Archive | Stuff by other people RSS feed for this section

Anyo

20 Apr

(Hango sa antolohiyang “Hindi Man Lang Nakita” ni Messandel Virtusio Arguelles.)

Hindi ko makalimutan ang kanyang anyo

Gayong hindi ko ito ganap malarawan.

Hindi ilang ulit akong nagtangka

Hanggang ngayon, dito, ngunit sadyang akin

Ang malaking kakulangan. Sa aking panaginip

Nakita ko siya sa dilim, sa pinagmulang-

Liwanag, anyong palapit sa akin.

Itinaas ko ang aking mga kamay.

Inaabot ko ba siya o itinutulak palayo?

Sa ganoong alinlangan ako nagising,

Habol ang hininga sa katahimikan.

 ***

Advertisements

Open by Marion Bais Guerrero

8 Apr

Note: In the recently concluded Campus Journalism Workshop Summer Camp in UP Diliman, 28 teachers from all over the country participated in a series of fora and learning activities designed to maximize their potentials as campus paper advisers.

One such activity was a feature writing exercise. For this, the participants were divided into three peer review groups. They were given 1 1/2 hours to write a three- to five-paragraph essay on any of the following topics: a) an environmental issue in their locality, b) a personality profile of someone in their group, c) their most memorable UP experience (some of them were first timers in the university and in NCR, after all), and d) their most memorable experience as a campus paper adviser.

When writing time ended, the teachers convened in their respective groups and critiqued one another’s papers. What you will read below (posted with the author’s permission) was a favorite in the peer group I facilitated, and with good reason. Penned by Sir Marion Guerrero of Ateneo de Zamboanga University, the piece relates his musings as he and his students entered the State U for the first time.

***

Open

By Marion Bais Guerrero

Thursday morning begins in a taxi ride. A shared taxi ride for both our first visit to UP.

In acid-washed denims, suede sneakers and a plaid top bought by overseas payslips, the student beside me hums to the tune of the Magnificat. Even Catholic schools have their own playlist.

The same student nonchalantly asks, “Why are there slums inside UP?” This should be a moment to introduce him to the premises of socio-politics and the economics of population, but the response came in a jest, “That’s the lab for sociology and urban planning.”

Either borne out of sarcasm or naïveté, the question reflects how students reared in selective education see the world beyond the wrought-iron fences and RFID counters. When he comes face-to-face with the harrowing concreteness of abstract terms, they remain abstract.

UP and its swathes and swathes of greens is an island in the murky expanse of an uncontrolled, sprawling metropolis. Yet, while others prefer perfumed perimeter walls, it embraces the good and the bad of urbanization. Yet, while others encourage an entitlement to exclusivity, it is never ashamed of being inclusive. Education, after all, is the great equalizer. The same student should have realized this when he saw Nike-clad runners greet the ice cream vendor by the sidewalk; but he opts to hum the Magnificat.

As we snake our way through the main university avenue, the same student asks, “Why are there no walls around UP?”

For which I reply, “Because UP is an open university.”

He gives a neutral nod, then mouths the word “open”, and continues to hum the Magnificat.

To Have, to Hold, to Record: The Aesthetics of Wedding Videography*

27 Mar

Weddings around the world are celebrated as milestones not only for the couple and their families, but also as veritable cultural, social and religious occasions that necessitate documentation. In the days before written communication came to be, people relied on word-of-mouth to hear accounts of such gatherings.

Giovanni Arnolfini and His Bride (The Arnolfini Marriage) by Jan Van Eyck

As centuries wore on and human civilizations advanced, art styles like portraiture were employed to commemorate the union of two individuals. Such commissions, however, had a long production time, taking anywhere from three months to two years before completion (Weiss 1-2).

With the advent of photography, studio portraits became the rage for newlyweds. Advancements in technology, however, have made it possible to photograph couples not only in a studio, but right during the ceremony itself. Recent years have seen an upgrade of wedding coverage from on-site photography to on-site videography.

In the early days of wedding videography, the bride and groom were fortunate if either of them had a relative with a video camera or camcorder. The latter was then given the task of documenting the wedding, from the preparations to the ceremony proper and the reception. As might be expected from someone with little or no training in videography, however, the quality of such footage was erratic.

When events planning firms started offering videography into their wedding packages, the final outputs were mere footages of the whole event. There was little non-linear editing, and only sound effects and text labels broke the monotony. At this point in the history of the medium, wedding videos could only be obtained from the videographer days or weeks after the event.

The advent of modern wedding videography revolutionized events coverage the world over. Besides the standard whole-event footage, couples now have the option to avail of their own prenuptial (commonly referred to as “prenup”) and/or same-day edit video. Each video takes anywhere from five to ten minutes, as agreed upon by the videographer and his clients.

Hong Kong, China --- Couple have wedding photos taken in Starbucks on Duddell Street, Central, Hong Kong. Image by © Catherine Karnow/Corbis.

The prenup video is shot weeks or months before the wedding, and may feature only the couple or members of their immediate family. Same-day edits, meanwhile, refer to audio-visual presentations of the wedding (including the preparations and the early part of the reception) which the videographer will edit on-the-spot and present before the reception draws to a close.

For Bill Gaff (Merfeld n.p.) of Human Story Films, recent revamps in the practice of wedding videography have the best of both worlds, with “the intimacy of documentary style plus the poetry of the cinematic style”.

Chris Watson of Watson Videography considers these developments “more revolution than evolution” (Merfeld n.p.), likening their effect on the classic documentary style of videography to the effect of photojournalism on “straight” photography.

Despite these new formats in videography, practitioners still swear by certain motifs to complete the wedding video. Filipino videographer Jason Magbanua shared in an interview: “The conventions I really watch out for would be the priceless, unrepeatable moments – the groom’s reaction as the bride approaches, enters the church and approaches the aisle. Of course, the entrance of the bride herself, the reaction of the parents, of the people around her – these are the unrepeatable things that I want to be caught on film.”

WEDDING VIDEOGRAPHY AS ART

For the first level of analysis, let us explore the concepts, constructs and components that abound in the perceptions and practices of wedding videography to determine whether or not it may be construed as art. To do this, we will first review – and subsequently juxtapose wedding videography with – three broad definitions or facets of art as summated by Barry Hartley Slater (n.p.): art as representation, expression and form.

 

Representation

This view of art, promoted by Plato and adapted onto the late 18th century, emphasized the mimetic relationship between art and nature. This connoted that artistic outputs – be it poetry, song, movement, or visual art – were “artificial” and contrived, worthy to be deemed aesthetic only if they draw attention away from their contrivedness by effectively mimicking what exists “naturally” in nature.

Wedding videos, be they prenuptial or ceremony coverage, are at most only five to ten minutes long. To extend the total running time of the output would be to go against the premise of modern wedding videography, which is to zero in on minute details to show and not tell the bigger picture of the ceremony.

Close up of elegant high heeled shoes. Image by © Kyle Monk/Blend Images/Corbis.

Thus, the videos rely heavily on figurative shots. These include the couple sharing a laugh while holding hands, close-ups of the wedding rings, the groom’s shoes and intricate features of the bride’s gown, tightly edited montages of guests, situationers of the church and the reception venue.

By focusing only on fragments of the pre-wedding and actual wedding footage for the final cut, videographers showcase important elements of the couple’s relationship and marriage rites through deliberate visual synecdoche.

 Expression

Not all of Plato’s contemporaries, however, agreed with the representation theory of art. The Aristotelian viewpoint supposes a cathartic aspect to the production of art. With his imagination and tools at hand, the artisan is able to stretch his artistic wingspan as a means to self-expression and, to some extent, self-actualization.

In the case of wedding videography, however, it is not so much the videographer who undergoes catharsis, but his subjects – the couple who commissioned the coverage. For prenup wedding videos, the bride and the groom “perform” as lovers before the camera – looking lovingly into each other’s eyes, locking one another in a tight embrace, sharing a tender kiss, etc.

Bride & Groom. Image by © Fiona Conrad/Corbis.

Such performances may be either or a combination of the following: their natural gestures of affection towards one another, or the result of a conscious effort to mimic (here we see representation at work once more) what two people in love should  look like, as suggested or dictated by what they have seen from books, movies and daily interaction with other people.

It is perhaps the emotional fulfillment and anticipation of immersing themselves into the reel and real role of being each other’s lifetime partner that provide catharsis for the bride and groom.

The second aspect of wedding videography as an expressive art is the role of audience response. Magbanua, who has been in the events coverage business for twelve years, is a firm believer in the emotional pull of wedding videos.

He says, “A decade ago, [wedding videography] was all cheese – a throw-away kind of thing that people get just because everybody else got it. It’s different when you’re affected and when you’re part of it – as a friend, a family member, or, you know, the couple itself. And that’s kind of obvious.

“But when people who have nothing to do with the wedding, people who are complete strangers to the couple, people like students in college or high school, get moved by this – you’ve made something special. So I think that defines the thing that I do as art. I make no assumptions, but if art is something that has the capability to touch something inside of a person on a different level, I suppose that is what we’re doing.”

Form

Events coverage, particularly modern wedding videography, borrows many conventions and techniques from filmmaking; this is true not only for its documentary aspect but also for its more creative facets.

Magbanua stressed that besides the poignant footages of the subjects, excellent cinematography is key to a good wedding video.  But while anyone with a gadget capable of video recording can shoot footage of a wedding, not everyone can effectively videograph it.

In his memoir Notes from a Retired Wedding Videographer, CFA Weiss stresses the distinction between an amateur and a professional videographer. He characterized amateurs as non-artists “without the passion and eye for creation”, whose works are “often lame and impotent – thereby more so providing a video record of their own professional inadequacies or mistaken choice of spend-thrift wedding planners than a media-worthy video record of a special event” (3).

Bride and bridegroom smiling cheek to cheek. Image by © Aid/amanaimages/Corbis.

Weiss added that a professional does not just rely on his experience, equipment or knowledge of the craft. Rather, he challenges himself every time by adjusting to the intricacies and idiosyncrasies of each event coverage.

“The actual professional documentary style moves in sync with the happy couple throughout their day, capturing the little details as well as the big picture, and is unafraid of using a little artistic motion (not all shoulder shots) – for in the end, that’s what life is all about: motion,” he said.

 

 AESTHETIC VALUE

Having established wedding videography as art vis-à-vis the three broad definitions of representation, expression and form, let us now look into its aesthetic value for the second level of analysis.

When deciding whether or not to buy into the marketed necessity of wedding videography, soon-to-be-wed couples practice what Monroe Beardsley dubs the “point of view” terminology (121).

This selective association entails breaking free from external considerations (such as budget constraints versus the recommendations of the wedding planner) with the purpose of drawing attention to the set of considerations they wish to prioritize and underline (such as the importance of sticking to the budget versus the compulsion to document the wedding for posterity).

Beardsley (122) expounds thus: “I ask myself what I am doing in adopting a particular point of view, and acting toward an object in a way that is appropriate to that point of view; and, so far as I can see, it consists in searching out a corresponding value in the object, to discover whether any of it is present. Sometimes it is to go farther: to cash in on that value, to realize it, to avail myself of it.”

Portrait of newly wed couple holding balloons at wedding reception. Image by © Matthias Ritzmann/Corbis.

More than presenting additional financial concerns, deciding whether or not to commission a wedding video requires the couple to weigh in on the importance of the latter’s aesthetic and functional gratification.

There is a school of thought in aesthetics that espouses functionalism as the root of aesthetic gratification. This variant is known as the “reduction thesis”, and was made popular in 1941 when Herbert Read posed this philosophical question: “We have produced a chair which is strong and comfortable, but is it a work of art?”

To this, he replied, yes – the chair’s perfect fulfillment of its function as something firm and easy to rest on made it art. “Fitness for function,” Read added, “is the modern definition of the eternal quality we call beauty, and this fitness for function is the inevitable result of an economy directed to use and not to profit (qtd. in Hansson).”

From a functionalist perspective, wedding videos appeal not only to the couple’s fancy, but also serves two particular purposes for two distinct audiences: to preserve the participants’ memories of the event and to acquaint those who were absent with what went on in the ceremony (Cubitt 5).

Couples too will someday be able to share their wedding videos with their children. Furthermore, it will help them remember loved ones who are no longer with them. Matt Pines of Life Video, an Ohio-based events coverage company, recalled the story of a bride whose grandmother passed on shortly after the ceremony.

According to Pines, she was initially hesitant to pay the price of the videography services. After her grandmother’s death, however, she told him “the quality has gone on and the price has been forgotten (“Lasting Memories” 169).”

In the case of wedding videography, we see aesthetic dualism at work as its artful form serves to complement its purpose of encapsulating memories. The function of documenting a milestone in the lives of a couple and the optimal use of film elements like mise-en-scene, editing and cinematography combine to make modern videography more engaging – and, to some extent, more effective in its function – than the simpler, chronologically linear videography style of yesteryears.

Sometime after the ceremony, most videographers upload their works in video sharing sites like Youtube or Vimeo. This online presence also serves different purposes for the different parties involved.

For the videographer, keeping an online repository of finished outputs is an effective marketing tool: it provides potential customers access to his body of work, and is an immediate and accessible feedback platform for what he does, what he has done, and what he still can do.

Wedding party. Image by © Matthias Ritzmann/Corbis.

For the wedded couple, web uploads make for easy sharing with loved ones and friends the world over, especially those who were not present during the actual ceremony.

For the broader online audience, the internet becomes a venue for them to view the intimate moments of strangers, share in their joy, or simply widen their appreciation for and perception of what wedding videography could be.

To conclude, modern wedding videography is both documentary and artistic. This newly invigorated branch of art is unique in that it zeroes in on both the universality and uniqueness of a particular couple’s wedding experience. This marriage of the personal and of the universal bridges instead of divides form and function, combining the best of both worlds to emerge on its own as a distinct and dynamic art form.

Works cited

 Beardsley, Monroe. “The Aesthetic Point of View.” Contextualizing Aesthetics: From Plato to Lyotard. Eds. Gene Blocker and Jennifer Jeffers. Canada: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1999.

Cubitt, Sean. “Videography: The Helical Scan.” Videography: Video Media as Art and Culture. Hong Kong: Macmillan, 1993. Print.

Hansson, Sven Ove. “Aesthetic Functionalism.” Contemporary Aesthetics 3: n. pag. 17 Oct. 2005. Ann Arbor: MPublishing, University of Michigan Library. Print.

“Lasting Memories.” Cincinatti Wedding. Winter 2003: 168-169. Print.

Magbanua, Jason. Personal interview. 23 Mar. 2012.

Merfeld, Elizabeth Avery. “Meet the New Doc.” EventDV: the authority for event videographers 21.1-12 (2008): n.p. Print.

Slater, Barry Hartley. “Aesthetics.” Internet Encylopedia of Philosophy (2003): n. pag. Web. 20 Mar. 2012.

Weiss, C.F.A. Notes of a Retired Wedding Videographer: From Proposal to Reception. Bloomington: Author House, 2006. Print.

###

Disclaimer: T’was submitted as a final requirement for Philosophy 181 (Aesthetics) under Prof. Perseville Mendoza.

Wagas

13 Feb

MOA baywalk promenade at dusk

Thoughts on love from a favorite prof:

“If you have lived with your partner for years, you have not fought with lions and ogres, but with the most dangerous enemy: time. But someone who loves, has not killed time but has saved and preserved in eternity. When the battle is won, when the swift thoughts, like a staff officer hurrying back to headquarters, report that the victory is yours — then, in fact, you know nothing, you know not how to begin; for then, for the first time you are at the true beginning. That’s our attitude on Feb 14! We must persevere in eternity and not give in to the seduction of ‘novelty’. Love is not about novelty but eternity.”

– Gerry Lanuza

Once upon an internet post

16 Jan

Commenter 1: I really think they should get together.

Commenter 2: I second emotion!

 

GO ATE. Dami mong emotions to spare, eh.

Love and Loss in Rendition — Dulaang UP’s Noli Me Tangere: The Opera in review

4 Jan

Photo from the Dulaang UP's Noli Facebook page.

Since its publication in 1887, the novel Noli Me Tangere by national hero Jose Rizal continues to reinforce itself as a tour de force in the local literary tradition. Its story revolves around the lives of townsfolk from San Diego, a fictional Philippine municipality at the turn of the 19th century. Rizal’s central characters, who have made their mark in the national consciousness, are Crisostomo Ibarra – a gentleman who leaves for Europe in his youth to study and returns toSan Diego an orphan – and his childhood sweetheart Maria Clara, the illegitimate daughter of the abusive clergyman Padre Damaso.

The novel and its sequel El Filibusterismo are credited for inspiring Filipino revolutionaries to take up arms against the Spanish colonization. Due to its artistic and historical significance, both texts lend themselves well to adaptation in other art forms, particularly the performing arts. In reworking Rizal’s novels for the stage or for the screen, directors and screenwriters have followed one of three traditions: faithful adaptation, vignette and contemporaneity.

Renditions like Gantimpala theater troupe’s Noli and Fili, which most high school students in Metro Manila are required to watch, are more literal in their adaptation. The same can also be said of the 1992 TV series Noli Me Tangere, a project of the CulturalCenter of the Philippines (CCP) which aired for a total of 13 episodes. The scripts of all three productions fed extensively on passages from the novels, and neither the chronology nor the characters were tailored or modified to suit the director’s vision.

A number of directors, artists and writers saw potential in the “untold stories” of Rizal’s dynamic, multi-layered characters and went on to employ their artistic license in the plots and presentations of their own productions. In his 1951 film Sisa, starring Anita Linda in the titular role, director Gerardo de Leon played around with the Noli’s plot and male characters to create a past for and explore the psyche of the iconic madwoman ofSan Diego, whose family misfortunes ultimately drove her to insanity.

This vignette tradition is especially strong for the novels’ female characters – particularly Maria Clara; Salome, the lover of Elias; and Sisa. All three women were the subjects of Kutsilyo, Pamaypay at Yantok, a play in three acts which alternately parodied, magnified and dramatized their relationships with the men in their lives.

Meanwhile, recent productions like Philippine Educational Theater Association’s Noli at Fili Dekada Dos Mil – written by Nicanor Tiongson and directed by Soxie Topacio – allow audiences to review and appreciate the national hero’s classic masterpieces in the light of current socio-political realities. This was achieved by adding contemporary tweaks to the plot and “relocating” the novels’ characters to present-day, poverty-strickenManila.

The latest Noli adaptation to have graced the thespic scene is Dulaang UP’s Noli Me Tangere: The Opera. Composed by National Artist for Music Felipe de Leon alongside librettist Guillermo Tolentino, the production debuted in 1957. The DUP restaging ran from November 16 to December 4, 2011 to coincide with the yearlong celebration of Rizal’s sesquicentennial birth anniversary and to prelude the centennial of de Leon’s birth. The premiere staging of de Leon’s masterpiece was well-received, garnering the distinction of being “the first truly Filipino opera.”

In order to effectively evaluate the success of DUP’s adaptation, it is important to note the components and traits of a good opera performance. The art of the opera harks back to 16th centuryItaly, where it was initially performed for the nobility. For centuries, opera has been regarded a “high” or even “elitist” art form.

An opera is essentially a story set to music, rendering both the vocal and accompaniment elements of music are of paramount importance. The score of Noli Me Tangere: The Opera is laudable for employing rich, local musical traditions such as the kundiman (Maria Clara’s “Kay Tamis ng Buhay”) alongside the standard aria of Western operas (Sisa’s “Awit ng Gabi”).

The score was bolstered by excellent showings from the ensemble – composed of both veteran and burgeoning opera singers – with the guidance of musical director Camille Lopez Molina. Standouts include soprano Myramae Meneses and contralto Jean Judith Javier, who played Maria Clara and Sisa, respectively. Even the child actors Gerald Kristof Diola and Jhiz Deocareza, who essayed the roles of Basilio and Crispin, delivered strong theatrical and musical performances.

The ingenious and indigenous set design heightened the impact of local color in DUP’s production. Production designer Gino Gonzales used bamboo for partitions, risers and walkways onstage; inabel cloth from Ilocos was also incorporated in the period costumes.

One thing that didn’t strike a chord with me, however, was the use of stark-white face make-up to identify and highlight the Spanish characters. The over-application of make-up was characteristic of Doña Victorina in the original text, as in the more literal adaptations. Having the friars, Don Tiburcio and even Maria Clara’s suitor Ynares don the same look was an unnecessary distraction from the pretentious donya, whose largely unsuccessful attempts at speaking and looking Spanish was meant to bring comic relief to the narrative.

It is interesting to note that Rizal himself received flak for writing his novels in Spanish, the language of the educated and the elite. This move, said his critics, rendered the texts far removed from the masses who he was supposedly writing for. However, this appears to have been a case of misguided audience attribution.

His choice of language had an intended cause and effect: writing in the language of the colonizers was his own way of disproving the ignorance and indolence that offensive Spaniards were only too willing to attribute to Filipinos. Rizal, then, wasn’t directly writing for the masses; his deliberate use of Spanish could well be construed as the epitome of the phrase “if you can’t beat them, join them.”

Operas are characterized by their high propensity for tragedy and melodrama; most plots revolve around central characters’ personal crises and how they manage (but more often, fail to) overcome them. The internal and external conflicts of characters in Noli and Fili reflected the hardships and struggles that Filipinos of yesteryears were subjected to. Their stories brought to fore the socio-political situation of Rizal’s time – not the other way around.

In the opera, important scenes and characters in the novel were reduced – if not completely scrapped – because the plot’s historical context played second fiddle to the romance of Maria Clara and Crisostomo. Scenes involving the star-crossed lovers – among them their reunion at Kapitan Tiyago’s dinner feast and their forlorn farewell in Maria Clara’s room – were expanded, and even fitted with corresponding musical numbers.

By contrast, only two minor scenes involving Elias, the demoralized revolutionary who sacrificed his life for Crisostomo, were included in the opera: the first when he kills the crocodile along the Pasig river, and the second when he helps Crisostomo escape from Spanish authorities.

The iconic confrontation between Elias and Crisostomo on the merits of staging a revolution versus investing in the youth’s education is markedly absent from the score. Also among the bypassed scenes was the maltreatment of the deranged Sisa by Doña Consolacion – the foul-mouthed, whip-wielding Filipina wife of the Spanish lieutenant.

While the DUP restaging of de Leon’s Noli remained faithful to its operatic medium, I felt that it did so at the expense of the source texts’ treatise. Elements and themes central to the narrative of Noli were lost in its transposition from the page to the stage.

The tone of desolation on both the individual and social levels was not lost, but the focus on the tragic love story betrayed the opera’s inclination to melodrama and clearly delineated from the more historical milieu of the novel. This is not to say, however, that the production is faulty for yielding to the performance medium. Rather, DUP’s Noli Me Tangere: The Opera is a testament to the breadth of the Filipino artists’ aesthetic wingspan, establishing itself as an adaptation both inspired and instructive.

10 Unique 2012 Planners under P600

13 Dec

The last of 2011 is upon us. In a matter of weeks, the past 365 days will be little more than a collage of MS Word documents, pictures, conversations, text messages and facebook statuses, all suspended in the recesses of our memories. Less than a month shy of January 1, many have made headway in their search for a companion throughout the coming year (and no, I don’t mean the romantic kind). If you haven’t committed to a particular 2012 planner yet, here are 10 one-of-a-kind candidates for your consideration (click on the planner titles to check out the sellers’ original posts):

1. Design Your Life Planner

Photo from the Design Your Life Planner Facebook page.

Best for: the highlighter freak

Can’t get enough of Stabilo brights? Light up your 2012 with this zany fluorescent planner! The sisters behind C & S Designs have been producing their own planners since 2008. This year’s offering boasts of a unique design for each month and comes with stickers, a compartment for notes and a space for 3R pictures.

Price: P530, with free shipping nationwide

How and where to buy: Fill out the order form here. For more information, check out the Design Your Life Planner on Facebook.

2. Awesome Planner

Photo from the Awesome Planner Facebook page.

Best for: the adventurous foodie

From the man behind the food and trek blog Our Awesome Planet comes a planner that doubles as your next road trip companion. Choose from 12 local destinations to try each month. Fill out the vision board, and ditch the gullible tourist act by stocking up on insider traveling tips. As a bonus, challenge yourself to try the 100 tried-and-tested restos that made it to the OAP shortlist.

Price: P588, plus P100 for delivery anywhere in the Philippines

How and where to buy: Click the image for details or check out the Awesome Planner on Facebook.

3. Gawad Kalinga Planner

Photo from the Gawad Kalinga Facebook page.

Best for: the catalyst for social change

Planners come and go, but the drive to make a difference chooses neither time nor place. Celebrate the transformative power of community involvement 366 days a year with the Gawad Kalinga planner, jotting down your visions (and actions!) for a brighterPhilippinesin its ample weekly spreads.

Price: P320

How and where to buy: E-mail info@gk1world.com or check out Gawad Kalinga on Facebook

4. Oh Snap! Handy Dandy Planner

Photo from the Team Oh Snap! Multiply page.

Best for: the doodler

This planner is made for people who’d rather take things in their own hands. Take your stock of colorful pens – or your good old black ballpoint if you’re minimalist like that – and fill in the blank spaces with your own doodles and scribbles. Besides a variety of useful lists, tabs and freenote pages, the Oh Snap! planner comes in three delectable designs: watermelon, fish maki and McDo fries.

Price: P350

How and where to buy: Fill out the order form here. For more info, check out Team Oh Snap! on Facebook and Multiply.

5. Clone Stamp 2012 Lomo Planner

Photo from the Clone Stamp Facebook page.

Best for: the shutterbug

They say life is like photography – we use the negatives to develop. Whether or not you’re into analog or lomo, capture the highlights of your 2012 with the Clone Stamp planner. The brainchild of two Fine Arts students from UP Diliman, the planner features inside pages in pastel pink and a pocket for your knick-knacks.

Price: P380

How and where to buy: Fill out the order form here. For more info, check out Clone Stamp on Facebook.

6. The Es-KWELA-han Project 2012 Planner

Photo from the Es-KWELA-Han Project Facebook page.

Best for: the student with an A+ sense of humor

Turn your school day from a blah to a blast with a planner especially designed for the Gtec-grasping, notebook-toting, non-taxpaying crowd. When the going gets tough and Hell Week rears its ugly head, keep your cool with the planner’s hefty supply of jokes, pick-up lines and trivia.

Price: P300

How and where to buy: Contact Carlo (09064802944), or Rosalie (09058525428 / 09467507010 / 09222391178) for orders. For more info, check out the Es-KWELA-han Project on Facebook.

7. Lego Planner

Photo from the Pretty in Fairness Multiply page.

Best for: the child-at-heart

Make each day a touch more playful with this nifty lego-inspired organizer. Let your inner child loose all year round as this neat looker keeps your milestones and building blocks in check for a solid, colorful 2012.

Price: P450

How and where to buy: Click the link above for orders. For more info, check out Pretty In Fairness on Multiply.

8. The Last Planner You’ll Ever Have

Photo from The Last Planner You'll Ever Have 2012 Facebook page.

Best for: the deadline afficionado

Many people laugh off the Mayan prediction and look forward to debunking it by partying on December 22, 2012. But there’s always that one person who laughs a couple of seconds later than everyone else, mentally calculating the days left to check off the items in his/her bucket list. Assuage his/her/your fear of the unknown with the Last Planner’s tongue-in-cheek predictions of the world’s demise. Whether or not 2012 is the year of reckoning, nothing beats a go-getter carpe diem attitude– and a planner that imbibes such – to shoo the doomsday blues away.

Price: P375

How and where to buy: Fill out the order form here. For more info, check out The Last Planner You’ll ever have on Facebook.

9. Moonleaf Planner

Photo from the Moonleaf Tea Shop Facebook page.

Best for: the milk tea addict

Crazy for Moonleaf? Then this planner will be just your cup of tea. All-out fanaTEAcs can get their fix 24/7 with the planner that launched a thousand tweets. Feast your eyes on the trademark Moonleaf aesthetic with its clean lines and minimalist black, white and green palette. The planner comes with discount coupons, including one that entitles you to a free drink on your birthday and another on Moonleaf’s anniversary.

Price: P300 for the white cover, P450 for the black

How and where to get it: Available in all Moonleaf branches. For more info, check out Moonleaf Tea Shop on Facebook and Twitter.

10. The Book of Ten

Photo from the Wanderlust Finds Multiply page.

Best for: the person who doesn’t believe in planners

Making schedules and keeping records of daily events isn’t for everyone. The more spontaneous are inclined to veer away from routine, and may find updating a planner too much of a chore. The Book of Ten may just be your best bet if you’re more into the big picture than the small details. Featuring 10 lists that pertain to different facets of one’s persona, this “life planner” espouses the bare essentials, daring you to push limits and to achieve more, no matter what day, month or year.

Price: P390

How and where to get it: Check out Wanderlust Finds on Multiply.

Oh boy, oh boy, I’ve got to think about that

14 Nov

“If you asked her what it was…she would not have been able to say. She knew what she didn’t want, however, and that was exactly what [she] valued above all else.”

 

Twitty

15 Jul

Because sometimes, one letter makes all the difference.

In other newsss, congratch Fighting Maroons! UPKERIGOFIGHT o/*

Devotion and Assertion in Lino Brocka’s Bona (1980)

5 Jun

On the day that you were born

The angels got together

And decided to create a dream come true…

 Why do birds suddenly appear

Everytime you are near?

Just like me

They long to be

Close to you

 

How much of your life will you put on hold for someone who takes you for granted? Such is the question explored by Lino Brocka in his film Bona, starring Nora Aunor in the titular role and Philip Salvador.

The film opens with footage of devotees crowding around the statue of the Black Nazarene. The camera pans across the throng and zooms to a nonchalant bystander, a young woman named Bona. The next frame shows Bona at a film shoot, within arms’ reach of her real object of devotion – Gardo Villa (Salvador), a lower-tier actor with an ego heftier than his salary.

As Gardo’s not-so-secret admirer, Bona feels no remorse over cutting class and neglecting her household duties just to bring him refreshments at his shoots. This obsession puts Bona at odds with her domineering father, who sees no point in her reckless abandon.

A family scorned.

One night, the dazed fan girl stays over at Gardo’s place, tending to him after he was mauled by a group of thugs led by the brother of one of his lovers. She goes so far as to fetch water, cook breakfast and bathe him. As Bona sets out doing all these tasks, Gardo is reminded of his late mother, a tough but caring femme fatale under whose shadow he lived most of his life.

Later in the day, Bona returns home only to be beaten and disowned by her father. She then goes back to Gardo, offering to keep house and serve him in exchange for a place to stay. Despite having grown up in a middle-class household, Bona adjusts to life in the slums and assimilates well with the neighbors. She becomes a valuable part of the community, even more helpful and well-liked than Gardo ever was.

Gardo having a one-night stand with a coworker as Bona looks on

Her devotion to the actor, however, is unrequited and for the most part, underappreciated. And yet she draws a false sense of authority from her self-inflicted servitude. This is most evident when Gardo brings home another woman and makes love to her within Bona’s sight and earshot. When Gardo leaves in the morning, the woman bosses around an unyielding Bona.

Bona being bossed around by Gardo's paramour.

Gardo’s new paramour slaps Bona hard, a move that awakens the fighter in the latter. She slaps her right back, chasing her around the house and eventually beating her with a broomstick. Bona’s uncharacteristic violence is her way of marking her territory and asserting her place not only in Gardo’s house, but also in his life.

Gardo lets Bona know her place.

“Ikaw lang ang gusto kong pagsilbihan, Gardo, at hindi ibang tao. Ayokong dalhin mo sila rito sa pamamahay ko,” she told him.

Gardo responded by smacking her in the face. “Sira ka ba? At sinong nagsabi sayong pamamahay mo ‘to, ha? Sampid ka lang dito, at wala kang pakialam kung sino mang babae o ilan mang babae ang dalhin ko dito. Baka gusto mo ikaw ang palayasin ko dito?”

Bona, now in tears, answers, “Huwag! ‘di ko na uulitin.”

Bona bathes Gardo.

Bona is willful submission personified. The limits of what she can and cannot do are always in relation and in response to the men in her life: the father who controls her, Gardo who stunts her personal growth but whose every whim she yearns to satisfy, and the elder brother who becomes hostile to Bona after their father’s death, effectively severing her ties with the family.

Annie tells Gardo that she is bearing his child, and that she intends to have an abortion lest her parents find out.

In the same way, Gardo’s relationships with women also define him. The women in his life stand for different stages and repercussions of his maturity or lack thereof: his mother, a tough cookie who doted on her son to the point of spoiling him; Bona, whose devotion reminds Gardo of his own mother, a familiarity that would jinx any reciprocation of romance on his part; the prostitute and the actress in whose company he could feel “like a man”; Annie the seeming goody-two-shoes who bore his child, and whose abortion (organized by Bona upon Gardo’s plea) becomes a wake-up call for him and Katrina, an older woman besotted with Gardo who provides an opportunity for him to clean up his act and find his fortune elsewhere, albeit by spoonfeeding him still.

Bona, smitten and swooning.

The bedrock upon which Bona’s devotion is founded, however, remains largely untapped. Besides a brief sequence showing her hugging a signed photo of Gardo to her chest (with the strains of “Sayang” by Claire dela Fuente in the background nonetheless), the audience is left curious – perhaps to the point of exasperation – to know just how or why she fell so hard for him in the first place. After all, it’s no mean feat to sustain sympathy for a character who renders herself none.

A simple explanation is offered. Nilo (Nanding Josef), a young man from the squatters who initially showed interest in Bona, asks of her: “Bona, bakit? Bakit ka pumayag na magpaganyan? Inaallila, pinapagad. Ginugutom.”

Unflinchingly, she replies, “Gusto ko eh. At hindi naman ako inaalila. Hindi naman ako napapagod.”

At the end of the film, one realizes even more the relevance of the opening scene with the Black Nazarene. It sets the tone for the premise of the film – adulation, devotion and its consequent sacrifices – and juxtaposes it with Bona’s experiece. Unlike the Nazarene, Bona, despite having sacrificed her whole life, does not get adulation in return. She is powerless, and this powerlessness is what defines her existence. But in her moments of assertion and empowerment, as with her maltreatment of Gardo’s other woman and again in the movie’s heated conclusion, Bona proves that underdogs are not always toothless, and that not even servitude can bear the grunt of silence.