Dia Internacional del Libro: Commemorates Don Quijote’s 400th year publication

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I haven’t had any special reason to visit Instituto Cervantes before, until I found out about the 10th edition of Dia Internacional del Libro (International Book Day). I specially got interested to attend because of the special activities laid out for attendees, in accordance to the commemoration of the 400th year of publication of Miguel de Cervantes’ second volume of “Don Quijote de La Mancha” (The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quijote of La Mancha).

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Instituto Cervantes, Spain’s cultural center in the country has made the 10th edition of Dia Internacional more exciting this time and totally a different kind of book fair with La Noche de los Libros (The Night of Books), which was a whole evening of free entertainment that includes Spanish food games, jazz concert, poetry recitals, free Spanish classes, book market, and photo contest.

The Tradition of Books and Roses

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Internacional del Libro also happened to be on the 23rd of April, which is famous as St. George’s Day in Spain. During this day, people go to festive markets at the town center, particularly in Barcelona to purchase books and roses and give these to their loved ones. It also coincides with other cultural and literary activities, such as book signings and readings of Spanish literature.

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In tradition, men offer roses to important women in their lives, while women give books in return. And in honor of this tradition, the first 100 visitors that day received roses upon entrance at the center. Every purchase of books at the book market also came with a free rose and a free book of their choice, as well as participants of the night’s different activities.

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Re-Writing of Don Quijote

Unfortunately, I wasn’t one of the first 100 visitors but then again I was lucky to be part of the Escribo el Quijote (Re-Writing of Don Quijote), wherein 500 book-lover volunteers took part in what they call the “Quixotic” endeavour – that is to hand-write Cervantes’ immortal novel, Don Quijote de La Mancha that is considered to be one of the world’s greatest novels ever written. Each volunteer had two minutes to copy few sentences of the novel that started from 4PM to 11PM. The final hand-written book was deposited at the Library Miguel Hernandez at Instituto Cervantes.

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This is where I got two roses, two roses because my turn was supposed to be at 8PM but it was already 9PM when I got to it. A senior official was kind enough to give me two in exchange of my patience and dedication to wait for my turn, though it was past the time it should have been.

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In part of the celebration for Don Quijote de La Mancha’s 400th year publication, a special set menu, the La Cocina del Quijote was prepared by Chef Juan Carlos de Terry that is based on some of the dishes and wines mentioned in the novel on April 17th at Terry’s Pasong Tamo, Chino Roces Avenue Extension, Makati.

I took home two books as well from Anvil Publishing (Confessions of a Volcano by Eric Gamalinda and Reading Korea: 12 Contemporary Stories), which entitled me to another rose. I have yet to start reading them though, as I’m still occupied with another book.

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That day’s buddy was my cultural events buddy Myleen. I initially planned to go by myself but I invited her to come along and good thing she was free. We didn’t get the chance to check out the library though, which is something I should come back to.

We both had fun being part of the Don Quijote re-writing activity while listening to jazz music in the background, discovering new books to journey in, watching groups of people and friends chatting, and just simply wandering around the place.

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I forgot to mention it was held outdoors, and they have this garden with a well at the center surrounded with trees, and it was simply picturesque at night. We even found a tree with flowers that’s like cherry blossoms, though we aren’t sure if it is a Sakura tree.

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Instituto Cervantes also held a film series on migration last month featuring films such as “Edna” (2014) starring Irma Adlawan, directed by Ronnie Lazaro about real and imagined fears of overseas Filipino workers; “El tren de la memoria” (2005) by Marta Arribas y Ana Pérez about migrant Spaniards leaving the country to different destinations; “Extranjeras” (Foreign Women) (2003) by Helena Taberna about migrant women in Madrid; “Flores de otro mundo” (Flowers From Another World) (1999) by Iciar Bolain about a group of women in search of stability and companionship and men in search of wives in a small town in central Spain.

It was followed by the film cycle, Great Books on Screen in all Saturdays of June. It included films adapted from novels: “La Colmena” (The Beehive/1982) about stories of people in Madrid 1942, post-Spanish civil war; “La Lengua De Las Mariposas” (Butterfly Tongues/1999) about an extraordinary relationship of a shy boy to his compassionate teacher; “Obaba” (2005) about a woman and her journey to Obaba, a small town in the Basque Country; and “Soldados De Salamina” (Soldiers of Salamina/2003) about a young novelist who has lost inspiration and became a journalist to investigate a true story that took place at the end of the Civil War and involving an infamous writer and an anonymous young soldier.

To know more about Instituto Cervantes, check out their website at manila.cervantes.es, facebook.com/InstitutoCervantesManila and @ICervantesMnila.

Balik Tugtog: Infusing Contemporary with Ethnicity

I can’t call myself a big supporter of the local music or OPM as it is known by many. I wasn’t even buying albums in record bars to support artists that I like. It was only when the whole Korean Wave craziness started for me that I began buying albums, and Korean artists’ albums are way more expensive and to think that I even had to buy them online. However, for me I’m only buying albums of one artist, they’re a group who have been together for 17 years and going strong. For the rest of good Korean music, I go for downloads and the same with Taiwanese, some Chinese and Japanese music. But I have since slowed down on buying for about two years now.

But this is not to say I haven’t even listened to any OPM songs. I do have some OPM songs that I really like. The thing is though, I’m very selective when it comes to music, not just OPM but all kinds of music I listen to. For one, I consider myself a fan of the alternative rock group Hale who made a comeback this year with their amazing single “See You” and a mesmerizing new album, which is available for streaming on Spotify, and digital downloads on iTunes and Deezer.

Listen to the album here:

I still remember the first time I heard them over the radio and I actually thought they were a foreign group. It was “Broken Sonnet” and that’s how I fell in love with their music. I specifically admire their talent in writing great songs and that they have their own sound that can only be heard from them. For me, that’s original despite the influences.

Then there’s Kitchie Nadal, I like most of her songs but particularly “Wag Na Wag Mong Sasabihin.” There’s also Up Dharma Down’s “Oo,” Christian Bautista’s songs, Top Suzara’s “Sabihin Mo Na,” Janno Gibbs “Fallin,” some Moonstar 88 songs, MYMP, some songs of James Reid and Nadine Lustre and Silent Sanctuary to name a few.

And some of the songs and artists’ songs I mentioned were featured in Balik Tugtog – A Night of Indigenous & Contemporary Music, which is a program presented by the Arts Management students of College of Saint Benilde held at Black Box, School of Design and Arts last March 20.

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Spaceman (Mark Enriquez (vocals/guitar) and Alex Price) front acts for Balik Tugtog - A Night of Indigenous + Contemporary Music

Spaceman (Mark Enriquez (vocals/guitar) and Alex Price) front acts for Balik Tugtog – A Night of Indigenous + Contemporary Music

Experimenting Original: Traditional & Contemporary 

Balik Tugtog aims to promote both OPM and ethnic music. Daluyong, the main act of the event is a band composed of Grace Buenaventura (vocals) from UP Musicology, the rest are students from UP College of Music: Nikko Saliva (guitar), Carl Tolosa (bass), Nicky Juanite (Philippine instruments) and from Benilde’s Music Production Program: Stephen Arevalo (drums) and Theo Blanch (keys). The opening act is Spaceman (Mark Enriquez (vocals/guitar) and Alex Price), also from the Music Production Program.

Daluyong, the main act of the event is composed of students from UP College of Music/ UP Musicology and Music Production Program of Benilde

Daluyong, the main act of the event is composed of students from UP College of Music/ UP Musicology and Music Production Program of Benilde

I was instantly interested with the event because it’s about the combination of contemporary and indigenous music in the country. I wanted to see and listen how Daluyong, the main act will perform some of the best known songs in the country from the 90s – 2000s by infusing some of the Philippines’ ethnic instruments.

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I think this is one thing that’s lacking in the local music industry. Artists have been very busy trying to go along the trend of what’s in and what’s not in Hollywood and now even  in Korea. But I haven’t seen anyone trying to incorporate ethnic music and instruments in their genre. I’ve seen this kind of style in big artists like Taiwan’s Jay Chou and Leehom Wang. Leehom Wang in particular is very known for popularizing his genre he called “Chinked-out” – an incorporation of unheard tribal sounds of aboriginal Chinese music, Tibetan music, Mongolian music, as well as Beijing opera and Kunqu opera.

Considering the name OPM – Original Pilipino Music, the word original seems to have a broad meaning. According to Carl Tolosa (bass) of Daluyong, the idea of Pinoy music in the 90s are Siakol and Eraserheads that are inclined in the rock genre. “It’s not original anymore because there’s already the influence of The Beatles, an internationally known band.” Theo Blanch (keys) also added, “Considering the phenomenon, globalization, we are quick to copy from others.”

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The statement of course is true as everyone must know that before OPM got its start, there are already a lot of foreign artists doing the rounds. A lot of foreign music influenced OPM then and now. It’s not hard to recognize how foreign music are dominating the preference of most people nowadays, which is also why Daluyong believes it is important to remain rooted to our traditional music.

So how would artists create original music despite the influences? And that is the very essence of Balik Tugtog and Daluyong – the challenge of spicing up contemporary music with traditional.

Connecting Traditional Music to Today’s Music 

And as their name “Daluyong,” which means storm, surge or flow of stream suggests, the members aim to connect traditional music to today’s Filipino music, as well as encouraging everyone to be open minded and get to know more the history and culture of our traditional music heritage.

Ethnic instruments featured at the event were the gong ensemble, kulintang from Maguindanao, tongali – a nose flute from the Kalinga provinces, gandingan – set of hanging gongs from Bukidnon, dabakan – single headed drum, and kubing – jaw harp from Mindanao.

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According to Nicky, an Asian Music major from UP, traditional Philippine music is composed of instruments from South Philippines, Central and North Philippines. Most of the instruments from the south are gongs and from the north are bamboo instruments.

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Among the performances, I specially like the version of Up Dharma Down’s “Oo,” partly because I already like the song a lot. When I heard it live with the integration of traditional instruments, it gives off that different vibe as if it’s a new song.  The whole event was all at the same time a beautiful throwback, nostalgic and yet refreshing.

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It was so beautiful to the ears how they were able to strike a great balance in maintaining the recognizable touch of the songs but also giving it a fresh new take with incorporating ethnic flavors.

Attending Balik Tugtog with my workshop buddy and college friend Anna was a delightful experience. It was the first time I ever experienced listening to music performances with traditional instruments. It was an enjoyable jamming session with Daluyong and Spaceman as they performed hits from the 90s-2000s such as, “Awit ng Kabataan (Rivermaya),” “Akap (Imago),” “Rain Song (Imago),” “Tuloy Pa Rin (Neocolors),” “Oo (Up Dharma Down),” “Migraine (Moonstar 88),” “Ang Huling El Bimbo (Eraserheads),” “Mata (Mojofly),” “Harana (Parokya ni Edgar),” “Masaya (Bamboo),” “With A Smile (Eraserheads),” and “Jeepney (Kala).”

Quite a long walk home

Quite a long walk home today in wet, mucky, and sticky roads due to the heavy rain earlier this afternoon. At least I was listening to Angel Eyes OST to keep me from being bored as I walk one block after the other until I finally get a ride.

I specially like this part of the lyrics of Blue Bird by Jo Jung-hee.

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Kim Ji-suk and Goo Hye-sun, two of the main cast of Angel Eyes

Where do you go
when you’re lonely
Tell me
What you do
when you feel so blue like me

When I feel like that
I think your eyes
and your smile
And suddenly, the sunshine
appears close to me

Not surprisingly though, I wasn’t even sweating. Well that’s because it rained and it was already 12am. I managed to get home at 1am, as if I went to somewhere so far that it took me that long to get home.

Before I decided to go home, I had to keep myself busy with having kumquat tea while reading Invisible Woman on its chapter 15. When I finished the chapter, I started looking at the brochure I got from a tech shop as I was canvassing prices for a microSD. I couldn’t stay any longer after more than an hour at Dakasi because I really had to take a restroom break. It was still raining a bit hard when I checked outside, so I went to have ramyun as dinner. And then the mall closes.

As I got out of the mall, I heard the guard saying there’s floodwater along Espana Road and that kept me from going home. I stayed at a convenience store for an hour, I sipped coffee and continued with chapter 16. I was at the brink of deciding whether I’d go on and finish until chapter 18 or start heading home. Eventually, I decided with heading home and found lots of people waiting for a ride home. There’s no more floodwater but the next dilemma is getting a ride home when every passing jeepney or bus is full.

So I started walking and turned on my iPod to listen to the very beautiful Angel Eyes OST.

photo from Pinterest

Photo from Pinterest

If only I’m walking on a pavement as beautiful as the photo. Then walking in the rain wouldn’t be that bad.

Drama Discovery: Last Cinderella

 

Miura Haruma, Shinohara Ryoko, Fujito Naoki

My brother and I happen to see this drama a week ago on a Tuesday airing at around 9pm on Screen Red, same time slot as The Legal Wife. We were unable to start the series though as we just happen to see it.  I’ve seen some episodes but always incomplete as me and my brother are switching from this and to Legal Wife so we always miss something on each episode. In any case, from the episodes I’ve seen I’m already in love with this drama. It’s funny, it’s cute, it’s super sweet, it’s about friendship, about re-discovering love, about women – single and looking for love, married or the inexperienced like Sakura and their perspective on various things, about youngsters and becoming adults, about family, about being a good person, about dreams and more.

I’m not familiar with the female lead Shinohara Ryoko and other male lead Fujiki Naoki except for Miura Haruma, although at first when I saw him I couldn’t point his name right away but I was sure I know him.  I probably didn’t recognize him because of the hair. I came to know Miura through a friend who idolizes him a whole lot when he recommended me Koizora, I think it was 2011. I have yet to properly watch the movie though, I really should.

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I find it really amazing to see the beautiful chemistry between Haruma (Hiroto) and Ryoko (Sakura). Like totally, they really look good together, it’s just flat out amazing to see this kind of amazing chemistry, despite the age difference. Of course, the age difference is all part of the story but I’m just so giggly inside whenever these two are together onscreen. It’s like they’re sending me electric currents all through out my body from the telly to make me feel all giddy and giggly inside. I just love the feeling.

I wish it was longer though, it’s only 11 episodes. If only Japanese dramas can be as long as Korean dramas. I mean 5 more episodes is quite enough for me, just because I wanna see more Hiroto-kun and Sakura-san.

A scene from Ep. 2

I want Sakura to end up with Hiroto instead, the younger guy. She does share a chemistry as well with Rintaro, though I’m definitely all for Hiroto. I may be a little  biased because I like him and know him; but really because he’s making me giddy especially when he’s with Sakura.

And yes, I super love the soundtrack too. I totally love Rihwa’s Last Love, Kera Kera’s Star Loveration (ballad), I Can’t Rely On You, Glass Slippers, Alphabet Song, Cinderella Song, Dressless, Four Seasons, Days, Lonely; just to name a few but I just love everything in this soundtrack.

Rude by Magic!

 

My brother Jonson and I discovered this band tonight while watching MTV International Top 20. We happen to see this group during the middle of the song and holy it’s at No. 2 just next to Coldplay’s Magic. 

At first look, I knew their vocalist isn’t full Canadian. He’s actually of Palestinian Christian, that’s why his eyes look different.

Ironically, their name is Magic. Wiki says they’re a Canadian group and this song “Rude” has already reached top 10 in Australia, NZ and their native Canada, and also charted in the US.

The song is described as reggae fusion song set in common time with 72 beats per minute tempo. I only understand reggae though, I’m not sure what common time means.

This song just makes you feel good. It’s super groovy. I love the beat. It makes anyone dance. I adore the lyrics too.

Here’s a lyric video version of the song. Too cute!