Thursday, 31 October 2013

All after sketching chimneys, factories, old houses, buildings,and theold steel church trying to resist the rust of time

All after sketching chimneys, 
factories, old houses, buildings, 
and the old steel church trying to resist the rust of time

Seems that this writer had again, gone nostalgic with his sketches featured in this writeup.

Influenced by both books and sightseeing, it's all but strange to invoke a dystopic world but at the same time paying tribute to a past that had been trying to invoke an aspiration gone failed by those who at the same time parroting the sentiment of many.

Or perhaps, revisiting his interest on steampunk, dieselpunk, yet in a different manner instead of cosplaying.

One may say that this sketch may deemed dystopic, science-fiction in its appearance such as having factories side by side with the San Sebastian Church. Yes, that aside from having a church made out of steel and others made out of concrete, of chimneys venting smoke, it invokes a near lost idea being spoken by the old and being read by those taking interest, that one would say about "industrialization" and a promise of "prosperity" during the latter days of the 19th and the early 20th century.

Another work, also based partially from his sight-seeings near San Sebastian church was remaking the logo of the famous liquor Jägermeister. Like the sketch from above, it featured the old steel church, factories, and some modern buildings that for this writer meant more than a "culture jamming" such as putting what comes from his mind into an existing logo.

Or simply because the deer depicted at the logo is also one of Bastê's symbols? Can be, but again for this writer one has to turn a commercialized symbol into a different one, a reaction to an established shit creeping over everyone's minds with labels from a bottle than thoughts from a book most despise; putting makabuhay, crown of thorns, and oak leaves into a wreath other than putting a background of familiar places this writer had sought and drawn.

Other than drawing old structures, this writer had drawn people from the past. Having a revisit seemed quite strange but it carries a significant value compared to present-day decadence. And obviously, this writer is quite thinking about a return to human values as part of ContemporAntiquity other than reforming traditional architecture and art. The works of Vann Molyvann and Victorio Edades didn't express the typical modernity as expressed by the decadent west, but rather it tries to invoke the deeply rooted heritage that means a revival of a lost idea leading to a revival of a "volksgemeinschaft" with high culture being popularised. 
Yes, high culture that is contrary to the stereotypical. How come? If one had glorified the exploits of the rich, of seeing them dancing to the minuet, how about chivalry and respect to women? Of justice for the poor? When was the time knights had to observe their honor codes instead of glorifying their exploits? And women who, other than child bearing and family life had the right to get involved in communities as coequals of men? To the extent of bearing arms like Jeanne d' Arc and the legendary Urduja? 

Anyways, out of those works would say it is deemed utopian for an ordinary person to understand the idea of ContemporAntiquity being invoked in those sketches, of bridging the goodness coming from both archaic past and of the contemporary present to create a promising future envisioned by the aspirations both old and new thinkers; trying to embrace technological movement and human creativity, but balance it with a rational understanding of human nature as what the Nouvelle Droite Guillaume Faye and the Anarchist Kropotkin said.

Or perhaps this writer is indeed "antimodern" (rather than conservative or traditionalist) to make those things, after seeing modern-day bullshit culture dominating, it had negated, if not damaged entirely the ideas and aspirations such as Thomas Jefferson using Voltaire's, and Rousseau's views to justify his stance as a slaveowner. 
Personally, this writer may had appreciate Jefferson's idea regarding freedom as a founding father and maker of Declaration of Independence, so was Alexander Hamilton and his call for developing his America as a young nation. Being Antimodern, in this writer's point of view had not just meant to reject the modern world, but rather to counter it, in s way modernizing an existing domestic culture as a means to counter wholesale westernization being espoused by the present social order; Soviet Russia, then-Maoist China, or Khomeiniite Iran had done the idea of creating a new culture by modernizing existing domestic ones same as formulating new that invokes a growing, progressive folk; yes, they are creating back then a progressive but deeply rooted Volksgemeinschaft, with new morality that tends to counter modern decadence that until today continues to creep the mindsets of everyone. 

After all, as Mao Zedong said:

Revolutionary culture is a powerful revolutionary weapon for the broad masses of the people. It prepares the ground ideologically before the revolution comes and is an important, indeed essential, fighting front in the general revolutionary front during the revolution.

- "On New Democracy" (January 1940), Selected Works, Vol. II, p. 382.

All our literature and art are for the masses of the people, and in the first place for the workers, peasants and soldiers; they are created for the workers, peasants and soldiers and are for their use.

- "Talks at the Yenan Forum on Literature and Art" (May 1942), Selected Works, Vol. III, p. 84.

In other words, contributing in making a culture that is Revolutionary, and being Antimodern also meant Revolutionary (as contrary to the typical one that is reactionary).

Usually, in making those works, these were accompanied by some industrial music, if not punk rock or metal. The music being played tends to convey a sense that is contrary to what mainstream radio, or TV, or the internet conveyed much all the time;  Being rebellious against the so-called order also adds some passion enough in those pencil'ed works given, knowing that those works are made as a reaction to what he sought and think all as but contrary to the aspirations people wanted to see. Yes, they wanted modernity, they wanted progress, low cost of goods and services, but instead, the system provided them illusions, canned ones being peddled whilst those on high had afford the so-called richness of a culture that is pleasing.

That, again made others, including this writer turned anything into a tool of struggle, particularly from the have not against the ruling nonsense. Yes, the factories, old edifices being drawn in that barren sheets of paper invoke the promises of the laboring people that the future belongs to those who had worked in it, not on those who took pride yet not participating directly in their hardship, nor sharing its profits equitably, and worse, firing without any consideration the so-called makers of history. 

So were the others that depict science, industry with its creators becoming deities of a society man idealize yet difficult to create everything all despite having factories, technology, conquering space and attempts to use energy both war and peaceful purposes. ContemporAntiquity, as it bridges the goodness of the archaic and of the present tends to realize aspirations creatively and realistically as contrary to those stressing merely figments of imagination guised as "Idealism." The Atomic Bomb, or even the rocketship isn't created out of a certain dream but of countless research, all collected from the pasts and putting it into action thanks to those who steadfastly adhere to its fulfillment. 

Sadly, present-day institutions cared about exploiting science for their own benefit instead of everyone; they may afford to brag about their idealism as a driving factor in fulfilling what scientists, and laborers had shown to the people; but exploiters are indeed exploiters in exploiting those who had created "good things" and turning it into decadent ones devoid of its primary objective. Atomic energy of the past isn't even made primarily to support the Atomic bomb, but also to create a clean energy, but institutions whom caring about their privilege of exploiting it had to stop those who had took research and willing to use it for peaceful purposes. Iran had been deemed as pariah by the west for taking research on Atomic energy, but come to think of this: is Atomic energy meant making an atomic bomb? How about those who are willing to utilize that said energy for peaceful purposes? Is the west should be the one who afford to use such advanced ones including Atomic energy? Making those kind of research is useless without putting it into practise, so were the efforts in utilizing other safer forms of the present such as Wind, Solar, or Tidal energy to break dependency on oil. 

And again, these are forms of struggle to counter the prevailing nonsense as everyone had sought and felt unto it. These would say all at first products of imagination and extensive research and development of the past with mankind trying to control over nature by various means with the support of continuous mindwork trying to bridge the past and the present ideas, both classical and modern, whether in the form of music, art, sciences, everything contributive to the material and spiritual wealth of humanity as a whole. 
And in trying to understand human nature rationally alongside the willingness to create changes, it takes time to create something to counter upon; if Greed is good, as well as selfishness, then how come according to man's conscience it is morally wrong? It's not because of a being called god, but also according to Man's quest for survival. In a way Animals had valued mutual aid as contrary to what being said by mainstream media of intense competition, and sorry to use Kropotin's, for he mentioned that cooperation and struggle, rather than greed and selfishness, as a feature of the most advanced organisms (e.g., ants among insects, mammals among vertebrates) leading to the development of the highest intelligence and bodily organization.
Yet still most what being sought by many are rather end up made by those who had dictate policies and thus creating a distorted view that is, nearly meaningless. Again, what is artistic, scientific, anything that is made extensively by research or creativity caters to the few whilst the rest had to get contented in a canned, or a distorted one more of aesthetics and less in reason."

That somehow made this writer, or others took the challenge of breaking the cycle and making what was for the few accessible to many. Of what is real, rather than illusion has to be sought after! People had been longing and making a progressive but deeply rooted Volksgemeinschaft for their moral, material, and spiritual wealth and developing their full capacity as a living whole. 


Admittingly speaking, it is easier to convey what comes through the mind through sketching than writing; that during the past few months, or perhaps even years, this writer, other than having some research work involving history, architecture, visual art and literature, had spent time sketching what comes from his experiences; that with his experiences in seeing the flour silos of Pasig, the old houses mostly dilapidated by time and social negligence, the old Magnolia ice cream plant and the steel church of San Sebastian in Manila had brought into his eyes the aspirations that had been forgotten by many as most had chose the facades of consumerism.

Sorry to those who had satisfied with what goes on today such as prefering malls than strolling in the gardens, working just to have an income than to remold one's self and enjoy with its own contributions, or let's just simply say "to live only to work just to live" that justifies life as all but a vicious cycle of survival, a sickening truth that humanity compels to observe. 

Yes, and with that kind of dictum lies consumerism all in the form of shopping centers like those of Mall of Asia, as well as high rise buildings bereft of significance other than what is usually shown in the tarpaulin. 
This writer may had been on those places, specifically stay at specialty stores selling mostly books and of course, buying what comes from his budget fit to buy. However, since most people of today had gone into the vicious cycle that reduces its thought into a figment of imagination, even treating the place itself as a "air con" with themselves spending time loitering and endure the air-conditioned breeze given; and somehow for this writer ought to think that "since they themselves speak much of hard work, why not stress much of production than these? Aren't they tired of just consuming for the sake of extravagance? If government officials speak much of development, why not from the start planned, self-sufficient communities instead of seeing a "prime-lot" hungry private sector afford to exploit and see an urbanized mess such as today?
Quezon city for example, planned during the Commonwealth period as the Philippines' centre of governance and a showcase of development, was also a place for lower class Filipinos, with gardens, medium-rise flats, even factories and other establishments trying to stimulate the progress then conceived as an aspiration of many; but again, like any other writeups this writer made, the plan had been disregard much and instead everyone sought a "development" that is, in fact a mess. Yes, a mess that is a hodge-podge of corruption, extravagance, illusion, anything officials tend to hide, if not to justify it as "progress."

Progress? Again, like any other critics sensing the cesspool of the present, are these called progress? In its facade, yes; but merely to keep the stench of degeneracy that is consistently creeping over thanks to the present order. The shantytowns are itself the realities behind the high rise buildings; that those who had reside in its crampy, ill-made structures are also the ones who had wielded the steel girders, mixing mortar, placing glass panels and painting, putting granite and any other shit just to create an eye candy for a promising investor. "an imitation of the past without capturing the spirit of the past or present" as one article said.

And if time comes, they ought to be taken over from those who had brought illusion into their very own eyes, and with all their aspirations one after another comes a city conceived for the future! 


When was the time people had seriously, and steadfastly invoke something different only to be given an unjust skepticism or perhaps, persecution? Rizal's dream of a "New Calamba" at North Borneo had been rejected simply because it was "too progressive" and may result to the loss of forced laborers rendering corvee labor (contrary to Rizal's dream of a community of free laborers); so is the neoliberal-oriented republic that had overturned national industrialization simply because it is "passe" in favor of submitting in the so-called "international standards" of free trade.
Or if there is, limited to assembly line and consumer goods, small and medium scale all for export and not for consumption; thinking that the iron, copper, manganese being mined from the mountains of Mindanao and Luzon aren't even used to make steel in its own backyard while everyone afford to buy sachets of shampoo made in a factory those address is at UN Ave. Manila!
The system had tried to mimic those of industrialized nations and promoting a patriotic, scientific culture yet as they submit to the so-called "international standards" it had to give up most, if not all and say that anything goes to international capital than production; old familiar houses and structures gone demolished, others end suffered by weathering and negligence, and people chose to give up their sanities as they chose to join in a vicious cycle "in order to live" as one person may out to say.
That somehow would say stranger than those who been deemed weird for resisting, and making an alternative to their stupidities.
To Claro M. Recto, Egor Letov, Joma Sison and Eduard Limonov

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Ruined churches, a "concerned" government, and a majority who cares less (and then concerned after the deluge)

Ruined churches, 
a "concerned" government, 
and a majority who cares less (and then concerned after the deluge)

Well, since last time this writer had wrote about old houses left dilapidated and gone demolished at Arlegui and at Quiapo, this time about the state of the old churches at Cebu and Bohol being ravaged by the earthquake.

At first, it is indeed lamenting that all after the 7.5 magnitude earthquake lies the destruction of most villages especially at the mountainous areas around Cebu and Bohol; many lives were killed, and millions, if not billions of pesos may ought to spent in efforts concerning relief, and afterwards rehabilitation and reconstruction of their communities and of course, lives.

That somehow includes the churches that have been designated as “national cultural treasures”, “national historic landmarks”, or “heritage sites”.

According to the Business Mirror, it had said that in Bohol alone, seven “heritage” churches have been estimated to need around Php700 million for reconstruction costs, with Fr. Ted Torralba of the Dioscese of Tagbilaran stated about Php100 million for each destroyed church to be rehabilitated. With the possibility of exploring the possibility of tapping private-sector funds.

The government had also expressed concern about it, stating that Malacanang had assured that the government would fund the reconstruction of the heritage churches; that also somehow contrary to the earlier statement that "the government could not fund the reconstruction of the heritage churches due to the “separation of Church and State.”"

Yes, the government tries to practise its so-called "laicism" with the earlier statement, yet at the same time, had to abide by its law concerning heritage sites, that includes centuries-old churches be be entitled to…"priority government funding for protection, conservation and restoration…." Enabling the Constitution's provision stating that "All the country’s artistic and historic wealth constitutes the cultural treasure of the nation and shall be under the protection of the State which may regulate its disposition."

However, as the government tends to think twice about giving some funds using the said provision, San Miguel Corporation's Ramon S. Ang is willing to help with the reconstruction of these centuries-old churches the way it had earlier donated P50 million for the renovation and retrofitting of the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros, that had been closed last 2012.

“These churches are part of our heritage and carry significant historical value. We are open to do our part in supporting any efforts to rehabilitate these sites,” according to SMC's Ang.

But, as the national government and private institutions had expressed concern over these centuries-old churches and at the same time time, seeing local government units expressed desparacy over funds for the relief of its inhabitants, it seems that it should be the Catholic church who should shoulder, both in having relief efforts and in rehabilitating age-old structures since they are using it for generations as a place of worship other than being an institution known for not paying taxes, having its tithes becoming Peter's pences for the holy see.

And with the government expressing concern and perhaps willing to provide a share of its own funds for those heritage sites, had made this writer thinking critically knowing that most, if not all of the taxpayer's money allocated for the restoration of the ruined properties may end up at pockets of politicians, given the rotten culture of corruption; and if happens, would resort to the use of substandard materials the way what was done in roads, bridges, infrastructure politicians used to brag much during election time.

Or let's say, since the church is a body of people, and less of a structure, then why not the entire Christian community has to support the way Muslims had supported their Mujahidin? Remember the Crusades using the defense of the church against Islamic aggression? The Inquisition against heretics? This writer may ought to say that a church who cares for its laity, being its living stones, is itself "militant" trying to endure the deluge of times.
Furthermore, if the government has to shoulder the expenses, knowing that they used the provisions stated, on what pretext it would be: as a church, or as a tourist magnet? In Turkey for example, Hagia Sophia had became a museum of Turkish identity that somehow made both the Turkish state and some private interests willing to provide funds in rehabilitating it; but the Blue mosque and other Ottoman-era mosques that continued using as places of worship were under the control of the ministry of religious affairs, also a government agency in "executing the works concerning the beliefs, worship, and ethics of Islam, enlighten the public about their religion, and administer the sacred worshipping places;"  Religion in turkey is somehow tolerated, but seriously adheres to its laicism, in a way Ataturk did in abolishing the veil, the admission of women in government service, wearing western clothes, and using Turkish instead of Arab in calling for Adhan. Give and take so to speak.
thus, if that's the case then in a supposed secular state like the Philippines,  then rehabilitating churches using government fund should made in exchange of having a Church not intervening in secular affairs; that religion should been in a private matter, that the churchpeople should execute beliefs firmly such as supporting in efforts in relief operations with its tithes.

Well, with these catastrophes affecting heritage sites, perhaps one should think again about revisiting their long lost culture, knowing that most had come too late in seeing its value despite seeing the structure, taking pictures along with their "precious, vain-filled faces" and be posted on every social media sites all for the sake of impression.

And worse, demolishing it, or exaggerating it for the sake of so-called "beauty", is tantamount to cultural suicide. The church built centuries ago by the Spaniards, and "renovated" during the Marcos regime at Ilocos was one example; knowing that it had radically changed the feature using the wedding of Irene Marcos to Greggy Araneta as its reason for "rehabilitating".
Sadly, that church, hastingly "renovated" for the purpose, end destroyed by an earthquake too; it was rebuilt, but having less grandeur than what it was.

Speaking of those who are featuring their "precious, vain-filled faces" much than the buildings, then the photographs made by certain people like Paulo Bustamante, or Stephen John Pamoranda had showed better concern than those peeps if that's the case knowing that these heritage structures, whether it be a house, an establishment, or the stereotypical church and city walls like in Intramuros had purpose and value other than as a mere tourist magnet.

So is this writer in expressing concern about post-war structures, especially those of factories that contributed to the development of their respective communities, and remarkable sites made by prominent architects yet demolished for the sake of building much nonsense structures trying to "emulate" what was been stood, yet in fact not.

And by the way, are the people really concerned about the buildings on that time? Or just care less for it was a matter of the National Center for Culture and the Arts, the Church and the concerned Bourgeoisie? Perhaps they would scream if a mall, instead of a church or a heritage site been destroyed.

For that is their "heritage site", a monument, a temple of Consumerism.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Misled by illusions and half-baked promises

Misled by illusions and half-baked promises

(Or after what he sought  near Arlegui
and  near San Sebastian; and a need for communitarian preservation
of local heritage)

It was Friday, last week when he went to his friend's house for a visit. 

While walking, he sought old houses gone deteriorating alongside new ones all with fresh paint while people come and go as if nothing happened in their community; however, as he continued walking and sightseeing, seems that one of the familiar houses he sought had gone forever.

As one of the old houses once featured by Paulo Bustamante had been demolished despite promises of keeping it preserved, at least given a retrofit and improved its structure; but in the finale, chose to demolish it all for the sake of prime lots.
Using the mindset of the ones who had bought  would say that they care about the prime lot, the price of the land than the edifice being built; of course, they want to replace it with "something modern", in a way Imelda Marcos said about "a guiding light" for the depressed areas such as Arlegui and near San Sebastian.

That somehow meant for this writer as an illusion, giving up heritage, whether it is tangible or intangible all for the sake of so-called "modernity" presented by the ones on high is all but a mockery of creating an identity; knowing that they had often used patriotic symbolism in every medium, yet succumbing in the wishes of the single-fanged "western civilization" includes reducing every aspiration into illusion, of museumifying certain sites whilst the rest, regardless of its grandeur, had to be demolished.
Yes,  for most people who had contented in a vicious cycle would tell everyone that it is all but nothing seeing their familiar communities "changed", as they don't even mind if those houses they've familiar with are deteriorating, sold, bought and eventually demolished with its ruins comes a new far from its style and worse, devoid of its significance.

And since they are a part of that community, are these people, whose majority had been mislead by illusions given by the "two-faced present" had at least a deep concern over those old houses, buildings, and having a sense of communitarian interest in preserving what they had seen throughout the years? Ideally speaking, having a community who had profound interest in keeping their heritage firm doesn't need much a private institution to support as long as they keep anything nice as-it-is just like Vigan or Taal.
And also somehow that  in preserving thine national heritage, both tangible and intangible, all in midst of modernity lies the rebirth of an identity that is new, youthful and lasting, modern yet deeply rooted in its historical pasts, realistic in its appeal, as contrary to those who bannered the grandeur of the past yet kissing the arses of "modern civilization", of "globalization" that involves sacrificing a significant part of national patrimony, including culture in a way this writer had sought and stated.

After all, why did this writer had afford to say that today's people had been misled by illusions given by those who exploit for generations? That, all despite presenting sugar coated phrases and tangible ones such as modernity and innovation, as well as patriotism of some sort, had to destroy something that had been took part in a year-long struggle for self determination, cultural autonomy, and respect. The Marcoses, and succeeding leaders in the Philippines had once tried to revive some that invokes cultural identity like any other statesperson around the world, yet at the same time they had sponsored thoroughly the wishes of the west; that one remember Chico dam and Cellophil over Cordillera.
Developmental indeed at first sight, yet benefits the exploiters most than those of the inhabitants who care about their livelihood, their culture, their Payaw (Rice Terraces), and their lives; same as in Samar whose trees been cut off by Enrile that led to floods due to rain.

And if these continues to persist, then perhaps true that the real Filipino, who was lucky despite being poor by eating sweet potatoes and working hard in order to survive had been killed after the Second World War alongside ruined edifices most being demolished for "something modern in everyone's eyes", that those who survived had tried to salvage the remnants of their pasts while the present and the future generations continued to discard, thinking it had been useless in a so-called "fast-changing world" such as old yet remarkable houses, buildings, mostly in the suburbs of Manila and surrounding cities.

That also made this writer recalled what Mehmet Akif Ersoy said in his Istiklal Marsi:

Garbın âfakını sarmışsa çelik zırhlı duvar,

Benim iman dolu göğsüm gibi serhaddim var.
Ulusun, korkma! Nasıl böyle bir imanı boğar,
"Medeniyet!" dediğin tek dişi kalmış canavar?

And in English:

"The land is surrounded by the West and armoured with walls of steel,

But I have borders guarded by the mighty chest of a believer.
Let it howl, do not be afraid! And think: how can this fiery faith ever be killed,
By that battered, single-fanged monster you call "civilization"?"

The last two verses somehow mirrors what's happening today. Demolition of "good" structures, enslavement of people through mind and ears, how come those on high, despite parroting the past and invoking patriotic sentiment tolerate the killers of heritage, identity, and struggle for social emancipation? Just because there's money in it thanks to so-called "developers"? Companies who care about increasing profits and giving crumbs in the guise of "corporate social responsibilities?"
How come things such as what this writer and others concerned sought happen despite promises? Are these things part of modern-day "civilization?" Reducing heritage into imaginations, aspirations into delusions and substituted by illusions presented by mainstream media? A civilization that is suicidal than beneficial to many!


Anyways, despite all the expressions and bullshits this writer had typed over in the writeup, this writer speaks appreciation to those who are serious and eager to preserve heritage regardless of the era yet significant than those who treat it as for show; and at the same time, lamenting to those who fail, worse, gave up preserving and hence, gave way to the wishes of those parroting "development" yet caring about prime lots, demolishing remarkable edifices for the sake of building aesthetic-less, made for sake ones bereft of significance and call it as developmental.

And if that is a part of democracy and development consistently spoken throughout, then what kind of democracy and development these people on high and its petibourgeois followers advocating? If that is part of change, then did it steer change other than having new buildings and presenting as a part of a fast-changing world? And if so, then how about London, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Shanghai?
Anyways, if that is a way of practising "democracy and development," sorry to those who may mislead, then Fuck that "democracy and development" as well! This writer may ought not to blame the idea and aspiration what people ought to think nowadays, of freedom and overchoices, of innovation and renovation; but knowing that today's Democracy and Development had work both ways (one and another) unfortunately, knowing that they had been driven much by individual or corporate greed that encompasses many things to exploit;  that includes old buildings, mountains, forests, all had to be "sacrificed" by calling it "Development" while most people had chose to content in a vicious cycle of "earn, buy, consume, die" rather than revisiting their history, and see those edifices nothing but a run-down old structure far from their interest, hence, tolerating the stupidity that is prevailing nowadays.

Well, when was the time people cherish the past, the simplicity and the grandeur that end up storytold by the old?

Otherwise, everyone had chose to give up heritage and redescribing it as "moving on."

Thursday, 17 October 2013

"Let everyone least give them a consolation, if not help in order to rebuild themselves."

"Let everyone least give them a consolation, 
if not help in order to rebuild themselves."

Men tend to women lying on the ground near debris 
after buildings collapsed during an earthquake
 in Cebu City, Philippines, in this Oct 15, 2013 
still image taken from video. Photo: Reuters/ABS-CBN

"Help them, but obviously, they know how to help themselves for at first all of you are snobbish, aloof when they at first called your help."

These are the words this writer think of all after seeing comments people urged assistance during a tragic event in the history of the Sugbuanons as well as Boholanons.

That, all after experiencing a magnitude 7.1 earthquake in the isles of Cebu and Bohol, everything had turned into a pile of stones if not destroyed every piece, especially the old churches that had been destroyed and hence would take ten, fifty years to restore, rebuild, and retrofit every edifice with billions of pesos to spend upon from both government and private institutions willing to restore the grandeur.
Or perhaps exaggerating it.

However, what this writer, as well as others worried much is the people affected by that catastrophe given. Hundreds end homeless, killed, injured, all in need of consolation, if not help in order to uplift themselves both as an individual and as a steward in its own society.

By the way, why this writer had said consolation much in this writeup instead of help?

Bohol Churches perished by 7.2 magnitude earthquake
Source: Facebook
Well, as people had afford to post pictures about devastated churches, injured people, and calling for assistance like those of the Red Cross and other institutions, this writer had simply remember the times that those affected provinces such as Cebu had not been given support from the national government itself, as according to Wikipedia:

"During the governorship of Emilio Osmeña typhoon Ruping hit Cebu and devastated the trade-based economy and threatened the collapse of food supply, as Cebu is heavily reliant on the rest of the Philippines when it comes to food production. Desperate pleas to the national government for help was met with outright refusal since it was also busy rebuilding Luzon. The motto "Cebu is down but not out, and we can stand on our own" became a battle cry for Cebuano leaders. CEBOOM was born."

Yes, those times were difficult, both Manila and Cebu were devastated during the last years of the first Aquino administration, but disregarding Cebu? Or even any other provinces underdeveloped yet affected by a catastrophe? For an ordinary person this meant a mockery of national development that focused much on Metro Manila and its surrounding provinces.

Worse, a development that goes end up in the pockets of corrupt bureaucrats especially in an issue still being tackled. Personally, this writer would also say that with that catastrophe will the National Government allocate a big chunk of its own budget in recovering, rebuilding, restoring everything on areas affected? Or again doing the same bullshit just like what happened in 1990? For sure there are more roads and bridges to be rehabilitated immediately in order to pave way for the distribution of relief goods, restoration of communities, and even the rehabilitation and retrofitting of heritage sites Cebu and Bohol known for.

A religious icon remains encased amid the rubble in Bohol province in central Philippines 
Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, a day after a 7.2-magnitude quake 
hit Bohol and Cebu provinces.

Anyways, all despite given help by those willing, or the possible allocation of the national budget in these so-called "efforts", Sugbuanons would rather still chant aloud and practise the same mantra that Cebu is down but can still stand on its own; there may be those willing to console, and Sugbuanons, as well as Boholnons will gladly accept thanks in assisting on improving themselves, knowing that the past of not being supported by Imperial Manila, and even corrupt officials who cares about profiteering themselves remains significant in their collective memories.

A product of corruption: substandard projects made by more sand,
less cement and more kickbacks from bragging-rights hungry legislators
Worse, of seeing roads made by these same people who had afford to brag it over, without steel? WTF! what kind of project is road building without any steel to strengthen upon?

Anyways, continue consoling and support their efforts in rebuilding Cebu and Bohol.

That's all for now,

Thank you.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

"Seems that cover labels with different genres are better than original ones"

"Seems that cover labels with different genres 
are better than original ones"

(Or All after listening to the songs Miley Cyrus had sung)

It was Sunday night when this writer had listened some cover labels of well-known songs being played in Youtube. And most of the songs being played are somehow radically different from the original ones this writer tend to despise with, especially the person being posted a day ago.

Yes, it's abit strange to listen to those labels at first, that one had afford to make a metal, jazz, doo-wop version over a song usually laced with autotune and much criticized videoes; but knowing that this writer had loved the music of his generation than those of today, the labels seemed to be much better than the original ones being played thoroughly, or let's say "this should been played as the original" and the ones being sung by today's autotuned artists are the "cover labels and revived ones."

Let's take this version of "We Can't Stop" by Miley Cyrus.

Sorry for the fans who thinks about the version they commonly listen as "catchy," woozy", and "quintessentially California"; but seems that the cover version made by Scott Bradlee and Robyn Anderson, although it had turned it into a retro one such as a doo-wop, would say that it gives least "coolness", and much "catchy" and "smart" especially if the listener had loved much the music that commonly plays in the turntable.

So is the rock version of "Wrecking ball" sung by Mira Fana.

Admittingly speaking, the version of Mira Fana would say that Miley's song should been sung by Bonnie Tyler and had it acoustic instead; and having a twist of Joan Jett had made it better as to express what Miley had tried to invoke, and thus Ms. Fana made it happen to use Miley's song, played like Joan's, and sung like Bonnie's.
Again, quite nice though isn't it?

but on the other hand, this writer, speaking that he preferred listening to the music of his generation, or even the earlier ones, would say that nothing beats the original when it comes to the quality being presented rather than the singer who had sung and made a crass copy of it, that A-Ha's "Take on Me" is worth listening than A1, or IAXE than those of Daniel Padilla in "Ako'y sa iyo at ika'y akin".

That somehow made others whose nostalgia, or let's say yearning for real feel good music had afford to take time making versions of today's hits based on their preferences, while others who ought to listen, again think that their versions "should been the original" instead of the actual ones.
Knowing that the emotions, the style, the tone being played fits for the music instead of the usual one that is, played much in the radio.

Just like one of the Youtube commentators said: 

  "I never would've listened to any of the songs you've covered if it weren't for you guys turning crappy music into gold. I swear, you guys do better than the originals. Please make more covers, I just love them."

Anyways, in short, this writer is abit choosy when it comes to cover versions of some popular songs, if it fits then why not have it listen? After all, not all today's music, both the singer and the song being sung are easily deemed "good" in the ears of a listener.

Worse, whose managers and producers think about the face value than the quality of music being presented. 

Sunday, 13 October 2013

THE KILLING OF AGENCY: The Destruction of Philippine Action Cinema under the Arroyo regime”

The Destruction of Philippine Action Cinema 
under the Arroyo regime”

by Carlo Cielo


Two brothers are running on roughshod streets. They run with the urgency of their lives. One is from a gang named New Moon; the other from the ‘Children of the Night’. Few moments’ back, they were in a scuffle with some scoundrels: first with punks high on hits; later, a fella put to waste. Nothing was resolved in the melee, with not one side standing in principle. No code to uphold, no ideal to protect, no rightness to be restored. A person would get ‘saved’ if only so he would go on thriving. What the siblings knew for sure is that they’re next. So they head deeper into the squalor of their impoverishment, drifting into dreadful passes, veering into byways. Soon, they reach the end of the line – here in these punishing slums, an expanding graveyard for trespassers and inconveniences. Pale horse had hidden well in the darkness, and caught up with them.

Holding them at gunpoint, a man in the motorcycle leads them both to the side of a road. There, lying before them is the horizon. He prods them : What do they see? On one end is the voidance and wayward mothers birthing into such. On the other is the future, of uncertain spaces and endless providence. It all may be worth the look, if only ‘coz there is nothing else in sight. These are from Pepe Diokno’s 2009 film ‘Engkwentro’, hailed as a ‘new breed’ of Filipino action film, and the path the movie took to get to such a point, like the course Filipino action cinema did itself, was not at all inspiring…


On Jan. 20, 2001, Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo ascended into power through a largely non-violent uprising. This would be known as the Second People Power revolution, an event which would reunite key principals of the movement which toppled the dictator Ferdinand Marcos [1]. Featuring a confluence of elements from labor, the religious sector, and the middle class, this was the culmination of a year-long series of acts against the then-ruling government: against corrupt deeds committed such as alleged shady deals with illegal gambling lords. The President would soon step down upon the resignation of military officers (his office insists he’s only filed a leave), and be later jailed for high crimes.

The Second People Power drew sharp criticism. A part of world opinion would condemn this as a ‘stealthy power grab’ by a few social cliques, a ‘defeat for democracy’, a ‘coup’, or rather, a ‘mob rule carefully dressed as a coup’ versus a known populist [2]. Local institutions would try to legitimize this movement - the Supreme Court passing a ruling in its favor under the principle of ‘Vox Populi, Vox Dei’ ( The will of the people is the will of God ). Yet this would fail to quell dissent. Time Magazine further said in its editorial that:

 “… whatever curious legal construction anyone may now attempt to put on the ouster of Estrada, he was ousted by a military coup, with the connivance of the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church, major business groups, and two former presidents ”. 

A draftee of the 1987 Constitution would also condemn this based on similar grounds [3].

6 days before May 1, 800,000 supporters of the former administration would march to Epifanio De Los Santos Avenue on their way towards Malacanang.[4] They will be met by a barrage of troops, a few of them felled by a sniper bullet through the head .[5]

The deposed President is Fil. action icon, and erstwhile ‘champion of the poor’, Joseph Ejercito Estrada.

High Noon

Joseph Estrada a.k.a. Erap was born on April 19, 1937. He is from a family of twelve: eighth son to engineer Emilio Ejercito and Maria Marcelo. He took up elementary and high school at the Ateneo De Manila private school, before pursuing an engineering degree at the Mapua Institute of Technology. He soon discontinued his studies to pursue a job in acting.[6]

His first films were already tailoring him for familiar archetype: by the virtue of their stories and situations presented. These would be evidenced by titles such as ‘Lo Waist Gang’, in which he co-stars with another movie icon, Fernando Poe Jr. Namely, his characters would often be of the lower social rung, fully enmeshed in its rigors: its constant battles, its punishing plight, its daily hopes and dreams. The realm in which these occur would be parochial and communal, and though largely motivated by subsistence aims, had a certain dignity about it.

Erap’s breakthrough success would arrive with playing a notorious Tondo toughie in a film. In 1961, he, along with his director, Pablo Santiago would take Asiong Salonga, an otherwise real life Robin Hood figure, and make him a swaggering, mustachioed larger-than-life creation : a veritable ‘champion of the poor’, the sentinel of the masses standing up against the privileged who continue to imperil them, doing so in spite of himself. His flaws would be more defined by grievous circumstance and outside forces. This gives the marginalized a sympathetic figure, an omniscient protector with which they can identify and empower themselves with, and strengthen their political capital in society.

His political rise would be built around such image.

Erap would hold the mayoralty post in San Juan for 16 years. Later, he would nab a senatorial seat during the post-Marcos, Aquino regime of the ‘80s, and the Vice-Presidency in 1992, until his historic victory in the Presidential Race of 1998, where he is believed to have accumulated an unprecedented electoral mandate: upwards to 11 million votes, or 39.86 % of votes cast, with 14% lead over his closest competitor, Jose De Venecia of Lakas-NUCD-UMDP. [7]

However, there was another significant victory that he will achieve with ‘Asiong Salonga’: and that is the founding of the Filipino action film as the nation would come to know it.

Into Night

Prior to the success of ‘Asiong Salonga’, action cinema in the Philippines in general is far more diverse, dispersed, and not collating into any clearly delineated character or aesthetic ( in the same way that Heroic Bloodshed, for example, would come to define Hong Kong action cinema ), besides the more generalized ones, of course, such as those allowed to be protagonists. Modern Filipino fiction, after all, traces its immediate roots in Spanish colonialism, with the zarzuelas and the religious plays a.k.a. moro-moros the natives were forced into. Indeed, the first Filipino action films in this country would be crusades-themed.[8]

Films which will be produced afterwards, following the American period, would be either plain simulacra of several Hollywood genres ( such as spy film, thriller, quasi-noir, epic fantasy, period film, even horror ), or co-productions with American companies, which are usually war movies ( such as John Wayne’s ‘Battle Of Bataan’, and the early collaboration of Eddie Romero and Gerry De Leon, ‘Intramuros’ ).

Much of these wouldn’t seem indigenous, or even particularly relevant to local audience’s tastes, apart from their cheap thrills. An earlier film ‘Lo Waist Gang’, which starred Erap and another future action star and president Fernando Poe Jr., is basically a retread of the sort of rebel films top-billed by James Dean, with perhaps a bit of nod to the Marlon Brando of ‘On The Waterfront’. Pablo Santiago may as well be tapping into that Elian Kazan angst in ‘Asiong Salonga’, with its dejected lower class lead not trusting enough to be proletarian, but I digress.

The local action genre, therefore, is more of a bevy of highly Americanized products, than a distinct, precise brand.

This was partially due to the configuration of the Filipino film industry at the time. Filipino cinema was dominated by three major studios, each owned by the country’s richest families : LVN, Sampaguita Films, and Premiere Productions.[9] These are fully functioning and completely-actualized, with back lots, sound stages & equipment, and productions encompassing film, radio, and television. Each has a coterie of stars in their stable, bound by strictly exclusive contracts, from which they get their strength at the tills. However, these stars, much like the directors, workers, and writers, are subordinated by a pronounced studio system, which is macro-level and top down, and churns out films like an assembly line. LVN Pictures’ 1955 output, for example, is 27 films. [10]

About a few, such as director Lamberto Avellana, were able to leave a distinct mark on their work, as performers are only able to engage in terms of looks and performances, with their individual affectations safely kept at bay.

It wasn’t long before this oligarchic scheme was challenged, amid rising labor unrest nationwide, as the major studios went from the boom times of mid ‘50s and into the ‘60s, struggling to capture the local audience. These masses, which Avellana once derisively labelled as the ‘bakya crowd’, were looking elsewhere, finding folly in local work which futilely resembles foreign fare, and tackling concerns which are not immediately their own, while increasingly gravitating towards Filipino film stars, as they are the ones who anyways top bill their respective flicks. It was fortuitous then that a few of these actors would choose this time to formally break away from their studio contracts, and venture into their own with their stuff.

Among these were the ‘new Brat Pack’ of Fernando Poe Jr. a.k.a. FPJ, Zaldy Zschornack, and Erap Estrada. FPJ in fact, would be the first to defy the reigning ‘star studio system’. Actively carrying their ‘James Dean cred’ with them, while demanding more justifiable compensation, they would later try and build a career through their own production houses. FPJ and Zaldy would team up with the ‘Poe-Zshornack Productions’, the first of its kind since actor Leopold Salcedo’s, while Erap advances with his JE Productions and Emar Productions. FPJ would later move on with his solo FPJ productions outfit, and together with Erap, will have their films distributed under the common, Taga-Ilog Productions banner. [11]

Result is unprecedented progress for the Filipino film industry. The big studios continue to crumble, as each major actors and actresses follow the ‘New Brat Pack’s lead, and churn out new material under their own production wings. This would be a time of cinematic near-ubiquity, which made the Philippines one of the largest in the world in terms of film product volume, peaking in 1971 with 234 films. This also stratifies the star as the industrial & cinematic basis of Filipino cinema.

Amdist all these, what would be among the most worth noting was ‘Asiong Salonga’s success; particularly, its epochal impact on the cinematic landscape. Though exhibiting the qualities of an American gang picture, with perhaps a bit of the moral propaganda films of the 50’s, in its Christian warning of ‘living by the gun’, it transcends these tropes by effecting something that’s immediate and gut-wrenchingly native. The film does this by shifting its meta-concerns from the petty and procedural.

This is a film that didn’t just have ‘social concerns’ per se, or was made to accommodate such tendencies, but was at least a bit more attuned and on the level of the society it aims to depict. It espoused concerns which dealt with what the larger Filipino audiences were going in the here and now, and in a popular genre form: their marginalization, their de-facto pariah status, and their alienation from a ‘well-off’ social order that tends to abuse them. It simply intimated itself with their being.

What seemed like a by-the-numbers biopic, was in fact a mannered exercise in class agitation. And it paid off. It didn’t have the strains of ideology for them to have to slog through, and it didn’t put much discursive demands. Furthermore, it wasn’t one to cast too much judgment. There was no earnest figure talking before them, telling them to behave for other’s conveniences - others which are not of their own. Instead the lead protagonist was of them. He is the thug who lived by the side of the road, who goes to their kids’ baptismal rites. He is as dirty as they are, and is as tested on field. [12] These help them welcome him as an avenger, their brutal avatar, fighting similar enemies, dealing restitution, short of being their alter egos on screen.

The masses have finally found their cinematic representation. An idealized one at that, as formidable human mythologies ought to be, and though this may cast them as victim, it’s one which promises them an upper hand soon. This way, the progenitors straddle a fine line between escapism and social realism, short of inciting social action, yet enough to accommodate kempt energies along those lines.

Nonetheless, this film recommends a social grounding with which the masses can realize their agency. Namely: should they choose to strike back against transgressors, where would they be coming from, and from where are they going to attack? This movie suggests that it shouldn’t have to be from the barracks, or the uncharted countryside, but from the very slums in which they live. That is where they are going to deal with the class enemy.

Filipino action films here become simulacra no more, for it has finally found the stage for which the battle would be set, and in ways which could bring the local audience into the picture. The action they only saw through foreign eyes had finally come home.

It can be observed that near all Filipino action star personas afterwards have become derivatives of this anti-hero archetype. FPJ’s would probably be the most benevolent take: his characters being mostly found on the right side of the law, if not of the angels, yet none the better. Ace Vergel would be at the far opposite end of the spectrum; a foul scoundrel to the point of being rapist ( as evidenced by ‘Anak Ng Cabron’ ). Philip Salvador and Rudy Fernandez’ would be the weary layman, vacillating between the side of the status quo and the opposition ( from policeman in ‘Joe Pring’ in Philip’s case, to blue collar worker in ‘Kapit Sa Patalim’, to an NPA commander in ‘Orapronobis’ ). Ramon Revilla is Asiong Salonga as the ultra-violent extremist, a blindly raging force of antagonism, susceptible to every single element of nature, from the hyper real to the absurd; often at the same time [13].

Robin Padilla would be said character as a young brat, all guns and broads in post-Cold War setting. Lito Lapid may seem to veer to a whole another path with the odd western of ‘Leon Guerrero’, but he would still be the Malayan defender of peasants against the Colonial Spanish.

Indeed, the local action films would exude common elements from this work : a.) a beleaguered lower class protagonist who is either an outlaw, or simply not well-socially adjusted, b.) a deep-seated, lyrical grievance against social wrongs and personal injustice, c.) a sense of responsibility towards the masses, be it in the form of family or community, d.) enemies either lumpen ( i.e. local bullies, gang lords, drug lords ), or of the upper crust who unleashes these, and e.) a willingness to take it to their enemies, even with the use of much-dreaded force. The title of their films would usually bear the name of the protagonists, making the mentioned pissings personal.

Moises Padilla, a film about whom Erap earlier starred in, would be revitalized in the ‘80s as a straight-up genre action film, as a crusader for the people who is deemed by liberal society as a brigand, played by a mustachioed action star, Anthony Alonzo.

LVN is the producer of the original Moises Padilla movie. Its last film on record as a production outfit was ‘Roman Rapido’ in 1983.

Conversely, Star Cinema’s first offering is ‘Adan Ronquillo’, starring Bong Revilla as an AK-47 powered man from the slums. It broke previous records by making P58.2 million at the box office. This ensured a certain future for the Lopez’ family’s foray into the movie business, as Star Cinema would soon expand into one of the major studios in the country; covering, it claims, 60% of the market. [14]

Asiong Salonga will be remade twice: with Rudy Fernandez in 1977’s ‘Salonga’, and George Estregan Jr. in 1990’s ‘Asiong Salonga : Hari ng Tondo’. [15]

With the withering of the major studios, and the film industry’s shift of reliance on the stars, the genres, once encased in their warehouses are finally released, and reconfigured in light of new market formations. These are not left to a select committee to replenish and maintain; rather they are left for bankable personalities to co-opt, repackage, and redefine. And in the vicious mores of freehand competition, those who emerge triumphant get to take the reins to the cinema, and mould it in their name.

Erap Estrada’s opus made it big at the box office, and become a phenomenon across cultural, socio-economic, and political spheres. With this, it has set the template for future action-driven material, like what ‘Dirty Harry’ did for cop flicks, and ‘Rambo’ did for militarism.

In the shift of industrial models, from the bulkier kind to something far more individualized, the cinema becomes the stars. Asiong Salonga effectively becomes Erap, and Erap becomes the Filipino Action Film.

To kill Filipino Action Film was to simply kill Asiong Salonga.

Permanent Darkness

About 31 action movies were made in 1998. This was split among the top producers at the time: these would be 1.) the Mother Lily companies ( Regal, Good Harvest, MAQ Films ), who made 34 films that year, 2.) the Viva companies ( Viva, Neo, Falcon ) with 23; 3.) the Lopezes’ Star Cinema with 18, 4.) recently launched GMA Films, with 9; and 5.) the independents Seiko, Taurus, and Shangten ( 4 each ) with 12. All in all, the year of Joseph Estrada’s rise to political power saw 145 films produced. Though this is 54 films less than that of the previous year, it still seems a staggering amount for an industry that at the time was being perceived to be in decline. [16]

Filipino action films dwindled upon Arroyo’s assumption of office in 2001. This would occur alongside a general decrease in local studio film production.

On Feb. 25, during the 20 year anniversary of the first People Power, a Martial Law esque declaration was passed to quell rising protests against the Arroyo regime, giving it power to seize all media properties, and arrest without warrant. [17]. Extra-judicial killings were to rise by this period, along with enforced disappearances. Human rights watchdogs estimate that around 1,200 peasants, farmers, and workers were murdered under her regime.[18]

A state of fear and helplessness grips the entire landscape in general. Culturally, this would be through the demonization of rallies and complaint. Cinematically, this would be manifested by a deluge of anesthetizing establishment romantic comedies, and conditioning attempts at horror.[19]

Zero action films were made by the major studios since.

In retrospect, most of the criticisms against the Second People Power stem from capitalist apprehension towards public mass protests. An aversion towards collective actions in and of itself, the alarmism heavily punctuated by bland adherence to a process, as a means of masking concern for the fragility of their proposed socio-political schemas ( bourgeois democratic project ), expressed in their clamor for ‘stronger institutions’ against forces besides the market. Calibrated hostility which would define the administration that rises in its wake.

She will commit an act of usurpation once again in 2004, this time against another Filipino action star and icon who won the presidency. He is none other than Fernando Poe Jr. [21]

Both Erap and FPJ have gained the majority of the votes, yet both would see their mandates effectively nullified. By virtue of their chosen personas, they had served as primary agents of catharsis, the avenging indio warriors in their films. It is upon their works that the language and ideology Filipino action film would be built, in all its social character and panache; its underlying class grievance that sustains the mechanisms of agency, and permanent threat of revolution.

However, this invites a trickle-down scenario in which upon taking down this Asiong Salonga personality, one can take down an entire whole genre of film, and by extension, an entire whole collective instinct that has depended on to persist. Materially, this could be done by inflicting trauma on the membrane of mass society as means of weakening its socio-cultural grip of these icons on the public, through forcibly dismantling the socio-political structures that have provided support. [22]

These temporally took the form of the electoral transactions forged during the early years of democratic restoration w/c made Filipino citizenry and cinema more synergistic than ever before, which culminated in the rise to the presidency of Erap himself.

In muzzling these erstwhile urban avatars through forced ouster, the larger polity that depend on them for their action would then be left scattered, vulnerable, and impotent; and with scant leverage to be had in the illegitimate new climate, they would have no choice but to live through social conditions that malign them, merely taking hits that come their way.

With no restorative capabilities on hand, with not even their own defense capacities to trust, the poor denizens here are reduced to nothing but the whimpering, tiring wretched of the earth. Having been deprived of anyone else to turn to, much less those who fight on their behalf, they can only do nothing but contemplate their situation – and fend for their lives.

The enemy in the 2009 independent film ‘Engkwentro’ is the mayor, and is basically a rebranding of the Asiong Salonga iconography : the mustachioed populist as a murderous threat. Portrayed by Celso Ad Castillo, he is played out as a thug without conscience, a symbol of mindless machismo, brandishing guns to any cameras in sight, and wearing his brazenness up his sleeve. He is a man of the masses, an enforcer to the poor, the meek – hence, his blind pursuit for security and progress. He is merely looking out for the little people after all, but sometimes he has to be ugly about it. Violence, after all, is deemed as ‘ugly’. Not in spite of himself, but because of himself. When it does occur, it’s open season for his private goons, the ravagers of the many. His only imperative, after all, is to keep the little people in line. The poor should only be wary of him.[20]

Mao Tse Tsung once said that the masses are the sea in which revolutionaries swam. It is imperative therefore for devious elites to do whatever it takes, to poison the water.

From which point, we would see the poor portrayed in films as being nothing more than victims. Open prey to their enemies – as even their former sentries of agency are cinematically turned against them.


Automatic gunfire creates automatic people [23]. Cultural and artistic movements have always been shaped and incited by directly political, real world action, being substructures to the superstructure of human antagonisms. The epochal has always been wrought by cataclysm. Russian Revolution, for instance, instigated the action montage. [24 ]

In the same way that the unacceptable is made common by shocks applied on the polity, hence the need to effect something big in society to unleash a filmic shift.

To diminish ourselves is inadequate. Submitting to bleeding hearts will not bring us our daily bread. For the true liberation of the mass audience, and the emancipation of a cinematic genre that has been suppressed in this part of the world, one will have to embrace the fact that violence will always be legitimate for the Filipino people, ‘since their very status is the result of violence’ [25]

As Jason Jacobs said in his 1995 Sights and Sounds appraisal of action cinema, current society ‘continually offers us examples of how we cannot do anything about our situation…we seem to have less and less control over what happens to us, however often we are told to take responsibility for it’. Thus, ‘the desire to shoot back is positive…at a time when our first instinct might be to keep our heads down and not make trouble’

Filipino Action film as we know it could only be restored, soon as the legitimate job is complete, and the villain responsible for this filmic impasse has been dealt with.


Footnotes :

[1] Philip Bowring, ‘Filipino Democracy Needs Stronger Institutions’, New York Times, 1/22/01

[2] Seth Mydans, ‘People Power II Doesn’t Give Filipinos The Same Glow’, New York Times,2/5/01

[3] Jesusa Bernardo, ‘The Conspiracy Of Edsa 2 : How Gloria Arroyo Managed Not To Let President Joseph Estrada Finish His Term’,, 2/25/08

[4] Malou Mangahas, ‘Church At The Crossroads’, Philippine Center For Investivative Journalism, 4/29-30/02

[5] Howie Severino, ‘This Is Polite Company’s Worst Nightmare : A Massive, Agitated Gathering Of The Poor, Demanding The Return Of Estrada’,, 4/29/01

[6] Erap Biography,


[8] Urian Anthology 1980-1990

[9] Nick De Ocampo Lectures, 2010

[10]These are: 1.) Higit sa lahat , 2.) 1 2 3, 3.) Ang ibong Adarna, 4.) Banal o Makasalanan, 5.) Banda Uno, 6.) Dalagang Taring, 7.) Dalagita't Binatilyo, 8.) Darling Ko, 9.) Dinayang Pagmamahal, 10.) Hagad, 11.)Ikaw Kasi , 12.) Indian Pana, 13.) Karnabal, 14.) Laging Ikaw, 15.) Lapu-Lapu, 16.) Lelong Mong Panot, 17.) Niña Bonita, 18.) No Money... No Honey, 19.)Palasyong Pawid, 20.)Panyolitong Bughaw, 21.)Pasikat, 22.) Pilipino Kostum No Touch, 23.) Salamangkero, 24.) Saydwo Vendor, 25.) Sonny Boy, 26.) Tagapagmana, 27.) Talusaling

[11]Andrew Leavold, ‘Bamboo Gods And Bionic Boys: A Brief History Of Philippines’ B Films’, 2010

[12]Santiago Pangan, ‘Salonga, Tondo Gunman, Killed’, The Manila Chronicle, 10/8/1951

[13] Urian Anthology 1980-1990



[16] Dr. Leonardo Garcia, Jr. and Ms. Carmelita Masigan, ‘An In-depth Study on the Film Industry In the Philippines’, 8/17/2001

[17] Presidential Proclamation 1017 – Full Text, Feb. 24, 2006

[18] Ecumenical Voice For Peace and Human Rights In The Philippines peg the numbers of victims killed to 1,191. This accompanies the 205 disappeared, and 1,028 victims of torture in a span of 9 years.

[19] ;

[20] Pepe Diokno, ‘Engkwentro’, 2009

[21] Veronica Uy, ‘2004 Polls Cheating Recalled On FPJ 68th Birth Anniversary’, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 8/20/07

[22] Following the principle of ‘shock doctrine’. Shock doctrine is basically electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) applied on society and public, in which ‘shocks’ are induced to change perceptions and beliefs, into making them accept something deemed as ‘therapeutic’. The actual ‘shock treatments’ usually result in disorientation and temporary amnesia. This works to the benefit of the practitioners, who aim to start with a blank, compliant state. Economic-wise, this is meant to characterize the methods resorted to by the likes of Milton Friedman in the ‘70s to enforce unrestrained free market policies on Third World nations, including installing a dictatorship.

[23] Jason Jacobs, ‘Gunfire’, Sights and Sound, Oct. 1995

[24] David Bordwell, Kristin Thompson, ‘Film Art : An Introduction’, Eighth Edition, 2008

[25] Slavoj Zizek, ‘ A Permanent Economic Emergency’, Jul-Aug 2010


Carlo Cielo is a student of the College of Mass Communications, UP Diliman. He is known for social criticism and his fondness for"old" but "sensible" cinema.

and btw, thanks to Video 48 for the poster being featured in this writeup.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Minds gone Twerk'ed, (or All after seeing Miley Cyrus gone Degenerated)

"Minds gone Twerk'ed" 

(or All after seeing Miley Cyrus gone Degenerated)

It's all but strange nowadays to see a once-known pop star for tweens and teenagers had gone degenerated with her antics shown both in TV and featured in social media. Knowing that she was known much for her bubblegum pop appearance as "Hannah Montana", she had been well known for Disney-watching children, enjoying her songs and stints, only to end herself nowadays appearing as a controversial one known for her dance moves, her hairstyle, and a change of music that made everyone, including her fans criticize as an artist or perhaps as a person in general.

That includes certain artists that made Miley Cyrus described as her Character references.

At first, this writer may ought to say that her "change" isn't expressive contrary to her justification as an artist.  Knowing that it involves popularity, of course lies transitions that includes the music, the appearance, everything what a manager has to insist rather than the artist who had justified her "change." And although the song "Wrecking Ball" is quite good, as in trying to convey emotion as a pop ballad, as well as trying to relate on everyone, most of her songs nowadays would say all but trying hard to get "in" and again justified by telling "she shows her real self."

Showing her real self? Nay, she's like any other today's singer who speaks "Nigga" for the sake of saying it- that somehow far from her Character references whom she tries to emulate (and end exaggerate)

Justifying 'Nigga' for the sake of saying it

Mentioning the word "Nigga", Miley Cyrus tries to desensitise the term like any other singer who had professed to say it, "about having fun and getting chill" as what she said in an interview weeks ago (with the picture featuring the said quote stated); that also somehow, especially African Americans, felt dismayed, puzzled or having a facepalm in listening to the stated quote -thinking that "Nigga", like "Swag" and other terms used by today's generation of artists whom tend to make derogatory terms appealing; not knowing that are still people who showed concern to those who had just "joined the flow" and speak what comes from the radio.

Such as these comments being posted in Facebook.

According to "Wytboi Tony",  he expressed dismay knowing the term "Nigga" is as same as the term "Nigger", "Negro", or much derogatory ones likee "Coon" and "Mud", and with Miley Cyrus  as well as others whom  tend to glorify it, rather showed nonsense that is, all for the sake of being in the charts and of course, profits from the producers who cares about those who can listen, buy and enjoy:

"We have allowed a once derogatory and demeaning word to be glorified to the masses through entertainment and packaged for commercial distribution."

Even "Renayka Boyd" shared the same thoughts as "Wytboi Tony" said, knowing that prejudice becomes fad, and her friends, especially black ones had afford to say "Nigga" for the sake of saying it, made prejudice as color blind unlike before:

"I think common sense is not so common and being and idiot is so much more than color also. I had to drop one of my white friends who thought he had a free pass to use that word. If none of my others friends use it, even my black ones what gives you the right? Ignorance is color blind!"

So is "BL Gaillard Prioleau" who, after reading the quote and its justification, had expressed the reality what a "Nigga" is with its a community full of poverty and crime, that is far from being "Cool", "Chill", and "Trendy" as most singers tend to say it:

"Drop Miley off out here in Memphis, or to another urban area with a lot of poverty & crimes. She'll wish she never knew what a "nigga" is."

These commentators who had expressed concern over through those quotes posted are mainly Blacks, African-Americans, people what singers like the person being featured had to describe them much as "Niggas" and to glorify their degradation as "having fun and getting chill". The quote given by "BL Gaillard Prioleau", for example somehow relates the sickening truth of an African American living in depressed conditions, that made Tupac Shakur made rap music related to the truth that is far from what today's artists tend to say that is, for the sake of saying it and make famous; same as "Renayka Boyd" who had expressed concern over prejudice as a mere form of expression.

Famous yet Degenerated?

Being famous comes with a price. Knowing that today's culture is all but based on consumption of ready made goods, most artists had to preserve their prestige in order to survive, including those of making themselves altered in pursuit of being applicable to the audiences such as today's youth who spend time watching in social media or downloaded their songs in the computer. Not to mention MTV or any other music channels shown in the flat-screened "idiot box".

However, since this writer had stated that today's culture as all but based on consumption, then that culture had negated its quality all for the sake of producing more, worse, it had degenerated with its nature altered "just" for the sake of popularity.
It can be "expressive" for others but altered by those who care about ratings, as what Lourd de Veyra said:

"The Dumber the TV show, the Higher the Ratings."

Thus, the distortion and degradation of quality in art for the sake of ratings and popularity lies the degeneration.

Admittingly speaking, to say "degenerated" lies on the grounds that the nature of today's art isn't expressive, but instead impressive all for others to see, all made for the sake other than gaining followers per se; yet on the other hand, it becomes so corrupted and enfeebled, especially with today's lifestyles that they have lost the self-control needed to produce coherent works, as well as its persona replaced by what is been ordered by others, "just to gain fame" as one of its basic reasons.
And knowing that she has to keep popularity well and making it further, it seems that things had gone different, noticing that with Miley Cyrus's  "expression" becomes more of "impression" so as to make herself popular than others in the field of music and entertainment; and if so, then right are the words coming from those who criticize her, especially Sinead O'Connor.

O'Connor, known also for her controversies involving the way she sings during the 90s, rather described ms. Cyrus's antics as "pimping" rather than making an expression. Not to mention that she had afford to show an earlier picture of O'Connor's  ripping a picture of the late Karol Wojtyla.
And since she ought to justify it, then fine, knowing that the controversial singer had afford to show to Ms. O'Connor as a reply from the latter's criticism, but then, those issues are quite different from today's. That the singer from Ireland had made that part of ripping the late pope's picture as to invoke her opposition to the church, that is somehow radically different from the one who as if afford to say "she invokes her true self" by sporting a new hairstyle, having a twerk, or rather say "making herself more applicable to today's generation" -that is, "eaten by the flow."

That made the so-called Parents Television Council expressed disgust, after sought the degeneracy and of course the exploitation of women through its depiction in today's culture:

"This is unacceptable," a spokesperson for the group said in a statement. "MTV continues to sexually exploit young women by promoting acts that incorporate 'twerking' in a nude colored bikini."

furthermore, the statement also said:

"How is this image of former child star Miley Cyrus appropriate for 14-year-olds..." 

And like any other artists whose intention is just to gain fame, then sorry to say so, what kind of expression is that nowadays whose primary objective is just to gain fame than to express what comes from its own persona? The ideal being imbued would been described instead as cretin and whorish both word and style, so much as to appease today's audience and the managers who love to earn using an appearance that is "artificial" (made primarily to earn, to gain fame) rather than "natural" (made to express what comes from its own, from the realities being sought) in invoking especially in the field of music. 
Worse, they themselves are being eaten by the flow being joined; sorry to use Lu Xun, but he's right to say that today's culture becomes cannibalistic and degenerated that benefits the few than everyone who supposedly tends to enjoy with. 

And if that's the case, then sorry for the fans, better Pussy Riot for they convey what really comes from theirs. Same as Sinead O' Connor and Lady Gaga for her anti-bullying stances and defiance against the establishment.


By the way, when was the time everyone listens to real music instead of today's autotune and far from reality lyrics? 

For now, here's a cover of "Wrecking Ball" from Mira Fana, that somehow last brought least "justice" to the song not to the one who first sung.

And thanks for that fling who made this writeup happen!