Archive for  June 2010

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I recently did some research on the Maranao Singkil dance from the southern part of the Philippines.  Turns out, the versions we normally see in cultural shows, as popularized by the Bayanihan Dance Company, are NOT authentic.  These are agglomerations of 3 Muslim dances into one.  The original Singkil does NOT have a male dancer.  The introduction of the male lead was inspired by the Darangen ni Bantugen, the Maranao adaptation of the Ramayana story.  According to a research paper done by Kanami Namiki in 2005, the Bayanihan also did similar treatments to other ethnic dances. The most notable one would be theatrical use of 10 pots in the Kalinga Banga dance vs. the authentic having only 2.  The question is what will they do next? Replace the kulintang with stainless steel drums?

From my perspective, it is ok to stylize a work as long as it is continuously communicated that it is so.  Problem is, as far as I can remember, the Bayanihan treatment has been folk dance dogma in schools.  I think there should be a deliberate effort to teach our students authentic folk dance to build appreciation for indigenous people their cultures.   I am not surprised if kids in urban centers like Metro-Manila demonstrate a cultural illiteracy of the highest degree.   They probably imbibe American street and gangsta culture than ours.  While I have not started to teach my kids authentic folk dance, I have begun to read them epics.  We read excerpts of “Darangen ni Bantugen” and “Lam-ang.  It is high time for us to take back our heritage and pass it on to the next generation.

While most of us are in Manila are still hunting for the latest iPhone accessories, I recently came across a co-worker showing off his iPad.  This wonder of a product has not been officially released in the country nor has Apple announced any release date.  It was amazing how compact this thing was equipped with a touch screen monitor.  It is connectible to an lcd projector by means of a special dongle adapter. A feature I need for my work as a university lecturer.  The iPad has wifi capability and has a storage space of 16GB (at least the one I saw).  It is not capable of connection to an external HDD so users need to synch with an iMac with bigger space. The unit was purchased at PHP 30,000 during an exhibit in Glorietta.  Since it has not been officially launched no warranties are honored in the country.  Perhaps I should wait until Apple launches it before I make my purchase.

Bumped off! I just learned today that we can’t renew our passports on June 30, it being declared a holiday. Ugh! DH got an email today from the DFA saying that our scheduled appointment will not push through. They did give us alternative schedules, though. I haven’t really set my mind on traveling because of the oh so many things I have to fit in my day. I’m not in “travel mode” yet so I haven’t really had time to check out good deals on Branson tickets, in case we do want to go to Missouri (Missou-ruh?). I was looking forward to learning how the E-passport renewal system works for myself so that I could give specific answers to those questions  people ask me about renewing passports (in another post). Anyway, we still have to renew regardless of what appointment schedule we get so I will post the outcome here on my blog. So hang in there, mga kababayan who have passport woes. I’ll keep you posted on the latest passport procedures as soon as we have ours.

Later, folks!

We took a little out of town trip yesterday with our kids for their annual homeschool achievement test. Our kids together with their friends took the Metropolitan Achievement Test at Westfields International School and thankfully they all passed! woot woot! It was approximately a two-hour drive to Angeles, Pampanga. A bit stressful because I volunteered directions to get to NLEX. Hah! I’m not a driver but I’ve had lots of practice being a backseat navigator (yup, loooooong drives across the Arizona desert with a rest area map in my hand hahahaha). Now, I’m not much for road signs but I have a hidden compass somewhere in my brain that tells me, YOU”RE LOST!!!!  EPIC STRESS! Oh well, I think stress is one of the best fat burners around or maybe not? We did get there in the nick of time and we had lots of yummy cupcakes (thank you, Chots!) to comfort our rattled nerves.

Bottomline, the kids passed! After that, we hied off to Clark to do a little Duty-Free shopping therapy. I was still a kid when I went to Clark and all I remember was a huge toll-booth looking gate with lots of US soldiers checking if you had a gate pass before allowing you in. What was unforgettable to me was the Commissary with lots and lots of imported goodies (well, I had my eyes on the candies). I still remember the Pop Rocks I got back then. I was amazed how those little rocks popped and fizzed in my mouth! Ahhhh, the simple joys of childhood…

Clark has changed quite a lot since then. Gone is the big gate. So are the American soldiers. No more Commissary. Lots of Duty-Free shops though. What I found so cool was those digital timers attached to stoplights that countdown the seconds till the signals change color. I wish we had those in Manila. There were also certain parts of the landscape that reminded me of California. Well almost. The intense tropical heat kept reminding me I was still in the Philippines.

Overall, it was a lovely day spent with the children and with friends. A bit tiring but I know  that when I will look back to this day, I will probably forget all the stress and just recall the time spent with my kids and my heart friends.

A few pics from our trip:

We had the opportunity to display some of our Everything Ballet products at the CCP Lobby last month. I found a lot of inspiration online on how to set up our display table. I wanted to do a little shabby chic inspired tablescape much like this one from Such Pretty Things.

Here’s our version of her lovely table:

Everything Ballet cupcakes

Everything Ballet cookies

We displayed a lot of products on our table aside from the pastries above. We had bags, cards, stationery and anything and everything ballet-related. It was a fun experience and hopefully we can plan a better setup next year. I think I’m going to look into those point of purchase displays to see how we can step it up a notch next time. Thank you to all who purchased from our table. Until next time!

Our son was recently confined for Pneumonia. While it was still in it’s early stages, our doctor decided to have him confined to ensure that his condition did not regress. He had to have Cefuroxime shots via his IV fluids. He was also given a mucolytic and an expectorant to clear his lungs. The first day was quite difficult for the little boy as the phlegm was making him vomit a lot. I sure beat an apidexin treatment considering the material coming out of him. As the second and third days passed, it was a lot more manageable. Now he’s home arguing with his sister.

Our kids acquired pulmonary infections after swimming last Tuesday. Some think it was the exposure to the cold water after the extreme heat in the city’s ambient. The heat in Manila has been quite extreme the past couple of months, reaching more than 38OC. Our house typically feels like the boiler room of a submarine. This sauna like experience is definitely better than taking herbal phentermine. Its common for builders to make houses in appropriate for our tropical climate. I guess, they designed sauna baths rather than houses.

Our family recently watched Prince of Persia. My 85 year old dad, said that it was a movie that was filled with killing from beginning to end. What do you expect from a video game movie adaptation? I personally found it entertaining considering the parkour-like stunts that made you forgo studying any thermotox review. It inspired me to develop more athletic dance choreographies. Storywise, it wasn’t that bad. The tension between Dastan and the Princess was quite interesting as well. This is a movie, I’d get for my video collection.

It’s not easy to deal with respiratory illness once it hits a person. Illnesses such as pneumonia, asthma or bronchitis are not that easy to manage especially with young children. The adage “an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure” is easier said than done. Children don’t care whether their backs get sweaty from playing. They couldn’t care less if it causes them to cough later on. For them the pleasure of playing is greater than the threat of sickness. Adults, on the other hand, who are stricken with emphysema due to smoking aren’t necessarily eager to give up that electric cigarette altogether. I know one person who smokes 3 packs of cigarettes a day and was advised by his doctor not to stop because it would affect his body rhythm all the more. These scenarios are  definitely not ideal especially if it happens to a family member. Therefore, it is important to know how to deal with respiratory illnesses before they strike. Consult with your family physician on what to do if you have a loved one that is prone to these sicknesses.

The sequel to the Phantom of the Opera musical, Love Never Dies opened last March. The story takes a drastic twist from the original where our villians are now protagonists and heros are now the opposite. The Giry’s, who helped Raoul and Christine in the first musical, are now the main antagonists. Raoul is no longer the Knight in Shining Armor of Christine. This role now goes to the Mr. Y (aka the Phantom). The best eye cream for our anti-hero is when his son, Gustave, unmasks him at the very end.

I watched a video of the Phantom of the Opera yesterday. It was quite refreshing to watch this wonderful piece of musical theater after a couple of years. I first watched this in Broadway in 1997. I first watched the video a couple of years later. It is interesting to note that the hideousness of a person, like the Phantom, doesn’t really come from external appearances. It rather comes from the rancor in one’s heart. No amount of eye wrinkle cream can remove the wrinkles and scars of the human soul. It’s only the blood of Jesus that truly heals a wounded heart and turns it into one of joy.

The recently in concluded ballet recital of ACTS Manila was quite sucessful. It just made clear our vision that Ballet is our way of shaping society for God. Every step we take, every number we perform is a testimony to the great abilities our God has to establish the principles of His Kingdom on earth. All the sleepless nights and rehearsals were worth it. The extra doses of vitamins for women were all for a worthy cause. Excellence…Faith…Social Transformation.

Today was the first day of classes in De La Salle University. I met my Physics 2 lab class for the first time. I introduced the subject coverage for the term. I also introduced myself to the kids. I talked about careers and jobsearches I’ve made in the past. I really don’t think they’ll be looking for a Philadelphia job soon but I just want them to learn the hard lessons I’ve learned in my career. One of the things I told them was for them to handle and guard their data well, particularly because they are engineers. Hopefully, they won’t forget what I say and be agents of change in their generation.

Last night I was watching a show about stylish houses in the Philippines. The featured house was a family getaway in Tagaytay. The outside had a european Chalet look to it but the inside was quite Asian. The interiors were done quite well rendering a hotel like look. The high ceilings and balconies gave a more relaxing feel appropriate for city dwellers looking for a rural getaway. I just wonder how it would be like if the house used log furniture. As long as the logs are sustainably harvested, it would probably be wonderful.