Monday, August 11
Thursday, July 24
|Nagtahan when it was just a pile of wood across the Pasig River.|
It's not so much as a renaming but going back to what it's been officially called decades ago. Apparently, Nagtahan's official name really was "Mabini Bridge," after Marcos's Proclamation of 1967. But we know what happened with that effort. Since it was built in 1945, and rebuilt in the 1960s after a barge rammed into the wooden piles, the bridge on Nagtahan Street has always been called Nagtahan and nothing else.* Presidential proclamations notwithstanding. The Malacanan briefer has this to say: "However, little notice was made of this, and in time the name was forgotten."
And so they try one more time. They even had the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) change all pertinent road signs to read as such.
|This bridge shall now be called Mabini, okay?|
Even in Ingress, the portal that exists is not the bridge per se, but the image of Apolinario Mabini near the top of the bridge's crest, in the general area of where the Mabini Shrine used to be.
|Ohai, Apolinario Mabini!|
*It's the same way with Otis, now known as Paz Guanzon. All the bus signs still say Otis. Even all the establishments along that road refer to it as Otis. Some names have a way of staying "sticky" that even several generations and name changes later, people still know it by the name they have always known.
Thursday, July 17
Video games are a spatial medium, filled with words like “map” and “world” and “travel,” but in the physical realm, most games are played indoors by stationary players who sit in basements and living rooms in front of TV screens and computer monitors.
Instead, my favorite way to use Ingress is as tourist guidebook. Beyond that vampire grave in Rhode Island, Ingress also led me to a home on the Upper West Side where Babe Ruth once lived and to the site of Thomas Paine’s death in Greenwich Village...Even so, I discovered plenty of plaques and markers that I didn’t know existed.Because this is also my favorite way of using Ingress. Yes, part of the motivation of visiting as many portals as possible to score the Explorer badges. But I take the exploring seriously (but in a fun, geeky way).
My favorite, mostly accidental finds include the house where the body of Jose Rizal was hidden after his execution, the birthplace marker for a top Filipino poet I stumbled upon as I shuffled from one campus to another, and this fantastic graffiti in a parking lot.
I'm sure there will be more to discover. As soon as I get off my lazy ass and start walking around again.
Sunday, July 13
Sunday, June 22
What does the city sound like?*
When one thinks of the city, our first thoughts are visual: the skyline of tall buildings, streets and avenues all lit up with neon. There are more elements which make up the urban landscape other than the visual. The sound of traffic, vendors plying their wares, pedestrians hurrying down sidewalks.
Even more curiously, do all cities and urban areas sound the same? How is downtown Manila different from Las Pinas or the fringes of Rizal beyond Ortigas?
Project Bakawan, through its Sound+Movement component, aims to explore this facet of urban life. Project Bakawan is a collaborative art event seeking to increase awareness of current environmental issues. Set on February 2015 in celebration of the National Art's month, it will engage artists in collaboration with the academic community to formulate an acute analysis of our environmental situation and come up with creative responses that will interact with the UP Diliman community.
Curator Dayang Yraola invites Metro Manila's inhabitants (or passers-by--or anyone, really) to contribute an audio recording of people, events or activity, places recorded from anywhere in Metro Manila.
It could be a recording made using professional machines, mobile gadgets (mobile phone, tablet, etc) or any portable recorders; minimum of 30 sec, maximum of 3 minutes; on AMR, MP3 or WAV format; and not more than 2.5MB.
Please follow this format for your contribution:
Filename: Contributor’s name_Content_Date
Contributor’s name can be a pseudonym
Identify content as: Nature, People, Machines, Structures, Event, Traffic, Others
Composers and sound artists will use the collected sound files for their individual compositions, which is part of a sound installation in U.P. Diliman for Project Bakawan in 2015. Project Contributors will be duly acknowledged.
Please submit audio files to firstname.lastname@example.org with subject heading [Bakawan Audio].
*This reminded me of Jodie Foster's character in The Brave One, where she hosts a radio show about the city life. Alas, i never got around to blogging about it.
Sunday, June 8
This morning, when I checked out information about the murals online, I found out that only 4 of those 5 murals belonged to the original series by Botong Francisco called “The Progress of Medicine in the Philippines." The oil on canvas measured 2.92 meters by 2.76 and
|Photo from Dr. Rico Quimbo's Flickr.|
But all the years of humidity and thick crowds have lead to the paintings being as distressed as the patients there. So in 2007, the National Museum stepped in and took down the panels for restoration, which was funded through a cultural preservation grant from US Ambassador Kristie Kenney. They had a photographer make reproductions and that's what we now see in the PGH lobby. Meanwhile, the original panels are now in the National Museum.
|The restored paintings at the National Museum.|
Photo by Buen Calubayan from the GMA online article.
If only four of the panels are by Botong, that means that the fifth panel, the green one, has been added much later. I'm no art expert and couldn't identify paintings by artist on sight, but somehow that last painting was different from the others. It was probably added to "continue" the story of medicine in the Philippines since Botong's ended in the 1950s. The question now is: Who made that last panel?
|Not by Botong: The mysterious fifth panel.|
Of course, if it's only for Ingress portal submission purposes, I doubt that the casual player or NIA Ops would ask for the painter or a portal would be more valuable because it was by a National Artist. But if you're a geek like me, one of the joys of playing Ingress has to do with "accidental" learning about things like history and public art. The itch of not knowing would be there to scratch until you learn for sure who made the darn thing.
Thursday, March 21
"I want to make movies. I have to make movies. The reason I don't make more movies is that I want to live life in between. I give it all to the movies, and it's like I'm climbing Mount Everest every time. When I get off the mountain then I want to be able to enjoy some time in the chalet at the bottom.
When I make a movie it's an adventure, but when I get through with it then I get back to my friends I've put on hold for a year. The opposite sex, adventurous travel, sleeping late, watching mindless television, reading a novel, trying to go to sleep at night - they all become very appealing again.
But the real, real reason I don't make more movies is that I'm a writer, and I always have to start with the blank page and that's hard. You are starting from scratch every single time. Nothing you've done before means a damn when you've got to start all over again."
Tuesday, March 19
|Poster by Federico Mancosu.|
I want to explore something that really hasn't been done. I want to do movies that deal with America's horrible past with slavery and stuff but do them like spaghetti westerns, not like big issue movies. I want to do them like they're genre films, but they deal with everything that America has never dealt with because it's ashamed of it, and other countries don't really deal with because they don't feel they have the right to. But I can deal with it all right, and I'm the guy to do it. So maybe that's the next mountain waiting for me.
Wednesday, March 13
We know that figure well: The One Who Keeps to Herself, The Ice Queen, aloof and mysterious, doesn't say too many words, and when she does talk it's in a voice that's usually small, and then commences an even more more awkward silence.
In theory and in story, it's the distance and silence that makes her alluring. This is why she is pursued, and for every step forward that allows a glimpse of What Goes On Inside That Head, where we see the slight shadow of a past hurt, we are forced to take two steps back. There might be whispers of What Went Down: a spectacular breakdown uploaded on YouTube, the beloved who met an untimely end, a heartbreak so devastating that the only response is to build a fortress and not let anyone in.
The only way to get through The Armor of False Strength is by wearing her down with your Constant Badgering Presence. If meanness is shown, accept it. Endure it all the cruelties. If she asks you to go away and leave her the fuck alone, do it. But keep her in your mind. Learn new skills that will impress her later on. Or you can annoy her with your own quirk: a passionate assertion that music will heal the soul, or that John Hughes' entire ouvre can be summed in that last scene where Judd Nelson raises his fist at the end of The Breakfast Club.
It is never easy to open up to anyone, ever. It doesn't matter if Madonna offers to "give you love if you turn the key." Nobody wants to display their vulnerability out in the front lawn. Badgering can only make things worse. But at the same time, it is only by persistence that one can get used to someone else's presence.
Someday, after she has succeeded in shoving out everyone who ever cared for her, she will remember that annoying assertion and watch all the movies and listen to all the songs. Only then, when she has processed it all by herself will she be convinced that somehow, you were right. This is the start of The Conversion.
She will begin to reach out and open a shutter to her locked out heart. A sliver of light will creep in and the thawing of her cold, cold heart will begin. The cause of the hurt that drove her to be mean will be revealed, and suddenly, it all makes sense.
She will reciprocate your feelings by echoing your formerly annoying assertion in song, by mashing up that song in the end credits in the middle of a playlist made for public singing. Or the crowd will part in a crowded train station and the two of you will be reunited. And it will be revealed that you were meant to be together all along.
You can never force open a broken heart that's been sewn shut. The sutures will bleed if it has not healed yet. The ice will be smashed to pieces with the use of force. One can only wait. And thus, if one wants to pursue The One With the Stone Cold Heart, the One Who Keeps to Herself, the one requires extreme amounts of patience. It will be difficult and frustrating to keep up with this one step forward, two steps back. But if one endures, when trust is earned, it is only a matter of time before the ice begins to thaw, before a word is said and war wounds would have healed. Then all that's left is the scar and the story behind it that begs to be told. And so we hope that this will be proven to be true in real life as in story.
Tuesday, February 19
So I was quietly doing my business in the mall bathroom after a last full show when I suddenly heard a girl's voice singing, "I'm bulletproof, nothing to lose, fire away, fire away."
That other girl probably thought she was alone.
It's not the first time that I've heard that song sung whether consciously or not in public. It's part of the Pitch Perfect fever all over town. In jeepneys, that girl with a backpack and bright pink earphones. On the train, this young woman with the messy bun. I have yet to hear guys hum "Right Round" in public, and it's always "Titanium," so maybe this is a girl thing. I mean, even my fourteen year old cousin sings it inside their shower, and I seriously doubt she even knows what "lady jam"meant.
But that girl in the mall is a different matter.
I choked back the giggle, and I channeled all my energy into composing myself. I was trying to be proper. It was a very thin line between fangirling with a complete stranger and then being a creeper in a public bathroom. On one hand, acting out Beca and Chloe's shower scene could end in a meet cute with another fangirl. Or I could suffer getting arrested or extreme humiliation in the very least. So I hightailed it out of there.
Now I kind of regret not giving in to the moment. When obviously the appropriate response should have been to answer the call and sing back to her and harmonize: "Ricochet, you take your aim. Fire away, fire away. Shoot me down, but I won't fall. I am titanium."