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Araw ng Kasarinlan, Paninindigan, Pagbabago at Kabataan sa Barcelona

11 Jun

Ang poster para sa taong ito. Kabataan, manindigan para sa Pagbabago ng Bayan.

Bilang paggunita sa Araw ng Kasarinlan ng Pilipinas at ika-150 anibersaryo ni Gat José Rizal, muling dadausin ang taunang pagdiriwang ng mga Filipino sa Barcelona sa pangunguna ng iba’t ibang asosasyon na napapabilang sa Kapulungan ng mga Lider Pinoy sa Barcelona (KALIPI) at sa pakikipagtulungan ng Embahada at Konsulado ng Pilipinas at ng Ayuntamiento de Barcelona. Ang programa ay gaganapin ngayong Linggo, ika-12 ng Hunyo sa Plaça dels Angels, harapan ng MACBA, Barcelona, Spain. Sisimulan ang tanghalian (a las 12) ng Food Festival at mga Palarong Pinoy. At kung gusto ninyo naman ng basketball, may  Basketball Friendship Game sa Poliesportiu Can Ricart, Calle Sant Pau, a las 9 ng umaga. Para malaman ang kompletong programa, maaaring i-dowload ito: Programa Philippine Independence Day Barcelona

Mawawalan ba ng artista? Maraming artista! Isa na siya:

Pagkatapos ng konsiyerto niya sa iba’t ibang lugar sa Espanya, muli nating masisilayan si Alexandra ngayong Linggo!

‘Kinatay’, ‘Pinoy Sunday’ at First Casa Asia Film Week

4 Jun

Two award-winning Pinoy films along with other 28 Asian films will be screened in the first Casa Asia Film Week.

‘Kinatay’ (The Execution of P), the film which earned Brillante Mendoza the Best Director award in the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, besting the likes of Quentin Tarantino (Inglorious Basterds) and Ang Lee (Taking Woodstock), will be shown for free on 07 June, Tuesday, at 6:15 p.m. at Sala Samarcanda, Casa Asia,  Avenida Diagonal 373, Barcelona. R18.

‘Pinoy Sunday’, directed by another Cannes winner, Malaysian filmmaker Wi Ding Ho, features popular Pinoy actors and actresses and talks about the lives of Filipino migrant workers, minus the drama, plus a discarded red sofa. The film will be shown at Cinemas Girona  (C/Girona 175) from 10 June -11 June, Friday and Saturday, 4 p.m. You may check out the trailer below:

Casa Asia Film Week takes over BAFF (Barcelona Asian Film Festival ) after it bade goodbye last year.  Films will be shown at Casa Asia and Cinemes Girona, Barcelona, Spain from 06 June – 12 June.  The Film Week does not only aim to showcase films from Asia but also to serve as a medium that will promote the presence of Asian films in Spanish movie houses.

Watch the super cool trailer of Casa Asia Film Week:

To see the Festival program, you may download the following:

Programaci_n_Portal_Asia-CAFW_definitiu

For more information, you may check the Festival’s official websites:

http://www.casaasiafilmweek.es/

http://www.casaasia.es/

Filipinos at the Centro de Cultura Contemporanea de Barcelona

28 May

You can see the fruits of their hard work at CCCB this Tuesday, 31 May, 8:30 p.m.

A team of Filipinos will soon be presenting their film, a creative documentary about a young man and a young woman and their journey from the Philippines to Spain, at the Centro de Cultura Contemporánea de Barcelona (CCCB). The team is composed of first and second generation Filipino migrants Rodel Juacalla, Ian Albert Pring Reyes, and Louie Simbe, under the direction of Kay S. Abaño.

This film is part of the innovative documentary film project called Aula Factoría Barcelona, an initiative of Audiovisuales Sin Fronteras in cooperation with the CCCB. The project aims to promote a new way of understanding documentary films and other film territories through an alternative approach to the creative and production processes. Its organizers believe that the documentary film form and other creative audiovisual forms are magnificent communication tools for showing the talents and the social commitment of various collectives based in Barcelona. The other 2 collectives participating in the project are teams from Pakistan and the Dominican Republic, both under the direction of Spanish directors Héctor Muniente and Jeffrey Frígula.

Audiovisuales Sin Fronteras

All 3 films of the Aula Factoría Barcelona will be screened in the CCCB Hall on the 31st of May 2011, at 8:30 p.m.. The directors and their teams will be there to present their works. You are all invited!

For more information about this project, you may click the following: Nota de prensa de CONFLUENCIAS y ASF

Or visit: Aula Factoría

or you can just drop by CCCB

Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, or CCCB (Catalan for Barcelona Centre of Contemporary Culture), situated in El Raval, in the Ciutat Vella district of Barcelona, is a museum adjacent to the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA). The centre, one of the most visited museums in Barcelona, hosts temporary exhibitions, a cinema, concerts and other cultural events. Its thought-provoking temporary exhibitions frequently refer to social topics (immigration, international borders, apartheid…) and art related to or coming from them.

Con Mucho Amor y Gratitud

23 May

Por F. Javier Gutiérez, Fotos por AC Molera y Arvin Pagas

Durante la pasada noche del 14 de mayo, la nave de la iglesia de San Agustin (Parroquia Personal Filipina) se transformó, gracias a una sencilla y efectiva escenografía a cargo de Kay Abaño, Louie Simbe y Noel Villamor, en un espacio para la magia de la música de cortejo tradicional filipina, la Harana.

El programa incluyó obras de conocidos compositores filipinos, como Villar, Zubiri, Cayabyab, Canseco, Buencamino, Umali, Suarez, Cornejo, Cruz, Tan y de Guzman, y estuvo interpretado por la voz del tenor Bernard Milan acompañado por el pianista Ferdinand Bambico.

El público asistente se distribuyó en los bancos reorientados hacia la nave lateral, frente a unos lienzos blancos que colgaban de lo alto. A oscuras, una voz (Maritess Saulog) nos introduce en la pieza a interpretar, mientras sobre uno de los lienzos se proyecta un fragmento fílmico en blanco y negro. Al encenderse los focos, simulando la luz de la luna, voz y piano comienzan su recital, ambos vistiendo el barong, la prenda tradicional masculina.

Mientras la voz del galán llena el espacio, sobre una balaustrada aparece la amada (encarnada a la perfección por Venus Castillo), vistiendo un tradicional terno rojo brillante y luciendo un peinado también al estilo tradicional. Abriendo su abanico, escucha con reservada coquetería mientras deja que el auditorio contemple su radiante belleza.

El galán va desgranando las canciones hasta que al final la joven, complacida, desciende. Por sorpresa aparece entre los bancos del público y se dirige lentamente, como haciéndolo dudar, hasta el galán, manifestando finalmente su agrado y el feliz resultado del cortejo.

Bernard Milan encarnó con bravura y entrega al galán de cada una de las piezas, a las que prestó la belleza de su timbre, con algunas notas resolutivas largas e impactantes que inflamaron al público.

Fue acompañado con exactitud, brillantez y gran lirismo por Ferdinand Bambico, que realizó en solitario una acertadísima y contrastada versión de Ang Larawan.

Ferdinand Bambico junto con AC Molera, una de nuestros fotógrafos, J. Marina Gomez y Venus Castillo

Destacamos también las intervenciones de la joven pianista Marina Gomez Nagales y el violinista Eugeniu Casimov.

Eugeniu Casimov

J. Marina Gomez

La velada culminó con las conocidas y emotivas Maalaala Mo Kaya (Constancio de Guzman) y Gaano Ikaw Kamahal (E. Cuenco), que arrancaron los aplausos emocionados del público asistente.

Este evento no hubiera sido posible sin vuestro apoyo.

Muchísimas gracias a los que hicieron cola para estar en primera fila :)

A  los que nos apoyaron a su manera pero no pudieron venir

A los que no les importó la lluvia y vinieron:

A nuestras acomodadoras y nuestros acomodadores que, al ser tantos, no salen todos en la foto:

A Fr. Avelino Sapida por darnos de nuevo un lugar para realizar actividades culturales y por apoyarnos desde el principio, a la Sra. Maritess Saulog por ser nuestra voz de la noche, a las Sra. Juana Martin y Sra. Noelle Sy-quia por acudir a la velada y a todas las señoras que acudieron.

Al Sr. Xavier Bosch, Director General de Inmigración de Generalitat de Cataluña, Sr.Àngel Colom y los representantes de Convergencia i Unio que de nuevo han aceptado nuestra invitación:

Al Sr. Ignasi Cardelus y a la Sra. Katy Carreras del Ayuntamiento de Barcelona, al Sr. Louie Simbe, a nuestros artistas, y al Cónsul General Eduardo Jose de Vega (en barong azul) que nos dio su apoyo para este concierto y…

en el concierto de Casa Asia:

Al Sr. Arvin Pagas por ser estilista y al mismo tiempo fotógrafo en los dos conciertos

A OneGanap Guardians, a las acomodadoras y acomodadores que colaboraron con nosotros en este evento

De parte de Ang Bagong Filipino (Asociación Filipina de Escritores e Investigadores en Espña), os enviamos nuestro amor y gratitud por vuestro apoyo.

Agradecemos también el apoyo de:

Sra. Gaelle Laloy de Casa Asia

FILINVEST

Sr. y Sra. Danny y Marlen Escalona de Pasa-Pasa Restaurant

Sr. Jhoanne & Joselito Sumilang

Sra. Joji Sumilang

Sra. Reez Epino

Sr. Luis Hechanova

Banco de Oro Remit-CBN Group

Bank of the Philippine Islands

Sr. Randy Lamsen de Balitang Europe, The Filipino Channel

Sra. Vilma Grace dela Cruz de Metrobank Remittance Center

Sra. Nico Cueto de City Center Multiservice

Sr. Ricky Macayan de Mitch Hair Salon

Centro Filipino

SAMAKABA

Block Rosary

Asociación de las Mujeres Filipinas (Amistad)

Asociación Visayas Mindanao

Unified Bicolanos in Barcelona

Immanuel

CFC-FFL

Asociación Filipino Catalan

Sra. Jenny y Sra Myla de Prayer Partners in Catalonia

Sra. Millet Chipongian Irasusta de PYC y MFYAJULAI NOGALADA OF CFC-FFL

Sr. Joseph Espiritu y Sra. Venus Espiritu

BIBAK Barcelona

Sra. Sophie de Jesus is Lord Church

Sra. Shiela Saludo

Sra. Annie Gomez

Sra. Maribel Bico

Sra. Emelyn Agacer

Sra. Julai Nogalada

Y a todos que vinieron al mini-concierto en Casa Asia y los que compartieron la noche del sábado con nosotros, los que nos ayudaron a preparar y a que fuera un éxito este concierto. Muchas gracias por vuestro tiempo, esfuerzo y apreciación. ¡Hasta otra!

Pinay, sasabak sa eleksyon sa Málaga

21 May

Marami ang pagod na at napaso na sa pulitika lalung-lalo na ang mga sektor tulad ng mga kabataan, mga istudyante, mga matatanda, mga manggagawa at mga walang trabaho, at ilang sektor na naaalala lamang kapag dumarating ang halalan.  Kaya nga rito sa España, dahil eleksyon na bukas, napakaraming pangyayari ang maaaring magdulot ng pagbabago.

Ang kapangyarihan ng mga tao ay walang kapantay. Isa sa mga poster ng Democracia Real Ya!

Isa na rito ang mga gawain ng movimiento social na tinatawag na 15-M o Democracia Real YA  na nagsagawa ng malawakan at mapayapang pagkilos sa mahigit 60 lungsod sa Espanya at marami ring Espanyol na nasa iba’t ibang dako ng mundo ang nakiisa at gumawa ng kaparehong pagkilos sa harapan ng kani-kanilang mga embahada at konsulado. Ang kanilang mga pangunahing layunin: kapayapaan, hustisya sosyal at tunay demokrasya.

Kaya naman nakakatuwa ring marinig na kahit papaano ay may ilang pagbabago sa halalan. Ngayon ay may isa na ring imigranteng Pinay na sasabak rito.  Matapos makakuha ng nacionalidad española ay patuloy pa ring nagsisilbi, at ngayon nga ay susubukang lumahok sa pulitika. Siya si Narcisa Labarete Bermudez na kakandidato bilang konsehal sa Torremolinos, Malaga.

Narcisa Labarete Bermudez, kandidato sa eleksyon bukas sa Torremolinos, Malaga.

Siya ay kabilang sa partidong Torremolinos Intercultural. Ayon sa website ng nasabing partido, si Narci ay tubong Dagupan City, Pangasinan at kabilang sa Junta de Directores ng isang asosasyon ng mga Pilipino sa Torremolinos.

Torremolinos Intercultural

Mula sa Ang Bagong Filipino, isang mainit na pagbati at sana’y magpatuloy pa ang inyong paglilingkod hindi lamang sa ating mga kababayan kundi pati na rin sa marami pang iba lalung-lalo na sa mga sektor na hindi na pinapansin pagkatapos ng eleksyon. Daniel Infante Tuaño

How do you sing Matud Nila in Japanese?

8 May

Translation in Japanese may be cute but a Japanese singing a Bisayan song like ‘Matud Nila’, as one comment says, is something spectacular. Japanese baritone Teppei Kono sings ‘Matud Nila’.


Now, Polish-American tenor Mark Piekarz  gives Imelda a run for her money as he sings ‘Dahil Sa ‘Yo’.

Do you know how to sing Pinoy songs, in Filipino :) ? How well do you know Pinoy songs, your heritage? Wanna hear more Pinoy songs? Wanna be serenaded this weekend? You’ve got two chances this week:

1. Go to Casa Asia, Avenida Diagonal 373, Barcelona, this Wednesday, May 11 at 7:30 p.m. Free Entrance. Limited seats.

Songlist:

  • La Flor de Manila
  • Maalaala Mo Kaya
  • Gaano ko Ikaw Kamahal
  • Ang Larawan
  • 3 Folk Songs

2. Buy yourself a very cheap concert ticket, 5 euros only and go to Iglesia de San Agustin this Saturday, May 14.  Be early. The concert starts at 9 p.m. You can also buy the concert tickets at the entrance.

Songlist:

  • O Ina ng Laging Saklolo
  • O Naraniag nga Bulan
  • Magsimula Ka
  • Kahit Ika’y Panaginip Lang
  • Matud Nila
  • Init sa Magdamag
  • Iduyan Mo
  • Kastilyong Buhangin
  • Ang Larawan
  • Pandangguhan
  • Kataka-taka
  • Habang May Buhay
  • Ngayon at Kailanman
  • Nais ko
  • Bayan Ko

Know your roots. Be proud of your heritage. See you at the concert.

A Rich Voice, A Soul of a Millionaire

28 Apr

(Ed. Note: We are republishing Mr. Nathaniel Sisma Villaluna’s interview with New York-based Filipino Tenor Bernie Milan who is coming to Barcelona, Spain this May to serenade us with Filipino folk songs and OPM classics.)

New York-based Filipino tenor, Bernie Milan

What is it in opera that New York-based Ilonggo, Bernie Milan, doesn’t mind spending  his free time  memorizing long lines and hard-to-pronounce songs or enduring late night rehearsals, and yet doesn’t earn much from it?

The 34-year old  Filipino opera singer had this simple answer; “Opera is the only performing art where the question is not “Does he look the part?” but rather, “Can he sing the part?”

I knew Bernie way back in high school. The last  time I saw him was more than fifteen years ago. We finally met again when he came to visit Barcelona for a well-deserved vacation last month. Catching up over a glass of  cava and  people-watching by the Las  Ramblas, I later learned that aside from having a stable day job, he also  performs as an opera singer in The Big Apple. I sipped my cava and listened admiringly  to  his story.  During the course of our conversation, he was more animated and  bubblier.  Albeit still sober,  it was deemed necessary for a second  bottle  of  yet another sparkling cava. As they say in ‘Pinas, “Mahaba-habang inuman ‘to.”

A native of Bacolod,  the ever affable and  effervescent Bernard or Bernie to his friends was already singing when he was just a kid.  He was an active musical performer in school which earned  him numerous accolades and awards from several singing competitions.  So it did not come as a surprise that even if he is now working as an Online Manager for People en  Español Magazine in New York, he still finds time donning medieval costumes and belting arias, be it in German or Italian or in whatever language it may be.

“Opera, to me, is the highest form of any of the performing arts. It requires singers with truly exceptional talent and years of formal training. It takes the human voice to the absolute limits of what it is capable of doing. Imagine a venue that the only thing that mattered was talent.”

Bernie Milan playing Tamino in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s  Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) May 16, 2010. New York City

Hell Week

Bernie joined the community opera company Amore Opera in the 1999-2000 season and since then, he has been a main fixture in every show the company has mounted. With the kind of work that he does during the day, stressful and all, one may wonder how can he still find time to perform onstage.

“During the day I head up online sales for People En Español Magazine and I try to find time to study after work.  I am in the middle of “Hell Week” – the week before a production opens (We are opening Mozart’s The Magic Flute this weekend) and things in the office are getting really busy as well.    I guess the secret is developing a way to silo your different “lives””.

“I must say that when I am in the office, my focus is solely on my work.  The moment I leave the office, I put on a different hat and entertain my artistic side.  Music is a very powerful force.  As soon as I turn on my iPod on the subway to rehearsals, I become the character and my mindset is on that opera.”

“It also helps to find friends that are in a similar situation as you are.  I have a tight knit of friends who work during the day and sing opera at night.  The challenges are immense but when you get a standing ovation, or when someone approaches you after a show and tells you that they were moved by your performance – all that sacrifice, blood sweat and (many, many) tears are worth it.”

 This time, Bernie plays Lieutenant Pinkerton in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly while the Caucasian singers play the Asian roles

“Being a Pinoy is an advantage”

He considers himself lucky that he is  an operatic lyrico-spinto tenor, a rather rare high male voice-type. Gifted with such voice, he gets cast a lot. He sings the repertoire of singers like Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti.

“Actually, problems regarding my  being  Asian  has never come up.  Again, it’s about the talent.  The ability to perform certain roles and sing them well.  You can be short, fat, green, crooked, tall etc. – as long as you can sing the role. Of course all things being equal, the director will cast believable singers in the role. I once played Pinkerton, the main American character in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly.  Looking at the cast, I was the only non-white (Asian at that)  playing a Caucasian American.  All the Japanese characters, including Butterfly, were Americans (Caucasians, African-Americans, etc.)  It was quite weird at first but the music won the audience over and the show was well received!”

Right now, he is the only Pinoy in the group. Though, according to him, people no longer get surprised to see a Pinoy in any production. Thanks to Lea Salonga, Black Eyed Peas, Charice, to name a few.

“And this is a wonderful thing!”  He gamely exclaimed.  “Being a Pinoy is an advantage. I actually believe in the Pinoy touch.  Pinoys have music and performing arts in their blood. We have the flair for drama.  All throughout my days in La Salle, it was encouraged for everyone to take part in school plays, musicals and variety shows.  I mean even at karaoke here in NYC, people expect you be good if you are Pinoy!

On discipline and Maria Callas

Before a performance, Bernie strictly follows a self-imposed regimen, sleep and eat well. He gets to the theatre really early, get into costume and find a quiet corner to focus and visualize my performance.  He tries not to get caught up in the backstage frenzy with all the other performers. Having played a numerous array of Operatic characters, his most favourite character to date  is “Mario Cavaradossi” from Puccini’s Tosca.

Among the opera singers, he looks up to the two greatest opera singers in the world.

“One is Maria Callas.  This soprano defied the norms of opera and emerged as a superstar in her day.  Her vocal discipline and the drama that she brought to all her roles (not just beautiful singing) made her stand out from the rest.  She is a master of telling a story through her singing. The other one is the tenor Placido Domingo.  His range and characterization always win me over.  True, there are prettier voices out there, but Domingo brings such a depth to his performances that you actually believe in every note and every nuance. I guess I am drawn to opera singers who understand that voice is just the beginning, the vehicle to tell the story.”

Bernie playing Tamino

Does he think that Pinoys are ready to appreciate  opera?

“I believe that Pinoys need more exposure to opera.  We do not have a vibrant opera company in the Philippines so there are no local artists to idolize and look up to. Also, there are no conservatories and very limited educational tools for our students to appreciate and learn how to sing opera. That said, I am confident that with the advent of YouTube, Facebook and the Internet in general, our Pinoy youth can have access to musical performances outside the Top 40 Pop hits.”

“Opera has the reputation of being appreciated by a limited  number of followers. Such  reputation I’m afraid.  Because of the sheer scale and grandeur of the medium, productions get really expensive to mount and that cost translates into higher ticket prices. Another barrier for it to be accessible is the language.  German, Italian and French are the three main languages of more than 70% of the works that are out there.  Chances are foreign-language work (for Americans, at least) are deemed as for the elite and rich.”

“Because of this stigma, the Metropolitan Opera has started a “Live in HD” program where certain performances are broadcast live in HD at movie theatres across Northern America, Europe and Japan.  The goal is to make opera accessible to everyone from all walks of life and I honestly think it is helping break the stigma.  I hear they are increasing the number of broadcast performances and theatres in the upcoming season.”

“How wonderful would it be to wake up and just sing for a living”

Being with the opera group, Bernie had  the chance  not only  to do what he loves most but also to  meet amazing people on and off stage. Every performance is always a bottomless pit of fun and good memories. And that includes anecdotes and bloopers as well. One of the most unforgettable happened a couple of years ago.

“I was singing the title role of Gounod’s Faust.  We were multicast and all of the other Faust’s were…let’s say rotund. So when it was my turn to play the role, the costume was pinned to fit me. Let’s just say I had to finish the love aria “Salut! Demeure chaste et pure” with my lederhosen halfway down my knees.  I didn’t flinch – the show MUST go on!”

With all  the exposures that he gets from every performance, Bernie has actually considered taking opera on a professional level, making it as his bread and butter, so to speak. 

“Of course.  How wonderful would it be to wake up and just sing for a living. I’m getting there I think.  I have many people approaching me about auditions and artist representation and that feels good.  My day job allows me to live a certain lifestyle and it would be a hard adjustment to go the “starving artist” route at my (young) age – I am still hopeful though.  One must never give up on their dreams.”

Bernie in Puccini’s Tosca. Act II (as Mario Cavaradossi)

Does he have some advice to his fellow kababayans who are  interested in operas and want to be opera singers too?

“I would simply say give opera a chance. Listen to an aria or two.  Read about it.  Go on YouTube and watch clips from famous operas.  All the best love stories and musicals today are based on opera:  Rent was based from La Boheme; Moulin Rouge from La Traviata, Miss Saigon from Madama Butterfly. As for budding opera singers, listen to as much opera as you can. Study not only the technique and music but also embrace the story, the drama behind every note. And continue to sing – there are no boundaries or limitations!”

It was time to leave and to catch the Opera Flamenco concert Bernie was excited to watch as part of his Catalan experience. I sipped the last drop of cava from my glass before I decided to launch my last question that I was dying to ask him since the first time I heard  that he was into opera.  If we invited him to sing for the Filipino community in Barcelona or Madrid in the near future, would he sing for us?

“But of course, just say when!”

With this, I got my answer. As we walked down to the Teatro Poliorama  squeezing ourselves  through the crowded Las Ramblas, Bernie, as if  giving  Barcelona a glimpse of what to expect,  released  his own aria  from his  favourite  “Che Gelida Manina” of La Boheme:

“Per sogni e per chimere
e per castelli in aria,
l’anima ho milionaria.”

“When it comes to dreams and visions
and castles in the air,
I’ve the soul of a millionaire.”

Echoing the message of the aria, Bernie said it best as we finally reached  the theatre.

“I am just  trying to live my life – full of dreams and not afraid of possibilities.” Photos contributed by Mr. Bernie Milan; Text: Nathaniel Sisma Villaluna

Truly a man of his word,  Bernie is definitely coming to Barcelona to give a concert on May 14, Saturday, 9 p.m. at Iglesia de San Agustin, Calle Hospital, Barcelona, Spain.

Tickets for only 5 euros each. Proceeds from this concert will be used to finance the publication of the free magazine for Filipino migrants in Spain, Ang Bagong Filipino, this blog and other activities of Asociación Filipina de Escritores e Investigadores en España.

 

 

Love Letters

26 Apr

Casa Asia has invited the young Filipino writer Lobregat Balaguer (Manila, 1980) to present TenNet, her last poetry book. Together with another Filipino writer, Kaz Castillo (Los Ángeles, 1977), she will perform a dramatic reading of the poems.

Love Letters is the title of the activity which will be completed with a videoart program presented by the Filipino art critic and curator Yason Banal (Manila, 1977) and Lobregat Balaguer herself. Poetry and visual narratives come together in this event, to pay tribute to a popular writer and film critic, Alexis Tioseco (Philippines, 1981-2009), who was murdered along with his partner during a bizarre assault at his home, which has never been clarified. The event will be held at:

CENTRE CASA ASIA-MADRID
Wednesday, 27th April 2011, at 7.30 pm
Palacio de Miraflores
Carrera de San Jerónimo, 15 · Tagore Auditorium, 3rd floor
28014 Madrid
Free entrance · Limited capacity

Thanks to Neil dela Cruz Gadiano for the alert.

She Who Shot An Arrow Into The Stars

23 Apr

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

Bumping into a good book can be dismissed as coincidental. But finding a book that is not only engaging, but also inspiring and at the same time refreshing,  I call it serendipity. A few months ago, while visiting a friend, I chanced upon a wonderful book, I Shot an Arrow into the Star. It is a collection of poems written by Filipina poet, Eva Tabaosares Kohr.

Reading it from cover to cover gave me this strong desire to know more about the author. Contacting her turned out easy as the award-winning poet happened to be my friend’s classmate in high school.

Why poems? 

“Why not?  Poetry is the crowning glory of literature. It is a refreshing alternative to mundane prose. Poetry is the language of the soul.  It is a magical world wherein a poet interacts with the gods who not only inspire but delight. My muses give voice to my thoughts in iambic refrains that float like a distant melody.”

A self-confessed “accidental poet”, Eva Kohr was born in Tubungan, Iloilo, Philippines. She majored in Accountancy and graduated cum laude at the University of San Agustin, Iloilo.

Did you dream to be a poet?

“I’ve never dreamed of becoming a poet. When I wrote my first poem as a contest entry and won an award, it paved the way to nurture my talent into a life of poetic achievement.”

Her foray into poetry did not come until 2003 when she attended poetry conventions and symposiums and poetry readings at the invitation of the International Society of Poets. There, she learned from the Masters the tricks of the trade, different techniques, forms and styles of poetry writing. Her first poem “Just Ride the Waves” received the Editor’s Choice award from the International Library of Poetry that same year.

Can you still remember the feeling the first time you wrote a poem?

“What a great feeling it was when I found just the right words and the right rhythm for my first poem. I would describe it as my “eureka” moment.”

Who was the first person that you showed your first poem to?

“I showed my first poem to my husband who was also my staunch critic.”


A year later, she released her first book, Echoes From The Heart  which was  a critical success. Her other poem, New Orleans Was A Wet Canvass was the second prize winner in the International Open poetry competition sponsored by Poetry.com and was awarded a silver medal and the Editor’s Choice award in June 2007.

Who influenced you to write poems?

“I am a great admirer of poet Elma D. Photikarm (also a Filipina). Her writing style and strong sense of language can be an inspiration to all aspiring poets. Worthy of mention, I’d like to add my English teachers in high school, my alma mater, Iloilo City High School, Philippines. They helped shape my destiny by cultivating in me the love for the art of poetry.”

Has your childhood got something to do with your poems?

“As an apt pupil in the school of hard knocks and a keen observer of my surroundings, those childhood memories, bitter and sweet, formed the colors in the artist’s palette, a poet’s tool to paint with words.”

From then on, poetry has become a passion to this prolific poet. Her works have been published in several anthologies both in the U.S. and in Europe. She is a member of the Academy of American Poets in New York and of the International Society of Poets. She is also an established member of the Poems of the World, a quarterly publication for worldwide poetry sharing.

As a poet, how do you describe yourself?

“I am but a dull mystery

The why and the who

A tiny spark in the vast universe

A conduit of energy

Perchance to entertain

To share and to instruct

While I’m passing through”

How do you describe your poetry?

“I would love to think that my poems “breathed” and draw the reader to the scene with my vivid imagery. My verses reveal and conceal emotions to tease the senses. Like an autumn breeze nipping at leaves of trees in late summer. “

What is your most favorite poem?

“Crossing The Bar  by Alfred Tennyson”

Do you like rhyme?

“Poetry can be written in any form or style as long as the three elements are present: rhythm, metaphor and imagery.  I prefer  rhyming poems because they have music.”

How often do you write?

“It all depends on the poet´s mood.  If my muses are awake, the words just flow.”

Does it take a while  to finish a poem? Where do you get your inspiration when you write them?

“Poetry is an art form in which a poet paints a masterpiece using colorful words with a brushstroke of imagination. So one cannot rush art. The inspiration for my poetry comes from different events in my life. It could be a celebration of life, death of a friend, watching a bird drinking from a fountain  or simply listening to the music of the falling rain.”

Have you written poems in Ilonggo or in Tagalog?

“No, I haven’t. Maybe I should try to write one in Ilonggo. But to write a poem in Tagalog poses a great challenge for me because of my limited vocabulary.”

What inspired you to write the poems in your book, I Shot An Arrow Into The Star?

“When I decided to write my second book of poetry, I already selected for my title, I Shot An Arrow Into The Star. I thought it is an eyecatcher and has a magical sound to it. I was determined that this book was going to be my best one yet.  I studied the work of my favorite poets and developed my own style. Some of the poems in this book have already appeared in poetry publications and I also wrote new ones.

This book was divided into six parts and each section has its own personality, such a way that they flow from the prologue to the epilogue. When it received an award, it was like the stamp of approval by my peers and being inducted to the literary hall of fame. What a humbling experience.”

Do you have a particular favorite poem from your books?

“Yes, I do. It’s The Rose  from my first book, Echoes From The Heart.”

Are you currently working on anything?

“Besides writing poems, for the quarterly publication, Poems of the World, I start painting again. I’m not working on a particular project right now but still collecting ideas.  I’m like that old woman with a basket in the woods, collecting a leaf, a feather, an odd-shaped stick and a pebble at the edge of the stream. She doesn’t know what to make of it but at the back of her mind, she envisions a form, a shape.”

Who is (are) your favorite poet (s)?

“Among my favorites are the poets of old such as Percy Shelly, Wendell Holmes, William Wordsworth, Alfred Tennyson, Longfellow and Emerson. And for modern American poets, I love Robert Frost and Richard Wilbur.”

What are your other interests?

“I am also an artist whose favorite medium is watercolor.  I also taught myself how to play the piano. I love reading history and biography. On the domestic side, I enjoy gardening, cake decorating, baking cookies and sewing.”

 

An accountant by profession and an entrepreneur, she is also an award-winning artist whose paintings, often described as evocative of Beatrix Potter,  received numerous awards in juried exhibits. Besides poetry and painting, she currently works full time running her own business, Kohr Soft Ice Cream/Pine Cone wholesale and retail cream.

What is your personal philosophy?

“If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. As we journey through life, we hit bumps and curves along the way. We easily get discouraged by rejections and defeats.  Instead, turn failures into opportunities to do a better job next time and take one step higher as we climb the ladder of success.  After all, the world is a stage where men are actors in a real-like drama of trials and errors.”

What is your favorite word?

“Perseverance. It’s like an inner voice cheering me on when the going is tough.  If I stumble and fall, I just get up and go. If I hit rock bottom, I don’t settle there but learn to tread and float. Only those who preserve to the end will succeed.”

Some people can play good ball. Others can be expert on politics. While several are good at money.   Then there are the poets…

“Yes, it’s true that there’s no money in poetry.  But there’s no poetry in money either. But then, one cannot place a tangible currency on a product that is of the spirit. As a poet, I write because I  must.  To share, to instruct and to entertain. And oh, what an undescribable feeling if only a reader sets his spirit free on the wings of poetry. “

…And one of them is Eva Kohr.

Filipina poet Eva Kohr


From a Prison Cell to a Room for Peace

14 Apr

A plaque, which can be found in Castell de Montjüic, Barcelona, Spain bears José Rizal’s portrait, a sample page of  El  Filibusterismo and the cover of the newspaper La Solidaridad  dated 1889.

by Nathaniel Sisma Villaluna, Photos by ACassandra Molera

“It all started with José Rizal. He is a symbol of freedom. His ideas, his fight for democracy led us to be the First Democratic Republic in Asia.”

This was how Philippine Ambassador to Spain, Carlos C. Salinas described our national hero during the inauguration of the three rooms on the parade ground of the historical Castell de Montjüic  in Barcelona, Spain  last April 8, 2011.

The City Government of Barcelona, represented by Vice Mayor Ignasi Cardelús i Fontdevilla  has dedicated the first three  of the eleven rooms to Dr. José Rizal  and  two other  illustrious historical figures of  Catalonia–Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia and Lluis Companys.

Rizal, Ferrer i Guàrdia and Companys were imprisoned in Montjuïc Castle and executed by firing squad for defending their principles and their fight for freedom.

“They committed the crime of being free thinkers,” noted Oriol Illa, the Vice Chairman of the Fundació Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia.

Already restored and reformed, these rooms which served as the prison cells of these  three heroes and other prisoners sentenced to death will be used by the city’s International Resources Center for Peace for its future courses and peace-related  activities.

José Rizal’s room is Sala 17.  A plaque bears his portrait, a sample page of  El  Filibusterismo and the cover of the newspaper La Solidaridad dated 1889.

It was to be remembered that on September 2, 1896, a week after the outbreak of the Philippine Revolution, José Rizal left Manila for Spain. He was to go to Spain first before going to Cuba as a volunteer doctor. But even before he could reach his destination, he was arrested by the Spanish authorities on board, jailed in Montjüic Castle in  Barcelona and shipped back to Manila where he spent the last three months of his life in Fort Santiago.

Incidentally, it was here in Barcelona where Rizal wrote his first literary work in Spain, titled “El Amor Patrio” (Love of Country) which   appeared in Manila’s daily “Diariong Tagalog “, under the  pseudonym, “Laong Laan”.

Sala 17  will join several  historical landmarks that the Catalonian government has dedicated to José Rizal. Last year, a plaque was also unveiled in Plaza de Buensuceso commemorating the place where Rizal and his friends used to meet for the La Solidaridad group and publication.

The Castell de Montjüic  is now one of the most popular  Barcelona tourist attractions visited by hundreds of tourists everyday.

“We Filipinos should be very proud of José Rizal“ said   Rizal’s great great grand nephew, Harold Langer Sy-Quia.

He was with his mom, the great great grand niece of our national hero, Noelle Sy-Quia who also graced the inauguration ceremony brimming with pride and joy.

Noelle Sy-Quia, great great grand niece of Dr. Rizal and her son Harold Langer Sy-Quia

“We are very pleased about it.  We have been waiting for this and now it is happening in time for his 150th birthday. This is a great satisfaction to the family.” She declared at the end of the event.

Also present were Consul General Eduardo José de Vega and Filipino community leaders Fr. Avelino  Sapida , president of Kalipi (Kapulungan ng mga Lider Pinoy sa Barcelona),  Sr. Paulita Astillero, Director  of Centro Filipino, among others.

Consul General Eduardo José de Vega, Fr. Avelino Sapida, Mrs. Noelle Sy-Quia, Ambassador Carlos Salinas, Mrs. Isabelita Salinas and Vice Mayor Ignasi Cardelús i Fontdevilla.

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