Sunday, 31 May 2009

I gave a lecture not in Pampanga but in PALAWAN!

Last week, I was in Palawan to expand my cultural work to Cuyonons, who, like the Kapampangans and the other non-Tagalogs, and experiencing cultural decline. Aside from directing a Cuyonon rock music video in Puerto Princesa, I also delivered a lecture to Mass Communication students of PSU (Palawan State University). See news item below (taken from


As a means to entice young media practitioners in creating works of art or production works with local cultural content, Matinlo Productions in cooperation with Bulyaw Mariguen, Kamaru Productions and JCI Kiao conducted a lecture/workshop entitled Local Eyes: creating Works of Art with Local Cultural Content to 31 3rd & 4th year Mass Communication Students of the Palawan State University last May 27, 2009.

The lecture started with an exercise conducted by Jason Laxamana of Kamaru productions assessing how the students use their local environment in creating their own superhero. Jason Laxamana then proceeded to explaining the exercise and then to showing the students some of the works of Kamaru.

In his lecture, Jason laxamana emphasized the benefits of creating production works with local cultural content. His Kapampangan short film entitled Balangingi in Kapampangan or Nosebleed in English which won in the ETC First Philippine Digital Awards for best short film is living proof that using local cultural content in film can give filmmakers a competitive advantage in such competitions. The sense of pride such works bring to the local community was also mentioned.

Due to a scheduled radio guesting at DYPR Palawan Radyom, Jason Laxamana gave way for Bulyaw Mariguen to perform their carrier single, Ploning Adin Ka Ren. Matinlo productions chose to ask Bulyaw Mariguen to perform in this lecture to show the students the possibility of using the local language in Palawan, Cuyonon, in making songs that are appealling to the young generation of Palawenos and viable for mainstream broadcasting. Joey Fabello of Matinlo productions, also known as DJ Jojo of IFM 99.9 by some of the students, briefly explained the Bulyaw Mariguen project after the performance of the band to reiterate the value of using local content in works of art and production works.

Certificates were awarded and snacks were provided by Jci Kiao after the lecture.

Some feedback from the students can be seen below.

Nainspire po kami sa inyong shinare samin and we are hoping also na magkaron ng sariling version ang mga Palaweno to produce music, movies, telenovelas, etc of our own.

Thank you for inspiring me. Makakatulung po talaga ito sa lahat. Keep up the good work...May God Bless You...

Nakakainspire. Namulat ako sa dapat kong kamulatan. -Psydz

Marami po salamat sa mga binahagi niyong kaalaman sa amin, tama nga dapat din nating ipakita sa iba na pwede rin natin ibahagi sa kanila ang culture na mayroon tayo. tnx po. Sana makalat pa ito sa iba.- Rearitz

Very inspiring. It really gives indication that we have to uplift ones local culture through music and film. -Anna Lissa Magtibay

Marami po akong (kaming) natutunan. Now I realized na mahalaga maging maka local tayo para narin stain to. galing po ng speakers at nakakatuwa. - Jeric

Mahalaga po sa amin bilang Palaweno na ipagmalaki sa buong mundo ang katutubong kultura. Sa pamamagitan ng Seminar workshop na ito namulat ang aking isipan na maaari tayong kilalanin. maraming salamat- Anagyn Barrios

Matinlo productions would like to thank Ms. Faith Malacao of the Palawan State University for making this event possible.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Calling all Pampanga-based models and wannabes

Kalalangan Kamaru—known for making Kapampangan films, producing Kapampangan songs, spearheading Kapampangan projects like RocKapampangan, Kalam, Frequency K, and Cinekabalen—is branching out to Model Photography, with its subunit called "Kamaru Photography."

We are building our portfolio, and we are trying to fill it with different sets of our "dramatic character photography".

If you're a model (or model-wannabe, or model-material) based in Pampanga (male/female), and you want to add more creative photos in your set cards, then let's help each other out!

Just email your FULL NAME, DATE OF BIRTH, HEIGHT, and please attach full body and close up pictures (preferrably no makeup). Indicate in your email, too, if you are willing to go sexy (creative sexy, not pornographic sexy).

For inquiries, 0918 699 2459

We don't just take pictures of you... We make you a part of an artwork...

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

If Rizal were alive, will he vote for Panlilio for President?

I have a question: are we poor because we are corrupt, or are we corrupt because we are poor?

The news is out. Governors Padaca (Isabela) and Panlilio (Pampanga) are being pushed to run for the top national positions this 2010 Elections, and they seem to like it. A lot of people believe, especially that group called Kaya Natin, that these non-corrupt people are bound to make the Philippines much more progressive.

I won't speak about Padaca, because I do not know Isabela that well. Being in the province of Pampanga, well, hello Amung Gob.

Spotlight went to Kapampangans when Panlilio, a priest, won over Mark Lapid and Baby Pineda (why is it when Baby Pineda is mentioned in Inquirer or Philippine Star, they always add the appositive "wife of alleged jueteng lord Bong Pineda"? Why don't they mention Panlilio with an appositive "alleged lover of Pampanga Provincial Administrator Vivian Dabu"? Alleged lang naman e).

For Panlilio, there was no separation of Church and State. Rooted on the religious side, he was bound to run the province like a church priest—which can mainly mean three things:

a. Corruption and other evil deeds in the province are bound to bid farewell, because they are considered sinful in Catholicism. As a priest, it is his duty to not do those and prevent members of his government from doing them. This they called "Good Governance." (I called it Clean Governance, but it didn't gain as much popularity.)

b. There is no democracy in the Catholic church; the priest delivers sermons and all you can say are amen, pray for us, alleluia, and peace be with you and also with you. You can barely approach the priest to suggest things for the betterment of the religion or of the mass. If you want to help, just donate coins or bills. Have faith in thee! Ikami na ing bahala; mas close na ke man king Apung Ginu. Mas balu mi ing dapat. (Leave everything to us; we're closer to God anyway. We know better what must be done.)

c. Like that spray-paint vandalism in the movie 'Watchmen,' saying: Who watches the Watchmen? I ask: To whom do priests confess their sins? Certainly not to the lay people.

Panlilio won through the support of a lot of Kapampangans. Backed up by NGOs, businessmen, some members of the Church perhaps, and other volunteers (me included, doing Internet propaganda), Panlilio's victory is very well a victory of these Kapampangan people.

For a time it was nice. Non-corruption, oh yeah! True income from quarrying made the province millions of pesos wealthier compared to Lapid's time. Panlilio gained bigger national attention when he returned a mysterious bag of dough distributed by Malacanang. It presented empirical evidence of the corruption happening in the national government, and Panlilio's name became muh more fragrant to the Filipino imagination.

But it was a different case in Pampanga. One by one, his supporters, such as the passionate NGO called ADCL (Advocacy for the Development of Central Luzon), major projects/engagements of which were the quality construction of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway or SCTex, the Pampanga Bay Development Plan, the formation of a Pampanga Bamboo Development Council, and Palengkenomics, and business groups like the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and other well-meaning individuals, were getting pissed with Panlilio's style of governance.

He felt everyone else was corrupt, even his former supporters, and refused to listen to well-meaning groups wanting nothing but the development of Pampanga. Blind Panlilio fans such as the Philippine Daily Inquirer (who once named the priest-turned-gov 'Man of the Year') stupidly assumed at once that these former supporters didn't get any special favors from Panlilio after his victory, causing them to become bitter and obnoxious towards Panlilio.

The members of Ateneo-spawned Kaya Natin Movement, led by Harvey Keh, including amateur Manila-based student-activists (whose opinions on Panlilio are shallowly based on how Manila portrays Panlilio; in short, second hand info) appointed themselves as crusaders of good governance (ehem, clean governance, I say; there's a difference), and Panlilio was among those chosen to personify the proper way of leading a political unit. Genuine concerned citizens of Pampanga got more demonized.

Blind Panlilio fans assumed that everyone who signed the recall petition against their god were merely paid to sign by demoniacs. Hence, insulting the intelligence of many Kapampangans who signed because, REALLY, there's a difference between CLEAN governance (where intellect is not needed) and GOOD governance (where intellect is needed), and Panlilio is undeniably a great practitioner of the former, but not the latter.

Governance is not an "it's-the-thought-that-counts" thing from which we feel all warm and fuzzy inside during birthday parties, romantic monthsaries, and high school reunions. Thought is not just enough. It's like putting isopropyl alcohol on a friend's open wound because you're concerned with his condition—but, come on, are you sure you're doing the right thing? Or should you be thanked because it's the thought that counts?

But that's not even a complete analogy in the Panlilio style of governance. How about putting isopropyl alcohol on a friend's open wound out of concern and—despite well-meaning people around you suggesting better/more proper ways of cleaning the wound—you still insist that isopropyl alcohol would do the trick, and think to hell with all of them (except one girl, teehee).

There's another analogy created by an NGO co-member. Who here wants a driver who can clean your car spotless? The catch is, he doesn't know how to drive. People wish to offer him driving lessons FOR FREE, and some suggest downloadable manuals on driving, but the driver suspends his own sense of hearing and thinks, "You're not the driver, so shush!"

No doubt. Panlilio is a clean man. He means well.

My point—our point—is that Good Governance is not just about being saintly. Some would argue: we had intellectuals like Marcos and Arroyo run the country, and they failed, because they were evil, and they used their intellect to serve private desires at the expense of the Filipino people.

Well, as choosy as I am with friends or romantic partners, I have the right to be choosy with my President. Damn these evil intellectuals. Screw these smart-ass non-corrupts. I want none of them. Curse also the voters who settle for puwede na/lesser evil candidates.

I want an astoundingly intelligent President whose desire for Philippine progress is not only genuine and pure but also aggrrrrrrressive. Panlilio, a kabalen of mine, won't just do. But then again, he wouldn't listen.

He could win. He might just win. If it's the way to expose Panlilio's quarter-baked concept of good governance to the rest of the Philippines, then I'll find me a wishing well, throw in a couple of coins, and pray for his victory. If such event happens, I'll be the first to roll my sleeves up and volunteer to sweep the soiled fragments of the shattered myth we all knew as Eddie Panlilio.

But allow me to prophesy: if Panlilio proves to be unproductive in the national seat, I hear blind loyal fans screaming from the future: "How can he be productive? People around him are always bringing him down."

If Eddie Panlilio would indeed bring a brighter Filipino future as President without changing the way he is as governor of Pampanga, I would gladly have myself crucified at Cutud on my 26th birthday, and promise myself to focus intensively on purifying my deeds, burn all my books and sociological readings, and curse the forsaken Marxists.

Sorry I didn't mention anything about Rizal, despite the title. What do you think though? Who would our national hero root for in case he rose from the dead?

If only we can vote for 'whats' (ideas/plans/platforms) instead of fragile 'whos'...

Monday, 23 March 2009

Your Boobs are Huge but I don't lust over them

A colleague from college furiously accused me for being 'lewd' after I commented on a friend's photo that includes her. I commented on the photo, making fun of her "big breasts, so heavy they cause her head to tilt on the side," something which we have often done back in college. You know how it is between friend groups. You make fun of one another.

But not this time. She got angry and called my comment lewd, even threatening to punch me in the face because I f*cking deserve it.

Wondering why the sudden change of attitude, I checked out her profile only to learn she began taking post-graduate women's studies after graduating from college, and other elements in her profile send me the signal that she has extremely embraced feminism—an ideology I happen to embrace as well ever since my Gender in Lit and Rizal class under a personal idol, Albina Peczon Fernandez. Yes, I'm a feminist even if I'm a guy, and my cultural ideology draws much inspiration from feminism.

But you know how it is when you have a new ideology. You're in heat. And I don't mean sexually. You're too obsessed with your newfound principles, you begin thinking the world is fucking you up and that every politically incorrect person should be stoned to death.

When I was a newbie in the Kapampangan cultural struggle, I flamed Kapampangans who kept on speaking Tagalog despite both of us being Kapampangans, and reprimanded harshly those who insist on calling Kapampangan a dialect instead of language. I also refused to borrow Tagalog, Spanish, and English words in my Kapampangan writing...

These I did proudly in the name of Indung Kapampangan, only to realize later on it's not really the best way to accomplish the advocacy. Anatagonizing the very people you want to change won't contribute anything to the advocacy. (I prefer to penetrate ISAs nowadays, or Ideological State Apparatuses, to propagate my ideology; you have to study some Marxism and Neo-Marxism to know what ISAs and RSAs are).

Yes, I'm a feminist. My close friends would know. I don't play gentleman around women, like offering to carry their books, because I don't want to perpetuate the perception that women are weak.

When I was telling through YM the sister of a friend that I am becoming depressed and lonely, she told me that she thinks I just need a girlfriend. I told her I am not that kind of guy. I don't form intimate relationships with women, or anyone for that matter, just to cure my boredom. I am not a fan of objectification even though I am surrounded by close male friends here in Pampanga who love to objectify women.

Never mind that society might think I'm gay for treating women equally with the other gender.

My feminist views are also represented in a lot of my artworks, and from here on in, I'll share a couple of them to you.

First, Kalam, the Kapampangan TV drama. As writer, I made sure the lead female protagonist in Kalam is a feminist. As I described her in press release: "Dette, the smart, wealthy, and feminist photographer/filmmaker who can see supernatural entities (lagayan) through the camera lens."

Notice this scene in the second episode, where Dette is revealed for the first time in the story.

For people who can't understand Kapampangan, basically, the Nursing dude is expressing his nervous feelings, when Dette casually responds, "Ngayon pa umatras ang bayag mo kung kailan nandito na tayo." The guy then remarks that Dette shouldn't be mentioning such things because it's very improper for girls. Pissed, Dette reprimands Yubs for the double standard.

The opening of the third episode reveals more feminism. See an excerpt of the script:

DETTE foresees a lengthy discussion so she sets aside the papers she is reading. She takes one gulp from her drink (not using the straw) to lubricate her throat for the lengthy conversation she prophesies to transpire.

Nanu para keka ing kabaldugan ning Peminismu? [What for you is the meaning of Feminism?]

Itang paniwalang mas masikan la reng ba’bai karing la’lake? [The belief that women are stronger than men?]

Nung radikal kang peminista, makanita pin. Oneng dakal ya kasi sanga ing Peminismu. Ating mu ring ma’niwalang andyang e ya pareu talaga ing babai ampo ing lalaki, dapat pante ing opportunity da kareng miyayaliwang obra. Nung nanung karapatan atin ya ing lalaki, atin ke mu rin dapat. [If you're a radical feminist, you are correct. But there are some who believe that even though men are women are not equal, opportunities should be equal in employment. The rights of men should also be enjoyed by women.]

Na’ng kaugnayan na nita keng buri kung malyari kareng ating Kalam? [So how is that connected with my advocacy on the gifted ones?]

Ing pilosopiya ning Peminismu, Yubs, e ya mu para kareng ba’bai. Para ya kareng eganaganang marginalized a bisang mitas estadu keng sosyedad. [The philosophy of Feminism, Yubs, is not just for the sake of women. It can be used by anyone marginalized, wanting to empower their status in society.]
I also have this Kapampangan poem in my collection:

Atlung Babai

(Three Women)

Keti king balen atin kung kilalang bábai
Atlu la dapot ali la para-para klasi
Ding piulian da rening atlu mikakawani
Miyayaliwa ing ugne ra karing lálaki

Here in this town I know women / three women, but they belong to different types / They come home separately / they relate to men differently

Ing mumunang babai ing kayang lagyu Norma
Kanita linuban ning lalaki ing bale na
Kayi kaibat ning siam a bulan kabirabira
Anak ing akit mung mamialung king kayang mula

The first woman is called Norma / whose house was penetrated by a man in the past / after nine months suddenly / one would see kids playing in her garden

Kadua naman Magda ing kekatamung iyaus
Dakal lang lalaki ring king bale na tataglus
At bista man e la maluat mágdatun ding diablus
Máging yang mabandi ing makisusung matilus

The second one is to be called Magda / who lives in a house where many men proceed / and even though the devils don't stay long / the pointy-breasted lady becomes wealthy by the minute

Tauli karening bábai Felicia ya lagyu
Ding kasabi na mung lálaki ring ortelanu
Nung ali no man tuburan dinan no mung sueldu
Ding ának a mámialung kilual inampun no mu

Last in the list is a woman named Felicia / The only men in her life are the farmers / Whom she orders around and pays / The children playing outside were just adopted

Deti ring ámanuan kung atlung klasing bábai
Makiyantak ngan oneng miyayaliwa bili
E la miyayalas pangaratang king lálaki
O Kababainan, kenu biye ing kapad mung dili

These are the women I said belonged to three types / they had vaginas but they vary in condition / they are not homogeneous when it comes to men / O, womankind, whose life do you want to take on

For those who don't get the poem:
This is a poem about three women with varying relationships with men. Norma leads the typical housewife life. Magda's survival and economic progress are rooted on offering her sexual service to men. Felicia, the wealthy and powerful one, uses the wealth she has acquired to preserve her superiority over her male servants and escape being chained to a man by adopting a child, i.e., "procreation" using wealth alone.

Then, in my English poem "The Art of Collapse," I have this feminist stanza:

I see not a boy
I see not a girl
But a human being

A lot of my stories, when involving family setups, are often matriarchal, too. Three stories currently on the works also tackle women's place in society.

I also sympathize with the social stigma attached to the loss of virginity by women, and this theme I explored in my second music video, Alang Anggang Sugat (The Eternal Wound).

Another poem in my poetry collection about an innocent girl taken advantage of:

Ket Na Ning Asu
Bite Of A Dog. This poem illustrates how young girls are sexually taken advantage of due to their sexual ignorance as reinforced by the social institutions, especially the family.

Dona, alang balu
King yatu, king yatu
Meniglo king asu
King banyu, king banyu

Dona, so innocent / about the world, about the world / Amazed by the dog / in the bathroom, in the bathroom

Dona, sasakildap
Sulilap sulilap
Kilub na ning ulap
Bala na paninap

Dona, so quick / to peek, to peek / through the fog / she thought it was a dream

Dona, pakasáya
Kitnan ing indu na
Nung nanu’ng ikit na
King banyu ra keta

Dona, wearing a skirt / asked her mother / what she saw / in the bathroom

Dona, miglarawan
King asulilapan
Lalawit palalam
Tatalakad misan

Dona described / what she saw / It dangled / but stood up sometimes

Dona, abalu na
Ing abatiawan na
Ngana ning indu na
Siguru asu ya

Dona found out / that what she saw / is according to her mother / probably a dog

Dona, mitutundu
Migkera king kuartu
Linub ya ing asu
Kinet ne king salu

Dona, so drowsy / went in her room / The dog entered / and bit her chest

Dona, pakakera
E makasiwala
Mituluanan wawa
Ala neng agawa

Dona, lying down / unable to make a sound / saliva fell down on her / she was helpless

Dona, pangayabak
E man minyukle buak
Lupang mengawakwak
Salbag salbag utak

Dona, the next morning / didn't comb her hair / looking messed up / and groggy

Dona, míkabalu
King yatu, king yatu
Keplasan ya kanu
King ket na ning asu

Dona knew something / about the world, about the world / She found it painful / the bite of a dog

So to my feminist friend who accused me for being lewd, please. In the first place, I didn't objectify you. Yes, I said you have big breasts (not to humiliate you, basically, but just for the sake of college tuksuan nostalgia), but it doesn't mean I lust over them. If that is your way of expressing your feminism, it doesn't look very impressive.