Jackie Vizcocho opened Vizco’s Restaurant and Cake Shop in 2004 with just a one-page menu. Her first customers were mostly family and friends who supported her venture. She remembers how, on the early years of the business, her father always occupied a table, having coffee or inviting his friends to have meals with him, hoping for the restaurant to gain more popularity. Fast forward to 2017, Vizco’s now has a smorgasbord of dishes and pastries that will no longer fit one page. It has become a one-stop restaurant for all your daily cravings! From rice meals, pasta, salads, pizza to desserts, they have it! The restaurant’s popularity has soared to new heights, becoming a household name in Benguet.
Having been born and raised in Baguio, Jackie strongly advocated to include the local produce in their menu. True enough, in whatever you order, you are guaranteed to have the freshest vegetables and fruits in them.
Vizco’s Restaurant and Cake Shop is a dream gastronomic destination. No one goes to Baguio without knowing Vizco’s or having a taste of their signature, luscious (to die for) Strawberry Shortcake. We can only hope that they bring it to Manila (and other parts of the country) soon!
Interview- Jenette Vizcocho and Dane Raymundo
Video- M Espeña & Cris Legaspi
It all started with a raw piece of narra. JR Queyquep was visiting his provincial home in Ilocos when he came upon wood scraps leftover from construction, immediately taken by its color and grain. With no prior experience in woodcrafting, he came back to Manila and purchased several tools, getting to work with the aid of reading up and watching Youtube videos. His first ever project was a letter holder he made for his mom. That day started his love for woodwork joining, and the former banker could not be happier. It is now a few years later, and Grit & Bevel is just over a year old, but the simplicity and sophistication of each handcrafted mirror, stool, table, dresser, or the odd hanging sofa, showcases such maturity and restraint. Bearing a deep respect for the beauty of each piece of wood, JR does not alter its characteristics, carve elaborate designs, nor does he use any nails or screws to join the pieces together. Rather, he designs his work around the shape and coloring of each item he makes, applying the intricate Japanese art of joinery to create natural fittings, grooves and locks where the separate pieces join together. He may use wood glue to strengthen the hold, dab beeswax or oil to enhance the grain, or torch the finished product to play with color, but he believes in keeping things as natural as possible. He describes what he does as collaborating with wood, seeking out its beauty while making it functional. This results in minimalist pieces that are actually as strong as they are beautiful.
What started off as a little woodworking project soon turned into a workshop, with JR at times ordering tools he needs, but most of the time customizing his own. The room is neat, tools neatly arranged on one wall, not a speck of sawdust on the floor or the surfaces of the tables, with us later on finding out that he created his own vacuum to suction scraps off the floor. Scraps of wood in varying sizes are propped against each other in the deeper recesses of his workshop, while unfinished pieces in the process of completion are hung overhead or pushed to their own corners. We later on see that he works the way he keeps shop: neat, methodic, deliberate, and with utmost patience.
JR acknowledges that joinery is tough, and that very few create furniture and pieces this way in this instant, mass-produced, modernized age. This makes learning and working harder as well as more time-consuming for him, but it is this same challenge that draws him in. He learned to make use of his hands, to anticipate how wood will move and expand, to be precise with his joineries. This results in uniquely-shaped pieces that follow the length and shape of the wood. The present-day Geppetto, he is always searching for wood that speaks to him. He works with narra, walnut, mahogany, and acacia wood, always on the lookout for scraps he can repurpose and give new life to.
JR muses that he has gone through different kinds of jobs, from corporate to business, from formally trained to self-taught, and at a young age realized he would rather work on something he could see himself doing throughout his life, even if it means working doubly hard. Grit & Bevel came to life starting off in exhibits and pop-up fairs. What was once a collection of mirrors, cheese boards, and paperweights, soon became custom orders of dressers, cabinets, shelves, and racks. JR deals with the handiwork, while his partner Joi Tinio deals with the social aspect of the business, talking with potential dealers and customers, and maintaining their social media. Now that his work is becoming more in demand, he never compromises his art and aesthetic for a quick peso.
Bearing a deep respect for the beauty of each piece of wood, JR does not alter its characteristics, carve elaborate designs, nor does he use any nails or screws to join the pieces together. Rather, he designs his work around the shape and coloring of each item he makes, applying the intricate Japanese art of joinery to create natural fittings, grooves and locks where the separate pieces join together.
In the end, he is grateful that he started off with very little knowledge and no influences, as he was able to find his own artistic sensibilities without anyone imposing or injecting their ideas into his work. He learned along the way, making countless mistakes, working on instinct, and developing the technical skills needed for his kind of work. With each piece of art that his hands bring forth, he aims for Wabi-sabi, which is a Japanese world view that accepts imperfection, befitting of his craft, the asymmetry, the simplicity, and the desire to remain as natural in all its processes. In a way, he is his own raw scrap of narra, raw and unshaped, but filled with tremendous possibilities.
Follow them @gritandbevel on instagram to learn more about their pieces.
Text- Jenette Vizcocho
Interview- Jenette Vizcocho and Dane Raymundo
Photography – M Espeña
In these times where we and all our information are accessible with just a click of a button, it is so easy to take one look at a person and decide who they are. Open up Kermit Tesoro’s social media sites and get inundated with photos of cats, carnivorous and dangerous-looking plants, Japanese rope bondage, and will you look at those shoes! Immediately peg him to be some arm of the devil, some deeply disturbed and complex individual, someone who never cracks a smile. He is bemused with the amount of attention his own person gets, how people so easily attach the names, places, and things he is associated with without room for the gray: Kermit as Lady Gaga’s Little Monster, Kermit the skull shoemaker, Kermit the anti-christ. But the Kermit that faced us is not a product of a carefully-curated life. In reality, Kermit is Kermit as you or I are uniquely you and I. He works, he has off days, he connects and withdraws from the world, he creates his pieces to please his sensibilities and yet worries it will not make any impact outside of himself.
He is known for his high platform shoes, but it was never his intention to brand himself as such. A graduate of Visual Communication Arts at UP Diliman, he was even then as a student fascinated with taking things apart and putting them back together. This is reflective of his work to this day, where he still prefers to take found objects and repurpose them; putting actual human bones and teeth in Felmaxillary, a shoe that appears quite harmless from the front but presents the skull and gaping maw of a sabertooth tiger from the back. There can be countless interpretations just for this one shoe, is he being deliberately macabre, is he being practical, is it a critique of man versus beast? The beauty of this artist is that he allows the viewer to make their own connections to his pieces. He does attempt to pop the fantasy bubble by reminding that there is no deep-seated drama behind his work, that they, in the end, stem from his attempts at revisiting his childhood fascinations: plants, cats, science fiction stories, dark pop, music, and many-legged creatures. The footwear- some for actual wear, some as museum showpieces- are the result of his homage to his childlike wonder, and he encourages everyone to take from them as they see fit.
The journey into the world of fashion took him from weaving his own fabric at Sagada, Mountain Province, to the art of making bakya in Paete, Laguna, to creating sky high heels inspired by John Galliano, to participating in Philippine Fashion Week, to providing pieces for pop artists such as Gaga, Robyn, and Nicki Minaj.
His latest creation, Polypodis, brings alive his love for the Kraken, Ursula, Cthulhu, and Davy Jones, mixed with influences from the plant kingdom and experiences in his travels. The shoe makes the foot delicate, engulfed as it is in the eight limbs that seem to constantly move depending on which angle you look at it from. This time however, it is not meant to be worn, not produced for overconsumption, not meant for anything else but his enjoyment. He has created only two pairs, already with designated museums and artists in mind.
He does attempt to pop the fantasy bubble by reminding that there is no deep-seated drama behind his work, that they, in the end, stem from his attempts at revisiting his childhood fascinations: plants, cats, science fiction stories, dark pop, music, and many-legged creatures.
Despite how the largely anonymous internet has received him, he does acknowledge that they have helped take him to where he is now, a creator who is both loved and loathed, at times misunderstood by the Filipino market, but widely-embraced by his international audience. He is wary of the drama, of the immediate association and reduction of his entirety as a shoemaker, a fashion designer, or the product of Lady Gaga, but his eyes still widen at the prospect of collaborating with Bjork or Marilyn Manson. He is at the point where he works with the artists that he is inspired or influenced by, and is comfortable enough in his own skin to create whatever makes him happy without having to be responsible for however someone feels about it, and it is in this place of certainty that he has found his people.
Text- Jenette Vizcocho
Interview- Jenette Vizcocho and Dane Raymundo
Photography – Cris Legaspi
Silverlens Gallery is known to be one of the leading contemporary art galleries in the country. Murphy Report got a chance to talk to Isa Lorenzo, an art gallerist and one of its founders.
How do you choose your artists?
We base our programming on the artists we represent. The first thing we look for is that the artist has a deep understanding of their own practice, that they’re actually in conversation with a bigger art world, not just their period or just in the Philippines. It’s a bigger picture approach. They have to be technically good, the work needs to be properly finished. They need to be disciplined, they need to be ambitious. They need to have the same interest in the contemporary art dialogue as Silverlens does.
Having met so many artists, can you tell who will become great?
Some artists are serious, most are not. It’s not about being great. You don’t come across greatness. What’s important is the work is good. If the work is good, it will eventually find a home, or a way to show itself continuously.
Can you define the Philippine art scene?
Just like our singers, we are really great cover artists. Filipinos are great copiers. Most of the time it’s not a good thing because people don’t want that. Why are you going to make a painting, like a Vermeer when there already is a Vermeer? What we look for and what we’re constantly trying to push are our unique voices, not necessarily new, but unique, unique to themselves. They’re not trying to copy anybody. They are who they are. That’s how we have reached working relationships with many of our artists, like Maria Taniguchi, Gabriel Barredo, Patricia Eustaquio, the like. They are all individuals who are very much their own, you can throw them anywhere in the world and they will be fine.
How do you stay up to date when it comes to art?
We are constantly looking at art. Even in our downtime, on vacation, that’s all we do. We have a very wide network within the region, and growing around the world. We see and participate in a lot of art fairs. It’s a constant education and curiosity about what’s going on, not just in the Philippines, but outside as well.
You have galleries in Hong Kong and Singapore, can you tell us more about them?
It’s just one Silverlens. We do different shows in different parts of the world. So at any given time, we have several shows going on. It’s either we are mounting the shows, or we have partners showing our artists, either a museum partner or a gallery partner.
“Silverlens has paved the way art is seen and experienced. We want to be known as a pioneering gallery that makes opportunities happen for our artists, and whenever we start working with an artist we tell them, with everything that they do, it has to add value to the bigger picture.”
Who are your usual patrons?
We have a very strong core of local clients, and they have become friends over the years. The Filipino reception has been good, it’s growing. But we are more excited about the global art world discovering the Philippines, and that’s what’s happening right now.
What is art for you?
Art is everything from the way you make your eggs in the morning, the way you speak. These artists, their creativity is visual, it’s tangible. Art is everywhere.
What legacy do you want Silverlens to be remembered for?
Silverlens has paved the way art is seen and experienced. We want to be known as a pioneering gallery that makes opportunities happen for our artists, and whenever we start working with an artist we tell them, with everything that they do, it has to add value to the bigger picture. We encourage them to think of themselves as artists whose work needs to be seen. Every show has to give birth to bigger and better opportunities.
What are your future plans?
We are moving to a bigger space in the latter part of the year that is better planned for our exhibits.
Being in the Philippines is a challenge. We have issues with shipping outside and bringing pieces back in. Sometimes we work with artists who are not yet ready. They don’t understand the magnitude of what a show means and that they have to invest time and energy.
For more information about Silverlens and their upcoming exhibits, please visit their website.
Interview & Text- Dane Raymundo
Photography – M Espeña
Nuel Rivera is a 19-year-old aspiring director, composer, playwright and theater producer. A graduating senior at De La Salle College of St. Benilde, this young blood has already won awards for his work. He shares with us his fresh insights and promising outlook on the theater scene.
Give us a description of what you do.
I am a director for theater. I also write scripts, and I compose music for musical theater. That’s my foundation, but I also do experimental theater. These break off from the traditional musicals. They’re like revues. We feature pieces in a bar-type show, but it’s still set like a theater. The pieces can be a monologue series or a poetry reading series.
What inspired you to be a playwright and a director?
I grew up in the theater. I was exposed to different kinds of shows. When I hit 4th year high school, I realized there were shows that didn’t have a lot of substantial messages or themes for their audiences. As an audience member who grew up in the theater, I wanted new things to be shown and presented. And I wanted to be the one to do that.
What full shows/musicals have you done so far? Tell us about them. Which one are you most proud of and why?
I’ve done two full-length musicals, Numb and This is Who We Are; one straight play, The Storyteller, and one experimental theater production called Things We Can’t Control. These are apart from my smaller productions.
Numb was my first full length musical. We staged it when I was in 2nd year college. It was about a popstar who had fallen in love with a drug dealer. It shows the downfall of the star’s career because of her attraction to this guy. I wanted to show how fame works against your personal side.
The Storyteller is set in 9/11. It’s about a ballerina and a writer who find themselves caught in the 9/11 attacks. This ballerina becomes paralyzed from the waist down because of it. She loses hope too, thinking that the writer has fallen out of love with her. But he assures her that he has not. This show talks about love, and how you love someone for who they are, not for who they will be.
Things We Can’t Control was my most recent show. It was an experimental theater production. We staged songs and short scripts. The production dwelled on how we embrace unexpected things that transpire in our lives and how we respond to them.
I would say I’m most proud of This is Who We Are. Even I was shocked on how the piece turned out. It was staged in 2015 at De La Salle College of St. Benilde’s annual theater festival called “Crossroads”. The piece is set in New Orleans about victims of Hurricane Katrina. There’s a group of friends who try to get their lives back on foot after the hurricane. This piece came a few years after typhoon Yolanda hit Tacloban. What I wanted to do was tell people that they don’t need to disregard their dreams just because of a calamity or whatever happened in their lives. In this piece, the characters aren’t getting this exact thing they wanted or what they were dreaming of, but they get hope revived in them.
“As an audience member who grew up in the theater, I wanted new things to be shown and presented. And I wanted to be the one to do that.”
What awards have you received for your shows?
In 2014, Numb won Best Playwright for “Crossroads”. This is Who We Are won 3rd best play. Just recently, I won the Pioneer Insurance Stories of Hope competition.
Describe your life as a young playwright and director in four adjectives.
Not really adjectives. But I’d really like to say. “Living the dream everyday”. It’s stressful and tiring, but I don’t feel it. Because somehow I just know that I’m built for this. It’s what I wanted.
Did you ever have to deal with being underestimated in this field because of your age?
How did you get over it?
I use that to my advantage. I like surprising people with my age. I don’t slam it in their faces that “I’m a young kid trying to compete with them.” But at the same time, I like how I’m young and able to have this kind of opportunity in putting up shows. So I just focus on making sure that I put out something good.
Describe your process in making a musical. How long does it take to prepare for it? What are the stages involved?
Contrary to how other writers do it, I actually don’t outline. What I do is I just go with it. Normally, I develop one or two characters, and I go with whatever comes to mind in that moment I decide to write. I people watch, too and draw inspiration from others’ experiences and the stories I hear.
Four months is enough time to produce a musical. There’s pre-production, where we fine tune the creative aspect and audition actors. That happens in the first month. Then we give ourselves 14-21 rehearsals. It doesn’t need to be every day, but in can be scattered in the next 2 months. And then there’s production where we have a week to put out the show. And then finally, post-production.
You’re only 19, but you’re already fulfilling some dreams. What else do you want to accomplish?
I want to go back to acting. I started acting when I was 8. But when I entered college, I had to put that aside. A few months before I entered college, I auditioned for a show. The producer said, “I want to hire you, but I don’t want to take the opportunity of college away from you.” She was saying there’s a world out there. She said, “I want you to see it so that you can also mature before you come back to acting.” At first, I couldn’t understand that. I really wanted to do the show. Fresh out of high school, you do get sick of studying and want to make a living already. But I get it now. I really do. And I want to go back even more because of my exposure to directing and producing shows.
What is your vision as a director/ producer? Where do you see your shows being staged?
Well, I actually don’t like staging shows in traditional formal theaters. I look for open spaces. I look for galleries that I can partner with. I look for warehouses, maybe even basketball courts; anything different that takes away the tradition of a big platform stage.
Maybe that’s just my vision as a producer of shows. I mean, I want to show different kinds of material, so why not stage it differently?
Which theater actors and actresses would you want for your plays?
As a director, my vision is getting new blood. Preferably people who don’t have experience in theater. Because the thing is, I was exposed to theater at a young age, and I saw how it helped me. It developed my character, made me explore aspects of my personhood. Acting helps people. I want to give that opportunity to people who want to be onstage but never got to.
What kind of difficulties do you think young playwrights face in the Philippine Scene?
In the theater scene, a lot of them are already established. It’s really hard for young blood to penetrate the industry. It will take a lot of hard work. Especially if we want to be competitive with these big names, it will take a while. It will take years. That’s how my vision for staging plays in different locations and staging different kinds of materials come into play. I can use it to establish my own identity, and it’s not about competing with the big names either.
What was the most unforgettable moment of your life as a young director?
During one of our rehearsals for This is Who We Are. I asked an actor friend of mine to handle a workshop. One of their activities was to find a corner in the room and just let out all their frustrations, especially in the context of dreams. For a good half hour, all my actors were screaming and crying. We were heard throughout the whole school. We were rehearsing at the top floor. People from downstairs told me that they could hear the screaming and crying.
That was the first time I realized that my job as a director is more than just mounting the show. My actors, the people I work with, they have certain frustrations. There are feelings that need to come out. As the director, you’re like the “Dad” of the show. You’re responsible for your actors.
What has been the reception of the Filipino audience to your work?
The number one thing I get is, “You’re so western!” Which I’ve learned to embrace because that is the foundation of my theater background. It was purely western. But I’m trying to incorporate a lot of local influences through character development and storyline. That’s one reception. Others love the idea of being exposed to something else, that’s not typical. It’s something new to them, and they welcome it. It’s like a palate cleanser. Another reception is that they love the music. I don’t want to take full credit for that because I have a partner, Tin Caberto. We write all the songs together. They say that our songs are made for theater, but they can imagine it being heard over the radio. And I like that.
“A story is an instrument for truth. And I don’t refer to truth as in an established truth. You can feed people a lie and call it a truth. That’s what you can do with a story.”
Define what a “story” is in your own words, by your own experience.
A story is an instrument for truth. And I don’t refer to truth as in an established truth. You can feed people a lie and call it a truth. That’s what you can do with a story. Whatever you put out there, these are things that people can and probably will believe. So it’s the way that you use the story to impart a certain truth. It’s what’s vital for the writer to do or establish.
Can you define “art” and relate it to your role as a playwright?
I have a professor who told us that art is anything that makes you feel. I have to agree with that. You know that not feeling is a feeling. You stare at an artwork and if you don’t feel anything, that’s still feeling something. And art is exactly like that. Art is anything that makes you feel. As a playwright, that is your job, to make sure that the audience feels some things. That’s what I always work after. Is it gonna make them feel happy, encouraged, sad, or hopeful? Or what if they don’t feel anything? I’ll take that.
What kind of stories do you want your audience to remember you by?
With all my stories and all the songs so far, what I’ve noticed with my trends and themes is that it’s always encouraging. I hate it when people decide for themselves that this is “the end” of something for them. “This is the end of my dreams”; “This is the end of all the good things in my life.” And the thing is, I’ve lived through that. I thought that there was an end, too. You hit a bump on the road and you think you’ll never be able to do more. But it’s not the end. I think that’s just like a false belief the world has said to us.
Interview & Text – Nicole Gusto
Nicole is a part-nerd and part-artist. She geeks out on words and stories that have life…
the ones that are definitely worthwhile. She is in love with summer (if summer could ever be a person). Photography – Cris Legaspi
How did you get into paint conservation?
It was in 1999 when the National Museum came up with a comprehensive program on restoration of easel paintings. I was very lucky to have friends who are with them. They invited me and it ran for a total of 16 months. It was almost like attending an MA program. This was sponsored by the National Museum, the Agencias Espanola, and National Commission for Culture and the Arts. I was a graphic designer during that time, there were around 20 of us in the program, and our teachers came over from Spain.
We were there five days a week, eight hours a day, and it was composed of several courses from the basic restoration of easel paintings to the more advanced courses like polychrome statues. We were taught to develop a critical mind. In art restoration, it’s not just looking at the colors, it’s also studying the texture and the approach of the artist. You must know the materials and their conditions. All these will help you prepare a conservation program or intervention.
I really value my conservation training. I have been restoring for almost 15 years. I have learned to be very patient, to be very careful with assessment, so the artwork will receive the proper treatment. Every project is a challenge to me, because it tests my knowledge and skill. One must have a very outlook when you study a painting. Growing up, I wanted to be a doctor, but my father could not afford to send me to medical school. Now I am a doctor of paintings.
Tell us about your group ACES.
Seven of us who graduated from the program set up an organization Art Restoration and Conservation Specialists in 2001, and worked together for around 10 years before we went our separate ways. Restoration is a team effort, it’s something you cannot do by yourself. In my team we have chemists, we have several artists, even an accountant. You need to have many eyes looking at the project. A chemist would look at it differently, and an artist would look at it very differently. I can see things that they can’t see, and they can see things that I can never see.
“One conservation principle that a conservator must follow is that anything that you add, you should be able to remove. Everything should be reversible and removable.”
Tell us about some of your projects.
We did a partial restoration of The Spoliarium. It was such an honor and such a wonderful experience. We had to set up scaffolding so we could check every square inch of it. We removed the aged varnish and cleaned the painting.
We also did the Botong Francisco mural at St. Paul University. Manila Hotel has an art collection as well, and they invited me to restore them, among these Amorsolo’s Early Traders painting.
The last restoration project our team made was for CCP. We worked on four murals of Jaime de Guzman, each one about 6 by 5 feet. He was one of my favorite painters, so I was happy to do it for them pro bono.
Right now I am also a trustee and finance officer for Erehwon Center for the Arts, a non-profit organization that promotes art in the Philippines.
What did you do before ACES?
I was a graphic designer. I used to paint and I had several one-man shows. I suppose it’s just natural that I segued into art restoration because I studied art. My very first solo-exhibit was in 1982 for watercolor paintings. I’ve had a show in Italy, and I’ve made some good friends out of my clients, some of my paintings were brought to USA, Australia, and Canada.
Can you run us through the procedure of art conservation?
One conservation principle that a conservator must follow is that anything that you add, you should be able to remove. Everything should be reversible and removable. First, we have to document the front and back to record the physical damage of the painting. Next, we test all the colors to see their condition. Then we clean the painting. Once we had to remove thick varnish from a piece, and it was very difficult, it was very thick and tough, we had to do a lot of run throughs. We flatten the cracks by using organic glue and a heated spatula, similar to ironing a wrinkled blouse. Afterwards we apply putty, let it dry, and retouch areas of paint loss. You have to visualize what was there before, see it in your mind.
How do you see the future of art conservation?
People would tell me I’m a jack-of-all-trades. I do restoration works on canvas, paper, sculptures, photopaper. In other countries, there are specialists for all of these, but here in the Philippines, I have to learn how to do all these because nobody would. There are very few conservators, not more than ten. There is a need to train young people to do conservation work, which is my advocacy right now.
Interview – Jenette Vizcocho and Dane Raymundo
Videography – Lisandro Molina, and M Espeña
Editing – M Espeña
Text – Jenette Vizcocho
We follow a painter with such palpable passion for his craft. He has an extraordinary amount of artistry for someone who just yearns to paint or as he puts it, “Gusto ko lang talagang magpinta”. He humbly talks about his excellence in art, the simplicity in life, the radical emotions behind some of his art works and the importance of his family. Join us as Mark Andy Garcia leaves us speechless at his admirable, brazen honesty about the art industry.
Anong klase ka na estudyante ‘nung high school and college? Painter ka na ba talaga?
‘Nung high school and college tahimik lang ako. Nagkainteres ako sa painting ‘nung college pero nagdo-drawing na‘ko simula pa ng elementary. ‘Nung time na yun, wala ako sa kahit konting pag-iisip na magiging profession ko siya. Gusto ko lang siyama-enjoy.‘Nung college ako, diyan ko nakuha ‘yung pag-aaralko kaya nagustuhan ko na rin.
‘Yung family mo huge part ba ng creativity mo? Na-influence ka ba nila?
Oo,pero actually ayoko tawaging “inspiration”. Motivation. Ang “inspiration” sa mga amateurs yan. Nagtatrabaho sila kasi inspired sila. Kahit sino pwedeng sabihin yun eh. Ako, ito ang buhay ko.
Ano ang kahulugan ng pamilya sa iyo?
Part ko. Kasi iniisip ko, magtatrabaho ka para sa sarili ko lang? Ang boring! Kapag ang tagumpay wala kang pagaalayan, ay walang kwenta.Ngayon ko na-aappreciate ‘yung nanay ko nagaattend ng exhibit ko kasi dati di ko nararamdaman yan kasi masyado silang busy sa trabaho para makapagaral kami. Nagtatampo-tampo pa ko noon, yun pala para sa amin din yun.
Itong talent mo natural bang dumating yan sa iyo?
Yung interes ko siguro natural pero yung talent kasi sa tingin ko talagang binigay ng Panginoon yan kasi kung ako aasahaan ko lang sarili ko, wala ako magagawa. Hindi ako magaling. May mga blessings eh, dun ko masasabi na binigay lang.
Natututunan din ba ng pagiging artist?
Natututunan. Actually, wala namang ipinanganak sa mundo na alam na talaga niya ang art. Talagang pagaaralan tapos experience. Wala namang bata diyan na ipinanganak na magaling na kaagad. Sa experience niya kaya niya nalalaman ang mga bagay. Yung mga part na yun ang magseshape sa artist eh.
May nagsulat na mood-based ang style mo. Naga-agree ka ba dun?
Nung una hindi. Kasi hindi ko naman iniisip kung ano ipipinta ko bukas. Halimbawa, may exhibit ako parating, wala ko sinusubmit na proposal na ito ang ipipinta ko. Ang ginagawa ko niyan, nagpipinta lang ako bago dumating ang exhibit tapos hinuhugot ko yung mangyayari sa araw ko. Halimbawa, biglaan namatay ang tatay ko, dun ko kukunin. Di mo naman masasabi yan eh. Kaya ako di ako nagsusulat. Gusto ko kung ano na lang.
“Kaya ko nga ginagawang subject yung sariling buhay ko kasi nga gusto ko makita nila kung sino talaga ko na walang tinatago, na ako talaga. Hindi ko naman iniisip kung ano iniisip sa akin ng iba. Basta nagpipinta lang ako.”
Sabi nila iba daw yung style mo dati, realism ba?
Hindi. Lahat naman realism. Siyempre masunurin ako, estudyante ako nun eh. Wala naman eskwelahan sa arts na magtuturo ng distortion, abstraction o ng surrealism. Dinadaanan pero hindi tinuturo kasi lahat ng tinuturo sa eskwelahan basic. Basic kasi ang realism. Ibig sabihin ng basic, pundasyon siya. Kailangan siya ng lahat ng artist na marunong magdrawing. Wala pa yata ako nabasa na malaking pangalan sa art industry na hindi marunong magdrawing.
Sa tingin mo bakit ka naging pintor?
Ewan ko. Nung simula naman hindi ko naisip kung bakit ako naging pintor. Basta gusto ko lang magpinta. Ang alam ko lang gusto ko yung arts. Sa usapin naman ng purpose, maganda yan. Very interesting yang purpose. Sa mga artists yan yung hindi narirealize ng marami. Hindi masagot ng marami kung para saan talaga ginawa nila. Sa tingin ko ang purpose ng art ko para sa sarili ko rin.
Paano mong gusto ma-identify as a painter?
Simple lang. Gusto ko simpleng painter lang ako. Kung ano lang talaga personality ko, kung ano nakikita ng iba, gusto ko yun talaga. Kaya ko nga ginagawang subject yung sariling buhay ko kasi nga gusto ko makita nila kung sino talaga ko na walang tinatago, na ako talaga. Hindi ko naman iniisip kung ano iniisip sa akin ng iba. Basta nagpipinta lang ako.
Visual journals daw ang paintings mo, kasi kung ano nararanasan mo yun ang pinipinta mo. Sa ngayon ba ganun pa rin?
Oo ganun pa rin. Kasi wala akong interes sa ibang bagay. Gusto ko talaga yung buhay ko lang.
Kumusta ka ngayon, Andy?
Okay, masaya. Marami na rin nagbago. Dati madrama pa ko sa buhay. Pero di ko na iniisip yun. Siyempre nagkakaproblema, pero di na ko gaya ng dati. Siyempre nalulungkot pero di na gaya ng dati na down. Kung gusto ko naman sumaya, eh di magpipinta ko. Maraming pwedeng gawin para maging positibo. Mindset, sa tingin ko. Kailangan ayusin mo pagiisip mo. Hindi lang sarili ko ang tinitingnan ko, nandyan yung mga kapatid ko.
Sa mga bumibili ng painting mo, tinatanong ba nila kung ano meaning ng painting mo?
Yung iba parang wala naman interes malaman yung meaning. Gusto lang nila meron sila nun kasi meron ang kaibigan nila. Actually mas naaappreciate ko yung bibili sila ng painting sa akin na wala silang pera tapos hulug-hulugan. Mas naaapreciate ko yun kasi feeling ko talaga gustung-gusto nila. Gusto ko, gusto mo rin, parang ganun.
Alam mo ba kung tapos na painting mo?
Alam ko. Kahit tingin ng mga tao na hindi pa tapos, ako, alam ko. Minsan may painting ako na matagal ko ginagawa. Ang kapal-kapal na ng pintura hindi ko matapos kasi mahirap talaga. Kasi mali din ako kasi hindi ko pinagisipan. Kasi ang talagang pagagawa ng art, siyempre titingnan mo subject. Kung wala ka pang subject, magiisip ka tapos lulutuin mo sa isip mo saka mo ibabato sa canvas para madali. Kasi talagang luto na bago mo ilagay sa canvas. Minsan kasi sa canvas ko kinakapa, wala akong idea. Parang naglalakad ka pero di mo alam kung saan ka pupunta tapos sa gitna palang saka ka magiisip kung saan ka talaga pupunta. Minsan successful, minsan hindi. Mahirap yun eh.
So dapat may idea ka muna?
Oo, dapat iniisip. Kasi kapag di mo iniisip, nakakatawa. Kapag hindi ko gusto pinipinturahan ko na lang ulit. Sa iba siguro nilalabas pa nila yan, eexhibit pa tapos lolokohin mga tao na may kwento yan.
Ano yung pinakameaningful painting ang nagawa mo?
Meron dati pero parang binalewala lang ng nakabili. Kasi nung nag-abroad ako, naging Kristiyano ako dun sa Saudi. Tapos paguwi ko dito, nagpaint ako ng portrait ko na sa tingin ko, “ganda nito ah”, masayang-masaya ko. Parang pinaint ko yung saya ko dun bilang artist na may Diyos. Tapos sa first solo show ko yun nilabas. Nakuha ng isang collector tapos binalewala lang niya, pinagswap-swap ng kung anu-ano. Nung simula medyo nasasaktan ako eh. Isipin mo ganun kahalaga sa akin yun tapos sa ibang tao ganun lang. Pero kung isipin ko ngayon ganun siguro talaga.
Sa industry ninyo?
Hindi, sa lahat ng tao. Ganyan talaga ang mundo.
Anong art work yun?
Ang title nun ay “Self-portrait with a Two-edged Sword”.
Pero wala kang tinatabing painting?
Merong mga nakatago. Hindi ko binebenta. Meron ako dun yung subject na tatay ko na nasa deathbed. Sinali ko sa Philip Morris yan tapos nanalo. Dun kasi kapag nanalo ka sa iyo pa rin ang painting, pwede nila bilhin pero hindi ko ibinenta kasi hindi naman ako nagugutom. Wala pa naman akong karanasan na nagpinta ako tapos wala akong ulam. OA naman yun. May iba ganun eh, “I’m a starving artist.” Tamad ka kasi, di ba? Meron time dati na wala akong kinikita pero nung time na yun, masustansiya pa din naman kinakain ko. Nangunguha ko ng malunggay sa kapitbahay. Tapos, halimbawa, meron akong 10 pesos, bibili ko ng tokwa at pechay. Hindi ako nagugutom. Kalokohan yun.
Ngayon ano na kinakain mo?
Nagluluto ako. Marunong kaya ko magluto. Ang galing ko kaya magluto!
“Yung mga lumang painting ko nanakikitaan ng mga dark, mga radical na emotions, pinipilit kong balikan yun gamit ang bagong painting ko ngayon para masaayos.”
Ngayon, ano yung latest art works mo?
Itong mga bago nakaconnect pa din sa lumang paintings ko. Yung mga lumang painting ko na nakikitaan ng mga dark, mga radical na emotions, pinipilit kong balikan yun gamit ang bagong painting ko ngayon para masaayos. Meron akong painting dati na hard core, ang dilim eh. Kinukuha ko ngayon ulit tapos aayusin ko na. Iba yung treatment pero parehong subject ulit.
Mas may tapal ng colors?
Hindi, ang painting kasi parang communication, parang pananalita. Pwedeng ganun pa rin sinasabi mo pero pwede mo ibahin ang pagkakasabi. Parang ganun.
Yung message mo ba importante sa iyo maiparating sa viewers?
Hindi importante sa akin yun. Wala akong pakialam kung hindi nila naintindihan yun, basta ako sa akin nakaconnect ako sa painting ko.
Ngayon may mga struggles ka pa ba as an artist?
Struggle sa pagiisip, minsan kasi masyado na tayo busy. Hindi kasi naiintindihan ng iba, akala nila pwede mo naman gawin ang ibang bagay sa umaga, sa gabi magpinta ka. Hindi totoo yun. Dapat painting lang kung painting. Hindi yan usapin ng oras eh. May oras kung sa may oras pero yung isip mahirap ifocus. May iba siguro nagagawa yun, pero ako hindi pa.
Ano gusto mong legacy maiwan sa mga tao?
Gusto ko kung ano lang yung ako talaga. Ang sa akin lang, gusto ko lang makita lahat-lahat ng ginawa ko.
Ano pa ang mga plano mo?
Typical lang, walang kakaiba, magpipinta. Ang totoo naman kasi, dati ang gusto ko lang talaga magpinta, pero nung nagpipinta na ko, naisip ko, kagaya din ng ibang profession, madami din yang side. Hindi lang pupwedeng pagpipinta lang alam mo. Meron yang business side. May psychological side yan kasi pipiliin at pipiliin mong magpinta ng mabibigat na subjects. Akala ba nila ganun-ganun lang? Madedepress ka kapag mahina ang loob mo. Yung pinipili kong subject pati ako naaapektuhan. Para kang nanonood ng horror, pagpikit mo hindi ka makatulog. Alam mo naman na walang multo pero parang may multo, parang ganun.
Interview & Editing- M Espeña
Videography – Cris Legaspi and M Espeña
Text – Dane Raymundo
The mere mention of “Ballet Philippines” brings one’s thoughts to ballet dancers performing a world-class production at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). But amidst the awe of such flawless performances, often, one finds himself wondering how much time, discipline, artistry, and passion is entailed to come up with one successful show.
Ballet Philippines is one of the longest-standing and most established dance companies in the country. And it is not without reason that they have been in the industry for more than four decades. That’s four decades of teaching and producing local ballet dancers that can surpass international standards.
Murphy Report is honored to have had the opportunity to talk to Ballet Philippines’ Artistic Director and ballet dancers, to get a more in-depth perspective of what the company is all about; pre, during and post- productions ̶ ̶ from their artistry to their emotions and the challenges they face, we got it all covered.
Interview with Paul Alexander Morales, Artistic Director of Ballet Philippines
Can you describe Ballet Philippines?
Paul Alexander Morales Artistic Director of Ballet Philippines
Ballet Philippines, they say, is a pioneering professional dance company in Manila. It was founded in 1969 by Alice Reyes with the help of Eddie Elejar. Alice is really a modern dance choreographer and Eddie is a classical dancer. So it was a combination of the two. They had their first concert here at the CCP in 1970. We are coming up with our 47th season and, really, the idea of Ballet Philippines is to create some sort of a national ballet through a professional dance company. Before ballet Philippines madami tayong dance company sa Manila, but none was professional in the sense na yun lang ang gagawin mo. Hindi siya hobby, full time work siya for the dancers, so it’s really to professionalize the craft of dancing pero kasabay din nun yung pagcreate ng Filipino content. So it also features a lot of Filipino choreography, and of course the talent of Filipino dancers, designers and composers. Ballet Philippines is that twin idea of creating Filipino work and Filipino talent. For the talent development, we have a long-term scholarship program. I myself was a scholar here in the 80s. It was because there was a company like Ballet Philippines that could support the arts that I was able to pursue my dancing.
Define ballet and what makes it a form of art?
I think Ballet in French just means “dance”, so we can take dance very broadly. In the Philippines dance is very natural. Indigenous communities have their own dances. Sabi nga ng mga foreigners, Filipinos are really good singers and dancers. Dancing is a natural talent. Every country has its way of developing their own style and their trademark in dance, pero ang maganda sa ballet is that there is an international standard, especially today na meron nang youtube and you can watch everybody, so it pulls up the work. Everybody is encouraged to do better work.
You were mentioning about how you’re putting in a musical score and all these things, and we’ve always been curious about the process. Can you just give us a run-through of how it works?
To make a ballet, usually there are many ways to go about it, and sometimes iba yung process, but I would say the traditional process is it starts with an idea. So let’s say we’ll do a ballet about this story and then usually you employ a librettist, who writes down the story. Sometimes it’s based on another story, it’s an adaptation or there’s a historical approach. The librettist then hands it over to the composer, the composer creates new music, and eventually the designers will design. They have a set designer, lighting designer, costume designer and then the choreographer. Usually the choreographer is there from the beginning of the process. Usually, siya talaga yung magaguide. It’s his or her approach to the dance. So to come up with a new ballet, you need all these creative input, even without the dancers. So yung dancers iba din yung kanilang contribution, which is the actual movements of the dance.
This is very technical and tedious, so how long does it usually take to make one production?
One production will take one or two months, but usually the preparations take a year or so. You really want to be prepared. At Ballet Philippines, we present 4 major productions every year and it rarely repeats. So parang kasama sa aming mission yung we always present something new. Yun yung aming subscription season, so people can support the company by getting a subscription to all the four shows that we’ve prepared all throughout the year.
How do the dancers attach their own creativity in their performance? How do they express their individuality and make the move their own?
As choreographers, we ask them not to emote so much with their face. Their artistry is something you see in their approach to the music. In the musicality; their phasing. You may have the same move, but they are able to express it differently. They give the audience a different feeling through that. Sometimes it can include facial expressions, but beyond that, I guess, it’s how the body expresses. It can be a happy jump, a very angry jump, but the particular timing, in relation to the space, gives you that expression.
How has ballet and Ballet Philippines changed over time?
Kanina dun sa sinasabi nating history, it’s very important to note about modern dance. Modern dance pioneers such as Isadora Duncan or Martha Graham have a big impact in the Philippines, especially in Ballet Philippines. Our first show was all modern dance. It is beyond ballet, but also uses some properties of ballet, like it’s presented in the theater, but it presents different stories and different movements. There’s also contemporary dance which is what the choreographers do now. More like exploration of movements. There’s not one particular style. Like music, classical ballet, it’s interesting to go to because you know what you’re going to get, but of course within that parameter there are still many interpretations. With contemporary and modern dance, the options are much wider. The Filipino dance, in particular, I would say some of our choreographers here, two in particular are very, very noted for their works that create Filipino themes and Filipino movements. One of them is founder, Alice Reyes. A lot of her early works that have become very acclaimed are about Filipino stories and using this modern dance movement. Later on, my teacher, Agnes Locsin, started doing ballet called “Neo-ethnic”, based on Filipino dance movement combined with modern dance movements.
So you’re also tailor-fitting it to the Filipino audience?
Yes, and also to the Filipino body.
But what has been the reception of the Filipino audience?
I would say the Filipino audience is very diverse. The programs we present are also very diverse so it reflects that. We have pieces, for example, that are for children or for the whole family. Once in a while we have pieces that are more mature or for the adult audience. Often, we have pieces about the Filipino culture. But Manila is very cosmopolitan, so the programming is very eclectic. Maybe dance is an acquired taste. So the best would really be for people to come and see our show.
What are the challenges in the country?
Well, for one thing, we should really celebrate that Manila is one of the few cities in the world, that actually has 3 ballet companies. Since Ballet Philippines started, we put up a good standard that everyone would try to emulate. All the three companies are still struggling in the sense that we have to develop an audience. We have little government support. Most ballet companies in other countries would really have a long-term program, a sense of security. More or else ang art sa Pilipinas isang kahig isang tuka, so kung ano yung makikita mo, pwede mo siyang idevelop sa next show, but wala yung sense of plan. We are approaching our 50th anniversary, this is what we are thinking about how to make it even more sustainable. Sustainable naman siya because you can see it happening and we are employing a lot of dancers. So the dancers here are paid full-time for the whole year. And they get all the benefits like insurance. But I would say, unlike in other countries, malayo pa tayo sa maaring ibigay. A lot of times, I won’t say all the time, our dancers end up exporting themselves at some point because they want to help their families. Like in Hong Kong Disneyland, when it opened, we had a lot of dancers who went there. Muntikan na magsara ang company. We have a lot of dancers in cruises. We have a dancer who just finished the tour of “Cirque de Soleil”. But of course you want to develop the scene here more.
How does Ballet Philippines improve its artistry and how do you set your standards?
The founder of Ballet Philippines has high standards; maybe a taste and a level of excellence. From the beginning we have to consider that you are a part of the international arena. We have a lot of guest choreographers that keeps us abreast with the international scene. The other really great thing is to tour and see other people’s works. The past few years, we’ve also been lucky to be in festivals and things like these.
What are the plans of Ballet Philippines in the next 10 years?
This June, we have a new festival called “Dance Manila”, which celebrates the professional dance scene in the Philippines. I think that’s a big push to recognize us. It’s something na bagay sa mga Pilipino because we want Filipinos to appreciate dance and dance history; how much dance has helped shape society and how it helps people in terms of employment. Our goal is to keep producing the best dance and building an audience for dance.
Earl John Arisola, Junior Principal Dancer
John Mark Cordero, Principal Ballet Dancer
Rita Winder, Soloist
Denise Parungao, Junior Principal Dancer
Cyril Aran Fallar, Principal Soloist
John Mark Cordero and Earl John Arisola
Interview with the Ballet Dancers
John Mark Cordero, Principal Ballet Dancer Rita Winder, Soloist Denise Parungao, Junior Principal Dancer Cyril Aran Fallar, Principal Soloist Earl John Arisola, Junior Principal dancer
Kindly give us a background of your career as a ballet dancer. What made you decide to become one?
John Mark Cordero (JMC): I started very late. I started when I was 18. That’s very late for a dancer. I thought it was the perfect job for me because I love the stage. I was too young to do the parts that I wanted to do in theater, but I still wanted to perform, so I asked my teacher back then kung ano pwede ko gawin, “magsayaw ka muna. Try mo”. From that point, nagtuluy-tuloy na, hindi na ko nakaalis sa CCP.
Rita Winder (RW): I started at 8 years old. Nagstart yun kasi sa lugar namin, sa barangay hall, may nagooffer ng dance. Eventually, ballet na yung tinuturo. Pinupush ako ng nanay ko tapos eventually yung teacher ko sa ballet, former member ng Ballet Philippines, mga pioneer members sila, pinush niya ko na magaudition sa Philippine High School for the Arts tapos scholarship din siya. Tapos since nakapasok na ko dun, eye-opener sa akin yung Makiling (Philippine High School for the Arts) kasi ang dami ko natutunan sa arts. Sabi ko, “After nito hindi ko ile-let go yung alam ko sa arts. After nito, sasayaw ako sa college.” Hanggang yun na nga nag-De La Salle College of St. Benilde ako na Performing Arts Major tapos in consortium siya with Ballet Philippines. Naging ito yung path at naging clear ang path papunta dito.
Denise Parungao (DP): I took up Bachelor of Performing Arts in Dance in De La Salle-College of St. Benilde and they gave me a scholarship. That’s how I entered Ballet Philippines. I started to love ballet when I was 13. I don’t know why. It’s just there. You decide that you love it and you want to do it.
Earl John Arisola (EJA): I started dancing in my province, in Iloilo. And nalaman ng parents ko yung Philippine High School for the Arts sa Makiling, Laguna and nag-scholarship ako dun. Tapos nag-pursue ako ng Ballet Major. Kasi noon kapag galing ka Makiling didiretso ka ng Ballet Philippines (BP) as a CCP Scholar. Nag-CCP scholar ako after ng high school then nag-dance major ako sa Benilde. I pursued dance here in BP as my profession.
Cyril Aran Fallar (CAF): When I was a kid, passion ko na talaga ang dancing. I also entered Philippine High School for the Arts as a Theater Artist not a dancer. After 2 years, I was a stage manager of a ballet recital. That time I was eyeing a girl who was a ballerina. Suddenly, I decided to pursue dancing. At first it started out as passion, but then I realized career ko na pala siya.
Define ballet and what makes it a form of art?
JMC: Basically, ballet is dance. Art form siya kasi there’s a certain technique and there’s a certain level at meron kang sinusundan. Meron siyang specific aesthetic at ginawa siya hundreds of years ago.
DP: Art is about expressing yourself and it’s very open to interpretation. Ballet is about dancing talaga and about expressing. Ako, more on expression siya. You move because ito yung feeling mo. This is my outlet.
EJA: Para sa akin ang ballet kailangan talaga ng discipline. It’s an art because ballet pieces tell a story and we usually play a role as ballet dancers and para mapakita mo sa audience yung story, kailangan you give life dun sa role na pineplay mo.
CAF: Ballet is a choice. Kailangan mo siyang maging choice kasi if you want to be a ballet dancer, you have to give 200% of your self. You have to sacrifice a lot. For me ballet is not just a form of dance, you have to tell a story. Nagiging art siya dahil sa passion mo together with your dedication and your discipline.
What have been the changes over time?
JMC: Sa limang artistic directors na na-experience ko dito sa Ballet Philippines, depende kasi yun kung saan isi-steer ng captain yung ship eh. Ito yung maganda sa Ballet Philippines, it’s a repertory company at the same time we create new works. So we have classical works from local choreographers and we also have new works. Ito yung nagpapabuhay sa Ballet Philippines at mabubuhay pa rin siya. Ang daming young choreographers na nandito. Madaming malilikot yung utak to do something na mage-evolve ang dance. I think ito yung heartbeat ng Ballet Philippines.
DP: Well, I’m young in the industry pero nakita ko pag nagsoshow kami mas marami nanonood especially kapag ang production ay Peter Pan, yung pang kids or related sa history like Crisostomo Ibarra.
What is your favorite or most memorable ballet production?
JMC: Actually yung last production lang namin, yung “Opera” with Redha. We never really had an opportunity to work with him na ginawa niya yung piyesa sa amin and first time itong nangyari, yung choreographer ginagawa niya sa sarili mo, sa katawan mo, sa pagkatao mo, sa iyo minomold yung character. Chinecherish ko naman din lahat ng experiences ko with our choreographers before pero kasi nagawa na yan ng iba eh. It’s just that this is something special kasi kapag ibang taopinaggawa nun, example 10 years from now uulitin ang ginawa ko lahat dito, mahihirapan yata ako ituro kasi ako yun.
RW: Nagiging memorable kasi ang production para sa amin, usually kapag memorable din yung process na pinanggalingan namin dun like yung binabanggit ni JM na” Opera” kasi, kumbaga kami yung clay niya,parang ganun mismo yung ginagawa niya. Memorable din sa akin yung kay Agnes Locsin, yung “La Rev” niya, kasi yung process niya sa amin madugo na kailangan namin mag-intensive workshop sa kanya ng isang buwan mahigit sa Davao para makuha namin yung gusto niya, para pagbalik namin dito, mabilis yung trabaho at kuha na namin yung gusto niya gawin. Dugo’t pawis ang nilagay namin dun. Eventually, ang rewarding kapag ginawa mo na mismo yung piece.
DP: The full-length ballet Giselle, because the story is complete. It’s about love, forgiveness, betrayal, everything. The style is very beautiful. The music, yung feels. It’s on point. Everything goes well together.
JMC: Siguro for the readers, kailangan nila din maintindihan na madaming styles ang ballet. Di lang siya grand plié, jump, tutu, at least okay yun, you have an idea of what to expect pero hindi pare-pareho yun ng style. Depende yan sa era, kapag Giselle romantic yan, di ka pwede magtaas ng leg ng ganito kataas. Iba-ibang period, iba-ibang style. Iba- iba din ang atake. I guess, dun makikita ang maturity ng dancers. Kapag alam nila kung nasaan silang lugar at ito lang. Kumbaga may purity or sincerity sa ginagawa sa arts. Ito din ang pagkakaiba ng sports sa arts. Sa sports di ba paramihan ng puntos pero sa arts, timplado mo.
What has been the reception of the Filipino audience?
JMC: Ang hirap kasi medyo Hollywood ang tingin natin dito sa Pilipinas eh. Ang hirap kalaban ng media. It’s the pop culture, I mean. Pero on another note, buhay kami, at hindi kami namamatay, for 46 years nandito pa rin ang Ballet Philippines. I guess, we’re doing something right. We just have to keep on doing kung ano ginagawa namin kasi it’s education na pinapasa sa generations,“Ah, may ballet sa Pilipinas”. Now dun sila maiinvolve. Yun nga hindi mo mafoforce ang tao to like something unless marealize nila na ito yun.
RW: Feeling ko ang dance community nageeffort naman para magreach out sa mga tao. I think alam naman ng tao ang difference sa showbiz or sa commercialized dancing sa art na ito. Pero yung pag-educate sa kanila, lalo na ng media, nalilimit sila.Narerestrict nila yung sarili nila na pumunta sa theater kasi ang effort naman talaga di ba, kumpara sa bubuksan lang nila ang TV nila.
JMC: I guess, it should start from the schools. Teaching culture. Kasi arts and culture, they go hand in hand. It starts from educating kids.
DP: Some still think that ballet is for elite or sosyal. But I think now, better na yung audience namin because of the collaborations with other artists like sculptors or visual artists. Yung supporters nila, nagiging supporters din namin.
CAF: I believe it’s improving naman kasi nakikita naman namin yung different kinds of audience kasi Ballet Philippines has a project of “Share the Magic”, so nagkakaroon ng opportunity ang less privileged kids na makanood ng performances namin.Pero ngayon talaga, I hope the government will give funds or help the ballet community. Not just the ballet community, but to help the arts here in the country, kasi we’re also tax payers. Nagbabayad kami ng tax pero wala halos projects for the arts. Hindi pa ganun ka- full support ang arts sa country. I think isang makakatulong dinsa arts ay media talaga. Sana magkaroon din ng TV channel for the arts. Kasi ngayon kapag sinabi mo na dance, I think ang naiisip ay cheering and hip-hop.
EJA: Para sa masa kasi iba-iba naman ang impact ng ballet kasi hindi naman puro classical ang meron, meron ding modern ballet and contemporary. Feeling ko ang mga tao hindi pa masyado educated sa classical, yun yung less pinapanood.
How do you relay the feelings to your audience? How do you make them understand, especially feelings which are very abstract?
RW: Napaka-personal kasi ng bawat isa. Magkaiba kayo ng katawan, yung bigat ng ipapakita mong emotion. Bawat isa kasi may iba’t iba kasing experiences. Eventually, kasi sa art, yung mga experiences mo sa buhay yun yung hugot, yun yung gagamitin mo. Yun yung bala mo para maging kakaiba ka kasi pare-pareho niyo lang alam ang jump na ito pero iba-iba mo siya maipapakita. Pero actually kahit madami ka din experiences, kailangan mo din matutunan na iphysicalize yun.
JMC: In a simpler way, I guess. Ang ballet ay napakaa-physical. Ang ballet ay may technique. Ang ballet may mga demands, so I guess ang pinakachallenge ng isang ballet dancer ay maincorporate ang lahat ng requirements or technicalities sa katawan, which is iba’t-iba tayo ng katawan. It’s our job to incorporate the steps into our bodies. The more comfortable we get with the steps, the more emotions we can show. It boils down to your work at kung paano mo ipapakita yung individual differences ng tao.
1/8Ballet Philippines Photographs by Cris Legaspi and M Espeña of Flickerhappy Studio
DP: Yung character mo kasi kailangan mo siya ng pagkukuhanan. So yung interpretation mo ng characters, depende yun sa kung paano mo iniinterpret ang life mo. For example, Juliet. Na-in love siya. Siyempre kukunin mo yun depende sa definition mo kung paano ka ma-in love. So I think ang dance or interpretation ng characters, it’s very personal. That’s why different flavors every dance.
CAF: Of course you have to know your character first. It’s very hard to dance ballet, kasi unlike theater where they can speak, they can explain, in ballet, in dance, kailangan yung katawan mo. Kasi sometimes it’s very hard to balance the technique and the artistry. Kasi minsan too much technique, less artistry and for some, too much artistry, less technique. For me, like in theater arts, I create a character sketch in my imagination.
EJA: Ballet movements have its own logic. When telling a story hindi naman sila nilagay basta-basta dun. It has a purpose sa story mismo. And you put that movement into that story. Kung paano mo siya gawin, kunwari magpo-point ka dun, hindi ka naman magpo-point lang dun, halimbawa, magpo-point ka dahil may hinahanap ka.
DP: Number one dapat clear sa yo kung ano yung feelings. You have to know exactly how it feels because you don’t show it by showing it. You show it by feeling it. Especially sa big theaters. Hindi na nila makikita yung face mo so you have to show through movement parang you don’t show me sad face. You show me what sadness is and it’s easier to express if you have co-actors with you. For example, jealousy. So know how it feels then express through the body.
How do you improve your artistry?
DP: I explore. I go out and experience the real life. The more you experience, the more input you have. The more you have, the more you can share.
What or who are your inspirations?
JMC: Personally inspired ako sa legacy na iniwan ng past generations ng Ballet Philippines sa amin. So I need to continue what they have done before and I need to give it to the next generation.
RW: True. Hindi naman sa wala kaming iniidolo pero pinakita kasi nila na possible pala ito. So since nandyan kayo ngayon, kailangan niyo i-maintain or higitan pa ginawa namin. Feeling ko lahat sila diyan ay nakakainspire.
DP: Sometimes, I daydream and see the bigger picture. Sometimes, I watch videos and research my idol. People around you can also inspire you. And friendly competition is nice because it gives you a little push.
Ballet dancer that you look up to?
DP: Marianela Nunez, she’s from The Royal Ballet. Sobrang generous niyang mag-dance.
CAF: Sa international, si Mikhail Baryshnikov. He’s one of a kind; the artistry and the technique. Of course, yung mga inabutan ko na seniors pati yung mga teachers ko, Sir Luther Perez, Sir Tony.
What have been the challenges?
DP: Biggest challenge is the demand that ballet is asking from you. The amount of time, effort. hard work patience, sacrifices, pain, and tears na kailangan mo ibigay at i-go through. It’s not simple. It’s not just going to the studio and doing pliés and all.
Kindly describe the amount of discipline needed to become a great ballet dancer.
JMC: Ako, personally, I treat myself like an athlete. Do what athletes do. You have to take care of your body, eat well and focus on the tasks at hand. Athletes’ discipline eh,ganun ka kamotivated. And of course you have to follow the path na gusto sa inyo ng company or teachers. I think, listening sa mga nakakatanda, ang pangit kung nakakatanda eh, nakakaalam.
DP: Here, we work 2pm to 10pm on a normal day, if we’re on season. Ballet for me is equal to discipline. Ballet is a lifestyle. From the food you eat, to being humble enough to go to the studio every day and accept all your flaws and be more than willing to change it to be better.
Interview and Text – Dane Raymundo
Videography – Cris Legaspi and M Espeña
Editing – M Espeña
It takes true courage to embark on a profession that a mere mention of its name raises eyebrows and evokes confounded looks. It is similar to exploring uncharted territories, only equipped with positivity and faith. Until realization sets in that with that decision, that risk taken, life has become more fulfilling. Now, the only thing left to do is to make these territories known to more.
Ma. Rowena Arao-Ynion is one of those courageous few who took on the less travelled route. She took up a course not known to many Filipinos, and has been a Certified Speech-Language Pathologist. And as if that is not a challenge in itself, she also accepted the highest position in the Philippine Speech-Language Pathology scene. She is the current president of the Philippine Association of Speech Pathologists (PASP) and she shows Murphy Report her determination to let more people know about what they do and why they do it.
Can you give us a background of what Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) is?
I think it’s easier to describe Speech-Language Pathology, by describing what a Speech-Language Pathologist does. A Speech-Language Pathologisthelps children and adults with communication and swallowing problems. The key words are “help”, “communication” and “swallowing”. We see children with disabilities like autism, ADHD, down syndrome, and other developmental disabilities. We also see adults with communication and swallowing problems due to stroke, Parkinson’s disease, as well as traumatic brain injuries, and other neurological concerns.
How is it to be a Speech-Language Pathologist in the Philippines?
Since I’ve been practicing for 23 years, I still feel sad because not a lot of people know what I do and what the profession is all about, but slowly we’re getting there. There are more Speech-Language Pathologists practicing now and there are more universities offering the course.
What are the most common misconceptions Filipinos have about Speech-Language Pathologists?
Some people think that we work with clients who want to become better public speakers or that we train them so they can work in call centers.
Why do you think Speech-Language Pathology is not known in the country?
Compared to other courses, Speech-Language Pathology is relatively young. The course started in the University of the Philippines-Manila (UP-Manila) and it was just in 1982 when they produced their first graduate, and it was a single graduate. We are happy that three other universities are now offering the course: University of Sto. Tomas (UST), Cebu Doctors’ University(CDU) and De La Salle Health Sciences Institute (DLSHSI). We’re hoping that they will be producing more graduates and more professionals in the field.
What drew you to this profession?
I knew about the course through an angel at the registrar’s office. Actually, I just got into it because I wanted to go into med. But when I was observing SLPs in PGH doing their job, it amazed me how they helped adults who have had stroke and that eventually they can talk. And when I observed patients being seen at the university, it inspired me to do something that I thought was different, but of course, I had to tell my parents that I’m not pursuing medicine anymore. I told my dad, he’s my idol in terms of passion for the profession, he has been a newscaster for the past 45 years. And so he couldn’t say anything when I gave him a letter. He was in the province, in Bicol, I gave him the letter and told him that I finally found the profession that I would be doing for the rest of my life. I told him, “I won’t be a doctor anymore. I’ll be a Speech-Language Pathologist.This is want I want to do.” And he supported me all the way.
In this profession, what do you think keeps the fire burning?
What’s good about the profession is its range. You can work with adults and children, and you’ll see a lot of cases. It’s like a box of chocolates, you’ll never know what you’ll get. Sometimes, when you go into the hospital setting, you’ll see a case and it’s different. So, every day is different! You don’t know how the child would behave for that particular day. So I think that’s what has kept me going all these years. Of course there are bad days, but when you think about it, and when you try to realize what you can do for a client to elicit a particular response, then somehow, you get excited again. And then you just get going.
Not a lot of people know about your profession, moreover that there is an association for it. Can you tell us about the Philippine Association of Speech Pathologists?
Our association, the Philippine Association of Speech Pathologists (PASP), is on its 25th year. Right now, we’re also happy to tell everyone that we are 300 strong. There are around 365 active members and that we are now more reachable to our clients. As a matter of fact, we are having our first national convention on July 23 and 24 at SMX in SM Aura and we are inviting all professionals, the doctors as well as the parents to join us to get to know Speech-Language Pathology better.
Aside from the convention, can you tell us more about the projects of PASP?
PASP has a lot of projects, primarily to help our members develop their skills. So we have a lot of continuing education programs. We have seminars and certification programs for them. It depends on what they need. We try to organize, as much as possible, on a quarterly basis.
Can you tell us about your position in PASP and how it has been?
I am currently the president of the association. Being the president, on its 25th year, is both an honor and a challenge. There were a lot of bumps along the way, but our team has kept its focus on what needs to be done.
What’s good about the profession is its range. You can work with adults and children, and you’ll see a lot of cases. It’s like a box of chocolates, you’ll never know what you’ll get. Sometimes, when you go into the hospital setting, you’ll see a case and it’s different.
What are the steps PASP has been doing to increase awareness and better educate the people about your profession?
Currently, we are working with a lot of advocacy groups to help us reach out to our clients better. With associations like Autism Society of the Philippines, ADHD Society of the Philippines, and Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines, Inc., so that we can work with our parents and clients in improving awareness, acceptance, and inclusion of children with special needs, as well as the differently-abled.
How can PASP be reached?
PASP can now be reached through www.pasp.org.ph. Through our website, our clients can check Speech-Language Pathologists living near their place. They can ask questions and they can also view the different activities we have, so they can be a part of it.
Are there SLPs in the provinces or are you all based in Metro Manila?
Most of the SLPs are still based in the National Capital Region (NCR), but slowly, we have SLPs practicing in provinces like Davao, Cebu, Baguio, Iloilo, Bacolod and Gen San. We are hoping that more SLPs will go back to their provinces and for those who are in the NCR to at least adopt a rural area or a province just like our Vice President who is practicing in Metro Manila, but she goes to Tacloban often.
The demand for your profession has been high, what has the association been doing to provide services to all especially to those located in the rural areas?
There are SLPs who are into community work, Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR). Of course, we want to reach out to more clients in the provinces, so right now, we are encouraging our SLPs to go back to their provinces or provide free clinics or free workshops to those in need. And of course one of our goals is to increase in number and we are confident that eventually we will be doing so, since all 4 universities will eventually be increasing their number of graduates, thus, increase the number of professionals in the future.
How do you see the profession growing in the next 10 years?
In the next 10 years, I hope the profession won’t be misunderstood anymore and I hope that we will come up with a good number. A good number such that more clients would be served, especially in the provincial areas. A good number is also a good goal, so some of us can focus more on research or do more community work.
What are the future plans of PASP?
Since PASP is a membership organization, we would want to ensure that all our members are equipped with the proper knowledge and skills to serve everyone, and in the future we hope to increase in number. We also hope to continue working with varied advocacy groups and we hope to continue being advocates of our clients. And of course in the future, it would be nice to be working with more international groups.
Lastly, what do you want people to know about Speech-Language Pathology?
I want them to know that Speech-Language Pathology is a helping profession. We help children and adults with communication and swallowing problems. And it’s actually not an easy job, but witnessing a client, who was previously non-verbal utter his or her first word, is priceless. It’s not easy, but it is truly rewarding.
For more information about the Philippine Association of Speech Pathologists and Speech-Language Pathology, please visit www.pasp.org.ph.
Interview – Jenette Vizcocho and Dane Raymundo
Videography – Cris Legaspi, Lisandro Molina, and M Espeña
Editing – M Espeña
Photography – Cris Legaspi
Text – Dane Raymundo
at the center of the busy city of Makati lies a quiet, but quaint street aptly named Jupiter. Jupiter street, similar to its cosmic namesake, has a huge expanse and a mysterious atmosphere. It surprises its guests with a variety of activities from enjoying a smorgasbord of delectable global cuisines
to celebrating special occasions with live music to playing detective in unlocking mysteries to catching up with friends over cocktails. It speaks the irony of finding a laidback ambiance in a metropolitan area that one must try.
To simply put it, Jupiter street boasts of its diversity in food, drinks, music and recreation, a welcome refuge from the fast-paced lifestyle of Metro Manila’s economic hub.
Interview – Jenette Vizcocho and Dane Raymundo
Videography – Cris Legaspi, Lisandro Molina, and M Espeña
Editing – M Espeña
Text – Dane Raymundo
a 1-hour ferry ride from Manila bay to the southwestern part of Luzon, takes you back to the days when the Philippines has been fighting for freedom and emancipation. Visiting Isla ng Corregidor evokes nostalgia of the Second World War, where looking at the dilapidated barracks and traces of artillery gives you an instant pass to reconnect with your history.
The deserted island is now a place for visitors from all walks of life, from bikers, photographers, tourists or just people with a knack for history, Corregidor has something to offer to everyone.
The tranvia, a 28-seater cable car, has become the primary means of transportation for people visiting the island, providing them with easier access to its four sections. This type of transportation has also been widely used in the island during World War II.
Battery way comprises of a battery of four 12-inch mortars named after Lieutenant Henry Way of the 4th US Artillery.
South beach gives visitors a different perspective of Corregidor Island, far from how it has been viewed before. This side has evolved with the modernity of times offering contemporary leisure activities such as biking, camping, and kayaking.
The old barracks, situated at different strategic areas all over Corregidor, is probably one of the sights that truly hits the heart. Thoughts of bombs dropping from the air, mercilessly crushing anything it lands on and obliterating everything in its way, will bring chills up your spine; the grief strongly palpable.
The Mile-long barracks located at the topside section of the island, is actually just less than a third of a mile long. The three- storey infrastructure became known as the world’s longest military barracks that housed the quarters of American officers and enlisted personnel.
Going inside the Malinta tunnel, squinting your eyes for better focus, everything else left to your imagination, infuses different emotions. Thoughts of the past and realizing the purpose this tunnel served, creates certain level of anxiety, but being there, seeing how it has been preserved and how everything becomes tangible leaves one in awe. It was a bomb-proof storage facility and personnel bunker, that later became the underground hospital for the wounded soldiers.
The Philippines, a country with majority of its population embracing Catholicism, exudes remarkable faith in the island even in the pre-war era. Right at the middle of the island stands a simple church known as the “San Jose Church”, witnessing the irony of times, from the violence of the past to the tranquility of the present.
The Pacific War Memorial can be seen at Corregidor’s highest point. It consists of a complex with a memorial dome, a museum, and a freedom monument. It was built by the government of the United States to honor the American and Filipino servicemen who engaged in the Pacific War. Outside of the memorial, a huge marker is found with the following words engraved, “Erected to the Filipino and American fighting men who gave their lives to win the land, sea and
air victories, which restored freedom and peace to the Pacific Ocean Area”.
Cine Corregidor was a recreactional facility for the soldiers and their families. It is located on the left side entrance of the Pacific War Memorial Complex, and was built before the World War II broke out. They say the last movie shown here was “Gone with the Wind”, starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh Moore.
The Memorial Dome has an oculus which allows sunlight through to the circular altar underneath. Every first week of May, at exactly 12 noon, the circular marble altar is directly lit by the sun, the 6th of the month and the anniversary of the fall of Corregidor. During this time, visitors are requested to offer a moment of silence to remember the day Corregidor and the Philippines fell into the hands of the Japanese, and to commemorate the courage the soldiers exhibited over 72 days of continuous bombing. Around the altar’s edges, these lines are inscribed, “Sleep, my sons, your duty done, for freedom’s light has come; sleep in the silent depths of the sea, or in your bed of hallowed sod, until you hear at dawn the low, clear reveille of God.”
The Eternal Flame of Freedom is a solar-powered steel sculpture, designed by Aristides Demetrios, to symbolize undying liberty. It serves as a reminder of the determination and courage of the Filipinos and Americans in their fight for freedom.
Faro de Isla Corregidor, or Corregidor Lighthouse, was first established in 1853 to guide trading ships to the entrance of Manila Bay on their way to the port of Manila. It is one of the oldest structures in Corregidor and served as an observation platform for military purposes during World War II. At present, visitors are allowed to climb the lighthouse up to the viewing deck to take a look at the expanse of the island including parts of South China Sea, Manila Bay, Bataan, Cavite, and Batangas. It is the only remaining functional structure on the entire island of Corregidor.
The markers at the lighthouse depict the distances of different places from Corregidor. 693 miles from Hongkong, 1,719 miles from Tokyo, 1,497 miles from Singapore, 3,044 miles from Sydney, 6,672 miles from Madrid, and 6,972 miles from San Francisco.
Corregidor may be reminiscent of the grief brought about by the war, but it was through this war that peace and freedom was restored. Despite this feeling of sadness, Corregidor remains a beacon of strength and courage, a symbol of freedom and the resilience of the Filipino people; something that will never be forgotten.
Corregidor Island, also known as “The Rock” for its rocky landscape and heavy fortifications, fall under the jurisdiction of Cavite City. The tadpole-shaped island is divided into four sections: topside, middleside, bottomside and tailside.
Text – Dane Raymundo
Photography – Lisandro Molina and M Espeña
Hi, Ken. Tell us something about what you do.
I’m the general manager of Alcohol by Volume (ABV) and Lazy Bastard. Basically, I’m the one who’s managing the place and I’m also helping the bartenders. I’m training them not just to compete but to develop cocktails on the menu and to make sure that we’re giving good service to our guests.
Please tell us about bartending and your journey to becoming the World Class 2015 Global Winner.
Well, the thing about World Class is, it’s one of the most, if not the most prestigious bartending competitions across the globe, so I was honored to be one of the participants this year. When ABV was hiring me, one of their pitching offers was a shot at World Class. I’m like, “Okay. Deal!” When we had the first leg of the competition, it was very stressful since I didn’t have a bar to work out the menus I was going to create for the competition. It was tough for me to start and to build these drinks. Some of them are what we have now at ABV. Just recently, I came back from South Africa. I competed for the Global Finals. We had to do several drinks, like 23 cocktails in total. So it was one hell of a crazy, enjoyable competition for me because I managed to meet a lot of people, showcase whatever we had, and uplift the cocktail scene in Manila.
Can you describe the drinks at ABV?
Our inspiration in doing these cocktails is the “forgotten classics”, but we give it a twist. Cocktails seem to have a lot of things, but it is very simple. We work on the basic formula of making a cocktail where you have your base, your sweetener and your bitter. You have your liquor as your base, which during the prohibition was gin, bourbon, or rye whisky, and then you have your sugar, and then you just add water. Then you add bitters, which, initially was made as an alternative to medicine. We make it more complex by adding bitters and combining different flavors, until we’re actually making our own liquors. We also do cocktails with sour, fresh citrus produce like lemons and limes.
ABV is about having fun, enjoying the craft scene, doing these nice, simple but very elegant drinks that people will enjoy. We’re not only here to do drinks, but we’re also creating the experience.
From the point of entry, we want people to have fun. So that’s what we’re here for.
Interview – Jenette Vizcocho and Dane Raymundo
Text – Jenette Vizcocho
at 24 years old, how many countries and places in the Philippines have you traveled to?
I have been to 20 provinces. Aside from the Philippines, I have my fair share of travel here in the USA. But aside from these 2 countries, I visited Dominican Republic during my 24th birthday.
Please name your fave place in the country and why?
La Union. It will always have a special spot in my travel life. It’s where I fell in love with surfing. But more importantly, it’s where I realized that there is more to traveling than just taking snapshots.
I became friends with the locals over there. We’d play cards after surfing. They’ll bring us to the cheapest carinderia and we will all eat together. They’ll make us bonfire at nights and we’ll just hang out there until we fall asleep in the bean bags. It was just awesome to meet people na sobrang bait.
Akala mo ikaw lang masaya but you don’t know that you make them happy as well.
In a year, approximately how many trips do you go to?
It was a different case when I was in college. But with my decent allowance, I was able to tour 8 provinces. When I migrated here to the States, I would at least plan 2 big trips and some out of the state trips to the neighboring states.
Coolest thing about traveling and a bummer about it?
It’s embracing God’s creation and basking in it. Being thankful that you are able to live in that certain moment. You know irony is you get lost in a place, but along with it, you discover something in you.
One place in the Philippines that is worth exploring and going to
Depende kasi sa hilig mo as a traveler eh. As for me, I do a little bit of everything. I’d definitely go back to dive in Malapascua. Surf in Siargao and La Union and hike Mt. Pulag all over again. Once is never enough in some places. Most of the time that I travel, may naiiwan na bahagi ng puso ko sa lugar. And I just want to go back.
Ever dream of coming back and staying for good in the Philippines?
Absolutely. I’m just waiting where my heart will take me.
How do you fund your travels?
I have my travel fund I set aside every paycheck.
What do you think of those people who choose to work and just save up?
There’s nothing wrong with it. Just don’t put it on the side too long. World’s just out there waiting for you to experience it.
And then spending their money on traveling only when they have retired?
Definitely not! You want to travel while you are able to do jump shots you know what I mean.
How has traveling changed you and your views on life?
It pieced my broken soul. I knew then that there’s a different way to get high in life.
Describe the backpacking culture and why it appealed to you.
Backpacking is leaving your comforts and just flowing with the locals. You get to experience more, see and learn more about the place if you don’t hesitate. They show you more than what’s printed.
“It pieced my broken soul. I knew then that there’s a different way to get high in life.”
How did you get hooked into all these sports?
It was traveling that brought me to try these ones. You want to experience the hype of each place you see. But as for pole dancing, I’d like to say it’s the artistic side of me.
If you were to choose one, pole, scuba diving or surfing which one would you choose and why.
I can’t. Because if I let go of one, it’s not the same anymore. More so, it’s like creating different variations of you but it’s still you when you sum it up.
Describe your pole dancing instructor experience and some stories that you will take with you.
Empowering. I have taught women of all sizes and ages. It was a good moment in my life where I was able to inspire women to find that beauty and strength in them.
Life’s motto at 24
Create the happiness you want for yourself.
Any regrets so far?
The happier you are, the prettier you are. You know yourself more than any soul in this world. Chase your crazy to the craziest dreams. Feel the pain and then let go. Be the weirdo -out-of-her-sense, sexy, happy, crazy, beautiful you. You have the power to turn a messy screwed up moment in your life into something magical.
Interview & Text – Dane Raymundo
Photography – M Espeña
When you started being a DJ, what were your expectations?
Actually nung nag-audition ako as a Love Radio DJ, my only expectation was to be able to move on from my past boyfriend. I was trying to mend a broken heart. Kailangan ko ng bagong environment so ito na dumating na ‘yung Love Radio sa akin. I did not expect that ‘yung segment namin ni Chris Tsuper would be so big. I didn’t expect to have commercials, 3 albums and a book, and endorsements.
How about some of the things that you did not expect?
I remember that particular moment when I went out of the station and pang-evening pa ‘yung slot ko, and then this person came up to me and asked for my autograph. I did not expect people would actually come up to me and ask for my signature. Parang hindi siya isang bagay na I dreamed of.
Hindi ko din inexpect namagkakaroon ng bashers na very keyboard warriors ang dating. I did not expect na part nga pala na pagiging public figure, so to speak, yung paminsan-minsan idadamay yung pamilya mo kapagiba-bashka nila. But then nung ako na, dinamay ‘yung anak ko, eh ‘yung baby ko pa naman when she was born, hinamak to death. Parang “Bakit ba Princess pa pangalan nyan, di naman siya parang prinsesa?”. Hindi ko inexpect ‘yung ganun from people. But siyempre, hindi ka naman daw sikat kapag wala kang bashers, so carry na ‘yun. Sikat pala ako!
Given those situations na may bashers talaga, how do you handle it?
Nagsimula ang bashing nung there was a competition online. Kasi kung daily routine lang naman namin ni Chris, parang wala namang rason para ibash mo kami, pwera lang kung nako-corny-han ko or naoffend ka from what we said. So deadma lang kami. Kaya lang nung time na ‘yun talagang naapektuhan ako.Talagang sinagot ko ‘yung nangbash. Normally, I would just shrug it off eh, pero hindi, sinagot ko talaga kasi anak ko na ito eh. But now, whenever I see those, ganun talaga eh, you cannot please everyone. Everyone would always have something not good to say about you, even if your intentions are clear.
We know initially that your job was not a DJ and you never expected it to be your job, but prior to working as one, what were your impressions of DJs and did it change when you were already one?
I used to listen to Magic, to Chico and Del. Idol ko sila, alam nila ‘yun. Ganun ang imagination ko ng DJ, ‘yung parang high end. Binago lahat ‘yun ng Love. In fact nung nag-audition ako as Love Radio DJ, my audition piece was about the vigilance of the youth and the economic crisis kasi nga Business Management angaking background, banking, tapos I write speeches. Love Radio revolutionized the way what a DJ should be. Hindi na siya dapat parang “That song was brought to you by lang” or pacute na “that song is for you”, mas personal na ang atake. “Itong kantang ito ay para sa yo na iniwan, sinaktan, tinu-time, binalewala”, so, kung ikaw yung makakarinig nun, “Oops, ako ‘yun”, parang mas ramdam mo na malapit ka dun sa DJ.
We know that you also do interviews, among the personalities you have guested on your show, who was your favorite? Why?
Not to be political, gusto ko ‘yung interview namin with Honasan. Kasi nung bata palang ako alam ko na kung sino siya, nung EDSA revolution. Tapos more than ‘yung political side, I saw his lolo side. ‘Yun yung nagugustuhan ko sa mga interviews namin sa mga personalities, kasi we get to see their other side. Hindi lang ‘yung political side nila pero nakita ko ‘yung pagiging lolo niya at parang ang cute, cute niyang maging lolo at parang gusto kong maging apo niya, mga ganun.
“Minsan naman alam mo na talaga ang sagot, hindi mo lang talaga ginagawa. Giving advice is easy, doing it is another thing. Pero kung tatanungin mo ko kung ano ang pinakamahirap, kapagka ang topic, is related to religion. Kasi ayokong iba yung impression nila with what I said.”
Pero sino yung pinaka- controversial?
Siguro si Villar kasi, basta. Haha. People will always have something to say about him or her. So ‘yun, but they’re good people.
You also give advices to your listeners, where do you usually get them from?
Hugot from personal experience or from the experiences of others. Relatable kasi lahat, so kaya I talk to a lot of people para at least alam ko ang mga problemang bawat isa para kapagka-naitira yun sa amin sa radio, we know what to say.
Can you give us one of the hardest situations you had to give an advice to?
Minsan naman alam mo na talaga ang sagot, hindi mo lang talaga ginagawa. Giving advice is easy, doing it is another thing. Pero kung tatanungin mo ko kung ano ang pinakamahirap, kapagka ang topic, is related to religion. Kasi ayokong iba ‘yung impression nila with what I said.
Your voice is your asset, how do you take care of your voice? Do you have a routine?
I don’t! I don’t have a routine. Ako ‘yung worst person to ask about vocal hygiene! Wala kasi. I don’t even hydrate. Pero if I would give advice, ito naman ang ibibigay ng iba, hydration and voice rest.
If there is one person that you have learned so much about life from, who would it be?
My mom. She knows everything, and I hope to be like her. Kasi parang even if mom na ako ngayon, parang I’m so far from who she is as a mother. Ang daminiyang itinuro sa amin about life like, “There would always be someone for everyone” or “lahat ng kaldero may nakalaang takip”.
Nicole being a DJ for Love Radio, does it surprise people that you came from Assumption?
It doesn’t bother me, kasi it just shows the versatility ng mga Assumptionists, na hindi lang kami isabak sa high-end, pwede mo rin kami isabak sa masa.
You’ve gone so far as a radio DJ. What do you think is the greatest achievement from this?
Siyempre bukod sa monetary, the greatest achievement, you know that every day, meron kang mata-touch miski isang tao, in whatever way. You don’t get to do that everyday. But we get to do that for a living. We get paid to do that.
How do you deal with fame? And what keeps a Nicole Hyala grounded?
Sakto lang. Ito lang lagi ko sinasabi eh, pare-pareho lang tayo umuutot. Nagkataon lang nasa radio ako at maingay ako, napapakinggan ako sa umaga pero satotoo lang, meron din akong panis na laway, may muta din ako, nangungulangot din ako kapag walang nakatingin, minsan kapag may nakatinginnangungulangot din ako. Nangangati din singit ko. Normal. So that’s what keeps me grounded. I’m still like any other person.
At this age, what is one of the most important lesson life has taught you?
I’d like to focus on motherhood. One thing I’ve learned is that, nabasa ko din tong quote na ‘to “you’ll never be this loved again.” So that’s what I always say to myself and to my listeners on air especially to new moms, na kahit nakakainis kahit nakakairita yung anak mo, namnamin mo kasi dadating yung panahon nakapag umiiyak yan hindi na‘yan sa ‘yo tatakbo. Ang una niyang kakausapin, ‘yung friends niya, ‘yung best friend niya ‘yung unang makakaalam na may boyfriend siya so habang ikaw yung pinakaimportanteng babae sa buhay niya kailangan mo, namnamin kasi mabilis lang ang panahon.
“My life is an open book on air. Hindi ko siya tinatago. As long as you learn from me and as long as it makes you happy, okay lang sa akin.“
Are you happy? What defines Nicole Hyala’s happiness? Are you where you want to be?
Yes I am, but I would like to have a baby boy. I think okay naman na ‘ko. Siyempre pwede pa ‘ko magipon, gusto ko yan. Hindi pa naman dumadating angmalalaking gastos sa akin katulad ng education of my Princess but, kung tatanungin mo ‘ko kung meron pa ‘ko isang mahihiling, baby boy, okay lang din kahit baby girl. Basta isa pa, or dalawa pa, okay fine, kahit anim.
You already tackled this a bit, but can you further describe Emmylou as a mom, describe motherhood and what do you want your daughter to be?
Frustration ko ang maging isang cheerleader. Naiinggit ako sa Assumption College Hardcourt, kasi they wear those little skirts tapos petite sila, ‘yun talaga wish ko maging si Princess pero parang hindi ko naman siya pwede i-push. I would only expose her to different environments para at least malaman ko kungsaan siya mageexcel, to dance, music. Hindi ko siya ipe-pressure masyado kasi gusto ko siya mag-enjoy.Siyempre gusto ko siya magingcum laudetulad ko,pero mas importante yung natututo siya kaysa sa ang goal niya is just that award.
But what type of a mom are you? Disciplinarian ka ba?
Hindi ko pa masabi na disciplinarian kasi too early eh. Pero doting mother. Ako pa ‘yung unang naiiyak kapag naiiyak siya pero nasasanay na though nauunasiya umiyak kaysa ako. I really like not to spoil her but I’ve waited for so long and she’s the only one as of now, ‘di ba hindi mo naman masisisi ang isang nanaykung maso-spoil niya ang bata kasi para kanino ka pa nagwowork di ba?
You are a very popular DJ. What sets you apart from other DJs and in your opinion what is it that made you get the “kiliti” of so many people?
Wala akong kiyeme. Wala akong pakialam kahit sabihin kong kulangot. Wala akong pakialam kahit sabihin kong mabaho ang paa ko paminsan. I think I am someone that people can relate to. Sometimes kasi people are afraid na ipakita ‘yung tunay nilang sarili kaya ayun hindi sila masyado pumapatok or they try to cover with pacute-cute style lang. I think that’s what sets me apart. My life is an open book on air. Hindi ko siya itinatago. As long as you learn from me and as long as it makes you happy, okay lang sa akin.
Have you been always interested in music?
No. (Laughs) Kasi kung meron lang, it makes me sadder or it makes me happier. Kunyari sa radio or makikinig ako sa Spotify, I will look for a song, depende what I’m feeling.
What’s your motto in life?
We always abide by the law of attraction. What you think, you become. Lagi namin sinasabi, lagi din namin pinapaalala to always be positive and remain positive at naniniwala kasi ako sa good and bad karma. What you do bounces back to you.
Baby boy. Baby boy. Baby boy. Hopefully, more books. Up until now, wala talaga ‘ko plano. I always just go with the flow. Hindi naman namin pinlano namagkaroon ng commercial. Hindi namin pinalano na magkaroon ng libro.Ako, I envision myself and Chris to be in the radio, namamayagpag, mga ano pa, dapat, 20 years. Same kind of spirit, same humor. Mas high-tech na nga lang kasi high-tech na tayo ngayon.
Interview & Text – Dane Raymundo
Videography – Cris Legaspi and M Espeña
Editing – M Espeña
Henry Motté-Muñoz is the founder of Edukasyon.ph and has been working hard to bridge the gap between education and employment.
Murphy Report is honored to work alongside Edukasyon.ph to produce Career Conversations, targeting students in high school and senior high to consider their career paths as early as they can. Each video features people who have greatly contributed to their craft, and serve as inspiration for those who wish to follow their footsteps.
Can you give us a short background of what Edukasyon.ph is?
Edukasyon.ph is a one-stop shop for higher education. It’s a social enterprise that helps high school students figure out what to study, either in terms of college courses, or technical educational courses, for the careers they desire. It also helps those who look for scholarships to help finance them.
How did it all begin?
I initially thought of Edukasyon.ph in the summer of 2012, when I was in Manila and I was talking to my cousin who was going to apply for college. I was a bit surprised by how unstructured the whole process and how there were a lot of information gaps. I decided to set it up after graduating from Business school in the US and so I got Lites Viloria, who is our country CEO, to join, and we really kick-started the project in 2014.
What are the services or programs do you provide in Edukasyon.ph?
There are two ways to think about it. If you are a student, it’s nice because it’s free. The first step is to search, so we give you all the opportunities you can find. There are 50,000 courses, and 3,000 scholarships. Then you can filter and compare. The second step is to empower you to pick the course you like, we give you advice in terms of what courses lead to what jobs.
For the universities, what we offer is a chance for them to see where the students are coming from, who is applying, who is not applying, how can they improve what they offer to get the students more interested in them?
Can you give us a couple of schools you are affiliated with right now? How did you gather a database?
We are working with public high schools and Commission on Higher Education (CHED) accredited universities in Baguio, Pampanga, NCR, Cebu and Davao. For our database we work with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Department of Education (DEPED) to ensure that the schools on the site are those that are accredited. We visit the public schools and assist college-bound students search for careers, courses, and colleges that can help them get employed in the future. We have a team that goes around the Philippines speaking to universities one by one. And it’s very interesting because when you speak to them you sort of understand their differences.
How do you see the education system in the Philippines?
What’s interesting about the education in the Philippines is that it’s really not a supply problem. There are actually 2 or 3 times the amount of courses or institutions per capita than in the US. We have over 2,300 universities and over 2,000 types of colleges. That’s over 4,000 to 5,000 institutions. The issue is more around quality. Since there is no ranking system in the country, it’s quite hard to figure out where you should study. What school actually offers the best path at getting employed? Who offers the best value? Are there courses that you can be taking that can be shorter? We think these are the kinds of information worth having, and if you have these, you can make the right choice.
How many scholarships have you granted or students you have helped with the program?
A common misperception is that we offer scholarships. What we do is we find scholarships that already exist which people may not know about. We already have referenced close to 3,000, but we think this is only the beginning. We think there are thousands and thousands of scholarships in the country. In fact very often when I meet people and I tell them what I do, they tell me, “Oh you know I give one scholarship or my uncle gives a scholarship or this community organization I know gives a scholarship”, but very often these opportunities are not shared.
As for how many students we have tried to help, we already presented to about 25,000 students, about what they can do with the website, including looking for scholarships. We’ll find out in the next academic year how many people ended up finding a scholarship, but we hope many.
“Education is at times a conservative industry so before we can make changes, there’s a lot of stakeholders involved. When we speak to schools, they are very open to ideas but they need time to consider if it’s the path they want to take.”
Talk about what you do when you visit different schools.
We get endorsed by DepEd to different schools. We’ve done about 30 or 40 of Career Clinics. Because we view education as a path towards employment, it’s very important that we speak to kids about their education. Usually these clinics last for about an hour and we have a team that plays games and asks questions, but the focus is really around what you want to be. What’s very interesting is quite often, this is the first time the students are asked these questions, and so they don’t know what to say. So we ask them, “Do you enjoy Math? Do you enjoy building things? Do you like physical activities?” Once they identify what they want to be, say you want to become a journalist, what are the different paths you can take, in terms of college courses? We leave the last 15 minutes to show them how to search for these different courses and careers on our website.
What are your future plans for Edukasyon.ph?
We’re focusing on Senior High School, which is incredibly important because of the K-12 reform. Kids who have previously gone to college now have to go to Grade 11. We put together a database of most of the Senior High Schools in this country so that when they go on the website, they will be able to figure out where they can go.
The second thing we are launching is quick pay function, where you can apply and also pay your tuition online, to make enrolment easier.
Other things include study abroad, and help in terms of labor market information, so we are not just telling you where you could study, but also helping you figure out what kind of jobs you can get.
I think what’s difficult is that Filipino students are coming from a system where they tend to ask their immediate circle for advice, so getting them to change from “I only ask my parents.” They don’t tend to ask their Guidance Counselor a lot of information about college, unless they are having problems. We find it’s getting them to get a new mindset, to think about what do they really want to be, do they understand the path they need to get there?
Another is that we work with a lot of government agencies, and we found all of them to be very helpful, but they are all quite separate. We need to speak to different people and branches of government to work on the same goal.
Education is at times a conservative industry so before we can make changes, there’s a lot of stakeholders involved. When we speak to schools, they are very open to ideas but they need time to consider if it’s the path they want to take.
What is the current trend of courses and jobs students pursue?
We’re seeing that students are making a clear link between education and employment. I think the introduction of Senior High meant that people are thinking earlier about specializing. At Senior High you have to pick a strand: vocational, academic, sports, or arts and design.
Another thing is a rise in industry participation. For a long time a lot of the industries would complain about labor shortages, and how the education system is failing them. Industries are realizing that they have to be involved; employers are laying out what they want employees to learn in school, and are developing better internship programs and on-the-job trainings.
There are a couple of universities that are facing a fall in enrollment because there is a growing amount of institutions that are allowed to operate, and they’ve grown a bit faster than the number of students enrolling, so it creates a bit of a competitive field. We think that’s better because if there’s more competition, students are going to be offered a higher quality of product.
Aside from Edukasyon.Ph, you are involved in Bantay.PH, can you tell us about it?
Bantay.PH is a good governance NGO that focuses on citizen engagement. It was set up in 2012, I co-founded it with a childhood friend Happy Feraren, who now runs it while I stay on as an adviser. We focus on educating citizens about their rights, and mapping out government services for them. Like what are the steps to get a business permit, what are the offices that will deliver these permits with the least amount of bribes? We really want to help the citizen navigate, and also get him or her involved by either giving feedback or
tracking that the office they go to is not as corrupt as others. We also have the Integrity School where we go around universities and speak to students about what it means to be a citizen, what can you do to make a citizen better, and about how should we think about good governance?
Visit www.edukasyon.ph for more details. Contact Edukasyon.ph at email@example.com or Tel. No. (+63 2) 823 2701.
Interview – Jenette Vizcocho and Dane Raymundo
Videography – Cris Legaspi, Lisandro Molina, and M Espeña
Editing – M Espeña
Photography – Cris Legaspi
Text – Jenette Vizcocho
Jose Y. Dalisay Jr., or Penman, as his blog and Philippine Star readers, as well as his fellow-fountain pen enthusiasts know him, is quite the collector. His 200-odd carefully selected pens are housed in glass cases, each one turned just so, their bodies, subtle details, and intricate finishing all vying for your attention. Never without a pen or two in his shirt pocket- feeling naked, otherwise- he has developed a habit of taking his pens for walks around UP Diliman campus, or whiling the time away scribbling on clean sheets of paper in between his many book projects.
Dalisay is so in love with the nostalgia and beauty of pens that once, while on a writing fellowship in Edinburgh, Scotland, he bought himself a 1938 Parker Vacumatic worth a month’s salary. Perhaps because it had eluded him all those years of stationary shops searching. Perhaps because he was in another country, honing his craft, living in a castle, and what would better immortalize such an occasion than a nifty new pen? Perhaps, even, because it was quite romantic to throw caution to the wind and spend one’s wages on something as expensive or as invaluable─depending on how one views it─as a fountain pen.
He would go on and write Penmanship, a story fueled by this purchase, because what else would one do when one is so in love with the written word, but take pen to paper?
“It was the only thing I thought I could do well enough to live on. I’d wanted to be an engineer or a scientist, but couldn’t hack the math.”
Jose Y. Dalisay Jr., a Filipino writer with numerous accolades for writing including 16 Palanca awards, has written everything from fiction to creative nonfiction, short stories to novels, film scripts to biographies, poetry to speeches. All the while, he maintains a newspaper column at the Philippine Star, teaches at the College of Arts and Letters at the University of the Philippines-Diliman, panels in workshops and literary festivals, heads the Fountain Pen Network – Philippines, and manages to squeeze in late night poker tournaments. In a short but sweet interview, he shares his views on life, his works and inspirations:
What made you decide to pursue writing as a career?
It was the only thing I thought I could do well enough to live on. I’d wanted to be an engineer or a scientist, but couldn’t hack the math.
Among all your works, which one is your most memorable, Why?
Probably the story “Penmanship,” because of how and where it was written (after I found and bought a very expensive fountain pen in Scotland).
Can you name some of your favorite books and authors?
“The Forest” by William Pomeroy; “Nine Stories” by JD Salinger; “”Ironwood” by William Kennedy; favorite authors include Bienvenido Santos and Gregorio Brillantes.
Please describe your writing process.
I start by thinking of a thing, a concrete object, or perhaps a place, and ask myself “What’s the story here?” I don’t necessarily start at the beginning. I write in long, intense stretches. I can finish my newspaper columns in a few hours, but stories typically take a week.
What are the readers like today? Are we still interested in reading?
There are a few people who are truly interested in reading, and are worth writing for.
What is something you have learned about life as a writer?