Posts Tagged ‘Dennis Balan’


“Solace…by the Shore of Laguna de Bay in Los Banos”

September 6, 2012

Going to the house of Gen. Paciano Rizal where he found “solace… by the shore of Laguna de Bay in Los Baños” a day after the screening of A mi Patria [Rizal’s Poems in Filipino Sign Language] at UPLB wasn’t really planned. Nagkayayaan lang! It isn’t a usual shrine. There’s no sign announcing the visiting hours. Oh well! That’s how I remember it. [Meron ba?] We just knocked at the closed gate which bears the distinguished name of Dr. Jose Rizal’s beloved brother Paciano whom Rizal described as “The noblest Filipino of them all” [See the marker/last photo below].

From the gate, I saw the house which for me appeared like any provincial old house common in Laguna. It must have been built after the Spanish period. There’s nothing imposing in the look of the house. It reflects the simplicity and solitariness of the owner the way I know Gen. Paciano Rizal from my readings about him up close from the book of Agustin Coates which I find to be one of the best books written about Rizal. When Rizal was studying in Manila, it was Paciano who took care of his needs. When he studied abroad, again it was Paciano who provided what he needed most probably “assigned” by his parents out of obligation and being the eldest son in the family. Until now, I only remember seeing a photo of Gen. Paciano – and blurred at that. He clearly shied away from the camera which was quite in contrast with Rizal who loved to be photographed as attested by the existence of his many photos from the time he was small – and most especially, when he was abroad. Pero buti na lang din! Rizal’s fully documented life – in photos and writings – has given us concrete pictures as to how he looked like and lived.

Gen. Paciano Rizal’s Family Tree Located at the House Entrance

The caretaker allowed us in… after telling her that I did speak with Ms. Ester Azurin but that was to invite her for the A mi Patria showing. Oh by the way, Mr. Lopez [I suppose the patriarch of the clan] replied on the screening day that they couldn’t attend much as they want to. I was actually expecting the negative response because we unfortunately came to know their contact numbers a day or two before the screening. It was honestly embarrassing for me to call Ms. Azurin [her contact number was provided by Zarah Escueta, former Rizal Shrine curator] and texted Mr. Lopez at too late a time …pero nagbakasakali lang talaga. I really hoped and wanted some members of the Paciano Rizal clan to be there. We thought of it when the idea of showing it in Laguna was forming. Afterall, the film is a tribute to their great Lolo. But we didn’t know how to get the message to them. We forgot that Zarah is from Laguna and she was the Rizal Shrine Curator in Fort Santiago. Anyway, should another screening be held in Laguna, I’ll surely tell them much ahead of time.

Here’s more of our journey’s record in the house of Gen. Paciano Rizal:

[L-R]: Giselle Montero, Lynn Cappal, Myra Medrana and me. Foto by Dennis Balan

View from Inside the House of Paciano Rizal, Laguna de Bay waters still flooding the area. I’m sure Gen. Paciano would be upset to see this.

Another View of Laguna de Bay from the Back of Paciano Rizal’s House with Floodings Caused by Habagat 2012

On the way out we posed for a foto with Gen. Paciano Rizal [Precious Leaño in blue blouse and Dennis Balan


I Worked with a Deaf Person on “How to Speak Right” Project

March 23, 2012

First Day of Shoot - MM gives instruction to Dennis; Joie Revilleza assigned to Modules 1, 3, 5 and 9 observes, probably amused while watching me sign

Sounds ironic??? Impossible? Well! Indeed I worked again! – with DENNIS BALAN [Deaf] as one of the videographers [the other one is Rem Vocalan, my former student at the UP Film Center] for the UP project that we shot for three days [March 3-5] at UP CAL AVR in Diliman. I previously worked with him in the making of my previous docu films [SILENT O, ULTIMO ADIOS, A MI PATRIA [coming soon!] because I do recognize his ability – capability – professionalism as a talented person. Besides, with him around I always have the chance of practising Filipino Sign Language [FSL]. He was my “first” FSL teacher afterall.


Checking the composition of the frame

Having a Deaf person in a project on how to speak correctly should not be treated as uncommon; it should be something any one in the society should expect and must recognize – having a PWD [person with THISability or someone with a particular ability] should be seen as ordinary as working with any so-called non-PWDs. Because they can work and be at par, sometimes even better  than us. That is what we call INCLUSION! Mainstreaming and welcoming them in our own activities will make this world better for us all. Look beyond their being! Do not be disabled by wrong thinking or stigmas and myths associated with PWDs; do not magnify on what they lack or cannot do because each one of us, in one way or the other, is wanting or lacking in something — which may not necessarily be physical in nature. People without a heart – those with no feelings – no care for other people —  are probably the most “disabled” persons in the world.  That’s my opinion. I do not know your take on this.





A FILIPINAS_FSL Version in the Evolutionary Process of Being

October 3, 2011

It is 4 a.m. I am currently converting the video files of Dr. Jose Rizal’s A FILIPINAS_Filipino Sign Language version from .mov to avi. For those without a Mac that’s how we do it. It is a longer process but it can’t be helped. Yesterday, I worked on Rem Vocalan’s footage. Right now, I am working on what Dennis Balan, our Deaf videographer, shot. I am halfway through already with my rough cut and will just insert the footage of Dennis. Have some problem with his shots at the Rizal Plaza Park in Calamba. I perceived quite a lot of video noise although we used available light and it was quite strong at the time. Fortunately, that problem wasn’t there when we shot at the Rizal Shrine. We did not have a monitor — that’s one of the indie with no budget encounters. Even that is a luxury we can’t enjoy. There are other problems but I have found ways of solving the editorial problem. You just have to study and scrutinize the shots to serve one’s needs.

Aldrin Gabriel acted for us the second time. The original person Myra and Raphy wanted wasn’t available. I take that as a blessing in disguise though. Aldrin works professionally and I saw that he quite enjoyed his role as Rizal. He was more comfortable with us. Instead of working as our production assistant, he interpreted A FILIPINAS / TO THE PHILIPPINES addressed to Philippine artists. It is not as popular as the other poems but with this interpretation, I know it shall help in putting it in the reader’s or viewer’s minds.

I should be over with my assembly and first cut tonight.


Calling Filmmakers with Disabilities Interested in Docu Making

January 29, 2011

VSA* [“Very Special Arts,” the International Organization on Arts and Disability – website x6738.xml] invites emerging filmmakers with disabilities from around the world, ages 18 – 30, who are interested in expanding their knowledge of documentary filmmaking to apply to be an apprentice at the renowned AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Festival and its concurrent International Documentary Conference – June 20-26, 2011 to hone their skills, increase their knowledge base, and develop their network of professional contacts. (To read the details, click 2011 VSA Apprenticeship at the AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Festival)

(*VSA is an international nonprofit organization founded more than 35 years ago by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith to create a society where people with disabilities learn through, participate in, and enjoy the arts.)

Calling on Dennis Balan, Myra Medrana, Macky Calbay and other potential Filipino PWD filmmakers!!! Hope you all apply!!!