Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Awards and Behn Cervantes | Vera Files

Awards and Behn Cervantes | Vera Files

There is a call for help in behalf of ailing theater artist and director Behn Cervantes. Those who want to help him can get in touch with his niece, Rosario J. Marquez, at cell no. 09173200121. Ms. Marquez's current account no. is Union Bank # 01-802-002383-6.
Those who want to help Behn Cervantes, you can get in touch with the director’s niece,  Rosario J. Marquez  cell no.  09173200121) . Ms. Marquez’s  account no. is Union Bank  # 01-802-002383-6 (current account) under account name  Rosario J. Marquez. - See more at:
Those who want to help Behn Cervantes, you can get in touch with the director’s niece,  Rosario J. Marquez  cell no.  09173200121) . Ms. Marquez’s  account no. is Union Bank  # 01-802-002383-6 (current account) under account name  Rosario J. Marquez. - See more at:
Those who want to help Behn Cervantes, you can get in touch with the director’s niece,  Rosario J. Marquez  cell no.  09173200121) . Ms. Marquez’s  account no. is Union Bank  # 01-802-002383-6 (current account) under account name  Rosario J. Marquez. - See more at:
Those who want to help Behn Cervantes, you can get in touch with the director’s niece,  Rosario J. Marquez  cell no.  09173200121) . Ms. Marquez’s  account no. is Union Bank  # 01-802-002383-6 (current account) under account name  Rosario J. Marquez. - See more at:
Those who want to help Behn Cervantes, you can get in touch with the director’s niece,  Rosario J. Marquez  cell no.  09173200121) . Ms. Marquez’s  account no. is Union Bank  # 01-802-002383-6 (current account) under account name  Rosario J. Marquez. - See more at:

Yang love

A schoolgirl's giddiness--that best described my excitement before I hied off with my favorite concert-going companion, kid sister Suzy, to the Ayala Museum. Adding to the sense of anticipation last Saturday was it would be our first time to hear Claudia Yang, billed as Malaysia's premier pianist in the Manila Chamber Orchestra (MCO) Foundation's Great Performances Series.

We weren't disappointed. Again we felt the emotions evoked by the four Chopin ballades and 10 Rachmaninoff preludes in the youthful-looking Yang's playing: haunted longing, regret, resignation, awe at the splendor of marches with a martial beat.

With a bit of stealth, I captured some images of her at play, yes, that's right, at play with a gleaming toy, a Kawaii grand. It was only upon closer examination today that I noticed  there was an appreciative black insect flying behind the pianist during her performance.

Of her two encores, the last (her combination of the traditional Chinese "Jasmine Flower" and the Puccini operatic aria "Nessum Dorma" from Turandot) left us with a sense that our Saturday evening was another triumph of the spirit. So evocative was the music that Yang promised we might end up sleepless. Well, we almost did.

Warming up
Paul Badura-Skoda, Yang's piano professor, once said, "We need emotion, and we need something which lifts us from everyday life. We would be much poorer if we had not real music."
Pardon the pun, but one of God's small creatures seems "beedazzled" (behind Yang) by the music.
Facetime with admirers after the concert    Photos by Babeth Lolarga  

Monday, July 29, 2013

To begin another week

"In a garden the soul finds its needed escape from life and its entry into a space where eternity is more evident than time and where the ritual arrangement of life is more important than the business of surviving and making progress. Time stands still or at least moves more slowly in the garden..."--Thomas Moore, The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life
Photo by Babeth Lolarga
The daily business of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and so on sometimes blinds the eyes and the soul to the very things that replenish and restore them. 

Last night after I turned off the computer, the last image that imprinted itself in my mind was a picture I took two years ago. It was a view from a car park in downtown Baguio of a bougainvillea bush that had run wild and climbed upwards, using a leafless tree, its trunk and its branches as a trellis and garbing them with lively clumps of dark pink flowers. 

That day, stark in my memory, was my grandchild's first birthday. It fell on a Holy Wednesday. Only now have I thought of that glorious vine as heralds of Easter, of a summer spent keeping in step with a child just learning to toddle. Many times I paused to shoot photos of blooms by the wayside that became subjects for this blog.

The momentary stillness granted me this Monday I need to fully grasp before resuming the routine that assures where the next piece of bread, the next slice of butter, the next bowl of rice and serving of fish will come from. 

God grant us in this new week more servings of both ordinary and more-than-ordinary pleasures.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Liping Zheng, Diomedes Saraza, Oliver Salonga

North and south of Metro Manila, art and music aficionados can expect to enjoy a  richness for the soul, for the heart. They can also expect something glorious to watch and listen in August. You wonder why I stray from my true mountain residence?
From the inbox:
"Liping Zheng's A Passionate World"  is up until  Aug. 5 at the ArtistSpace. The gallery is open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.  It is located at the back of Ayala Museum, facing the entrance of Greenbelt 5 (fronting Balenciaga and Massimo Dutti), de la Rosa Street,  Makati City.

The music event of the month in August: two glorious concertos, two soloists in one evening with the Manila Symphony Orchestra under Arturo Molina on Aug. 20 at 7 p.m. at the UP Abelardo Hall, Diliman, Quezon City. Violinist Diomedes Saraza, Jr. plays Bartok's Violin Concerto No. 2 and pianist Oliver Salonga, Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Minor. Tickets at P1,000 (orchestra) and P500 (balcony). Free delivery of ordered tickets. Call tel. no. (02) 5763132 or text 09065104270.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Today's lesson for all time: Pay attention

I always like to remind the high school kids I work with that a great part of our duties as budding writers/journalists (yep, I still consider myself in the developing stage) involves paying attention: focusing attention on, listening well to what another person is saying so we can get our data right and watching closely what is going on around.

Today I saw this image while on my way to the Google Translate service (I wanted some Scandinavian blogger's words translated into English). After my purpose was met, I returned to the image and tried to see what it meant.
It is Rosalind Franklin's 93rd birthday today. Wikipedia offers this basic info about her: "Rosalind Elsie Franklin was a British biophysicist and X-ray crystallographer who made critical contributions to the understanding of the fine molecular structures of DNA, RNA, viruses, coal, and graphite."

Franklin's image from

I was struck by the ingenious design of the logo. No wonder one of my young friends' dream job is to work at Google's headquarters in California where the work ethos involves a lot of play.

I once saw a documentary about how the employees there are fed. The cafeteria makes a conscious effort to source their supplies from local farmers and other food producers. I was bowled over--how a global company that can afford to just bring in the top franchises (McDonald's or Starbucks) has taken the harder but healthier route for the greater good. So what is served is always fresh, the local economy is sustained, and everybody returns to the work-play station full, their minds ready to soar again.

Happy birthday, Ms. Franklin, and thank you, Google, for reminding us of her significant contributions to humankind.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Children of the King

Do you wake up to mornings when you're seized with panic at the tasks ahead of you and you're weepy and overcome with a sense of inadequacy and fearful that things may spin out of control? And the ones you can share these feelings with are literally miles away?

Then you chance upon some words and pictures emailed by dear ones, and once again, everything is restored. Someone else did the restoring, that Someone who looks beyond titles, achievements and possessions, the Someone who "defines you by his love for you." 

The words I chanced upon this morning from the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture are: "A man asked a thousand people as they walked by, 'Who are you?'  Every person responded with what he or she did for a living: 'I'm a doctor,' or 'I'm a teacher,' or 'I'm a businessman.'  The next time someone asks you who you are, say: 'I'm a child of the King.'" 

And the images are from a different kind of royalty not traced to the blood of mortal kings. This person still doesn't eke out of living that will say what her net worth is. Yet by just being herself, by just clowning and frolicking uninhibitedly in front of a camera, she is pleasing to all.

At this point, you realize that everything is and will be fine because you are not only "fearfully and wonderfully made" but also a child of the King and you like to let Him take care and take charge of you.

Webcam photos of Kai Fernandez by her Mamay Kimi

Carmen Guerrero Nakpil: 91 years of a life | Vera Files

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I'm okay, we're okay

"Mutual respect is essential. How do parents view their children? They need to listen to their children, and to respect their wisdom. Two things are important for children: 'My parents are okay,' and 'I matter to them.' Again, parents need to be aware of their own issues and own them...

"Sometimes parents also need to find other sources of fulfillment. They need to 'have a life,' and know when to let go..."

--Ma. Lourdes A. Carandang and Queena N. Lee-Chua, The Filipino Family Surviving the World: Psychological Essays on the Filipino Family (Anvil Publishing Inc.)

Like all Filipino families, we have issues. But these are cast aside when reunions happen so we can seize these opportunities for stories, most of them funny, told over shared food.

As my brother Junic, his wife Amy and their children Sara and Christian fly out of the country this morning to return to their home in Calgary, Canada, I'm posting photos of our last, but not ultimately final, Sunday together when we sat for family portraits under the noon sun. 

You have to hand it to the stamina of my mother. She managed to remain on her seat under that same sun through different batches of kids, grandkids and great-grandkids without a make-up retouch. Yes, "kids" we were that Sunday and still are today because we haven't outgrown our rowdiness. Which is why we all haven't aged.

Meanwhile, a photography tip from my youngest sister Gigi who lent these images: Plan your family portraits at a kinder hour when the light is less harsh; otherwise, the subjects end up with raccoon eyes.
Brother Dennis (second from left, second row) ordered, "Look up! To the left! At the coconut tree!" We all followed. Now someone's bright idea is to submit this photo to "Eat! Bulaga" that has a "Look up" segment of stills. Before that happens, I'd like this space to have first crack at it. Thank you, Daddy, for the garden you grew and tended when we moved to Pasig. It served as a good backdrop. Front row: Babeth, Mom and Junic. Back row: Embeng, Dennis, Pinky, Suzy, Eric and Gigi.
One of the three absentee sons-in-law of my mom, Rolly Fernandez, likes to remind that every photo ought to have a caption. Following this journalism tenet, here goes. Front row (from left): Max and Marga Susi, Sara and Nene Lolarga, Kimi and Kai Fernandez. Second row same order: Bianca, Jannica, Jared and Paolo Susi, Carlo Trinidad (serious at work but not in family pictures), Christian Lolarga and Ida Fernandez.
It's a wrap! Till we meet again some sunny day. The lyrics playing in my head come from the theme of a TV series in the '90s about a couple and their eight children: "Eight is enough to fill our lives with love!"

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Art + medicine = hapi wheelchairs

"Nobody says no to Gilda Cordero Fernando," Dr. Joven Cuanang of St. Luke's Medical Center said at  yesterday's Apolinario Mabini Hapi Wheelchairs Parade. He added that it was her "flash of genius" that set the wheels in motion for this project that has seen an exciting synergy between art and medicine. With just a little goading and reminding from her, the 17 participating artists let their imaginations fly, thus giving the start of National Disability Week added panache.   Photos by Babeth Lolarga
The Cordero Fernando and Cuanang tandem should be further tapped for revolutionary and out-of-the-box ideas born out of passionate minds and a deep love for the healing arts.
Aba Dalena and writer Carla Pacis pose beside the former's "Anghel Bulilit."
GCF aboard Marc Cosico's carretela wheelchair
Even the group that provided the music came on wheels!
That's production manager Manny Chaves, second from left, looking not too harassed.
Kidlat Tahimik with his bamboo camera and "All-weather Guardian Angel Salumpuwet"
Agnes Arellano explains what her "Anti-stress Wheelchair" is all about: breasts and nipples made of silicone rubber, recycled from her sculpture molds and turned into acupressure points.
Pancho Villanueva and Ling Quisumbing Ramilo's collaboration
Io Regalado's chair has a wide golden wingspan.
Senior students from the Philippine High School for the Arts put together a cityscape in and on a chair.
Noel Cuizon jokingly calls the welded together wheelchairs as his and Karen Flores's "conjugal property" to underscore the "in sickness and in health" clause in their friendship.
Wendy Regalado smiles beside "Beast Friends Forever."
Robert Alejandro and his "Silver Chariot"
Plet Bolipata is fashionably cocooned in "Winged Icarus."
Don Salubayba's "Trono" includes blinking lights.

May more partnerships arise among the idea persons, the artists, the Philippine Academy of Rehabilitation Medicine and The Mind Museum.