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Limang sikreto ng Centro Filipino nabunyag sa isang gabi!

16 Oct

Noong Sabado ng gabi, umuwing may ngiti sa mga mukha ang halos mahigit 350 katao matapos nilang malaman ang limang sikreto ng Centro Filipino na ibinunyag sa Concert for a Cause: Tinig ng Kinabukasan.

1. Hindi lang handang maglingkod sa mga kababayan sa Barcelona ang mga boluntaryo ng Centro Filipino, game din silang sumayaw at kumanta!

Larawan mula kay Marites Saulog Alamida

Kuha ni Allan Ludovice

2. ANGQueen ng Operación Triunfo’ at pride ng Filipino community sa Spain na si Alexandra Masangkay Escalona ay dati ring volunteer at produkto ng Iskwelang Pinoy.

Alexandra. Kuha ni Allan Ludovice

3. Ang mga sisters ng Centro Filipino nag-Sister Act!

Kuha ni Allan Ludovice

 Si Sister Pau, ang Presidenta ng Centro Filipino, nag-Whoopi Goldberg with matching Afro!

4. Hindi lang sermon ang kayang ibigay ng founder ng Centro Filipino na si Fr. Avel, marunong magaling din siyang tumugtog ng saxophone.

Fr. Avelino Sapida. Kuha ni Daniel Infante Tuaño

May banda pa!

At may kasama pang piano

Larawan mula kay Marites Saulo Alamida

5. Marami ang nagmamahal sa Centro Filipino (25 years na ‘to) at sumusuporta sa pinaglaanan ng konsiyertong ito—ang proyektong Codesarrollo, isang lugar na magsisilbing tahanan ng mga kababayan nating matagal ng nagtrabaho sa Barcelona at nagpasyang bumalik sa Pilipinas. Ito ay naglalayon ding magsilbing lugar kung saan maaaring ibahagi ang mga kaalaman na natutunan sa ibang bansa at magbigay ng hanapbuhay sa mga kababayan nating nasa Pilipinas.

DIT

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:

 

“My father was always very vocal, a simple man ready to stand for what was right”

18 Jun

(To celebrate Father’s Day, we are posting an interview with the ‘father’ of the Filipino community in Barcelona, Spain, Fr. Avelino Sapida. This interview was done and written by Ms. Carlyne ‘Bing’ Odicta-Kohner for her column From Your Life Coach, Bing  in the Filipino-American Community Newspaper Asian Journal)

What is inspiration to you? Perhaps the common answer is love. If you are in love, it feels like there is an engine in your body that keeps you going. It’s wonderful to be alive. All of your surroundings are colorful. We often see these emotions in lovers at the park holding hands and kissing each other. Some of us are inspired because of our passion for what we do.

This time our guest is also in love and passionate because of his faith in God. Please welcome Fr. Avel aka Fr. Avelino R. Sapido who was awarded for his dedication to the Filipino community by the city of Barcelona.

Fr. Avelino Sapida (leftmost) received and recognized by the House of Representatives and then by Philippine President Benigno Aquino III after receiving an award from the Barcelona City Government last year.

Congratulations on your award last December 18, 2010 by the city of Barcelona. What can you say about this “Premi Consell d’Immigracio” that was bestowed upon you?

It was a surprise because I’d been away from Barcelona for the last 10 years, I arrived in 2009 to assume the Parish and conclude my services. Friends here told me that they chose me to be the candidate for the Immigration section. I had to write about my life in the Philippines, what I was doing in Manila, when I came to Europe and to what did I dedicate my life? The deadline was November 30, 2010. Then they translated it into Spanish and it was signed and submitted by the Sisters from Centro Filipino.

What was the impact of this award on you? What are the benefits of this recognition to your work?

I say thank you because my work was recognized from 1986 until now. I remember I fought for the rights of the migrants to stay and to work especially from 1986 to 1991. The law was hard back then and there were plenty of deportations because a lot of our Filipinos did not have work and residence permits.

It was a very welcome award and it was an award to the migrants. It indicates that it’s worth standing up and fighting for our rights. I know that our Kababayan are not here to commit crimes. They are here with a pure intention to work. On matters of law and order here, Filipinos are not involved in those crimes. Filipinos are industrious and they are motivated, they even work beyond their assigned hours because they value the good relationship with their employers. They are loved by the Señoras because of that.

It’s high time for this award from the Spanish government and Spanish Church. I think WE deserve this award. I took it not as a personal award but a communal award for all the Filipinos living and working here.

“There is a call for integration of speaking Spanish and Catalan but the reality at the professional level is that the Spanish citizens are the ones who get the jobs…Filipinos are confined to service jobs. The law should facilitate a diversity of jobs…In the future, I hope our children can be fully integrated in the society. Filipinos that are here should dream big!”

What do you mean by Communal Award?

It was given to me due to my work with the community. My objective was to lift up the Filipinos in the eyes of Spanish society. Even though most of their work is domestic it is still dignified work. They are human beings and they deserve respect. It was also the recognition of our religiosity. In fact this is the 2nd award.

The first award was given in 1998 when we got the Personal Parish in the whole of Europe. The Filipino Christians have shown to the Spanish Society how religious we are and how we practice our religion. It becomes an attraction for them on how practical the Filipinos are. You’ll notice that we give life to the liturgy of the Spanish and our community is very Filipino. A Personal Parish according to the Canon law is composed of a different language, culture, and life in your faith. That means a Parish given to the persons who are Filipinos. It was recognition of our culture and language. We are given the freedom to express our faith and our own way of doing it as if we are in the Philippines. It was an award that made Filipinos proud and the whole of Europe. They praise us all here.

Also, I stood for the migrants and stood for our Philippine government to give us a full pledged consulate. For example, to renew your passport before, you had to go to Madrid. It’s about 2 to 3 hours by train. It affected our people economically. We thought there was a need, so recently we got the Philippine Consulate in Barcelona.

What made the Ajuntament choose the Filipinos instead of the other migrant nationalities in Barcelona?

In 1988, we unified our Filipinos. We have the Church and it gave them all the opportunities to practice their faith. It helps them to go there regularly and talk about their problems. If they need assistance in their documents, we have the Center that will implement their medical, social and juridical needs. We have built our community spirit; the Filipinos live in the center of the city, in Ramblas. Our Church itself is in the very center of Barcelona. We all have our family spirit and we are free to interpret our life in the liturgy. It is a meaningful expression of our problems and successes in life as a community of God.

You have mentioned the Centro Filipino, who founded it and what are the programs you offer to the community?

When I came in 1986, I came from Rome as I was the Chaplain in Rome. Bishop Perez assigned me to Barcelona. I was sent here not knowing anybody. I started going to Ramblas looking for the Filipino faces. I talked to them and approached them to invite me in their house just to get ideas about their life. I was already looking for some possibilities to get a church so we could have a mass. Luckily, the Barcelona Archdiocese gave us the Santa Monica church. It was inaugurated in June 1986. Some 300 people came and we filled up the church.

I realized that I would need help. I contacted my contacts in Rome especially the Benedict Superiors of Sisters (The Scholasticans) to come to Barcelona. They told me that they have a church in Madrid but it will be closed. So I invited them to open it in Barcelona. Together we established the center. By October 1986, the center was open to accompany the migrants. We thought we should offer programs as the need arises.

The Church offers masses and the center gives news from the Philippines and news about the laws in Barcelona. We have learned that they need papers so we have contacted people who could help them. Some courses were offered on how to help the people effectively. So I participated in the Assesorial course offered free by the Trade Unions. We took all the advantages and learned the language so we can represent them. We are also learning with them as we help them.

We have an Orientation program for the newly arrived. We have a program of Idioma (Spanish Language Classes). When the children, wives and husbands came, we found out that they will be loosing connection to their roots, so we establish Iskwelang Pinoy to teach them Filipiniana, history and English. Later, when many were jobless, we found out that the Red Cross gave donation twice a year.

Basic Spanish classes taught by Filipino and Spanish professors

Kids from Iskwelang Pinoy participate in one local event.

Did you and the Sisters organize any associations?

We saw that without organizations, we couldn’t do anything and we can’t bargain. We needed to pressure the government so that’s how the associations were born. We have organizations for women, migrants, etc. encouraging them to make it legal so they can represent their sector and share solidarity with other immigrants.

We were the pioneers of so many federations, organizations and councils of migrants in Barcelona. We had to put each of our struggles together so they could become forceful. We encourage them to have a cause underneath the organization. Now, we have the Federation for Filipinos, a civic association like KALIPI. It started when we were organizing the 100 years of Philippine Independence day celebration. KALIPI – Kapulungan ng mga Lider Pinoy sa Barcelona. KALIPI has 14 different associations such as AMISTAD – Ang Migranteng Iisa Sa Tinig Adhikain at Diwa, AFICAT – Asosacion Filipino Catalan, BAFSCOM – Barcelona All Filipino Sports Commision, Centro Filipino, Emprededores, MFYA – Migrants Filipino Youth Association, The Great Commision Ministry, Jesus is Lord Church, Episcopal Charismatic Church,

The Salvation Army, Word International Ministry, Parroquia Personal Comunidad Filipina, The Guardians, United Rinconadians Association in Barcelona.

Who influenced you to become a priest and who most inspired you when you were young?

Rizal and Bonifacio inspired me. In the Philippines, I always worked with the forgotten sectors like the farmers. I used my priesthood as a moral authority. To me that’s what makes the church relevant.

How did you become a priest?

My youngest brother had a Priest-Godfather. He came one day to our house and asked my mother. “Who will you give me to become a priest?” My mother replied, “Of course, your Godson.” But Father insisted: ”He is so small; do you have someone who is bigger?” And my mother pointed me.

We had a Band and my parents were Cantoras. After my first year, they sent me to the Seminary. In there, I realized the objective of a priest. I began to like one of the missions of the church, helping the poor. At that time, Cavite was poor and it’s the place where you throw dead people. I had a dream as a priest that I will do something about the situation.

What was it like being a priest in Cavite?

I was a very effective priest in Cavite. I was helping the people to let them know our rights as Filipinos. The Capitalists were taking our lands and so on. I was on that side to protect the people. In 1960’s the church was ready to listen to the world’s voice. During those times, the leaders forgot our people. That also added my sympathy for our Filipinos so I joined the rallies. I realize now that it was the birth of my priesthood!

You have mentioned justice and fairness. Are those a few of your values in life?

Yes, my father was a just man. Cavite at that time had many gangs, carabao thieves and so on. My father was always very vocal. He was a carpenter, a simple man who was ready to stand for what was right. I think I got that from my father. Some people liked him and some people did not. Plus I know now the role of religion and the transformation in changing societies. I learned these principles, from my family and from the situation that I was in. I will fight for justice and fairness no matter what as long as I live my values.

“I used my priesthood as a moral authority. To me that’s what makes the church relevant.” Fr. Avel giving a mass at the Filipino Personal Parish in Barcelona, Spain

What is Leadership to you?

I am trying to be a good leader but I have not perfected it yet. I believe in the Shepherd kind of leadership as Jesus Christ practiced. For me it is serving. In this stewardship, people are entrusted to your hand for your care and for your Christian authority. I am a Shepherd who is always leading my sheep so they can eat and drink water. At the same time a Pastor should be on guard. The priority of the leader is to live and lead better. God came not just to live but also to have a fuller and more vibrant life.

“I will fight for justice and fairness no matter what as long as I live my values…Even if I do the best work that I can do, I know I have limitations. And if I come to my limits, I know God will supply.”

What can you say about our Parishioners here in Barcelona? What are your thoughts about our people in the Philippines, our people in Europe, and our people in the US?

Filipinos are the same wherever they are. They always look for the Church. They believe that it’s by the grace of the Lord that they are outside the Philippines whether they are in New York, Los Angeles or Barcelona. Prior to leaving the Philippines, they understand that it costs a lot so it’s very natural for them to look for a place to pray. They come especially to the Catholic Church but also to other churches where they can express their inner reflections and spirits. Filipinos are very spiritual.

In the Philippines, the Church is relevant as long as it reaches our experience in life. If the Church doesn’t touch our experience, it becomes a ritual. We are obligated to do it but we don’t need to follow it. People will pray out of obligation but not out of devotion. At home, you are supported by the ambiance and the culture.

Abroad, there is much danger in maintaining our faith because of living in the surroundings that are not that religious. The atmosphere can be materialistic or individualistic depending upon whatever tendencies the specific society may have. Filipinos want to go back home during Pasko o Mahal na Araw because of the intensity of our religious events. If we are able to create the Filipino life abroad we can save our values, language, culture and love for Filipino traditions. In this kind of atmosphere our faith can be rooted again.

Catholic membership is declining, especially in European Churches. What are the possible factors that are causing a rejection of our religion?

Religion will lose its relevance if it’s only identified with those who are powerful. We need the Church as an example of Jesus. Most of the churches here in Europe are not in tune with the poorer sector. In history, the Church was for the upper level of the society. My reflection here in Spain is that people are not interested in religion because during Franco’s time the Church had all of the privileges. When the dictatorship was terminated, people said, “We are free; we don’t need to go to Church.” The people lost trust in the Church.

You would notice the difference between one priest who has experienced living and working in a Third World country and one who has no experience in the Developing World. The ones who have are understanding, more compassionate and more pro-people in their approach. These priests who are experiencing life in other developing countries are bringing back the spirit. The migrants also have so much to share in changing the character of the Church.

Yesterday we priests had a meeting on what to do with the Sagrada Familia Church. Only the tourists visit and see this place. The Church did not know what to do in order for people to regularly visit the place. One priest joked, “We will just give it to Filipinos because in a minute that church would be full of people.” It’s a joke but there is truth in it.

I think the Church has to suffer so it can go back to the original Church that was a home for the powerless, and persecuted. We need to realize that we are not here to only serve the powerful.

We all know about the sex scandals that are on going in our Catholic community especially in Europe and in the USA. What is your stand on this controversial issue?

I find it very theological in the sense that the Church has probably forgotten a lot of things. Thus, the Church needs to humble itself to the level of ordinariness so it will be the Church of the people. These humiliating events can help to humble the Church to reflect on its role. I am not discouraged and I am not angry for I look at the situation with much hope. It might be long years of trials but in the future we will come out as a stronger Church in our mission. We have to be a wounded savior not a triumphant savior.

What about the priests that molested the children?

It may be the dark side of the history of the Church. We are expected to be the savior of the innocent but the leadership of the Church is questioned. We have to accept that we are also human beings. These witnesses that quest for truth are purifying the Church. The Church needs to experience this humiliation for everyone has sinned. In the history of Israel, when God purified his town, it was an embarrassment for they were occupied and were made the followers. All the things that they kept were lost. However the messages of scriptures were saying that God was preparing them for something great in the days to come. History has now repeated itself. That is the way of God. It’s a reminder for people. This is the communal history of our Church so something good can come out of this. Crisis means you can go down without hope or you can hope for something better.

The church is in crisis but it can turn into good. I am optimistic!

Barcelona Vice Mayor Ignasi Cardelús i Fontdevilla, Fr. Avelino Sapida and Pastor Diosdado Sabado during the recent celebration of Philippine Independence Day in Barcelona.

Spain is also one of the countries that were hit hard by the economic downturn. What effect has this had on our people?  If so, how do you convert their hopelessness into positive action?

In general, they seem to blame the migrants for the crisis. We have to remind them that the poor people did not start it. It was the rich people from America, the bankers, and the speculators. Along the way there are a lot of people who are affected. For example, the employers who have plenty of workers fired some workers. Their salaries were deducted. The workers’ starting salary is very low and they added a labor law so that the employer could easily fire them. Before this new law was enacted, companies had to pay 45 days severance pay when they let you go and now they are obligated to pay for only 20 days. They have risen the retirement age of 2 years to increase payments to Social Security. It used to be 65 years old and now it’s 67 years old. Also, there are many people who are unemployed.

For workers, we have to make our organization stronger. We are constantly looking for Trade Unions to defend our rights. We have to know what is given by the law to defend ourselves in this time. Sometimes companies take advantage of the crisis to fire or lower people’s wages. These things are abusive already. We are encouraging our workers in the restaurants to come and join the Trade Unions so they can defend their rights. In our organizations, we invited Spanish leaders who can explain the law to us. We are also watchful for other Filipinos who are taking advantage of immigrants. They say that they will take care of the husband or family if they come to Spain but they scammed them instead. So we are vigilant against the abusers on both sides. We make people aware of all of these things.

In church, we tell them of the value of dignity of work, nobility of man, the rights and the teaching of the Church. We believe in justice, equality of opportunities, and business that is not only guided by profits but also by Christian principles.

“Yesterday we priests had a meeting on what to do with the Sagrada Familia Church. Only the tourists visit and see this place. One priest joked, “We will just give it to Filipinos because in a minute that church would be full of people.”

As a Life Coach, I am actually interested in your work/life balance. How do your values help you balance what is important to you?

I know my work is not my work. Yes, I am a Priest and I am taking care of this community. However, this community is not mine. I am the Steward and a Caretaker. I will try to serve the community according to the way the community likes me to serve them but not according to how I like to serve them. I am nothing without the community. Even if I do the best work that I can do, I know I have limitations. And if I come to my limits, I know God will supply. I have faith. No matter how good your intentions are there are always mistakes or problems that you will encounter. It could be mistakes from me, from others, accidents, etc. but I let it be as long as I know I am doing the best I can. I may be wounded but I take the wounds as part of the process. I dedicate my life and balance it with my health and capacity. Sometimes my brain is stronger than my tuhod.

What makes you happy? How do you relax?

I walk a lot and I sometimes go out to Montjuic, I drive to different places. We go with my Co-Workers Group. We go out and evaluate things that are happening and plan for the days and months to come.

Tell me your thoughts on the uses of technology?

We are better related in communication through the Internet such as in finding agencies and other groups. There is a growing realization in Europe that we need to come together and talk. Milan and Rome, Barcelona and Madrid, Amsterdam, Athens, and London. We’ve had several meetings and we communicated through computer technology. This year we have plans to host an important meeting for leaders from Greece, Amsterdam and London to talk about future plans.

You have mentioned politics, what’s your take on our very own new president Noynoy Aquino?

Noynoy gave hope after Gloria Macapagal. More investments are coming in now. It’s a reminder that it’s rooting out corruption. I hope he can avoid the influence of wrong people because some political leaders might get ambitious and will take advantage of his administration. He should be conscious that Filipinos are hopeful and he should take advantage of that. It’s his time to slim our politics. Politics has become a business. Politics is everywhere: at church, in communities, and the work place. Hopefully he can provide a good kind of politics!

“We can dream and plan so that the immigrants are not the gatasan (milking cows) by the ones who are in the Philippines but through our contribution that create systematic sustainable development.”

What questions did I not ask you that you wished I had asked?

1. What’s next?

Filipinos are confined to service jobs. We are not given other jobs. The law should facilitate a diversity of jobs. I am interested in the future so that we can integrate the Filipinos into different places in Barcelona. How I wish some Filipinos could get into the political world so they could inject some human touch to the law and its administration. We are starting that in the Church. I am now going to Poble Sec to develop this integration. I combined the Catalan Mass and Spanish Mass to facilitate our integration. Some of our Filipinos teach Spanish Catechism as well. Later, I will ask the Government to teach our children in Tagalog because almost of them are Filipinos.

I wish that our Filipinos here could dream dreams for our people. Aside from their jobs abroad, how about helping the Filipinos stay in the country by helping the immigrants? They have already skills such as cooking, etc. I know some entrepreneurs that went home with their skill set. Or the money that we have here, we could invest in business in the Philippines so it would create jobs there. Whatever development you can do, farmers for example, can establish a cooperative there.

Filipinos that are here should focus on how they can be stable here. And Filipinos at home should help and do something in the Philippines. We can dream and plan so that the immigrants are not the gatasan by the ones who are in the Philippines but through our contribution that create systematic sustainable development.

In our center we have a plan, we can create certain funds through the Filipinos who return home. I have a lot in Cavite that I want to donate to implement this livelihood project. This is an ongoing project.

2. What’s my dream?

Our Filipinos should really be citizens of Spain and no longer seen as immigrants. In the US, there is equality of job privileges that are given to both the immigrants and natives. Yes, Rizal and others had already migrated here. Somehow there is still inequality. There is a call for integration of speaking Spanish and Catalan but the reality at the professional level is that the Spanish citizens are the ones who get the jobs. The rests are treated as 2nd class citizens. In the future, I hope our children can be fully integrated in the society. Filipinos that are here should dream big!

Finally, how do you define happiness?

When your aspiration becomes reality, your dreams are fulfilled. That is my happiness!

So did Fr. Avel inspire you? What action will you take today to do something for our Filipino community?

The writer with Fr. Avelino Sapida

Carlyne ‘Bing’ Kohner is a Life Coach. She was trained at the prestigious Coaches Training Institute in the USA. She is a member of International Coach Federation (ICF.) Bing is a certified trainer for True Colors and a regular columnist for the Asian Journal in Los Angeles, California. She is a also a member of the Sitges International Holistic Networking group, Co-Meetings, and Barcelona Women’s Network (BWN) in Spain. She and her husband, Eric co-owns Limitbusters Coaching & Training, Inc. (LCT). LCT has other affiliates in Asia, Europe, and the USA.

Everybody’s happy, everybody’s singing…

13 Jun

A group of people working together can build an empire, or maybe at least a feel-good tourism marketing campaign.

This lip dub practically features everyone who is living in one city in Michigan, including immigrants like our kababayan at 3:27. Like most proud Pinoys, he’s wearing a polo shirt with the Philippine map on it.

Hopefully, one day, this can also be done in Barcelona. For the meantime, let’s enjoy the video.