T H E F I L I P I N O M A G A Z I N E I N E U RO P E
From the Editor
arm greetings! It is late autumn, and Filipinos in Europe are bracing for another long and probably harsh winter. There will be many minus degrees outside our homes for many months ahead, but we have stored enough warmth in our hearts to see us through another winter season. And, a warm thought – after winter comes another spring!
Roots&Wings celebrated its first year anniversary by hosting the Scandinavian Concert tour, “Kundiman & Klasiko”. On pages 40-46 there are collages and comments on this great musical experience. Armela, Abdul, Jonathan – you were simply magnificent! Thank you for sharing your divine talents with us. We warmly welcome John Florencio to the Roots&Wings staff. It did not take much ado to convince John to join us. Within a few days after accepting the position of Paris correspondent, John delivered a most elegant interview article with the Philippine ambassador to France. Merci beaucoup John for a job well done. Maraming salamat Ambassador Rora Tolentino for sharing your valuable insights with us. Being Ambassador of a country must be one of the most exclusive, glamorous and significant positions a person can hold. Personally I think there is really no one who can hinder us ordinary folks from being ambassadors of culture and goodwill. It is a big dream to create a united Filipinos in Europe but we can work to create a community living in harmony, friendship and understanding. We should try to lift each other up. Together we are strong. Seeing places in Europe is exciting; seeing places in the Philippines is even better. In future, we will devote many pages to feature our favorite places, fascinating tourist spots and other great places of interest with the intention of attracting you to visit the Philippines more often. There is so much left for us to see, explore, discover, relish and enjoy. If you have something you wish to share with our readers, please email us. Roots&Wings is for you. We invite you to join us to make a better, brighter, bolder, beautiful magazine that everybody will wish to read. Welcome and share your talents with us. Mabuhay tayong lahat! Rachel Hansen - Editor in chief firstname.lastname@example.org
Rachel Hansen Editor in Chief
Jonathan A Coo Contributing Editor
Jenny Hansen Layout Editor
Eleanor Hernando Contributing Editor
Evelyn Mendoza Executive assistant
Editorial Assistant Manila
Hanna Stenbacka Youth Editor
Cora Lembke Hamburg, Germany
W E. Mateo Jr. Visayas Correspondent
Ivee B Hidvegi
Yoko R Vingno Athens, Greece
Nicole Bataclan Zurich, Switzerland
New staff members John Florencio Paris correspondent John earned his Bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Active as a musical director, collaborative artist and soloist, he has performed all over the U.S., Europe, Russia and Asia with repertoire that ranges from classical, jazz, rock, Broadway and popular music. He is an advocate for Gawad Kalinga, a founding member of the San Francisco Academy for the Performing Arts and a faculty member at the Notre Dame de Namur College of Theater and Music. John now considers Paris his home.
Reneé S.Ikdal Representative Reneé graduated with a BSBA degree from the UP, Dilliman; and a Masters in Business Economics from The University of Asia in the Pacific. She is a Certified Public Accountant. Reneé is also involved in church and community affairs, being president of (FAR) the "Filipino Association in Rogaland". As a pianist, she is also leader of the Catholic church choir. She is Honourary Consul Generalappointee of the Philippines in Stavanger. Reneé has three children, the youngest is Adam S. Ikdal, featured in this issue.
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In This Issue 8
Shape and color of memory by Mario De Rivera Interview with Ambassador Rora Tolentino in Paris
Datu award recipient Tom Erik Klaveness
Leopold Ilag - Bloom where you are planted
Adam Ikdal - Best consultant at BCG
Filipino Youth Ministry in Brussels
Candy Gourlay - Best selling author in UK
Alemberg Ang - International award winning movie director
Poetry writing contest - The winners
Liza Andrea Kuster, Miss Earth Switzerland
Nogas Island - A naval reserve, marine and bird sanctuary
Our Cover: Cordon de la Eternidad 122 x 122 cm by Mario de Rivera
Letters to the Editor
I would like to congratulate you for your wonderful magazine. I am so impressed on how it was executed, the contents, etc. Roots&Wings is of international standard. - Noel Copiaco, Frankfurt am Main, Germany Greetings and compliments to Roots&Wings magazine! I received a copy of Roots&Wings from my sister who is living in Eversback, Germany.You have done a wonderful work. I like your concept of bringing us Filipinos in Europe together even just in print. It will be my vision that major cities of North Italy, plus Bologna, Parma, Como, Genova would also be part of your magazineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s contents. -Ramon Reyes, Milan, Italy My family and I are in Europe for a short visit and we saw Roots&Wings magazine at a friends home. Your magazine is a big inspiration. I admire your features especially of the young Pinoy-Europeans. Hope to read more of your exciting features of the Filipino community in Europe. Keep on encouraging. Mabuhay ang lahing Pilipino! - Great B. Mabuti, Principal, Fortridge Asian School
Letters to the Editor may be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org Please write your name and address. R&W reserve the right to edit submissions.
Roselle Pineda from the Concerned Artists of the Philippines, writes I got your contact details from Melecio Yamomo, a research fellow in Germany. I am Roselle Pineda from the Concerned Artists of the Philippines. We are currently marketing a commemorative wall calendar featuring 12 filipino artists who have served the Filipino people through their arts. The artworks featured were rendered by established and up and coming artists in the contemporary Philippine art scene. We were thinking you might be interested in purchasing or helping us market the calendar amongst filipino communities there in Europe. The price of the calendar is 10 euros/ piece exclusive of shipping. A sample of the calendar is attached herewith. We would gladly welcome all the help that you can give us. If you wish to order these CAP calendars, please send email to email@example.com 7
Mario de Rivera at the opening of his show In the Land of Dragons and Bamboo Gods, August 2010
Mario de Rivera
Shape and Color of Memory By Joel Vega
LIBERTAD in Mandaluyong City could be a typical street in busy Metro Manila with its row of apartments and the bustle of passing motorists. On number 26 a mix of potted plants flank the door to the home of Mario de Rivera, one of the Philippines’ most prolific painters. There is a stillness to De Rivera’s home as if the house has deliberately pushed away the ambient street noise to reflect a singular trait of its owner. Described by the respected art critic Alice Guillermo as the creator of paintings with “sumptuous imagery… showing the rich confluence of cultures,” De Rivera has maintained a low but distinctive profile in the 8
country’s art scene. The artist as a self-indulgent, garrulous creature would be a tag difficult to pin to De Rivera who often carefully picks his words. “Painting is the only way I can be totally myself,” says De Rivera when queried what prompted him, after several years of working overseas, to return some 40 years ago to full-time painting. And, indeed, a passionate artistic engagement is often evident in the works of De Rivera where the viewer is entranced not only with imagery, colors and textures, but an amalgam that provides a hint to the Filipino psyche.
In a span of nearly four decades since his 1974 first solo exhibit in Manila, De Rivera has mined a rich visual imagery where Philippine Madonna’s are juxtaposed with Byzantine saints, rich earth colours are set-off by lace-like fragments, and the pictorial space is filled with arabesques, cathedral spires, archetypal figures from Philippine ethnic tribes to direct citations of iconic Renaissance images such as Botticelli’s Venus, a Velasquez horse-riding prince and Russian icons. To again quote Guillermo, in De Rivera’s work “traditions co-mingle…conveying the artist’s faith in the essential unity of humankind—that cultures from all parts of the globe participate in a universal discourse and contribute to commonly shared meanings.” Open histories and narratives are, thus, the main touchstones in De Rivera’s work, and the artist himself provides confirmation. “We Filipinos in general are more outward-looking than our other Asian neighbors. It is both good and bad since there are always two ways of looking at things. But when cultures cross boundaries there's always a good chance great things are born,” says De Rivera. De Rivera reflects on the diasporic path pursued by
many Filipinos in recent years: “Migration can result in values and ideas coming into conflict. And new ideas come into being. But more than that, it is finding how much we have in common with the rest of the world that propels my art,” he adds. If the artist’s acknowledgement of cultural diversity leaves an indelible mark on his work, it is memory that often underpins De Rivera’s creative approach. Employing techniques in photo transfer, modelling paste and gold-leaf to create complex floral patterns and cloth or fibre-like layers, De Rivera’s visual language often returns to or surfaces in fragments, echoing the irregular, slippery nature of memory. “Memory is central in my art making. Not in a conscious way, but everything just floats in random fashion when I'm in front of my canvas,” De Rivera says. Thus, sepia photos and figures are half-buried in encrustations or surface as in the series “People of Heaven (1-3),” or are torn at the corners or framed. Embossed leaves and stones flit or float on the pictorial space (Piedras Sagradas series) and pina or jusi-like layers are built with serrated edges. De Rivera has perfected the latter technique of simulating pina or tinalak fibres, and his propensity for fibre motifs that
Dioses Dorados Bitan-O 87.5 x 143.5 cm, 2009 9
Lokum Beyoglu 2 91.44 x 91.44 cm, 2010
recur in most of his works somehow pays a tribute to his mother who is accomplished in dressmaking. Color is also masterly orchestrated in a De Rivera piece, playing a lyrical note or setting off associations. In the 2003 piece Cordon de la Eternidad the rich reds and gold’s do not overwhelm but served to unify and present the various facets of the feminine through the centuries. Gold has always been associated with the sacred, and De Rivera’s handling of gold in his work is almost akin to a spiritual homage or invocation of the eternal (and spiritual).
kaleidoscopic effect, at once fragmentary and lyrical. In De Rivera’s oeuvre color and memory are often closely entwined to trigger associations and this is reflected in the 2003 work Paradise of Ashes with its palette of dusty grey monotones that also denote spatial movements on a fragmented landscape. Paradise of Ashes, interestingly, deviates from the usually sumptuous De Rivera palette, and rightly so since the piece can be described as a meditation on the devastation in Northern Philippines following the 1991 Pinatubo volcanic eruption.
In a recent piece Lokum Beyoglu 1 (2008), the triptych showcases De Rivera’s mastery in the handling of color, where his signature modelling paste technique provides accent in the form of randomly scattered ‘stones’ that form or act as a ‘bridge’ across the three panels. The pictorial ground, studded with detail and flitting images of insects and clouds, has a
But it was the earlier 2001 work “Nuestra Eden Perdido” (Our Endangered Eden) which pushed De Rivera to the international art scene when he won the Excellence Award in March 2003 from the Beppu Contemporary Art Exhibits in Japan, besting a thousand entries from across the world. A triptych, the work is a superb orchestration of colours, fragments and textures,
In the Land of Sorcerers and Dragonflies 122 x 91.5 cm, 2010
contemplating on the slow demise of the natural world and the innocent. As described by critics the piece shows “… mutated flowers meeting spaceships and modern icons like rum bottle labels, fabric swatches and postage stamps, flanked by a Madonna and child and a bahag-clad (loin cloth) denizen of simpler times and places.” Nowadays when the newest art works are increasingly occupying the conceptual terrain, and when the aesthetic experience and approach are often pushed to the background under heavy bombardment from ‘shock art’ and their variants, artists in Philippines are not impervious, but are confronted with the infinite chasms and splits that plague the art world.
Confronted with this question, De Rivera responds in an unperturbed, characteristic manner: “I grew up in a gentler, kinder world that saw things in a different perspective. Aesthetics as I know it is a world away from what seems to be or what passes as such these days. It takes a totally different mindset to appreciate conceptual art,” says De Rivera as he pauses and carefully adds: “It (appreciation of conceptual art) doesn't come easy, but having come face to face with great modern art such as Yayoy Kusama's has totally taken me.” One can only nod in agreement in the same way that one opens up to the exalting colors, textures and landscapes that are uniquely De Rivera’s.
In the Land of Dragons and Bamboo Gods 81.5 x 92 cm, 2008 12
Silence of Centuries No 2 152.5 x 122 cm, 2010 13
Carol of the Birds No 2 122 x 92 cm, 2010 14
Santa Maria II 91.5 x 122 cm, 2009
A newly opened gallery Altro Mondo features Mario de Rivera for it’s first one-man show. Entitled In the Land of Dragons and Bamboo Gods the opening held on Aug 27, 2010 was a success as usual. New paintings & a big crowd of art lovers, collectors, artists & friends of de Rivera filled up the bright and spacious gallery. The richly detailed and colorful art of Mario de Rivera is filled with exuberant arabesque, floral and leaf, people from near and far and of different era, textile weaving patterns, religious icons and human images of timeless beauty. He gets his inspiration from his travels & exchange of experiences with a wide range of people & culture. Professor Felipe M. de Leon of Art Studies at the University of the Philippines and presently Vice-President of Unesco’s International Music Council had his write-up of the artist and his paintings featured on a wall. Entitled A Weaver of Timeless Realms, Prof. de Leon writes ”To behold Mario de Rivera’s art is to be in the presence of faith made visible. But it is faith that transcends any one religion. It is one inspired by the timeless mysteries of the creative act itself.Traversing cultures, from ancient times to the present, the artist delights us with sensous yet subtle, strong yet sensitive archetypes of humanity— from the indigenous to the urbane, from the intuitive to the learned.” Josephine Lareza September 2010 Photos of some paintings from Altromondo Arte Contemporaneo, Greenbelt 5, Makati 15
An informal chat with
“Bonjour, entrez”, Madame Ambassador greeted me , a warm smile on her astonishingly ageless face, with a tone of voice as familiar as it is reassuring of the adored “titas” in anyone’s family. Dressed in an elegant pale rose suit and light purple turtleneck, she exuded an aura of power despite a friendly, open demeanor, immediately putting me so much at ease that I forget that she is in such an important position. It was a sunny Paris afternoon, the air crisp, heralding autumn. She briefly disappeared and came back with three copies of Roots and Wings, putting them on the table. “I love the magazine. It is informative, the images are wonderful. I enjoy the well-written articles by young, dedicated writers.” she said. A typical day in the life of Ambassador Rora Tolentino begins with some cardio exercises before a light breakfast. “I’m at the Embassy before 9 am., then I go over my schedule for the month. It has every meeting, every function, in detail.” She continued, “Then I have meetings all day until about 7pm, followed by cocktails, dinners. My calendar is very detailed . That’s Monday to Friday. The weekends are mine”. She led me to the bright spacious salon where various objets d’art and memorabilia are meticulously placed. There are photos where she is shaking hands with Mitterand, Chirac and Sarkozy. The following is a transcript of the interview I was blessed to be granted by this fascinating lady. 16
Madame Ambassador, I would like to thank you for granting this interview on such short notice. I have a few questions regarding your post in France, and the state of affairs in the Philippines. Yes (her face lighting up at the mention of Philippines.)
First off ambassador, where were you born?
I come from two provinces in the Visayan region. I was born in Cebu, my mother is Cebuana. The Navarros, my father’s family come from Surigao del Norte, which is Northern Mindanao.”
Could you tell us about your education?
My early education began in Bohol, which is strange because I really don’t have family ties there. My father was an officer in the military there before entering politics. During his active military service, he was posted for four years in Bohol as the provincial commander in the Philippine Constabulary, I studied there at the School of the Religious Sisters, run by German sisters. When he finished his term, he brought us to Manila, where I continued my studies at the College of the Holy Spirit. After high school, I entered the University of the Philippines, where I earned a double degree: Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service and Law.
What was your first taste of Europe, Asia and the Americas?
As kids, we would take vacations in Japan, where I had an uncle who had a house just outside Tokyo. Most of our trips before the big family world tour were in Asia. However when my father was governor, we went much farther; it brought to my consciousness that there IS a Philippine foreign service. In 1964, there were not many Filipinos traveling around.
How did you get started in foreign affairs?
My entry in the department of foreign affairs was quite unique. I was in my senior year of foreign service at UP, the first time a DFA foreign service course was offered. It was a three month in-house training program. Ten students were invited from various colleges and universities all over Manila. I was fortunate enough to be chosen to represent the UP Foreign Service department by my advisor and department head , Dr. Baldoria.
Were you required to speak a foreign language
at that point?
No, English was enough. At UP however, we were required to have a foreign language as an elective. I chose French. I’m dating myself by saying I also took Spanish.
You had no idea you would end up in France, that this was going to be your life? No, I had no idea, (smiles) When I took the Foreign Service exam at the age of 25, I chose French for the foreign language component, taking it in my last semester as a law student. Right after law school, I accepted a job at the DFA.
It’s amazing to me that even before you passed the bar exam, you were already in a foreign service position. You were apparently quite a prodigy even then. (Laughs) Yes. I saw great value in studying law. In fact, I encourage anyone interested in entering the foreign service, especially if they are young, to take up law. When you start getting in more difficult assignments abroad, it is a huge advantage to be a lawyer, because you carry with you a certain confidence and you exercise your discretion with greater knowledge that you are within the realm of the law. Not everything is black and white. Often, there are gray areas and you have to exercise your judgment. Lalo na ‘yung assistance to national cases, and there are cases when you really have to determine if there is due process for the Filipinos.
If you were to pick a career highlight, what would it be? I have already served 43 years and have been privileged to meet influential people. A highlight of my career? There are so many. I’ve been blessed with good postings.
Of all the people you’ve met along the diplomatic path, heads of states, presidents and the like, who impressed you the most and why? A: You mean foreign?
Foreign or not.
(Reflects) It’s hard to generalize. Undoubtedly, there are people who are really inspiring ‘no, and there would be certain ones that would come foremost to mind. For example, I had the great privilege of serving President Cory Aquino. 17
Let’s talk about Cory Aquino, a remarkable person, loved by many.
Cory had these meetings. Everyone made an effort to greet her. She made a strong impression on me. Here is a Filipina being asked for interviews by all these world leaders. Francois Mitterand even asked her to be the chief guest of honor at the French bicentennial. That was a proud moment. I think Mitterand saw in her a sort of Jeanne D’Arc, somebody who saved the nation.
In 1989, the Emperor of Japan died in Tokyo. The Funeral Diplomacy, all of them, heads of states and governments converged there all of a sudden. Cory had ten meetings with different heads of state, including President George Bush Sr, Francois Mitterand and Benazhir Bhutto. I was fortunate to be in the same room with these people. It was quite an event when
At that time you were appointed elsewhere?
I did not know her personally but she spoke for a lot of people. She had a blessed simplicity about her. For example, she wrote “housewife” as her occupation when she was sworn in. I handled all her briefings in Asia and the Pacific.
Yes. I was posted in Bangkok at the time.
How many employees does the Embassy have at the moment? Including myself we are 21. I am one of five officers. the other four are diplomatic officers. I have two
ministers, two secretaries, ten home-based employees from Manila and six local hire. We are all Filipinos. We don’t have any foreign or alien employees. Even our translator/interpreter, is Filipina. We have two offices. One, the chancellerie, is in Hameau de Bougainvillier, the other is the permanent delegation of the Philippines to UNESCO, where one of my officers holds a permanent position.
Have you represented the Philippines in any countries other than France?
Yes. Until December 2009, we also covered Portugal. Today, we cover Monaco.
How is the relationship between France and the Philippines? Generally good. Our bilateral history and background are quite strong and a lot of similarities exist between French and Filipino cultures.
We are the first Republic in Asia, founded in 1898. En parallel, France is the first European Republic , founded in 1789.
Q: How many Filipinos live in France?
Well, there are Filipino citizens, some of which have dual nationalities. Kasi mayroon na tayong dual citizenship, ano. There’s an official figure of between 5000 and 6000 who have permits. Of course, there are definitely more. We have informal figures of 4500050000 living in France. They move a lot in Europe, especially now that there are no more borders.
What about their working conditions?
Generally good. The Filipino worker is unmatched in his enthusiasm, whether domestic helpers or drivers. They all say the Filipino is trustworthy, diligent and does not mind working extra hours. They are all very highly regarded, in fact they say when they had to choose, they will always choose the Filipino.
What fields do you consider of particular interest to the Filipinos seeking employment or work permits in France? One must learn French before seeking employment. We have an edge in countries where English is spoken, however in France, if you want to work in the service sector you must be able to communicate in French.
I notice your grandchildren speak some French. Hindi pa naman, but I hope, eventually (laughs). But Farah, my daughter speaks and writes French very well. And my boy, Abelardo, we call him Abe, you should meet him, 5 years younger than Farah and speaks more copain French.
And you have how many grandchildren?
I have two from Farah, three from Kara, the eldest and Abe, is not married yet. I hope soon. (laughs)
How is Filipino- French trade developing?
The volume is not big. In fact France is only the 18th trading partner of the Philippines. We are number 5 however in exports: electronic parts, gadgets, furniture, handicrafts and clothing, The bulk is there but what do we import from France? We import airplanes, figures are such because airbuses come from France. Big value items, in small volume. Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific bought 34 airbuses. We import pharmaceuticals as well. That is why the numbers are not big, but there is a trade. It’s about $1B a year.
Do you think that investor confidence is stronger now that the economy and the peso are doing well?
There are in fact over 100 French companies in the Philippines right now. In fact, there is Le Club, an active group of businessmen. Lafarge, Essilor, Total,and AXA.I think they are looking at the Philippines closely now, because of the President’s policy statement, which means he is targeting corruption. He wants to end red tape, a slow process of doing business in government. The president has also signaled that we try our best to have consistent rules now for foreign investors that people will be more confident, creating more transparency in business.
Are there any new projects on the way?
It’s ongoing. There is a new one lanced in 2009, L’Agence Francaise de Developpement, they have entered into an agreement that gave a 150 million euros as a soft loan/assistance to be able to help with the local LGU’s (local government units) budget, because we have to empower not just Manila, you have to go to the provinces. And there was this loan facility that was signed by the French Development Agency, with our Department of Finance which now is geared towards local government units, to decentralize funding, so that oftentimes we have good projects but the capital 19
is not there. So there is this partnership now, and the agency for the first time gave us that.
of Joe Dassin
How is the tourism industry doing?
In perspective, yes. I’m the first ambassador to come back to France. Other diplomats come back as a promotion, they come back as the ambassador-at-last but I came back as ambassador. I will have been here before. So I am so privileged really, and by that I mean because I did not seek for it myself.
We are doing well. By the way, the French figures have been increasing steadily. Last year it was 34,000 tourists. What’s nice with the French is that they stay longer, they want to go out to the islands, our main attraction, they don’t only visit the cities. That is good for the local economy. France has been very receptive to our main plus, which is nature travel. We are promoting ecotourism. In fact we are the ecotourism partner here in France. We were the Diving Destination of the Year in 2008 . We also have the UNESCO Heritage sights in the Philippines.
What do you look forward to the most at retirement?
Alam mo, because I have been working right away straight from college ‘no, in the Department of Foreign Affairs. I would have 43 years on the job when I retire. I am looking forward to a time of my own. I have paid a high price for my career, this family separation. The government only allows me to bring my minor children so when they reached 21, I could no longer bring them along with me. In their growing years they were with me, but later on I would have had to sacrifice that. My husband Abelardo Jr. does not stay with me full-time. He is a lawyer and a businessman in the Philippines and because he is not in government, his time is his own.
When you go on vacation, where do you go?
Whenever I’m back in the Philippines, I am a domestic tourist. I go to the places that I promote as an ambassador, because for me I’m missing out. I promote it to foreigners, and I’m not doing myself any service by not going there myself. So I went to Vigan, Palawan ,and Tagaytay. I’ve been to many different countries but not often for vacation.
What kind of music do you listen to?
(Smiles) You know I like Filipino Music. OPM I like. Of course, I like the style of Lea Salonga, because she can shift from Broadway into OPM music. Then I like the kundimans, more traditional music like that. I also like French music,: Aznavour, and of course who doesn’t like Edith Piaf? When I was studying in Vichy we had to translate French songs and I really liked the music 20
You consider yourself blessed?
Are there any more goals that you’re going for, anything else you want to accomplish in your career or lifetime? In my career, wala na siguro. I don’t see myself coming back for another term although that is an option, after you’ve served as career ambassador. If the president still wants you to serve, he or she can reappoint you to a position, but as a political ambassador. That means that your term now is co-terminus with the President. When his term is finished, I finish with him. Plus, there is an age limit to be a career ambassador. I don’t envision that I will still have another ambassadorial post.
No more career goals.What’s the next step for you?
Kasi parang the next step for me in the Department because I have been undersecretary before and now deputy minister, is to become the foreign minister. And the foreign minister is a political choice, of the president. There’s great talent out there. I don’t have that aspiration.
Do you have a particular message for the Filipinos living in Europe? The best I can think of is to be proud of yourself as a Filipino. I am happiest seeing the Filipino remaining to be a Filipino, even if he has left the country. For me it’s a very touching attribute of the Filipino, that he might have left our shores, but always the Philippines remains in his or her heart. I’d like you to remain proud of our heritage, and to carry on the message that we have a lovely country and even lovelier people.
Thank you again ambassador for agreeing to do this interview:
You are very welcome, I’m happy that you chose me. Let’s have a little merienda.
By: Jonathan Arevalo Coo
Christmas in the Philippines starts on September 1 and ends on Valentine’s Day. That is almost six months! On the first of September, the malls start playing Christmas music. “Parol” – a star-shaped emblem and other lantern or colorful light decorations are sold. It is even more amazing to see some streets selling these Christmas decors at night or during All Saints/All Souls Day (another important holiday during November 1 and 2, although the cemeteries become festive with music and food instead of the real purpose of praying.
If you add up Halloween night on October 31, it will even be more like a party.) In the Catholic tradition, September 8 is celebrated as the Virgin Mary’s birthday. “Simbang Gabi” (literally translated as going to church at night but it actually means attending mass early in the morning) is another tradition of nine early mornings of attending mass before Christmas Day. Protestant Churches also join the preparations through Cantata choir rehearsals. The 21
modern day cantata is a musical play with narration. Christmas cantatas have become a tradition besides the caroling and sumptuous food! “Queso de bola” and “Hamon” (cheese preserved through a wax red round-shaped covering and rounded shaped ham) can only be bought during the Christmas season. If you don’t eat pork, one can buy the best Chicken Hamon in Cagayan de Oro. And if you want a more creative cheesecake or ice cream, Queso de bola cheesecakes and ice cream flavored Queso de bola are already sold. Another famous dessert is the “Puto Bumbong.” Puto is a rice cake. But this Puto Bumbong is unique because it is normally cooked on a banana leaf off of charcoal on open air. In the music world, choral competitions are everywhere. Eliminations normally start in October to give ample time for the December finals. There is caroling everywhere— hotels, restaurants, buses, jeepneys, even street children singing Christmas songs. The popular ballet “Nutcracker” is also always shown and some establishments even start presenting fireworks on weekends. In fact, the World’s Pyro Olympics is held in the Philippines during the holiday season. Where else in the world can you go for the “Aguinaldo” (gift-giving) tradition coupled with a buffet of all the food you can just imagine. Then the biggest celebration on the eve of Christmas known as the “Noche Buena.” This is the time nobody sleeps until Christmas morn. 22
Trivia- Do you know that the Philippines is the only country who celebrates a film festival starting on December 25 ending the week after New Year? Yes, the Metro Manila Film Festival is a competition of different Filipino entries and all the cinemas only show Philippine movies. There is even a parade in the afternoon of December 24 featuring all the film entries. One might wonder what happens in January after all the numerous festivities. Well, there are more festivies. “Fiestas” to be exact. The Visayas is known for the Sto. Nino celebrations. It starts in Cebu, known as the sinulog festival. The little Jesus and even the coming of the Three Kings or three wisemen are a continuation of the Christmas tradition. And before you are ready to celebrate the month of Love, the Chinese New Year adds a colorful end to the Christmas country. Half of the year, this joyous occasion cannot be experienced anywhere else in the world. True, you wouldn’t see snowflakes but you can go ice skating in the mall or make a snowman in a theme park. You probably can’t roast chestnuts on an open fire or experience the furnace to warm your body. But the spirit of family and togetherness with every single member of your clan and even your neighbors and your whole community can only be felt in this Land of the Orient. Videoke, games, dancing, food, food, food! (plus the traffic!) Are you coming home for Christmas?
Arts and Culture in the Aquino Government By: Jonathan Arevalo Coo It is an accepted fact the Arts is the least priority in the current Philippine administration. Supporting the Arts is extravagant and frivolous. What Philippine society needs is a boost in tourism, provide more employment, and expand each city’s infrastructure. Arts and Culture will not help in improving the economy. It will not help a typhoon-prone country nor save its people from bandits.
Why do we need Arts and Culture then? Or can we separate culture from the arts? What is culture anyway? Is culture synonymous to good breeding? I grew up in a community where people say you are “cultured” when you attend Classical concerts, ballet performances, theater productions, painting exhibits, book launchings, and 23
art film openings. When one travels, besides the tourism attraction, museums are a must-see in order to know the history of a place. Then the adventure of tasting the food of a place adds a sense of uniqueness and understanding of its society. Culture can also mean the lifestyle of a province or what the area is known for. The “beach” culture of the Visayan islands is defintely different to the hot spring resorts of Los Banos, Laguna. The diligence and thriftiness of the Ilocanos can be likened to the industrious and successful business in General Santos City in Mindanao. The indigenous Maranao culture and its kulintang music exhibits the same artistic excellence of rondalla music in Silay City, Iloilo. Perhaps it is the finer things in culture that we need to associate with the arts like the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and other performance venues around the country wherein we can showcase the soul of the Filipinos.
The question remains. Will President Noy’s government support CCP, Concert at the Park in Luneta and Paco Park Presents, the National Music Competitions for Young Artists, the Philippine High School for the Arts at the National Arts Center on Mt. Makiling, the Peace Philharmonic Philippines in Cebu, the Leyte Kalipayan Dance Troupe, the numerous choirs in Mindanao joining competitions abroad, and many more music education related organizations and institutions who will probably never make any profit? One industry is definitely getting support and even the OPM officers received a special oath taking in the palace. Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mangaawit (OPM) or the Organization of Filipino Singers which consists of our country’s top musicians in the Entertainment field. Yes, Regine Velasquez, Gary Valenciano, Ogie Alcasid, are among the many pop singers bringing in money not only through their singing but also through commercials and movies. Politics and Entertaintment, a solution in Arts and Culture to save the economy of the Philippines.
Hello from Switzerland
Make Noise for Pinoys By: Nicole Bataclan Under the slogan “Make Noise 4 Pinoys“, a group of eight young Filipinos and Swiss-Filipinos living in Switzerland founded Noi-P. – Network of Integrated Pinoys earlier this spring. The newly established association consists in uniting Filipinos and Swiss citizens with Filipino roots regardless of gender, religion and age. Together, the members will not only have the possibility to share their experiences with fellow Kababayans, but more importantly, the association aims to help people explore and reinforce their cultural identity. The Noi-P. community is also willing to work with other organizations and support projects as well. Last but not least, one of the main purposes of this association is to raise awareness about Filipino culture among Swiss people. On 5 September 2010, the Network of Integrated Pinoys, in collaboration with the Philippine Embassy, hosted their first event “CONNECTING PINOYS 2G” at the Mellow Club in Zurich, Switzerland. Around
forty people came together on a delightful Sunday afternoon to reflect and discuss the challenges and importance of their (double) identity as Filipinos and Filipinas in Switzerland. H.E. Philippine Ambassador to Switzerland, Maria Theresa Lazaro, and Consul Lilibeth V. Pono attended the event. Special guest star included current Miss Earth Switzerland, the proud Filipina-Swiss Liza Andrea Kuster. Upon arriving, attendees received a nametag of different colors, which would later be used in a Q&A game. Divided into groups, the participants then had to answer questions on sensitive topics such as Do you feel mostly Swiss or Filipino? What part of you is Filipino? Have you ever felt discriminated? Are your friends mostly Filipinos or not, and why? Do you eat Filipino food? If not, why is this the case? A majority of the guests – both Pinoys and half-Pinoys – shared the same feelings as Samantha, a young Filipina in her twenties living in Zurich. As it appears, many amongst 25
Hello from Switzerland
them embrace their Filipino as much as their Swiss upbringing. For instance, Samantha says her morals and values are very Filipino. She praises her family, which she believes to be a typical Filipino trait. On the other hand, the young woman is “more” Swiss when it comes to organization and business. In contrast, there were also participants like Angelo, who sees himself as being only Pinoy although he has been living in Switzerland for nearly twenty years. In addition, he mentioned not having acquired the Swiss citizenship yet as a relevant factor. Finally, a few deemed to be just Swiss because their social environment evolves only around Swiss people. The Q&A game was very interesting for both parties – organizers and participants – as it let people express their views on ethnicity and their integrity in Switzerland. After taking a short break crowned with Filipino music from Yann Passabet-Labiste, co-founder of Noi-P. Michael James Alaba and Beauty Queen Liza Andrea Kuster went further in depth about their Filipino heritage and the struggles they are sometimes confronted with. Although representing Switzerland at Miss Earth 2010, Kuster emphasizes that she is SwissFilipino at heart, and she lives both nationalities to a hundred percent. Commenting on the importance of the Filipino language, she affirmed it was fundamental to learn it. Kuster believes speaking Tagalog makes one feel more integrated when flying back to the
Philippines. Michael James Alaba aspires to strengthen the cultural identity of Filipinos in Switzerland. “I am a Filipino, and we want people in Switzerland to know the difference”, says Michael. Later on, the public joined the discussion and tried to find solutions to how the community can lobby Filipino culture in Switzerland. Among the suggestions, people realized that bigger events had to be organized; working with the media or travel agencies would be favorable as well. Opening a Filipino restaurant and even forming a hiphop dance group could also be great inputs. Finally, entertainment and snacks rounded up the event. As Ambassador Maria Theresa Lazaro noticed, “the young Filipinos in Switzerland have become an integral part of this community. Nevertheless, it is extremely important to be proud of our ethnicity.” With these words, the young people were able to make noise for Pinoys, for themselves. The next step for Noi-P. ¬– Network of Integrated Pinoys is to work on networking and forging a stronger bond between its members and friends. Soon enough, recognition will come. The future seems bright for the Noi-P. community. It is with new friends and a smile that people left Mellow Club that day, proud of their roots, and their wings.
More information about Noi-P. – Network of integrated Pinoys on: http://www.noi-p.ch
The most complete grocery store in Stockholm for Filipino and other Asian products Holländargatan 9 – Stockholm Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 10.00 to 20.00 Saturday 10.00 to 19.00 Sunday 11.00 to 18.00
Welcome and Mabuhay! Shop Owner: Myra Borromeo Tammerstrand 070-496 99 00 26
TOM ERIK KLAVENESS Chairman of the Torvald Klaveness Group
welcomes "Hiligaynon" officers
Mr. Tom Erik Klaveness, Chairman of The Torvald Klaveness Group, a pioneer in training and hiring of Filipino seamen and ship officers to Norwegian shipping, welcomed officers of the Hiligaynon Association of Norway, (HAN). The HAN officers paid a courtesy call to Mr. Tom Erik Klaveness, Chairman of the Torvald Klaveness Group, at the group’s head offices in Oslo. The association, formed to foster unity, cooperation and camaraderie among its members, held its induction and inauguration program on 23rd May this year. Among the highlights of the program was the awarding of the DATU Awards to recognized friends, benefactors, and supporters of Filipinos in Norway. The DATU award to Mr. Klaveness, reads: “This award is lovingly presented to Mr. Tom Erik Klaveness, Businessman, Civic Leader, Friend of Filipinos - In deep gratitude and appreciation for his support, inspiration, warmth, affection, and guidance to Filipinos in Norway.. in particular to the “Hiligaynons” in their process of unity and formation, thus inspiring to increased understanding and better integration amidst the growing diversity in Norwegian society.” As Mr. Klaveness could not attend the HAN induction program, HAN officers, facilitated by its treasurer Corazon Panes-Furuseth, paid a courtesy call and presented the Datu Award to Mr. Klaveness. Also presented was the ‘sablay’- the Hiligaynon ceremonial garb. Mr. Tom Erik Klaveness was a most gracious host, and posed for photos with HAN officers. We say the “sablay” looks very good on Mr. Klaveness!
Mr. Klaveness in welcoming the HAN officers.
The Torvald Klaveness Group has a company in Manila, the Klaveness Maritime Agency, Inc. (KMA) established as early as 1984 to support its crewing activities.. The company has activities in Iloilo and Bacolod, areas within the “Hiligaynon”-speaking Western Visayas Region VI.. Of special mention is that Mr. Tom Erik Klaveness himself took the initiative to organize the Seamen's Wives Association of Klaveness (SWAK), in 1984, which coordinates and attends to numerous activities related to the welfare and well-being of the "Klaveness Family” (families of staff employed with Klaveness) in the Philippines. There is a Klaveness Youth Summer Camp (KYSC) for the children of seaand shore staff; The Klaveness Scholarship Program (KSP) which provides financial support for studies of selected children of Office and Seastaff. HAN salutes the company and especially its chairman, Mr. Tom Erik Klaveness, for the commitment to help in training and recruitment of Filipino officers and seamen, and for the betterment of their working and general conditions. Indeed, with its extensive activities in the Philippines, the Torvald Klaveness Group recognize Filipino shipping personnel as among the best in the world, worthy partners in the shipping industry worldwide. KMA has offices in 6th floor VNP Building, Pedro Gil Street in Ermita, Manila. *To join “Hiligaynon Association of Norway”, contact: Luz Bergersen, Pres.Tel. 90130871; or Jennifer Frankrig, Sec.Tel 92488443
Mr. Torbjørn Eide, Vice-President for Maritime Personnel of The Torvald Klaveness Group, also joined 27
Where You are Planted By: Ivee Blossom Hidvegi
We always see this gentle, caring and highly intuitive individual every Sunday at Sta. Eugenia Church in Stockholm. R&W gave me the opportunity to interview this genuinely warm and fascinating man for this issue of the magazine. He showed me his church life one Sunday, which was totally awesome, as I was also given the privilege to interview him. I find him very easy going, funny but at the same time a very intelligent person. Leopold Luna Ilag, who grew up in Los Banos, came from an exceptional family. His parents are Professor Leodegario Medialdia Ilag and Professor Lina Vergara Luna Ilag. His father is a cum laude BSc, MSc in Agricultural Economics at UP Los Banos and MSc, PhD in Economics at Purdue University, USA. His mother is also a cum laude BSc in Agriculture at UPLB, MSc. in Plant Pathology at the University of Hawaii, and a PhD in Plant Pathology at Purdue University, USA. Leopold is the youngest of 4 siblings namely: Leodevico L. Ilag, magna cum laude BS Biology at UPLB and PhD at University of Tennessee, Liza L. Ilag, magna cum laude BS Biology at UPLB, MD at UP and MSc at University of Michigan and the 3rd sibling is Lawrence L. Ilag, summa cum laude BS Biology at UPLB, M.Phil/PhD at Yale and JD at Harvard. Not to be left out by his siblings, Leopold also did his undergraduate studies at UP Los Banos and graduated as magna cum laude in BS Biology major in genetics. He was the top of UPLB graduating class of 1991 and the most outstanding male graduate 1991 of the entire UP system.
What made you study abroad?
It was a normal thing for us to study abroad after university. Since all my siblings and my parents did postgraduate studies in the USA I wanted to be different and chose Europe; also I was not so keen on living in the United States where in fact I attended 6th grade of primary school. The reason I chose Sweden was a bit random, I was just choosing different countries from a journal without paying particular attention to the institutions. In the end I had to choose between doing a PhD in Cambridge University or at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholmâ&#x20AC;Śthe more challenging 5-year program in Sweden compared to the 3-year program
in the UK appealed more to me. It is one of the best decisions I have made in my life! Leopold finished his PhD on Molecular Neurobiology/ Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics at Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden, he was an EMBO Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry, Munich, Germany and was a Postdoctoral fellow at Oxford Centre for Molecular Sciences, University of Oxford, UK. He worked as a research associate at the Department of Chemistry, Cambridge University, UK. At present, he works as an associate professor in 29
Stockholm University. He mainly teaches bioanalytical chemistry. Leopold coordinates and evaluates theses of MSc students in his department. He also carries out his own research program and handles MSc and PhD students. He is also the Director of the proteomics facility of Stockholm University. Leopold is part of the the Philippine-American Academy of Science and Engineering and member of the Board of the Swedish Mass Spectrometry Society .
Was it hard to study abroad for the first time?
It was not my first time to study abroad but it was my first time to live on my own. I was 21 yrs old when I started my PhD but looking back, I have always had generous people around me that made adjusting to a new life easy and when I found the church I felt I was home!
Why did you transfer from UK back to Sweden?
I came back to Sweden in 2004 after being a research associate at the University of Cambridge. I have always wanted to go back to Sweden and get settled here. Stockholm for me has the perfect climate with a good balance of nature, culture, the medieval and modern and in fact, I love the long cold and dark winters!
You have worked as a researcher before… what is the most interesting research you have made?
In my lab’s current research, one of the most exciting one is a collaboration we have with the Botany department in Stockholm University on detecting a toxin found in the Baltic Sea called B-Methylamino-Lalanine or BMAA. It is believed to play a role in the disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s disease which is the same disease that world renowned physicist Stephen Hawking suffers from. The work was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA and was featured in the New York Times. My earlier research was on protein engineering; protein structure determination and analysis of molecular machines which I find most fascinating as well.
Having graduated from the Karolinska Institute which awards the Nobel Prize in Medicine or physiology, do you have thoughts on the chances of a Filipino winning a Nobel Prize some day? Which fields do Filipinos excel in? In general I think Filipinos by nature excel in the Arts and the Humanities. However, there is no doubt 30
Filipinos do well in the natural sciences too. In 2007, Prof. Baldomero Olivera was chosen as Harvard Scientist of the Year for his pioneering work on conotoxins that have been very useful in neuroscience. Filipino chemist Francisco Quisumbing invented Quink ink, which was developed with The Parker Pen Company. Profs. Florante Quiocho and Eduardo Padlan are renowned x-ray crystallographers etc. There are excellent networks such as the PhilippineAmerican Academy of Science and Engineering (PAASE) http://www.paase.org/ that could mentor budding scientists. As Newton said "If I have seen further, it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants." However, as to winning a Nobel Prize, this is a matter determined by so many factors so I cannot really comment on chances but I guess I could say it is not impossible.
You have accomplished many things, what about your personal life? How do you unwind? Any sports or interests? “Outside” academic life, I like to relax mainly through listening to classical music specifically opera. Although I am a bit dyslexic I do manage to read a bit about things that really excite me like metaphysics, natural history, math, christian mysticism and ethics. I like playing badminton. I love good food! My favorites are Japanese, French and Italian cuisine. I live a kind of urban monastic life which integrates nicely with the way I seamlessly combine being a scientist and a devout catholic. How? That would be a whole interview in itself!
You have a deep interest in Natural Philosophy? Why on that field? Can you also tell us about the catechism class on faith and also the group called Yaapies?
Ok, perhaps I could touch on this a bit. Before we had modern science, there was the field of Natural Philosophy. People, like Newton, were not called “scientists” back then as we do now. I do not know if the departure of science from philosophy was necessary or inevitable. I do nott think so. Catholic teaching recognizes science as a means to truth albeit in a limited sense as it cannot answer the question “Why?” An understanding of the limits and powers of philosophy and science and their proper places in intellectual inquiry within the context of christian faith is what we try to teach in classes on faith and reason that I participate in. Previously I have taught pre-
confirmation kids. We also have a group at St Eugenia’s parish called YAAPies (Young Academics And Professionals) which provides a friendly atmosphere for discussions on culture, science, philosophy and social issues in the context of christian tradition.
What do you consider as your greatest achievement?
I guess the greatest “achievement” (which is a continuing one) is integrating different aspects of my life into a seamless whole. I am the same person in the university, the church, enjoying opera or just hanging out with friends. Additionally, I am rather proud of co-founding a charity in Bogota, Colombia called Gotas de Misericordia or Drops of Mercy http:// www.fundaciongotasdemisericordia.org/. It started in 2001 when I was in the city slated to give a lecture in an international conference and a friend, who is a priest and scientist, invited me to visit the site of his apostolic work in Bogota We decided to help 4 kids with the aim to help them finish university. Now the foundation has been recognized by the city as a model organization and is now government funded. It has about 300 kids under its care, giving them free lunches and some materials so they can attend school. Finally, I am also part of a newly formed St Egidio community in Stockholm. This is a community that was founded in Italy http://www.santegidio.org/.
If they want to join the Yaapies, how can they
contact you? If people want to donate to the Drops of Mercy foundation, who should they talk to?
Everyone regardless of background is welcome to join the YAAPies. The first step is to go to the website http://yaapies.se/ and just register and they will get information on the schedule of meetings etc. People are free to come and go. Past members who are not anymore in Stockholm are encouraged to start similar groups where they are, thus forming a kind of YAAPies network. To donate to Drops of Mercy, they can check details in the website (see above) or contact me through Roots and Wings
What advice can you give to all young Filipinos in Europe who want to achieve something or be like you perhaps? First of all I would say, do not be like me! Be who you truly are meant to be. I advise people who are inspired in part by what I have shared, to ask themselves what they are most passionate about in their life. Usually, this would be something associated with what they see as their strengths or talents. The difficult part is the honesty with which we must see ourselves therefore asking friends and family would also be important. Be guided and live by the virtues. Bloom where you are planted.
I am a nail specialist in Gothenburg, Sweden, since year 2000. I offer basic nail courses, which help you improve your knowledge on how to take care of your nails, professionally and practically, without running into a salon every time you want go to a party, or before taking a vacation. I teach basic nail anatomy, maintaining healthy nails, French manicure, and using different professional materials, to make various nail designs.
If you organize a group of at least 10 people who wish to do this course, the course and nail materials will be free of charge for you. I am also selling beautifully designed 925 silver jewelry, various kinds of pearls, gemstones and fashion watches. We also manufacture jewelries in the design of your choice.
We also offer Jewelry Cocktail Shows. If you organize a group of at least ten people, you will get a free jewelry box, worth 750 SEK. Please don't hesitate to contact me by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: 031- 335 95 24/ 0705 - 800 756 10% of sales will go to the VITA NOVA FOUNDATION!
First Filipino Pilgrimage in Altötting By Fr. Adonis Narcelles Jr. SVD, Berlin
More than 300 Filipino Pilgrims, mostly from Germany, Austria and Switzerland gathered in Altötting, Bavaria, Germany on July 24, 2010 to participate in the first Filipino Pilgrimage of Philippine Communities and Chaplaincies in Europe. Fr. Johan Dumandan, Fr. Antonio Enerio SVD and Fr. Adonis Narcelles Jr. SVD celebrated the Holy Mass at the Basilica of St. Anne which highlighted the day’s various pilgrim events. More than 300 Filipinos, Germans, Swiss and Austrians participated in the lively and multilingual Holy Mass. Groups represented came from Zurich, Bern, Luzern, Basel and St. Gallen in Switzerland; Vienna and Salzburg in Austria; Munich, Hannover, Mühldorf, Passau and Berlin in Germany. There were also Filipino pilgrims from the United States and from the Philippines.
The Filipino pilgrim day in Altötting, the main pilgrim site in Germany with about 1.5 million pilgrims every year, started with the Holy Rosary and Marian Songs at 9 am. The Blessed Sacrament was exposed for prayers and adoration until 1 pm, before the pilgrims’ “Walk with Mary” to the Basilica of St. Anne where the Holy Mass was celebrated. Songs were practiced before the Mass in this huge church which can accommodate up to 8,000 pilgrims. The church was constructed from 1910 until 1912. After the Holy Mass, the pilgrims visited the Holy Places in Altötting including the St. Conrad Church, the St. Mary Magdalene Church, the Congregation Hall, the Parish Church of St. Philip and James, the Adoration Chapel, St. Michael Church, the Stations of the Cross and the Chapel of Grace (Gnadenkappelle)
which houses the much-adored Black Madonna of Altötting. The pilgrimage here started as early as 1498. The pilgrims gathered again at 6pm at the Church of Philip and James, which also celebrates 500th Anniversary of its inauguration, for the blessing of religious articles and the praying of the Holy Rosary. At 7pm, the group went to the Church of St. Conrad, a saint from Altötting, for the evening prayer. The pilgrimage ended with the touching Light Procession at 9pm together with other pilgrims from around the world. Another significant place in Altötting is the House Pope Benedict XVI, a museum which keeps the treasures and historical artefacts of Altötting including a collection of more than 2,500 rosaries and other gifts offered to the Blessed Mother. Pope Benedict XVI (whose birthplace,
Marktl, is only 18 kilometers away from Altötting) used to visit the Black Madonna here. The last time he was here was on September 11, 2006. He expressed the importance of Altötting to him in saying: “I am very lucky to have been born near Altötting and to go on pilgrimages together with my parents and sibling, to this place of grace which form part of my earliest and most treasured memories. Like Pope Benedict XVI, many Filipino pilgrims who visited Altötting and Marktl in July 2010 could also express their joy after this blessed experience and went home with “most treasured memories.” P.S. The next Filipino Pilgrimage of Philippine Communities and Chaplaincies in Europe will be held next year in Einsiedeln, Switzerland.
ADAM S IKDAL Leads Boston Consulting Group in Oslo By: Luz Bergersen,
of BCG in April this year, about 15 years since he started to work for the consulting firm. He heads a youthful group of some 70-(average age 32) gleaming with high scholastic achievements and talents, well-dressed, and though they look so young, actually play an important role in many of Norway’s most important companies..
Asked what has led him to the top, Adam S Ikdal says… - “It is important to know that you can draw in accounts/clients, and that you have done well, commercially. It gives credibility and legitimacy in such a position. And, I have gone through the ranks. I have the finger on the pulse in the company –also the social bit” Roots & Wings is proud and pleased to feature ADAM S (for Saga) IKDAL, youngest of three children of our very own Reneé S. Ikdal. Adam is a Stavanger boy, and graduated from the prestigious Norges Handelshøyskole (NHH) in Bergen.. The very respectable periodical for business, stock markets and economic policy, ‘Kapital’ in its latest issue, features the young and dashing ADAM S IKDAL, in its cover, with the heading…”BCG Beats McKinsey..” ADAM S IKDAL heads BCG in Oslo, the company named as best consultant in the highly competitive management consulting business in Norway. The Boston Consulting Group in Oslo (BCG) headed by Adam, is reported to have beaten arch-rival McKinsey & Company. ADAM S IKDAL, 39 was chosen as Managing Partner 34
This year, it is estimated that the consulting business in Norway is worth about six billion kroners, and Kapital estimates that BCG will get about 300 million of this pot.
Managing partner is a position of
Ikdal’s special area is ‘buy out” of companies – including major improvement programs. He is responsible for some of the companies biggest clients in Oslo, in addition to being managing partner. Adam says: “Norwegian companies are more competent and more staffed with people who think strategy, than just a few years ago…The challenge is that development in business goes so much faster and the complexities are so much larger.. One can risk losing significant competitive edge if one does not follow up from one year to the other…for example, almost all our
“It requires both talent, plus enormous effort, to succeed at top level” customers compete with businesses in China and India.. It is very demanding to follow the changes which take place within business for the time being. Therefore they seek help from advisers with global network, says Ikdal.
when I have worked a lot and had to drop meetings with friends, and similar; but these have been small sacrifices compared to what that I have gotten back in terms of learning and experiences…Besides, in BCG, those on the job are also often together during free time”.
Asked what has led him to the top, Adam says…- It is important to know that you can draw -It requires both talent, plus enormous in accounts/clients, and that you have done well, effort, to succeed at top level, Adam says. commercially. It gives credibility and legitimacy in such a position. In addition, I have gone through the ranks. I have the finger on the pulse in the company – also the social bit..
Adam Ikdal has also invested privately in the restaurant business- he owns a third of the restaurant Bygdoy Alle Restaurant (BAR),which has also a branch in Tjuvholmen, now ‘in’ place frequented by finance people..
And when asked how much he earns, Adam
says..- I am not driven by salary, if I had focused most on money I would have chosen another business, for example, finance. And if one thinks mostly of money, one does not become a good consultant.. We work on the inside of customers and create real values for them… but surely, I look at money as a pleasant bi-effect of what we do, says Ikdal, who will not reveal his salary.. A quick glance at the public tax lists show that he earned about eight million last year. In the summer he sold an exclusive beach front property in Malmøya for 23 million, 5 million more than he paid for it in 2006. He is currently house-hunting..
Asked whether he has sacrificed a lot to come where he is now, Adam replied-
- “No, because I think that the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages.. There have been tough times
–“One must work a lot to be in the ‘premium segment’ in our business…It is demanding work where one must put in 55-60 hours work weeks, maybe even more.. Our customers are extremely demanding, and they pay a lot for the advices we give them. It also means that they come to us with the most difficult and complicated tasks. If it were easy, they would have done the job themselves!” Reference, Kapital, Nr. 18-22, October 2010
Indeed, we share mum Reneé’s joy and pride in Adam’s successes. His achievements at a young age, built through consistency, enormous effort, appreciation of hard work and joy in its rewards, are worthy of emulation for our many young Filipino –Europeans, not only in Norway, but everywhere. And, we may say that Adam is ‘a chip off the old block’, Mum Renee, is the one among us with the sharpest sense in finance and accounts! She is a fantastic lady whom we look up to in our Filipino community in Stavanger. She is president of (FAR) the Filipino Association in Rogaland. As a pianist, she is also leader of the Catholic church choir. She is Honourary Consul General-appointee of the Philippines in Stavanger. And we were delighted when she agreed to represent R&W in Stavanger, and has shared many valuable insights. 35
Greetings from Greece
Filipino Hairstylist in Greek Setting By:Yoko Ramos-Vingno
Hair & Scissors beauty salon is owned and managed by a Filipino hairstylist, Draude ‘Dojie’ Garcia. Located in Athens hoi polloi district of Ambelokipi,Dojie’s shop sits just right in the middle where thousands of Filipinos working in Greece live. Ambelokipi is about 10 minutes away from the center of Athens at Syntagma Square where the Greek parliament is located. The number of Filipinos in Greece is estimated to be about 15, 000, of which 10,000 are believed to be residing in Athens and half of that figure, the Filipinos themselves say they reside at Ambelokipi. Athens is the Greek capital and Athena is its virgin goddess. In Greek mythology, it is written that the Athenians built the Parthenon atop the Acropolis to honor and please her. Athena is the Greek goddess of wisdom, strength, civilization, war, strategy, crafts, justice and skill. The Greeks, particularly the Athenians, pray to Athena to give them not only wisdom but also ask her for almost everything.
Our Filipino expat like the Athenians is an ardent believer of sort. Dojie is a religious man and is a devotee of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. When he learned in one of his voyages as a seaman that his patron saint is nestled in Tinos, an island of Greece, he literally took it as a sign from heaven that he should permanently settle in Greece. All his life Dojie had been pondering where he would permanently set anchor to start a life in a place where his spiritual needs would also be served. Setting foot on Greek soil he found the answer to his prayers. He felt Greece is the place where his Mother of Perpetual Help wanted him to be. Greece was now Dojie’s home. He never looked back. Starting a new life in Athens is of course another story, which for Dojie proved to be practically a struggle for existence. Faced with an entirely new culture and a language that he could not speak and understand, Dojie somehow started from somewhere in order to survive. These early struggles made him stronger. His belief and devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Help and his unrelenting determination to succeed in life in order to be able to provide for the family he left behind in the Philippines kept him going. An experienced waiter, Dojie took all the waitering jobs he could get hold of. He saved what he earned and could even send some of it to his mother in the Philippines.
But for Dojie, life in Greece was not all about waitering. For him it was much more about the realization of a dream than plain survival. He knew what he wanted in life and so he pursued it. He enrolled in a cosmetology class which he passed and got himself a
Greetings from Greece
Greek certificate to practice the profession. He bade waitering goodbye and was now off in haste to pursue his new vocation as a hair stylist. He went from house to house doing home service from blow drying of hairs to haircuts and hairstyling. It was in 2007 that Dojie founded his Hair & Scissors salon (where I first met him) when he was only a couple of month’s new to the business. My husband who is the current Philippine Consul General in the embassy needed a haircut thenso we were brought to Hair & Scissors Place. Then, he told us of his plans to expand and to offer other services such as massage. He said he needed to be very hands on with this business so that his clientele will be assured that they are getting their money’s worth through hundred percent personal service. Dojie proudly tells me of his loyal patrons who are satisfied with his work that meets the Greeks’ high standards in hair styling. Three years later, I met Dojie again during the Independence Day festivities with fellow Filipinos at the Zappeio Park. He was in the company of former celebrity star Tina Paner. Enthusiastically he told me about his new ‘sideline’ with Globe Asiatique (GA). He was manning Globe Asiatique’s booth which was teeming with Filipinos lining up to have their photos taken with Tina Paner. There he proudly told me about the realization of his plan to expand his business, a
plan that he told me three years earlier. Dojie has built another shop at the district of Pangrati in Athens. And more good news he gave me. He sold houses for Globe Asiatique worth 12M despite being with the company for 9months only. He has 10 sales coordinators in Greece. He has 2 in Thessaloniki and another 2 in Crete and the rest are in Athens. GA, he says, trained him to be more focused on work. Over a short span of time with GA,Dojie became computer literate. He devisedhis program for the whole year for Globe Asiatique in Greece to furtherincrease his sales. GA’s compensation is not as rewarding compared to what he is getting from his salon, but he likesthe travel perks that go with being an agent for GA. Dojie, a tall guy sporting a long hair, is still single. He is well informed and likes to talk politics. He has no time for the affairs of the heart at the moment, he tells me. He has not forgotten that he has a family back home in the Philippines. The hard work that he puts into his work is not only for himself and his mother but also for his nieces and nephews that are still studying in Manila, to whom he sends monthly allowances. Dojie’s life in Greece indeed has undergone a transformation that has enhanced his self esteem. In Greece he is his own boss and he lives a good Athenian life.
Doije Garcia with friends in Ambelokipi
Bonjour from Brussels
Filipino Youth Ministry in concert
Last September 18, 2010, the Filipino Youth Ministry of Brussels, under the Musical Direction of Belgiumbased Filipino pianist Michael Cu, put on a sold-out show that the community will never forget. A project of Fr. Raymund Gaspar, Chaplain of the Filipino church in Brussels, this concert was a celebration of the Youth Ministry's 4th year anniversary; it had the vision of developing artistry and showcasing the talents (sometimes, hidden) of the Filipino youth. A three-course dinner opened the event, which was held in Salle La Fanal in the Ixelles commune of Brussels. By night, the 250-capacity hall was full of parents, family, friends, other members of the community and guests. The 16-member cast had been practicing since June, and the almost three-hour long variety show stunned the audience with a complete set of solos, band numbers, cultural, ballroom and modern dances, a capella songs of praise and worship, as well as OPM hits from the time of the elder generations to the chart-toppers of today. Guest artists included the balladeer, Fr. Enrique Luzung (who charmed the audience with an original medley of Teleserye hits) as well as some students of the Royal Conservatory of Brussels who provided a more elegant ambiance with their flute, violins, viola and ofcourse, the piano).
Aside from singing in three languages (English, French and Filipino), the young cast also showcased a wide array of clothing - be it traditional Filipino or contemporary teen - and closed the event with an impromptu Fashion Show that filled the hall with the life and colors of our country's traditions. At the end of the evening, the cast was ecstatic, parents were proud, and the audience was full and more than satisfied from the exquisite food and impressive performances. It was, indeed a successful event!
Cast members include: Andrea Alcoba, Jonathan Alcoba, Andrew Arevalo, Michael Babon, Mhelvin Castaneto, Alexie Castillo, Kevin De Veylder, Ren Ren Esguerra, Isabel Fabian, Nathalie Fabian, Jay Lopez. Kristel Lualhati, Ryan Lualhati, Joram Malodrigo, Bob Obico, Ana Rose Palagud, Arvy Palagud and Emer Quiambao and Fr. Enrique "Ric" Luzung.
As a fund-raising concert, profits from this project will be used towards the Filipino Youth Ministry's budget for their participation in the next World Youth Day which will be held in Madrid, Spain during the summer of 2011.
The Kundiman & Klasiko Concert in Scandinavia October 8,9,16 & 17
Roots&Wings, the Filipino magazine in Europe, celebrated its one year anniversary by hosting a Scandinavian charity concert. Hundreds of Pinoys and non-Pinoys and the international and diplomatic community in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Oslo and Stavanger were treated to a twohour musical entertainment of unequalled diversity and magnificent performance. It was also a meaningful event as part of the profits from the concerts were donated to an orphanage in Manila and Iloilo, the purchase of a church bell in Stavanger and to help build a chapel in Tayabas. Kundiman & Klasiko? It was a rather unfamiliar but extremely successful combination which turned out to be the best Filipino concert ever. Performing for the first time together, Abdul Candao, tenor from Vienna, Armela Fortuna Widmer, soprano from France and Jonathan Arevalo Coo, international concert pianist based in Manila, formed a magical trio! Opera arias, operettas, musicals, kundimans and piano solos. Something familiar (the opera arias), something exotic (the kundimans), something awesome and wonderful. Why has no one thought of doing this before? asked someone in the audience.
The programme started with a duet from Die Zauberflöte by Mozart, “Papageno, papagena…” Followed by Italian opera arias; Quando m’envo.. from ”La Bohème” ; Recondita armonia … from “Tosca” both by Puccini; Una parola, o Adina.. from “L’elisir d’amore” by Donizetti.Then a piano solo by Jonathan Arevalo Coo “April Morning”, by Kasilag And German Operettas; Dein ist mein ganzes Herz .. from ”Das Land des Lächelns” by Lehar; Heia, in den Bergen… from Czardasfürstin” by Kalman; Lippen schweigen.. from ”Die Lustige Witwe” by Lehar Plus excerpts from famous Musical Theaters “This is the moment... from “Jekyll & Hyde” by Wildhorn; “Memory” from “the Cats” by Lloyd-Webber ; Balcony scene... from “West Side Story” by Bernstein And the last part, the delightful Filipino Pieces, which left the audience happy, tear-eyed, sentimental, homesick, consisted of a Piano Solo “Rondeau” by Kasilag; “Pobreng Alindahaw” by Villaflor; “Anak Dalita” (duet), by Santiago; “Sa Kabukiran” by Velez; “Balikbayan” by Cuenco; “Maalaala mo kaya” (duet) by De Guzman; “Gaano ko ikaw kamahal (duet) by Cuenco.
The following pages are pictures from the concerts, and some comments from the audience.
Armela Fortuna Widmer, Soprano
“It was the best concert I have ever been to in Europe so far” Vangie Rebot, ABSCBN rep. “It was sooo beautiful. I liked the first half of the concert. The kundiman songs has a European tune, just fantastic” Andrea Ekeblad, lawyer, Stockholm, Sweden
“Wow, ang galing! Ate, kalian ang balik nila? Hindi na ako makahintay” ”Ang galing galing pala nila. Sana balik ulit sila dito next year!” “Wala na akong masabi, talagang ang galing nila, maraming salamat”
“It was a most fantastic evening, with opera arias, love songs, exotic Philippine melodies – I woke up the following morning, feeling happy and blessed”, Stina Berge, Stockholm “The concert was so good. The German songs were originally written by Hungarian writers that is why we love it so much. We also enjoyed the beautiful clothes and costumes worn by the singers. The pianist is extra good” Elizabeth & Istvan Hidvegi, Hungarians
“The Filipino songs are nice to listen to although we did not understand the lyrics. Our favorite are the German Opera arias. It was most entertaining, it was a unique experience for us” Emil & Judith Szanto, Hungarians “I enjoyed the concert immensely. They were all very good. But I would like to listen to more kundiman, more Philippine songs”, Mathias Arbez, Stockholm
Rachel Hansen, Jonathan Arevalo Coo, Armela Fortuna Widmer, Ambassador Maria Zeneida Angara Collinson and Abdul Candao at the end of the Stockholm Concert
Abdul Candao CDs â&#x20AC;&#x153;Live Performanceâ&#x20AC;? for Sale - 10 EU including postage To order, email: email@example.com in Stockholm firstname.lastname@example.org in Oslo Renee@senior.as in Stavanger
Armela, Abdul and Jonathan
email@example.com in Gothenburg
“Oh, my God, that was really, really a great and fantastic concert” Serbian French couple in Gothenburg “Fantastic and wonderful concert, I love it! They were so good” the pastor of Smyrna International Church, Gothenburg “Wow, they are really fantastic! I can’t believe it! Thank you for inviting us” Singaporean based in Gothenburg
Abdul Candao, Gothenburg city Mayor Anneli Hultén, Armela Fortuna Widmer, Lorna Hamrén and Jonathan Arevalo Coo
Best selling author of Tall stories Interviewed by Karlene Denolo in London
Hello Candy. First of all, thank you for taking time out of your very busy schedule to meet up with me. Our R&W readers are very curious to know more about you and what it takes to be a best selling author. Tell us, when did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I wanted to become a writer from the day I realized that words made paragraphs and paragraphs made chapters and chapters made novels. I must have been about six and I was browsing through my grandmother’s collection of Beverley Grey mystery novels. My grandmother belonged to a big family in Lanao that reserved higher education only for the boys. She was desperate to educate herself and read a lot. The Beverley Grey mysteries were a 1920s serial about a journalist who was striving to become a novelist, constantly meeting with rejection but never giving up.
Have you always been a writer by profession?
I became a journalist the day after I graduated from college (AB Communication Arts, Ateneo Class of 1984). But you couldn’t really live on a journalist’s salary so I learned to multi-task – I double sold my articles to
foreign publications, I did a weekly cartoon strip for Mr & Ms Magazine, I took photographs, I wrote press releases for a publicist friend of mine, I scripted banter for singers in between songs at concerts, I even dubbed films with a fake American accent. Most recently I’ve been working as a web and graphic designer – skills that have turned out to be extremely useful now that I’m a published author.
How long does it take you to write a book?
It takes me about a year. I have three other unpublished novels that I hope will see print someday.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
All the novels written so far have a common theme – separation. This is not deliberate on my part – it’s just seems to be a part of every story that I write. I guess so much of what I write comes from my own life experience and stuff I’ve witnessed as a journalist. A lot of my reportage after moving to England had to do with the migration phenomenon in the Philippines. For a couple of years I edited a magazine called Filipinos in Europe which allowed me to travel to different countries, interviewing people in Filipino 47
“So many armpits, so little deodorant”
excerpt from Tall Story
communities. This made me acutely aware of the forces that drive Filipinos to leave home. In 2005, I wrote and presented a radio documentary for the BBC entitled ‘Motherless Nation’ – exploring the impact of migration on the children left behind. But it’s not just journalism that informs my books, my own father left the family in the eighties to work in Africa and the Middle East.
What do you think makes a good story?
There is a craft to telling a story, an art to keeping the reader engaged to the bitter end. But aside from craft I think the most important thing about a story is Truth – whatever genre you are writing, whether its scifi or fantasy or romance or thrillers – truth is what keeps a reader gripped. Truth in the sense that a reader is totally transported, can totally believe what is happening
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up? I wanted to write stories.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I recently found some email correspondence dating back to 2003 in which my sister told me about the death of Ujang Warlika, an Indonesian basketball player who was seven feet four inches tall. She said the problem with Ujang was that he wasn’t tall – he was a giant. He suffered from gigantism. The main character in my debut novel Tall Story is a boy who is eight feet tall. That exchange with my sister planted the germ of the idea – but it took me six years before I put pen to paper .
Do you have a specific writing style?
I suppose I do – when I write, I write for my reader, I do not write for myself. I am constantly hoping to 48
surprise the reader, to keep him or her guessing, wondering, feeling, and seeing him or herself in my characters.
How did you come up with the title?
TALL Story was my working title from the very beginning. Some folks suggested I might think of something else – maybe evoking the Philippines like Banana Hearts or Coconut Nights something like that - but Tall Story was just perfect.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Some writers think it’s uncool to embed a message in their books. But I think Tall Story does have a message. It’s that you can’t judge anyone or anything by its appearance. This would resonate with anyone who might have found themselves pre-defined by other people based on their looks, their colour or their accent – it would certainly resonate with anyone trying to fit into another culture.
Are some events in the book based on events in your own life?
Well, I know what it’s like to be left behind by a parent because my father worked abroad a long time ago. I also know what it’s like to leave behind those I love – I had to leave my family behind when I chose to marry an Englishman. And though I’ve had a great life here in England, my writing shows what a traumatic impact this has had on me. There is a line in the book “” – this was a line lifted from a letter that I wrote to my brother and his wife after their newborn son died. I just felt that even if I didn’t know my lost nephew, I missed him so much.
What were the challenges (research, literary, want to do is write the next chapter. psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to Did you learn anything from writing your book life? I’ve been trying to get published for nine years now. and what was it? This is the fourth novel I’ve written. It takes me about a year to write a book and then I send it out to three or four agents. Always, I got rejections. Then I won a competition called Undiscovered Voices – this prompted al iterary agent to sign me up. But all the rejections had trained me to expect the worse. So immediately after finishing my last novel, Volcano Child, I just turned around and started a new novel, Tall Story – which turned out to be my debut novel. So my advice to most writers is: If at first you don’t succeed, write another book. Practice makes perfect. Well, I’m not perfect – but I am certainly a better writer for having written so much.
What books have most influenced your life most?
My mother was very nationalistic and encouraged me to read Horacio de la Costa and Filipino authors like NVM Gonzalez. But the best Filipino writing was in short form – we don’t have a tradition of longer forms like novels. I was an ardent fan of Enid Blyton as a child, and as a teenager I discovered Dr Seuss. It made me want to write for children – I never really wanted to write for adults. I also loved Charles Dickens and Samuel Clemens.
Who are your favourite authors and what is your favourite book?
This is an impossible question because it changes as I change. As a child I loved Louisa May Alcott (I wanted to be Jo March in Little Women, who wanted to become an author). At the moment, I am binging on Toni Morrison – what a genius writer! Who knows who I will be loving next! Reading is a moveable feast!
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I think it’s just the daily grind – finding the time to write, making the time, knowing it will take a LOT of time – it takes a lot of faith in your own abilities to believe that you can finish a novel. I do web and graphic design as a freelance designer and I manage a holiday cottage that my husband and I keep on the south coast of England. These are my day jobs. It is very frustrating to have to do the day job when all you
I learned that I could do it.
I have a two book deal, with the second book due on the 1st of December so I am writing the next book as fast as I can. When I complete this contract, I will return to the three other novels I have written and prepare them for submission to publishers. I am very hopeful that they will all see print someday!
Do you have any advice for other writers, especially Filipino writers? We Filipinos don’t have a tradition of writing long forms like the novel. We are great short story writers, poets, essayists and song-writers – but novels? You can count on one hand the great novelists of Philippine literature. Does it have to do with attention span? With short termism? You can see it in the way our films are written – oftentimes, the writing flags near the end, as if the screenwriter ran out of steam and rushed to end the story. My publisher in the Philippines tells me he’s desperately looking for novelists but finding none. Why? The truth is I didn’t use to think I could write novels. But living in the UK taught me to be patient, and it taught me to accept and process criticism. To get through a long piece of work, you need to be selfcritical … and we have a very kind culture – so we are not used to criticism. We need to toughen up and be tougher on ourselves. Think of the stories we could tell!
Tall Story has been long listed for the UKLA National Children's Book Awards! The UKLA awards are held in high esteem by teachers and the longlists are a reliable indicator of the best books of the year for inclusion in class and school collections. It is listed in The Sunday Times 100 Best Summer Titles for 2010 and recommended by National Geographic Kids as a Brilliant Summer Book. Find out more about Candy Gourlay at:
Filipino priest says... Goodbye Germany! By Lucy Kampa Fr. Willie Escalante, missionary priest, celebrated his last thanksgiving mass in Bremen, Germany, after more than 10 years of ministering tothe Filipinos in Bremen and Hamburg. Fr. Escalante first studied the German language in Bonn before taking his official missionary work in Germany in 1998. Years later he became the Chaplain of the Filipino community in Hamburg. In a very short interview, Fr. Escalante expressed his personal observations about the Filipino Community in Bremen and Hamburg:
Father Willie Escalante
Members of the Filipino community in Bremen
“It is quite sad to say that there are still some “tensions” amongst our kababayans in the community. But inspite of this, I am very happy,because,I know that deep inside, we Filipinos possess a deep faith, are really loving and hospitable people. My prayer is that Filipinos in Bremen and Hamburg find peace and unity. Now I am letting go and will follow where God is leading me, perhaps to another mission somewhere in our homeland…” We will miss you Fr. Escalante!
Dear Mr President â&#x20AC;&#x153;Dear Mr Presidentâ&#x20AC;? is a friendly community service feature for our socially interested kababayans in Europe - a medium of communication with our President. After all, it is not easy for us as individuals to make our voices heard. But together, as a community, we can take a small part in shaping the course of our countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s destiny, and not just be quiet spectators, applauding with glee when something good happens; or shaking our heads and blaming the one up there, when bad things occur. Let us exercise our freedom to express our ideas and opinions, and let us hope that President Noynoy will also consider the views of Filipinos in Europe. Kindly send your letter by e-mail to the Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Mr President, I am wondering, why are Philippine products not easily found in Europe? Asian shops are full of goods from Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, not to mention Chinese products one can find everywhere. Being of European-Philippine origin, I have travelled to the Philippines several times and enjoyed Philippine food and Philippine souvenir items and even clothes, shoes and interior decoration items. Why are all these nice things not available in Europe? The Philippine mangoes are the best. But in Europe (Sweden, Italy, France, Germany and other countries) it is possible to buy mangoes from Africa or from Thailand but never from the Philippines. The same goes for other food like rice, fish, prawns and crabs. Why is the exportation from Thailand and Vietnam to Sweden (as an example) increasing but not from the Philippines? Asian interior products are very popular in Europe now. The Philippines produce lots of beautiful things made of coconut shells, capiz, pearls, bamboo, etc. But the stores here in Sweden do not have products made in the Philippines. When can we see Philippine products sold by Ikea worldwide? Maybe it is time for the Department of Trade in the Philippines to study the different markets in the different European countries and to understand how to penetrate these markets and to develop and increase the trade to the European countries. If Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia can do it, the Philippines should be able to do it too. A Reader 51
My life as a Red Cross volunteer By: Lendsy G.Theodorsson About six months ago, during the months of May and June 2010, I became a Red Cross volunteer in Manila. This was an amazing experience during which I learned and experienced things one can never be taught by simply reading a book. I am half Filipina and half Swedish. On my first visit to the Philippines, I was about five years old. I saw that the country was a place where one could do many things to improve the lives of the less fortunate. Ever 52
since then, it has been my goal to become a volunteer one day. I contacted the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) through Mr. Edgar Credo Gumabon, who is the President of Bayanihan, a Swedish Filipino organization in Southern Sweden, which has close cooperation with PNRC. During my time as a Red Cross volunteer in Manila, I
was able to do many different things. I became a part of the Emergency Rescue Team (Manila Chapter). We would respond to different kinds of accidents; for example there could be a fire or a vehicle accident. One would always have to be prepared to expect the unexpected. One had to be resourceful, since many times our equipment would be insufficient. I joined the Disaster Management Service where First Aid training was being taught. I did minor consultation work, such as taking blood pressures, giving medicine if we had it in stock. We also gave advice on the importance of a healthy diet, if for instance, the patients had too high or low blood pressure and sometimes we would advise them to consult a doctor. I was lucky to be able to join the Spanish Red Cross on a project they were doing in Bicol. It was very interesting since I was able to see another side of the Philippines which I had not seen before. I felt humbled after my stay in Bicol. We checked up on projects that had provided the villages with water systems containing drinkable water; health centers had been built so we looked into them as well to see what was lacking and what needed to be done. And we also looked into the various warning systems that had been put up in case
of storms, typhoons and landslides. We have noted some good results in these inspection tours. I also became a volunteer at the Blood Center at the National Headquarters in Manila. I manned the Reception, interviewing possible blood donors. I would blood type and also bleed the donors in order to collect blood. I learned a lot during my time at the Blood Center. But the hardest part was when one did not have any blood in stock and the patients who were in need of blood could not be given what they needed. Trying to find and recruit good quality blood donors is important in order to be able to provide blood when needed. Oftentimes the Blood Center would be out of blood! I do not regret for a second volunteering for PNRC. It is truly a life experience. Volunteers and staff were all kind and made me feel welcome. I felt like I had found a second family in my fellow Red Cross volunteers. We would spend time together on and off duty. If I had been given the chance to stay longer, I definitely would have done so. I admire and appreciate all volunteers. Too many of us take things for granted. To volunteer for the Red Cross is an eye and a heart opener for me. It made me realize that it takes so little to make a big difference.
Alemberg Ang From High-School Filipino Teacher To International Award-Winning-Movie Producer By: Michael Cu At the Cairo International Film Festival red carpet at the awards ceremony
Who would think that the person we used to see everyday in front of our high school classroom explainng the simbolismos in “Noli Me Tangere” to a roudy group of Filipino-Chinese teenagers would five years later be producing an award-winning independent film that will touch the hearts and open the minds of moviegoers all around the world? Alemberg Ang or “Alem”, as most friends and colleagues call him (or “Mr.Ang”, as I used to know him) was an active and passionate educator for more than ten years. After graduating with an AB in Communication from Ateneo de Manila University in ’99, he has held teaching positions in his alma matter as well as in Xavier School, Greenhills where he also become the Filipino Department Chairperson. Five years later, he turned into filmmaking and produced “Ang Panggagahasa kay Fe”, a step that changed his life. “After more than 10 years of teaching, I got tired and wanted to pursue something creative. Then my friend, who is an Ateneo professor, asked me if I want to produce his Cinemalaya entry. His film was chosen as one of the semi-finalists and he needed to put a name on the form. I said yes not fully aware of what it really entailed.”says Alemberg. Here are some thoughts and anecdotes I gathered from a timely written interview I had with my high school teacher: 54
What are some accomplishments that make you most proudâ&#x20AC;Ś As a teacher?
I have been nominated a number of times for PineauClifford Award for Outstanding Teacher. I changed how my students perceived Filipino, literally forced my students to read Filipino literary texts/novels. I also became the youngest department chairperson at that time and was able to open the eyes to my students to the social inequalities and injustices in Philippine society and (hopefully) when they are in a leadership position can do something about it. One of my vision in teaching, especially in Xavier, is that by educating the well-off in society, the people who will eventually become leaders in society, be it in business, politics or any sector of society, that they will be compassionate and socially aware in their actions. That is why all the selections and readings were carefully chosen to open the eyes of Xaverians to the problems in society and their role in changing it.
And as a movie producer?
I produced "...Fe" without any professional experience in moviemaking. The last time I made a short film was
when I was still in college for one of my Communications classes. I did not even know what I was doing most of the time. I was just applying whatever experience I had as a teacher and administrator in Ateneo and Xavier into what I was doing as a producer of the film. With limited funds but rich in supportive family and friends, we were able to find a way to fund the movie movie and ensuring that every single one who worked on the movie and all our suppliers were paid in full and on time. (Sad to say, a few indie filmmakers do not actually pay their crew and suppliers, even if their movies have already joined international film festivals.) So finishing the film itself is already an achievement for us. But the fact that it won one of the top prizes in Cinemalaya and that it was accepted in a number of international festivals, one of which, bagging the biggest prize in a class A festival, are just icing on the cake.
What inspired you to get involved with the (Indie) movie Industry? I believe in my friend, Alvin Yapan, the writer-director Mercedes Cabral and Kalil Almonte in the bautisterya (baptistry) in Gayuma: Pilgrim Lovers
of "...Fe." And I believe that the Philippine movie industry needs fresh and new voices. So, without so much as batting an eyelash, I gambled my savings as a teacher (which is not much) in producing the film.
What effects, if any, did this change in career have in your life?
Unbelievable. All of a sudden, I am already rubbing elbows with prominent local and foreign directors whose names I see on the big screen. And as they as say, once you have been bitten by the indie bug, tuluytuloy na.
Congratulations on the Gold Prize at the Cairo, on top of several other local and international awards won by "The Rapture of Fe". Please tell us something about the film, its origin, its plot and/or its purpose. The film was originally based on a paper that my friend wrote. He found out that majority of the OFW are women. And that it is the men that are left to care for the family at home. Thus we see a reversal of roles. Because of this reversal, men feel emasculated which in some cases, lead to abuse as they try to gain back their superiority over the women. So instead of making a documentary about it, my friend turned it into a movie. "...Fe" is about a battered woman who tried her luck as
an overseas worker but had to come home due to the financial crisis. Coming home, she had to contend with her husband's jealousy and suspicions. In the midst of all these, she suddenly starts receiving baskets of black fruits. At first, she thought it was from her husband. She then thought it came from a former suitor who is much younger than her. Towards the end of the movie, she will realize that her mysterious suitor is someone she neither knows nor expected. From the surface, the movie is just your typical Filipino drama. The twist, however, is our inclusion of our folklore. That is what makes the film very unique. That is why one of the jurors at the Cairo International Film Fest said that it was like reading a book. I guess that is where our experience as literature teachers came in. We were very conscious of the symbols, images and meanings in each frame of the movie. One of the funny tweets that I read about our movie was: "Ang Panggagahasa kay Fe = Ang Panggagahasa sa Utak ko." Another commented that she was "mind-f*@cked" by the movie. Since the movie was about violence against women, we coordinated with the Women's Crisis Center. They were very excited about the film when they first heard about it. Because unlike other dramas about violence against women, ours was not OA or melodramatic. The focus of film was not the violence but rather it Mercedes Cabral inside a kumpisalan (confessional) in Gayuma: Pilgrim Lovers
was subtly incorporated in the story, which is really how violence occurs. It does not come with grand orchestrations or majestic choreography. It creeps in and happens in a woman's day to day life. Without warning, without provocation. The title of the film is very interesting for us. The use of "panggagahasa" was two-fold. One, is to show that marital rape is still considered rape. And two, we wanted to show how a Filipina is raped in society today, be it physically, psychologically, emotionally and even, economically. It is interesting to note that in one of the screenings we had with a local public university, the students did not consider marital rape as rape. Our director even had a "debate" with the male students in the audience as they claimed that it is the man's right to get what he wants from his wife and it is his wife's role to fulfill such needs. This was actually an eye-opener for us. We realized how powerful film can be in changing people's perceptions and mindset. We actually had a hard time translating the title. We felt that using the word "rape" is very weak and does not fully translate what we wanted to say. A friend then suggested to use the word "Rapture." Despite the huge difference in the meanings of the two words, both actually fit when it comes to a discussion on violence against women. We wanted to show that ultimately,
the choice is up to the woman and that is basically how we ended our movie.
Who is Alvin Yapan and what is his mission?
Alvin Yapan is a good friend of mine from college. We both worked on the literary magazine of Ateneo de Manila University. Currently, he is a professor in the Filipino Department there. An award winning fictionist, he has under his name some of the country's top prizes in literature: four Palanca Awards for Excellence in Literature, a National Commission for Culture and the Arts Writers Prize and the National Book Award to name a few.
What were the major challenges you and your team encountered in producing the movie?
Money and time. Money because when we calculated the budget for the film, with our combined savings and the grant from Cinemalaya and the Film Development Council of the Philippines, we had enough to finish the film. What we did not anticipate is that the funding from Cinemalaya and FDCP came in tranches. So there were times that we lacked money because the money was still not yet in. I had to rely on family and friends to borrow money. We also asked friends to "donate" to the movie. That their contribution (for as low as $20) would earn them the title of "co-producer" of the film.
Irma Adlawan and TJ Trinidad - both are discussing their past and futures as lovers
That is why our end credits is quite long. We had more than 50 people listed as our co-producers. Then during the shoot, our lead actress, Irma Adlawan actually fell during the "battery" scenes. When we were shooting it, we didn't know if she was still acting or she really fell. We had to stop the shoot and take her to the hospital. Unfortunately, there was none in Porac (where we shot the film). We had to rush her to Angeles City. We had to pack up. That means that two days of shooting had to be cancelled. And since we are on location in the province, that means several hundred thousands wasted. We resumed shooting a month later. But we did not have anymore money. Fortunately, the owners of Orocan, which were parents in Xavier when I was still teacher, learned of our predicament and offered to sponsor our movie in exchange for exposure during the film. We got the money literally a day before the shoot. At that time, we were already contemplating canceling the shoot because we did not have enough money. Time is also a problem because we got mainstream actors. And all three of our leads were doing soap operas at that time. Shooting for a soap is practically a 24-7 job. Can you imagine, that all three leads were on set only one day? We had to schedule all the scenes that they would be together in just one day. That day lasted until 8am.
Irma Adlawan plays Fe -- she mysteriously receives baskets of black fruits
As the sun was rising, I was literally praying for the sun not to rise yet. We were shooting the climax of the film which happened at night. You can already see the sun rising a couple of blocks away and we were at wits end how to finish the shoot. Fortunately, all the actors delivered powerful performances that it took only two takes for us to finish the scene.
As a Filipino musician, I know that it can be quite difficult to get support for projects involving arts and culture, not only from society but also from the government. Was this also true with your experience in the Film Industry? Definitely! I approached several multinational companies as well as women-related companies but none of them agreed to sponsor our movie. It was actually an email blast of mine to all the Yahoo groups I am a part of, one of which was the Parents Auxillary magazine of Xavier, where the owner of Orocan got wind of our predicament.
That is also the reason why we approached the Women's Crisis Center. They helped us get funding from the International Labor Organization at the United Nations as well as their other donors and supporters in other parts of the world. We actually got contributions from Afghanistan.
Did you ever see yourself your current position several years ago, when you were still teaching in Xavier School? Definitely not! Never in my wildest dreams, even when I was still a student, that I thought I'd be in "showbiz." hahaha!
organization that I did during Buwan ng Wika, Likas Gilas and ACP, and Christmas Drive, all those I used in marketing and promoting the movie. I was a oneman team when it came to marketing and sales. We simply could not afford to hire anyone else.
How can our readers here in Europe watch, and perhaps even support, independent Filipino films such as "Ang Panggagahasa kay Fe"?
Now that you have achieved considerable success in film production, what are your plans for the coming years? What is your next project, Three ways: 1) By co-producing indie films. If you have the extra if any? We are now finishing our second film. It is entitled Gayuma: Pilgrim Lovers. As “….Fe was drama with a bit of horror, Gayuma is a mix of horror and love story. There are killing moments but also a few scary scenes.
Do you miss teaching?
Yes and no. Right now kasi, I am partnered with a Singapore company who provide educational tours for students. For the Philippines, we came up with social entrepreneurial and social outreach tours. We bring Singapore and Hong Kong students to places like Payatas and Tagaytay where they help with the urban and rural poor. They also learn how different groups and foundations help these groups in a positive and uplifting way. In a way, I get to interact with students and still impart values to them. I also volunteer for the Ateneo Center for Educational Development where we profile public schools. So when I observe classes, that is when I miss teaching the most. However, I get to teach during summer. I hold Filipino enrichment classes for students who would want to get an early start. I focus mostly on the classics like Florante at Laura, Noli Me Tangere, etc. Because by learning these classics, students learn so much reading and comprehension skills that will enable them to do better in the coming school year. But I do not miss the checking and all the extra work that comes with teaching that are more clerical in nature.
How did your experiences as a teacher help with your (relatively) new career?
A lot. I handled my job as producer the same way I did when I ran the Filipino department in Xavier. I had to manage the people and make sure that everyone is happy with what they are doing. I also had to find ways and means to provide for my director. All the
income, and you feel strongly about a project or a filmmaker, go for it. For just a small amount, a film can actually be made. 2) For filmmakers who get chosen for European filmfests, offer your couch. Unlike other countries, our filmmakers spend their own money if they enter into a film festival. The government only provides reimbursement and it is only for those who get into top festivals. Some are generous enough to provide both airfare and accommodations. Others, especially the big ones, do not even offer accommodations. I have heard of stories where filmmakers had to contend with cup noodles brought from the Philippines simply because they do not have enough money to pay for their food. We practically ate only two meals a day in Cairo simply because those were the only ones provided by the festival. In Chicago, I would buy a footlong using a coupon, have it cut into three pieces and that would be my breakfast, lunch and dinner. 3) By patronizing indie cinema. Just watch. Or buy the DVD. Hold your own festivals or screenings where the filmmakers can earn a few buck or two from the sales. You would be surprise at the quality of some of these indie films. Just by knowing that people watch our movies give us the energy to do some more.
Xavier School in Manila, was founded in 1956 by Jesuit missionaries expelled from mainland China. It has been providing Filipino-Chinese youth with a Jesuit education and Catholic formation. A Xaverian is guided by the 6 C’s – competence, culture, compassion, conscience, character and community. 59
Poetry Writing Contest We are proud to announce the winners of our first Poetry Writing Contest! The subject was to associate freely around the topic “Roots and Wings”
In My Pocket By Joel Vega The pull of tides and crescent sea, and the silence of sailors caught in the fevers of Siquijor. Listen to our footsteps on the streets of Gamla Stan, tapping the cold brick stones, frozen like the face of Lake Mälaren. On this eclipsed night a light in an upstairs window was turned on, gift of bright wings in the dark, and you said: We have strayed far from father’s coconut grove in Bohol, where the mist carry its own bundle of gifts. We took them all even as we lost our way, and beyond borders we keep the offerings deep in our fists-silver threads of cobweb, roots of red ginger, cow’s ear for sound and clarity.
For his beautiful, outstanding poem In My Pocket, the 1st prize, a week’s stay in White Rock Zambales Beach Resort or Villa Tarcela in Bohol + 100 EURO in cash goes to Joel Vega, from The Netherlands. Congratulations, Joel!! 60
But is it clarity that we need? Or have we learned to accept that to return is the simplest form of yearning? The islands are gently pulled by the restless tide just as we are pulled by the seams of our yearning.
Ambitious Heart By Haydee Bernal Farther away lies my dream Seeking greener pastures not just for whim I searched the sky, the moon and the stars For there it lies a dream lingering in my heart Flying up high goes my dream Over the seas, the clouds in the sky Looking down I cried a river Encompassing the volume of the sea that ran by Fearlessness echoed my heart Whispering nothing to console my soul I vowed to rule my head over my heart Above all to abide the graces of God Reaching the ground amazed my eyes Seeing beautiful surroundings new to my sight I knew nothing except my guts and insights Wandering through a hopeful prudent heart Homesickness drawn my soul to pieces Hearing the pigeons soaring in the sky How I wish that I have wings to fly To see my Nanay and Tatay Adopting a new culture at bay Is not easy to say But with all the kababayans who supported me Gave me strength to stay
The 2nd prize, a Filipino Poetry book, goes to Haydee Bernal, from The Philippines, for her touching and beautiful poem Ambitious Heart.
Now I could say, thank you for the chances Given by family, friends and relatives back home Above all to our God up high Reaching a dream is just nearby.
The 3rd prize of the Roots&Wings Poetry Writing Contest, a Filipino Poetry book, goes to Natalie Noble, from Sweden, for her reflective and inspiring poem Pearls of the Orient.
Pearls of the Orient By Natalie Noble Kababayans, where do we belong? Is it here or there? East and West, South and North And all other directions An unending stream of various Entry visas and Schengen regulations ‘Twas our father’s fault To say, to give us the belief Somehow a feeling that alone We can accomplish But in unity there is strength You and I therefore must lead To show them that Wherever we are, whatever we do We will come out victorious.
Short Story Writing Contest Are you literally inclined? Have you written some Short Stories which you have hidden in your closet? Or do you feel inspired to write some new ones? Would you like to win some great prizes? Join Roots&Wings Short Story Writing Contest! Subject: Associate freely around the topic “Roots and Wings”. Write something connected to your experiences or feelings and thoughts about your Filipino roots, and how it is to live in a European country. Maximum 1200 words 1st prize: One week’s stay in White Rock Zambales Beach Resort or Villa Tarcela in Bohol + 100 EURO in cash + your Short Story and picture published in Roots&Wings. 2nd prize: Three days stay in White Rock Zambales Beach Resort or Villa Tarcela in Bohol+ your Short Story and picture published in Roots&Wings. Please send your Short Story by email to email@example.com before January 30, 2011. Entries arriving after this date will not be included in the contest.
Miss Earth Switzerland 2010
Liza Andrea Kuster is a proud Filipina
By Nicole Bataclan
Beauty, intelligence, wit and a good heart; it is with these qualities that Liza Andrea Kuster crowned the Miss Earth Switzerland 2010 title in Zurich, Switzerland, last June. Later this year, the 23-year-old beauty with Filipino roots will fly to Vietnam to compete at Miss Earth 2010. Between managing her company “TN-Sunglasses Switzerland”, modeling and giving interviews, Kuster also take pride in her involvement with various charities. Roots&Wings Bureau Editor in Zurich, Nicole Bataclan, met up with Miss Earth Switzerland at the “CONNECTING PINOYS 2G” event, organized by Noi-P. – Network of integrated Pinoys in Switzerland, to discuss the importance of her Filipino heritage, the Miss Earth title and her plans for the future.
Why was it so important for you to be here today?
First of all, since I am half Filipina and half Swiss, the group Noi-P. kindly invited me to this event. In addition, I also promised the Philippine Ambassador to Switzerland, Maria Theresa Lazaro, that I would come. But besides that, it was also so important for me to be here because I am such a proud Filipina. I have a strong connection to the Philippines since I was born there and I also visit the country every year. I did a lot of humanitarian work, studied and modeled there as well. I am very familiar with the culture and I simply love to go to the Philippines. Even though most of my friends are Non-Filipinos, I am still very much connected to the people and the culture. This is the reason why it was so important for me to be here today and come support the Noi-P. community.
One of the messages of the Noi-P. association is to promote and reinforce Filipino culture in Switzerland.You won the Miss Earth Switzerland 2010 title and being a Swiss-Filipina, what could help this Filipino ‘presence’? In which ways can we achieve this goal in Switzerland? Well, of course the media is helping me a lot. For instance, when I am somewhere where the media is also present, I always put emphasis on the fact that I
am not just Swiss; I am Filipina as well. Of course I will be representing Switzerland at Miss Earth 2010 in Vietnam, but I have a powerful connection to the Philippines as well. I do my best in passing this message to the media.
On another note, after winning the Miss Earth Switzerland pageant, what has changed for you?
A lot! (laughs) My day is fully booked. I have a lot of shootings and commercials to do. For instance, I will model for Revlon and will be in their Make-up campaign this autumn. In addition, I also have many appearances on TV. The nicest thing about all of this -- winning Miss Earth Switzerland 2010 -- is that it is always for a good reason. The slogan is “Beauty for a Cause”. This is exactly what I want to do: I can use my looks and how I speak for a good purpose. I already supported a lot of projects in the Philippines in the past and I plan on doing that my entire life. But now I also got the support from a few organizations such as Miss Earth and other agencies.
What are your plans for the future?
I have so many plans! At the moment, it is very important to establish a lot of relations, especially with companies. For instance, a collaboration with a company starts with them hiring me to be a spokesperson. From 65
there, we will work together towards a solution, for a humanitarian or environmental project. So for now, I work extremely hard to make a lot of connections.
In regards to these different projects, do you have a preference to which direction you want to go?
I am very open in regards to which organizations or companies I want to work with, but I would prefer to do something for the elderly. My heart beats very hard for the elderly. My Lola, whom I actually call Nanay, is one of the greatest people I know. Even though she had a hard life in the Philippines, she always tried to give love and support to her family. Even when she did not have anything, she always gave everything. And this is something I truly admire; I try to follow in her footsteps. Today, she is not as strong as she used to be, and that is why I would love to support the elderly. They are so wise and have a lot of great instruments.
Coming back to your ethnicity, can you tell us in what ways you are Filipina and in which ways you are Swiss? How do you combine both cultures, and what divides them? My character and how I open myself to people is more Filipino. I am an open person and am always very
positive. Even if there is a bad or sad situation, I try to give my best in order to deal with it and I think that is very Filipino. I believe it is very, very Filipino. On the other hand, I am always on time and very organized, which are typical Swiss traits. Finally, when I promise something, I always deliver. This is both very Swiss and Filipino.
So being Swiss-Filipina is really a beautiful combination? Yes, indeed.
Any last words for Roots&Wings?
I Iove the fact that there is this kind of magazine. It is great that you try to unite Filipinos in Switzerland, and in Europe. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d love to support you as well.
Miss Kuster, thank you very much from Roots&Wings. Good luck in Vietnam and we wish you all the best in your future endeavors.
More Information about Liza Andrea Kuster on: http://www.missearthswitzerland.com
Miss Pacific International
Mr. Gentleman International 2010 By: Frederick Lobaton
Last September 25, a 22 year old Filipina/German beauty Angela Schilling from Heidelberg,Germany was crowned Miss Pacific International 2010. Another 22 year old Filipino, Bradley Beswayan who represented Denmark, won the title Mr Gentleman International 2010. There were 10 male and 15 female candidates from all over Europe Community of Denmark won the title Mr. Gentleman International 2010 last September 25 in Congress Centrum Hamburg and Asia who competed in four different categories : National Costume, Talent, Swimwear and Long Gown/Formal Wear. After the presentation, the candidates were cut into top 8 finalists for the Miss Pacific and top 5 finalists for the Mr. Gentleman and they all had to go through the Question and Answer Portion from the host and the judges. Angela Schilling impressed the judges with her great personality and smile as well as her proportional
physical assets. She also bagged the awards Best in Swimsuit and Best in Long Gown. Bradley Beswayan, on the other hand was very consistent from the very beginning of the contest. He wore a native Igorot Costume from Mountain Province in Benguet which is for him a significant one. He was born in Baguio City and his family moved to Denmark when he was 7 years old. He bagged the award Best in Casual Wear and he did great during the talent and interview portion. Frederick Lobaton, president of the Philippine Beauty Pageant Organization, did the stage directing, choreography and co-hosting. It was a fantastic show. To all the candidates, guests, judges, sponsors and PBP Team, thank you very much for making this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Miss Pacific and Mr. Gentleman International 2010 a huge success! Mabuhay tayong lahat!!!
Where Nature never Blinks A naval reserve, marine, and bird sanctuary By Wenceslao E. Mateo Jr.
NOGAS ISLAND is an uninhabited 24-hectare marine and bird sanctuary, part of the town of Anini-y, Antique in the Western Visayas region at the heart of the Philippines. The island can be reached by local motorized boats in 15-20 minutes from either the Poblacion (the leading barangay or village) or Siraan (a subdivision of Nato Village) on the coastline of mainland Anini-y. Siraan plays host to the famous Siraan Hot (sulfur) Spring, whose warm water is said to be curative. Surrounding Nogas Island is a white beach and a wide continental shelf of coral reefs. It used to be a “minting plant” for shell money of the natives, probably until the 13th century, because of various species of seashells and mollusks abounding the area. Until the end of the last century, the island also teemed with birds and verdant trees. Some 32 species of birds, including the local tabon, a flightless bird known for its big eggs, inhabited the island. At least six families of mangroves were also found along its coastline. However, destructive human activities have gradually depleted these various species of seashells and mollusks, birds and mangroves. On its declaration as a 68
marine and bird sanctuary, the local tabons were on the verge of extinction, they could hardly be seen anymore in the island. The sea turtle or “pawikan” that used to make their nests in the fine sands were also rarely seen prowling around the island. Today, Nature has again become earnestly alive in the island. It could look straight into the eyes of visitors without blinking, “It’s me, the good old me!” Thanks to its declaration as a naval reserve, and later as a marine and bird sanctuary by the National Government. The local government of Anini-y is implementing a program to conserve and preserve the biodiversity of the island and the surrounding municipal waters, protect the rare and endangered species and their habitats, and provide areas for research on environment and ecology, training and education, and tourism and recreation. It aims to enhance proper utilization of marine resources, maintain maximum sustainable yield of the sustenance fisherfolks, and increase the productivity and income of the people. The waters surrounding the island are protected as a conservation area. Thus, no fishing activity is allowed.
Much of the coral reefs here have been ravaged by destructive fishing methods. Thus, to regenerate the coral reefs, only scuba diving is allowed, which is said to be ideal at its various diving sites. Nogas Island has excellent scuba diving sites. NOMAD is a group of scuba divers and instructors in Nogas Island, most notable is newly-elected Iloilo City Councilor, David Raymund C. Jamora, who is also chair of the Committee on Environment in the city council. See photosâ&#x20AC;Ś Visitors are not allowed in the island after 5 oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;clock in the afternoon.
Jamora (left) and a fellow scuba diver
Iloilo City Councilor David Raymund C. Jamora with fellow scuba divers are frequent visitors of Nogas Island
making the most of
Oroquieta City By Jeff Almonte Photos by Zoom Morales and Jeff Almonte In the gentle stillness of the early morn, Oroquieta begins its daily cacophony of a quaint city life with the faint chugging of the fishing vessels making their way to its fish port. Before the break of dawn, their deep-sea catch ofbariles(yellow-fin tuna), lumayagan (baby squid), kutob and pirit (local herring) will have changed hands with the traders, market vendors, fishmongers, and finally the local cooks who will use them for their everyday culinary magic. The center of life then shifts from the twilight at the fish port to sunrise at the Oroquieta market where all walks of local life converge. The unsuspecting residents are often caught by surprise to find the young Mayor Jason Almonte scrounging through the pots and pans of the eateries for an uncomplicated but heart-warming breakfast. He said he feels the pulse of the city this way. Visitors passing through Oroquieta are quick to label this capital city of Misamis Occidental as quiet, peaceful, and ultimately, bland and lifeless. The tourist
Sunrise at the hanging bridge over Layawan River
looking for malls, amusement parks, food chains, and other urban buzz will be disappointed to find none of them here.According to Mayor Jason, what the city lacks in commercial attractions, it makes up plenty for it with its rich natural and cultural heritage. Like many early riverine communities,Oroquieta dwells on the delta of the Layawan River with its tributaries reaching far back to the National Park of Mount Malindang and meandering around the great plains of Misamis Occidental. In the distant past, these waterways functioned as roads, facilitating travel and trade between the land-locked farmers and coastal fishers. Nobody can now recall for sure the origin of the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s name but historical sources suggest that it was named after the birthplace of a certain Spanish Archbishop who visited the young colony. The provincial name Misamiswas thought to be a diminutive of â&#x20AC;&#x153;kuyamisâ&#x20AC;?, a native word for sweet coconut, which used to abound these region.
Fuerte de la Concepcion y del Triunfo in Ozamis City
Oroquieta's Boulevard at Night
The most convenient and shortest way to Oroquieta from Manila or Cebu is through the port city of Ozamis served by both Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines (check out their website for promo fare updates). Alternatively, major shipping lines also dock in Ozamis from Manila, Negros, and Cebu but schedules are intermittent. While in Ozamis, visit Fuerte de la Concepcion y del Triunfo (locally known as Cota), a military garrison established in 1756 by the Spaniards to patrol Panguil Bay against pirates and marauders. It is reminiscent of the walled city of Intramuros albeit much smaller. On one side of the muralla (wall) is the shrine of the VirgensaCota flocked by devotees praying for personal miracles. About half way through the forty-five minute road trip to Oroquieta from Ozamis is the town of Jimenez. The Augustinians during the second half of the 19th century built the Church of San Juan Bautista to proselytize the native Subanens. The church’s buttresses and walls are from blocks of cut corals and the interior is adorned with sacred objects, paintings, and metal works. On arriving in Oroquieta City, the first stop would be a visit to the City Tourism Office (CTO) on Independence St. (Tel: 088-531-1213). Jay Lorenzo givesa free late-afternoon walking tour in the old part of the town—an hour’s itinerary that includes a relaxing stroll through the boulevard, plaza, convent, cathedral, nearbyhistorical sites, and sunset viewing at
Fresh 50-kg bariles (yellowfin tuna)
Rock & Roll at Rhovic's Place
the hanging bridge dangling over the Layawan River’s mouth. Those wishing to experience the cityscape from a different angle may request the CTO for an hour’s boat tour across the Oroquieta Bay. Richly Sobong will take you to the marine sanctuary, port, and beaches, with a cruise through Layawan River. His services are for free but the boat is for rent (about P300/hour). Any of the local eateries or hawkers offers authentic Oroquietanian meals, the best-loved dish of which is the lumayagan or bite-size squid, prepared eitheradobo-style or as kilawain. Many locals frequent the halang-halang stalls beside the plaza, which serve barbecues, puso (rice steamed in palm fronds), and halang-halang(minced meat in a clear spicy stew). The Shakespearean-sounding eatery, Romeo & Juliet, along Quijano St. at the Public Market Building A is quite popular for breakfast(about P70 for viand, rice, and drink). A favorite lunch place of Mayor Jason is Polas Canteen at the Montalvan’s compound on Revil St. They serve the bestkare-karengbaboy, dinuguan, and bakareta (beef kaldereta) in town (about P100 per order). The remaining Montalvan matriarch, TitaMenchit, is a patisserie enthusiast herself and produces some of the most delectable cookies, cakes, and pies. Smith’s Restobar on Paredies St. is the place for intimate dinners (P100-P200 per head). It occupies the
Old Chiong House at the heart of Oroquieta City
ground floor of an old house and is famous for their fried chicken, patatim, and siomai, among others. It switches into a dancing place late into the night when more drinks are served than food. Our Town Café on Rizal corner Pastrano Sts is where Oroquietanians wind down to talk about the day’s events. Rhovic’s Place along Paseo de Oro is the most strategic place stay to experience the essentials of Oroquieta (room rates P600-P1500). It faces the sea and boulevard where life revolves at dusk and after dark. The manager, Alay Ala, is not only a trained chef, she happens to serve the City Council and is a outspoken tourism advocate. Sheena’s Hotel is a little farther down Enerio St. but is a good alternative for those seeking a quieter area (room rates P750-P1550).
of time before these historical patrimonies will be dismantled in the name of development.To this end, Mayor Jason is working closely with Congressman Jorge Almonte into carving out a place for Oroquieta as a permanent historical and cultural destination. For the traveler, Oroquieta is not just another old, dusty city. It is a state of mind, a glimpse into a way of life that is out of sync with modern living. It is in this mindset that visitors should put themselvesin and only then doesOroquieta reveal its true festive and endearing character.
Oroquieta used to be almost exclusively made up of colonial and turn-of-the-century structures. Unfortunately, many of them were torn down to give rise to newer buildings, imploded to sell the antique wood and furniture, and destroyed by calamities. The Chiong House at the heart of old Oroquieta is but an echo of a past way of life that has since disappeared in other cities and towns. Perhaps the dawdling commerce of Oroquieta is the very brakes that have kept the complete destruction of the city’s historical and cultural sites. It is only a matter
72 with Mayor Jason Almonte Breakfast (center) and the writer (left)
Belfry of the San Juan Bautista Church in Jimenez
Welcome to Bohol Beautiful anytime of the year Photographs by Alicia Tagaro Andersson
Chocolate Hills in Carmen, Bohol
The big bell is on top of the Chocolate Hills.
The historical monument of the Sandugo pact.
The Floating restuarant in Loboc River, Loboc, Bohol
Chocolate Hills in Carmen, Bohol
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Mrs Lucy Kampa Fair International Deal Services P.O. Box 1121 57794 Hude Tel 0049 4408 982202
UK: Juliet Locsin, 42 Basterfield House, Golden Lane Estate, London, Tel 0044 207 251 0772
Noel Copiaco CBN Germany GmbH Zeil 2 603 13 Frankfurt am Main
Leah Grewal 152 Bulstrode Avenue TW3 3AG Hounslow Tel 00442082309020 Germany: Elisa Bombis, Knooperweg 42, 24103 Kiel, Tel 0049 431587 8372
Finland: Ms Evelyn Omandam Asian Deli Läkkisepankuja 3 02650 Espoo Finland Tel 0 942 89 0048
White Rock zambales beach resort
White Rock Zambales Beach Resort is a 5.7 hectare property nestled along the beaches of Subic Bay, just 2 - hrs drive from Balintawak toll plaza. It is a leisurely drive passing through national highways, farmlands and scenic spots. White Rock Beach Hotel is a premier Philippines beach resort located in Zambales. Visit us also at Mountain Woods, another Philippines beach resort hotel inside the SBMA tourist center How to get there: By Land Via North Expressway, exit San Fernando northward to the Subic Tollway, exit Kalaklan Gate. Left turn until you reach km post 134 and White Rock sign post and TOTAL Gas Service Station. www.whiterock-beach-resort.com email@example.com