KATHA MASTERMINDS Geli Balcruz hellogelibee.blogspot.com Aya Dalumpines facebook.com/createbytlf Andrea Dela Cruz mabuhaydiy.wordpress.com Allie Principe thefoureyedwonder.com Cachi Reyes thepinkdoormat.blogspot.com
Illustrators Lando Cusi behance.net/landocusi Ella Lama ellalama.tumblr.com Charisse Reyes behance.net/cmtreyes Carla Chua carlacochua.com
CONTRIBUTORS Koni Esteban candidlypretty.blogspot.com
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Katha is a bi-monthly magazine for creatives, by creatives. Copyright is reserved. Reposting in whole or in part on other sites and publications without permission is prohibited. All rights to photos and illustrations belong to their respective owners.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO LOOK AS FAR AS YOU THINK YOU SHOULD TO DISCOVER SOMETHING NEW. After five issues full to the brim of features about creatives of all sorts, one might think that sooner or later, our well of ideas will start to run dry. That’s a scary thing for us to think about, but somehow the fear fades away every time we get to sit down together and talk about who/what to write about next. Every single meeting, we are hit with the astounding reality that there are so many more things out there to discover, and that sometimes, you just have to know where to look. For this issue, we decided to scour our beloved homeland from north to south to bring you some of the most unique stories and creations that feel so distinctly our own. These stories make us feel all the more thankful to have dedicated this magazine to the creative Pinoy, since it would be such a disservice to let them go unnoticed. We admit that there are times when people get caught up in all the “Pinoy Pride” hullabaloo, but how can we not feel a little proud when we know that such awesomeness exists in our midst? We consider it a blessing to live on this archipelago that is full of creativity and talent. We know that we have barely scratched the surface, but we hope this issue can give you a glipse of the country’s rich and vibrant colors.
Cheers, The Katha Team
CONTENTS 24 34 28
BETTER WITH AGE
TOOL OF THE TRADE
FLOTSAM AND JETSAM
FEAST FOR ALL SENSES
ALL HANDS IN
A POTTER’S PILGRIMAGE
ONE FOR THE BOOKS
SIGNS OF CHANGE
TRAVEL, WRITE, LIVE
STORIES OF SKIN
MY FAVORITE OPM SONGS
FANCY A FIESTA?
T HI S I S SUE â€™S CO NTR I B U TOR S GABRIEL BATALLONES is passionate about nature and surfing. He recently graduated from the UST College of Fine Arts and Design majoring in advertising. He dreams of showing the world how beautiful life could be. He spends most of his time wandering around from cove to sea, hoping to capture its raw beauty.
KERVIN CALABIAS graduated with a degree in Language and Literature from the University of the Philippines Baguio. He is a member of the Baguio Writers Group and currently works as a book clerk at Mt. Cloud Bookshop. He is 23 years old and lives in Baguio City.
ANJO CANTALEJOCONTRIBUTORS is an architect who is passionate about his work, his food, and his karaoke. He is currently embarking on the long and difficult journey to becoming sexy.
NADJA CASTILLO is one-half of Alunsina Handbound Books and loves recording and documenting stuff. A community development graduate, she now spends most of her time handcrafting journals and books, selling them, and saving up for future adventures.
MARVZ CONTI juggles his time in his full-time job and crafting with his Habil Crafts. He loves reading and geeky stuff. You may catch him rummaging through books at any Booksale shops or see his works at 98Bâ€™s Saturday Future Market at Escolta.
ENON DE BELEN loves to take pictures of everyday things. She paints with this in mind; “The Greats weren’t great because at birth they could paint. They were great because they paint a lot.” Follow her on Instagram @enonenon to see more of her snapshots and artworks.
BRU and MARCUS are the creative fruits behind the Electrolychee illustration and design studio. They got married this May and hope to give birth to Biyaheng Langit this year.
IORI ESPIRITU is CONTRIBUTORS a freelance illustrator and aspiring ceramic artist. She is onefifth of Speculiars, a group of craft artists that have a knack for the handmade and peculiar.You can view her works at cargocollective.com/iori or visit her blog at talaanglayag.blogspot.com.
ANNA GRAHAM graduated from the UP College of Music with a Diploma in Asian Music. She is 1/3 of the Jazz trio Baihana and is the Mrs. of Mrs. Graham’s Macaron Cafe. Her whole life as of the moment revolves around being a new mom and wife, a self-taught baker, craft lover and full-time musician.
MAI FLORES is a budget-conscious wanderluster, who notes expense breakdowns, and writes various trip itineraries for family and friends. She shares her adventures and misadventures through her travel blog as a means to document her dreams of seeing the world, one step at a time. Visit her on BudgetBiyahera.com.
T H I S I S SUE ’S CO NT R I B U TOR S SELENA SALANG works as a freelance writer and sings for musical groups Ang Bandang Shirley (facebook.com/angbandangshirley) and Slow Hello (facebook. com/slowhello). She has loved music since first hearing “Strawberry Fields Forever” by The Beatles when she was 11 years old. This happened not too long ago, yes.
APRIL SAN PEDRO is a graphic designer and crafter based in Davao. She owns a dainty studio, Artisan Craft+Design Studio and also manages their family-owned coffee shop called Yellow Hauz. She loves making things by hand like paper crafts and jewelry. You can see more of her work on her blog iamartisan.com or you can follow her through twitter and instagram via @iam_artisan.
ENAN JUNIOSA is a co-proprietor and head of production at Alunsina Handbound Books. A native of Quezon province, he spent half his childhood by the foot of a mountain and half by the sea. He has a rescued dog, Douglas, for a best friend.
ANNA KATRINA ASPURIA is a physicist by day, at least according to her dipoma. Teacher by day and cereal killer by night, she devotes all her time making an impact for the rehabilitation of Leyte in the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery. She has been trying to elevate small talk to medium talk since 2010.
8 | H EL L O
TUNE INTO SOME LOCAL SELECTIONS Songs that may or may not be about yearning, transcending borders, and defying expectations, all from local musicians. 1. This Is Our City Taken by Cars 2. Together Forever Ang Bandang Shirley 3. Misteryoso Autotelic 4. Rebirth Hungry Young Poets 5. The Sight of Love The Camerawalls
6. Hairpin Sandwich 7. Sinong May Sabi Pinoy Stories 8. Down The Pin-Up Girls 9. So Blue Sinosikat? 10. Life Is Easy Urbandub
LISTEN HERE WH IM SIES | 9
We’re a finalist FOR “THE ONE” in THIS YEAR’S Globe TattAwards! We couldn’t have gone this far without you, dear readers. If you support our mission to unite, empower, and inspire local creatives or if you enjoyed reading the magazine please vote for us!
10 | WHIMSIES
CLICK HERE TO VOTE!
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M INT ED JE WE LRY
PA P E M E LROTI
We’re loving all the Filipinianathemed products inside one of our favorite stores since childhood. Some are meant for display, and most are functional knickknacks designed to add local flavor and whimsy to your home, office desk, or craft nook!
Some people believe in the healing powers of various precious stones and rocks. Whether you’re one of them or not, it’s hard to resist the charms of this handmade jewelry line. Check out their instagram page for more designs: @Mintedjewelry.
This site showcases everything Cebu, from food to places to people. Learn more about their favorite spots and hidden gems from the folks who call Cebu home. Visit hangingrice.com.
LI V SC RE AM S
instagram.com/livscreams This Cebuana makes her art using ground coffee. Her feed’s sure to perk you up and amaze you with how almost everything can be used to create mindblowing art.
H A N DM AD E P I N OY We list down where you can find beautiful, hand-woven fabrics, handmade/handspun yarn from local materials and other regional products: 1. The Manila Collectible Co. facebook.com manilacollectible 2. Tepiña facebook.com/pages/Tepiña 3. Piña by Nooks pinabynooks.com 4. Iraya-Mangyan Nito facebook.com/products. mangyan
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PA NC Y L E T T E R
If you find yourself admiring hand-lettered signage most often seen in our jeepneys, you might enjoy this site (http://pancyletter. com/) devoted to Filipino letter design.
TO P BEACH
Top Beach is a brand by Indian Summer, located in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu. These colorful handmade fashion accessories are created by designer Josette Barrios.
A RT E FAC T
Arlene and Minnie are former grade school teachers who became instant friends after that first conversation about fabric. They decided to make their love for all things handmade official with the creation of Artefact.
J E EPN EY
#154 Maginhawa Street
O Cubao, bao, bao bao! At the heart of Quezon City’s food district, you’ll find a small Jeepney-themed restaurant that serves affordable Pinoy meals. Choose from your favorite Pinoy rice combo meals. Do you want liempo, inihaw or sisig? How about some salted egg and poqui-poqui? Do you fancy eating on a banana leaf? Why not order boodle style meals for you and your friends! While you wait for your food to travel safely to your table, let your eyes marvel at jeepney signages or play board games. Experience the cool ambience while you reminisce to nostalgic Pinoy hits.
TUGMA or Tugtugang Musika Asyatika is a student organization of the U.P. College of Music Musicology department. It was formed back in 2007 by Music students majoring in Asian Music and Musicology, for the purpose of helping the recitalists have a solid group of accompanists. Asian Music students are required to hold two recitals featuring everything they have learned in order to graduate. A recital would typically be composed of performances of Filipino traditional music, and a minimum of three other Asian countries’ music. For Philippine music, students would play the Kulintang ensemble instruments, the Kalinga Bamboo instruments, Kalinga Gangsa, and the Rondalla stringed instruments. But TUGMA soon progressed from not just playing for recitals, but participating in various concerts and festivals here and abroad as well. These opportunities help the students promote Philippine culture and art in different communities, showcasing the beauty of our country’s music, and the importance of keeping traditional music alive. Be sure to attend one of TUGMA’s performances. You may also want to watch one of the recitalists’ shows. They’re free! You’ll surely find the performances very interesting! Check out www.tugma.worpress.com for concert updates.
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Most of us are guilty of having piles of old magazines lying around the house. What can one do with them? A lot, actually. Start with these woven coasters. MATERIALS Watercolor paper or oslo paper Crayons Watercolor paint Paint brush Scissors String
14 | MAKE
WEAVE IT Brighten up the dining table with these colorful upcycled coasters. w o r d s a n d p h otos b y C a ch i R ey es
STEP 1: Collect six magazine pages. This project uses bright colored pages with less words.
STEP 2: Cut the pages half lengthwise and make twelve strips. For smaller coasters, only ten strips are needed.
STEP 3: Fold each strip into half lengthwise.
STEP 4: Fold again into thirds.
STEP 5: Fold the strips crosswise.
STEP 6: Plan ahead! Make sure to arrange the strips according to color so you have a nice pattern. M AK E | 1 5
STEP 7: To start weaving, interlock the first horizontal and first vertical strip.
STEP 8: Add the second horizontal strip over the first vertical strip. Then add the second vertical strip under the first horizontal strip.
STEP 9: If you continue weaving it should look like this.
STEP 10: Continue weaving until you create a 5x5 square. Trim off one end of the strip.
STEP 11: Bring the other end around and tuck it under the weave.
STEP 12: When youâ€™ve tucked all the strips, trim the excess. Seal your coasters with Mod Podge to make them durable.
16 | MAKE
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M AK E | 1 7
18 | MAKE
BET TER WITH AGE No need to go antiquing to look for aged wood with this woodworking project. w o r d s a n d p h otos b y M a r v z C on ti
MATERIALS: wood item of your choice | vinegar | bowl| empty jar | sponge | steel wool | tea bag | brushes of appropriate size
STEP 1: Place the steel wool inside the jar and pour in vinegar. Cover and let it sit for 24 to 48 hours.
STEP 2: After the duration of time, a rusted steel wool in a dark color will be produced. Set aside.
STEP 3: Brew the tea in a bowl and let it cool down. Tea has tannic acid, which will react with the steel wool/vinegar mixture.
STEP 4: Apply tea to the wood using the sponge and let dry.
STEP 5: Apply the steel wool/vinegar mixture. Let it dry. Reapply the mixture if you want a darker finish. M AK E | 1 9
TOOLS OF THE TRADE
w o r d s b y G e l i B a l cr u z
The use of clay dates back to the Babylonian period 5000 years ago during the construction of great historical architectures. Clay is one of the oldest building materials on Earth. It was easy to mix and mould and when left out in the sun, clay hardens and can be used as support for early constructions. From Babylonians to Summerians, and Greeks to the Romans, clay, in brick form was widely used for construction of the rich medieval architecture in the world. Everyday use of clay dates back during the prehistoric times when men and women carried their water in woven baskets lined with river clay. Day in and out, they would put and pour water in the container and they later on realized that layers and layers of clay formed inside the woven basket. The clay layers hardened under the sun and the basket pattern remained intact after the woven material was removed. And then an incredible idea struck! These hardened and sturdier form of the basket can be used to transport and store food. Life became easier and the artistic pre-historians stepped in and decided to form the pots by hand and decorate it with crude tools. Way way back in 400 BC, Rumor has it that every pyramid has a potterâ€™s wheel in their house. Egyptians
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p h oto b y A n d r ea d el a C r u z
made clay pots and later on decorated their pots with different stones to give it an elegant look. Ancient Greeks have their own design for their pots. They decorate their pots and vases with pictures of their daily lives and the stories of their gods, goddesses and heroes. Later on, the Chinese made clay their own and made beautiful porcelains. During the late 16th century, clay made itâ€™s way to Manila through the Manila Acapulco trade. Clay in the Philippines is commonly made as palayok and we savor and enjoy every dish cooked in that yummy pot. Today, clay takes on a lot of form, generally, it used as a building and construction material. Clay is used for making pottery items, the bricks, walls, decorative tiles that we have at home have its first formation as clay. When different types of clay are processed under different firing conditions, they produce ceramics like stoneware and porcelain. But some crafty hands prefer to enroll in pottery classes to make beautiful pottery, stoneware, accessories and a bunch of other things. The possibilities are endless! Study this flexible tool and keep on moulding beautiful crafts and creations!
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22 | S HO W & TELL
SHARP EDGE Enan shares his stories about his growing knife colle ction. i n ter v i ew b y Gel i B a l c r u z
p h oto b y E n a n J u n i os a
maker of Alunsina Handbound Books What do you collect? Locally handcrafted knives I purchase from travels Why do you collect them? I admire the craftsmanship and they serve as souvenirs from my travels. I’m really an admirer of locally handcrafted weapons. For now, knives are the only weapons that can be bought and bring back home easily by a commuting traveller like me. How many do you currently have? I just started so I only have 6 so far in my stash. Any items you treasure the most? Any favorites? The latest one I purchased from a local knife maker in Buscalan, Kalinga. It’s very beautifully made and at the same time big enough for everyday use. I use it for cooking, fixing things at home, etc. Any dream items to add to your collection? Local sibat, pana, shield or kalasag. I would also like to own a kris from Sulu, which aside from being a weapon is also a cultural/spiritual artifact. When I have the money, I want to collect antique ones too. Do you have a memorable story regarding your collection? The first knife I bought in Buscalan ‘cause I was able to witness how it was made, from how the blade was made by the blacksmith to how the sheath was woven by an old man or apo. It also reminds me of our first trip to Buscalan to visit Whang-ud, when I had my very first tattoo.
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C R EATI V E NO OK
AI L EE N KIM
My workspace is like my little sanctuary. It’s where I lose track of time whenever I am in the middle of a project or just simply conceptualizing ideas. The weird thing about the way I work is that I need a bit of distraction to concentrate. So I figured it would be appropriate to put my work table right next to our big, sliding, glass door which opens to my little indoor garden in the porch. That porch is enclosed by big windows rom end to end which wonderfullyframes the beautiful Baguio sky. Whenever my eyes get tired from focusing on detailed work, I just
look out and stare at pine trees or just pass the time looking at different cloud forms. At night, when that’s not an option, I play Miyazaki movies on the background in its original Japanese dialogue. My favorite part of the space is the long sofa which I consider a very important necessity. I have a bad back and I can’t really sit for too long so I take breaks in between and lie down or stretch. Sometimes my kid would join in and play a tune or two on his ukulele. My table has all the materials I need for painting. I like having everything at arm’s length so it’s peppered with paints, brushes, crayons, pens and even bowls of deco tapes which I use mostly for packing parcels. I also have a growing collection of vintage illustrated botanical books sporadically placed so I could just easily grab one in moments of mental exhaustion. They are my happy pills! Though for a time I have considered getting a working studio outside home, I thought for now, with our overseas plan looming and me being a nocturnal worker, it would be more practical to have this space at home. I also feel like my workspace has somehow eased its way into our household and organically became a vital part of it. Now I can’t imagine not having one...at least in here. SH OW & TELL | 2 5
CRAFT E R P R E NE U R
“Hello! I’m Meream and I sew/craft for coffee and money at Thimblecap.” . A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A BORED AND CRAFTY CEBUANA 9AM Start of the day. Forcibly, if I may add since this is usually the hour when one or two of our cats knock on our bedroom door. Have 1st cup of coffee. UP TO 12NN Work on freelance writing projects or if I need to buy craft supplies, I head over to the stores downtown. I make sure to finish shopping by then. AFTERNOONS are for sewing/crafting because the light is nice by my area. Have 2nd cup of coffee. EVENINGS are spent on more freelance projects, blogging, blog-hopping, anything that involves the laptop. Enjoy 3rd cup of coffee. When did you start making things? Probably early high school. I remember swiping pipes from my father’s pile of scrap materials and turning them into wind chimes. How long have you been in love with the art of sewing? Since I saw a hand crank antique Singer at my grandmother’s house. I was about 7 or 8. Any house I called home also always had a sewing machine (my Aunt’s, both of my grandparent’s place, our own house). I also recently learned that my favorite lola always said that a house is not a home without a sewing machine and that a lady must know how to 26 | S HO W & TELL
make her own clothes. I probably heard her say it and it shaped my love for all things sewing. What was your first sewing project? I didn’t start sewing formally until Home Ec class in high school. If I remember correctly, my first sewing project was a pair of shorts with elastic waistline. It was gray and had red trim by the hem. The red trim was a personal touch and made me realize that I can “rework” patterns according to my liking. My teachers were probablt inconvenienced by my ideas haha! Among all the many projects you’ve made, what was your favorite? Hmm this is difficult to answer. Among my old projects, I’d say the guitar bag. That put me on the map, as far as craft blogging goes. Among my recent shenanigans, I love the dollhouses, moon/cloud mobiles, and the book purses. Did you initially plan to sell your works? If not, why did you decide to turn this hobby into a business? Selling wasn’t part of the plan, actually. But naturally, people started asking you if they could purchase some of your items. A little bit after I started blogging, I opened a Multiply store. But after a year, I took a break because crafting for money became exhausting. But last year, after a shift in perspective, I resurrected my shop. Things have unfolded smoothly and I’m glad I reopened Thimblecap.
What made you decide to name your shop ‘Thimblecap’? Because the boyfriend did a painting for me with a little girl wearing a thimble cap. And I like to imagine that if I were two inches tall, I’d rock a thimble cap like no other. Are you working on a secret project for Thimblecap? Apart from items that I make myself, the new “department” will focus on pushing the handmade movement. It will be comprised of shirts, tote bags, and art prints with crafty designs, items for the artisan’s studio, and more.
What’s your advice to those who want to be a craftrepreneur just like you? Be at peace with the fact that you are a one-woman (or man) factory. Know that it would be the best thing that could ever happen to you. Also, utilize social media. Use Instagram for a peek into your creative process or inspirations. Very important: do not sell your products with an apologetic tone, especially to people who don’t really understand the idea behind buying handmade. Be proud of what your hands have created.
What’s your long-term goal for Thimblecap? Do you see yourself having your own store or gallery? That’s the dream! I’d love to own a store AND an art gallery. Sometimes, though, a mobile store sounds appealing, too. I’ll have to relearn how to drive, though.
SH OW & TELL | 2 7
FLOTSAM AND JETSAM w o r d s b y Anjo C a n ta l ej o
p h otog r a p h s b y C a c h i R ey es
D WELL | 2 9
30 | D WELL
We got off the bus twenty minutes too soon. It was hot and we were hungry from the nine-hour trip inside the oven-like bus. I felt my skin getting crispy like lechon under the sun as we walked the narrow sidewalk looking for the hostel. It didn’t help because all I could think of was lechon. And rice. And Coke, ice-cold Coke. Finally we saw it: the small driftwood sign to the entrance. It read F&J but, to me, it spelled f-o-o-d. We went straight to the bar to order, like it was automatic. We got one of everything from the menu: pasta, salad, chicken, and fish. Healthy choices, I thought, this is a hipster place. Haha. We sat down in a modern-looking kubo filled with colorful and multipatterned bean bags. Hanging on the ceiling were
crystal lamps, also colourful and multi-patterned. Again, hipster place. But it seemed like nothing about this place is trying too hard, everything’s just naturally cool. The coolness was upped when the food came, because the food looked yummeh. I don’t know if it was only because we were too hungry? Or the food was really good, but we cleaned out our plates super fast. The concierge/bartender/waiter said our rooms were ready. The building wing was painted in deep blue, accessorized with old shutters in different pastels. Floors were of old bleached slabs of wood which sat on stilts adjacent to green grass. An old RV was parked at the end of the lawn.
D WELL | 3 1
I went inside the room to just keep my stuff and joined my friends who were seated at the benches along the hallway. One got a ukulele and started playing random songs from the songbook the hostel lets you borrow for free. We were just there, practically doing nothing. Some of the other hotel guests hung out in the hammocks by the beach enjoying their books. Some stayed in the kubos, resting after they had their surf. Everything was chill. I didn’t realize I fell asleep. I woke up lying on the floor, and I only had one thought in my mind: LET’S NOT LEAVE EVER. Sadly, we were there just for the weekend. We did a lot of things during those two days. We tried surfing, we made loom bands, we swam on the beach. The best thing about this La Union trip was staying at Flotsam and Jetsam. Sipping beers under the stars, lying on grass, while listening to good music was the highlight of this beach outing. Hanging at an awesome place with and spending it with your best friends is a recipe for a really amazing weekend. It wouldn’t have been the same if we went to a different resort. If I’m going back to La Union, I’d go back to Flotsam and Jetsam. I just hope when that time happens, lechon is on the menu.
D WELL | 3 3
FEAST FOR THE SENSES Arielle Buenaventura captures the crafty highlights of the festival.
Pahiyas, Quezon province’s most popular festival, honors San Isidro Labrador, patron saint of farmers. Held annually every May 15th in the town of Lucban, it is perhaps the country’s biggest, most colorful and most well-known harvest festival. During Pahiyas, families decorate their homes with “kiping” (leaf-shaped rice wafers) as thanksgiving for the bountiful harvest. Facades of homes are also adorned with fruits, vegetables and flowers. More than being a visual feast, the celebration also highlights Quezon’s culinary specialties and handicrafts.
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i l l u s tr a ti on b y Ch arisse R e ye s
HOMETOWN HOP Cachi Reyes goes on a road trip to discover the arts and crafts industry of two small towns in Laguna.
They say that Laguna has a very rich culture. And it’s sad that I am from Laguna, and I didn’t even know that. In Victoria, they’re known for their ducks and duck eggs. Pila has beautiful ancestral houses. Liliw produces the best sandals. Maybe because I was too busy studying, working, and living in Manila that I didn’t even notice that how beautiful this province is and how unique each town is. So with the help of my mom and my sister, we went on an adventure to discover what’s special in every town in Laguna. We started with Lumban – the embroidery capital of the Philippines, and then Paete – the woodcarving capital of the Philippines.
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LUMBAN We left Los Baños at around 8 in the morning, so our first destination was Lumban. When we arrived at the town proper, we just got off the car, knocked at the door of one random house, and asked if they could show us how they make the Barong Tagalog. Anabel and Carlo, the owners of this random house, welcomed us and showed us around her shop. Their family was so hospitable, Anabel even told her husband to take us around town with his tricycle. First stop was at Ka Huling’s house. She gave us a demonstration on how to make embroidery using the sewing machine. The outline of the design is first drawn on the piña fiber using washable ink. The drawings then serve as the guideline for the embroidery. Embroidery is done either by machine or by hand. But of course, there are special stitches that real humans can do and machines can’t. At Ms. Tess Rivera’s shop, they showed us how to do the Calado, a netted chain-like pattern that is done by stitching together the loosened threads of the piña fabric. It takes weeks, even months, to finish a Barong Tagalog with Calado pattern. Not only can they make intricate embroidery, they can also paint colourful flowers on the actual fabric for special made-to-order gowns. In Lumban, all the family members are involved in the craft. Embroidery is taught to women at an early age. These women who mastered the craft are called Burdaderas. Eventually these Burdaderas pass on their skill to their daughters and granddaughters. Outside the house, the fathers and sons stretch the piña fabric in a bamboo frame called the bastidor, and wash them before the ladies use them to make Barongs. It was almost lunchtime and our stomachs were starting to grumble. Carlo drove us to Aling Perly’s house to buy Ginataang Hipon. They say it’s their town specialty and Carlo claims that Aling Perly’s Ginataang Hipon is the best and cleanest. After buying food and looking around, it was time to go to our next stop.
42 | S TO RIES
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PAETE Paete is only 20 minutes away from Lumban. You will know you have arrived if the streets are lined with wooden saints, colorful masks, papier mache horses, and happy Santa Clauses. The town is known for their fine skills in woodcarving and papier mache making. In fact, the name Paete is derived from paet, which is the Tagalog word for chisel. One of the workshops in Paete is owned by Luis Ac-ac. His works have been featured on various exhibits both local and abroad. We saw Mang Luis working on a mother and child sculpture at the entrance of his shop. Chisels of different shapes and sizes were scattered around, and everything smelled like wood shavings. Mang Luis then explained to us how wood carving is done. You first need to sketch the design on paper, chop off the wood into a huge block, then sketch the design again on the wood with a marker. The best kinds of wood for carving are Narra, Molave, and Batikuling. I saw one of Luis’ wood carvers working on a “Filipino-style Last Supper” that was about 4 feet long and 2 feet wide. He used to work in a cruise ship as an ice carver for six years. If you are familiar with the ice sculptures that are placed beside buffet tables, that’s what he used to do for a living. I asked him if it was harder to carve ice, he said that carving ice was easy that it only takes 10-20 minutes to finish. But the sad part is ice sculptures only last for 6 hours. Wood carving, on the other hand, takes about 2 to 4 months of hard work before finally completing the sculpture. In another house, we saw a lady making rhinos out of papier mache or locally known as Taka. Brown paper and newspaper are torn into pieces and are mixed with gawgaw (starch paste). They use handmade wood carvings as moulds for the taka. After placing the paper mixture onto the moulds, they then let it dry in the sun for a few days. They use enamel paint to decorate the taka sculptures and add a coat of varnish for that extra shine. You can buy your own painted or unpainted taka at any shop for a cheap price. I thought it was a sweet deal when I bought five unpainted medium sized taka horses for 20 pesos each. After our field trip, we paid a visit to St. James the Apostle Church. I wasn’t surprised that the church doors were hand carved. Inside the church were murals of St. Christopher carrying the young Jesus Christ. The locals told me that these were made by painter Jose Luciano Dans. It’s amazing to see that after 200 years, the murals are still there. At around 6pm, we arrived home. My mom was content with the hand painted piña shawl that she bought from Ms. Tess, my sister bought wood carved key chains, and I was excited to paint my five taka horses. To sum it up, we had a blast. It felt good to discover how talented the locals are and I am looking forward to more adventures in this beautiful province called Laguna.
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p h oto b y To ym Imao
EPIC DREAM We sit down with Ida Anita Del Mundo, writer and director of K’na the Dreamweaver to talk about her inspirations and experiences on her directorial debut. wor d s b y A y a D a l u m p i n es
Ida Anita Del Mundo is a part-time writer for The Philippine Star’s Starweek Magazine, a violinist for the Manila Symphony Orchestra and a teacher at The Summit School. Just recently, out of unexpected circumstances, she has added Film Director to her résumé.
THE JOURNEY TO THE SOUTH A graduate of AB Literature with a Master in Fine Arts Degree in Creative Writing from De La Salle University, Ida had long been thinking of writing an epic set in the Filipino pre-colonial period. Her dilemma - she hadn’t found the perfect setting for her story. Last year, she was sent to South Cotabato to cover the T’nalak Festival for Starweek and ended up
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stranded in a T’boli village. It was there where Ida realized she had found the place, the community for her epic. THE DREAMWEAVER Ida was drawn to the T’boli culture, as their tradition is still very much alive despite the change of times. She talked about their school of living tradition where they were taught weaving, dances, songs and other arts; and the council of elders which still decides major decisions for the community among others. With these as inspiration, Ida weaved a story around heroine K’na, who is a T’boli princess. K’na is also a dreamweaver, blessed by the goddess of abaca with dreams of T’nalak patterns and designs for their tribe to bring to life. K’na as both a princess and
s cr e en sh ot from mov ie
dreamweaver holds an important role in their society that can change their tribe’s destiny. In the end, she has to choose between her own happiness and her tribe’s security and future. The SHORT STORY THAT NEVER COULD BE Ida had the idea to include the plot as a short story for her Master’s Degree thesis but admitted it just couldn’t be. “Ayaw niya maging short story. Pang script talaga siya because I already envisioned it as a movie,” She never imagined it would actually become one. “Gusto ko lang talaga siya isulat.” The CINEMALAYA ULTIMATUM Ida then submitted her screenplay as an entry to the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival and Competition - New Breed Full Length Feature Category. She was called back as a semi-finalist and was interviewed by a panel of judges composed of highly esteemed directors. She recalls, “When I got there, they started saying they really liked the story, they liked the vision of the film. And they liked it so much na pag iba yung mag-di direct, maiiba yung
vision, “ Ida submitted her entry with a different director listed, and the “ultimatum” was that she had to direct it to push through with Cinemalaya. Without any experience in film or directing, her answer was she’d think about it, until finally, she decided to direct her own film. “I really want to have that film produced, to make it a reality. So if directing it is the only way that it will become possible as part of Cinemalaya, yun, umoo na ako. “ THE DREAM TEAM Ida admits she has no experience at all with directing a movie and turned to her dad, director and screenwriter Doy Del Mundo, for advice. It was also her team of enthusiastic actors and veteran film crew that helped her bring the best out of her film. She enjoyed the collaborative relationship with her actors and crew as they gave a different dimension to the screenplay as it was adapted to film. The T’boli community also played a key role in the film. Besides their support and confidence in Ida and the film, the locals also served as advisers, coaches
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pho t o by J u li o Delar a
and teachers, and majority of the cast were also from the community. Ida wasn’t at all surprised by this outpour of interest and support. “I think they saw that we wanted to show the best of their culture.” Truly, they won’t be disappointed. Ida and her Dream Team has, with utmost respect and sensitivity, created a film truly reflective of the T’boli culture and they can’t wait to show this epic masterpiece to the rest of the Philippines and the world.
K’na the Dreamweaver is part of the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival and Competition - New Breed Full Length Feature Category and will premiere at the CCP on August 2, 2014 and will also be shown at Greenbelt 3, TriNoma and Alabang Town Center from August 1-10, 2014.
s c r e e ns ho t f r om m ov i e
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A LL H AND S IN Anna Aspuria recounts her experiences in helping rebuild Tacloban. p h otos b y R ok F a b i j a n
Six months ago, typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) devastated Leyte, Philippines. The entire world was riveted by it. The intensity of the situation as seen on every media platform cannot be overstated. I remember clearly where I was when that happened. I was at home and I did not care that much on what was happening around because there was all these relief going on and in my head all I can think of is “What could I possibly do to help that could make an impact considering I am a nobody.” My mother grew up in Tacloban so part of me was worried about relatives but when I heard that they are okay then I did not bother anymore. That was until I accidentally came across All Hands Organization through Google. It was pretty much just the videos that took me and I said to myself “What the heck, let’s do this”. I have no idea what I signed up for but months after that I just found myself packing my bags and heading to Tacloban. Looking back, when I received the notification that I was approved to be a volunteer – mixed feelings came rushing in - I was partly excited, partly nervous, and totally clueless. The volunteer kit attached to the confirmation email is a briefing of what to expect upon arriving at basecamp. It includes camping out, one bucket a day showers, NO ELECTRICITY, NO INTERNET, and a whole lot more. All I was able to think of is “What have I done?” I was coming from Baguio City so to get to basecamp I had to take a 6 hour bus ride to Manila and then fly for an
hour and a half to Cebu, from there take a 3-hour ferry ride to Ormoc, and then an hour bus ride to Kanangga. My mind keeps saying “go home” whenever I reach a certain end for a leg in my journey. I was nervous, thinking about what would be standing – or not – in front of me when I land; and also, how are the people I would be spending with be like. I survived both the trip and my internal struggles and 24 hours after I left home I arrived safely at basecamp. (Kanangga was the first base I went to but then after the holy week we moved permanently up at Tacloban which is another 2 hours by bus from Kanangga). There are two options for their accommodations: one is to camp out overlooking the rice paddies; and two is taking one of the free beds inside the house. I took the bunk bed. As soon as I was all settled, the feeling of awkwardness starts to settle in as well. You live communally with 50+ other volunteers which are mostly foreigners and trying to start a conversation felt like it was the first day of Pre-School all over again. But it did not even take 5 minutes before someone talked to me about life in general and confused me with biscuits and cookies. And suddenly, other people were starting to welcome me and unexpectedly it started to feel a bit like home – but only in a different language. A typical day at camp would be waking up sometime at 5:30 or 6:00 a.m. Since there are 50+ volunteers, there would be a long queue by the loo and another long STOR IES | 4 9
queue at the kitchen. You do your own breakfast and it is mostly western style with a Filipino kick in it – like making toast using a pan rather than a toaster. You set out for work at around 7:15 a.m. after all the tools are loaded up in jeepneys. At the worksite, it is mostly tearing down walls, clearing up debris, or building up houses. Lunch is cooked by a local lady, as well as dinner. We finish work before 5 p.m. so that we can head back to camp for dinner and the 5:30 p.m. daily meeting. Volunteers get a bucket of water each day so it is just practical to just shower after work so there is usually a long queue by the outdoor showers. I usually prefer taking a bath at sundown because the views you get to see is just a dream and it is breathtaking. But taking it late at night is also incredible for you shower under the stars, literally. Our outdoor showers are really a highlight in every volunteer’s experience. It is the definition of the word “adventure” – I mean being in a contraption with one side totally exposed and overlooking the rice fields will make you a bit uncomfortable at first but eventually just seeing the sun go down before you will make the uncomfortable an amazing experience. Electricity is provided by a generator and it is just turned on from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. if it is available. There is no internet obviously so for the rest of the night, or maybe up to the wee hours of the morning, all you will have are the stars above you, a comforting bottle of warm beer beside you, and the stories of travels, culture, life, and other random topics from fellow volunteers to keep you through the night. As I would be describing it to my friends in one sentence; it is like living in a college dormitory with probably the greatest people you will ever get to meet.
Well, fast forward to today where I am back in the concrete jungle, a place where everybody is too busy to ponder about how blessed they are, I write this and recall each day I had over at Tacloban. I must say I would have probably missed out on a great life experience if I would’ve backed out on this trip. Not to over-exaggerate it but the experience is really life changing. I would forever think exceedingly high of my fellow volunteers – some left their jobs to be here, some decided to just volunteer instead of being on a beach in Bali, and some even left their families on the other side of the world just to be with us, and help us. By the end of my trip I learned a lot about all sorts of stuff from carpentry to culture to language but aside from the normal human behavior of feeling blessed, I realized one thing and this one thing I carry on with me now in every endeavor I take – that is that you don’t have to wait to make an impact. Hopefully, this opportunity given to me by Katha magazine will be able to reach out to a lot of people. No matter who you are or what you do – in one way or another – we can all make that impact.
All Hands Volunteers is a US-based, non-profit organization that provides hands-on assistance to communities around the world, with maximum impact and minimum bureaucracy. For more details you may visit hands.org.
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A POT T E R ’ S P I LGR IMAGE Iori Espiritu takes a field trip to the pottery studios of the masters.
My interest in pottery started out of curiosity. Back in college, I wasn’t able to join our class field trip to Ilocos and one of their trips was in a local pottery studio. I remember how mesmerized I was by the photos of pots and people making vessels out of clay that I swore, “I’m going to learn it myself”. Nowadays, my interest in ceramics is even greater and it is a source of happiness to be visiting the studio of master potters in the Philippines. It is a great privilege to be invited into potters’ homes. Aside from having a glimpse of their workplace and seeing their creative process, I always believed that they make great cooks. It must be that a well-made dinnerware and good food go together!
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Two of the most prominent potters in the country are Jon and Tessy Pettyjohn, the Dad and Mom of Philippine Pottery. Their studio is in Pansol, Laguna and is just a few hours away from Manila. They have a showroom in the front and their studio on a separate compound. They also have an anagama, a tunnel-shaped kiln that is fired with wood for three consecutive days. Firing a ceramic kiln is a spectacle in itself. Imagine all that hard work that goes into one pot! I especially like Tessy’s work which reminds me of the sea. WHAT WE ATE: Binakol, a version of tinola with coconut
On the other side of Luzon is the studio of Ugu Bigyan. Aside from his pottery, Ugu is also well-known for his cooking. You can have a reservation made and he can set up a full-course menu for you and your family and friends. His kulawo, a local delicacy made of banana heart, is a must-try! It is served in handmade dinnerware which makes it extra special. This hidden treasure in Tiaong, Quezon is a good place to just sit and relax. I noticed too how much he is into the details by putting his designs in tiles and in accent pieces in the huts. I also watch out for dates where he gives special discounts (tip: his birthday sale is discounted depending on his age). WHAT WE ATE: Smoked ribs, soup with malunggay, kulawo, shrimps, paco salad, tahong, sweet and sour fish, kalamares and bilo-bilo
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Pablo Capati III has a studio in Batangas. I was lucky enough to be invited to his place after attending one of his talks in UP. At the foot of a mountain is hectares of land that serves as his work area. What a great way to work when youâ€™re surrounded by nature! I remember the peace and quiet I had at using his pottery kickwheels while the bamboo sways at the background. Like the Pettyjohns, Pablo also has an anagama kiln, and we had the privilege of experiencing the firing process. I also remember how we used the flowers in the garden and the pots inside the house to make an ikebana. WHAT WE ATE: Chicken barbeque and a lovely biscuit from Singapore.
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Another potter is Mia Casal of Clay Ave Pottery Studio. I used to be her assistant at her studio in Quezon City. She recently moved after falling in love with the beauty of her province. San Narciso, Zambales is just two hours away from Manila and it combines my favorite things: pottery, the sand and the sea. You can try skimboarding when you get tired of throwing pots or you can just sit by the beach and enjoy the sun. You can never go wrong with this place. You can also check her website (http://clayave.weebly.com) for reservations! WHAT WE ATE: Salad and breaded fish
OTHER STUDIOS THAT YOU CAN VISIT ARE: • Crescent Moon Café by Lanelle Abueva in Antipolo • Clay Garden by Katti Sta. Anna in Marikina • Cornerstone Pottery Studio in Silang, Cavite • Joey de Castro’s studio in Shaw • Sagada Pottery in Sagada
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BIYAHENG L ANGIT Electrolychee tells us more about their latest project. As individuals and as Electrolychee, we’ve always been obsessed with kitsch. We’re not the only Pinoys to document jeepney vinyl art, but we’re probably the first to be serious and crazy enough to collate, research and put out a book about it. This started simply enough on the streets of Manila in 2010 where we spotted Smirking Jesus on a passing jeepney. So titillated were we that documenting him and other samples of Pinoy pop artistry in and around Manila became an obsession. Given the expanse of subjects drawn on jeepneys, the designers in us decided to just focus the book on Smirking Jesus and his ilk. Biyaheng Langit is a capsule of religious vinyl folk art on our sputtering public rides, representing just a small fraction of three years worth of pictures in a single 176-page book. Most of these vinyl images are 20 years old, worn down by our developing country’s pollution and grime. By putting out this book, we are preserving and paying tribute to these unsung artisans’ work. Biyaheng Langit is a personal project that got its wings when we partnered with Tahanan Books and the local crowdfunding site Artiste Connect. Despite having a publisher, we still needed a cushy amount of money to keep printing prices down. Thanks to our pledgers, Biyaheng Langit will retail for only Php 400. Keeping the price low was important to us because we wanted the book to be affordable for casual art lovers and pop culture enthusiasts alike. 56 | S TO RIES
Although mainly a photo book, there are also articles within Biyaheng Langit that explain the images’ reach in art, religion and society. As artists it’s not enough to take things at face value: we have to understand what we’re looking at so that we can fathom our present circumstances. We are especially thankful for the help and insight extended our way, whether it’s from the open mind of esteemed artist Mark Justiniani, the everyday wisdom of religious art scholars like UST Museum director Father Isidro Abano, and the street smarts of noble jeepney vinyl artistans Sherwin Opiana and Joemer Perwelo. Biyaheng Langit also allowed us to explore our city and made out-of-town trips more memorable. When we make our rounds, it also gives us a chance to talk to people: drivers, barkers, pundits. You get a feel for the city and the people who live in it. The commute becomes communal, and something as random as experiencing a red sunset while crossing a pedestrian overpass becomes beautiful (or even comically memorable, like having to document a jeep from a ditch). Although the book will be coming out this year we still haven’t stopped documenting jeeps and their inspiring imagery, whether or not there’s another book in the make. And hopefully, we may finally be able to photograph our bearded muse: the enigmatic Smirking Jesus.
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FESTIVE Carla Chua draws inspiration from our colorful festivals for this issueâ€™s fashion trend.
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ONE FOR THE BOOKS We ask M t. Cloud Bookshop, purveyors of literature, to tell us about their fave local re ads. b y Ker v i n C a l a b i a s
Mt. Cloud Bookshop exists for people who know and seek out the giddy pleasure of finding, buying, and taking home a good book. We carry cookbooks, art books, novels, stories, and poetry, books about the Baguio and the Cordillera, and the best of Philippine children’s literature in English and Filipino. This list of our Top 10 Filipiñana books provide you a glimpse of not only the best in Philippine literature but the myriad taste of the customers we cater to. What Kids Should Know About Andres and the Katipunan by Weng D. Cahiles We had the pleasure of launching this book last December inviting kids dressed in their Katipunero outfits as the author taught them the secret code of the Katipunan and even giving them their own cedula and demonstrating the “Cry of Balintawak” with much excitement of shouting “Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!” from the kids. What is fascinating about this book is how well-researched it is covering pertinent historical facts about the Supremo and creatively displaying these facts with amazing illustrations by Isa N. Natividad. The comprehensive scope of the book attracts both the young and old looking for the best (and lightest) reference book for our hero, Andres Bonifacio. Habi: A Journey through Philippine Handwoven Textile edited by Rene Guatlo Produced through the initiative of The Philippine Textile Company and edited by Rene Guatlo, this book enlightens many textile manufacturers, contemporary weavers, and enthusiasts to the woven history of
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Philippine textile. It features some of the famous textiles of the country such as the T’nalak dream weavers, the Cordilleran Bahag and Tapis, and the Malong of Mindanao. Baguio Calligraphy edited by Francis Macansantos and Luchie Maranan This book is a collection of poetry and fiction from the Cordillera’s premier city. It boasts works by writers who live, have lived, and loved Baguio. There are a lot of things attached and associated to the city of pines and these works do not only get into the romance of the cold but reflects a city rapidly changing while holding on to a memory of a home. Ang Pangat, Ang Lupang Ninuno, at Ang Ilog by Luchie B. Maranan It is noteworthy for author Luchie B. Maranan to have chosen to write the story of one of the most important Cordilleran Martyrs of our time, Macliing Dulag a Pangat (village elder ) of theButbut tribe in Kalinga. This children’s story honors the resistance of the Kalinga communityto the proposed mega dam project of the Marcos regime to be built along the Chico River. Without the collective resistance of the people and the passionate leadership of Macliing Dulag farmlands, homes, spiritual and burial grounds would have been flooded and destroyed. A Palanca award-winning story for our next generation of heroes. Trese Series by Budjette Tan and KaJo Baldissimo When one seeks a dose of the supernatural with a twist of the modern, where aswangs leaddrug dens
and tikbalangs join drag races, and murders “take turn for the weird” one should read the “Trese” series. A graphic novel by the renowned duo of the Philippine comic world, Budjette Tan and KaJo Baldissimo, this work reinvents the timeless stories of kapre, aswang, white ladies, and lamang lupa that our grandparents/ parents that scare us to sleeping now writtenmore alive and awake in the city of Manila. Kiko Machine Series by Manix Abrera From the humble beginnings of illustrating in the official student publication of the University of the Philippines Diliman, Manix Abrera’s comics has grown from a page in a campus paper to anationwide cult following. The Kiko Machine series portray the daily struggle of college life likedealing with the ineffable question of love, the chaos of public transportation, planning tactics to avoid tardiness, passing terror exams and pleasing terror professors, making this comic book the light and humorous reading to get by in college (and beyond). A Matter of Taste: The Culinary Memoirs of Jean McGarvin De Vera by Adelaida Lim and Leonisa Bautista Capturing the whirlwind life of Jean McGarvin De Vera from China, USA, and the Philippines along with her valuable recipes and life lessons inspired restaurant owners Adelaida Lim and Leonisa Bautista to spice up their menus from this culinary memoirs. This book features her recipes and her life that made possible the many patrons of well-known Baguio restaurants such as the Café by the Ruins and Iggy’s Inn. Ang Ikaklit sa Aming Hardin by Bernadette Neri Winner of the Palanca Memorial Awards for the “Maikling Kuwentong Pambata” in 2006, this story by Bernadette Neri challenges the notion of the traditional family that we have grown accustomed to. The story of mothers Daisy and Lilia and their daughter, Ikaklit (sunflower ) opens to readers that a family is not the image of a father and a mother but a bond of love and home.
City of Pines: The Origins of Baguio as a Colonial Hill Station and Regional Capital by Robert R. Reed Our shop attracts academics and tourists in search of books on Baguio history since we are the only bookshop in the city that has a section dedicated to the Cordillera and Baguio. We often recommend this book of Dr. Robert R. Reed a renowned scholar of South East Asian studies. It gives the reader a glimpse of Baguio’s colonial past and how it was “created” for the benefit of Americans escaping the lowland heat eventually becoming the “Hill Station,” a center of business, politics, and leisure in the north. This book was his research under the Center for South and Southeast Asia studies of the University of California, Berkeley that eventually became the first volume of “The Baguio Reader,” a series of books on Baguio history written by local and international scholars. Best of the Best edited by Simeon S. Ventura Jr. A travel book sampling the best destinations for backpackers, travelers, and tourists. Featuring some of the most breathtaking views, most daring outback adventures, tastiest local cuisines, and the hippest events in the country. Simply, the best of the best! We are fortunate to be featured here as one of the best independent local bookstores you can visit in the Cordillera.
At Mt. Cloud Bookshop we don’t just sell books, we love them! Beyond this list of our Top 10 Filipiñana books is a thousand more titles with stories of customers who hug our doors before leaving with a long sought after book and we exist for them. Our shop also hosts a regular open mic night every third Monday of the month called “Third Monday from the Sun” that welcomes all forms of performances from the community. And as always here at Mt. Cloud Bookshop, everybody is welcome!
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SIGNS OF CHANGE i n t ervi ew an d p ho t o s b y G e l i B al c r uz
Back when streamers of yellow ribbon adorned EDSA and the Filipino people was fighting for our freedom; Manong Ronald delos Reyes was already making sign paintings as a living. I met Manong Ronald delos Reyes during the Type Kita Exhibit, he was quietly working on his little corner at 10A Alabama, patiently making every signage request while the day passes. I got the chance to talk to him during the last day and asked him how he started with his craft. “Bata pa lang ako mahilig na ako magdrawing sa notebook ko, takbuhan nga ako ng mga kaklase ko kapag may kailangan ipadrawing.” (I really loved to draw when I was young, my classmates had to ask for my help if there’s anything needs to be drawn)He even confessed that he sometimes cut class just so he can draw. But back then; he didn’t see drawing or painting as a source of income. Inspired by the billboards and murals that surround him, he then got a job in a big soda company and worked closely in the advertising industry where he was exposed to more art, drawing and painting. He then decided to resign and started his own signboard and streamers business back in 1990. ERA Signage, a name lifted from the names of his business partners Eman, Ronald and Abe. They made beautiful streamers, signboards, billboards at their shop in Anonas. But having your own business and having partners to share the profit, the income did not suffice to the everyday needs to his family. In 1994, he started working in LTO; more customers means more income to support his family. He then recalls a tragic loss in his family where one of his kids died and a year after, his wife followed. But with a resilient spirit, he still trusts his life to a higher being and supports his family of six through sign painting. I then asked him how he feels when painting, he told me, “Masaya, nakakarelaks, nakakabuhay.”, complete with a great big smile. He then imparted his two cents and told me that “Kailangan magsipag, magtiyaga at huwag tatamarin. Hindi dapat bigyang pansin masyado ang (threat) ng mga computer. Tablahan ang labanan, tayo ang lumikha niyan at bbinabalik balikan na ngayon ang nakasanayan. Hindi kailanman napapalitan ang likhang kamay.” (You have to be diligent, persevering and don’t slack off. Computers should not be a threat. We created the computers and people keep on coming back to what they grew up with. Nothing can ever replace handmade.)
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TRAVEL, WRITE, LIVE words b y Ma i Fl o r e s
p ho t o g r ap h b y Al l ie P r i n c i p e
I started blogging when Livejournal and Tabulas were still in fashion. But I never really focused on a specific niche back then. When I started traveling more, I decided to create a blog for most of my explorations. Setting up a blog is fairly easy, even if you’re not a techie. There are plenty of platforms online that you can choose to use like Blogger, Wordpress or Tumblr, as all of these offer user-friendly applications. But how does one start an online journal? Here are 11 tried-and-tested approaches for starting a travel blog.
1) START BY DEFINING YOUR PURPOSE. Before you decide to create a blog, make sure that you already have a purpose in mind. Choosing topics that you’ve had firsthand experience in can help you get started (write something that you know a lot about). 2) DO A NAME STUDY FOR YOUR BLOG. It’s important that you establish a name for your blog because this will be your brand. I started writing about my trips after realizing that I wanted to share the ‘budgetconscious-wanderluster’ in me. Other than my love for sharing travel stories and photos, I also found fulfillment in disclosing all of the expenses that I’ve incurred in all of my trips. So when my cousin and I did a name study for my blog, we came up with a fitting name - BUDGET BIYAHERA. 3) LOOK INTO OTHER TRAVEL BLOGS FOR INSPIRATION. There are plenty of awesome travel blogs online that 64 | S TO RIES
you can definitely find inspiration from. You can look into their style or tone of writing, and even check the design and layout of their blogs. 4) PICK A BLOGGING PLATFORM. I started my travel blog using Wordpress. But I eventually migrated to Blogger, since I found the platform and its applications easier to navigate. And from there, I picked a theme, and then chose appropriate plugins for my site (i.e. widgets that will instantly connect you to other social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, etc.) *TIP: Start-up blogs can look into using Wordpress and Blogger, as both offer free versions, which you can eventually change into a .com domain for a minimal fee. 5) GIVE YOUR BLOG READERS A CONTINUOUS FEED OF CONTENT. You’re likely to attract more readers to your blog if you provide them with original content continuously. If you can publish posts on a weekly basis then that’s great as this can also lessen your backlogs, especially if you’re always going on trips. Furthermore, putting in time and effort are musts when travel blogging. It would be a good strategy to write your stories as soon as you get back from your trip, so that everything’s still fresh in your mind. 6) TAKE NOTES. It’s likely that you won’t be able to remember every bit of detail when you’re out traveling. So whenever I journey off, I always make sure that I take notes while on the road (i.e. I usually type on my
smartphone my transportation, food and lodging costs, tour rates and details, etc.). This helps me in writing my blog posts more easily. As a Budget Biyahera, I make it a point to take notes so that I may be able share a rough estimate that one may need to budget for a certain destination and timeframe. *If you’re not into scribbling details on paper, then try downloading a notes app on your smartphone, where you can just type your thoughts instantly. 7) TAKE LOTS OF PICTURES. If you’re having a hard time writing down your experiences, or having a hard time describing what you feel about a specific destination, then your photographs might just help you. My photos never fail to help me when it comes to composing my content. 8) SHARE YOUR POSTS ON OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA SITES TO GET TRAFFIC TO YOUR BLOG. My goal is for my blog readers not to find my posts as spam material. So I make it a point to only share my content through a select number of social media sites (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Stumbleupon and Google Plus). I usually get some traffic from these websites after sharing my posts. You can also do this if you’d like to gain immediate readership and interaction from people.
learn a few tech stuff to know how to tweak certain plugins from your site. There are plenty of resources online that will help you troubleshoot, in case one of your browser extensions or add-ons stop working (i.e. your commenting system crashes or when one of your widgets fail to pop-out on the screen). 10) BE TRUE TO YOURSELF AND TO YOUR READERS. At some point in your life, you will be able to experience several mishaps while on the road (i.e. getting duped by a local tour guide, getting robbed, etc.). You can write about these things by giving some pros and cons. So be wise about the words that you’ll be using on your article, while being truthful and objective. Your readers will be able to benefit from your experiences if things are written and explained well. 11) BE A RESPONSIBLE TRAVELER. Travel blogs, or any niche blog can be good sources of information. But as citizens of the world, it also pays to be responsible individuals. Your travel stories may bring in more income for the people and places that you will promote and write about. But it’s also your duty not to disturb or destroy the natural environment and cultures that you decide to visit. It pays to know what you should do after the fun has ended, like cleaning up where you left off, making sure no persons or animals have been harmed, or no heritage sites have been ruined.
9) PRIME YOURSELF TO BE AN IT SPECIALIST. You may or may not have any background on running a website because I sure didn’t. But you will have to STOR IES | 6 5
LOCAL COLORS Architect Jomike Tejido is a man of myriad talents, and we talk to him about his unique creations and sources of inspiration. as t o l d t o And r e a del a C r u z
p h otog r a p h s f r om J om i k e T ej i d o
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BEGINNINGS I have always been interested in art. My interest grew mainly from a creative household. I lived in a homeoffice with architect parents. The materials were all there at my disposal and my dad always made art an enjoyable thing to do. On papertoys and Foldabots I started building my own papertoys for myself since grade 2, where I was conscientious enough not to ask my parents to buy me Transformers or other vehiclebased toys. Imade them out of old folders or book covers. In 2006, I relived this personal craft andturned it to my own series that encapsulates my love for crafts and nationalism that I want to imbue to kids of today – in a very subtle and non-preachy way. Foldabots are earth loving mechanisms and their story is set on 2055 in a futuristic Philippines called neo-republika. Lu-sho is a pollution incarnate who aims to pollute the world in various forms and is the main antagonist in the series. The Foldabots use their spirit energies and tactics (instead of ammunition or weapons) to fight this threat. They have Filipino-based names and coined words. The story is also set in popular Philippine places. I choose places that are very close to kids, like Manila
Ocean Park, Taal Volcano, and such places so that kids can feel how pollution and evil can be a real threat to things close to your heart! If I could be a foldabot, I would be Landas, the SUV who is also a triple changer. (car – robot – flying car ) I like being a lot of things in one. If most people are Foldabots (car- robot), I’d have to be a triple changer! I hope it will continue to inspire kids to be independent creators and be more confident in their work. For upkeeping the brand, I’d like to tie up with more companies to print Foldabots on their packaging, like some of the previous tie-ups I had. On Robotars Robotars started as an independent toy project aimed to increase awareness of the tarsier andto showcase it in a new “chibi-culture” way. I dislike traditional representations of promoting thecountry for I feel it makes our image outdated. Right now, Robotars toys are retailed exclusively in Vinyl on Vinyl Gallery in Malugay St. Makati. Robotars kid’s magazine is also a quarterly publication with Don Bosco Press. Kids of Don Bosco schools all over the Philippines get to have the magazine free as an insert in Family Matters Magazine, the main magazine.
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On his banig paintings I entered Noma Concours, a biennial contest repeatedly back in the early 2000’s. Since I kept on losing, I thought of a new ground that no one has claimed. I thought of the banig after doing several trials and experiments on their treatment. I finally found it in 2007 and did my first solo show then. I have had 8 solo shows since. On his wood menagerie series I have always been inspired by the Bauhaus concept as one of history of architecture’s popular schools of thought. Upon actually working as an architect in the Philippines, I found the profession not as glamorous as I hoped it would be. With all the CAD programs, engineering involved and cost constraints, I feel that local architects’ artistry can be very compromised. Creating geometric animals hand-painted in such a way as I do, I get to live my Bauhaus dreams, and give life to pieces in a tangible form. It gives a sense of satisfaction that paintings do not give. On what inspires him I am inspired by nature, abstract paintings and processes on how things are made. I usually draw inspiration from things totally different from its intended use - getting inspired to do a nature piece from seeing a mechanical interior of a clock. That sort of thing. Most of the artists who inspire me are the masters from the time of Manansala, HR Ocampo, Ang Kiukok, etc. Those guys made it through a time when making a living through art can be really difficult due to the limited avenues for sale, exhibition and promotion, Unlike these days where social media is ever-present and you can put things out easily. I feel that in this day and age, if those ancient masters were
alive, they’ do something with a lot more noise to shake the industry. On children’s books It was mostly my happy childhood that makes it very easy and natural to make books for kids. I had good books before and I liked looking at the pictures and copying them to learn how to draw everything. My latest favorite children’s books are mostly by British illustrators who draw and paint using watercolor, like Lisbeth Zwerger. Apart from that, I like game designers who do environment design, like Feng Zhu. On his dream projects I am currently working on a 6-book megaseries that is particularly designed for parents to interact with their kids using the book and some surprise elements that is a first in the Filipino childrens book industry. I am hosting a giveaway soon in cooperation with the parenting blog, The Learning Basket (www. thelearningbasket.com)
On his advice to creatives Keep on creating and inventing something new. Have a creative routine that gets you going and you don’t have to work a day in your life.
See more of Jomike’s works at: jmtejido.com jmtejido.blogspot.com
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In the summer of 2005, while sitting top-load on a Kalinga jeepney bound for Bontoc, my sister, traveling with friends - and armed with an adventurous spirit that runs in our family - was approached by a local guide. Would they be interested in meeting an old woman traditional tattooist? Yes, they were. And one of her friends, Marvin, was a willing human canvas. They disembarked at the next stop, and started a 2-hour hike up a mountain that cradled Buscalan, the village of Whang-ud, the tattooist or manwhatok, of the Butbut tribe. A few days later, they returned to Manila transformed, enamoured by Whang-ud, and rich with inspiring stories, which made Enan, my life and business partner, and I, dream of one day retracing the same path. It would take us six years of daydreaming and planning before we were finally able to go. There were then more reasons to hold it off than to pull it through, but the allure of one day meeting Whang-ud was never lost. Both Enan and I were not into tattoos and never thought of having them. What drew us was the rare opportunity of meeting the tattooist and seeing her perform her unique craft. How she makes the markings on skin by hand-tapping a gisi or bamboo stick with a citrus thorn tied on one end, how she mixes the ink from soot or charcoal scraped from the bottom of cooking pots, how she makes stencils out of rice
stalks. Being her human canvas was not without its appeal, too. What could be more sublime than having possibly the most tangible and indelible evidence that we are part of this country and its history, to have on our skin art drawn from an ancient indigenous tradition practiced since pre-colonial times? This was our admittedly romanticized belief, and something we donâ€™t completely understand ourselves, the source of this desire to affirm the authenticity of our identities as Filipinos, which is not being questioned in the first place. On November of 2011, we finally set off for Bontoc, where we met our guide, kuya Francis Pa-in. We then boarded a jeepney that would take us to the jump-off as it snaked its way through a mostly rough road that stalked a mighty river 150 meters below. This was the legendary Chico River, so loved by the people it sustains that they, led by Macliing Dulag, a pangat or tribal elder from Whang-udâ€™s tribe, fought during Martial Law to stop the building of a dam that would destroy the river and their ancestral lands. A few meters hike up from the jump-off, if you look over your shoulder down the mountain, across the river, you will see the small village where Dulag lived. To this day, his house still stands, the walls bearing bullet holes, testifying to where he was gunned down and killed by military soldiers.
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It was already dark when we arrived in Buscalan. Upon reaching Whang-ud’s humble home, we were greeted by a generous serving of unoy or Tinglayan rice, among the best rice we ever tasted. This was paired with leafy vegetables and beans boiled with a pinch of salt. Hungry and tired from the steep hike, and served with organic food, our dinner was an immaculate feast. After eating, we had the chance to chat with Whang-ud – kuya Francis translating for us while warming ourselves in front of a hearth. She was a small woman with a great sense of humor, smiling eyes, a quiet voice, graceful hands, and a body that looked deceptively frail, but in truth was still very much agile. Later that night, as we were preparing our sleeping bags, we heard hurried footsteps going to and fro in the silong or the area beneath the upper floor. It was Whang-ud tending to her inahing native pig that decided to give birth that night. It was chaos, but dead tired and lulled by fresh air and the steady sound of water moving down from the mountain, we succumbed to a good night’s sleep. The rice terraces of Buscalan (2014) We woke up the following morning to a view of the picturesque rice terraces carved on a mountainside vibrant in green, it being only a few weeks away from harvest season. After breakfast, we walked around the community. Beside Whang-ud’s house was a public elementary school and behind that a small pig was frolicking in the basketball court that was turned muddy by an early dawn drizzle. Going into the heart of the village, we saw a huddle of men sipping Tinglayan coffee and having a cheerful banter before
they begin with the day’s task of building a traditional hut. Most of the huts in Buscalan were on stilts, the kitchen on the ground floor, sleeping areas on the upper floor, and native pigs freely roaming around in the silong. In the backyard, the dogs were chasing the chickens. Small children in school clothes and rubber slippers leapt and run after the dogs. There were cement houses, some with antennas and galvanized iron walls and roofing. The modern juxtaposed against tradition in every corner. A blacksmith was making scythes and knives outside one house. And in the next, an elderly was masterfully weaving rattan sheathes and scabbards for the knives. We spent some minutes watching, mesmerized by his skill, feeling blessed to be in that moment to witness his magic. And then it was time for our tattoo sessions. We were gently warned by Marvin prior to our trip about the pain and lack of what we usually consider in Manila as hygienic tattooing methods, but we were prepared to take the risks. I volunteered to go first, thinking that if Enan went first and he wouldn’t be able to handle the pain, I might waver and back out. And I might regret that. So I put up a brave face and convinced myself that I could go through it. I suggested to Whang-ud that she place the tattoo on my back, just below my nape, and gave her free reign to decide everything from there. As the session was about to start, curious bystanders, mostly children, gathered around us to watch.
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Whang-ud laid out her instruments on the floor. She picked up a half coconut shell, her vessel for the soot, poured some water, and mixed them. She then bent a rice stalk into a triangular shape, and used that to make the straight lines. The stalk was dipped in ink and the line of the tattoo’s main body were traced on my back. Satisfied with how it looked, she added another line. Whang-ud was drawing a centipede or gayaman. Centipedes are considered spiritual guides and protectors and a centipede tattoo is a form of talisman. For the Kalingas, tattoos used to be marks of prestige that signify bravery and political status. There were specific designs, such as whiing or chest tattoos, that were entitled only for warriors who had been to warfare. Tattoos on women served as decorations on the body and were held in higher esteem to beads and jewellery. Kuya Francis’s mother, Uwong, told us that when a person dies, the jewellery remains in the material world, unlike the tattoo that travels with the soul. In their culture, tattoos were something to vie for, and the pain that goes with their rendering was a rite of passage that must be endured. But six years of anticipation and I still wasn’t prepared for the shock that came with the first taps of the big needle on my skin. My body slightly shook, at first resisting then starting to accept the pain that slowly became more bearable. The gentle hand-tapping on bamboo and the rhythmic sound it produced was oddly sedating. I felt the excruciating pain again in the final touches, the going back and re-piercing of the fresh,
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bleeding wounds. There were a couple of instances in the one-hour session when I almost allowed myself to give up, the word “stop” nearly escaping from my tongue. What held me back were the fear of regret - and curiosity. I was curious to know how much further I could push myself. Five minutes of tapping? Let’s see. How about ten minutes more? Until I didn’t realize that the tattoo was already complete. Enan also had a centipede tattoo, one of many Whangud tattoos he wished on having, inscribed on his arm. Whang-ud’s touch was light on the skin, but the strikes of the needle were heavy enough to draw a lot of blood. She would pause every few minutes to wipe the blood off with a wet cloth that turned black with blood and ink to reveal the design underneath. Afterwards, Enan told me that he coped with the pain by focusing his attention on Whang-ud’s tattoo-covered arms, upper chest and neck, an elaborate library of markings made by Whag-ay, a tattoo master to whom Whang-ud apprenticed for and learned a lot from since she was 13 years old. Enan was imagining the pain she felt. How can the pain he was feeling compare to what Whangud went through? He was putting himself in her place, and he didn’t think he had the right not to endure. That night after dinner, we joined Whang-ud’s relatives gathered outside to listen to tales about the humble woman that is Whang-ud. They told us that her being a woman tattooist was a rarity in her time, as most of the Kalinga tattooists before were men. About how Whang-ud was once a traveller, too, going from village to village to spread her craft, and reaching as
far as Benguet. This exposed her to the tattoo practices of other tribes, eventually marrying old Butbut designs with those she gathered along the way to create her own. Whang-ud believes good karma has been following her ever since she helped a group of Japanese soldiers who survived a plane crash, and fed sweet potatoes to a starving American soldier lost in the mountains during World War II. They also told of a 25-year-old Whang-ud who loved and lost a man in an accident. She never married and bore her own children. When we left the village, there were those in the town center who were curious about us. Why travel all the way from Manila to get a whato (tattoo)? Like many, we were travellers searching for experiences and connections outside of our own everyday worlds. We seek the new to temporarily break routine. While some believe that a rite of passage can only be found in far places, in unique conditions that would test our limits. A “Walter Mitty” notion of “living your (day)dreams”. But as Enan and I watched the path to Buscalan recede from view, as we moved away from what was extraordinary for us and came closer to our routinary life, we knew that our journey was less about us. It was more about the place, the culture and the people we met. Understanding and respect for their customs and beliefs, their struggles and their stories.
Respect for the places we visit and the environment that breathes life to it. Going to Buscalan isn’t your usual vacation where you would expect to be pampered or you come to party with friends. Here, you trek to the village, as what the locals do. You eat what they eat. Drink the coffee they offer. You don’t look for what you’re used to and for what isn’t there. Here, you come to have a deeper understanding of the everyday realities of a place and its people who are so different but in hindsight are also so much like you. And you leave knowing these new insights and experiences have expanded your world, but the similarities and forged connections also seemed to have made it smaller. Last February, three years after our first trip, we returned to an older Whang-ud, already 94-yearsold, who needed to take more rests but, in her fierce independence, still insisted on going out to farm each morning. I saw her squinting, her eyes getting tearyeyed with strain, as she traced the finer lines with ink. Enan felt the taps were heavier on his skin, sometimes digging into flesh, but her art was just as meticulously rendered as it was three years past. She is now training her 17-year-old grandniece, Grace, to carry on her work.
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THE GAMECHANGER Jen is a dreamer and doer on a mission to create a culture of caring, by making it cool, fun, sexy, easy, a nd accessible. She tells us how is out to encourage people to maximize impact in their communities, minimize impact on the environment, and ultimately, help them live lives of less guilt and more meaning. int e r v ie w b y Gel i B a l cr u z
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p h otos f r om M UN I
Did you grow up in a family of creatives? Nope, not in the conventional sense of the word. My mom was a banker, through and through, but I do feel she is a creative soul with appreciation for beautiful things. She has definitely influenced my aesthetic preferences and my love for Filipino design. What did you want to be when you were young? I wanted to be everything - but everything on the side! I didn’t zone in on any one thing now, and instead, I enjoy being able to dabble in the different creative fields by working together with people who are the real experts in those crafts. It’s been consistent that I wanted to do things that allowed me to be creative - in collaboration with others. I really just wanted a simple life for myself. To be able to do meaningful, creative work, and be able to take the time to spend time with loved ones when the work day is over. Back then, did you imagine having the life you have now? No, in ways good and bad. I feel like for some people, the ideal life or career is something they craft at an early age and always work towards in their life decisions. I didn’t have that. I’m always figuring things out as I go along, yet in a way, this was way of life has also kept me open to many opportunities, collaborations and intersections with many amazing, inspiring people! What was your life like before MUNI PH and what made you decide to start MUNI PH? I co-founded retail graphic design brand Punchdrunk Panda (PdP) back in 2007, and I had also gotten a job as a copywriter in an ad agency at the time, where I worked for a year until I decided to go full time with PdP. In the course of my work with PdP, I was able to create a lot of cool products, work with a lot of amazing talented graphic designers and really get traction for the brand through features and events. It didn’t seem enough to me though and I wanted to do work that was more meaningful. Sure, it was super awesome to have this kickass brand with kickass design collaborations, but I still felt a void somewhere.
Who is Jen Horn?
She is the chief collaborator of muni.com.ph, a creative and collaborative community for mindful living through content, design, and events. MUNI aims to megaphone messages aligned with its values - promoting social and environmental awareness and action, and works with cause-oriented businesses, non-profit organizations, and individuals to make people more aware of the impact of their daily decisions on their self, the community, and the planet. Since its birth in November 2012, MUNI has worked with some 80 organizations, and has put together 22 pocket events, across Manila, Cebu, and Iloilo, each with anywhere from 20 to nearly 700 attendees. As MUNI, she has also worked with other event organizers, including ADB and GoNegosyo, and shared the message of mindful living to over 11,000 individuals and counting, through both MUNI-initiated and partner events. Jen is also a lover of Philippine indigenous textiles and an advocate of its promotion and preservation as a member of The Philippine Textile Council, and creative director of Tala Luna, a brand that highlights handwoven Philippine textiles and craftsmanship through functional, contemporary fashion and lifestyle products. She has been selected as a speaker in various school and public events around the country to talk about eco-living, creativity, and marketing / entrepreneurship, for her work with both MUNI, and her previous work as co-founder and CEO of Punchdrunk Panda, a retail graphic design brand. Jen is also a member of the Manila hub of the Global Shapers - the youth arm of the World Economic Forum.
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I had also been maintaining my blog www. nomadmanager.com at the time where I was supposed to blog about my journey towards location independence, but I found myself writing about veg eats, yoga, social enterprises, eco-tourism, and I thought more people should pitch in their knowledge and discoveries too about these things for the betterment of self, community and planet. At the same time, I was starting to question my own business practices: 1) Was what I was doing meaningful enough?, and 2) What happens to our products once people are done with them? (Largely a thought planted by the documentary Objectified and The Story of Stuff two years prior to that phase). I had also encountered this term Cultural Creatives (online from sociologists Paul H Ray and Sherrie Ruth Anderson) - to describe people who are more socially and environmentally aware, who feel alone and disconnected. So after taking a couple of months off and backpacking through Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Sri Lanka, I came back and decided to set up the MUNI blog to share these ideas, and shortly after, created the first MUNI event to bring these like-minded dreamers together.
What was your major struggle while starting MUNI? Did it take a huge leap of faith to start on your own? It really started as a passion project, but because I wanted it to become more sustainable, I decided to incorporate it so we could do work more regularly, and hopefully work with bigger companies to increase our reach and impact. So right now, I’m working on crafting a business model that will allow bigger corporations to get involved, so I can also keep working to help the social startups and SMEs. Why Filipinos? Or why creatives? Filipinos because it’s easier to start in my own country, and I’d definitely like for this movement to start with one of the most caring countries in the world! And creatives because there is not one language to change-making. It’s not always in the tone and look of government or NGOs. Change happens when we’re mindful of our lifestyle, the day-to-day things, and to spread that message, I think it should be packaged in a very cool, fun, and easy manner, hence our reason for working with all these talented Filipino creatives! And in a way, I believe that the community is also something they’re looking for!
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Why do you feel the need to serve the Filipino people? What discoveries about the Filipino culture did you find out? I think it should be natural for every Filipino to want to serve his / her country in some way, and I think it’s the deviation when you don’t. Our country is beautiful, and people are so amazing and creative and passion-filled. Definitely worth highlighting! What new learnings did you discover while looking for collaborators, contributors and like-minded individuals? There really are a lot of Cultural Creatives out there to band with, and it’s not a rare breed. Everyone wants to do something good, to be involved in something bigger than themselves. It’s really just about helping them find that cause that fuels them (whether it’s personal well-being, community development, sustainability), and finding ways for them to contribute doing what they already love doing (crafting, music, art, writing, design).
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Can you briefly describe how you brew events for MUNI? Do you plan alone or do you have an awesome team with you? It’s usually brewed in with collaborators in mind. And we really want to create more flagship / staple events for MUNI, too. And yes, I value the opinion of others a lot, and MUNI is really about community, so I do have an awesome team to plan with, and there are always so many amazing people to work with, too (like Katha). What are your favorite MUNI project/s? Can you tell us something more about the project/s? • #CutTheCrap campaign • MUNI x Moonleaf 2014 Planner • MUNI Market Day Did you ever envision MUNI to be as big as it is now? It’s still not as big as I want it to be! How has your life changed since then? Do you always feel the need to serve something greater than yourself? It’s awesome being able to meet a lot of amazing people on a regular basis! In the end though, I feel like
I’m still the same person, just a better, happier version of myself. The work I do is not the same as the work of others who have their hands deep in development work, disaster resilience, and so on, yet at the same time, I feel like there’s value in sharing knowledge & ideas, and building a community around mindful living, to keep ourselves connected to others, as much as it is connecting more with ourselves. I don’t think MUNI is so much altruism, as it is about helping alleviate a collective guilt and showing people little ways they can help and give their lives more meaning. It’s been proven to increase life satisfaction when we help others, so ironically, finding ways helping others can be one of the most wonderfully selfish things to do. What keeps you going to push for more MUNI I just want to keep building the MUNI community, connecting more people, and helping more and more people hear the stories of other amazing people, and share more and more ideas of fun things we can do for our self, our community and the planet! What are your future goals, projects or dream projects for MUNI? 1. Bigger MUNI Market Day in 4th quarter 2014! 2. Online platform to connect mindful entrepreneurs with consumers 3. creative content for muni.com.ph(+a monthly zine)! 4. A big conference / festival for mindful living in 1st quarter 2015 (tentatively called MUNI 360 - to connote a holistic approach mindfulness, also involving creatives from all fields)
5. Connect Manila,
more groups outside Metro outside the Philippines!
Quick question: If you were given an unlimited budget by a genie to work on your dream project, what project would you immediately work on and why? Weee! All things related to each other (and unlimited budget anyway, so 4 things): 1. I would hire a content team: full time writers, graphic designers, photographers, videographers so we can get crackin’ on creating engaging stories of mindfulness + caring made cool, fun and easy! 2. I would go around the country / globe to find out more amazing stories while also creating community events to get conversations and collaborations going. 3. I would invite international speakers and acts to make MUNI 360 bigger and better, such that it be an event that people flock to the country for, connect more and more Cultural Creatives! 4. I would have a design team dedicated to changing the packaging design of awesome local products because a lot of them don’t have packaging that gives justice to the products / contents! We’ve got to make things look world class and elevate the standards with which products are made so that lalong masuportahan rin yung products nila. Packaging matters, big time. Can you share some advice for people who want to be a game changer like you? Game changer - big words. Just start with you. If you strongly feel like there should be something out there that isn’t there yet, create it! Just do it.
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SURFâ€™S UP Gabriel Batallones on the joys of chasing the waves. w o r d s and ph otog r a p h s b y Ga b r i el B a ta l l on es
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Surfing is the best way to celebrate life. Surfing is enough justification to live. It’s as if humans have discovered how to both respect and enjoy the power of nature in the most amazing way. I was used to calm beaches and pools with vents of gushing water and chlorine, not the beaches brought along by the great roaring seas. Never have I seen such a great mess of water. I peered into the horizon, eventually straining my eyes. The constant dance of water and sand, taking turns left and right, caught my attention. Between this dance of nature, I noticed black figures emerging from the water. I first thought they were rocks from the distance, but they were actually people surfing the waves. I will never forget the sunset that came shortly after. When I first tried surfing, I was on a family vacation with my cousins in La Union back in 2008. I was just fifteen years old staring blankly into the sea, as if I had seen something again for the first time. I was able to try it out on a 9’0” longboard with an instructor and it felt great at that brief moment in my life. That was the first time I felt stoked. Ever since then, I’ve always wanted to keep doing it. I even rented a board on my own for the first time later that day. I was not afraid to dive into the water and feel nature’s arms push and pull me around.
This was truly a great feat of mankind. I could not believe what was happening. It was finding peace amidst the power and mess of nature. The next time I surfed was years later during my last year of college. It started with the numerous trips around Luzon with some friends. From beaches to mountains and everything in between, I began falling in love with nature and I began to appreciate the true beauty of the world, life and our country. Eventually, I started taking solo trips to La Union and Baler when none of my friends could accompany me. I spent a lot of lonely hours on the bus waiting for the beach. I watched for countless hours along the beach, just appreciating everything that was around me. I paddled out into the line-up as stranger greeted me with smiles and grins both emanating “welcome” and “who are you?” all at once. It was not long when the small exchanges of greetings eventually became laughter and jokes with new friends met on the lineup. I met people from all walks of life. People like me, just making their way through the world. I met accountants, IT technicians, musicians, fellow artists, lawyers, doctors, drivers, dentists and many others who all share the same love for surfing. A lot of the road trips in between surf spots were spent sleeping, because we were tired from surfing,
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or exchanging tips, jokes and our experiences while surfing. Everyone here was like-minded. We all wanted the very same thing. We ate with our hands as we had a boodle fight using the surf board of a friend. We chased storms and swells around the Philippines. We loaded our boards on a pickup and headed towards the next surf spot without thinking twice. Everything good that could happen usually happened. Everyone is very friendly, fun and accommodating (as long as you show proper manners and respect).
passion for surfing through photos and videos I take whenever I’m out on a surf trip somewhere. Even if I am just a mere newbie to surfing, I can feel that I can do this my whole life. Whenever I take a photo or video, I really want to capture the moment for what it is, and how it best represents how I feel at that moment in time. Every moment has a story and that story is always worth telling, especially when you are surfing. It’s a new and exciting experience every time.
They say that there is no exact proper way to surf. You kind of just have to figure it out on your own. Find your own way and style, because you will not betray yourself when you’re out there. I think that this is what makes surfing beautiful. You’re free to express yourself and when you do, you’ll most likely be praised for it. I feel as if I have found what I want to do my whole life. I dream of feeling and seeing the world through nature’s embrace. I want to feel like I’m truly part of this earth. Surfing brings out the most passionate version of you there is. I bring out my love and STOR IES | 8 9
MY FAVORITE OPM SONGS Selena Salang from Ang Bandang Shirley and Slow Hello shares with us her awesome list of her favorite OPM tracks. p h otog r a p h s b y Gel i B a l c r u z
Everyone’s telling everyone to listen to music by Filipino artists, and here’s my chance to do the same. Here are my 10 favorite local tracks by Filipino musicians. But don’t stop here. If you love this list, you’ll find more amazing artists to please your ears if you just explore our music scene some more. Scour the internet for new releases, or check the nearest bar for live performances– satisfaction guaranteed! When you start going to local gigs or buying CDs and merchandise by Filipino artists, not only are you supporting a scene that is vibrant, creative and homegrown but you are also inviting beauty, good vibes and inspiration into your life.
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Details by Eggboy eggboymanila.bandcamp.com/track/details I discovered Eggboy the old-fashioned way: trading music with a friend. In this case, I gave Diego Mapa (from Sandwich/The Diegos) some Tahiti 80 tracks for a sampler of his solo indie pop work. We both got a great deal! Eggboy’s songs are quirky packets of lo-fi love that will take you on little sonic adventures into your heart. Give Me A Break by Ciudad youtube.com/watch?v=WZqBWdqwEec I enjoy Ciudad’s indie rock shenanigans - they’re fun while being true and relatable. I also never thought I’d ever hear the words “You bombard me with all your stupid arguments” used in a song, and here they are! These guys are prolific creators with five wonderful albums under their belts. They’re also among the nicest guys in the music scene. Try To Smile by Soft Pillow Kisses youtube.com/watch?v=tUxXOMPI-eg These dreampop superstars make even frustration and depression sound a little romantic. Although it’s about darker emotions, the commiseration in the song is comforting, and listening to it feels like Soft Pillow Kisses is trying to make everything better for you. It will. Shelter (Oh No) by Ourselves The Elves ourselvestheelves.bandcamp.com/track/shelter-oh-no Once upon a time, I wanted to be like Wilco, but then Ourselves The Elves beat me to it! No other Filipino band comes close to melodic alt-country genius, and the Elves’ metaphors make me green with envy. Darn you amazing youngsters! Waiting For The Rainfall by Hannah+Gabi youtube.com/watch?v=dygJV9MwCvQ Ciudad’s Mikey Amistoso makes the loveliest melodies, and his solo outfit Hannah + Gabi is the perfect vessel for them. The sounds he chose to make up this song remind me of happy childhood memories, and the harmonies always give my feelings a lift. Morning After by Outerhope outerhope.bandcamp.com/track/morning-after This early Outerhope track is my favorite because it sounds so hopeful. Mike Benedicto’s voice is soothing in contrast to the excitement one feels when facing new
possibilities. It’s wonder, amusement and restraint all wrapped up in a lovely package. Under A Building I Am Next To You by Twin Lobster youtube.com/watch?v=K8NpnrtVcEU Vocalist and songwriter Nick Lazaro wrote this after he watched an interview featuring a Chinese couple who were trapped under a building during the 2008 earthquake in China. He was able to effectively translate whatever he felt upon hearing their story into his work: the song evokes two lovers reaching for each other in order to survive adversity. Dulo Ng Dila by Pupil vimeo.com/3882590 I love how the melody and phrasing scale up and down, following a natural movement, as if it’s riding a wave – and so move the emotions in this song, too. Despite the words seeming like they were just strung together for the heck of it (“At meron lang naisip / Nang merong mailagay”), personal meaning can be attached to genius phrases like, “Anong kailangan mong marinig? / Makasaysayan? Pandaigdig?”, so you find yourself floating along with the verbal debris, traveling yet feeling completely at home. No Laughing Matter (Meta-Remix) by Modulogeek youtube.com/watch?v=rBheKWwO8dg This song is so suave. I’m a big fan of lyrics, but Modulogeek makes up for the lack of words by choosing sound elements that tell a story. I imagine a person burdened by the weight of an important decision she’s about to make, going over the details, mulling the permutations of cause and effect. Perhaps you’ll hear a different story when you listen to it. Lightyears by Eraserheads youtube.com/watch?v=P8Uzu3aFPn0 The Eraserheads were a huge influence on me as well as a band I really treasured growing up to; all my years in high school correspond to their first four albums so I’m under the illusion that my generation was the one their music spoke to best. By my senior year, they had written many songs about love and loss, but I think “Lightyears” was the first to show a mature vulnerability that captured my own hope and apprehension at that age. “I look forward to tomorrow, but can I leave yesterday behind?” That line still brings tears to my eyes
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TRIPLE FRET W or d s b y A n n a Gr a h a m
Triple fret is an all-female classical-contemporary guitar trio composed of Marga Abejo, Jenny de Vera and Angelica “Iqui” Vinculado. All have been formally trained at the premier music schools of the country, namely the University of the Philippines College of Music and the University of Santo Tomas Conservatory of Music. Their refreshing brand of classical guitar music performance, exceptional passion and talent has brought the appreciation of the classical guitar to a wider audience. They share that they are not classical purists, but long to keep the standards of the classical style in a good level. Marga and Jenny met when they were still part of the U.P. Guitar Orchestra back in college, and the idea of forming Triple fret came up. They met Iqui at the Philippine International Guitar Festival, who was a competitor back then. But they just found her so awesome and knew she would be the perfect person to complete the trio. They said that it was all informal at first, until bookings kept coming. They haven’t stopped playing since then. Triple fret has participated in the 3rd International Guitar Festival and the Pasinaya Festival, both held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. They also performed at the 1st Philippine International Jazz and Blues Festival, and the 2013 Feté de la Musique.
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When asked about their influences, they all love the following female classical guitarists (Girl power!): Kaori Muraji, Xue Fei Yang and Berta Rojas. They love strong women who can play a man’s instrument. They find it very empowering. But they do admire a lot of male classical guitarists as well. They do clarify that they don’t just purely listen to classical music. Individually, Jenny listens to Indie folk for leisure, Iqui enjoys Rock alternative, while Marga likes anything shiny and new. “It’s nice to get inspired with other elements to get creative juices flowing”, they share. The ensembles they also love are the Katona twins, Amsterdam guitar trio, European guitar quartet, and the LA guitar quartet. Guitar Scene and the Local music culture They said that the Classical guitar scene is becoming more active. A lot of foreign artists are flying in to inspire guitar players. But the Local music culture in the Philippines is tricky. People seem to prefer popular music that can be heard on TV or on the radio. There is not a lot of information about the classical guitar, or even classical music in general. But they hope thatin time, classical music will be more available to everybody. In terms of contributing to enriching our local music culture, they do so by including a lot of Filipino folk
songs in their repertoire. They give these old favorites a fresh new flair with their special arrangements. They aim to keep these pieces of art alive in this fastpaced world, where music preferences seem to change so quickly. They are currently touring around Europe to help promote Filipino music and culture, so that other parts of the world can be introduced to its existence and beauty. They have been invited and are slated to perform at the prestigious Guitarra Festival in Siguenza, Spain on July 26, 2014 together with the great Paco Pena, Carlos Bonell, as well as other world class guitarists. The event is hosted by the world renowned guitar maker, Jose Romanillos. Group effort Being in an ensemble can be difficult at times. They share that being in a group demands just as much time as being a solo performer. “To add to that, you have to know each other down to the pace of your heartbeat and breath”, they say. They try to keep learning and keep improving at their technique as much as possible. One big important thing that they mentioned is that they all have the same goal and the same dreams. It’s easy to work with people who have similar goals. They do all have different personalities in a way that complements each other, which keeps the group balanced. Their advice to budding musicians/groups: “Do what you love and know that if you are part of a group, you have to know what you want to achieve together. You have to get along, be friends, enjoy each other’s company, and as much as possible be open to each other”. Greatest memory Marga: “Just being able to travel and play guitar! I feel like I hit the jackpot because I met these girls and I feel challenged every day to learn more and more.” Iqui: “Euro trip! Traveling together and sharing music. What I love about being in Triple Fret is I can do what I love to do, perform with these amazing girls, and learn new things every day. Jenny: “Being in Europe, because there are so many activities for guitar here. And experiencing the land of classical music. I love being with Triple Fret because I can experience all this and I’m not on my own. They all share the same good memories. One of which
was being able to play music to help in a Fundraising concert in Brunei for the Typhoon Yolanda victims last December 2013. Their ultimate dream is to make classical guitar music flourish in the Philippines. They want to inspire young people to play the Classical Guitar. They want Filipinos to win International competitions and for them to be recognized in the International Guitar scene. They plan on achieving these goals by continuing to work, play, practice and perform; and by making noise about how fun playing the Classical Guitar can be.
GITARA FILIPINA is their first album offering to celebrate and share their passion and love for the classical guitar. The album features a variety of Filipino music ranging from ethnic, traditional to contemporary modern pieces. The unique arrangements and renditions of each piece aims to make us Filipinos rediscover the beauty of our rich musical heritage, and at the same time, introduces our rich music culture to people around the world. The album also includes well-loved international classical pieces, to celebrate music as a binding universal language of the human spirit.
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FANCY A FIESTA?
W o r d s b y A y a Dal ump i n es
p h otog r a p h s b y A p r i l Sa n P ed r o
Don’t you wish you could celebrate something every single day? Graphic designer and crafter April San Pedro creates a simple yet festive fiesta-themed party using her own DIY projects. Taking her inspiration from the buntings commonly used in fiestas, April uses items found at home for the party decorations. April creates a fan and bunting inspired invitation and provides a template that can easily be printed and used but the invite can also be personalized by using a similar concept. Cut triangular shaped pieces and bind them together using a round fastener. Then create a bunting using any string and washi tape or paper strips and glue it on the upper side of the blank sheet. For the place card and food labels, April uses the calamansi and also shares a printable template that can also be DIY-ed if preferred. After cutting and writing on the labels, slice the bottom of the calamansi for it to stand. Slice the calamansi halfway lengthwise on the opposite side and insert the label. Place fresh buko juice for each guest together with the place card on the table as a welcome drink.
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To elevate the fiesta theme further, April designs a set of bunting templates with the same design as the other elements. Just cut, punch holes and hang them with string on the walls of your venue. Then add another burst of color and feel the festivities with a curtain out of crepe paper. Cut still folded crepe paper into 1 - inch thick strips and either stick them directly to the wall using tape or string them together as well. This can also serve as the photo backdrop of the party. Just provide props such as abaniko fans and hats to carry on with the theme and it’s all set. April also uses the abaniko as the party giveaway. She sticks a bunch of santan flowers near the handle using washi tape as decoration. These fans can also double as part of the table centerpiece or buffet table décor. It’s not always easy to decorate a themed party especially when under a tight budget. But, as April does, with imagination coupled with resourcefulness, anyone can create a fiesta fit for any celebration and turn an ordinary day to an event that’s one for the books.
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BAKE HAPPY Make some scrumptious ube macapuno cupcakes. W o r d s an d p h otog r a p h s b y A i k k o A r a g on
INGREDIENTS Cupcakes 2 cups all purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup evaporated milk 1/4 cup yoghurt 1 bottle (20ml) ube flavoring (I used the McCormick Ube Flavor ) 1 1/2 cups sugar 1 1/2 cup canola oil 4 eggs 1 cup ube halaya / purple yam (I used Ube Jam from Mountain Maid Training Center ) Ube Frosting 1 cup unsalted butter 1/3 cup ube halaya / purple yam 3 teaspoons ube flavoring 2 cups powdered sugar Macapuno and Langka preserves for topping
STEPS 1. Assemble team dry ingredients â€“ flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Assemble team wet ingredients â€“ evaporated milk, yoghurt, ube flavoring. Set both aside.
2. Mix together sugar, oil and eggs. Eggs can be added in one go but make sure that everything is well incorporated. 3. Add in ube halaya. 4. Add in one third of the dry ingredients and then add in one half of the wet ingredients. 5. Repeat step 4 until all are combined. Just barely mix, until you cannot see streaks of flour in the batter. 6. Line cupcake pans with cupcake liners, the batter will make 33 cupcakes. Fill each 3oz sized cupcake liners with 1/4 cup batter. 7. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until done. Let the cupcakes cool to room temperature. 8. To make the frosting, beat butter until smooth. Mix in ube halaya and ube flavoring. Sift the powdered sugar and add to the butter mixture slowly. Mix until smooth. Pipe frosting into the cupcakes, I used a closed star tip Ateco 809. The frosting recipe is enough for 33 cupcakes.
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A FAVORITE LOCAL TREAT Halo-halo might as well be the national dessert of the Philippines. Though other neighboring countries have their versions of this shaved ice dessert and even our different provinces have their own variations, halo-halo has its special place in every Pinoyâ€™s belly. Enon De Belen shows us her own vision of the halo-halo, ingredients spinning and blending beautifully.
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