly said. “My problem is no one among my brothers would like to be the next president of Mekeni,” he added, hinting of his sibling’s trust and confidence in his leadership. PEP
ABOUT NOEL TULABUT. He is the assistant manager of the Clark Development Corporation’s Public Relations Department. He writes a regular column for local daily Sun Star Pampanga and is the managing editor of Clark Monitor – the official publication of the CDC. A native of Mabalacat, Pampanga, Noel is also a travel writer and is a member of the group traveloggers.features&fotos. (photo to follow)
THE CODE TO YOUR BEST KEPT SECRET DATING PLACE IN PAMPANGA
ISLAND GRILL [VIA CALLE] A LO N G C . M . R E C TO H I G H W AY ( N E A R F O N TA N A R E S O R T ) , C L A R K F R E E P O R T Z O N E , PA M PA N G A , P H I L I P P I N E S APRIL 2011 | PAMPANGA PEP
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EATING KAPAMPANGAN CULTURE AT
Apag Marangle i
WORDS: CHRISTINE NUNAG PHOTOGRAPHY: VIC WAJE & WYATT BELMONTE
N THIS INSTANT GRATIFICATION age of fast food packed with so-called flavors that desensitize the taste buds, it is refreshing to have access to cooked-from-scratch restaurant meals just 10 minutes away from the metropolis. Located along Jose Abad Santos Avenue, also known as Gapan-San Fernando-Olongapo Road where the City of San Fernando and the Municipality of Bacolor meet, is Apag Marangle—a rustic Filipino restaurant surrounded by nature. The name Apag Marangle means “country spread”. In Filipino culture, this connotes a barrio picnic where you dine in the open fields. At Apag Marangle, guests can feast on Kapampangan classics and modern-day twists under the cool shade of native huts perched upon a live fishpond. The place, however, is more than just about feeding people. It is about a way of life. The ‘Slow Food Movement’ has caught on in Pampanga via Apag Marangle. (Slow Food is an international movement founded by Carlo Petrini in 1986. Promoted as an alternative to fast food, it strives to preserve traditional and regional cuisine and encourages farming of plants, seeds and livestock characteristic of the local ecosystem. —WIKIPEDIA). Apag Marangle business partners and long-time friends Manuela Cherry Pasion-Tan and Mark Edmon Navarro have set to achieve this back-to-basic vision since they opened the three-hectare property in April 2008. “We wanted a place where people can relax and enjoy their meals outside of malls or fast food places,” shares Mark. Guests of Apag Marangle are encouraged to make reservations and pre-order their food choices. Walk-in diners are advised to wait 20-30 minutes because, as Cherry puts it, “We still have to catch the fish and have it ready!” Here you will rediscover the value of patience, and learn to appreciate the rewards of waiting, that is, to partake of hot, freshly prepared dishes and savor the unhurried pleasures of eating. As your food cooks, enjoy free amenities. A platter of sliced nilagang kamuti ampong mani (boiled sweet potato and peanuts) is served upon arrival. Kids and kids-at-heart may ride the bamboo raft over the shallow pond. Guests can also go fishing with fish food also provided free-of-charge (but of course you have to pay for the fish if you have APRIL 2011 | PAMPANGA PEP
TILAPIA KING PIGA
HEALTHY EATING AND
Holy Week Menu KAPAMPANGAN CUISINE IS not just about rich food. We cook healthy, too, using all-natural ingredients. In 2010, Apag Marangle received the Healthy Eating Place Award from the Pampanga Provincial Board. For this Lenten season, choose from a healthful array of comfort food, from tilapia king piga (tilapia in coconut milk), bulanglang bangus (milkfish), putcherong bulig (mudfish in a tomato stew with banana plantain and pechay), sigang pangasius king miso (cream dory sour soup with soy bean paste), ningnang hito o bulig ampong sampaluk at baguk (grilled catfish or mudfish with tamarind and shrimp paste dip), balatung ampong pritung bangus (mung bean soup and fried milkfish), suam mais ampong pritung tilapia (corn soup and fried tilapia).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Christine Nunag CHRISTINE NUNAG is a Doreen Fernandez Food Writing Awardee whose works have appeared in local and international publications. A BS Tourism graduate of UP Diliman, this former fivestar hotel frontliner provides food-focused custom services from copywriting, workshops, gastronomic tour events, to culinary travel planning. Visit her websites at 100poundfoodie.com and christinenunag.com. (Author’s photo by Neal Oshima.)
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it cooked and eat it). When your food is ready, eat your meal with TAUSI DIP FOR PESANG DALAG your bare hands, with Kapampangan music in the background while taking in the provincial aroma of grass and trees, water, sun and breeze. Together with an all-Kapampangan staff, Mark personally oversees the cooking alongside Cherry who learned to cook from her mom at the age of nine. Family recipes and modern innovations using fresh ingredients cooked-hot-off-the-stove are prepared the traditional way. No short cuts, no MSG. “(Processed flavor mixes) are for those who can’t cook,” Cherry reasons. Among the big feast that was presented for this visit, three particular dishes struck me HUMBA in surprising ways. I never liked mudfish, but Apag Marangle’s version of pesang dalag changed my mind. Cooked binulu (in bamboo), the fish broth arrived steaming in a black balanga (earthen pot). Thick, yellow roe oozed out of the plump belly slices. The pechay and potato were not pale and overcooked. Nowadays, rice wash is rarely added to pesang dalag. Instead, Cherry wanted the broth very light because it is supposed to be “seasoned” with a salty misi (fermented yellow beans) dip blended with fresh tomatoes and garlic, which was served inside a hollowed, uncooked potato. However, she had to adjust the saltiness to suit the majority preference. Despite this, a subtle bamboo-woodsy taste remained. Most of all, the essence of ginger masked the lansa (raw, fishy taste) such that every spoonful of the hot broth soothed the throat. Bulanglang bangus came in the form of fat Dagupan milkfish cooked in a broth sweetened by fresh pink guava and served with crisp battered kangkong. While this had me craving and cooking my own pot while writing this piece, it was the humba that made me ache inside just by thinking about it. It was love at first sight (and scent) when I first laid eyes on the twin “baked” garlic bulbs standing proudly on a bed of brown pork meat that glistened and smelled of sweet, salty dark soy, star anise, and black peppercorns blending into tausi (salted black beans) and tajure (soybean curd). The magic lies in the skill with which it was cooked. Chunky SIZZLING BALUT pork belly marinated in precisely measured portions was placed atop a sheet of bamboo weave that sits at the bottom of the clay pot. It is then left to simmer and steam over the stove, untouched for four hours until all the marinade and juices drip to the bottom of the pot. The same delectably intense sauce is then poured over the fork-tender meat when served. Meanwhile, pelutungan manuk (crispy fried chicken) and pork barbecue are all-time bestsellers among kids while exoticas such as spicy sizzling balut and their bestselling betute (stuffed frogs) are recommended for both drinkers and the adventurous. The native BETUTE frogs, pregnant with a ground pork mixture and aromatic tangle (alagaw or fragrant premna), are best eaten hot-off-the-fryer as they are, or dipped in a very light, tangy-sweet sauce. The buko sherbet with dayap (lime) makes for a refreshing palate cleanser in between meals as well as dessert. Food choices at Apag Marangle are varied and wide, cooked with love, served in sharing portions at an average of just Php150 to Php250 per person. The flavors are uncomplicated; they are not masked by too many things which overwhelm your senses. For instance, pakbet, a popular vegetable stew, was intentionally cooked dry. The crisp, brightly colored kalabasa (squash), apalya (bitter gourd) and kamanyang (string beans) were grown by the staff just a stone’s throw away. Beyond their passion for Kapampangan cuisine, the people behind Apag Marangle also demonstrate compassion for the PEPALUKLUK MANUK environment. Waste segregation, recycling and composting are just a few of the green practices in place. In no small measures, they also try to help build the lives of undergraduates by providing KALDERETANG BIBI them work and a place to stay as well as teaching them how to save. When the time comes for them to leave the workplace, they are better persons with brighter hopes for the future. Overall, Apag Marangle represents the Kapampangans’ generous way of life— from the way we cook and serve our food, to the way we treat our people as family, and how we take care of our guests. When eating takes on such a new meaning, I find this a great reason to go back. PEP
APRIL 2011 | PAMPANGA PEP
FEATURE WORDS: MIKE PANGILINAN’S SIUÁLÂ DING MEÁNGÛBIÉ PHOTOGRAPHY: PETER C. ALAGOS
PAMAGDARÁME: THE ULTIMATE FORM OF MOURNING Makiráme ké pû. “We join you in your sorrow.” These are the words we commonly hear during funerals. There are many ways for people to join others in their suffering and sadness. Sometimes our very presence is enough to give comfort to those who are grieving. In the old days, mere words were not enough to convey one’s sincerest condolences.
ABOUT MIKE PANGILINAN. Born Michael Raymon M. Pangilinan in Angeles City on 18 March 1969, grew up in the town of Magalang at the heart of Indung Kapampangan. He eventually trained as a philosopher at the prestigious University of San Carlos in Cebu City where he graduated in 1989. He eventually spent some time roaming around Mindanao, meeting Kapampangan expatriates, local indigenous people and Muslim communities. This rich experience in dealing with different ethnic communities throughout the country made him realize how important culture is to people’s identity and survival.
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The early missionaries records how our ancestors sometimes resorted to the extreme in joining others in their suffering. Diego Bergaño’s 1734 Vocabulario de la Lengua Pampanga recorded the practice known as balátâ. It is a vow to avenge someone’s death. Those who vowed to do so wore collars made of deer hide and coarse vines were tied around their arms, wrists, knees and ankles for many days or even years until they have avenged someone’s death. To ease one’s grief, the ancients believed that lives must be taken to accompany the dead unto the afterlife. There were those, however, who believed in sacrificing themselves rather than others in following their loved ones unto the next world. The early missionaries have recorded that among the people of these islands slaves were sometimes sacrificed and buried with their master. If a ruler died violently, the slaves were made to suffer in a similar fashion before being strangled and buried together with their deceased master. Some of the slaves however, were not forced, but actually volunteered to do so. One entry in the Kapampangan Vocabulario is the word pungápul, a devoted slave who decided to continue serving his master even after he was freed, and perhaps even follow him in death. Old customs and beliefs are hard to die even after years of foreign domination. Sometimes the colonial masters had to make use of these very ancient customs and repackaged them a bit so as to make their rule over the natives a lot easier. Among the Kapampangans, one of them would be the pamagdaráme that is practiced every Holy Week. It comes from the word dame or “to join in one’s suffering” and is related to the words of condolences, Makiráme ké pû. During this time, a mass of magdaráme or bloody penitents flagellate themselves and each other and walk long distances barefoot under the scorching heat of the sun. Some carry huge wooden crosses and were beaten every time they make a stop. Others would be nailed to the cross on Good Friday. Originally, pamagdaráme was not performed for the delight and amusement of the thousands of tourists who flock to Pampanga to gawk at them during the Holy Week. The magdaráme who beat themselves bloody originally likened themselves to a devoted slave, a pungápul who decides to suffer like his Ápûng Ginu, his Great Lord and Master Jesus Christ, and perhaps even follow him in death. PEP
APRIL 2011 | PAMPANGA PEP
A SHOWER OF PETALS
Sabuaga festival E
WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHY: BONG Z. LACSON
ASTER SUNDAY has always been the centerpoint of the observance of the Holy Week in the small town of Sto. Tomas, just seven kilometers south of the capital City of San Fernando. As a matter of course, Easter Sunday is celebrated as the fiesta in Poblacion, taking precedence over the official July 3 feast day of the patron, St. Thomas the Apostle. Or yet again, the resurrection— an occasion of celebration for the apostle too with his affirmation of the divinity of the Risen Christ thus: “Dominus meus et Deus meus” (My Lord and my God). Over the years, Thomasians have gladly acknowledged and observed Easter Sunday as the feast of all feasts. Those who already reside abroad or other nearby provinces always find time to go home and be with their cabalens (townmates) in commemorating the Maleldo (Holy Days). So it has always been from the 19th century— said old folk— that Easter Sunday is celebrated with pomp and pageantry unique to Sto. Tomas. While the salubong, the first meeting between the Virgin Mother and the Risen Christ, is celebrated in all Catholic churches, here the event is spiced up with a puso-puso— a multilayered heart-shaped funnel (resembling like an inverted flower) that opens up at interval after each chanting of the Regina Caeli Laetare, raining confetti and petals on the image of the mourning Virgin Mother below until a little girl dressed as an angel descends from it to take the black veil off Mary. At this point, the curtain that separates the Mother and her Risen Son is opened for their joyful salubong. The Easter procession then begins, with the town’s fairest maidens in their best ternos and formal gowns as sagalas— three ciriales, the cross and candle bearers at the lead; a banderada, the bearer of the Vatican flag, twelve pretty lasses called estabats (after their melancholic hymn Stabat Mater Dolorosa) who sing praises and shower with petals the Atlung Maria (Three Marys) symbolizing the Virgin Mother, Mary Magdalene and Mary Cleofas. By tradition, the center— the spot of the Virgin— is reserved for the most beautiful of the three sagalas. The procession ends in church with a High Mass. By noontime, the faithful congregate anew at the churchyard for the burning of the effigy of Judas Iscariot. Atop a scaffolding, “Judas” is ignited by pyrotechnic ravens and then twists, turns upside down, rotates and starts exploding from the legs up the arms, the body, and finally the head with the loudest bang. That used to cap the annual Holy Week celebrations in Sto. Tomas. For the second time this year, to the old rites will be added the Sabuaga Festival. Sabuaga comes from the combination of sabuag (scatter) and sampaga (flowers)—the sagalas’ showering of petals on the image of the Virgin Mary in “veneration of her keeping the faith and oneness
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EVENTS with her Son in His sufferings, thus her rewards in His joyful resurrection.” Hence, petals and confetti will literally rain on the processional route around Poblacion, starting at 2 p.m. of Easter Sunday as revellers join groups coming from the town’s seven barangays in street dancing. At the town plaza where the revelry culminates, the groups in their most exotic costumes reflective of the product of the barangays they represent will each do its own interpretative dance presentation, on the theme sabuag sampaga, naturally. Judges coming from the arts, culture and tourism sector will proclaim the winners. A trade and industry component to the festival will be provided by the town’s one-barangay-one-product exhibit around the town plaza, with each barangay displaying its produce, notably the pottery and ceramics of Sto. Niño, and the caskets of San Vicente. Sto. Tomas is known as the casket capital of Central
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Luzon, if not of the whole country, having at one time supplied funeral parlors throughout the whole archipelago and even nearby Asian countries. In effect, Sabuaga will serve as a one-stop showcase of the spirituality, culture, and industry of the people of Sto. Tomas. Sabuaga at this early already promises to be a fitting climax to the Holy Week celebration in the province. Indeed, the Maleldo in the City of San Fernando should culminate in the Easter Sunday celebration and first ever Sabuaga Festival of Sto. Tomas! PEP
ABOUT BONG Z. LACSON. Veteran journalist Bong Lacson is a native of Sto. Tomas, Pampanga. Aside from writing news stories, he has also authored six books, namely “Off the Press,” “Brigada .45,” “About Oca,” “Oca: Isang Istorya ng Pakikibaka,” “Pinatubo: Triumph of the Kapampangan Spirit” (editor), and “Reverend Governor, A Chronicle of Irreverence.” Bong also writes about his travel stints here and abroad being a member of traveloggers. features&fotos.
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PEOPLE WORDS: ALEX CASTRO
ORIGINS OF faith healing in the Philippines go a long way back into our pre-Hispanic culture—when mediums called babaylans and catalonans called on spirits to cure illnesses and plagues of all sorts. When Christianity was introduced, faith healing prospered even more, for now there were more deities to summon, more saints to come to our succor.
Our colonizers observed that Filipino natives were a credulous lot, ready to fall on their knees before anyone with wondrous cures for their ills. “In this way”, an American reports, “ were formed the numerous bands of outlaws that for the next few years infested Tagalog provinces…,the result was that there appeared several alleged sons of Gods, Virgin Mary, at least 2 Popes and a black Jesus.” In 1886, for instance, Julian Baltasar, a Pangasinense-Ilocano also known as Apo Laki, predicted a global deluge, retreating to Sta. Ana with hundreds of believers. In 1901, fanatics in Cavite Viejo went wild over a Laguna faith healer who had stones reputed to be stained with the blood of Christ. “Espiritistas”, then and now, often shared similar mystical experiences, with reported heavenly visitations, inner locutions and paranormal visions, before heeding their calling. A result of these oracular moments is the power of healing. Such was the case of Pampanga’s very own Pedro Danganan (originally Danan) of Sapang Bato, who achieved national fame as Apo Iro, ang “manggagamot ng Pampanga.” Pedro’s parents, Alejandro Danan and Eusebia Samonte, were from Angeles and Guagua respectively. It was, however, in Barrio Pamalatan, Lubao that Pedro was born on 15 February 1907. A month later, his father would die, leaving Pedro mired in poverty and poor health. It was for the latter reason that Pedro’s mother took her frail son on a pilgrimage to the Antipolo shrine of the Virgen de la Paz
y de Buen Viaje (Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage). While pilgrims crowded the shrine to pray to the Blessed Virgin, the unattended Pedro squeezed through the throng and forced his way up the altar where he tightly clung to the sacred image of Antipolo! While this act shocked some pilgrims, others proclaimed it a miracle, more so when the child finally descended from the altar looking hale and healthy. Thus began Pedro’s extraordinary transformation from a playful kid to a quiet child wont to introspection. Returning to Pampanga with health restored, he also left everyone in awe with his practice of gazing heavenward, muttering words, as if he were conversing with some deity. While playing street games, he started having visions of an ancient man with a flowing white beard, who pronounced him “blessed” and encouraged him to go on healing missions. To the amazement of many, he successfully tried his new-found gift on his mother, ridding her of her paralysis. Dropping out of school, the 12 year old Pedro, now reverently known as “Apo Iro”, embarked on a new career that would make him Pampanga’s and the country’s most celebrated healer of the pre-war years. Active from the late 20s to the mid 1930s, his magic touch continued all the way to adulthood, healing thousands of people from as far as Ilocos and Bicol. From relieving throat pains caused by lodged fishbones to curing more serious afflictions, he healed people by the thousands – “gumagamot ng walang gamot, walang bayad”— as one postcard caption proclaims. People would seek him before even going to doctors, unnerving medical practitioners who feared for lost business. As a result, they would often file complaints against him with the health department! One such case was filed by a known cirujano, eye doctor Carlos Simpao, resulting in Apo Iro’s
PAMPANGA’S WONDER WORKER
ABOUT ALEX CASTRO. A senior executive officer of the multi-awarded Makati-based Publicis JimenezBasic Advertising for the last 16 years, Alex Castro is the author of the twin book, “Views from the Pampang & Other Scenes/ Scenes from a Bordertown & Other Views” (2006), a picture history of his hometown, Mabalacat and essays of Old Pampanga. He is behind the Kapampanganthemed www.viewsfromthepampang.blogspot.com, a finalist in the 2009 Philippine Blog Awards for Arts & Culture. Currently, he also works as a Consultant of the Center of Kapampangan Studies at the Holy Angel University. He finished his Communication Arts course from St. Louis University, Baguio City in 1977, the same year he was named as one of the Philippines’ Most Outstanding Student of Communication by the Kapisanan ng mga Broadcaster sa Pilipinas and the Broadcast Media Council. His other passions include traveling and collecting antiques.
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PEOPLE imprisonment. Shortly after, Dr. Simpao started losing his eyesight which he regained only after a visit to Apo Iro, a “miracle” that fully vindicated the healer. Apo Iro also advised the sick to strengthen their faith by lighting candles in honor of the Antipolo virgin, the icon that started it all. He was assisted in his healing ministry by his ayudante, Apo Loton. He achieved such fame that postcard images of him were sold like “estampitas” in front of churches like the Holy Rosary Parish in Angeles. The postcards show a long-haired Apo Iro, on the chubby side, with distinct feminine
features, shades of the La Union visionary, Judiel Nava. He obviously enjoyed posing before the camera as seen from these staged scenes— one, in serene repose holding a cross and dressed in a knees-exposing pair of shorts and velvet cape; and the other, a composite picture of the “milagroso” on his knees before a painted Virgin Mary, much unlike contemporary Holy Communion pictures. Enterprising neighbors cashed in on the influx of pilgrims by putting up shops that sold snacks, holy cards, candles and other Apo Irorelated souvenirs. There was even a booklet printed about his extraordinary life entitled “Buhay at Kasaysayan ni Apo Iro at ng Kanyang Mga Milagro”. Many remember the supernatural powers Apo wielded. He had the gift of foretelling the coming of rain. In one such instance, rain poured down inexplicably only on both sides of his house, leaving his neighbors wet while his yard remained totally dry. People not only waited in long queues to receive his blessings, but they also hid under the batalan while the Apo took his regular shower, hoping to catch the used bath water which they believed possessed curative powers. Apo Iro also caused religious santos like the Nazareno to animate and move; and it was also whispered about that he can make himself invisible to some. It was said that Apo Iro’s magic touch came to an abrupt end when he succumbed to the temptation of the flesh and got married to Eufemia Camaya, much to the consternation of his followers who wanted him to remain chaste and pure. He fathered five children: Mamerto, Florencio, Corazon, Librada and Simeona. But according to surviving daughter, Simeona, her father’s powers never waned in intensity; he continued healing people by the thousands even in his married state, all for free. The fact was, Apo Iro, like all human beings, was simply in love. Probably a bit tired from all the attention and wishing to lead a normal life, the contemplative Apo Iro retreated with his family to his old hometown in Guagua after the war. There, in between healing sessions, he peddled vegetables, blankets and other goods. His family also subsisted on the kind donations of his loyal patients who left food and gifts— never money— at his doorstep. The seer, who never experienced any other illnesses since childhood, also foretold his death, one day muttering: “Malapit na nakung kunan at i-uli!” (someone was about to get him and bring him home soon). When he died peacefully on 15 September 1959, strange events attended his death. Three white men visited his wake, and proclaimed to people present that the man lying in state was not dead. Apo Iro, before his demise, also gave strict orders not to have his body embalmed. Days after, however, an uninformed mortician injected him with embalming fluid and when he did so, fresh blood spurted from his body. His death was covered by newspapers and his funeral procession was attended by thousands of people from all walks of life— from VIPs, ranking government officials to neighbors, paupers and waifs— bound by a common extraordinary experience of having been once healed and touched by Pampanga’s most acclaimed miracle man. PEP APRIL 2011 | PAMPANGA PEP
cover girl BEIN’ GEMMA GATDULA
Mixin’ matchin’ summer F
WORDS: PETER C. ALAGOS PHOTOGRAPHY: BORJ MENESES MAKE-UP: FRANCOIS ROXAS
OR MOST GIRLS who can’t wait to enjoy the outdoors this coming vacation, it’s mostly this and that, packing and rummaging through the wardrobe now that summer’s finally here. But what’s there to pack, and what’s there to wear? Well, PAMPANGA PEP pitched the idea to model Gemma Gatdula, who is this issue’s cover girl, and sought her two cents’ worth on apparel and makeup tips for summer.
At the same time, we tried tinkering with her head a little further to find out more of this gorgeous babe, who was among the famous women who once rode that iconic white horse for a famous whiskey brand, and who was featured as an “online babe” and “girlfriend” in the pages of a famous men’s magazine. Born and raised in Angeles City by parents Esmer and Julie Gatdula, 24-year old Gemma started her modeling career in 1999 at a bridal makeup competition. Though a neophyte in the modeling industry, Gemma immediately managed to land a major modeling contract for “The Image Model 2000 Circle of 10. “I was already 18 years old when I started modeling but despite that I was able to get a lot of freelance modeling stints here and there,” she said. Asked of her favorite colleagues she has worked with in the fashion industry, Gemma cited New York-based photographer Xander Angeles, makeup artist Jigs Mayuga, and fashion designer Rajo Laurel.
PAMPANGA PEP: Give at least five makeup tips to keep in mind this summer. GEMMA: Wear sun block; use pastel colors for the eyes; use a lot of shimmer; settle for pressed powder instead of the usual foundation and powder; and lastly, I highly recommend light colored lip gloss or lipstick. Go for gloss in transparent, pink or fruity colors and forget matte and powdery lipstick. It also pays to keep your lips protected and moisturized by using a lip balm or consider trying a moisture rich lipstick. PAMPANGA PEP: Which makeup brands do you recommend? GEMMA: Any brand is ok. PAMPANGA PEP: What about color? Which makeup colors do you prescribe? GEMMA: Pastel colors PAMPANGA PEP: If you’re in a hurry, what’s the best way to do a quick retouch? GEMMA: Since you’ve already some makeup on, make a good quick retouch by gently blotting oil or perspiration using a moistened tissue paper on those oily and shiny areas. PAMPANGA PEP: Which is better, pressed powder or concealer? GEMMA: Both pressed powder and concealer are okay. Only use a concealer when needed. PAMPANGA PEP: What’s the best “summer makeup?” GEMMA: Being pretty this summer is supposed to be fun, so it won’t hurt if you experiment with colors. PAMPANGA PEP: What about sharing your tips for the best summer apparel. Is floral the “in” fashion statement? GEMMA: Yes. PAMPANGA PEP: What are the best colors you recommend for a summer dress? GEMMA: Orange, pink, blue, and green. Try also pastel colors or any variety of pale or light colors. PAMPANGA PEP: People are definitely going to hit the beaches. What type of beachwear is best? GEMMA: Wear a short-sleeved shirt or tank top and shorts. There are a lot of bathing suits to choose from in the market, likewise, summerthemed dresses and other clothing. PAMPANGA PEP: What about footwear? GEMMA: I’d go for flip-flops or thong sandals that are, of course, lightweight. PAMPANGA PEP: Shorts or summer dress? GEMMA: Loose-fitting clothes are most advisable this summer to beat the humidity and heat. To keep cool while outdoors, I suggest clothes that are made of natural fabrics and light colors to deflect the sun hence, less heat. The good thing about skirts, too, as compared to shorts, whether denim or otherwise, is it allows air to circulate thus, keeping oneself cool even when you’re out in the sun. PEP APRIL 2011 | PAMPANGA PEP
GEMMA GATDULA APRIL 2011 PHOTOGRAPHY: BORJ MENESES MAKE-UP: FRANCOIS ROXAS GEMMA’S SUMMER WARDROBE FROM:
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APRIL 2011 | PAMPANGA PEP
Discovering Puning ON THE FOOTHILLS OF MOUNT PINATUBO
WORDS: J. ABELARDO F. PUNZALAN PHOTOGRAPHY: RIC GONZALES
ORJ MENESES CALLED it a magnificent location for a photo shoot, and beforehand fired off a warning to fellow professional lensmen: “Oh ah! nauna kami dyan..., wala muna gaya-gaya ah! Be creative naman please! “(We we’re here first, okay. Don’t be copycats. Be creative.) And the place surely didn’t let us down. “But the real kill is the trail goin’ to this place, I marked two best spots that even Rafael Mazzuco will definitely die to shoot at. Sarap ng bagsak ng araw dun!” Borj swore. And the place is called Puning Hot Spring, a natural hot spa resort located in Sitio Puning of Barangay Inararo in Porac town but accessible through Sitio Target of Barangay Sapangbato in Angeles City. The hot springs which well up from the burning bosoms of Mount Pinatubo volcano were actually discovered by indigenous Aeta tribes in the area. Soon after, and through the initiatives of Department of Tourism regional director Ronnie Tiotuico, a Korean investor married to a Filipina from Las Pinas, Ms. Ma. Carmencita Lozano-Kim, started developing the site, its trail and its present amenities. While at present DOT Region III refrains from recommending Puning Hot Spring as an accredited tourist spot due to non-compliance to some strict environmental guidelines, this hidden paradise has begun to attract the attention of foreign and local visitors with arrivals peaking above the 1,500 mark per month from November to February. So take a peek and discover Puning Hot Springs. (Photo captions taken from resort’s informational brochures. --Editor)
3rd STATION: THE HOT SPRINGS. The main destination is a thermal spring along Sacobia River where water temperature range from 40 to 70 degrees Celsius. The surrounding area looks like a burning furnace as smoke endlessly billows from crevices carved into mountainsides. Through tests conducted by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), it was found out that the hot springs have zero couliform levels and a neutral 7.5 pH level safePEP not|toAPRIL irritate human skin. 24 that PAMPis ANGA 201 1
1ST STATIONBASE CAMP. A garden restaurant in traditional native huts that offer Filipino cuisine with native Aetas always ready to serve you with a smile. On board any ordinary car, the Base Camp is only 10 to 15 minutes away as you exit Clark Freeport Zone’s perimeter gate in barangay Sapangbato, Angeles City. It is here where one may hire resort-accredited “4x4 vehicles” (all-terrain, custom-built vehicles) at a price tag ranging from Php2,000 to Php3,000 for a group of seven persons. Friendly Aeta tribe members welcome you with warm greetings as you travel along the rough and rugged trail.
ALTERNATE VIEW OF 3rd STATION. “Puning Hot Spring is set between walls of lahar, ash and pumice. It is an ideal place for trekkers who can’t make it to Pinatubo. It’s a good trek site as well and one where you can get a relaxing massage or hot spring bath after.” —Morgan Bennett, Puning Hot Spring visitor.
RIVERBED FOR TRAIL. Surprising as it may sound, experienced drivers of accredited all-terrain service vehicles swear the “smoothest ride” going to Puning Hot Springs is during the rainy season, when new lahar deposits smoothen out the riverbed. A rough trail during the dry season, however, offers the excitement of a roller coaster ride. Also, never miss to admire the unusual rock formations revealed through the towering walls of the trail. And by the way, the nearer you get to the hot springs main site, the warmer (hotter, even) the water under your feet gets.
2nd STATION: FULL SERVICE MASSAGE & SAUNA. Halfway between the Base Camp and your final destination to the hot springs is a full-service massage and sauna facility manned by trained Aeta tribe members. Try and experience the relaxing hot Sand Steam (where your are ‘buried’ under heated sea sand) said to enhance blood circulation and even treat rheumatic pains.
APRIL 2011 | PAMPANGA PEP
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“CASH WIDUS” GRAND RAFFLE PROMO FROM CASINO WIDUS
P3.5M for lucky winners! CASINO WIDUS recently launched “Cash Widus,” the biggest-ever cash raffle promo inside Clark Freeport Zone with a total of P3.5 million at stake for twelve lucky winners. Agnes ‘Neki’ Liwanag, the casino’s marketing and business development manager, said one lucky “Cash Widus” raffle winner every month from March to December this year will each get P100,000 in cash prize culminating in the grand raffle draws during the gaming facility’s anniversary on December 18, 2011. “As part of our anniversary celebrations on December 18, a not-so-minor prize of Php500,000 in cold cash will be given away to one lucky winner. For the grand raffle prize, Casino Widus will actually give away Php2 million in cash to one very, very lucky
winner!” Neki Liwanag said. According to her, any guest or patron at the US$20 million hotel and casino complex can get a chance to win in Casino Widus’ “Cash Widus” promo. “All they have to do iss play in any of Casino Widus’ participating tables (where terms ms and conditions apply),” Neki Liwanag explained. The huge cash raffle draws are but some of the latest promo offerings of Casino o Widus to further entertain its growing list of foreign reign and local players. Last year, Casino Widus us and Hotel Vida successfully launched the “Stay, Play and Drive” promo wherein a brand and new Toyota Altis was given away. For inquiries regarding the promo, romo, interested parties may call Casino sino Widus at 045-499-9999 and ask the Customer Service Department nt for assistance. Casino Widus and d Hotel Vida are part of the busyy hotel and casino strip of Clark Freeport Zone found along its main thoroughfare, the M. A. Roxas Highway.
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lifestyles WORDS: ARNEL SAN PEDRO PHOTOGRAPHY: RIC GONZALES
Vintage bikes roll out in style MODERNITY IS PASSÉ HERE. No SRAM X10, X9 or X7 drive
trains. No Shimano XTR, XT or Deore Series drive trains. No hydraulic brakes and no costly gears either.
We slowed the time and went back to the past to revisit the golden days when bicycles such as Rollfasts, Shelbys, Columbias, Standards, Iver Johnsons and Schwinns speak of the American diaspora when a country emerging from World War II and about to enter the Korean War still enjoys the fruit of capitalism. Well, those adverts are still up in Ebay and we can see the various promotions bicycle manufacturers like American Machine and Foundry (AMF), maker of Roadmaster and Shelby; Schwinn, Rollfast, etc had with their products. Adverts like “Rollfast Bicycles Made to Last – Smart, Smooth and easy-Going”, “Rollfasts are made with automobile features”, “I want a Schwinn for Christmas” are still being sold in Ebay. The Ringling Bros. Circus used the Schwinns in their circus acts because the advert says they are “The Greatest Bike on Earth.” Arnold, Schwinn and Company sold the Schwinn bikes for as low as $39.95 back in the 50s. While others spend hundreds of thousands of pesos in their carbon-made mountain bikes, we find time to restore old bicycles to their former glory and experience what these old iron horses can offer us. Mountain bike parts are just costly and wily manufacturers are just coming out with latest models each year depreciating the cost of a mountain bike by the year. On the other hand, the cost of a vintage bike goes up with its age. Tired of seeing rigged vintage bicycle exhibitions where most of the organizers participated themselves in the contests, why not simply try these old clunkers in long rides for a change? So one early Saturday morning in February this year, four middle-aged men set forth on a bicycle ride from Angeles City to the City of San Fernando enroute to Bacolor town and on to the FVR Megadike. Long ride is nothing new to us having been mountain bike riders except that this trip is quite unique because we used restored vintage bicycles. The old iron horses salvaged from the 60s and 70s composed of an American-made Standard, Patria, Heidimanworks, and a Rollfast. Of the four bicycles, the Rollfast had been
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popular among Americans during the 50s. Unlike modern mountain bikes which can now be fitted with 9-speed or 10-speed drive trains such as the popular SRAM X9 or X7 series or Shimano XTR or XT or the lowly but reliable Deore series, our vintage bicycles with ‘footbrakes’ have only a single speed. Minus the comfort of modern day mountain bikes, we set out to test the old iron horses and see for ourselves if we can pass the rigors of traveling the old-fashioned way. The 45-minute ride from Angeles City to the City of San Fernando was a breeze simply because the latter has a lower elevation. Our group – Jay Timbol, Danie Dimaunahan, Paw and yours truly – proceeded to the San Fernando church for a visit. Then we proceeded to Yeng Santos’ residence nearby where a sumptuous breakfast comprised of ‘tamales, suman bulagta and batirol’ await us. The breakfast was an unforgettable one. From the Santos residence, we headed to the Pampanga Provincial Capitol where we had a photo-op. We proceeded to Bacolor town via Palawe and came out into the GSO Road where we traced our way to the FVR Megadike. At this point, Yeng who had been riding the Rollfast had to go back to City of San Fernando. Gavz, a rider from Guagua who was riding his Trex MTB all the way from SFP bid us goodbye halfway into the FVR Megadike leaving us four in the over one-hour trek to Manibaug, Porac town. The sun shone above our heads mercilessly and the infamous long stretch that incurred its dark past as a favorite dumping area for salvage victims seemed endless. The occasional whiff of air brought comfort to our drying tongues, and ebbing spirit brought by the harsh realities
lifestyles ABOUT ARNEL SAN PEDRO. He is a member of traveloggers.features&fotos, a newly-formed travel writers club in Pampanga. He is also a columnist of News Central and the managing editor of CLARK, the official publication of the Clark International Airport Corporation.
of the surrounding. There are no shades where we can rest and our water supply dwindled to a trickle and simply gone before we even reach the boundary. We had to reach Barangay Manibaug for a brief stop and buy some mineral water. The unexpected happened. Jay Timbol’s ‘Patria’ burning red from the sun’s harsh rays bogged down. The drive train snapped and there is no way he can reach Barangay Manibaug amid the searing afternoon sun. We had to endure the punishment of the midday sun with no water and food. Without help, we can no longer take the beating. After a few minutes, we set off anew but the ‘Patria’ bogged down for the second time. I had to leave Jay and Paw and proceeded towards Manibaug. On my way, I came across a tilbury, also known as “kalising” driven by an unnamed individual who obliged to rescue Jay and Paw. And the rest was history. With the Patria loaded onto a tricycle, we proceeded the journey to Angeles City. The ride aboard these old clunkers was unforgettable and proved that old iron horses never die. They can be restored to their former glory and be enjoyed by everyone.
PORAC RIDE On March 6, 2011, 11 young riders from Angeles City embarked on a night ride and pedaled all the way to nearby Porac town and back. They were led by Winwin San Pedro, Kim Macapagal, Glenn Puri, Mikki Joanino, Aeon Punsalan, Joseph Santos, Patrick Centeno, Kim Garcia, Wey Cadag, Red Payad and Kevin Esberto. These riders were not even born when the bicycles they rode hit the streets. We were not able to join the Porac ride but we were happy to see these young riders enjoying the old clunkers and now actively participating in the restoration work of some bicycles considered as junks. Old bicycles like Schwinns, Shelbys, Patrias, Sonnets, Roadmasters, Elgins, Monarks, The Mister Cycle and so forth are now being salvaged from the storages for restoration work. The August Bicycle Store in Angeles City can restore them for a minimal cost. For those who want to enjoy classic bicycles, just visit Kim and his dad at the August Bicycle Store for possible restoration work on their old bicycles. ‘New Old Stock’
(NOS) or ‘After Market’ parts are still available in the market although in limited supply. Please do not go to restorers-turned-sellers because chances are they will rip you off. The August Bicycle Store can assemble an old ‘truss bridge frame’ bicycle made popular by gun manufacturer Iver Johnson and Columbia, for P7,500 to P9,000 depending on the quality and make of parts. Others will sell this bike for a high P12,000 to P15,000 so it will be better to visit August Bicycle Store. For those interested, you can call Kim at 888-6522 or 09054247266. Soon, we will formalize the creation of “Padyak: Pamisamak ding mapad karing laun a de Padyak” and we will invite all vintage bicycle enthusiasts in Pampanga province to join and experience the simple enjoyment of freedom brought about by these old bicycles. Days later while watching History Channel, I came across American Pickers where for $50, the duo in the persona of Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz bought a 1950s Schwinn Phanter in a remote village in the United States. Not contented with the immaculate Schwinn Phanter which is only missing the famous tank, the duo bought another 1910 Orient bicycle for $1,000 and still another vintage for undisclosed amount. The duo rummaged through the pile and found the Schwinn Phanter tank. The buy brought excitement to me as I watch the episode because here are two obscure individuals still roaming the unexplored like us and looking for these old bicycles. Says Wolfe: “I may have $1,000 today but where can I buy this bike (Orient). So I will buy it today now that I see it.” The search already brought us to Barangay Tinang in Concepcion; Dinalupihan in Bataan and there is no stopping us. We have become the Kapampangan pickers. Our fellow rider Mon Payad bought his Columbia truss bridge frame for a song in Sapang Bato, Angeles City. Another Columbia truss bridge frame was found hanging atop an overgrown bamboo tree somewhere in Mabalacat by Kurt. We heard that there are still hundreds of them in the provinces of Bataan, Tarlac and Pangasinan. Well, keep looking. PEP
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BUILDING A HOUSE OF HOPE
Bale-balayan WORDS: SAB ESGUERRA PHOTOGRAPHY: PETER C. ALAGOS
ETER DE VERA is an accomplished artist; accomplished in the sense that all the hard work since his humble beginnings in the performing arts had already paid off. But prior to being regarded as an icon in the performing arts industry, Peter literally danced his way through college via a scholarship offered by his school’s dance organization. This experience was the very fuse that ignited a passion to help young or struggling artists accomplish their goals in life.
PETER A. DE VERA is the director of the Sinukwan Training Center for the Arts (STCA), and a member of the World Dance Alliance. His affiliation with the group earned him the opportunity to attend a dance workshop sponsored by the World Dance Alliance Global Center in Philadelphia in June 1999.
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Today, Peter has a project in the pipeline. Hopefully, his plans would be within his grasp sooner than later. He simply calls it Bale-balayan— coined from a children’s game which literally means “to play house” in the Kapampangan language. Bale-balayan is Peter’s vision for a training center that caters to poor artists who are unable to afford the financial needs to pursue a career in the performing arts. Peter said he plans to build Bale-balayan within their ancestral home in Barangay Sta. Teresita in Angeles City by transforming it into a training center that will not only hone the skills of indigent artists but also serve as a venue to discover fresh talent. “You are not only discovering their talent but you are also giving them hope,” said Peter, who was instrumental in the establishment of the Sinukwan Training Center for the Arts (STCA) where he is fondly called apu by his students, who are mostly scholars in various schools in Pampanga. Peter said he wants to take advantage of his passion for the performing arts to help people. Opening doors of opportunity to other people gives them hope, which, according to him – “would be their powerful tool to break the poverty line.” “Hindi pala kailangan maging mayaman ka in order to help others. These people, the young artists, will also serve as an inspiration to others,” he added. The blueprint for Bale-balayan is being prepared by Patrick Tan of Fiesta Communities, according to Peter. He added that Patrick and his father, Willie, offered to help build the school as part of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility. When Pampanga PEP visited Bale-balayan for a photo shoot of the house, what greeted us was only what was left of the various indigenous materials and instruments, most of which had been already transferred to various locations to prepare the area for construction work, which is scheduled within the latter part of the year. For some, transforming your own home into a huge classroom seems to be too many a sacrifice. But Peter’s case is different; his colorful personality and visions of hope are vividly expressed in the comforts of his own home hence, the Bale-balayan concept. He said the living room would be transformed into a museum, a perfect place to store his immense
FEATURE collection of musical instruments: bamboo organs made in Pampanga, marimbas, an antique harp from The Folk Arts Theater, maracas from Indonesia, castanets from Spain, old agongs, Mindanao bells from artist Grace Nono, and a variety of other instruments from foreign countries. Fascinated by the teachings of Buddha, Peter also plans to build a meditation room that would be situated near the living room. Bale-balayan’s second floor, meanwhile, would house Peter’s collection of Mindanao art pieces— stunning accessories made by local manufacturer and exporter Gaddang Philippines, hand woven materials by the Bagobos and Tibolis, and snake bone necklaces. He also plans to have a small library and rehearsal room. Peter said he also envisions Bale-balayan as a venue for various workshops and an area for livelihood projects that would benefit other members of his community. Since joining a dance organization in college many years back, little did Peter knew that he was already plotting the blueprint of Bale-balayan aside from just merely discovering his talent as a dancer. “Because I’ve experienced it,” said Peter, referring to the struggles and obstacles indigent dancers and performing artists have to overcome in order to make it in the industry.
Peter said the location of Bale-balayan in Barangay Sta. Teresita is strategic, citing its proximity to two public schools whose students are among the primary targets of the training center. “Most of the students only walk to school and I hope that when they pass by they would be enticed to join us when they see other students learning new skills whether that’s dancing or playing musical instruments,” Peter said. Despite the wide and varied experience Peter has amassed through years of dancing, training, and learning, he never fails to keep his feet on the ground— always steadfast in the motto ora et labora or the Benedictine dictum “work and pray.” With a little more work and lots of prayer, there is no doubt that Peter would soon be able to open the wide doors of his Bale-balayan to anyone who wishes to dwell and learn within its walls. PEP
ABOUT SAB ESGUERRA. A native of Porac, Pampanga, Sab Esguerra recently earned her A.B. Communications major in Broadcast Journalism degree from the Holy Angel University. When she was still with the university, Sab worked as an intern at “Failon Ngayon,” aired regularly over ABS-CBN Channel 2 and wrote stories for Central Luzon Business Week. She also did video jockeying stints for PEP TV Channel 3’s “Job Fair on Air” cable edition.
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APRIL 2011 | PAMPANGA PEP
WORDS: TERE PARAS
AUF REPERTORY REMINISCES LIFE OF SARSUELA QUEEN
Atang dela Rama A
NGELES UNIVERSITY FOUNDATION O ON teer Repertory Theater just ended its sixth theater season with the staging of Atang: Isangg Dulang May Musika by director Tonyy Mabesa. The story of sarsuela queen and national artist for theater and music, Honorata de la Rama-Hernandez, Atang is the third work of award winning playwright and television director Floy Quintos. “I first met Atang dela Rama in the mid ‘80s, when n I was a young reporter contributing to the Sunday day magazine of the now defunct Times Journal,” says s Quintos. “She granted me a first interview, and since cee there was so much to talk about, I asked for a second one, which she also granted. I was first struck by how alert and sprightly the old lady seemed, and how polite she was in dealing with my ineptness. The same impression of exquisite politeness and humility seems to run through all the articles that have been written about Atang from that period”, he adds. The cast is composed of AUF students, alumni and a professor in the person of David Wallis, who played announcer and producer. The 84-year old Atang was portrayed by senior A.B. Communication student Sucharade Nicdao who has been active in the AUF Rep for two years now. “Working with Prof. Mabesa is such an honor and once-in-a-lifetime chance”, says Sucha. Gia Samonte was played alternately by AUF nurse alumna Franchette Calma and Mass Communication graduate Frances Pasco, who both boast of long years of experience in the performing arts. Junior communication student Jan Ryan Aranda portrayed Atang’s husband, literary stalwart and labor leader Amado Hernandez. The show was put together by an experienced artistic staff led by musical director Nelson Sese, costume designer Eric Pineda, lighting designer
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Ohm David, technical director Mel Roxas, choreographer Irvin Tiodin, and sound designer Lynette dela Paz.
THE PLAY The play opens with Gia Almonte, a famous starlet in the ‘80s, who is about to make a movie on the life of Atang Dela Rama-Hernandez. As part of her research, she visits Atang in her home in Gagalangin, Tondo, Manila. Upon meeting the Queen of Tagalog Sarsuela, Gia travels back in time as Atang reminisces her experiences as a “superstar.” Atang teaches Gia the proper ways of becoming a sarsuelista. Together, they rekindle the moment when Atang met the poet Amado V. Hernandez in a balagtasan. Through Amado’s sheer insistence and passion, Atang eventually falls into his arms. Her marriage to the poet and eventually labor leader opens a new chapter in her life. Since vaudeville has already replaced the popularity of sarsuwela, Atang chooses to support her husband in his plight against labor injustices. After reminiscing her wonderful moments as a sarsuela superstar, Atang requests Gia not to continue the film project and chooses to keep her mystery as Mrs. Honorata “Atang” Dela Rama. The play is in two acts. Act one is composed of seven scenes. Act two is composed of 13 scenes. Setting is Atang Dela Rama’s house in Tondo, Manila and various locations of Atang’s performances as a sarsuela superstar.
ATANG, THE NATIONAL ARTIST Atang de la Rama was born in Tondo, Manila on January 11, 1905. By the age of 7, she was already starring in Spanish sarsuelas such as Mascota, Sueño de un Vals, and Marina. She starred in the sarsuela “Dalagang Bukid” at age 15, and became known for her signature song, Nabasag na Banga. During the American occupation of the Philippines, Atang staunchly supported kundiman, and the sarsuela, which focused on contemporary
review Filipino issues such as usury, cockfighting, and colonial mentality. Generations of artists consider Atangâ€™s vocal and acting talents as responsible for much of the success of original Filipino sarsuelas like Dalagang Bukid, and dramas like Veronidia. She has also been a theatrical producer, writer and talent manager. For her achievements and contributions to the art form, she was hailed Queen of the Kundiman and of the Sarsuela in 1979, at the age of 74. Atang believed that art should be for everyone; not only did she perform in major Manila theaters such as the Teatro Libertad and the Teatro Zorilla, but also in cockpits and open plazas across the country. She also made an effort to bring the kundiman and sarsuela to the indigenous peoples of the Philippine such as the Igorots, the Aetas, and the Mangyans. She was also at the forefront of introducing Filipino culture to foreign audiences. At the height of her career, she sang kundimans and other Filipino songs in concerts in such cities as Hawaii, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Tokyo. President Corazon C. Aquino conferred upon her the distinction of being the National Artist of the Philippines for Theater and Music on May 8, 1987 in recognition of Atangâ€™s outstanding contributions to the performing arts as singer, and as a sarsuela actress-playwright-producer; and in praise of her efforts to bring her art to all sectors of Filipino society and the world. Atang de la Rama died on July 11, 1991. She was married to National Artist for Literature, Amado V. Hernandez. PEP
ABOUT TERE PARAS. A certified foodie, Tere Paras is mom to Andrei and Alphonsus, and a wife to Nath. She hails from Magalang, Pampanga.
APRIL 2011 | PAMPANGA PEP
ABOUT RANDY DEL ROSARIO. He is the Musical Director & playwright of Arti.Sta.Rita and Teatru Ima. Currently, too, he works as a producer & writer for CLTV36 television show SPOTLIGHT.
Kapampangan Songs: Alive & Kicking WORDS: RANDY DEL ROSARIO
S A CHILD, there was only Atin Ku Pung Singsing, the liturgical compositions of Msgr. Greg Canlas and Cris Cadiang which we have so passionately sung in church services and of course, the quintessential Totoy Bato whose songs are mostly adaptations from Kapampangan polosa and folksongs. Whether rhymed or free-versed, Totoy Bato’s songs have been deeply imbedded in the Kapampangan psyche. Because of him, the appreciation of Kapampangan music has been revived. His songs like Istorya na Raffy and Bunduk Arayat may be naughty sometimes and may even contain sexual innuendos, but they nevertheless represent the Kapampangan mischief in all of us. They may have been written simply but their colloquialism vividly captures our day-to-day adventures and misadventures. The lyrics are nicely spiced up by certain lightness and a unique Kapampangan flavor— the inclusion of hilarity and humor in almost all occasions and moments. Then there is Pamalsinta Quing Milabas and Alang Dios, a Kapampangan album and sarsuela produced by the Sapni Nang Crissot. The songs were beautifully arranged and interpreted that the album stirred many Kapampangan artists to follow suit and unify their efforts to bring about cultural revolution in Pampanga. Sadly, these excellent albums did not give birth to other brilliant compilations. Such affecting inspiration of Totoy Bato and the Sapni Nang Crissot moved the cultural visionary Andy Alviz to team up, amidst his flourishing national and international exposures to the biggest concert scenes and musicals as choreographer and director, with local artists in Santa Rita, Pampanga and found a town-based theater group ArtiSta.Rita in 2001. This group has significantly helped in changing the cultural landscape in the province. Its four albums of rearranged Kapampangan folksongs and original compositions include the very well-known Kapampangan Ku and Mekeni Tuki Ka. Batuin Fernandino and ASLAG Kapampangan are also among the organized cultural groups that aim to spread the beautiful music of our noble language through original compositions. Prolific song writer Ben Escasa is one of the major proponents of these groups. Now, if you talk about a singer who has the most distinct baritone voice that can easily and flawlessly shift from ballads to the highly difficult jazz, there can only be the one and the unparalleled Mon David. He has done two successful albums Keka Ku, Kaku Ka and Abe Mu Ku that showcase his versatility in arranging and unmistakable vocal dynamics. Q & A Productions of Landlee Quiwa and Andy Alviz also had a string of albums to its credit: Pampanga’s Best Bossa featuring an All-Star Cast and Andy Alviz Bossa Pampanga. The idea of rearranging the most-loved and most famous Kapampangan folk songs and some original compositions to the Bossa Nova style is sheer auditory pleasure. Teatru Ima at Arti (MAARTI) a group of fifty-year-old and above women that has been organized as a Kapampangan theater
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group, also has its own IMA Album that features Kapampangan folk songs. Its sarsuelas IMA, BEAUTY PARLOR and PERRY have produced beautiful original Kapampangan compositions as well. Perry, the musical that essays the life and love of a seminarian towards priesthood, boasts of 19 original and soul-stirring compositions by Andy Alviz and this writer. Then there is OK Musika (Original Kapampangan Music) founded by Landlee Quiwa and Benny Guintu with their Love Album, a collection of the best original Kapampangan love songs and its highly successful Christmas album featuring the really funny Labing-Adwang Aldo Ning Pasku composed by Landlee Quiwa. Who would ever forget Ara Muna and Ju Mari? Their amazing tandem produced O Jo Kaluguran Da Ka, arguably the most famous Kapampangan song ever composed. Its success made it into the national mainstream music industry. O Jo Kaluguran Da Ka may be an adaptation of the English song Sometimes When We Touch but it nonetheless tickles not just our Kapampangan funny bones but also our sentimental selves as well. The Holy Angel University Center for Kapampangan Studies (HAU-CKS) being a major force in the preservation, production and promotion of anything culturally Kapampangan also has a share in this aspect. It produced the Christmas album through a songwriting competition and the highly volatile ROCKapampangan. The latter aimed to involve and entice the Kapampangan youth who are generally into the pop and rock genres, to appreciate Kapampangan music. There should be more of this style as the Kapampangan youth is the sector that really needs to be persuaded to love Kapampangan music. With more or less twenty Kapampangan albums of varied themes and styles, Kapampangan music is really alive. But we definitely need more and with the committed and concerted efforts of the Kapampangan musicians, the future of Kapampangan music is definitely brighter than ever! Luid ka, musikerung Kapampangan! PEP
Bridges to Brighter Skies at Clark
Featuring two newly-installed passenger boarding bridges,
the transformation of Diosdado Macapagal International Airport as the Philippines’ premier international gateway continues as it is now ready to serve even passengers of wide-bodied legacy airlines. Located within the sprawling 2,367-hectare Clark Civil Aviation Complex inside Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga, DMIA also boasts of having the country’s longest parallel runways each measuring 3.2 kilometers in length with additional 300 meters of safe overrun at both ends, a modern US$10 million terminal radar system, reliable communications and meteorological equipment, and Crash, Fire and Rescue facilities with ICAO Category 9 rating. Indeed, the DMIA-Clark airport now represents Philippines’ best hopes for brighter skies in international travel and tourism.
Fly Direct From CLARK! INCHEON NCHEON
HONG KONG MACAU SINGAPORE TAIPEI BORACAY ((via Caticlan)
BANGKOK HONG KONG MACAU SINGAPORE CEBU
KOTA KINABALU KUALA LUMPUR
CLARK AIRPORT Clark Freeport Zone Pampanga, Philippines
C L A R K I N T E R N A T I O N A L A I R P O R T C O R P O R A T I O N , C L A R K F R E E P O R T Z O N E , P A M P A N G A , P H I L I P P I N E S APRIL 2011 | PAMPANGA PEP 43
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