Dried Cocos, Grasses, Husks, Shells as Christmas Decors

December 18, 2019

In front of the Municipality of Castillejos, Zambales is a public park where creatively and meticolously designed Christmas tree decors and Belen (Holy Family) are displayed. Fourteen villages or barangays are in competition and vying to win the best-designed  decor as part of the town’s Christmas celebrations. They were required to use nothing but dried coconut shells, grasses, coco husks, dried leaves, and other recycled materials. Here are some of them:

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1st PASIG International Film Festival 2019

November 24, 2019

For the benefit of the Scholarship Program of 47 seminarians of the Diocese of Pasig, the 1st Pasig International Film Festival will be held on December 6, 2019, Friday, from 10am – 5pm at Pasig City Museum, Plaza Rizal, Bgy. San Jose, Pasig City.

PASIG FIlm Fest 2019

Below is the tentative Program Outline:
10:00am – 12:00nn – Opening Prayer
Pasig City College Student Film Screenings of Meridian International College (MINT) East Ortigas Pasig Catholic College (PCC); UP Film Center films

12:00nn – 1:00 pm – Angelus Prayer
Lunch break – Heritage walk Plaza Rizal and PCM / Pasig City Hall / Pasig Cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception / Museo de Diocesano de Pasig / Pasig Catholic Cemetery / Bonifacio Plaza

1:00 pm -2:00 pm – Film Talk: The Art of Filmmaking

3:00 pm – 5:00 pm – A PORTRAIT OF AN ARTIST AS FILIPINO video screening of c1965 film by Lamberto Avellana, PH National Artist for Film and Theater, courtesy of LVN Studios’ Mike de Leon

Presentation of Certificates of Recognition & Appreciation
Live performance of Filipino movie theme songs
Closing Prayer

Fee: Php200- regular admission / Php100- Student/Senior/PWD


Oye, the Mountaineer Strikes Again!

November 20, 2019

After posting Eirene “Oye” Bautista’s mountaineering adventures at Mt. Everest in Nepal, Mt. Fuji in Japan, Mt. Apo, Pulag, Kabunian and Mt. Buntis here in the Philippines, she sent me photos this time shot at the second highest mountain peak in Taiwan (3886m above sea level) called Snow Mountain (Xueshan)! You’ll never ever know where Oye shall land next time!! What an awesome life!


“…Sa dagat at bundok sa simoy at sa langit mong bughaw
may dilag ang tula at awit sa paglayang minamahal
ang kislap ng watawat mo’y tagumpay na nagniningning
ang bituin at araw na kailan pa may di mag didilim…”

The Snow Mountain had no snow as you might have noticed on the photos, because the snow season is supposed to be from December to March.

Ay naku! I can only but forever  dream and imagine being atop mountains!!!


What Joy!!! (Look at her expression!)



On Lonely Death or “Kodukushi” — in “Encounters with Silence,” a Documentary by Janus Victoria

November 9, 2019

The UP Asian Center will hold a free screening of the documentary, “Encounters with Silence,” on 13 November 2019, 2:30–4 pm, at the ASEAN Hall, UP Asian Center, QC. A discussion on the film’s topic, the “lonely death” in Japan, will follow the screening. The event is free and open to the public. Seating is first come, first served. Walk-ins are welcome, but participants are encouraged to sign up.

Encounters with Silence2


In a country with a large population of elderly and middle-aged people living in isolation in small apartments without friends or family to rely on, many die alone and unnoticed. Their bodies are discovered by neighbors several weeks, or even months, after. The lonely death, or kodokushi, has become hauntingly common in Japan. Still it remains a sensitive subject and is rarely discussed. Filmmaker Janus Victoria confronts the silence on the subject through encounters with a man who cleans the apartments of those who die alone, a photographer who documents the aftermath of kodokushi, an elderly woman fiercely protective of her independence even in old age, and an artist who sings to pierce the stillness around her. By examining the quiet and lonely death, Encounters with Silence becomes a meditation on life itself. Encounters with Silence premiered in competition under the Asian Perspective category of the 2017 DMZ International Documentary Film Festival in South Korea.


The context of film topic and the production process of the documentary will be discussed by the filmmaker after the screening. Q&A will follow afterwards.


Janus Victoria is a filmmaker of narrative features and documentaries. She produced Encounters with Silence during her fellowship at the Asia Center of The Japan Foundation. She is currently taking MA Asian Studies, major in Japan Studies at the UP Asian Center.



Mountaineer OYE and Volunteerism with the Library Hub Philippines

October 14, 2019

I have a mountaineer niece who loves the arts, pomeranians, nature untouched, baking, music, theater, volunteerism, and numerous others I know not what. We fondly call her OYE. God-fearing and positive in outlook, she is always fun and joy to be with. You wouldn’t perceive that behind the happiness she exudes when with you, there are health and physical challenges she is facing / had in fact already faced — and mind you, head-on! A brave soul indeed!!

I feel proud and always so happy for her whenever I hear that she would be climbing mountains either with her family or pal hikers for that’s something I can only dream of. Actually, when I see photos of mountaineers in general, I can’t help but imagine the adventure of trekking towards the unknown and having to face the elements of nature — sometimes great, sometimes harsh. Timing must be a great consideration. For them, endurance, determination and the will to triumph in order to reach the target goal are musts. I quietly rejoice whenever she successfully does that as that would mean, for sure, an invisible trophy of personal triumph.

I have asked for her favorite photos taken in some of the many mountains she had hiked. And I just love those that give surreal feeling and shots that wowed me, like the photo taken at Mt. Pulag in Benguet, Luzon’s highest peak at 2,926 metres (9,600 ft) above sea level, but the third highest in the Philippines; and the amazing shot of her sitting — Grabe!!! kakalula!! How did you do that? — on the edge of Mt. Apo, the highest mountain in the Philippines.


With the clouds seemingly within an arm’s reach at Mt. Pulag, Philippines

Mt. Apo2

At Mt. Apo, the highest mountain in the Philippines. Why did you have to sit on the mountain edge? Kakatakot!!!

OYE_Mt Fuji2

The triumphant look, no less!!! And for me? the triumphant feeling of conquering fear, if I were the one who was standing there. Haha! Wish ko lang!

OYE_I Luv U Lord

In Nepal at Mt. Everest Base Camp upon reaching the altitude of 17,600 ft. praising the Lord!

The ascent via the southeast ridge begins with a trek to Base Camp at 5,380 m (17,600 ft) on the south side of Everest in Nepal. Expedition members usually fly into Lukla (2,860 m) from Kathmandu and pass through Namche Bazaar. (Source: Wikipedia) Who would have thought that someone in the family would one day be able to go up the mountain we only used to read about as the highest on earth? Nadie!

Though I am someone who fears sliding down hillsides, it excites and thrills me no end to think that if I were to escape the city jungle like those mountaineers, I would be able to wallow in the beauty of natural landscapes, be awed by different mountain forms, shapes and colors, perhaps even perceive beyond what they actually are; trek and walk past river streams, breathlessly gasps in seeing the variety of floras, anxious in encountering not-so-familiar faunas perhaps while passing through forest trees, seeing beauty even in treeless mountain parts, and in wondering at mounds of all sorts, etc. New sights and experiences in every trip!!! OYes!! Photos of Oye’s adventures that she shares are for me enough to enjoy as much in being with Mother Nature…

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Up the mountain summit, I imagine the touch of the gentle breeze; hear the whistling winds; wonder at the vastness and beauty of Nature; feeling God and glorifying His greatness. For feeling tiny against the greatness of His creations makes God’s presence even more real just as when I was once traveling by sea at the midst of which I could see no horizon line that divides the land and the sea. During those moments, I drowned in feeling like a speck of sand and at one’s nothingness; at the same time, how great God is.


Oye rests awhile at Mt. Buntis in Maragondon, Cavite

Anyway, in between mountain climbing, Oye finds time on the ground to do volunteer work with the Library Hub Philippines, whose advocacy is to introduce interest in reading, update educational resources of children, and build libraries for members of the marginalized communities. To reach a Dumagat community in Tanay, Rizal, which is not that remote from Manila but not easily accessible, the group consisting of nine members including Oye went to Nayon Sta. Ines armed with books to read for the Dumagat children. As there were no straight paths leading to the place, they had to cross 12 rivers.

!Pure JOY with Dumagats of_2

As Library Hub Philippines’ volunteer, animated Oye interacts with the Dumagat children as she reads stories for them.

!Pure JOY with Dumagats of

Look at the attentiveness of the children, and the joy of innocence on the boy’s face!

OYE_dumgat community

Eirene “OYE” Bautista (3rd from right, front row) and the other volunteers of the Library Hub Philippines with members of the Dumagat tribe residing in Nayon Sta. Ines, Tanay, Rizal led by its Chieftain Tatang Amang Lope

Only last year in 2018 that two individuals formed a volunteer organization called the Library Hub* Philippines “to help, serve, and make a difference.” One of the founders is Oliver Pe, a mountain hiker like Oye. Believing in their advocacy, Oye joined their initiative and volunteered to share her time to help in advancing their mission that will benefit children from the marginalized sectors. It was getting exposed to the needs of communities inaccessible to services that they should be receiving from the government, that the library hub was formed.

According to the Library Hub Philippines: “Our cause aims to tackle the inequalities borne out of conflict, misrepresentation, discrimination, calamities, and the disparity of the social conditions in the nation. By engaging and building relationships with these communities, in a deliberate manner, we try to address their specific needs and dreams by giving the youth access to equalizing and updated educational resources. By re-/constructing these Library Hubs we are creating safe spaces and incubating environments that fosters the spirit of community.

LIB HUB movers

Library Hub Movers

Our advocacy also deals with human capital. We have realized the power of the individual to make a difference. Every peso, every book, every second of service through volunteering, and every talent offered can be made to a good use. Our advocacy has led us to connect with a diverse representation of society all sharing the commonality of wishing to help, serve, and make a difference.”

*Due to lack of libraries, the “Library Hub Project” was first initiated in 2006 by the Department of Education. It aims to establish a library hub in every public school division across the country. Its target is to set up at least 300 hubs in 184 school divisions in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao by the year 2010. (Read more at https://www.philstar.com/cebu-news/2006/10/30/366212/lack-libraries-deped-pushes-library-hubs#AfYtT2oPG8oEUO0f.99)
The Institutionalization of DepEd Library Hub Project in All Regions and Schools Divisions Nationwide was finally formalized on June 15, 2009 under DO 64, s. 2009 (https://www.deped.gov.ph/2009/06/15/do-64-s-2009)

Behind the Camera: George Musser and Vicente Bonus

October 4, 2019

Late afternoon yesterday, before going to the opening of the 2019 Spanish Film Festival at Greenbelt 3 to watch the animation film on surrealist filmmaker Luis Bunuel, I dropped by Archivo1984 at Chino Roces St., with the intention of seeing the exhibit featuring George Musser and set designer Vicente Bonus. The gallery was unfortunately closed. Interestingly, a big framed blown-up photo of Manila Talkatone’s filming of a George Musser film (Size: 79.3″ x 56.7″ on archival photo paper) is displayed opposite the gallery room.

George Musser

Behind the Camera. George Musser and Vicente Bonus. George Musser Productions using Manila Talkatones for Sound Equipment. (Setting: Musser House).

I sat down for a while to look at the old and awesome picture. Just look at the big slate they used at the time!!! At least they were not using Mitchell camera by then which I recall to be very, very bulky. I have experience of using it at the Film and Television Institute of India, aside from 35mm Arriflex cameras.

George Musser_P18

Pasilio 18. The way to Archivo located at the end portion of the pasilio.

The exhibit is part of the Centennial Celebrations of Philippine Cinema.


Raising Goats Without a Farm?

October 2, 2019

One of “my” goats under Rula Boer Farm’s Paiwi program

The idea of goat raising seemed impossible!! I live in the heart of the city where any type of animal raising activity is not viable. But that’s what I got myself into after all! Imagine currently having some 31 goats without owning any farmland? I was born in the city and live all my life here. Rural life is something I have always dreamed of. When I was small I used to love singing the children song “Bahay-Kubo”; living by imagining everything that are in it: the nipa hut, the vegetable garden…I used to draw mountains and trees, carabaos, dogs and cats, goats, rice planting and the like. Yes! I loved everything rural!!

Fast forward!! One early morning, I heard Mr. Dexter Villamin over the radio. He was talking about the “paiwi” program of DV Boer Farm International in a radio program that centers on agriculture. It is called Magsasaka TV. I got interested to know more about it, especially when it was stressed that it would help farmers. Paiwi is a Tagalog word which means “paalaga.” It literally and generally means looking after, or taking care of someone or something living, i.e. a people,  pets, animals, plants, etc.

Reading online and inquiring personally to know more about the paiwi program finally led me to Rula Boer Farm. I finally decided to invest and entrust my savings by partnering with them. I just needed to buy goats which they would have to look after for three years at the end of which, they would buy all 31 of them when the contract ceases. Before that however, RBF shall make four payouts. On April 1 of this year, I signed a partnership contract with Rula Boer Farm (RBF), founded, run and managed by Mr. Rupert Salas. Located in Baras, Rizal, it is an accredited subfarm of DV Boer International. The transaction were all done online and by phone. Until now, I haven’t seen in person any of those I transacted business with.

Anyway, below are some photos of goats that are under their care. Well, I would like to think that my paalaga goats are among them…

Rula2Rula1When sunny, goats are placed in an area where they can play, roam, eat and run around. This is their playground.

Rula4-Taking photo

A worker takes photo of the goat ear tag while a co-worker holds its head.

I wonder if that doe above is mine as I have asked RBF to send me close shots of my goat’s ear tags to know how they look like. Below are some of the goats that were assigned to me showing their respective ear tags and numbers (RBF-0934-65) to easily distinguish one from the other. Ear tagging takes only a few seconds. It is akin and as fast as stapling action.

RulaEar tag2Goat tending undergoes the following major phases: 1) Within three months after signing of the contract, acquisition of does or female goats aged 8 months and above shall be done. 2) They will then be sent to a quarantine area where they shall be ear tagged, medically observed to see if they are free from colds, coughs, with pink eyes, or if they are free from any infectious diseases. The length of their stay shall depend on their condition.

Rula4-Farm workers

The Quarantine Area. This is where the goat’s health will be observed, checked, and proper condition maintained before sending them to the goat house after a month or two.

Rula33) Breeding then follows from 11th month onwards. If healthy, they are expected to breed and multiply. The time from mating to kidding is called the goat’s gestation period. This usually lasts for five months.

RBF is one of the nearly 100 DV Boer farm International sub farms that are found in almost all regions in the Philippines. I chose Rizal because it is closest to Manila. Below is the picture of the people that help make things happen for us paiwi partners.

RBF Slideshow8

Seated at the center is RBF founder Rupert Salas [7th from the left] and his wife [woman with a hat on her lap]. The lady in red boots is Ms. Arlene Dela Cruz who untiringly sent me photos and information about RBF.

Take a few seconds’ trip to Rula Boer Farm in Baras further by looking at the photo slideshow below:

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Magsasaka TV featured RBF in their 2nd Video Episode found in You tube video. The segment starts at 00:30 seconds.

I would like to thank Arlene Dela Cruz of RBF for sending me all the photos that I used in this post, especially the individual pictures of all my ear tagged goats. You may contact her for inquiries and details at Tel. #(02)3301539. After October 6 though, an additional digit #8 shall be added to 7-digit PLDT lines. To read more about RBF, here is the link to their website: https://www.rulaboerfarm.com/.