Archive for the ‘Notes’ Category


With the Morenos of Tondo – Happy and Sad Moments

January 29, 2018
  • Malvar1I visited Ms. Virginia R. Moreno before New Year 2018. It was on December 28 when I went to see her at the house of Pitoy, her younger brother. Though tired, “Aling Barang” was in high spirits as she recounted past events during our Film Center days. She talked about her coming projects, including the celebration of Pitoy’s birthday in February. Miss Moreno was my professor in “Philippine Cinematic Arts” under the Humanities Course. Our classroom — AS 209 eventually became UP Film Center’s office cum film venue viewing. That was where I first saw the films of Russian great filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein. When the number of cineastes grew, the screening moved to Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero Theater. A few years later, the UP Film Center was finally built beside Abelardo Theatre. I was not around when they transferred to its present location. I was by then in Pune, India.
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    Miss Moreno used to boast that all her clothes were designed not by Pitoy but by herself. She was always dressed flamboyantly whenever she came to our class. Oh! How I loved seeing her like a butterfly — so free, happy and awesome-looking. And yes! She is the one responsible for sending me to India to study film making where at the same time I learned to love wearing Indian clothes which I continued to adopt until now as shown above.

Unfortunately, two weeks after visiting VRM on January 15, I heard the news about the passing away of Aling Barang’s brother Pitoy Moreno, the Fashion Czar of Asia. He was the one who popularized the use of indigenous materials in the ternos that he then beautifully designed. During his wake at the Santuario de San Antonio in Forbes Park, many of his models and friends paid their last respect to him. A few of us from the UP Film Center were present.

[Above photo below] With former UP Film Center workshoppers at the last day of Pitoy’s wake: Clare Salaverria [extreme left] who joined UPFC at the time I was sent to India and Sheila Nicolas [extreme right]. They were batchmates.


Ang Larawan — A Must Film to Watch!

December 26, 2017

I do not usually watch Metro Manila Film Fest entries, especially when the usual, consumerist, commercial movies primarily meant to entertain and to profit comprise the list. Producers are not to blame anyway, if ROI [return of investment] becomes their priority. For them, it is business first and foremost.

And so, when the MMFF last year presented largely indie films instead of the formulaic anticipated entries, I was one of those who hailed the decision. Unfortunately, money rules, and so, now that the same stuff are back, having something different sort of compensates, or should I say, serves as a compromise despite the setting aside of quality indie films.

Yesterday, I watched “Ang Larawan”, a depiction in film of National Artist in Literature’s Nick Joaquin’s three-act play, “A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino.” It was for me quite refreshing to watch having been presented not in the usual narrative and dramatic form but as a musical film adaptation. I enjoyed wholly the experience having appreciated the integration of theater and cinema; of literature made into films. With superb performances of all the cast members, especially the engaging roles of Paula and Candida played by Rachel Alejandro and Joanna Ampil; the moving music of Ryan Cayabyab, the film’s meticulous production design, the cinematography of Boy Yniguez, a colleague at the UP Film Center, and the able direction of Loy Arcenas, the work of Mang Nick becomes all the more unforgettable. He would have enjoyed its preview with beer in hand… the way he did when Tatarin was previewed for him.

Ang Larawan form somehow reminded me of the multi-awarded film “La-La Land” by Damien Chazelle; also, Paolo’s personality as Tony Javier, the piano player is also reminiscent of Ryan Gosling in the same film.

I also love the use of documentary footage of Nick Joaquin’s beloved Old Manila, and the War footage during World War II giving more texture, and ambience of the times as the setting required of the film.

It is a must-see film if only to appreciate Nick Joaquin’s literature better, and the wonderful performances of our artists.

Below is a home video recording when Nick Joaquin joined several other literary writers in the house of Ms. Virginia Moreno, poet and playwright. The documentation must be one of the last footage showing Mang Nick with his friends. He died four months later after the event. I happened to be there with a mini-dv cam, and though lights were low, I just shot their activity notwithstanding the video noise. I knew that whatever my cam caught would be rare… isang kabanata na hindi na mauulit.


The Unveiling of Mother Delight Rice Memorial Statue

December 22, 2017

Last December 11, the statue of the Philippine School for the Deaf Founder, Mother Delight Rice, a Thomasite, was unveiled in the compound of PSD. The school was founded in 1907. The making of the sculpture was initiated by Mr. Ronald Hirano, her foster son. Led by the O.I.C. Principal of PSD, Dr. Rosalie Condes, she welcomed Mr. Hirano who is based in the U.S., Pasay City Mayor Antonino Calixto, the alumni of PSD and other guests.

Below is the copy of Mr. Hirano’s prepared speech.



Christmas Decor Decked LRT Cabin

December 16, 2017

LRT Baclaran Station. The train approached and stopped. As I entered the cabin, I was surprised. I couldn’t help but smile when I saw the Light Rail Transit’s cabin decorated with Christmas trees, toys, balls, etc. It was my first time to see one; never saw the “freak” cabin again thereafter. Anyway, it was delightful to see some people who entered the cabin while shouting “Merry Christmas!”

A child marveled at the colorful Christmas decors as the train moves. Happy mood were reflected on the passenger’s expressions though some didn’t seem to care. But I enjoyed the rare mood of seemingly feeling getting lost in a place so unlikely to have hanging Christmas decors. I tried to imagine the joy of the people who decorated the train. I could feel the fun that they had while decorating the place. Kudos to them! And Merry Christmas to you all!



Mother Delight Rice and Davina Bennett, Miss Universe Jamaica

November 29, 2017

The day I got hold of a book on Delight Rice written by her foster child Ronald Hirano was my first time to read about Ms. Universe-Jamaica Davina Bennett. That was Delight Riceyesterday November 28, a day [GMT] after Ms. Jamaica was proclaimed second runnerup in the 2017 Ms. Universe pageant held in the U.S.A. It was also yesterday, that I went to Rizal Shrine in Fort Santiago with my film made with, and for Deaf people. Entitled ULTIMO ADIOS, it is based on a poem written by our greatest hero Jose Rizal before his execution in 1896. Shot largely in the area six years ago, it is the first-ever interpretation of the poem in sign language.

Ms. Rice was an American with Deaf parents who founded the Philippine School for the Deaf in 1907. Ms. Bennett is a Jamaican who founded the Davina Bennett Foundation for the  Deaf in Jamaica. They both care for Deaf people to give them equal opportunities in the society. Ms. Rice stayed in the Philippines for many years to educate our Deaf youth, and even brought some to the United States to continue their studies in California.

Ms Jamaica

Having learned that Ms. Jamaica wanted the Miss Universe competition as a platform to spread awareness for all deaf people made me appreciate her beauty even more. On an earlier interview when she won the Miss Universe Jamaica competition, she said: “I started the foundation before Miss Universe. I needed a platform to have a voice for these persons who need my support.” With that said, I find in her a noble heart, beautiful inside out. How I wish she won the pageant!

Working and advocating for Deaf people myself, I feel more inspired to know that a lot more people come to recognize that Deaf people need equal recognition, and support.

Ms Jamaica with Deaf model Britney Barnes

Ms. Universe Jamaica Davina Bennett with Britney Barnes, Deaf model

Come December, I heard a monument of Delight Rice shall be erected in the compound of the Philippine School for the Deaf. It is going to be led by Mr. Ronald Hirano himself. Incidentally, the Foundation I am connected with, Gawad Metronian Educational Foundation, Inc. supports a Deaf scholar.


Kambal na Dalandan – Weird!

November 20, 2017

“Dalandan” [Orange]

Before I peeled what appeared to me as a strange-shaped “dalandan” [Philippine orange], I tried to imagine how it would be like. What I saw made me excited because it was my first time to come across a twin-orange, “kambal” in Filipino language. The amusement in seeing these photos many months after I took the shots elicited the same feeling of excitement and fun. Dalandan is one of our local fruits. It is now in season but I haven’t seen anything like the one shown on the photos here. Indeed, it was a rare find.


Ferry Boat Ride in Historic Pasig River

November 4, 2017

I accidentally found the photo files of my very first  boat ride in Pasig River via the ferry boat then newly introduced to the people due to mass transit and traffic problems in Metro-Manila. The photos were taken after my research on Apolinario Mabini at the Mabini Shrine in PUP Sta. Mesa in 2014. I didn’t know that the terminal was right inside the campus of the university. I felt both lucky and excited to try it. I am used to plying from Manila to Corregidor Island via a ferry boat. I then wanted to know the difference.

And what a difference! Just a handful — not more than four people including me who was the first to arrive at the station — took the ride. We joined some few others who were fetched from the previous terminal. I bought a ticket from Sta. Mesa to Guadalupe in Makati. We were to pass through the Pasig River alongside which industrial buildings and residential houses are built. Pasig River used to be very popular in the past when industrialization has not yet polluted the place and fishes were said to be abundant in the place. It was immortalized in songs, even in novels. It used to be a center of economic activity during the Spanish period, and an important transport route.

Then and now, the change is undoubtedly quite great. Industrialization has changed its face altogether. The price of industrial development and population explosion???

Anyway, it was for me an experience to have seen and watched the way of life of people living near the river. I saw ordinary boats loading and unloading people, especially students to take them to destinations or points not under the watch of the Metro-Manila Development Authority [MMDA], the government agency handling the ferry transport. They must have been the inspiration of MMDA. People surely would reach their destination faster than if they take ordinary buses or jeepneys — the most popular mass transport modes.

FerryBoat Ride to Guada7

FerryBoat Ride to Guada5

And despite murky waters, and water lilies floating on the river, children enjoyed swimming by the riverside. FerryBoat Ride to Guada3

Approaching Guadalupe Bridge

FerryBoat Ride to Guada12IMG_6953FerryBoat Ride to Guada11

I would have wanted to go up to Escolta in Manila but I was in a hurry to get back home. Indeed, it did not take me long to reach my destination – Guadalupe Station in Makati City. It was a good ride but for people who need to take another ride or transfer in EDSA, a boat station near the main road or closer to the station would be great. As per my experience, it was walking to MRT station that took me more time. Nevertheless, I just enjoyed walking around, learning the curves of Guadalupe area after taking a short ride to get near the train station.