Emily Abrera

emily abrera(Originally posted in my Facebook Profile on 21 November 2018. Sharing it here in WordPress.)

“You’re so impassioned! I like that!” says Ms. Emily Abrera when I approached her after the day one of Communications Strategy and Skills Workshop, 21 November 2018.

When I did my reporting as spokesperson of our group (I was volunteered by ms. Reinna), I was wondering if I delivered my message well. Later, Ms. Abrera praised me for my brand of reporting. Because it was based on experience, after an immersion I had with a target audience. When you’re going through some sort of inspiration starvation, kind words from Ms. Abrera meant a lot to me.

Ms. Abrera is the former chair of the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the chairman emeritus of McCann-Erickson Philippines. She’s currently the president of the Foundation of Communication Initiatives. She’s also a genuinely nice person!

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Ella Arcangel, Ito ay Panganib (Tomo Una) ni Julius Villanueva at Mervin Malonzo

(Originally posted in my Facebook Profile on 25 November 2018. Sharing it here in WordPress.)

I like Julius Villanueva’s “Ella Arcangel, Ito ay Panganib (Tomo Una).”tomo

When I bought this, I actually had no idea what it’s about. Well, only a little, if I’m going to base it on the book cover where I was made aware already that it’s about the paranormal and the leading protagonist is a poor but brave young girl named Ella Arcangel. The comic book, by the way, was among those displayed for sale during Samahang Kartunista ng Pilipinas exhibit last September where they paid tribute to the great Larry Alcala and they breathe new life to his iconic works. Julius Villanueva is a member of SKP and I had the chance to have him sign my copy of his comic book that day. I like literature, kahit comic book pa iyan, and I’m always interested to meet and greet the creator behind it.

“Don’t judge the book by its cover” is what’s in my head right now after reading it. Malalim ang hugot ni Julius Villanueva. Obviously, he’s so affected by the war on drugs targetting the poor communities. He’s very aware about the economic rights and land rights that the marginalized have been fighting for since time immemorial. It resonates in his work, “Ella Arcangel, Ito ang Panganib (Unang Tomo).”

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A Private War

a private war(Originally posted in my Facebook Profile on 27 November 2018. Sharing it here in WordPress.)

A PRIVATE WAR starring Rosamund Pike (of the Bennet sisters from Pride and Prejudice ) is based on the true-to-life story of Marie Colvin, a celebrated war correspondent. I was gonna walk out in the middle of the film because Marie Colvin is depicted as chainsmoker, because almost in every scene, she smokes! When she’s writing, talking with someone, when she’s eating, drinking, when there are bombings, she smokes! Except when she’s in the bathroom. Is this real?! She smokes and she drinks a lot. Are alcoholism and cigarette-smoking the private war this film is talking about? So if you will ask me who Marie Colvin is, based on the film, she’s brave and she’s a smoker and an alcoholic. But, I don’t really walkout in the middle of a film. I stay. I stayed glued to my seat as the others were leaving (curfew? didn’t like it? I don’t know). If I could say two good things about A Private War, it made me focus my attention to war correspondents and photographers, risking their lives to deliver us the news from the most dangerous places in the world. I never did, until I saw this film. Because I only cared about their stories they brought to us. The film also reminded us to care. Since Marie Colvin’s death in 2012, there are around 500,000 Syrians killed because of the war.

 

12 (Silent Comics by Manix Abrera)

One word. Poignant.12

If you’re in a bad mood, or happy, or what, buy “12” (Silent Comics) by Manix Abrera.

12 stories in wordless comics that will leave you reflecting or laughing out loud. No language barrier. Warning: this is not an inspirational comic book. It’s gross, out of this world, and at times tragic. 12 changed my view about cockroaches. Nakakatuwa. This is one of the two silents comics that Manix Abrera produced. The other one, “14,” won the National Book Award. I do not have a copy of 14, I will have it, soon.

Giving you a peek. From story no. 4 of “12” by Manix Abrera.

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The Dead Heart July 16 (Gerry Alanguilan)

the dead heart1(Originally posted in my Facebook Profile on 4 December 2018. Sharing it here in WordPress.)

Where were you in the late afternoon of 16 July 1990, that moment when a 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck Luzon, and was felt in Metro Manila?

Me, I was in Grade 6, absent from school, I don’t know if I was sick that day I just remember I was sleeping on my parents’ bed, alone in our house in Pook Amorsolo when the bed started shaking. It was moving! I remember waking up from slumber then jumping out of the bed. Quickly I thought, as eleven-year-old, there was a monster under the bed. Impossible, because there was no space between.

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From comics creator, Gerry Alanguilan, on 16 July 1990, he was at the church, to pray for his architecture board exam when the walls of the church shook. People panicked, some screamed because of the earthquake. Later that day, heard from the radio, he was astonished to learn about the earthquake’s aftermath, particularly in Baguio, one of the hardest hit. Buildings collapsed. One that really marked with Gerry was the Hyatt Terraces Hotel that collapsed and killed employees and guests. According to reports, the concrete ground literally opened up swallowing people then it closed. People who died from, survived the earthquake did not escape Gerry Alanguilan. In 1996, he turned that trauma into a comics story. He titled it “The Dead Heart, July 16.” It’s about a couple, Mike and Ana, who were there in the middle of it all. It’s a love story. Because at that time, Gerry Alanguilan was deeply in love with someone who was an old classmate who later became his girlfriend for two years. Love is exhilarating. Love is also devastating. If you’ve been deeply in love with someone who also loved you back, truly, madly, deeply, you will understand why Mike had to do what he gotta do. Nakakabaliw talaga ang umibig.

The copy that I have, which I bought from the Komiks Convention (Komikon), is the 2018 reprint.

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The Dead Heart Book Cover

Tubaw’s Kalinow

tubaw5(Originally posted in my Facebook Profile on 22 December 2018. Sharing it here in WordPress.)

On my playlist this whole week is Tubaw’s second album, Kalinow, a Manobo word which means peace. Just can’t get enough of their songs. I kept playing their album repetitively for once is not enough. It just felt therapeutic.

Jam Bonifacio opens the album with KAPAYAPAAN, a song that yearns for a truly free country where farmers are no longer exploited, where they have their own lands to till, where decent jobs are available for every worker and not forced to leave the country. Jam sings it solemnly and full of hope.

This is followed by MISYONERYO which has a Joey Ayala-inspired sound and vibes. This is the start where I get to hear lead frontman Edge Uyanguren’s voice, singing about moving out of our comfort zone, reaching out to the marginalized, and taking action in whatever small way that we can help.

His solo, BAYANI, feels like a tribute song to a lover or a friend or a dead hero who fought the same fight for true independence.

TULOY ANG LABAN is my personal favorite. I feel my backbone straightening up whenever I listen to this track. Nakakalakas ng fighting spirit. Just hearing Edge and Jam’s emphatic and hearfelt singing, I feel the rage, I feel that there’s hope.

PAASA is another inspiring song although it does not sound like it at first. What feels like expressions of frustrations, of hopelessness, when you get to the bridge, oh god the bridge, it segued to this: “Tayo pa rin ang magtatakda sa bukas na mapagpalaya | Nasa ating mga kamay, minimithing tagumpay.”

TALA feels like a happy song. True to its name, listening to this track makes me feel optimistic about the future.

NGAYONG GABI is for me the most catchy song in the album. Maiinlove ka kahit di ka naman in love. Nakaka-LSS sya or last song syndrome. It’s the ballad song you can’t forget. A wonderful duet between Edge and Lorie Ann Cascaro.

ALAB is a different treat. With Diday Garcellano and MC Sakay on vocals, they sing lively about pushing forward despite the odds, keeping the fire within burning!

PAROLA is another duet that I like. This time Edge sings with Valerainne Lopez. Listening to this track calms my nerves.

PAGMAMAHAL, a duet by Edge and Althea Angeles, sings about teaching children with good values, showing them love not violence for they are the next in line, our hope for the future. Not doing so, we are committing injustice as well.

PAPER TIGER is the only English song in the album. The most amazing track in the album. This is the song that summarizes what this album is about. Take notice of the lyrics:

“You sit in power, a king on a rotten throne. You plunder our land, reap the fruits you haven’t sown. You weave deceptions, burn our schools and our homes.

“And those who stood up and defended their rights, opposed oppression and exploitation, clenched fist with all their might, were tagged as murderers and criminals, put behind bars, disappeared, killed in broad daylight.

“You can’t imprison freedom and keep it out of sight. You can’t gag the truth in the silence of the night. You can’t stop the struggle, pretend everything’s alright. You can’t stop the thunder, you can’t stop the blaze. No, you can’t stop the surge, you can never stop our rage!

“We will break free (with the toiling masses we unite). We will break free (reclaim our dignity and life). We will break free (’til victory we fight).”

And the melody, THE MELODY!, of Paper Tiger is so amazing it made me teary. Nakakalakas din ng fighting spirit itong kantang ito.

All eleven tracks in the album, except the bonus track, are music and lyrics by Edge Uyanguren. Arranged by Tubaw Music Collective, Onie Badiang, and Dodjie Fernandez. Art direction, layout and design by Angge Santos. Cover and inside pages art by Archie Oclos, one of Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Thirteen Artists Awardees of 2018.

Tubaw Music Collective or Tubaw are Edge Uyanguren, Jam Bonifacio, Dodel de Luna, Jun Zamora, and Aldrin Escudero.

In short, I love this album. ❤

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Callous, Braving Life One Cup at a Time (Carlos Jose San Juan, M.D.)

callous(Originally posted in my Facebook Profile on 29 December 2018. Sharing it here in WordPress.)

It was in Komikon 2016, an annual comics convention and my first Komikon, when I first saw this comic book, CALLOUS: BRAVING LIFE ONE CUP AT A TIME. Met the creator behind it, Carlos Jose San Juan, M.D., he seemed nice so I just asked for his calling card since I didn’t get to buy. I was absent in Komikon 2017 but in Komikon 2018 I was present and I saw this comic book again, talked with the creator, and we had a long small talk (if there’s such a thing), and finally bought the comic book, which turns out to be his comic strips compilation of Callous from 1996 to 2016. So this is a collector’s item.

“Callous: Braving Life One Cup at a Time” gave me a peek into the life of a middle-aged woman doctor, Dr. Rianne Nicah. She’s a brilliant doctor, kind, but when things get tough, coffee and chocolate chip cookies are her refuge. She can be annoying at times because of her idiosyncracies (which we all have, we are all annoying) but she’s blessed with a duck companion who can talk and is guiding her through life, or should I say, saving her from mental breakdown, hehe. For being a doctor is not a glamorous job. While getting entertained with every episode in Dr. Rianne’s life, I wondered why the creator, who is a male doctor aside from being a cartoonist, chose a female doctor as his main character. It was when I get to the end part of the comic book that I learned that he did start with a male lead character, his name is Ren, brother of Dr. Rianne, and it was about this boy’s life in college. And the duck? It started in high school, when he submitted his first comic strip in their student newspaper, when he drew and wrote about the misadventures of Dan the Duck. Through the years, he changed the name Dan to Cal when his first Callous comic strip was published in his college student paper to reflect the series’ name. The series’ name, Callous, did not come from a profound origin, though. The creator was pressured to come up with a name for his comic strip so when he opened the dictionary to get some help, the first word he saw was “callous.” Reminds me of how Eraserheads the iconic alternative band came out with their name. It was also out of the blue, no deep meaning. Anyway, when the creator, Carlos Jose San Juan, got to medical school, focused to reach his dream of becoming a doctor and having his own family, that’s when drawing and writing took a backseat. But talent, no matter how long you suppress it or set it aside, would eventually find its way out. Soon, Carlo Jose San Juan, MD, felt the itch and started to draw again and brought back Ren, Cal, and other characters he drew in the past, with Dr. Rianne as the lead and uploaded them in his old website. Callous the daily webcomic began. In 2012, Manila Bulletin took notice of his submitted sample Callous comic strips and lo and behold, after all the hardwork, Callous became a regular series in the national newspaper.

Here are some that I enjoyed from “Callous, Braving Life One Cup at a Time.” It’s entertaining, just light and easy. I remember laughing once, hehe.

Ella Arcangel, Awit ng Pangil at Kuko (Tomo Pangalawa) ni Julius Villanueva at Mervin Malonzo

Extrajudicial killing is the common thread that binds the book 1 and book 2 of ELLA ARCANGEL’s journey as the girl hero with magical abilities. If I like the first part “Ella Arcangel, Ito ay Panganib,” I love the second part “Ella Arcangel, Awit ng Pangil at Kuko.” The second part is the first book I finished reading for 2019.

Ella Arcangel, granddaughter of mysterious and enchanting faith healer Lola Crisanta, lives in a poor community called Barangay Masikap. Before her grandmother passed away, she was asked to take an enormous responsibility to watch out for her community that’s being targetted by police for Operation Tokhang, the killing of suspected drug pushers and addicts under the ruling president’s war on drugs. There are also dangers lurking in every corner of Barangay Masikap. Dangers that are yet to be known and each will manifest themselves like a thief in the night, and they are monsters from the underworld. And this is what Ella has to keep an eye on to prevent further infestation of killings and evil deeds in her community, with the help of Mimiw, an old cat who not just meows but can also speak the human language. But doing what is right and just is not an easy task. For Ella’s mother is frantically worried about her safety. As a child, she could die saving other people. But at such a young age, Ella Arcangel has embraced her purpose since her Lola died, to not turn her back from those who need her help.

Spoiler alert: I have a favorite scene in “Ella Arcangel, Awit ng Pangil at Kuko.” Yung part na hinati yung katawan at kinain nung monster yung mga pulis na mamamatay tao. That was cathartic for me. Was imagining all the public officials/political appointees who became abusive with their government posts, who forgot why they are there in the first place, are being eaten alive by Pangil the monster, who grew up as a good monster under the care of a woman, but because of the monstrosity he witnessed from humans, Pangil’s anger took over and became the feared monster he was perceived to be.

Reading “Ella Arcangel, Awit ng Pangil at Kuko (Tomo Pangalawa)” by Julius Villanueva and Mervin Malonzo felt like watching a movie. You know you’ve watched it but you feel like watching it again. Cathartic kasi.

 

Four easy steps to discipline (path to healing)

Fitness gurus and people with active lifestyle would intimidate you with strenuous exercises for so-called good health that it discourages many to try to be active. Until I listened to this lecture of Dr. Arboleda in Facebook. Aside from eating healthy (eating many vegetables and fruits), here are the four easy steps to discipline when it comes to health, most especially to people like me who got sedentary lifestyle:

1) Drinking eight glasses of water a day.

2) Doing breathing exercises (inhale, exhale) for 10 to 15 minutes every morning. Breathing exercise is an exercise for the heart and the lungs.

3) Getting morning sunlight exposure from 10 to 15 minutes at least twice a week.

4) Sweating exercise for 10 to 15 minutes at least 3x a week.

“All I Know About Love” by Neil Gaiman

I love these love thoughts by Neil Gaiman which he recited in a wedding.
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ALL I KNOW ABOUT LOVE

By Neil Gaiman

This is everything I have to tell you about love: nothing.
This is everything I’ve learned about marriage: nothing.

Only that the world out there is complicated,
and there are beasts in the night, and delight and pain,
and the only thing that makes it okay, sometimes,
is to reach out a hand in the darkness and find another hand to squeeze,
and not to be alone.

It’s not the kisses, or never just the kisses: it’s what they mean.
Somebody’s got your back.
Somebody knows your worst self and somehow doesn’t want to rescue you
or send for the army to rescue them.

It’s not two broken halves becoming one.
It’s the light from a distant lighthouse bringing you both safely home
because home is wherever you are both together.

So this is everything I have to tell you about love and marriage: nothing,
like a book without pages or a forest without trees.

Because there are things you cannot know before you experience them.
Because no study can prepare you for the joys or the trials.
Because nobody else’s love, nobody else’s marriage, is like yours,
and it’s a road you can only learn by walking it,
a dance you cannot be taught,
a song that did not exist before you began, together, to sing.

And because in the darkness you will reach out a hand,
not knowing for certain if someone else is even there.
And your hands will meet,
and then neither of you will ever need to be alone again.

And that’s all I know about love.

Source: http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2017/10/wedding-thoughts-all-i-know-about-love.html