26 November, 2008

What I Could Fit Into Ten [or the latest ten things in my head]

I haven't done one of my TEN THINGS blogs in a while, so here we go...

10.) TRUE STORY: [saw this on an interview on cable tv]
There was a boy named Ryan, he was the fourth child to a very happy mother whose life was devoted to her children. When Ryan was around 10 years old, his mother got pregnant again. They learned that it was a boy and named the new baby Michael, even before he was born. And every morning thereafter, Ryan would excitedly as his mother, "Is Michael here yet?"
He could not wait to have a baby brother.

But three months before Michael was born, Ryan accidentally drowned in the family pool and died.

Ten years later, when Michael was about the same age as Ryan, he then asked his mother, "Mom, can we talk about heaven?"

To which his mother responded, "Sure, what do you want to know?"

"I think those who love us are really up there," he said.

"Really?" the mother asked with much surprise and curiousity.

And Michael said, "I saw him, Mom. He was running so fast and there was a bump, then a splash of water. I tried to hold his hand. I tried to save him."
then Michael said in almost a whisper "And then this light came and he said I LOVE YOU, MICHAEL. And he was gone."

All those years, they never actually told Michael how his brother Ryan died.

9. ) I saw this movie called "The Kite Runner" a while ago. I remember watching a feature on the BBC News Channel about this film. I found it quite touching and depressing at the same time. Of course it had this premise about "everyone has the chance to be good again" but i can't bring myself to rave about it.

8.) Is it just me or does it NOT feel like it's the "-ber" months already? I mean it's already November, but I haven't felt any "Brrrrrr" in the humid air at all... Then again, I'm in Panay island...

7.) I'm praying to God that the blown glass apothecary dome i saw in Rustan's is still there when I return.

6.) ULTRAMAN MAX!!! Sorry, I just had to do that... I don't have the HERO channel on my cable back in Santa Rosa, just Animax. When I stay at my abuela's house, I literally just stay in the house. Ergo, the television keeps me occupied; and I've been watchin Ultraman Max lately. Formulaic as each episode has been since its previous incarnations, the latest one is just amusing. Even the monsters are getting on my good side.

5.) Looking around at how much Filipinos love celebrating Christmas, don't you ever wonder how they decorated say Christmas 1890, before the advent of tinsel, tivoli lights, and capiz parols? I wonder how they made it look a lot like Christmas...

4.) Sharing this quote from THE LOVE OF SIAM

"If we can love someone so much, how will we be able to handle it the one day when we are separated? And, if being separated is a part of life, and you know about separation well. Is it possible Tong,that we can love someone and never be afraid of losing them? At the same time, i was also wondering. Is it possible, that we can live our entire life without loving anyone at all? That is my loneliness."

~ Di ba naman? Di ba? Di ba? Di ba? Di ba? Di ba?

3. What is it with the rain effects in Filipino movies? Predictably, it pours when lovers kiss, run after each other, or when the movie is just about to end. But they don't get it right; the way it pours, the way it looks, the way it just is... Oh well...

2.) Nothing beats vintage episodes of SHAIDER...the nostalgia it evokes...

1.) The latest season/episodes of "Kyo Kara Maoh" [God(?) Save Our King] rocks!!! I love it!!! All the while, I thought they ended with episode 78, but here we are with episode 90+

17 November, 2008

Natumbok mo, Oscar Wilde! Natumbok mo!!!

i'd like to share something i came upon just a while ago...Oscar Wilde could not have put it more succinctly than this:

"My attitude toward all this is that a true artist who believes in his art and his mission must necessarily be altogether insensible to praise or blame. If he is not a mere sham, he cannot be disturbed by any caricature or exaggeration. He has the truth on his side. And the opinion of the whole world should be of no consequence to him."

~Oscar Wilde

What do you think? Didn't he get it right a century or so ago?

16 November, 2008



It's nearly 2:00am here at the ancestral house in San Jose, Antique. I went downstairs a while ago, i was staring at the 8ft. Christmas Tree I gifted my abuela last year. We spent most of the morning today doing assembly, fixing up the branches, and wiping the greens individually with a damp cloth [ which is not an easy feat by "mindless chores" standards ]; and predictably -with the provincial pace- the winds of procrastination blew my way, and i put off placing the lights on the tree.

Trust me, when you spend your whole life making a spectacle of your christmas displays, you pretty much have a grasp of your methods of execution ergo you needn't have to rush a tree.

Seeing that huge mass of faux foliage standing there, waiting for the possibilities of baubles and ornaments that would hang upon the spindles of its branches, by some unexplainable drift of nostalgic sentimentality while organizing the ornaments on the table, made me look back at the days when i first entered the Rizal Mini Theater [more commonly known as the RMT] during the production weeks of Tanghalang Ateneo's 2002 production of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. Come to think of it, my mind does wander into that realm quite a lot lately.

Around that age, most of the training in the performing arts i've received were acting based. And honestly, around that time, I never cared much for production design other than wearing costumes.

To those who have seen the RMT, it's really more of an audio-visual room than a theater. The sightlines alone are a challenge, there are no fixed proscenium frames to define the space, and no stage floor installed [ at least that's how i remember it during my time ]. To every production designer that has ever worked in that space, it was one tedious christmas tree to prepare for decorating...

That year, Badong Bernal just came back from a tour around Southeast Asia and it greatly influenced his designs. The RMT was transformed into the romantic realm of Illyria. Where, upon a white floor in the center, one sees a multi-pointed stylized star painted gold; and a multi-faceted house in the Menangkabau architectural silhouette embellished with ornate carvings which will be finished in goldleaf, stands alone secretly held by a pivot, making it turn and change shape before the audience's eyes.

And if you think about it, it does allude to Orsino's line in the play that goes, "O pag-ibig kay liksi ng iyong pintig na papalit-palit ng hugis ayon sa iyong layon at nais." [That is, if I remember that line correctly. But i'm sure you get the point. Oh yeah, i forgot to mention we used Rolando Tinio's Filipino translation of the play.] This performance space is then framed by a false proscenium, the lines of which, serve as a counterpoint to the somewhat outward burst of the look represented in the central setpiece.

And i was just filled with such awe on how magical a transformation the space took on. At that point, everything changed for me.

I started helping out with making the jewelry pieces that were part of the costume designs for the Pan-Southeast Asiatic motiff used by Sir Badong. It was the first time I was introduced to goldleaf transfer foil; a material i use ubiquitously and as much as i can when i get the chance [ those of you who have worked with me before know this well ]. I even remember that rainy 7:00am when my friend Ara Fernando arrived with this box of jewelry pieces made of illustration board, blue foam, and a stiffener called 'pelon'; and we spent the day doing nothing but goldleaf for later in the evening was the first costume fitting for the show.

That evening, Sir Badong arrived to check the costumes. That was the first time I met him; and it was about two years before he became a National Artist. And behind him, years of unparalleled achievements in his craft. Admittedly, I was starstruck, for I saw his designs for Lapu-Lapu years before and I remember how mesmerized a high school junior I was. In the midst of helping out with the costume parade, I had a chance to ask Sir Badong what I would call now as a 'ubiquitously stupid question to ask'.

I asked, "Sir, how did you come up with this design?"

He responded with what I would call Lesson Number One [ not as verbatim as it was for me but imagine it with a small dose of that brand of Sir Badong 'taray'... ]:
"Hijo, you can pretty much come up with any design for Shakespeare. His plays are beautiful material to experiment with. I simply took what I thought would work [refers to the design template] for this play and ran with it."

The way he said that so casually could not compare to the sophisticated pieces that were worn by the actors who were walking about. A genius always makes it look easy for him, as the case always applies.

I was not yet scheduled to attend his production design class that semester, however since that particular class that term was just before my Aesthetics class which he also taught, i started coming in early to sit-in his production design classes.

Wait! If you've gotten this far, i know what you must be saying in your head... And my response would be, "I know, right!"

We shall continue this next blog...