19 August, 2009

tell me not in mournful numbers...

I shall speak this is the vernacular, Perhaps it will come across the way it should...

May mga tao talagang kung magsalita o magparinig eh akala mo sila ang iniwan mo sa gitna ng kawalan, ano? Minsan nga naman, kung wala ka nang silbi ay itatapon ka na lang gaya ng gamit na napagsawaan... Mahirap marinig yung mga salitang, "Parang wala tayong pinagsamahan ah," pero minsan nga naman magagawa mong masambit katagang ito...

there's a point about people's worth i wish to hammer on here, but it's so not worth it at this point... this is me, smug, knowing I made the right choice.

thus spake, the Barefoot Baklesa

17 August, 2009

Impressions of a Bishounen Boy: Ryu Daigo

From his photographs alone, this young man’s charm and unique multi-racial looks affords him the adjective best defined by the Japanese word ‘Bishounen’ which literally translates as ‘Pretty Boy’. For any of you who aren’t privy to that aesthetic nuance, there is this cultural penchant albeit curious amusement the Japanese in general have for guys with soft yet appealing features which oftentimes borders on the androgynously attractive [ just look at their male Japanimation or Anime characters and you’ll get what I’m saying ] . It is indescribable at times, yet guys like Ryu Daigo, do turn heads and make some take a second look.

Currently a boy of 19 [and I do mean ‘boy‘ in the impression he gave off], standing 5 foot eight inches, and just about a hundred and forty pounds, Ryu is what we can consider a ’Japinoy’ - a child of that successful multi-racial mix of the Japonois-Filipino persuasion which affords him that look that appealed to me, the first I saw him.

Ryu Daigo’s popularity, by observation, is at its best on the internet. There’s this Korean pop-culture phenomenon called “uljjang” which by etymology takes from the Korean words “pretty” + “picture” = “internet popularity” -this was actually the way Boy Meets Boy and Jenny/Juno star Kim Hye-Sung catapulted himself to fame; the pretty pictures he uploaded of himself gained him popularity and the rest is KPop history. -I’m going stop there, I’m shifting into Pop Culture Analyst mode again… Hahahaha!

But Ryu Daigo’s showbiz path began way before he even knew how to type on a keyboard and upload photos. As he tells me, “My mom told me my first job was endorsing a milk product when I was a baby.” I reckon from a young age, it came naturally to him; for most of his young life has been oriented towards the biz.

It was around early this year when I first chanced upon some photos of him online. But it was not until recently that I began learning about the boy by getting to know him on the social/beta networking sites. Funny thing to mention, and Ryu regales, “There are seven Friendster accounts of me, and I added them all! Hehehehe!” -So if any of you guys have him in your network, be sure you have the real one, okay… Also, after reading his profile online, I noticed that he was once cast as a regular in one of the shows I did for network television, but in the rush of things at the time I never bothered with the talents anyway.

When I asked him what was the weirdest showbiz job he has ever done, he answers, “When I was a regular talent on a show called Kamandag, I was fully covered in make-up that I did not recognize myself.” And he adds, “Weird in the sense that this gay guy who was a wardrobe attendant dressing me up, would try to have his way with me and he couldn’t.” By that, I took it, that Ryu has a good head on his shoulders and he had a sense of humor about the ways of the biz.

So I dared to ask him, “As you are, do you ever get proposed indecently in any way?” To which he answers, “I make sure I tell them I’m not interested.” Then further adds that he often goes, “You are getting on my YM Nerves! Hehehehe…” I never asked him if that works all the time, but I’m going to ask the boy permission to use the second statement if someone is starting to get on my YM nerves. Moving on…

I guess in that pool of many showbiz aspirants, Ryu has gone the way of doing stints that most young people who want to be noticed in the industry have done while waiting for that big break, so to speak. At that, Ryu actually had to forego full-time college for a while and took that path that had him earning from his stints in television and modeling. He knew the value of earning your own way and what it does to the developing maturity of a person.

Of all the online portfolios I have seen of up-and-coming or practicing models of recent vintage, Ryu’s portfolio is what one considers quite versatile. He tries to experiment by himself and/or collaborates with other creative people exploring the many possibilities he can take his visage and form to.

It was when I came upon the artist and photographer Bubum Melgar’s site that I began noticing him with amusement and admiration -Okay, I admit, I’m a fan! Go and hang me! Hahahahaha! My compliments to Mr. Melgar and his creativity for with that, I think, Ryu’s portfolio is never to be the same.

And after confirming from Ryu himself, he nearly got on Mr. Melgar’s nerves for being a little bit of a “pasaway”. Ryu recalls having said something to this effect, “That’s what happens when the model is like a mannequin and statuesque, the photographer just clicks away” -I can only envision Mr. Melgar raise an eyebrow, that eyebrow traveling as far as C.M. Recto Avenue, and having someone pick it up form there and return it -laughing out loud… That’s why I mean by Ryu still being much a boy.

You can accuse him of being a little vain and he knows he’s guilty of it. “My day is not complete when I don’t even get a compliment about the way I look. It feels weird if I don’t get at least one,” he admits candidly. Well, that is forgivable… they say we are at our most good looking from the age of 17 to 27. I do hope Ryu’s not the type that has a pocket mirror being a Narcissus about his reflection or takes a photo of himself on his camera phone checking out how he looks by the quarter hour like some people I know… Hahahahaha! I actually forgot to ask him his vanity quirks; maybe next time.

One of the questions that popped-up in our exchange was how does he deal with being a mixed race kid and if there were any difficulties about it. To which he replies, “Its funny since Filipino's always make fun of it... Well, its okay with me because it makes me different than the others. I love being unique.” That says much about the ‘Pinoy-Mestizo-Complex’ that not unless they are of a mixed Caucasian-Pinoy variety, it’s okay to make fun of the other multi-racials. And it’s really being mean, the playground variety kind of mean. Good thing Ryu is comfortable in his own skin.

At this point in his life, aside from his interest in fashion in general, he is quite engrossed in learning the ways of a photographer. As much as he loves being in front of the camera and getting to play with his looks like the next Zoolander in the room, Ryu says, “I like taking pictures, its my dream to be a photographer and not a model;” with a laugh at that. Well, it looks like he’s enjoying being in front of the camera for now.

Having said that, Ryu impressed me a little more by saying “Having a school degree is still a priority. I can’t model all the time.” -I’m sure it seems a clichéd and ubiquitous answer we’ve heard from some before, but I sensed a bite of reality realized too young there; and it made me think about the many showbiz dreams that sputtered and went into obscurity for some. As I write this, Ryu is back in school full-time, taking up Hotel and Restaurant Administration at the Cavite campus of the Lyceum of the Philippines. Modeling and the biz takes a second priority for now, to which I’m sure he’s going to be a better off person as the pretty boy grows into the man that’s going to be/have more than just a pretty face.

thus spake The Barefoot Baklesa

photos courtesy of Mitoy Sta.Ana, Ryu Daigo, and Bubum Melgar

07 August, 2009

Walang Modong Salanggapa: Carlo J. Caparas for National Artist [the farce, the insult to my intelligence, and the travesty]

Again, the tomatoes and the knife are for emphasis...

This was posted as my response to GIBBS CADIZ's latest post on the Necrological Service for the National Artists Awards last Friday, the 7th of August...

First of All, i prithee, PEACE... such silence is deserved of this mournful day.

I would have wanted to say this in my own blog, however for the time being, i reckon this would be the appropriate place to share it.

I am fortunate enough in my lifetime to have learned from two National Artists: first, as a student of Salvador "Badong" Bernal when I was still in theatre school, and under the supervision of the late Leonor Orosa Goquingco -one of the first National Artist Grantees.

I admit, I am one of those people who put National Artists on a pedestal, primarily because even at their age, Badong Bernal can still turn BIC Ballpoint pen crystal casings into chandeliers and bed canopies in one quick set change; and in her late years, Leonor Orosa-Goquingco showed us one last time why she is the original Filipina Creative 'Dancing Queen'

That is why I am passionate about this, because I know what it took to be granted the honor of the Order of the National Artists of this nation. I think we owe it to them and those others that came before, to not take this sitting down.

A beloved friend of mine and former mentor said something so fitting: "Dios mio! Mahal ko ang aking sining at alam ko kung kailan ako magpapaka-gutom rito at kung kailan ko kailangan ibenta ang aking sarili. Marahil ang pinaka-pangit na sa ating mga obra pa man ang iyong piliin ay hindi pa rin ito maihahambing o mapapantayan ng isang likha ni Carlo J Caparas. Isa itong kalapastanganan sa nasabing parangal."

I will get some flak for being an elitist -well, i have gotten some from the "tinga" and dregs of the wannabes and pretenders out there who have been found wanting after their futile attempts at being controversial at my expense- but thou canst begrudge me if that is where I and most of my colleagues are coming from. We do few things but we do them well, that is the initial definition of artistic integrity in my book.

How can they thus, for shame, look over the likes of a Mars Ravelo, a Larry Alcala, a Dolphy for that matter, or even one of the deserved in that list for the likes of one whose contribution to art and popular art is really fit only to wrap 'tinapa' from the local palenque?

How can you have a National Artist for Film and Visual Arts if he never drew those things in the first place? Where is the visual artist in that? and let us not get started on film being another category from cinema... Sin verguenza!!!

And Carlo J. Caparas actually displays no humility about it at all with his reactions... this only goes to show that being "deserved" is far from what I can describe him at present. I can hurl expletives his way, but i reckon he won't comprehend them. Thus amended, I quote Rolando Tinio's translation of one from Shakespeare he might just get: "WALANG MODONG SALANGGAPA!"

thus spake the Barefoot Baklesa

"Let us take charge of the world before it's gone as we know it."

05 August, 2009

on this blog soon: The Barefoot Baklesa's Impressions

Soon, I shall be posting casual conversations with people I find to be of interest in this tapestry of people in my online and real life... People leave certain impressions of themselves at every encounter; and it's not just the first one, really. With me, it goes beyond that. [But of course there are those Neanderthals that at the first instance you know they'll evolve into the Ostrogoths or the Visigoths of later barbaric times! Hahahahhaha!!!]

I'll try to portray these people as I see them, as what i think of what they think, as what they mean more/less than what they say... You'd be surprised how differently some things come out.

One can never know a person entirely, but there's a lot to be learned with what they want you to know about them and what that is they care to share...

As the first in this series, I shall be featuring model and talent
RYU DAIGO -who was nice enough to allow me to feature him as the first in this series-

Here's hoping you guys enjoy this one...

photo courtesy of Bubum Melgar, just click on the link, guys...

thus spake the Barefoot Baklesa

04 August, 2009

The Barefoot Baklesa's tribute to Tita Cory [a memory of my youth]

The past few days, this archipelago has been grieving the loss of a remarkable woman of faith, a mother not just to her children but to a nation, and perhaps the greatest Filipina that ever graced these emerald isles: President Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino, the Mother of Philippine Democracy.

With all the online tributes that are pouring in via the internet, up to the minute news coverage, and the many mentions of her in blogs and networking sites, I have but a simple story to share.

It was around 6:30 in the morning in February of 1999 when I was standing by the entrance of the Rizal Study Foyer fronting Xavier Hall at the Ateneo de Manila, waiting for a delivery of flowers to be used at a conference of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines [CEAP] that would begin around 8:00am that day.

There I was, a wide-eyed Freshman, who was just happy to hang on to my scholarship in a premier Jesuit university by filling in the hours of service required of us. The only thing I knew that day was that I was supposed to decorate the venue and help out with the conference proper. This was the first time someone had entrusted me with designing public venue in the campus, perhaps the very first of my career as a set designer.

But like many things that Ate Ces of the Student Affairs office planned at the last minute, we were understaffed… And I found myself at the Front of House receiving guests, then later at the tech booth helping manage the cues of the program, and even in trouble for not knowing how to operate the switchboard that controlled the lights of the Rizal Mini Theater. It was one insane experience.

During an intermission, Ate Ces pulls me out of the booth and asked me to accompany her at the foyer entrance. She asked me to help welcome the guest speaker who had just entered campus. And as we waited outside, a car pulls in at the driveway fronting the foyer, and stepping out of it was former President Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino. There were only four of us who welcomed her: Rene Salvador San Andres [Associate Dean for Student Affairs], Some nun from the Order of -Pera- I meant Preachers, Ate Ces, and me.

And there I was wondering, “Why only this? Where’s the proper ceremony afforded a former head of state? Why am I here?” I suddenly found myself bowing as do the Japanese, which was really funny, now that I look back at it. And Ate Ces goes, “Help her while she’s waiting before her speech. I‘m going to get her bouquet of flowers. I left it inside the office.”

As I led her to where she was to wait, she sensed my nerves on overdrive and uttered, “Huwag na kayong mag-abala.” [roughly “Don’t make a fuss over it.”] with that gentle tone we all know so well. And my good manners getting ahead of me, I asked, “Madam, How do I address you?”

She answers, “Tita na lang.” which felt so endearing when I heard it. And with that I was just smiling the rest of the afternoon. I never could remember her speech about the value of a good Catholic education in the new millennium. Just those three words that have been very Pinoy and very Tita Cory.

Right now, a nation grieves with a little regret. Because no matter how much we love her, there are some things in this nation that haven’t changed , and some in worse shape that it was before. I think we do not grieve for her as much as we do for ourselves.

a little late but still sharing...

In the rush of the last week, I almost forgot about the feast day of Saint Mary of Bethany last July 29th which is also the feast day of her siblings Martha and Lazarus… To those of you who know me quite well, we have an image of Saint Mary of Bethany under our care, amongst other ones… It was around 5:00pm that day when I realized that the feast day was almost over.

Thank goodness I was able to relay the instructions for her feast day the Sunday before. It’s tough when the image is a half an archipelago away at our ancestral home in San Jose, Antique. [Maybe I should have a smaller one commissioned for our residence here…Then again, with the other ones residing in our home, I don’t think there’s still room. Hahahahahaha!!!]

To Saint Mary of Bethany, may the grace God has bestowed us through our devotion to you be shared with those who remain loving and loyal to the de los Reyes Family.

All things done, Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam!