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Marunong akong maglaba, magluto, mamalantsa at mag-limpieza al fondo

12 Oct

Tambayan ng mga kababayan natin sa Hong Kong tuwing Linggo.  ws.blancspot.com 

Marunong akong magluto, maglaba, mamalantsa at maglinis ng bahay al fondo.

Lumaki kasi ako na marunong sa gawaing bahay. Ang sabi kasi ng nanay ko: “Hindi porket mga lalaki kayo hindi kayo matututo ng mga gawaing bahay!” Medyo abansado na ang mga magulang ko pagdating sa gender roles.

Isa pa, ilang taon din akong nag-aral at nagtrabaho sa Manila. Walang choice, hindi naman ako puwedeng mag-Chicken Joy araw-araw, kaya natuto akong magluto.

Hindi mo aakalain na ang mga maliliit na bagay na natutunan mo ay magagamit mo pagdating ng panahon.  Ang panahon na yun ay dumating noong dumating ako sa Barcelona halos pitong taon na ang nakararaan.

Ewan ko ba. Hanggang ngayon ay nagtataka pa rin ako na sa aming grupo ng mga scholars, ako lang yata ang hindi nakakatanggap ng allowance kapag bakasyon. Kapag wala akong klase, wala akong allowance. Halos apat na buwan din akong walang klase. 

Buti na lang marunong akong mag-ipon at higit sa lahat marunong akong maglinis, maglaba, mamalantsa at maglinis ng bahay al fondo.

Karamihan ng mga Pilipino sa Barcelona ay nagtatrabaho sa restaurante o sa bahay. Bawal akong magtrabaho sa restaurant dahil student permit lang ang hawak ko. Kaya napasabak ako sa paglilinis ng bahay.

Noong una, bantay bantay lang, guardacasas. August noon. Kailangan lang ng magbabantay ng bahay kapag weekend. Meron kasing bahay bakasyunan sina señor sa Puigcerda at nandun sila kapag weekend. Hindi naman nila puwedeng iwanan ang bahay nang walang tao. Iba kasi ang nakawan dito, hindi lang raw akyat-bahay, truck ang dala ng mga magnanakaw.  

Nang lumaon ay naglilinis na rin ako ng baño, at naglilinis ng bahay al fondo, yung lilinisin mo yung kasulukuk-sulukan at kung minsan lilinisin mo yung malinis na. Kailangang kumikintab na sa linis, yung nakakainis na sa linis.

Natuto rin akong mag-beddings. Hindi pala ganun kasimple ang mag-ayos ng kama. Kailangan mong buhatin minsan ang colchon para mailagay nang maayos ang sapin. Kaya nga ganun na lang ang simpatya ko sa mga naglilinis sa hotel lalo na sa mga five-star hotels kung saan mas malalaki at mas mabibigat ang kama.

Nag-alaga rin ako ng bata. Ang bungad sa akin ng aalagan ko: ¡Qué te mueras! (Mamatay ka na!) Bago pa man mangyari yun, nilayasan ko sila. Matapang na akong mawalan ng trabaho kasi darating na ulit ang allowance ko. Hindi ko na kailangan pang magtrabaho sa bahay.

Ilang buwan lang ako nanilbihan.  Masaya dahil binayaran ako ng tama. Masaya dahil tao ang naging trato sa akin, puwede akong gumamit ng swimming pool, kung ano ang pagkain nila yun din ang pagkain ko, at may sarili akong room, may sariling baño pa. Masaya dahil ang paglilinis ko ng bahay ang nagbukas ng pintuan sa akin para makapaghanap ng gusto ko talagang trabaho. Masaya dahil naranasan ko ang hirap at sarap ng pagtatrabaho sa bahay.

Malayung-malayo ang karanasan kong ito sa sitwasyon ng ilan sa mga domestic helpers sa ibang bansa. Hindi sila masaya: may natutulog sa baño, may hindi pinapasuweldo, may binubugbog, may ginagahasa at may iba hindi na umuuwing buhay sa Pilipinas.

Kaya naman laking tuwa ko matapos kong malaman ang mga nakamit ng mga domestic helpers ngayong taon pa lang.

Una ay ang pagkilala ng International Labor Organization sa domestic work at ang paggalang sa karapatan nila bilang manggagawa. Ang pangalawa ay ang pagkapanalo ng isang Filipina domestic worker upang magkaroon siya ng permanent residency sa Hong Kong, kung saan lahat ay maaaring maging permanent residents maliban ang mga domestic workers.

Napakalaki at makasaysayan ang mga panalong ito para sa mga taong itinuturing na maliit ng lipunan.  Ang lipunang hindi pumapansin sa napakalaking kontribusyon ng mga domestic workers.  

Kung walang maglilinis ng bahay at mag-aasikaso ng mga anak, makakapagtrabaho ba si Señora? Magkakaroon ba siya ng oras para asikasuhin ang kanilang negosyo? Magagawa ba ni Señora maabot ang sarili niyang pangarap bilang babae?  Ano kaya ang mangyayari sa Hong Kong kung ang mahigit 200 libong domestic workers ay biglang tumigil magtrabaho?

Kung sasagutin ang mga tanong na ito, makikitang napakalaki ng kontribusyon ng mga domestic workers sa pagbabago at pag-unlad ng lipunan, mas higit pa sa kakayahan nilang magluto, mamalantsa, maglaba at maglinis ng bahay al fondo.

Isama nyo pa ang magkaroon ng segment sa sikat na talk show sa US,  Ellen:  

Si Mindy, ang sikat na Pinay housekeeper/movie critic/TV critic/segment host/reporter ng sikat na si Ellen DeGeneres.

Una gratísima sorpresa descubrir a los UST Singers

2 Oct

por F. Javier Gutiérrez

Las personas que me conocen saben que no soy especialmente aficionado a asistir a conciertos de coros, pues no se encuentran entre mis preferencias tanto de repertorio como de sonido.

Por ello fue para mí una gratísima sorpresa descubrir a los UST Singers, que recalaron el pasado día 27 de septiembre en Barcelona, en la Iglesia de San Agustín, en un concierto incluído en su vigésimo primera gira mundial. Este coro está formado por estudiantes y antiguos estudiantes de la Universidad de Santo Tomás (Manila, Filipinas) y dirigido por Fidel Gener Calalang Jr.  No puedo por menos que decir que quedé admirado tanto por el trabajo técnico constante que sin duda debe haber tanto por parte del director como de los integrantes del coro (los UST Singers pueden a voluntad sonar como un solo instrumento, como un cuarteto de cuerda o como una orquesta con instrumentos solistas, siendo el empaste y la mezcla de timbres de una gran perfección), como la exquisita sensibilidad musical y expresiva que se manifiesta en el resultado que pueden percibir los espectadores.

Los UST Singers cuidan también el aspecto visual de la interpretación, absolutamente moderno en su presentación. No solo por el vestuario (con reminiscencias de trajes tradicionales filipinos) sino que cada pieza está interpretada con una disposición de los integrantes en el espacio escénico, así como una coreografía adecuada a la obra interpretada.

Destacar también la altísima calidad técnica y tímbrica de las voces solistas, especialmente las femeninas y las voces graves masculinas, todas de resonancia operística.

El concierto dio comienzo con la interpretación de cuatro piezas religiosas, en las que no sólo se puso de manifiesto la capacidad musical del coro (sirva como ejemplo el rango gradual de pianísimo a fortísimo en The Lord’s Prayer de Albert Hay Malotte) sino también la expresión de un sencillo y emocionante fervor religioso que me emocionó.

En esta primera parte destacaría especialmente la pieza Jubilate Deo, compuesta por el propio Fidel G. Calalang,Jr., en un estilo musical contemporáneo pero al mismo tiempo con ciertas raíces que recuerdan a los motetes y la época dorada de la música religiosa. La pieza tiene unos ritmos muy marcados, punteados aquí y allá por algunos instrumentos de percusión.

En la segunda parte, con canciones internacionales, el coro dio muestras de su versatilidad de estilos lingüísticos, para a continuación, en la tercera parte,  emocionar al público con las intensamente melódicas canciones filipinas.

La parte final estuvo dedicada al repertorio de Broadway, donde los UST Singers demostraron su dominio del estilo y, lo que es más importante ,del idioma y acento puramente norteamericano.

Tras los aplausos, los bises. Un concertante magníficamente interpretado (operístico casi)  de Les Miserables, y unas canciones ilocanas que entusiasmaron especialmente al público de la región, que las acompañó cantando y moviéndose al ritmo de las piezas.

Como aspectos no tan positivos del recital, simplemente comentar que el sonido de las piezas con acompañamiento quedó deslucido debido a la megafonía, que destacaba en exceso el acompañamiento en detrimento de las voces. Igualmente, en cuanto a la organización, la constante presencia de fotógrafos (quizá hubiera debido limitarse el tiempo de fotos a la primera de las piezas y al final) y el comportamiento un tanto inquieto del público no nos permitió disfrutar del concierto de la forma que estamos acostumbrados los aficionados a la música.

Volveré a escuchar en vivo a las UST Singers siempre que tenga la oportunidad.

The UST Singers en Barcelona!

21 Sep

Con motivo de la conmemoración del 4º centenario de la fundación de la Universidad Pontificia de Santo Tomás de Manila, Filipinas, y coincidiendo con su 21ª gira internacional (19 de septiembre-21 de noviembre de 2011), THE UST SINGERS, pasan por Barcelona, Carrión de los Condes (Palencia, pueblo natal del Padre Dominico Miguel de Benavides, fundador de la universidad más antigua de Asia)  y Madrid después de inaugurar la actuación de gala en la UNESCO en París. Compuesto por alumnos y ex-alumnos de distintas facultades de la universidad, el coro universitario THE UST SINGERS se ha proclamado dos veces “Choir of the World” (1995 y 2010) en el prestigioso certamen coral de Llangollen, Gales (Reino Unido) entre otros grandes premios cosechados.

Desde su fundación en 1992 bajo la dirección del Profesor Fidel Calalang, Jr., este grupo coral filipino se ha llevado el primer premio en más de 65 ocasiones en 21 concursos internacionales en Gorizia y Arezzo, Italia; Tours, Francia; Tolosa y Torrevieja, España; Lindenholzhausen y Miltenberg, Alemania; Miedzyzdroje y Sopot, Polonia; Spittal, Austria; Olomouc, República Checa; Monster, Holanda; Cork, Irlanda; Bangor, Irlanda del Norte; y San Luis Obispo, California, USA.

El repertorio excepcional de THE UST SINGERS abarca las mejores páginas de la historia de la literatura coral de los últimos cinco siglos.  Después de su paso por España, el grupo seguirá su gira por Alemania, Letonia, Suecia, Noruega, Finlandia, Bélgica y Korea del Sur.

En este enlace puedes saber las canciones que va a interpretar el Coro: UST Una Noche Musical

El Coro agradecerá enormemente cualquier donación de los asistentes a nivel personal o de asociación para sufragar sus gastos de viaje.

Megawatt Smile of the Week

18 Sep

She came…

She awed…

She conquered.

Not the crown though.  But the hearts of our Kababayans around the world by her impressive display of poise, elegance and wit at the recently concluded 60th Miss Universe in Sao Paolo, Brazil.   Ms. Angola, Leila  Lopes bagged the crown. 

Our girl from General Santos city, Shamcey Supsup made the Philippines proud after clinching 4th place (3rd Runner-up) out of 89 candidates during the said event where millions of Filipinos rooted for her since day one.

To the lady with the megawatt smile,  CONGRATULATIONS are in order.

 Mabuhay ka Shamcey!

Pinoy voting power, ngayon din!

18 Jul

Pagsama-samahin mo man ang mga alagad ni Puma Leiar at isama mo pa si Puma Leiar mismo:

Wala pa rin silang panama sa Pinoy voting power.  Sa internet man o kahit may bayad pa ang text votes at phone calls, boboto pa rin tayo para manalo ang manok natin.  

Ilan na ba ang napanalo natin?  Heto ang ilan sa kanila:

Anna Theresa Licaros, nanalong Miss Photogenic sa Miss Universe beauty pageant noong 2007. Halos taun-taong Miss Photogenic ang Pilipinas dahil parating nangunguna sa internet votes. Nagrereklamo na nga ang mga fans ng ibang kandidata. Lagi raw kasi tayo ang panalo. Tingnan ninyo ito, nangunguna na naman ang Pilipinas: http://listas.20minutos.es/lista/miss-universo-2011-263431/

Efren Peñaflorida, tinanghal na CNN Hero of the Year noong 2009. Pinoy internet voting power din ang nakatulong para manalo siya. Ilan ba sa atin ang araw-araw o minu-minuto na bumoto para manalo si Efren?

Hindi rin kinaya ng powers ni Simon Cowell ang voting power ng mga taga-Hawaii lalo na ng Filipino-American community doon. Kaya nakaabot sa grand finals at naka-third place pa si Jasmine Trias sa  American Idol noong 2004.  Ano pa kaya kung tinatanggap ang overseas calls?

Ngayon ay maipapakita natin muli sa buong mundo ang Pinoy voting power.  Kasalukuyang hinahanap ang New 7 wonders of Nature sa buong mundo, at ang Puerto Princesa Underground River sa Palawan ang pambato ng Pilipinas.  Ito raw ang pinakamahabang underground river sa buong mundo!

Heto ang ilan sa mga larawan ng Puerto Princesa Underground River:

Ano pa ang hinihintay natin? Boto na! Kailangang gumawa ng account at i-register ang inyong email bago makaboto.  Bisitahin lang http://www.new7wonders.com/archives/wonder/puerto-princesa-underground-river?lang=en . Kung tayo ay nasa Pilipinas, puwede rin ang text voting. 

‘Nga pala, hindi na kailangan si Annie at ang kanyang magic panty para bumoto. Pinoy voting power, ngayon na!

DIT. Maraming salamat kay Ambassador Eddie de Vega sa pagbahagi ng impormasyon. 

Rizal, pasok sa Operación Triunfo!

3 Jul

Naunahan pala ni Rizal si Alexandra na makapasok sa sikat na talent search sa Spain, ang Operación Triunfo. Makikita sa ‘fashionalistic’ pink T-shirt na suot ni Àngel Llàcer, isang sikat na aktor, theater director at TV host/judge sa Spain, ang mukha ni Rizal, naka-shades pa. Ang kuhang ito ay lumabas sa Operación Triunfo noong 2009, dalawang taon bago makapasok ang kauna-unahang Pinay-Spanish sa nasabing talent search. Paano kaya nakuha ni Àngel ang T-shirt na ‘to? Alam kaya ni Àngel na ngayong taon ipinagdiriwang ang ika-150 birth anniversary ni Gat José Rizal? Maraming salamat kay Mac Turija para sa larawan.

The boy who can K.R.U.M.P

29 Jun

(Ed. Note: Entrevista con Nata. In this section, our correspondent Nathaniel Sisma Villaluna will share with us his creamy and delectable stories, 100 % inspiring yet zero in fat.)

Misa, Rodney and Jun 2wiggz (the Japanese who won in the Krump style)

The dance docu-film “Rize” opens with a disclaimer that says  “The footage in this film has not been sped up in any way.”   This refers to the general movements and swift body contortions that are characteristic of Krump dance which  are done with such rapidity and intensity.

“The steps were weird. They were fast. They danced like monkeys.” 

This was Rodney’s first impression when he first saw “Rize”.  The said American docu-film exposes the new dance form known as Krumping that originated in the early 2000s in Inner City, Los Angeles.

After watching the video, Rodney was both intrigued  and taken by the moves and steps of the dance.  He decided to learn it.

But before Rodney Paul Cueto Montero discovered krumping, he was already dancing when he was only seven years old.  And a self-confessed huge Michael Jackson fan at that. 

“My Papa had this VHS  tape  of Michael Jackson in  a concert in Budapest. I fell in love with “Beat It”.  I copied the moves and  that was the time I taught myself how to dance.”

He saw friends dancing at the parks or  at school. He got hooked. 

“When I finally had a computer, I checked out all the new dance steps and practiced them at home.”

And when “Rize” came into the picture, he finally realized what he really wanted to dance.

“Para silang loko-loko kung sumayaw. But later in the middle of the film, I understood the religious message it was trying to convey, through their moves.”

Rize movie poster. “The first Krumpers created the dance as a way for them to release anger, aggression and frustration in a positive and non-violent  way.”

He showed his new moves to several  friends at school  and introduced Krump to them.

“But they said,  “What are you doing?”  They didn’t understand the steps. Soon however, they caught up. Nung nag- umpisa kami ng bestfriend ko sa school, there were some who were critical to the  weird steps.  But hindi ko sila pinapansin. This is my style, my moves, I didn’t mind them.”

Krumping is characterized by  mostly exaggerated yet  expressive, often free and highly energetic movement involving the arms, head,  chest, the legs and feet and is danced to upbeat and fast-paced music. The first Krumpers created the dance as a way for them to release anger, aggression and frustration in a positive and non-violent  way.

The root word “Krump” came from the lyrics of a song in the 90s. It is often represented as K.R.U.M.P., which stands for Kingdom Radically Uplifted Mighty Praise, making krumping as a faith-based  and spiritual form of art.

At that time, there was already a group who was dancing Krump. Rodney tried to join the group, who also happened to be his friends.  

“They were older than me and they were already familiar with Krump.  They had more experience.  Lumalabas na sila sa ilang shows dito sa Spain at sa ibang bansa. I danced in front of them. Some sort of an audition to join in.  But they told me, I still had a lot of room for improvement.  I wasn’t taken in.”

Rodney felt rejected.  They told him to practice some more.  He was very disappointed, he decided to stop dancing. He stopped practicing at home.  He stopped watching dance videos.

For a while, he focused his attention on other things like his part time job at Hardrock Café and  his studies. He is taking up Tourism.

Then May came and school break was fast approaching. He didn’t have anything to do. His stint at Hardrock was coming to an end too.  He found himself bumming at home. One day, he tried dancing again. He checked out dance videos and started  some new moves.  He went to see old friends who “rejected” him and showed them how he got his groove back, and more. 

“They were surprised . It was nice that they kinda missed me.   Tapos nag-usap kami , sumayaw ako in front of them. They liked what they saw.”

Several months later, in between juggling  his part time job  and his studies, Rodney created his own group. It came easy for him to find more than willing members because apparently, the former dance group was falling apart with disgruntling members wanted out. They opted to join Rodney’s.

“It was like a blessing in disguise.  I decided to form a group, I named it “Impact Spain”. The group had its first 10 members.”

Their first stint as a group was at the Asian festival organized by Casa Asia. However, he was not able to perform with his group due to an unavoidable conflict of schedule at work.

“Duty ko kasi noon. I had to report to work. No choice. But I was able to make it even if I arrived late. I was their camera man.”

While Rodney’s group has been krumpin’ around town, Krumping has slowly become popular in Spain with the help of Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.  As of last count, there are now  five active groups in Spain.  In Barcelona alone, there are two and majority of the members are Pinoys.

Then came a dream.

“I attended this hip hop competition. That was when I first thought, why not a competition for Krump.”

For this dream to come true, Rodney  didn’t wait for others to do it for him. He found himself jotting down his ideas, brainstorming, planning and calling people.

“I named the battle as “NO MERCY”. Because in this competition, there was only one round. In most battles each contestant was given 2 rounds to show their moves. Mine was merciless.”

Flipside (Center), from France is one of the best Krumpers in Europe. He was one of the judges.

Having worked in several shops in Barcelona helped Rodney gained friends and won their support. It was not difficult to find sponsors.

“Marami akong kaibigan sa Barcelona. Yung  The Hustle  Store, I used to work there. They helped me. Sunod-sunod na after that. Ang sarap ng feeling. I was doing the right thing. But I had also to be careful. I had to know what to do next. Like, the sponsors, the venue, the budget. Everything.  Yun nga, ang telephone bill ko ang laki dahil sa mga calls ko. My crew helped out promote it.”

With the undeniable popularity and clout  of social networks like Facebook, Rodney didn’t have to “beg” people to come to the said event. People visited his account and signed in.

“Maraming nakakita. They saw my flyer on Facebook.  They said, “ah this guy is serious”, I was not just making some pranks around.   They wanted to be part of it.”

Rodney only expected around 50 people to come. In Accounting terms, he was way too conservative for such a glum estimate.

“Hindi ko akalain na maraming pupunta. Expect ko lang mga 50 people at dito lang sa Barcelona. Plan ko nga maliit na room lang. Pero, nagtatanong sila kung paano makabili ng cheap flight tickets. People  from France, Germany and even Japan were inquiring. They didn’t care how much they just wanted to come.”

The choice for the venue proved a bit tricky.  His first set his eye on a small place somewhere in Barceloneta. The venue can hold 100 people.

“I needed a bigger venue. Later on  I realized: Why only Krump? Why not a bigger battle? Like a huge event with Rap battle, Jerk, Hip hop and Krump all in one fun night.”

 In Hip Hop style, the Barcelona-based Polish girl bagged the first place.

Raiart Theatre in El Borne was finally deemed appropriate for a bigger crowd.  However, amidst all these preparations, pressure   and all, took a  toll on Rodney’s health.

“A month before the main event, I was really stressed out. I was bedridden for one week. I took a rest and recharged.”

After recovering his energy back, he was ready to go to battle. On the day of the competition, he  personally  collected some  of the guests from the airport and took them to their hostels.

“But the two Japanese guests stayed in my place. They didn’t speak Spanish and their English was quite limited, takot ako para sa kanila. 

On March  12, 2011, at exactly 3:30 in the afternoon, Rodney couldn’t believe his eyes.

“We assembled in front of Hardrock Café… and oh man, there were a lot of them. It was raining and I was seeing hundreds of umbrellas. We all walked to the venue together.”

The battle officially started at 6.  The host was from France. The contestants as well as the judges came from France, Italy, Japan, Germany, Madrid,Valencia, Zaragoza, Canarias and Barcelona.   Rodney was “speechless” when he was called on stage to give welcome remarks. The place was full to the rafters. He found himself reciting his  speech in front of about 230 people including a Mexican  documentary director who just came to Barcelona to film the event.

In the Rap category, this 15-year-old Catalan dancer, the youngest dancer of the night, emerged as victorious. 

Given a smooth start, one would expect a hitch-free ending, wouldn’t it? Not.  As the battle was heating up, Rodney was told by the owner of the place that they were only allowed until half past eight.  Beyond that, lights would be out. He argued that the agreement was until nine. He demanded a good reason but the manager was firm.  With grace under pressure, he haggled. They met halfway. Eight forty five.

“I had to act quickly. I had to change the rule. I went  onstage and apologized. The original rule was 1 minute and 30 seconds . we had to change it to less than one minute.”

The battle carried on. And  before the bargained  eight forty five ticked, winners had been  declared. In Hip Hop style, the Barcelona-based Polish girl bagged the first place. At 15, the Catalan dancer who was also the youngest dancer of the night emerged victorious in the Rap category.  In Jerk style, the Barcelona-based Filipino dancer was declared the winner. And in Krump  style, the much coveted first prize went to the Japanese krumper. They each pocketed 50 euros as top prize.

The champ in the Jerk style

“I was a little bit disappointed because of the abrupt ending. But then, people came to me and told me how much fun they had. I felt good.”

More than the success of Rodney’s maiden project, it was the spirit of brotherhood and camaraderie  that proved to be  unparalleled.

“I remember that it was the time when Japan was hit by tsunami and  I was really worried about my Japanese friend. He called all his friends and family in Japan. When he won, he took us out to dinner and used his prize to treat us. He told meKrump is  family, krump is not money,  with my  prize we will eat together” I was touched kasi pumunta lang siya dito from Japan not for  the money but for love of Krump.  He is my idol.”

What did Rodney learn from this event?

 “Unity is very important. Unity is our strength. We  have to praise our  originality and moves, hard work and practice because this is an inspiration to make all things go better.”

Any future plans?

“Lie low muna. Maybe, to organize  future events  or to start a new group worldwide. Who knows?”

For this Filipino Krump dancer, Rodney can easily disclaim that his journey to krumpin’ has  been sped up. It took a lot of hard work, perseverance and patience to show to the world that he too,  deserved to be  called a true blue krumper. Pictures courtesy of Rodney Paul Cueto Montero.

A sample of Krump:

 

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